Joy

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

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 Tuesday 5 – Cakes, skies, closets and chaos

It’s been a weird summer  season year.  Yes it sure has, and that’s putting it mildly.

I have read your blogs but not been blogging myself.  So here are some of my thoughts on a random Tuesday ~

1 Birthday cake drive-bys- To celebrate Hubbs’ birthday, we had our boys & their girls +our grands over for a get-together this weekend.  After much deliberation – and out of all choices offered – a Texas Sheet Cake is what he chose for the celebration.   I get it, this cake is hard to beat.  See there are 4 sticks of butter and many cups of sugar/powdered sugar in this beauty.  8 or 10 tbsp of cocoa, and all sorts of other goodness.

You don’t get a sheen like that from margarine, no sir-eee-Bob.     Some was devoured, some went home with the kids but the one enjoying it most of all is Hubbs … you see, near what remains is a fork.  His fork.  A drive-by fork.  And I laugh every time I pass it by!

a before shot of the Texas Sheet Cake with overflowing frosting

2 )  September Skies –We’ve been enjoying the most beautiful weather – sunny, warm days, cool nights and, my favorite – BLUE SKIES as far as the eye can see.   Today it’s overcast and cold, but blue skies are coming back, per the forecast.  MY*FAVORITE!   There’s just something about a September sky …

Our Walnut tree and hubby’s head. Oops.

3)  Closet clean-outs.   I’ve been on a health kick for years.  But this year, between intermittent fasting & my daily walks, I’m seeing changes – big changes.   Most of my clothes no longer fit.  I took the advice of the experts and if it didn’t a) fit, b) flatter or c) make me want to wear it RIGHT NOW, it’s gone.   Pictured below is one of 3 piles that went to a) the consignment shoppe, b) donation drop-off or c) garbage bin.    Anything sagging, bagging or dragging is G-O-N-E.  And I was ruthless- tried on everything (that’s a workout, holy smokes!)  and now, a week later, I can only remember 2 of the 100s of items that went.   I kept 3 pairs of jeans, 2 are too big and should have gone, too – and I’m sure I kept them out of a sense of security.  Funny how we think, isn’t it?

every color under the sun & I won’t miss any of it. Never wore that plaid shirt once!

4 ) Fat loss – working on 6 of these, see picture below.  Since 1/1/20 I’ve lost 27lbs & 39.2″ – I’m 5’2″, 39inches is more than half of my height. Yes I am slowly shrinking — inward —  Intermittent Fasting (time-scheduled eating) for the WIN!  for more information visit Gin Stephens – Books on Intermittent Fasting.

5 )  Chaos – I don’t know about you but every time I go out I think, “why did I go out?”    I get it, it’s a trying time. But folks have forgotten their manners, forgotten how to drive, how to park, and what to do.  I think I’m staying in for the foreseeable future.   Coffee up!

So …. what are you up to?

 

Categories: Books, Determination, Faith, Family, Food, Growth, Holidays, Joy, Life, Love, Men, News, Opinion, Personal, Self Discovery, Thoughts, 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

Random 5 Sunday ~Pandemic Pantries, Hanging on, Good Trees and Quiet

It’s Sunday in Summer and time for 5 randoms from my world.  Ready? Let’s go!

1 ) Pandemic Groceries – Still working my way through our pandemic-groceries.   Background: at the start of the lock-downs, Hubbs was doing the weekly grocery shopping, a task he enjoyed very much. I pulled the plug on his outings given his asthma & other risk factors.  Other risk factors included the potential for altercations in Aisle #5 (paper aisle).   But before our shift change in late-April, he was Mr. Pandemic-buyer.  I think we have enough canned goods to last to 2028.  With just two of us, it was already difficult to cook “small,” (I grew up in a family of 7… leftovers were a rarity in my house, and Mom prepared multiple meals daily).      But while I’ve teased him about his purchases, I admit to having enjoyed “perusing” the pantry to set a meal plan for the week.   Not ours, but pantry-envy worthy!

2 ) Hanging on – There’s been a shift again working remotely ~ we haven’t re-ordered letterhead or business cards.  With no in-person meetings now or anytime soon, there’s simply no need. Logos & return addresses can be affixed digitally, e-copies suffice.  Conversely, my days are longer than ever because I start earlier and work later.  I exercise early mornings but rarely take breaks or more than 15 minutes for lunch.  It’s not uncommon to have Corporate schedule (video) calls that start at 5pm, 6pm or later.  It’s a weird world nowadays.   I’m adapting, what else can you do?

Hanging on!

3 )  Great trees make me grin – Below are a few of my favorite neighborhood trees ~ totally climb-able.   Being raised a prairie child I shall forever appreciate a great tree.

Aren’t they gorgeous?

4 ) Quiet: The older and busier I get the more I savor quiet ~ the quiet of an early morning, a Sunday afternoon, or that moment when dusk turns to night.   Hubbs is a TV-on-all-the-time kind of guy.  He often wanders through the house to find me tucked into a book, the only sound that of a slow summer fan.  Ahh.

  • “Have you ever heard the wonderful silence just before the dawn? Or the quiet and calm just as a storm ends? Or perhaps you know the silence when you haven’t the answer to a question you’ve been asked, or the hush of a country road at night, or the expectant pause of a room full of people when someone is just about to speak, or, most beautiful of all, the moment after the door closes and you’re alone in the whole house? Each one is different, you know, and all very beautiful if you listen carefully.”  Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth.

The magic of a summer read in a house full of quiet.

5 )  Driving.   I don’t know what’s up but some appear to have lost their ability to make rational decisions AND drive at the same time.   I blame the masks!

So … how was your week?

Categories: Attitude, Determination, Faith, Fun, Growth, Home, Joy, Life, News, Opinion, Personal, Quotes, Seasons, Self Discovery, Uncategorized, Wisdom, Women, Work | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

To just enjoy a book or two

 “Today I’d like to sit and read. 

Forget I have a job I need.

Ignore the things I have to do.

And just enjoy a book or two.”

I read.

I read a lot.

I read quickly.

I read often.

I read.

*

I read outside in the sun.

I read at night when my work is done.

I read to enjoy, to escape and relate.

I read at night, usually too late.

I read.

* I’ve not counted how many books I’ve read this year, but it’s safe to say my “Quarantine” pile is tall enough to topple over. I’d guess between 50-60.  My favorite this year has been “The Authenticity Project” by Clare Pooley.

Are you a reader? 🙂

 

Accurate!

 

 

Categories: Attitude, Determination, Fun, Growth, Home, Humor, Joy, Life, Personal, Products I love, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Women, Work | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Random 5 Friday ~ Classic Rock, Thieves, and B.S.

It’s Friday and time for some Randoms from my world. Here we go:

1 ) Opportunity knocks

Today a neighbor stopped by to tell us they were robbed. He admitted to leaving their garage open all night, by mistake. Pandemic or not, when an opportunity is there some have no problem helping themselves to what’s yours. Hubbs shared he is a night owl and regularly outside “at watch” late at night…. and he’s scared off a few shady characters in the process. That deep voice of his cutting through the dark probably landed them in therapy. #notsorry #thievessuck

2 ) Use it or lose it

Took two last-minute vacation days, spent both at/ in Lake Michigan. I work too hard to forfeit vacation days and have many left to use before year-end. Even if I go no farther than the yard, I’m using them ALL. #nomartyrshere

On the shores of Lake Michigan ~ and Emjayandthem(C) photo

3 ) Cry baby, cry

Temps have been in the 90’s with high humidity – I’ve continued my daily walks, getting up & out before the heat. Sweat pours off me, cool showers are delicious and satisfying. I sleep well, move easily and feel calmer.

That + intermittent fasting = 19 lbs & 33 inches lost. #crybabycry

4 ) Classic Rock is classic for a reason

When I cook I love to listen to music, typically classic rock, R&B, old country, and some Gospel for good measure. No offense to Miss Swift, but I’m with Stevie all the way. #mykidspreferourmusic

5 ) Needed B.S.

There are no shortage of pundits & opinions clamoring for attention. To quote my Mom, “it has an off button.” I shut the “news” off, tune out the noise, and snuggle back into my book. Nope, the only B.S. I need is a beach & some sunshine. #30minutestothis

Along the shores of Lake Michigan ~ and Emjayandthem(C) photo

 

So … how was your week?

