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Joy

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?”

 

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Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Confidence at any age, Faith, Food, Gratitude, Growth, Holidays, Home, Joy, Life, Life Lessons, Personal, Quotes, Relationships, Seasons | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Slow down Summer

Arriving home Friday night, the air was heavy with moisture and the threat of a summer shower  – the humidity/heat index hovered in the triple digits.  Hubbs, naturally slender, smiled at finally being warm.  His movements were easy, mine not so much.   I rushed in with groceries, wiping the sweat from my neck, and stayed inside to cool down in the air-conditioning.

After a shower and with my hair up, I re-joined him on the patio for an iced-cold beer and one of our typical meandering Friday night conversations.

The two of us spoke longingly of our upcoming summer vacation – remembering summers of our past, some spent together, some before we met.

We both remembered that first slice of watermelon, sitting on Grandma’s front steps and a shared childhood memory of Root Beer floats, burnt hot dogs and someone’s homemade pie.

We recalled wienie roasts with cousins, sleepovers, marshmallows cooked too long, and the crackle of the fire against the quiet of a dark summer night.

We reminisced about when our boys were little, how we spent summer days with Super Soakers, sprinkler hoses and water balloons and unbridled fun.

We remembered cookouts with Grandparents and Aunts and Uncles, with hordes of cousins to play with and the best food we’d ever eaten – Taco Salad, baked beans, fried chicken, burgers off the grill, lemonade, Rhubarb, Cherry and Saskatoon pie.  We talked about an older brother backing his car into the yard and opening the trunk to crank up the tunes – Led Zeppelin, Al Green or the Beatles.  We remembered some adults sipping beer from short brown bottles and Great Uncles playing Horseshoes and ladies fanning themselves against the summer warmth.    We remembered the prickly feel of lawn chairs against our sun-burnt thighs and the cozy happiness we felt being tucked into bed after such a rapturous day.

Summers were magical when we were kids – days were longer – parents were lenient – it was like everyone all knew this couldn’t – wouldn’t last.

Summer is here. Please last a little while longer.

 

Summertime, I think, is a collective unconscious. We all remember the notes that made up the song of the ice cream man; we all know what it feels like to brand our thighs on a playground slide that’s heated up like a knife in a fire; we all have lain on our backs with our eyes closed and our hearts beating across the surface of our lids, hoping that this day will stretch just a little longer than the last one, when in fact it’s all going in the other direction.”
― Jodi Picoult, My Sister’s Keeper

 

Care to share your favorite summer memories?  Did your elders send you outside to eat watermelon or iced cream, too?

That’s me on Dad’s knee – An Emjayandthem (C) photo

Categories: Attitude, Faith, Family, Food, Fun, Growth, Holidays, Home, Joy, Life, Personal, Quotes, Seasons, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Summertime Sundays

Summertime Sundays often find me alone in the house ~ with good intentions but few accomplishments.

I wake when I wake, no alarms, just quiet.

The house is cool and calm .. Hubbs has slipped off to golf before my eyes ever opened.  The woof-woof-woof of the sprinkler thumps in the background.  He set it up “just so” with a note asking that I check on it and turn it off soon. I will and I do.

I pour a coffee and wander throughout the house, thinking about the day, the week, my life.

Laundry is done, leftovers are in the fridge and I have no particular place to be.  My chair calls, I can feel the stack of books and magazines pulling me closer.  My mind drifts to work – there’s a tiny inclination to turn on my company laptop and check to see which project is on fire today – but the inclination soon passes.  Monday, and all the breathless anxiety it brings with it, will be here soon enough.

I’ve grown fiercely protective of weekends over the past few years — during the week, the days blend into night, calls and projects come in at any time, and boundaries are shrinking.  Now I guard my Sundays like a child guards their money.

Sunday finds me cooking, reading, singing, blogging, resting, putzing, dreaming, talking and, most of all, living.  And I’m getting really good at Introvert Bingo.

 

“SUNDAY  – The day..I planned a lot but actually do nothing.”
― Lovely Goyal, I Love the Way You Love Me

 

How about you? Do you ever plan to do absolutely nothing?  Have you found yourself wandering through the house, looking at your list of stuff to do, but doing none of them?  How good are you at giving yourself a day off?

