Joy

All the shades, tones and variations, please

I’ve been working, walking, reading and repeating.

Autumn colors from my daily walks

Some travel. A few meetings.

All the calls.

The demand is constant, it never slows.

Demands mount.

Fires loom.

The pace, the pressure, the expectations can be unreal ~ some have left, moving on to other opportunities. New stress and chaos, most likely!

Evening arrives, laptop closes, phone is muted.. and I read.

Recently I celebrated my 20th year with the company and a Sr. Exec. asked about future plans, including retirement. Well, I’m not there yet. It’s closer than it was but it’s still far off on the horizon. He asked, “When that day comes, what are you going to do?” My response, without skipping a beat, “Live! And read all the books I haven’t had time for yet ….” 😀

yes!!!

“I can never read all the books I want; I can never be all the people I want and live all the lives I want. I can never train myself in all the skills I want. And why do I want? I want to live and feel all the shades, tones and variations of mental and physical experience possible in my life.”
― Sylvia Plath, The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath

Based on a True story ~ magnificent!
Two favorites that I kept and will re-read.
Delicious, hopeful, wonderful.
Other recents

~ ~ ~

Me, with a new-to-me book!

So … any books to recommend? Do tell!

Categories: Attitude, Books, Faith, Fun, Growth, Home, Joy, Life, Opinion, Quotes, Self Discovery, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Work | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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

A Quiet Day

A haze hangs in the air ~ both from rising humidity & the smoke of last night’s festivities.

Front yard free show!

I’ve got a beef roast with carrots, onions and potatoes simmering in the crockpot; Hubbs has already commented on how good it smells. The A/C kicks on, and a table-top fan ruffles nearby papers. We refill our coffee cups and chat in the kitchen.

I could have gone to the beach today, but I wasn’t up to dealing with crowds or the hustling it takes to get there early.

I could have gone shopping or visiting today, but I don’t feel people-y.

I could have worked on one of many work project, but I’m not going to, I work enough

Instead I’m leaning into a book, doing some laundry, and savoring the gift that is a quiet day.

Yay – It’s Cherry season in Michigan

When was the last time you had a “quiet day?”

Categories: Attitude, Books, Growth, Home, Joy, Opinion, Self Discovery, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 5 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

Random 5 Sunday ~ lockdowns, leaps, races, & Royal weddings

It’s a beautiful, bright Sunday in May ~ windows open, blue skies, and, after last night’s rain, song birds are chirping happily. Life is busy and good, with much to be thankful for. My five Random Musings are below:

  1. I live in Michigan with some of the most severe pandemic restrictions in place – our cases are higher than ever. Other states are wide open with numbers falling. What gives?
Makes as much sense as Bernie/Mittens and Sophia!

2. Enjoyed watching the Kentucky Derby yesterday ~ b/c of competing priorities I didn’t have time to do my usual research. We met up with friends & placed our “bets” on which horse we hoped would win. I glanced over the field and put my bet on the trainer – and his horse won. Something gleaned from growing up at the track — a) all the horses are “pretty,” b) sometimes a long-shot wins but c) when in doubt, bet on the trainer.

Medina Spirit wins the 2021 KY Derby!

3. New job starts tomorrow ~ as is my pattern, I’ll be doing my current one + the new job as things ramp up. I’m hoping to jettison the current one over time, but that remains to be seen. It’s new territory, teams are being formed, and none of us really know what we’re in for – which is exciting and nerve-wracking, all in one. I prefer to be at the start of a project vs. coming in later on. And as my all-time favorite boss (from 7 career moves ago) always reminds me, “If you’re not the lead dog the view never changes.”

4. Working from home I had another epiphany recently ~ while I’m an introvert at heart, I can be extroverted, especially in my professional role, always needing time to regroup afterwards. Hello road trips! I am also hugely empathic. What’s that, you ask?

What is the difference between having empathy and being an empath? “Having empathy means our heart goes out to another person in joy or pain,” says Dr. Judith Orloff. “But for empaths it goes much further. We actually feel others’ emotions, energy, and physical symptoms in our own bodies, without the usual defenses that most people have.” 

As a result, working remotely works brilliantly for me b/c exposure to others – and their “stuff”- is minimized. When I do go out/interact, I take steps to guard myself from being bombarded with others’ energy / thoughts / emotions / physical ailments. Ever walk into a store and suddenly hear “noise” even though no one is talking? If I don’t do a prayer of protection ahead of time the experience feels and sounds like I’m on an airport tarmac standing between jet planes taking off. If you’ve experienced this, you might be empathic, too. This book helped me.

5. Last night I re-watched footage of Prince William & Princess Catherine’s 2011 wedding as this year marks their 10th anniversary. It was fun to view such a joyful event and remember where I was at that time. A few days after their wedding, I penned this blog post https://emjayandthem.com/2011/05/03/so-did-you-watch/ which went on to become “Fresh Pressed” by the editors at Word Press. It was deemed of their “best of 385,233 bloggers, 387,452 new posts, 449,667 comments, & 93,406,663 words posted” on May 3, 2011. It remains my most viewed & commented-on post, and it’s still fun to go back and re-read the comments from all over the world. How lovely she was and is.

a shared look between HRH William and Catherine; image from thefrenchtribune.com

So how about you?

  • What have you learned about yourself lately?
  • What new tasks are you undertaking?
  • And did you watch?
Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Confidence at any age, Family, Fun, Growth, Joy, Life, Love, News, Opinion, Romance, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Faith is a verb

I was up early this morning, rolling around at 4:00am and in the shower by 5:00. Over coffee I mulled over a new opportunity that excites and un-nerves me. There is a lot about it I love ~ stewarding a high-profile, multi-year, multi-state project – but just as much is unknown which, for me and my planning nature, is unsettling.

It’s brand new, un-defined, and questions I have will be answered in time.

That’s the thing with new opportunities.

  • They come to you.
  • You may be ready or maybe not.
  • You may see them approaching or not notice as they pass by.

I’ve found this to be true – every job, role, assignment, and committee I’ve led or contributed to, every start and stop, frustration and success, every win and loss, each and every one brought me right to this moment.

I’m confident in my abilities, but even more so in my ability to be discerning.

I said yes.

Hebrews 11:1: “Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.” 

So I’ll ask you:

  • What does your decision-making process look like?
  • How does Faith guide you?
  • What’s the last big thing you said yes to?
Categories: Attitude, Confidence at any age, Determination, Faith, Growth, Joy, Personal, Wisdom, Women, Work | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

A place to go

I’ve not been here.

Blogging.

I’ve been working, and when not, I’ve been walking, and when not, I’ve been reading.

Reading in my chair.

Reading under a blanket.

Reading my way through winter and the Pandemic.

On Zoom calls colleagues chat up what TV series they’re binging. I remain on mute with nothing to say.

In the evenings, after supper, Hubbs finds me back in my chair, with the TV off.

Savoring the silence.

We chat, he is thankful for sports and news, and me for my books.

I’ve been reading.

  • Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.– Mason Cooley.
Categories: Blogging, Books, Determination, Home, Joy, Life, Opinion, Personal, Self Discovery, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 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

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

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Better Days Blog

Learning from yesterday, living for today

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.

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...

Better Days Blog

Learning from yesterday, living for today

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.

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...