Categories: Attitude, Blogging, Home, Joy, Life, Mom, News, Opinion, Random observations, Work | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 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

A Sullivan State of Mind

We have grand-dog Sullivan (“Sully”) with us for a week.   Actually I should say I do.  I’m clearly his favorite, which annoys my tender-hearted dog-loving Hubbs.   He doesn’t mean to but his large frame and big voice scare Sully.  Meanwhile if I stop short he literally runs into my butt.

When you haven’t had a dog you in a while you tend to forget what it’s like.   Here are some “life lessons” I’ve enjoyed revisiting brought to you from the 3 year old wonder dog:

  • Live in the moment – he has a harness thing that took me 15 tries to figure out – but I got it and we were off! His tail wagged the whole time I tried. 🙂

  • Appreciate everything: Walks are great & even better with a buddy.  90% of the time he goes full speed ahead. Unless he stops to sniff something.  Another good reminder to pause, give thanks, and take in the day.

  • Mix things up – take an alternate route once in a while.   He enjoyed the detour and I enjoyed the shade!

  • Get outside as often as possible.   This was early evening, after storms had rolled through.  So.  Many. Sniffs!

  • Play every day.  And then do it again as soon as possible.

  • Never underestimate the restorative powers of sleep.   Photo after 2 walks, 8 games of “keep-a-way,” a million in & outs and 15+ yard sniffs.

We’ve enjoyed having him, we always do.   I enjoy waking to a small furry face in mine; I laugh when he nudges me with a squeaky toy.  I do what is asked, step away from the laptop and run around the yard a few times.

I’m off work the rest of the week but haven’t told Sully yet ~  I’ll just play with him and let it be his idea. 🙂

Life lessons worth repeating.

 

Categories: Animals, Attitude, Family, Fun, Growth, Joy, Life, Opinion, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 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 Saturday ~ Birthdays, Rinks and COVID19

It’s Saturday, the sun is shining and it’s time for 5 randoms from my world.  Ready? Set? Go!

1 )  Celebrating oldest boy’s birthday later today ~ which called for some home-made baking straight out of Mommacita’s kitchen.   My blueberry-loving boy gets a blueberry/peach cobbler and the rest will enjoy a Triple Chocolate “Rink” Cake (good enough to take to the rink, a nod to the winter home of my childhood).  That sheen on the cake? That’s from butter in the homemade chocolate buttercream frosting.  Margarine is never gonna give you that sheen ~ Love baked in every bite!

Blueberry Peach Cobbler

Triple Chocolate “Rink” Cake

Indeed it is

2 ) Speaking of the Rink .. it remains the H E A R T of my prairie home. Talking with my sister last night she filled me in on the “Spa Spiel” happening this weekend – a 3 day curling bonspiel, with 16 teams, ages ranging from grade school to seniors.  (** Winning team gets a trip to the local hot springs Spa**)  The rink kitchen will be humming with volunteers frying onions for “rink burgers,”  serving up homemade pie, homemade soup and homemade buns, all donated from area residents.   Those not curling will be visiting, skating, playing cards, eating pie and enjoying what’s likely to be the last winter “hurrah” for the real ice of that small-town prairie rink.   Spring will come and the ice will go – it’s just the way it’s always been.

I remember coming in to warm up, after skating for hours, and finding enough change for an ice cold-coke or Sprite out of this cooler.   We’d pull our drink out of the frosty water, wipe it off with the rag that’d been there forever, and enjoy, our cheeks burning as they warmed.    It is not possible to craft a better childhood and I’m so glad to hear those prairie traditions continue!

the old Coca-Cola chest …

 

3 )  Signs of Spring are everywhere – but March came in like a Lamb.  We all know what that means!

Roar !

4 ) Woke up to emails from airlines that I have upcoming business trip tickets with  ~ and assurances about clean air and cabin cleaning….  No CoVid19 around here yet but the FLU (which kills thousands every year) has been rampant, with many schools having to close for a week at a time.   NoroVirus, Influenza A and H1N1 are all in play – blah.   Between us, I’ve got a feeling my corporate conferences are about to be scrapped.   And that’s OK by me.

5 )  My new indulgence – Cuban coffee  ~ oh Mylanta, so good!

 

What’s new in your world?

Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Faith, Family, Food, Home, Joy, Life, Thoughts, Wisdom, Women, Work, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 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...