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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!

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Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Confidence at any age, Faith, Family, Food, Friendship, Fun, Gratitude, Growth, Holidays, Home, Life, Love, Personal, Relationships, Thoughts, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 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

Lions, Lambs and funeral luncheons

Mother Nature has been mercurial again – here March roared in like a lion, with freezing temps, bitter cold, blowing snow and lashing sleet.   All this after a mid-February warm up to nearly 70F.  The latest round felt like a mid-winter spanking. Are we safe to assume March will leave like a lamb?  I’m not so sure.

A friend passed away last Sunday ~ shockingly young, leaving a wife and two children plus a business and employees to take care of.  We struggled to absorb the news and rally around our friend.  As expected, a call went out for food and folks didn’t disappoint.  At the wake Friday night, were crocks full of hot foods like meatballs, macaroni and cheese, Sloppy Joe’s, Fettuccine Alfredo and Lasagna plus trays of cakes, cookies and squares, salads, raw vegetables, fresh fruit, deviled eggs, boiled shrimp, crackers and cheese, a  baked ham and the fixings for sandwiches.

There’s something so comforting about being able to help at a time of sadness. 

Many commented on the abundance of foods and I thought of Mom and my Auntie and all the times they’d done the same. It’s nice to be part of a community that comes together and provides sustenance when needed.

Later that evening, reflecting on the day, Hubbs and I chuckled at how we’d both observed the same thing: older gentlemen – every one of them had a big slab of cake (sometimes two), cookies or brownies on their plate ~ we laughed about how we could see my Dad or his Grandpa doing the same – how they knew enough to”go for the good stuff first.

Co-mingled in the sadness is a lingering feeling of fellowship, the memory of a room growing loud with laughter and toasts to a good man.

And as the wind howls outside here today, no lambs are in sight.

**   How does your family or community navigate loss?  Are you experiencing Lambs or Lions where you live? **

 

Categories: Confidence at any age, Faith, Food, Grief, Home, Life, Love, Opinion, Personal, Share, Thoughts, Traditions, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Random 5 Friday

It’s Friday! It’s Random! Here we go:

1 )  Spring?  Summer?  Fall?  Certainly not winter.  We hit 70F this week and yep, you guessed it, snow’s coming back tomorrow.  I think Mother Nature is going through ‘the change.’  Nothing is as usual – grass is green, bugs are out, things are growing – Bam! They’re going to be surprised when the next wallop of snow lands!

2 ) