Gratitude

On Choices

“Attitude is a choice. Happiness is a choice. Optimism is a choice. Kindness is a choice. Giving is a choice. Respect is a choice. Whatever choice you make makes you. Choose wisely.” – Roy T. Bennett, “The Light in the Heart”

Autumn makes me happy. Of all my seasons to choose from, this is the one that makes my heart sing ~ the colors, the sights, the smells. I love Autumn!

My favorite neighborhood tree!

A dog’s attitude is a great reminder on how to live: play, play, play, sleep.

Sully with a stick = happiness

Being and staying healthy makes me happy.

And grateful.

Every day I choose to put myself on the “to-do” list I’ve carried for 40+ years.

I choose movement, engagement, discernment, nutrition, and sleep.

I choose by turning off the “news” & smart phones and reaching for a book instead.

I choose by tuning out the voices who blather on with opinions on issues or choices they’ve never lived, researched, or attempted.

I choose to walk outside even if that involves gloves and long johns.

I choose to go to bed sooner and get up earlier to savor the sacred stillness of a quiet morning.

I choose to honor my body with real, whole foods made at home by yours truly.

I choose me.

What are you choosing? Have you put yourself on your “to-do” list yet? If not, why not? If not now, when?

Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Confidence at any age, Determination, Elections, Faith, Gratitude, Growth, Home, Life, News, Opinion, Personal, Politics, Quotes, Self Discovery, Thoughts, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Random 5 – 10 years

It’s Sunday morning, coffee tastes good and time for 5 random happenings from my corner of the world. Ready? Let’s do this.

1 ) 10 years – 10 years ago I registered for this domain on Word Press. 10 years!

I’ve written many posts and most about life, love, relationships, and life-lessons. Over time posts have evolved in depth and scope, frequency and topics. I’ve followed & commented on your blogs, and you on mine. Thank you; I appreciate the kinship and connections we’ve formed.

2 ) News – Did you know there’s an election this year? Chiefers would like to remind anyone reading that, no matter what happens November 3rd, dogs will still be dogs and cats will still be cats. We don’t need to all be the same to get along. I’ll try if you will.

3 ) Fall. My favorite season. Time for soups, stews, and chili. Muffins, banana bread and cookies. Books, cozy blankets & a time change. Pink cheeks, brisk walks in the wind, scarves and hoodies. I. Love. Fall!

4 ) Choices. This year has been a doozy, and that’s an understatement. 2020 is that annoying house guest who shows up early and never leaves. At the start of the new year I set a personal goal that went as follows, “If you want to take the island, burn the boats.”

I focused on 2 choices: intermittent fasting (IF) every day and delaying alcohol. Those 2 choices led to other positive choices, daily walking for stress management has evolved into a love of movement. Being outside makes my heart sing: it took a Pandemic to get me walking my neighborhood. Between all 3 I’m leaving (so far!) 31lbs & 43″ by the side of the 2020 road. Boats have been torched & the island is mine. What I love best about this lifestyle is that AF/IF is free and so am I!

Thankful

4 ) Heart songs – I’ve written about this before but, the older I get, the more stock I put into simple pleasures: supper simmering on the stove, good coffee, a cozy sweater, the delight of a good book. A hug from a grown child or a wee grand. Conversations that meander and turn. Sunlight streaming in. Walks in nature. A quiet, clean house. Laughter so raucous my face hurts. These are my heart songs.

5 ) Fill up: Soon we’ll have one son, 2 grands & one grand-dog over, I’m cooking brunch ~ tunes are playing, bacon is sizzling, and the fridge is full of leftovers. My heart is full.

Did someone say sleepover at Nana’s?

Thank you for following my blog, many of you for 10 years!

  • What choices helped you in 2020?
  • What – or who – fills your heart songs?

Categories: Attitude, Blogging, Elections, Faith, Family, Fun, Gratitude, Growth, Home, Joy, Life, Opinion, Personal, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Thanks God

“If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, “thank you,” that would suffice.” -Meister Eckhart

I’m so thankful that the stress-reliever walks I started taking in March morphed into a daily walks of gratitude. I’m so grateful to not miss T-H-I-S!

What are you thankful for today?

Chief is thankful for friendly neighbors who love dogs!

Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Faith, Gratitude, Growth, Life, Quotes, Seasons, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

The Good Stuff

Chatting with my sister yesterday we laughed about how, like Mom, we wear the same things over and over: A raggedy tee shirt, a fraying nightie, favorite shorts with a rip in the pocket.

