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Gratitude

Lake Days, “Bomb Cyclones” and conversations

My new summer tradition, established last year on my birthday,  is this one:  I get up early, coffee-up, pack a cooler and leave for the beach at Lake Michigan ~ about a 40 minute drive due West.   There are audible smiles of joy as I pack and singing at full volume as I drive.

Easy-peasy free parking and lots of it, I set my beach chair, books and cooler up just before 10:00 a.m. near the water’s edge, with the chair angled towards the sun but so I can still see the waves.

Much like this guy below:

Grand Haven State Park, MI

 

~~~ ahhh ~~~at the Water’s edge ~ An Emjayandthem(C) Photo

As the day progresses, I turn to follow the sunshine.    Books are read, snacks are savored, I dip in and out of the water and make trips up the beach to the bathroom, too.  I might chat with strangers or little kids or no one at all.  I pack up and leave as the crowds … crowd the sand ~ somewhere  between 2 and 3 p.m.  Long before this:

picture from Michigan.org

On my way out of town, I stop at the “Tasty Treat” for a vanilla/chocolate soft serve and enjoy it (and its messiness) all the way home……ahh summer!

We’re in the dregs of winter now – and summer will come again.   Between now and then we’re facing such weather events like “bomb cyclones – rain, thunderstorms, ice and snow … and more power outages.  So I’m glad to have pictures like these because they hold me over until the time comes again when we can complain about the heat  🙂 !  

“Don’t knock the weather. If it didn’t change once in a while, nine out of ten people couldn’t start a conversation.” – Kim Hubbard

 

  • What’s saving your life (in winter) right now?

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Categories: Attitude, Faith, Family, Food, Fun, Gratitude, Growth, Holidays, Home, Humor, Life, News, Personal, Seasons, Traditions, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Random 5 Snow Day(s) ~ town buddies, pant checks and heroes

Like much of the country, we’ve been smack in the middle of a winter storm for nearly a week and today, temperatures plummeted ~ Meteorologists are breathlessly reporting, “Polar Vortex, Arctic Chill and Extreme cold warnings!!” as the furnace hums steadily. I was up long before I needed to be but enjoyed puttering around the house in winter’s quiet.

Seeing the scroll of school, church and business closings last night I couldn’t help but remember my farm childhood and hearing two deliciously wonderful words at morning’s cusp, “SNOW DAY!”  And my snowy memories inspired me to post these Random Snow Day Thoughts ~ here we go:

1 )  Growing up in the country farm kids like me had a “town” buddy in case severe weather came quickly.  My town buddy was a classmate named Melanie Wright – her house was in the middle of the village.  I’d estimate a walk there took less than 10 minutes but it sure felt longer to me.  I recall spending the night once or twice, being fed and warm but also terribly homesick.  I couldn’t have been more than 7 or 8.   I think that’s Melanie in the sailor dress next to me (in the bow tie), front row.

  • This picture represents 2 grades; my grade was one of the largest with 11 kids.
    • We often had 3 grades sharing one room in our little brick schoolhouse ~ God Bless our teachers!

Class picture, an Emjayandthem (C) photo

2 )  Bitter blizzards and freezing winds take me right back to Mom’s kitchen where she, the 100lb dynamo, would stand at the door and make my siblings & I pull up our pant legs to give evidence of tights or long johns underneath. No negotiating,  no exceptions, “don’teventryit.”    She showed her love and care for us in a multitude of ways but the love I felt via a pants inspection lingers with me still.  Man I miss her.

Mom & Sport, winter 1952-53. An Emjayandthem (C) photo

3 )  Being home since last Thursday I’ve leaned into my stack of books. Read 3, ordered 4 more, and plan on starting another tonight.   Couldn’t. Be. Cozier.

“The world was hers for the reading.” – Betty Smith

Bucket List Goals: Trinity College Library in Dublin, Ireland

4 ) Our local news has been sharing heartwarming stories of folks stepping up to help others out of a snowy ditch, clearing sidewalks, checking on elderly neighbors and even rescuing dogs out in the (dangerous) cold.   I have my own story to share:   a  situation arose late Monday that necessitated me making a quick trip to the office to pick up several (specialty) items ~ these were to be shipped to a colleague in another state.  The request came Monday evening, in the midst of white-out conditions with winter warnings” all around.   Pondering my next move, Hubbs made it easy, “I’ll take you.”    Yes I could have driven myself but that wasn’t the point.   Accompanied by his calm demeanor, fuzzy pants and snow boots, we set out the next day ~ roads were awful, snow-covered and icy.  Visibility was maybe 12 feet.  It was in that moment I was reminded of something Mom had always said:  Romance is not always flowers and chocolates … it’s someone willing to lay down a brick for you, over and over and over again.   And, as usual, she was right.