 

Categories: Attitude, Blogging, Determination, Family, Home, Joy, Life, Opinion, Personal, Quotes, Relationships, Self Discovery, Thoughts, Wisdom, Women, Work, Writing | 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

Kisses, smiles and summertime

Summer just started and * gasp * it’s already scheduled  … I have too many vacation hours and must use “it or lose it” (not happening).  Not a terrible problem to have I know so, for that reason, I’m booking off soon to enjoy a summer  that looks like this:

“It’s a smile, it’s a kiss, it’s a sip of wine … it’s summertime!”  ― Kenny Chesney

 

 What’s your summer looking like? 

 

 

Categories: Attitude, Determination, Faith, Family, Food, Fun, Holidays, Home, Joy, Life, music, Opinion, Personal, Quotes, Romance, Seasons, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Random 5 – Mom looks, phone calls, traffic, forgetting and Pearls

We’re halfway through May ~ wow!  I’ve been traveling so much that I was halfway through April when I realized my desk calendar said … March.  And wouldn’t you know that, ever since my last post, I’ve been craving Penny Candy?  🙂

I’m not here as much anymore, sorry, but I do read your posts when I can, and I think about writing. I really do.  I just … well … 10 & 12 hour work days + night meetings + copious travel and … yeah, you get it.   Something’s gotta give … and this g-a-v-e.

But a few randoms caught my attention lately and I thought “those would be great for the blog” – so here we go.   Random 5 on a .. gulp .. Wednesday.

(1)  Mother’s Day was great – relaxing – joyful.  The boys came and went, chats were had, hugs and presents were given.  Didn’t need anything fancy – just them.

… and we laughed about the power that IS “the Mom look”

( 2 )  Is it just me or has there been an uptick in anonymous calls?  Home, office and cell phone.  Hey, pal, if you can’t even announce who you are, I’m not answering.  This isn’t 1974 when no calls were ignored …!

( 3 )  My face.  In traffic.  Every day.  Except I’m dressed.

( 4 )  Did this the other day — walked around looking for my glasses which were on my head.  Geez Louise.   Have you gone to the basement and walked around wondering why you were there?  Came back up only to remember?  Gah!

( 5 )   An Auntie shared this photo recently of Dad’s mother, Grandma Pearl.  I get my naturally curly hair from her.  She was a marvelous cook ~ her pan-fried burgers with sautéed onions were to die for ~ and her baking was out of this world.  Sometimes she let me help – such a privilege!  I had the good fortune (and prior planning – wink wink) to be over for a noontime visit she’d invite me to stay for lunch with her and Grandpa and, before lunch even started (translate feast) she’d hand me a plate and ask me to go pick out baking for dessert — in the basement she had a freezer full of baked treats – gingerbread cookies, short breads, “Aunt Mary’s cookies,” home-made donuts, tarts, bars and more.  Any lucky grandchild carrying the plate could simply tip-toe down the gleaming white stairs to the baking freezer, crack open the lid and take our pick from the plethora of homemade goodness that lived there.  Setting the selections aside as we enjoyed lunch together, the treats would quickly defrost.  After lunch, Grandpa would dip spoonfuls of sugar into his coffee/cream, they’d quietly nibble their selections in the midst of  the clatter my stories must have generated.    When I see her face, I’m transported to the summers of my girlhood — pigtails, my pony tucked in the barn or a 10 speed right at the front door.  I feel again what I’d always known to be true.  Something they didn’t speak of, you had to be there to feel it.  Loved.

This picture taken in 1923 ~ 94 years ago ❤️ Pearl was 19. Her only daughter passed away on Mother’s Day ~ hard for us but a gift to her.  An Emjayandthem (C) Photo

 

What’s new in your world?  Did your Mom have “the Mom look” down?  What picture or fragrance transports you back to your Grand parents?  Do tell!