There’s comfort in old clothes and in old things ~ they’re worn and soft and easy on the skin. We know what to expect and they deliver. It’s not that we can’t buy new clothes, we can. It’s not that we can’t wear new clothes, we do. But, time and again, we reach for what’s comfortable, what’s familiar, what endures.

  • Old recipes on batter-stained pages.

  • Coffee cups that fit our hands.

  • The love of an old pet who leans in for more.
  • How good the house smells as something simmers in the kitchen.

We talked further about “the good stuff,” about how, as you get older, material “stuff” matters less and less. What we want are connections, meaningful conversations, comfortable temperatures, good stories, tasty foods, deep sleep, great coffee, and loyal friends. We want our kids and grands and pets to be OK and everyone we know to feel safe and loved and remembered.   And in the chaos this year has brought we reach for the good stuff.

 

 

 

  • Can you relate to our conversation?
  • What does your “good stuff” involve?

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Confidence at any age, Faith, Family, Food, Gratitude, Growth, Home, Joy, Opinion, Personal, Quotes, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Random 5 Sunday ~ Summer Days, Back to School, National Book Lovers Day, Discoveries and Major Awards

Good morning!  It’s a beautiful, lush warm day here in West Michigan, USA.   Time for some randoms from my little corner of the world ~

1 ) Summer days, make me feel fine ~ We’ve enjoyed a stretch of the most gorgeous summer weather over the past while ~ cooler nights, warmer days, with temps hovering around 80F.  Low humidity, blue skies … the kind of weather tourists flock to Michigan for.  Chamber of Commerce Directors couldn’t have ordered better weather!

the moon accompanied me on an early morning walk

2 )  Back-to-School ~ BTS is very different this year, with some schools resuming classes in full, others virtually, and some doing a mix of both.   I always take our grand-daughter on a BTS shopping day and she recently asked if that was “still on.”  I saw the hesitation in her eyes and exclaimed, with enthusiasm, OF COURSE it’s still on!   At the time we had the conversation,  her school’s fate was still unknown, and I’m not sure it’s sorted out even yet.   Kids do better with routines and  both of us like having things to look forward to.   So we will plan on a fun sleepover, shopping, cooking together, long chats with me and Pops, she’ll enjoy a too-long shower (always allowed at Nana’s),  and wake to a lumberjack breakfast.  I’ll take her home full, pampered and happy.  And if the only place she wears her new stuff is in the neighborhood or on a video lesson, so be it.

Happy Grand-kids. an Emjayandthem(C) photo

3 ) National book-lovers Day is today, August 9th~ Now this is a holiday I can get behind! 🙂   Supper is simmering in the crock-pot, I took my daily walk at 7am and soon I’ll be snuggled up with a new book.   Someday, when I retire, I’m certain I’ll spend the first year, or twenty, reading.

4 )  Discoveries  ~ I’ve been an Amazon shopper for years and a Prime Member for about a year.   I knew the membership included a host of benefits, like free shipping, and free video content.  BUT – I just discovered something I probably knew, but forgot, or read in a hurry and glossed over and that is Prime MUSIC.  Oh Mylanta am I ever enjoying this.   Fun, fun, fun!

who knew? not me, apparently!

5 ) A major award ~  Remember that scene in “A Christmas Story” when Ralph’s Father wins “a Major Award?” Ha ha!   I, too, won a major award, recently.  We had a fierce but friendly competition at work and our efforts netted me both an individual first place and my team the team award ~~ We were all awarded $$ in Amazon gift cards.

Guess what I spent my points on?

A wireless speaker to go with my Amazon music!

What made your heart happy this week?

 

Categories: Attitude, Books, Faith, Family, Food, Gratitude, Home, Joy, Life, Personal | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Simple little things

When I find simple little things that make me happy, I’ve learned to do them again and again.

I notice.

I smile.

I repeat.

Examples include:

  • Saying “Good Morning” to the neighbor’s dog who waits patiently for a pet from yours truly –

my buddy, Chief

  • Sending 4 of these packing & working on more –

  • Waking up to walk early, setting a goal, and crushing it   –

  • Reading a book so good it makes me sad to see it end – ooh!

  • Supper simmering on a rainy summer Sunday ~  Salisbury steaks!

How about you? What are some little things make you happy? Do you notice & repeat, too?