5 )  With 480+ area schools on an extended winter break, Schwartz Creek School Administrators in Clayton Township, Michigan got their “Snow Day” announcement just right  ~  Hallelujah, indeed! 🙂

 

  • Is the 2019 Polar Vortex affecting you / your area?
  • Did you have a “storm buddy” as a child?
  • Any “hero” stories to share?
  • Ever had a “pants” inspection?

 

Categories: Attitude, Determination, Faith, Family, Fun, Gratitude, Home, Joy, Life, Love, Mom, News, Personal, Quotes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Showing up for life

At the cusp of a new year  I like reflecting on the past one.  I find it cathartic to look back at professional and personal accomplishments, lessons learned, and think about what’s working and what’s not.

I ask myself these 3 questions:

  1. What do you want more of?
  2. What do you want to get rid of?
  3. What’s holding you back from either one?

And then I read this and smiled.  Because, more than anything else this year, I showed up.  Growth happened, some with growing pains.  Manifestations abound; intuition sharpened.

C’mon 2019, I’m ready. 

Your turn:

  1. What do you want more of?
  2. What do you want to get rid of?
  3. What’s holding you back from either one?

 

Categories: Attitude, Confidence at any age, Determination, Faith, fear, Gratitude, Growth, Holidays, Joy, Life, Life Lessons, Love, music, News, Personal, Quotes, Relationships, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Random 5 December Friday ~ Days off, kid time, new years and music

It’s the last Friday of December, how did that happen?  That means it’s time for 5 randoms from my world.

1 )  Been on holidays for 7 days and have 5 more to enjoy before I head back to work.  Today is that day:

I’ve gone to bed when tired and gotten up when I’m not.  I’ve relaxed, stretched, played and laughed.  I’ve watched movies, read (2) books and started a 3rd.    Ahh … leaning in.  

2 ) Over the summer I took care of our grand-daughter different times while her older brother was at camp, we dubbed those days “Camp Nana” because it was all fun and games. During this Christmas break I spent the day with both grand kids while their parents were at work.   Dad had left them a “to-do” list and I helped them tackle it+ added more~ that visit soon became “Nana Boot Camp” – ha ha! But they did great: they worked hard to tidy up –  they picked up, vacuumed, folded, dusted, put away, emptied the dishwasher and completed about 4 trash runs. They didn’t complain because I was right there working beside them – we spent the rest of the day cooking, playing games and playing outside.  (Our snow is long gone!)  It wasn’t lost on me that it was “Boxing Day,”  the same day Mom used to round us kids up to help her tidy the house.   The grands were proud of their efforts and joyful at the many rounds of dice, Jenga, and Uno we played.    Time marches on but kids are still just kids and, from my experience, kids spell love T-I-M-E.

Grandson learning how to make Nana’s “Sloppy Joe’s”;  coincidentally this was the first recipe I ever made in 4-H. An Emjayandthem (C) photo

3 )    In many ways this has been a trying year and  I won’t be sad to see it go.   This picture sums it up:

4  )  As grueling and demanding and relentless as my job can be I was delighted to be awarded $$ for notable project work recently completed.   Smiling, I knew straight away where that $$ was going == AMAZON.  Funds are in my account, and I’ve already made one purchase ~ something perfect for our gloomy west Michigan winters.  Arriving tomorrow, I plan to use it daily ~ whee!

Google Image:  The Verilux HappyLight Compact makes your indoors brighter.

  • Product notes:  For millions of people, light therapy can make a not-so-great day much better – and brighter. The bottom line is, almost none of us get outside as much as we should to get as much natural full spectrum sunlight that we, as humans, need. Our bodies have evolved to actually require sunlight, and when we don’t have enough we can be groggy, irritable, unfocused and more. To make it worse, as days get shorter in the fall and winter, many people are affected by winter blues. This full spectrum light therapy lamp can help make you happier year-round.  Amazon $40

5 ) Saw this video last night and have watched it (and sang along) about 5 times already.    Trees will be bending, indeed.  SANG it, kids!   And props to the Choir Director ~ how I’d love to be part of a choir like this one!   🙂

So, what’s going on in your world?  Care to share?  And, ready or not, here’s to 2019!

Categories: Attitude, Faith, Family, Food, Gratitude, Growth, Holidays, Home, Life, Life Lessons, Love, music, Opinion, Personal, Recipes, Thoughts, Wisdom, Work | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Come and get your love

As of today, Sunday, I’m officially at the 5 & 11 mark:

  • 5 scheduled work days left followed by 11 days off.

Eleven. Gloriously wonderful Conference-call-free days off!

Yes I’ll monitor emails and yes I’ll likely need to chime in here and there but … my intention is to step away.   I’ve set my intentions for that preciously guarded time off and they read something like this:

  • Coffee, books, blogging and brunch
  • Daily walks / rebounding, with some yoga thrown in, too
  • Time with Hubbs, the boys, their girls and our grands
  • Yummy appetizers, dice games, laughs and movies
  • More books, coffee and brunch
  • Snuggling into bed when I’m tired and rising when I’m rested
    • Enjoying the peace, quiet and comfort of a contented Christmas

Come and get your love, Indeed.    💖

 

“Intentional living is the art of making our own choices before others’ choices make us.”
Richie Norton

  • What are you intentional about?
  • Do you set intentions ahead of time off?

 

Categories: Faith, Family, Food, Gratitude, Growth, Holidays, Home, Joy, Life, Life Lessons, Love, music, Personal, Seasons | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Summer just opens the door and lets you out

It’s summer ~ we’re in the throes of the season now, temps hovering in the 90s with the % of humidity matching.

In no particular order are just some of the summer delights we’ve been savoring:

  • Morning coffees on the patio
  • Fireflies fluttering at dusk
  • Strawberries, corn-on-the-cob and 7-Layer Salad
  • Anything grilled  ~ steak, chicken, shrimp and more
  • Hubbs golfing later and me reading later, all to summer’s golden light
  • A soft serve ice-cream, half chocolate & half vanilla, with half of it running down your arm
  • Stray cat visits
  • Kids playing in the sprinkler and Yellow finches mining my flowers
  • Couples walking together and dogs walking owners
  • The joy of a new book and the laziness of summer magazines
  • The smell of fresh limes on my fingers after squeezing into a margarita, the kiss of summer on my shoulders and the tangle of  beach waves in my hair

  + + + + + + +

“Summer, after all, is a time when wonderful things can happen to quiet people. For those few months, you’re not required to be who everyone thinks you are, and that cut-grass smell in the air and the chance to dive into the deep end of a pool give you a courage you don’t have the rest of the year. You can be grateful and easy, with no eyes on you, and no past. Summer just opens the door and lets you out.” -Deb Caletti, Honey, Baby, Sweetheart 

Sunset on Lake Michigan

What have you indulged in this summer? 

Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Faith, Family, Food, Fun, Gratitude, Growth, Holidays, Humor, Joy, Life, Opinion, Personal, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Random 5 Sunday ~ Hoarders, Deals and Stupid Ideas

It’s Sunday morning, the sun’s shining and we might * gasp * actually be seeing Spring today. I know, I know, we’re holding our breath because we woke up to snow Thursday.

To that end, it’s time again for 5 random thoughts, this time on a Sunday.

Ready?  Here we go:

1 ) Hoarders.  If I’m ever featured on an episode of Hoarders I’m blaming the books.   I’m not a shopper, hate the mall, and despise trying on clothes.  But click here to add one more book to my Amazon cart?  Oh, just one more nets me free shipping?  I’m in!   Many books have been devoured this past winter but this one is, hands down, my favorite:

2 ) Weekends.  A good part of the weekend is spent doing whatever I want to.  In the overly-scheduled world that is my work week, my soul craves an opportunity to goof off, waste time and accomplish absolutely nothing at all.  And I do.

“A mind preoccupied with planning plays homage to the idol of control.” – Sarah Young

3)  Stupid Ideas.  In my job I try to remain open to new ideas and different approaches.  But some ideas are simply stupid.  And stupid ideas are made stupider when brought up by those who should know better.  Except they don’t.  And, the older I get, the harder it is for me to stifle the snort a stupid idea commands. I’m working on it but let me just say, “Thank you, God, for the mute button!”  Snort Snort!

