The Glad Surrender

Lately my work life is all consuming  ~  looking back and ahead I am struck by these four things:

1 ) Traveling every week for work & so that means restaurant after restaurant – and eating healthfully can be a challenge.  Typically I have a big breakfast sometime during the day and supplement with foods I bring with me.  But, I’ve discovered the wedge salad and that has become my new favorite.  I’m sure it’s 10,000 calories but I don’t care.   Here’s is one I enjoyed a few nights ago with shrimp and a Skinny Girl Margarita.  Yes I was that gal photographing her food … ha!

dinner on the road recently

2)  I’m tired.  Tired of work, tired of calls, tired of projects, tired.  I’m tired of increasing pressure, endless demands and unrealistic expectations.  In just a few weeks we will shut everything off and head to a warm vacation.  In response to bosses who’ve asked anxiously if I’ll be online while away I’ve answered no, I’ll be IN line for a beach towel and a lemonade by the pool.   Looking forward to no schedule, no calls and no clocks.  I know what will happen – we’ll sleep deeply, be up early, and smile our way through sun, tunes, good foods and warm waters.  And when we get back it will all be there waiting for us.

3)  The one thing saving my life right now is weekends.  And sleep. And wedge salads. And that pool image above 😉

4)  Many flagship stores around us are closing – K-Mart was first, Sears was next, and now, certain J.C. Penney stores, too.  Out of solidarity I stopped at JCP one night last week, hit a sale, and walked out with >$300 in merchandise for $95.    If I could get a deal like that more often I’d go to the mall more.  Hmm.

** How about you? What new-to-you food are you loving? Have you came upon any deals lately? What are you excited about?  When’s the last time you took a break? Can you embrace the Surrender?**

“Work is a blessing. God has so arranged the world that work is necessary, and He gives us hands and strength to do it. The enjoyment of leisure would be nothing if we had only leisure. It is the joy of work well done that enables us to enjoy rest, just as it is the experiences of hunger and thirst that make food and drink such pleasures.”  ― Elisabeth Elliot, Discipline: The Glad Surrender


Categories: Blogging, Confidence at any age, Determination, Faith, Fashion, Food, Fun, Life, Opinion, Personal, Quotes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Blessed abundance

Growing up, we had everything we needed.  We had room to run, ponies to ride, kittens to pet and dogs and each other to play with. We had bales to build forts in, fossils to discover and miles and miles of land to roam and explore.

a coulee that runs for miles

a coulee that runs for miles

My two sisters and I shared a bedroom; my middle sister and I even shared a bed, with  oldest sister having her own. There were 2 tall dressers in that room and one teeny closet; we shared all three. I had an underwear and sock drawer and a shirt/pants drawer. Dresses and skirts hung in the closet.

This looks a lot like our old dresser, except ours was yellow.  2 drawers!

This looks a lot like our old dresser, except ours was yellow. 2 drawers!

Now, I have a dresser that’s jammed full — and it’s filled with stuff I don’t wear.  My closet is the same.  And – to top it off — there are items hanging in there that I don’t even like!

Many of us, including me, keep too much. 

Is it because we are fixated on what something cost? (even if we’ve never worn it). Is it because we didn’t have a lot growing up so getting rid of “stuff” causes us anxiety?  Is it because we just don’t  know where to start?

I think back now on those 2 dresser drawers and wonder if I could live with that today.   I don’t need to, but there’s a part of me that wants to.

So, I’m slowly sorting through and using this simple note that suggests we “give away, throw away or put away.”  

Because all that I have that I don’t use .. could be used, loved, and blessed by someone else.

wise words!

Luke 6:38Give, and it will be given to you.  Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap.  For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”

Are you able to let “stuff” go?  What’s keeping you from starting? 

Categories: Attitude, Blogging, Charity, Determination, Faith, Family, Fashion, fear, Gratitude, Growth, Home, Joy, Life, Personal, Self Discovery, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 30 Comments

Fifty percent

One of my favorite commercials running right now features this guy (see below).

I know of no woman with this kind of confidence; in my experience, we’d be so busy wrapping, slathering, buffing and hiding … we’d likely miss the outing entirely.

This summer maybe I’ll get a “whatever” flag and put it in my drink, too!

Happy Friday, peeps.

“Sex appeal is fifty percent what you’ve got and fifty percent what people think you’ve got.”  – Sophia Loren

Categories: Confidence at any age, Determination, Faith, Family, Fashion, fear, Joy, Life, Men, Random, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 24 Comments

My commute today …

Will begin and end with this … (hey it’s only 9 miles!)

What can I say?  I was 14 in 1977 … and the Bee Gees and J.T. were where it was AT.

Happy Thursday 🙂

Categories: Attitude, Confidence at any age, Fashion, Fun, Joy, music, Personal, Seasons, Uncategorized, Women | Tags: , , , , , | 6 Comments

As per Tink

“… Laughter is timeless.