Categories: Attitude, Books, Confidence at any age, Determination, Fun, Gratitude, Growth, Home, Joy, Life, Personal, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

On being a citizen

* Originally posted July 3, 2013.

* * *

What does being a citizen mean to you?  Really mean?

Does it mean you can vote? Does it mean you belong?

What does it mean?

To me, it means a defining moment in my life.

It represents the moment I stepped away from what my family might think and into what I thought.

To me, it means the opportunity to have a voice.

To have a say.

To count.

Sure I’d had responsibilities all along (taxes). But I’d never had a voice to go with it. (the ability to vote)

Yes, as a Canadian, I had those rights already. But as a Canadian woman living in the United States with her husband and sons, I always had an underlying feeling of being in limbo. Of belonging to one place but living in another. Of feeling .. disconnected.

But not anymore.

Why?

Because I’m a new citizen; Five years ago, I stepped up with 78 others  (from 34 different countries) to take the Oath of Citizenship.  It was one of the proudest and most emotional  moments of my life.  (more about my journey here.)

The thing is … I could be a citizen for 40 years and I’ll still choose to say that  I’m a “new” citizen.  Why? Because I don’t know how else to communicate the significance of it all to me.

God Bless America, Land that I love

Stand beside her,  and guide her

Thru the night with a light from above

From the mountains..to the prairies

To the oceans..White with foam

God Bless America!

    My Home Sweet Home

Happy birthday, America …. from this grateful citizen.

**This is my 12th Independence Day as a new citizen. I’ll celebrate the holiday with flair, independently, of course!

Categories: Attitude, Faith, Gratitude, Growth, Home, Joy, Life, News, Opinion, Patriotic, Personal, Thoughts, Vote | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Random 5 Friday – Life Lessons, Favorites and Dogs

It’s the first Friday in June – wow!

Memorial Day passed without the Holiday ~ no parades or BBQs, somber or otherwise.    Lock-downs continue, with “social distancing,” face masks and the like.   I’m in Michigan where businesses are just now beginning to re-open but haircuts are banned (you can’t make this up).

Here are 5 randoms from my world view ~

1 )  Daily walks – what started in winter has continued and daily walks have saved my sanity.  I get away from the laptop to admire landscapes, pets and flowers while enjoying podcasts as I meander the neighborhood.

Lilacs in May

2 ) Lifelong learning ~ In addition to podcast learning and regular reading, another AHA lesson of late has been realizing AGAIN how much I love being home and how compatible Hubbs and I are.   We have our little rhythm going; part of the day is spent together, part not, and we like and need both the connection and the time apart.  I can’t imagine what this “stay at home” time would have been like had I been sheltered in place” with someone other than him.  🙂

3 )  Ch-ch-changes  I feel my body changing, adapting to and craving daily exercise.  My FitBit registers the “jump” in activity, from 5-6K/daily steps to 12-13K daily.   On rainy days I use my rebounder inside.   As a result, no “Quarantine 15” for me – actually, the reverse – I’ve lost lbs & inches, some due to exercise but most due to intermittent fasting, otherwise known as “time-restricted eating.”  No longer noshing throughout the day, I drink black coffee/water in the morning, open my “eating window” when my body signals that it’s hungry, usually somewhere around 12:30 -2pm.  Later, I enjoy dinner, listening for the “sigh” (your bodies’ signal it’s satiated) and stop, “closing” my eating window around 7-8pm.   Since I give my body a daily break from constantly digesting, fasting is healing and restorative. Think of it as letting the cleaning lady in to do the heavy lifting for you – she clears the junk away ~  As a result my clothes are bigger, I’m smaller, and my eyes, skin & hair are brighter.

I feel ah-mazing!  The best part? It’s. Free.  😀

4 ) Dogs & cats ~  76 days in and I’ve yet to see one dog unhappy with the “stay home/stay safe” order.  I see cats in sunny windows; everyone is adapting.   Below is my pal, Chief, a favorite from my walking route:

5 ) In Summary ~ the first half of 2020 brought us Russia-Gate, impeachment attempts, COVID-19, Murder Hornets, Civil Unrest & Riots ~ this about sums it up:

So, how’re you doing?

