Monthly Archives: February 2016

Just like that

Last weekend we drove through neighborhoods and saw some houses.  Having talked about down-sizing for months, we took the first step by scouting out areas and crossing some off our list.

Sunday, we toured one.

The story goes like this:  Realtor friend, best pals with Hubbs since 2nd grade, set up the showing.  We stood outside in the sunlight and talked through possibilities.

On our approach, we were greeted by a deep throated bark. A neighbor called out, “He’s {the owner} not here, and the old dog is inside, but he’s harmless.” So, with our friend, in we went. Stepping into the kitchen, our friend ahead of us, we heard this, “Well hello there, I thought you’d be in a cage or something.”  An ancient grey-faced Golden Retriever lay on the kitchen tile, squinting up at us, his tail thumping hopefully.  We melted. All three of us.  Speaking softly and moving slowly, we reassured him he had friends in us. He accepted a pet and went back to his nap. His age and physical limitations were obvious and my heart went out to him, the stress of dealing with all these strangers traipsing through his home.

The house is not new, it’s 80’s-centric, with lots of oak.

I love oak and so does Hubbs.

The kitchen faces east, and the morning sun streamed in across the tile, warming the fur of Golden boy. I smiled at his choice.

Looking up and down and all around we understood now the sheets on the furniture in the photos, and smiled at Golden boy who didn’t look capable of such a leap.  We saw hope in the gesture.

Walking through another person’s home is weird.  We found ourselves whispering.  I am not one to open closets and peek into shelves but when you’re considering a major purchase you have to push through that and stay objective.  I tried.

By now the men were in the basement, talking about foundations and egress windows and the age of the furnace.

I wandered through on my own, stopping to love on Golden boy, and taking in my thoughts.

Finding myself in the kitchen again I acknowledged what I hadn’t yet articulated: I could see myself living there.

I didn’t care that the stove was old or that the counters would need to be updated.

I could see myself standing that kitchen looking back over that long yard, mature trees swaying softly in the distance, sipping coffee and pondering.

I could picture the smallest bedroom as my reading nook & office with a bed for sissy when she visits.

I could see youngest boy and all his musical instruments and amps making a mess like he does here.

I could picture tousle-haired grand kids at the table eating breakfast and talking excitedly about our day. I could hear holiday gatherings.  I could feel home.

I think in life you either know or you don’t and sometimes the quickest path to finding what you want is to cross off what you don’t.

We made an offer, they countered, and we accepted.

Inspections are underway but .. it looks like we have (another) house!

I will miss this one, but I’m happy our big oak table will fit right in at the new/old house.


“Home isn’t a place, it’s a feeling”
― Cecelia Ahern, Love, Rosie



How about you? Do you instantly know – one way or another – your position on things?

Categories: Blogging, Confidence at any age, Determination, Faith, Family, Gratitude, Growth, Home, Joy, Life, Personal, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

Random 5 Monday?

It’s Monday and I’d like whomever stole my weekend to please return it! 🙂  Here are 5 Random happenings from my world:

  1. Monday. Coffee.  Coffee. Coffee.

monday awesome

2. Felt like spring this weekend and everyone was outside. We saw neighbors we hadn’t seen in months!  Hubbs and I took a drive and toured some – gulp – homes. Yep, we’re making a move to down size.   Here’s my version of the perfect MJ room:

reading nook

3. Here’s his:

man cave

4.  Saw many houses and most were too big.  Saw a few that were just too small. Didn’t see any that were “just right.”  Feels like 3 bears should be right around the corner!


5. Totally random but this made me laugh out loud.  Ever have a friend or relative say this to you? This little girl’s expression might be how I felt when they did.  Ha!

you look tired

What random things happened in your world this weekend?

Categories: Attitude, Blogging, Confidence at any age, Family, Friendship, Growth, Home, Humor, Life, Men, Personal, Random observations, Relationships, Thoughts, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Up on the beach – helping Syrian refugees

A few years ago, I became friends with a wonderful lady blogger, Sandi.  Sandi is a Florida mid-wife who, at the time, was based in China.  She’s shared her talents all over the world and recently left the safety of home and family to bring comfort to Syrian refugees washing up on the beaches of Greece.

She’s writing of her experiences and I have to tell you, reading about soaking wet children arriving on an overloaded raft, terrified and clinging to their mothers, haunts me.

An excerpt:

Thursday, February 11, 2016… the sun has set, our daily meeting with Toula’s volunteer group (or the group I affectionately refer to as Toula’s Merry Band of Volunteers) is over and Jaymarie and I decide to go to dinner.

Driving down the beach road we come across people coming up from the sea. Refugees. I ask Jaymarie to stop and I get out while she turns around to go back to the village for help. With the exception of one woman who is acting “shocky”, every one of the men, women and children seem to be OK, except they are wet and cold.

A young man, maybe around 25, comes up to me and hugs me and says while crying, “I drove the boat and I got everyone here safely… we are safe, we are safe!!!” The whole crowd starts to chant the same words in their language. My heart explodes with joy that I simply can’t explain.