Imagination has no age.

And dreams?  Dreams are forever.”



Categories: Attitude, Confidence at any age, Faith, Family, Fashion, Friendship, Fun, Gratitude, Growth, Joy, Life, Opinion, Personal, Quotes, Relationships, Self Discovery, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Welcome to Canada, eh?

photo from Carl Court, WPA Pool/Getty Images

Dear HRH William and Catherine:

Welcome to Canada, eh! 

The young Royals… the handsome Prince and his beautiful bride, arrive in Canada today!  ( for details on the Royal tour, click here ).

I’m Canadian, born & raised and while I also have my American citizenship (yay!), there’s still part of me that remains intrinsically Canadian.  Given the right surroundings, my dialect easily reverts back to words that sound a bit like “oout” and “aboot” (out and about), I reference objects that baffle my children … like a “chesterfield” (couch) and I invite others to “supper” (not dinner, for dinner is at …lunchtime). 🙂

His Granny, our Queen, is on Canadian’s money, in the classrooms and many locales all over the country pay tribute to our British roots: cities like Prince Albert and Regina, Saskatchewan (where I’m from), provinces named Prince Edward Island and Alberta and streets named “Confederation.”  The list goes on.

In April, I wrote about the wedding and connected with so many of you; I also wrote about HRH Diana, Princess of Wales and pondered on if had she still been with us what that would have been like and now … Newsweek … deemed it appropriate to Photoshop an aged image of Diana walking next to Catherine. Diana, at 50 (her 50th birthday would have been tomorrow, Canada Day).

We just can’t get enough can we?

I don’t know about you but positioning the most famous woman in the world – Diana … Goddess of the Hunted .. next to Catherine … feels like we’re putting a target on Kate and releasing the hounds next.

It’s too much.

At the end of the day, there remains a young man who lost his Mum at a tender age; a young man who is striving to find his place on this .. their first Royal tour.  There’s a savvy young woman strolling confidently next to him, her long legged stride matching his step for step. Her face, accompanied by determined “set” to her jaw, reminds me so much of Diana .. but a young woman, nonetheless, who is determined to be relevant and to get it right.

I’ll be watching to see how they do … as I am sure she will, too.  But I wish the hounds could be restrained so we could let them do their jobs.

Oh .. there will be record breaking crowds straining to see their smiling faces and her fashion choices and yes there might be Quebecois protestors and most definitely wee children waving flags.  However, when it’s all said and done, these two young people, the future of the British Monarchy … will most likely enchant a nation and quite possibly the world.

It’s Canada’s 144th birthday tomorrow, Will & Kate.  Enjoy our country, the mountains, valleys, plains and people.  Hear our cheers welcoming you and tomorrow, on your Mum’s birthday, we’ll be waving our flags, singing “O Canada” and celebrating her, too.

( click on screen below to start an amazing Domino tribute! )

Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Charity, Fashion, Joy, Life, News, Opinion, Patriotic, Personal, Rants, Relationships, Romance, Thoughts, Travel, Uncategorized, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

I’m Hot !!

And not in a good way.

Our back yard ... thank goodness for the pool!!

I used to love the heat that summertime brought – I loved being out in it… getting my tan-on. I loved the feel of the hot summer sun crisping up my shoulders at a baseball game or while sitting in the stands at the races.

Now?  I still love summer but I can’t just take the heat.

I mean it.

Anything over 85 degrees?




Walking out into 90 F temps recently, I gasped.  It felt like someone had thrown a wet dishrag over my face and I was drowning in the heat & humidity.

My naturally curly hair took one look around and went *POOF* — think “Carrot Top” on steroids.

I thought I had a bug on me;  oh no, that turned out to be sweat rolling down my forearm!


Then it came to me.

I remembered my mom & aunties staying near the fan during the dog days of summer. How, at family picnics, they’d strategically place their lawn chairs under the largest tree, hoping for the ultimate: shade and a cross breeze.  I recalled trips to town doing a “460” – 4 windows down, 60 mph.

And suddenly I understood: every summer dress was cotton and every sandal was open-toe. Every top was sleeveless and every drink was iced.  (And some were laced – ha!)

I never thought about it before.

But I get it now.

I’m hot. And not in a good way.

Hold on a minute while I change into something cotton, pull my hair up off my neck and set my chair in the shade.  Oh …  and if you block my access to the fan … it’s not gonna end well for you.

How about you? Do you love the heat … or wilt in it?

Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Family, Fashion, Fun, Home, Humor, Joy, Life, Opinion, Personal, Rants, Seasons, Uncategorized, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , | 28 Comments

Merino A No-No

So, the hubbs loves himself a nice sweater. Not a sweater vest, just a cozy cotton sweater.  He’s always cold and doesn’t hesitate to layer up, even on a Michigan summer night.