Categories: Attitude, Blogging, Faith, Family, Friendship, Fun, Home, Humor, Joy, Life, Love, Opinion, Personal, Relationships, Self Discovery, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Church memories and penny candy

Reminiscing with Hubbs last night we laughed at the similarities of our childhoods:

  • Huge gardens & summer canning projects ~ a kitchen filled with steam
  • Church / Sunday School on Sundays through the school year
  • Vacation Bible school in the summer (plus 4-H camp for me and sports camp for him)
  • Family birthday parties with cake, coffee and a weenie roast
  • Freeze Tag, Kick-the-Can and Hide & Go Seek with cousins afterwards
  • Riding our bikes to the lake
  • And summer chores, saving our money for penny candy

Remembering my Sunday School routine, I told how our little village had a “Confectionery” downtown (1 1/2 blocks from the Church).  Because it was part of the hotel it could be open on Sundays (nothing else was) — Mom would give us  .25 cents  (two bits) with which we could buy:

  • a Pop and a bag of chips or
  • a Pop and a candy bar or
  • a little brown bag FULL of penny candy (always my choice)

Kind of like this

He and I agreed on the need to “make our candy last” – and how we’d negotiate with parents or siblings to get the best deal.    We differed on our choices, with him preferring chocolate to my licorice.

remember red hot dollars?

and licorice pipes?

We both laughed at this one:

Candy cigarettes!

The two of us could still remember the sweet, crunchy taste of a candy cigarette.  The sugar rush from a Pixie Stix.  The mess of “Fun Dip.”  He talked of hiding his Hershey bars from his brother and I did the same with my stash.  We agreed that underwear drawers were favorite hiding spots  ~ no one ventured there!

Funny how a little trip down memory lane can take you to places both sacred and sweet.

*****

*What was your favorite childhood candy?  How much did it cost?  Do you remember candy after Church, too? *

Categories: Faith, Family, Fun, Gratitude, Growth, Home, Joy, Life, Personal, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Trips, kids and canvas tents

Hubbs and I are back from our warm-weather vacation.   All I can say is … ahh!  Blue skies, warm sun and palm trees everywhere.    Our smiles couldn’t be contained.  It. Was. Wonderful.

Just landed – so many palm trees!

The resort we stayed at was sprawling – over 300 acres – so we rented a golf-cart  –  most evenings found us cruising around the resort, stopping to park at a random beach, to take in a walk or just sit and enjoy the view.

walkway to the beach

Headed back to our villa one evening, we came upon an older couple so Hubbs slowed down to ask if they’d like a ride (we’d rented a 4-person golf cart, the smallest available).

“No thanks,” she said, “We’re just getting our exercise.”

“Damn right I’d take a ride!” he exclaimed and hopped on, cane and all.

Meet Norm and Ginny from Rochester, New York.  Seems he’d had hip surgery and they were indeed out for a walk but he’d had about enough of that.  He asked where we were from and what brought us down this way  ~ when we said it was our 25th anniversary they both cheered us on and Norm said, with a wink, “we’re married 60 years and you know what? It only gets better from here!”  Sweet people and lots of fun, too.

We soon settled into a routine – up early to sip coffee in the screened-in balcony and watch boats slip in and out of the marina.    We’d finish up leftovers from the night before and head down to our pool around 12:30 ~  many families visited and so many  were busy with littlest ones wanting their attention.  “Dad, watch me.” “Mom, watch this!” “Dad!” “Mom!”  ~ when parents would comment on our lack of littles we’d just smile and say “been there, done that.”

Truth is – watching the excitement in their kids took us right back to when our boys were small.  Going to a pool – any pool – was such a big deal — and we’d pack and carry treats, floaties, noodles, paddle boards, diving materials, goggles, etc.  Watching the little kids at this pool – how they all run – everywhere.  Even when a parent shouts “NO RUNNING” there’s that quick walk-run that all kids do, they just can’t help themselves.    The more things change the more they stay the same.

Ahh

Hubbs and I spent our time together talking, laughing and enjoying the get away.  During our conversations, we discovered a shared loved of camping when we were kids – setting up that canvas tent in the backyard and having a friend or cousin over.  The night began early but the shenanigans didn’t start until well after dark – or after parents had gone to bed.  He lived in town so his adventures including hopping fences and swimming in others’ pools ~ mine including saddling up our ponies for a midnight moonlight ride.

We both remembered the excitement of the canvas tent waning around 7:00 a.m. when temperatures inside approached 600F.  Panting and sweating we’d emerge and head to the house, surely waking parents in our quest for food.

