Gratitude

Time on

Time off or … time on?

As often happens, I am up against a “use it or lose it” vacation days scenario. But add to it the complications a pandemic brings — it’s difficult to make travel plans, as the situation can change on a dime. I’m not interested in the hoops I’d have to jump through to maybe be able to visit my Canadian family ~ quarantines, mask mandates, ridiculously high airline fees, crowds, people. Nope, not doing it.

Work has me traveling a fair bit now so I don’t feel a burning desire to get out on the highway.

What to do, what do do.

I love this image about being seated in the front row of your life:

So I booked this week off ~ and yes I took great pleasure in politely declining each and every zoom/webex/teams/call invitation. Instead I had lunch with a friend, brunch with Hubby, a mani/pedi, have savored my coffee as the sun rose, refilled the bird feeder, and continued my daily walks. I’ve scheduled a massage & facial for later in the week + another lunch with a friend & mentor, will do a little exploring and shopping and a lot of reading.

The TV is off, cell is muted and my work laptop is powered down.

And this little girl personifies just how I feel about it! 🙂

“Self-compassion is simply giving the same kindness to ourselves that we would give to others. ” – Christopher Germer

Categories: Attitude, Confidence at any age, Determination, Fun, Gratitude, Growth, Home, Joy, Life, Opinion, Personal, Self Discovery, Uncategorized, Work | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Random Five July Friday – Work/Life balance, Summer reads, Gladiators and a year’s worth of Lessons

It’s Friday ~Here are my randomly thought-out thoughts as we head into the holiday weekend~

1 Work / Life Balance — I don’t know about you but I laugh every time I hear that phrase. What a joke -Like the words “quality time,” there’s no balance, never has been. Work is crazy, busy, demanding, and all-consuming. Life gets squeezed in here & there ~ but the balance thing? ha ha ha – Thank God for coffee 🙂

2 Summer reading has me transported back to my childhood ~ at night, when all calls/webinars/demands have ended, I sink into my coziest chair and read in the golden hour ~ the last bit of sunlight streaming across the pages of my book, the TV off, the house quiet. Sometimes I stay up late reading but often I barely make it to 9:30 before my eyes are heavy and tired. My one true indulgence, that I savor daily, is reading for pleasure. Ahh … summer.

3 Lifestyle choices are giving me LIFE– Yes Life continues to loft challenges my way, but my ability to “deal” with them has increased so much~ I’m so much calmer and at peace with myself. Intermittent Fasting (IF) has given me incredible focus, stamina and clarity but much of my lessened anxiety I can attribute to having left alcohol in 2019 ~ It never solved anything, in fact it often made things worse b/c it ramped up anxiety and negativity ~ Now that it is no longer in the picture I traded in angst for peace & self-confidence. BAM! The image below personifies how I feel walking confidently towards my future knowing I can handle what life brings me! She is EXACTLY how I feel ~ INVINCIBLE!

4 My daily walks continue, with affection ~ what began as a break from work morphed into a return to joy – I love being outside, hearing birds, feeling the wind on my face, and saying “Hello” to all my furry friends along the way. I know all of them, the owners not as much ;). Here’s our neighborhood kitty, expert mouser, birder and catcher of all small pests ~ she comes when I call her, stays for a pet, refuses food and hunts, hunts, hunts!

Miss Kitty

5 Pandemic Lessons – If this past year taught us anything it’s this – Stop Waiting to Start Living. Tomorrow is promised to no one.

:: this ::
  • So — how do you feel about phrases like “work/life balance” or “quality time?”
  • What’s saving your bacon these days?
  • Got a summer reading list to share?

Happy Independence Day!

Nature’s Firecracker ~ photo taken on one of my walks 🙂

Categories: Animals, Attitude, Faith, Fun, Gratitude, Growth, Home, Life, Opinion, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

One of those days

Today is one of those days ~

  • Those days when the neighborhood quietens, lawn mowers hush, kitties nap and dogs dream.

  • Those days when heat climbs, birds quieten, and bees stop moving.

  • Those days when fans hum softly, the A/C kicks on regularly, window shades are pulled down and books and naps beckon.

  • Those days when sleeves are intolerable, feet are bare and fresh produce sounds better than anything else.

It’s one of those days when you know for certain that, in spite 50F temps a week ago, Summer has arrived; her suitcase is tucked behind the door, and she means to stay.

It’s one of those days.

Ahhh … Summer, how I’ve missed you.

Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Faith, Food, Gratitude, Joy, Life, Seasons, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

RF – Sundays, taters, dogs & Angels

It’s Sunday morning, early December and here we are. Time for some random randoms from my part of the world. Ready? Let’s do this:

1 ) Sunday morning coming down: Sundays are my favorite, there’s no rushing, no fussing, just stirring and sautéing and tidying. Reading, regrouping, resting and readying. My day to recharge. ahhh…

2 ) Taters: Took this picture of 31lbs of potatoes I stacked up that represent what I’m leaving behind in 2020: 31lbs, 49″ and 60 – count ’em – 60 non-scale victories. Intermittent fasting is my life now. Want more info? Read the book, “Fast, Feast, Repeat” by Gin Stephens – it’s the health plan with a side effect of weight loss Fast. Feast. Repeat. | Gin Stephens | Macmillan

3 ) Walking friends: Something that’s saved my bacon this crazy year has been my daily walks. These are non-negotiable. I might not take a lunch break but I always take a walking break. Now sometimes my walks are stomps, other times more leisurely, but regardless, I come back refreshed, energized and thankful. A highlight is seeing my buddy, Chief. It’s even better when he sees me ~ tail thumping, a big smile as he lopes over to lean in for a big hug and many pets and assurances that he is, indeed, a very very very very good boy.

Yes I kiss strangers’ dogs

4 ) Christmas: The tree(s) are up and decorated; the lights and pretty colors make me smile and remind us both of the promise of Christmas.

5 ) Kiss an Angel good mornin’: Rest In Peace, Charley Pride. Such a sweet and timeless message of “the secret of happiness.” It’s a simple thing …. and the answer is in this song that I always sing:

What’s saving your bacon right now?

Categories: Animals, Attitude, Confidence at any age, Faith, Family, Gratitude, Growth, Home, Joy, Life, music, News, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

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

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Better Days Blog

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Another Stir of the Spoon

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

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!

Life Write Here

“I write because I don't know what I think until I read what I say.”

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.

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

When I Ride...

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