I was going through some older photos today and found this one.  Yep, this is is what’s known in our house as the “Merino a -No No.”

What do you do when a merino (wool) sweater takes an unexpected tumble in the dryer?  You put it on the dog and you laugh your face off!

"you guys are ridiots"

Categories: Animals, Family, Fashion, Fun, Home, Humor, Joy, Life, Men, Personal, Share, Traditions, Uncategorized | 19 Comments

Wherever I find myself

“I long, as does every human being, to be at home wherever I find myself. ” – Maya Angelou

Growing up on a farm, when I wasn’t outside riding, playing or doing chores,  I was in the kitchen.   Looking back, I spent a lot of time in our farmhouse kitchen: cooking with Mom, reading the paper with Dad, playing cards with my siblings, ironing, folding and mending; I worked on 4-H projects, practiced public speaking,  studied for finals, debated politics and other news stories with friends and neighbors and, of course, talked on the phone. We had a wall-mounted phone with a cord that only went so far…and still does. Farm living meant a party line shared with Grandparents and another family nearby; we learned to listen for the distinct ring that belonged to us.. and for the breathing that meant more than 2 parties were in on your conversation!

Centrally located, the kitchen was, and still is, the heart of the home – bedrooms and bathroom in one direction, living and dining room in the other. It was never quiet in there, either. The countertop radio was the first appliance turned on and the last to be shut off at night.   Country music, farm reports, grain prices and weather updates peppered our conversations.

The kitchen was the place to stand up as straight as possible so Mom could hem a dress; with 5 kids, it was our makeshift “E.R.” – “stay still,” we’d hear, as liberal doses of iodine cleaned up most wounds.  It was – and still is – the place where visitors were greeted by a coffee pot perpetually “on” and home-baked goodness cooling on the counter.  Directly over the furnace, it was the warmest room in the house, and there were frequent scraps between my sibling and I over who had dibs on warming up over the floor register.

When the hubbs and I bought our Michigan house, it was not at all what we’d planned on. We’d had enjoyed a newly constructed house in Houston, and this was not only old, it was dated and needed lots of work.  It was dark and decorated in a 1970s colors – avocado and burnt orange.. ugh.  But something about it’s quiet dignity spoke to us; then, our boys were 14 and 8 and the multi level, multi-roomed house with lots of spaces was appealing.  The large yard, long neglected, held promise.  Slowly, old carpet was removed and replaced.  A fresh eggshell paint brightened the walnut-colored kitchen.  The dark countertop was replaced with a lighter color laminate and bulky overhead cabinets were jettisoned, letting sunlight stream in. Now, it’s my favorite room in this old house.  It’s there that you’ll find me: cooking, cleaning, folding laundry, helping with homework, playing board games, reading the paper, finishing projects, talking on the phone, chatting with neighbors and singing along to the radio.

Recently, a friend stopped over for the first time and paid us the most lovely compliment: “I just love your kitchen; it’s so cozy, like a farmhouse in here.” I smiled, poured her a cup of coffee, and we sat down for a long visit over a piece of warm cake.

What’s your favorite room? Does it bear any similarities to your childhood favorite?

Categories: Animals, Attitude, Faith, Family, Fashion, Friendship, Fun, Gratitude, Home, Joy, Life, Life Lessons, Love, Mom, music, News, Opinion, Personal, Relationships, Self Discovery, Share, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , | 14 Comments

*A Royal Schedule*

image from

Tomorrow’s the day: HRH Prince William of Wales will marry his beaming bride, Miss Catherine Middleton.

Earlier today, The Royal Couple released the following statement , “We are both so delighted that you are able to join us in celebrating what we hope will be one of the happiest days of our lives. The affection shown to us by so many people during our engagement has been incredibly moving, and has touched us both deeply. We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone most sincerely for their kindness.”

Should you care to follow along, here’s what you need to know:  (source: multiple)

8.15 a.m. London time (12.15 a.m. PT/3.15 a.m. ET) – General congregation arrives at Westminster Abbey between 8.15 a.m. and 9.45 a.m.

9.50 a.m. London time (1.50 a.m. PT/4.50 a.m. ET) Distinguished guests arrive.

10.10 a.m. London time (2.10 a.m. PT/5.10 a.m. ET) Prince William and Prince Harryleave Clarence House for Westminster Abbey. They arrive at the Abbey at 10.15 a.m.

10.20 a.m. London time (2.20 p.m. PT/5.20 p.m. ET) Carole Middleton and Kate’s younger brother James leave the Goring Hotel for Westminster Abbey. They arrive at the Abbey at 10.27 a.m.