So it was comical yesterday, during Easter dinner, when youngest boy brought up how his girlfriend wants him to go camping and he wasn’t so sure. She exclaimed, “I love camping and I think you would, too.”

I caught Hubbs’ smirk when he encouraged them by saying, “You should do it, and make sure it’s a canvas tent!”

Sunrise view from the balcony

It was wonderful to go away. It’s great to be home.   And now, we’re plotting our next adventure and no it does not involve a tent!

And how was your week?

Categories: Attitude, Family, Fun, Home, Humor, Joy, Life, Personal, Relationships, Romance, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Random 5 (Lion) Friday

It’s Friday! It’s time for some Random thoughts ~ here we go!

1 )  March roared in like a Lion and …well she’s still roaring.  Yesterday brought freezing rain and lightning, all the same day. Today .. rain and winds.  The grass is greening and the Robins are fat… hmm.  Maybe April will come in like a lamb?

google.images

2 ) Old favorites ~ I put a tee shirt on the other day and laughed because I remember when it was new. 10 summers ago.  I still like it and still wear it but now just around the house ’cause it’s a little worse for the wear.   It’s like an old friend, comfy, soft and forgiving.  It’s from the summer we took Mom on this trip, and that’s the shirt in the picture below. Sissy and I are going again in June and Mom will be with us in spirit, clapping her hands, grinning widely and taking it all in.

One of my favorite pictures of Mom & me… having a Killian’s in Branson, MO.  Summer 2007.

Of course we saw an “Elvis” show! Tony Roi as Elvis was AMAZING!

3 ) I wrapped up 7 consecutive weeks of heavy work travel and meetings.  Yesterday we were asked to set goals for the year – one of the goals surrounds meetings & outreach.  I smiled realizing I’m halfway to the goal.  Yes!!

4 )  It’s Friday.  I can hear the birds singing and my calendar, for the most part, is wide open today.  I have a few projects to tidy up then I’ll hand the reins to another and my team – and be off on v.a.c.a.t.i.o.n.   It’s 34F here and 75F where we’re headed …and there’s not a schedule in sight. Ahhh.

photo courtesy of the Farmers Almanac.

5 )    Amazing. Yes, that’s it.   Ha!

That or glasses!

How about you? What’s the oldest piece of clothing you still wear?  What are you looking forward to?  Have you set any new goals for the year?  Have you amazed yourself lately? 🙂

Happy Spring, peeps!

 

Categories: Attitude, Blogging, Confidence at any age, Determination, Faith, Family, Fun, Growth, Joy, Life, Mom, music, Relationships, Thoughts, Travel, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Positive obsessions

for more, click on A test in self-worth

Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Confidence at any age, Faith, fear, Forgiveness, Friendship, Growth, Joy, Life, Mom, Quotes | Tags: , , , , , | 6 Comments

Strong Women, Grey Ties & Valentine’s Day

As a girl, Valentine’s Day was celebrated with a school party, card boxes, ice skating and moms visiting our classrooms.

google.images.com

google.images.com

As a teenager, Valentine’s Day was celebrated with a boyfriend if I had one and avoided if I didn’t.

google images

google images

As a young married woman, Valentine’s Day meant cards and flowers – for a while, anyways.  As our relationship evolved, romantic gestures were replaced by thoughtful ones.  Things you can’t buy in the store: taking out the trash; filling my car up with gas on a snowy day.  Running his vehicle through the car wash then detailing the inside myself. Folding the laundry left in the dryer; bringing in the groceries.   It’s the little things  ~ but they’re helpful and kind and nice.  And there’s a flow and a comfort to it that I love.

In my 50’s I don’t wait for someone else to make me happy ~ I make myself happy.

get-your-happy-on-quote-1You see I learned it from her:  My mother was a strong woman and my role model  – 100lbs of dynamite ~ she calved calves, trained horses, wrangled 5 kids, a husband, a 1/2 acre garden, 2 dogs and 14 cats.  She rode in trail rides, taught 4-H and Sunday School, balanced the books and Chaired the Board.  She always got out to vote, once taking the tractor to the highway to catch a ride to the polls. No muddy roads were going to stop her!  Not much ever did!