 

Categories: Animals, Blogging, Determination, Faith, Family, fear, Gratitude, Growth, Home, Life, News, Opinion, Seasons, Self Discovery, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

What Mom wants for Mother’s Day

Every year ( well, maybe not every year) my kids ask me the same question. After thinking about it, I decided I’d give them my real answer:

What do I want for Mother’s Day?🌹

:: I want you ::

I want you to keep coming around, I want you to bring your kids around, I want you to ask me questions, ask my advice, tell me your problems, ask for my opinion, ask for my help. I want you to come over and rant about your problems, rant about your life, whatever.

Tell me about your job, your worries, your kids, your fur babies. I want you to continue sharing your life with me as you do.

Come over and laugh with me, or laugh at me, I don’t care. Hearing you laugh is music to my ears. And laughing together is the best! 💖

I’ve spent the better part of my life raising you the best way I knew how. Now, give me time to sit back and admire my handiwork.

Raid my refrigerator, help yourself, I really don’t mind. Hungry? You know I’ll make you something good. In fact, I don’t want it any other way.

Spend your money making a better life for you and your family, I have what I need. I want to see you happy and healthy and loved. So when you ask me what I want for Mother’s Day and I say “nothing” it’s because you’ve already been giving me my gift all year.

I want you. 💖

If you’re a Mom who feels the same way, feel free to copy and paste… I did!

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, people sitting and child

an Emjayandthem (C) photo

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, child

an Emjayandthem (C) photo

and Happy Mother’s Day to my Mother in Heaven ~  She was the lead Kid-wrangler, barn helper, cake baker, costume sewer, 4-H leader, farm Treasurer, horse racing Secretary, shower & wedding organizer, party planner, master gardener, chief cook & bottle operator, farmhand, piano teacher, chauffeur, dog trainer, baby chick nurturer, horse breeder, speech preparer, Sunday school teacher ..and more.

She was something else. In her kitten heels & red patent purse on date nights, or with curlers in her hair off to town to get groceries.  She took no guff, imparted quips and wisdom daily ~ She was hilarious,intelligent, well read and loving.

Man, I miss her. Not sure how she did it all but she did – and with flair!  my Mom!

that’s me on Mom’s knee; an Emjayandthem (C) photo

and one more:

said over her shoulder in the Oldsmobile!

Happy Mother’s Day to all the Moms out there!    

Categories: Attitude, Faith, Family, Food, Fun, Gratitude, Growth, Holidays, Love, Mom, music, News, Opinion, Wisdom, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

He is not here

Good morning ~ The Church may be empty but so is the Tomb!  He’s Alive! He’s Alive! He’s Alive and I’m forgiven Heaven’s gates are open wide, He’s alive!

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I listen to this song every  Easter morning and it makes me cry every single time. This year, being locked in at home, the opening words really got to me…

The gates and doors were barred
And all the windows fastened down
I spent the night in sleeplessness
And rose at every sound
Half in hope of sorrow
And half in fear the day
Would find the soldiers breakin’ through
To drag us all away

But then I heard the good news:  He’s Alive!

 

He is not here!

Happy Easter  

 

Categories: Attitude, Faith, Family, Forgiveness, Friendship, Gratitude, Holidays, Joy | Tags: , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Random 5 ~ Christmas 2019

Here we are, the eve of Christmas Eve, and here are my random 5 for the season:

1  )  Christmas in my hometown looked like this when I was a kid .. with more snow.   Oh how we’d look forward to our annual trip to admire the lights and do our shopping.  Of course we man-handled the toy displays that were set out especially for Christmas ~ our town didn’t have a “toy store,” but several of the “home goods” stores created a toy aisle for the Holiday (sometimes in the basement or upper level of the store, so cool!)  We’d pick out our gift for that special someone on our list (a cousin, a sibling) and 5 more for ourselves, chatting animatedly about each and every feature we admired and desired.   At the end of the outing we’d stop at the local Cafe for Chinese food or maybe a grilled cheese and Vico (Chocolate Milk) before heading home, singing Christmas carols all the way.   ~Magical!

70s Christmas

2 )  My work world/life has been so chaotic, stressful and busy that I completely missed the fact we are approaching a new decade in just 8 days.   I haven’t done any goal setting yet, but hearing that fact inspired me to ~ so much has changed in the past 10 years that I want to be intentional about the next 10.  Rise up, indeed!

Rise Up!