A bit of an explanation. Sometimes the people on the boat are in a state of shock when they get on the ground. I think it’s a combination of many things including, absolute fear of the crossing (it is dark, their boats are grossly overloaded, many have never been on the sea), they are cold and wet, they are overwhelmed that the hardest part of their journey (fleeing their country, crossing multiple countries and a big, black, turbulent sea) is over and they are in Europe. All you can do is get them out of the wet clothes, put dry clothes on them and give them lots of hugs and love. This seems to work 🙂

Photo courtesy

Photo courtesy

The other thing I want to explain is the boats. I’ve touched on this before. They are rubber inflatables. They are kitted out with 30 hp engines, yes 30… that is NOT a typo! The 6 km journey takes an HOUR because there are 50-60 people on a rubber boat with a 30 horse power engine! Thus this young man’s immense joy that he brought this boatload of fellow refugees in safely. I asked him if he had ever driven a boat before and he told me, “no”. In fact, he has never been on the water before. I hugged him extra tight! He told me, “you are like my mother”. I struggle to keep my emotions in check because there is work to be done.

Help arrives! And we decide that it is best to walk them 1/2 a mile down to the clothing warehouse that is donated by a generous local man and maintained by Toula (the amazing local woman who will get her own post!) and her Merry Band of Volunteers. We get them in out of the wind and assist with getting them into dry tops, pants, shoes, socks and coats. Jaymarie helps a family with a special needs child who appears to have CP. (darn it!!! now I’m crying. In a cafe… why? Because I think of my {grand-daughter} Celeste and how scary it must have been for that mommy to travel with this special angel over that water and the whole voyage, gosh I hope they find a good place to live!). Jaymarie held the child while his mom and dad helped his siblings get into dry clothes and then clothed themselves.

Lots of love, lots of hugs, so much gratitude and JOY. What a great reason to be late to dinner!

All kinds of help is needed.  I’m leaving the politics out of it.  These are people, real people, with nothing.

  • Any donation helps with basics – clothing, blankets, food, shoes, sanitary supplies, medical help:
  • Or via PayPal:
  • From Sandi:  I’m here because this is where God led me. I’ll stay until He leads me to leave. 

As for me I’ll be forgoing Starbucks and manicures and donating later today.   I’ve shared her blog on my Facebook page. As an immigrant myself, I cringe at the thought that anyone’s journey to a better life could end in the dark on a leaking rubber raft.


Matthew 25:35-40 – For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in.

Categories: Blogging, Charity, Faith, fear, Growth, Life, Opinion, Personal, Politics, Quotes, Travel, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Otterly wonderful

otter day off

I have a pattern – 6 weeks after returning from the Christmas break, I need and take a day off.  First I cash in the massage gift certificate given by Hubbs at Christmas (ooh,  ahh), then I take a Friday off.  And the only ‘schedule’ about the day off is doing it.

I shut off my phone, turn off the alarm, and sleep.  Sleep ’till I wake up, whenever that may be.  Around 7:30 today I woke with a start, sure that I was late for something.  Smiling at the early light outside, I ‘tucked & rolled’ back under the covers. At 8:45 I couldn’t sleep any more so I knew that was just right for me.

Pouring coffee I looked at my phone:  74 new emails, some informational, and a couple marked urgent. Few are, geez people settle down.

I didn’t answer.

My out-of-0ffice is on and my staff is capable.  Plus, I know better; if I answer one – just one – the phone will start ringing.   Nope, not doing it.   The world will not end between now and Monday, of that I’m sure.

I used to spend my days off racing around the house getting things done, answering emails, being available to everyone except myself. Sometimes I still do, but not so much anymore.

Now, I give myself  permission to accomplish nothing. Zip. Nada.

Amen to that! google

Amen to that! google

To putz and hover and think.To read, to write, to laugh to dream. To sing, to play, to live.

Later I’ll sit in little chairs and happily accept warm hugs and sticky kisses at the grand kids’ Valentines day parties.    I know one thing for sure – they don’t care how many emails I have or who wants me to call.  They’ll care that I’m there.  That my phone is off. That they have my attention. 100%.

And the very best part about a day of purposeful nothingness will be the peace that fills my soul.   And it will be otterly wonderful!

life is a cup

Many of us harbor hidden low self-esteem. We deem everything and everyone more important that ourselves and think that meeting their needs is more important than meeting our own.  But remember this – if you run out of gas, everyone riding with you will be left stranded, too.- Bishop T.D. Jakes

How good are you at taking a day completely “off?”

 Related posts:
Happy Valentine’s Day ❤


Categories: Attitude, Blogging, Confidence at any age, Faith, Family, Fun, Growth, Home, Joy, Life, Opinion, Personal, Rants, Relationships, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Friday happiness

Friday’s here, but I think I skipped Wednesday and Thursday,  it’s been that kind of week.   Like stuffing 10lbs of potatoes in a 2 lbs sack kinda week. Travel, meetings, calls, travel, meetings, calls, repeat.

But, I got to talk with Mom last night – she’d not been feeling well so that made phone calls not an option for the past little while.  She’s on the mend now.  Happiness # 1.


Something I’ve been working on for 6+ months is finally coming to fruition. And it’s something good for my team. I get to tell them about it next week.  Happiness # 2.

happy boy

Oldest boy’s fiance went bridesmaid shopping last night and grand-daughter MJ went, too.   I hear she tried on every hair accessory in the store, including this one:  Happiness # 3.

MJ dress shopping; an Emjayandthem (C) photo

MJ’s joy at being included; an Emjayandthem (C) photo

There’s been sickness all around – stomach flu, respiratory bugs – you name it.  Not sick.  Happiness # 4.

happy donkey

Living my life grain-free is now a way of life. Down 11.5″ and 11lbs in 30 days.  Feeling rested, healthy and in control – for the first time in years.   Happiness # 5.

super hero girl

What are you feeling happy about this week? What victory can you claim?

Rock on, friends!


Categories: Attitude, Confidence at any age, Family, Food, Gratitude, Growth, Joy, Mom, Opinion, Personal, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

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