Mom wrangling a Thanksgiving turkey in 1963 - mother of 5, do-er of anything she set her mind to. An Emjayandthem(C) photo

Mom wrangling a Thanksgiving turkey in 1963 – mother of 5, do-er of anything she set her mind to. An Emjayandthem(C) photo

Like she did, I go to bed when I’m tired,  take a nap if I need one and I stay up late when I choose to.  I make room for the things I love – books – and never apologize for the space they occupy.  I have learned how to say “no thanks” to stuff I don’t want (or want to do) and “YES please!” to the ones I do.

Years ago Mom bought my sister & I that novel about the guy with the grey ties  ~ She made it clear she had no intentions of reading it and quipped “you can handle it” with a snort.   The two of us traumatized our grown kids by leaving it out on end tables.  The comments of horror from my nieces and the looks our boys shot my way were so worth it.  That was her point, to stir the pot and to remind us we always have a choice.

I chuckle remembering how Mom and I joked that if a good looking, rich man came near us with a grey tie, he’d find himself in some deep do-do.

God, I miss her.

So this Valentine’s Day I wish you this:

  • I wish you the courage to make the leap you’ve been pondering,
  • I wish you dreams in technicolor,
  • I wish you the conviction to change what’s not working, to stop worrying about what others think and to do the things that make your soul sing.
  • Time’s a-wasting and, per the wisest woman I’ve ever known, the only hero we have is ourselves.

 

strong-women

 

 

 

Categories: Attitude, Confidence at any age, Determination, Faith, fear, Fun, Gratitude, Grief, Growth, Holidays, Humor, Joy, Love, Mom, Personal, Romance, Uncategorized, Wisdom, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

What’s saving my life right now

Inspired by my blogging friend Leah’s post – I am taking on her challenge to think – and write about – what’s saving my life right now.

  • Background – Leah is a fabulous writer, author and Mom who moved with her family from  Sunny San Diego to a less-than-sunny wintry Indiana (I can so relate to the absence of sunshine!) – She cites writer Barbara Brown Taylor who, in her memoir Leaving Church, tells about a time she was invited to speak, and her host assigned her this topic: “Tell us what is saving your life right now.”  The idea behind this is  that most can articulate what may be bothering us but few of us stop to note what’s giving us life.

Bam!  So thought-provoking!

Here are the things saving my life right now ~ in no particular order:

  1. Exercise:  After work I make time for A) the treadmill or B) Yoga.  Either helps me unwind and forget my schedule and responsibilities.  My mind drifts off and creativity sneaks in. ~ Ahh.
  2. Minimizing Electronics: The company cell phone gets shut down at 7pm and lately, the best thing on T.V. has been the off button.
  3. Books – by taking step #2  I create space to devour deliciously good reads & have  created something to look forward to on a regular basis.  Joyful!
  4. Rest: In winter I go to bed earlier, it’s a necessary step to create the energy for slogging through the greyest of days.
  5. Up:  Because of #4 I get up earlier, can sip coffee longer, and have an hour of “soul time” to myself every morning.
  6. Supplements: Vitamin D in copious amounts – 5,000iu per day.  Start slow and work your way up but this is a GAME changer especially if you live where winter happens without measurable sunshine.
  7. Color and lots of it. Again – it’s so grey here right now – you’ll find me in sweaters, scarves and dresses of purple, teal, ocean blue or green.
  8. Flowers – they’re not just for Valentines and anniversaries.    For $7.99 I can add a pop of color to my office – and flowers are nature’s happy little reminder that Spring will soon come again.
  9.  Music.  My job requires a lot of car travel back & forth to meetings – sometimes 5 -6 hours in one trip – I turn off the rants and the politics, add in some Gospel, Motown and Classic Rock and sing my way to my meetings.  Winning!
  10. Connections – phone conversations with my sister or cousin, time out to dinner or staying home with Hubbs, messaging with our boys, breakfasts with Grandpa & the Aunts/Uncles.  Chatting with someone at the grocery store.  Connections – without steps 1-9 – I wouldn’t be as motivated to create and sustain connections~!

What’s saving your life right now?

 

a $8.00 pick-me-up that lasts all week long. Google.images.com

a $8.00 pick-me-up that lasts all week long. Google.images.com

Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Confidence at any age, Determination, Faith, Gratitude, Growth, Home, Joy, Life, music, Personal, Quotes, Thoughts, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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