4 ) Deals  ~ about a month ago I was down with the flu – something positive that came out of that delirium was, in the midst of sleeping through watching morning T.V. shows, I learned of a cool site called MorningSave. Kind of like a buying group it’s a collection of all the “deals” featured on morning shows like “The Wendy Show,” the “Steve Harvey Show,” etc.   There are plenty of “deals & steals” on there, much of it is electronics (Bluetooth speakers, fitness gadgets, home security, portable phone chargers, etc),  fashion (handbags, jewelry), and personal items (watches, hair gadgets, skin care, teeth whiteners, etc) but here’s the skinny ~ most items are more than 65% off.    🙂

No chickens were harmed in this post

5 ) Saying Yes. I’ve written about the power of saying Yes.   And about how “no” is a sentence.   I’ve said “no” a lot over the past years.  Doing so has made room for Yes’s but I haven’t always said it.   I’ve enjoyed some time and some space without anyone in it.   Lately, I’ve started saying yes again — to things that challenge me – speaking opportunities, serving on advisory panels, putting myself out there to alleviate the boredom that comes with a little too much routine.  This has been soul-invigorating.  I’m not sky-diving or cliff jumping anytime soon, but pushing myself to say “yes” to opportunities that freak me out a little has brought something rewarding:  personal growth.

How about you? If you were featured on “Hoarders” what would it be for?  How do you like to waste time?  Heard any stupid ideas lately?   Got any new “finds” to share?  And lastly, what have you said “yes” to lately?

Categories: Attitude, Confidence at any age, Determination, Faith, fear, Gratitude, Growth, Joy, Life, Opinion, Personal, Products I love, Relationships, Seasons, Share, Technology, Thoughts, Work, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Random 5 Sunday in March

It’s a sunny Sunday and time for 5 Random thoughts.

1  Looking up from my desk Friday, I noticed both wall Calendars set to February.  It’s March and then some.

The bad news is that time flies.  The good news is that you’re the Pilot. ~ Michael Altshuler

2  Signs of Spring are everywhere; snow and wind one day, sunshine & smiles the next.   Birds and squirrels cover  the yard.  Snow clings to the fence.   Easter in 2 weeks.

Springtime is the land awakening; The March winds are the morning yawn. ~ Lewis Grizzard

3  Week 2 of a personal cell so I can turn off the work one.   Habits take practice and I’m enjoying practicing.

Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves even when we risk disappointing others. ~ Brene Brown

4  Stretch. Read. Rest. Repeat.

Take rest. A field that has rested gives a bountiful crop. ~Ovid

5   Last week I gave away something I didn’t use but another could benefit from.  Yesterday I cooked a meal for someone who needed it. The rewards outweigh the effort.

The best way to do good for ourselves is to be doing good to others; the best way to gather is to scatter.  ~Thomas Brooks

Shifting horizons, adjusting boundaries and adding in self-care = peace.

What’s new in your world?

related: On Saying Yes

Categories: Attitude, Confidence at any age, Faith, Food, Friendship, Gratitude, Growth, Life, Personal, Quotes, Self Discovery | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

80’s Ladies, Harrison Ford and Hurricanes

Last night, I caught the second half of an old favorite, a 1988 movie featuring newcomer Melanie Griffith in “Working Girl.”  I forgot how cute Harrison Ford was!  And I laughed while watching, remembering and relating to her, busy working hard, dressing the part, putting up with double-crossing, double-talking bosses.  “Ya wanna be taken seriously? You gotta wear serious clothes…..!”  Like this:

80’s ladies — remember those manly suits?

There’s a scene in the movie where Melanie’s character, Tess, meets Harrison Ford’s character, Jack, ~ she’s wearing a beautiful, feminine cocktail dress .. his reaction is perfection:

Jack Trainer: You’re the first woman I’ve seen at one of these things that dresses like a woman, not like a woman thinks a man would dress if he was a woman.

Tess McGill: Thank you, I guess.

I remember those suits, the padded shoulders, and the stupid bows that tied at the neck.   I remember how hot those ties were and how we thought big shoulders made our waists look smaller (like they were ever large in the first place, sheesh!)  Now, looking back, I see how we were nearly overtaken by those shoulder pads!

that’s me -(MJ) – at my bridal shower, 1992 — every one of us sporting shoulder pads!  An Emjayandthem (C) photo

Today, clothes are more forgiving.  Mix & match, not much that’s matchy-matchy.   Slacks and a sweater, wrap dresses, clothes that fit and flatter.   Less is more.   Thank goodness.

That picture above was taken in Houston, where we lived for 10 years before moving to Hubbs’ home state of Michigan.   We haven’t been back but we keep in touch with friends ~ some were spared, others had heavy damage to their homes.   Having lived there, driven there, and witnessed “normal” flash floods that happen, the damage and impact of this is beyond imagination.

And there’s a reason why sometimes we have to turn off the coverage, bury ourselves in an old movie and swoon over Harrison Ford … who’s still as handsome as ever.