3 )   Speaking of changes, we welcomed a new little love into our world – Grandson Soren.  He’s beautiful and perfectly made and big sister (and all of us) are in love.   Soren is a family name; my great Uncle Soren was my Grandpa’s brother and their family hails from Sweden.   ❤

baby and big sissy ~ An Emjayandthem(C) photo

4 )  I recently had an opportunity to meet with the Governor and other dignitaries – like I do for any and all special occasions, I wore one of Mom’s rings (Peridot – her birthstone) so she could come along, too.

–  It was her ring on my right hand when I shook the hand of Governor and others.

–  It was her necklace and another one of her rings that I wore to meet baby Soren.

This is my way of sharing my excitement & delight with her ~ She – the 100lb dynamo – who during one rainy election, rode a tractor with Dad a muddy country mile to the highway so they could catch a ride into town to VOTE, would that moment. She – the woman who fought bureaucrats to keep polling stations located in small/rural areas so everyone could participate – she’d be pressing me for details, and grinning .. just as I am now.

Mom’s ring ~ an Emjayandthem(C) photo

4)  I attended little one’s Christmas party but wasn’t responsible for the snack list this year ~ this made me laugh so hard because I can totally see it happening.  oh Mylanta!

5 )  All silliness aside – it’s a joy to celebrate the reason for the season~

Luke 2:10-11 ESV: And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

  • Care to share memories from your childhood Christmases?
  • With a new decade approaching, are you setting goals or making any changes?
    • Wishing you peace at Christmas and always.

~ Merry Christmas! ~

Categories: Attitude, Blogging, Family, Food, Gratitude, Growth, Holidays, Home, Humor, Joy, Mom, News, Opinion, Personal, Politics, Seasons, Share, Women, Work | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Random 5 Friday – Opening day, extra days and Adulting

It’s Friday and time again for Five Randoms from my world.  Ready?  Let’s go!

1  –  November 15th – the “high Holiday”- it’s opening day of firearm/rifle season in Michigan.   Several years ago I traveled across the state on a beautiful Fall morning, completely oblivious that it was “opening day.”   About an hour into my two-hour trip my attention turned from my tunes to the abundance of men in Orange jackets and pickup trucks off-road.   Startled deer burst out of the woods and across the highway.    I’ve never made that mistake again- nope, no more opening day road trips for me!

High-tail it Martha!

2 – This made me laugh out loud because it’s a little too true and don’t you dare touch my red spatula!

3 – Last week my team & I put together our Holiday time-off schedule – it wasn’t until I did so that I realized I have an extra WEEK of vacation days to use before year-end.    My face when I realized the mistake in my favor:

swirling, twirling dance of JOY!

4 – As a result -I’ve taken the WHOLE week of Thanksgiving off + time at Christmas AND New Year’s- I have a new verb for what I’ll be doing:  Hallmarking!  I plan to sleep till I wake, read till I can’t, watch sappy movies, decorate, cook, clean, work out, putz around and mostly lean in hard to my highly-savored time OFF!

5 – Even with the holidays off I still have days to spare – I’m saving those for our new grand-baby’s December arrival.  I plan to cuddle and rock our little one, take care of Mom & Dad, cook, clean and fuss over them all.  ❤

When’s the last time a mistake worked in YOUR favor?  

Categories: Attitude, Confidence at any age, Family, Gratitude, Holidays, Home, Joy, Life, Love, Personal, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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Better Days Blog

Learning from yesterday, living for today

Another Stir of the Spoon

Food, Art, Books, Birds and whatever...

A Little Wild Farm

Planting roots on our little wild farm.

Connie Rosser Riddle

Connecting with People in My Path

Atypical 60

A Typical Blog. A Typical Woman. A Typical Take On Life. With An Atypical Twist!

A New Day Dawns

Arise, shine; For your light has come!

Virginia Views

Country Living for Beginners

Views and Mews by Coffee Kat

Kate's views on life edited by four opinionated cats

Renee Johnson Writes

Novelist, Traveler, and More

Life Is A Journey... Not A Guided Tour

My Journey From Merchant Mariner to Mother, And Spiritual Being.

notquiteold

Nancy Roman

She's A Maineiac

just another plaid-wearin' java-sippin' girl

I also live on a farm

Just another WordPress.com weblog

Wordsmith's Desk

some thoughts along the way

Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

music, poetry, musings, photography and philosophy from a woman who found her way back home and wants you to come over for a hike and a cocktail.

these days of mine

Stop in and see what's happening during these days of mine

When I Ride...

How life coaches me as I ride...

RICH RIPLEY

EMPLOYEES MUST WASH HANDS...