10.35 a.m. London time (2.35 a.m. PT/5.35 a.m. ET) The following members of the Royal family leave Buckingham Palace for Westminster Abbey: Princess Anne and Vice-Admiral Timothy Laurence; Prince Andrew, Duke of York; Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice; Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex and Sophie, Countess of Wessex. They arrive at the Abbey at 10.40 a.m.

10.38 a.m. London time (2.38 a.m. PT/5.38 a.m. ET) HRH Charles, the Prince of Wales and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall leave Clarence House for Westminster Abbey. They arrive at the Abbey at 10.42 a.m.

10.40 a.m. London time (2.40 a.m. PT/5.40 a.m. ET) Her Majesty the Queen and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh leave Buckingham Palace for Westminster Abbey. 

10.48 a.m. London time (2.48 a.m. PT/5.48 a.m. ET) The bridesmaids and pages leave the Goring Hotel for Westminster Abbey. They arrive at the Abbey at 10.55 a.m.

10:51 a.m. London time (2:51 a.m. PT/5:51 a.m. ET) – Kate and her father Mike Middleton will depart the Goring Hotel via car, the first time since 1963 that a royal bride has not arrived at the church by horse-drawn carriage. Their car will travel along The Mall, passing by Clarence House, Whitehall, and Parliament Square before arriving at the Abbey. 🙂

11 a.m. London time (3 a.m. PT/6 a.m. ET) – The service begins at 11:00 a.m. While the Dean of Westminster will conduct the church service, William and Kate will actually be married by Rowan Douglas Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury. The marriage service will be relayed by audio speakers along the procession route. 🙂

12.15 p.m. London time (4.15 a.m. PT/7.15 a.m. ET) – Following the ceremony, Prince William and Princess Catherine, now husband and wife, will return to Buckingham Palace in a procession of horse-drawn carriages (with the newlyweds travellign in the 1902 State Landau carriage), passing by the thousands of well-wishers who will be lining the streets. 🙂

12.30 p.m. London time (4:30 a.m. PT/7:30 a.m. ET) – Once back at Buckingham Palace, the newlyweds enjoy a champagne reception hosted by Her Majesty the Queen.

1.25 p.m. London time (5.25 a.m. PT/8.25 a.m. ET) – The Royal couple and their families will take a moment to appear on the Buckingham Palace balcony. We expect that William and Kate will share a **kiss** for the crowds and cameras. 🙂

1.30 p.m. London time (5.30 a.m. PT/8.30 a.m. ET) – The royals watch a flypast by the Royal Air Force and Battle of Britain Memorial Flight before returning inside for the Queen’s reception.

7 p.m. London time (11 a.m. PT/2 p.m. ET) – Charles, The Prince of Wales will host a private dinner and dance, also at Buckingham Palace. 

     * I’ve marked with a 🙂 the points of the schedule I’ll be paying the most attention to …. and, with that,  I’m off to bed! MJ

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Quick and to the point

I received these great one-liners in an email and they were too good not to share.  

Happy Saturday!

4:30 is to meetings what water is to boarding.

7/5th of all people do not understand fractions.

Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat them.

Bills travel through the mail at twice the speed of checks.

Dawn is nature’s way of telling you to go to bed.

Everybody has a plan, ’till they get hit. – Mike Tyson

Experience is something you don’t get until just after you need it.

Honk if you like peace and quiet.

Never argue with a fool, they will lower you to their level and then beat you with experience.

Okay, who put a stop payment on my reality check?

Spelling is a lossed arte.

Alcohol is not the answer, it just makes you forget the question.

The quickest way to double your money is to fold it in half and put it back in your pocket.

Categories: Attitude, Blogging, Fashion, Food, Forgiveness, Friendship, Fun, Gratitude, Holidays, Home, Humor, Joy, Life, Love, Men, music, Opinion, Personal, Quotes, Random, Rants, Relationships, Romance, Self Discovery, Snarky, Thoughts, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Be yourself

Sometimes we can feel that we are just a number, just a face in the crowd.  It’s at those moments that we need to remember how less interesting the crowd would be without us in it.  Everyone brings something to the table.  Below are a few quotes that help me remember this very lesson:

Judy Garland image from

Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.
Judy Garland

Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.
Dr. Seuss

This above all: to thine own self be true.
William Shakespeare

He who trims himself to suit everyone will soon whittle himself away.
Raymond Hull

The best you can be at any given moment is yourself.
Elizabeth Alraune

About all you can do in life is be who you are.
Rita Mae Brown

What you are will show in what you do.
Thomas A. Edison

Embrace your uniqueness. Time is much too short to be living someone else’s life.
Kobi Yamada

All the knowledge I possess everyone else can acquire, but my heart is all my own.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Do you have a quote that inspires you to be your very best?

Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Determination, Fashion, Friendship, Gratitude, Humor, Joy, Life, Opinion, Quotes, Random, Relationships, Seasons, Self Discovery, Thoughts, Wisdom, Women | Tags: , , , , | 7 Comments

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