Hello!

        Sincere prayers of safekeeping to all affected by Hurricane Harvey!            

Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Confidence at any age, Faith, Friendship, Gratitude, Grief, Growth, Life, Love, Men, Opinion, Personal, Romance, Thoughts, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The idea

“Use it or lose it” they said.  I rolled over vacation time last year to this one and it’s timing out so .. with that .. I’m on vacation this week — and following the “no plan-plan.”

Purposeful nothingness.

Reading.

Sunshine.

Iced Tea.

Flip flops.

Farmer’s Market.

Pedicure.

Reading.

Phone chats with siblings and cousins.

Music.

Firing up the grill.

Shutting down the laptop.

Reading.

Naps.

A stretch of days with nothing to do and all day to do it.

You can get old pretty young if you don’t take care of yourself.

I’m feeling younger by the minute!  🙂

When’s the last time you checked out? Have you ever had a week of “purposeful nothingness?”

 

Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Confidence at any age, Faith, Food, Gratitude, Growth, Holidays, Home, Joy, Life, Life Lessons, Personal, Quotes, Relationships, Seasons | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Decisions, decisions

Ahh, Summer.

A day off and the chaise lounge awaits …

“Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.” ― Charles William Eliot

 

**What are you reading these days?  

 

Categories: Fun, Gratitude, Joy, Products I love, Quotes, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Random 5 – Sisters, Books and Summer’s arrival

It’s Sunday! Back to work tomorrow ~Cooking, Laundry and random 5 today. Here goes!

1 )  My sister and I vacationed together last week ~ she lives in Canada, where we grew up, I live in the USA so – instead of traveling to each other’s homes – we met in the middle – something new for both of us.  No cooking. No cleaning. No bed-making.  No organizing. No wrangling. No Scheduling.  We loosely followed the “no plan-plan.”   Meeting in Minneapolis then flying to Kansas City together we laughed and we cried and we laughed again.  Navigating the rental car through the city and down to the interstate to Branson, MO, we sang along and talked and talked.  We had purchased a few show tickets ahead of time but left the week open to the possibilities.  Lying by the pool. Shopping in cute little boutiques, artisan markets and outlet malls.  Dining out, being waited on and, in some cases, sung to (the Singing Diner was so fun!)  Our trip was glorious!  Sister time – talking in the morning, talking at night, talking by the pool, talking in the dark.   On our last night together, out of the dark a small voice whispered,”I’m sure going to miss you, you know.”  “I know,” I said, “as will I miss you.”    A knowing look – finishing each others sentences – laughing at our stupid jokes.  For as much as we talked – sisters don’t need words.  

Sisters! An Emjayandthem(C) photo

2 ) Heat – arriving back home I was surprised to find the weather much hotter here (northern) than where we’d been (southern).  How did that happen?  80s up to 90s with little rain. It’s hot and dry.  Birds flitter happily through the sprinkler.

3 )  Taking a (leave-your-house) vacation is an excellent reminder that all of the stuff stressing me out is just that … stuff.    I work hard and do my best to stay on top of everything but every once in a while I need to step away from it and breathe.  Live.  Laugh.  And re-connect.

and there it is

4)  Books — Read one and bought another — one of my favorite things to do on a plane is to dive into a new story.  This one was well worth the dive:

… great read .. right to the last page!

And I bought this on the recommendation of a fellow passenger – next up on my summer reading list.

5 ) Summer’s here and another favorite just arrived — the Farm Market is open again!  I have to pace myself and remember that, for the most part, I’m the only one eating all these yummies.   Ooh … deliciousness abounds!!

What’s on your summer reading list?  Have you had any adventures lately?   What are you grateful for?  Are you a fan of toasted ‘mater sammiches, too?  *(GF for me!)

Toasted Tomato Sandwich ~ ahh, Summer!

Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Confidence at any age, Faith, Family, Food, Friendship, Fun, Gratitude, Growth, Holidays, Home, Life, Love, Personal, Relationships, Thoughts, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

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Makeup Connection

The best cosmetics on the web

A Little Wild Farm

Planting roots on our wild little farm.

3bones

Laugh. Dream. Dare. Inspire.

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...Isaiah 60

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

The View Out Here

A view in pictures, from me to you

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

Grace and Life

Looking for grace notes in life's journey...

When I Ride...

How life coaches me as I ride...

RICH RIPLEY

EMPLOYEES MUST WASH HANDS...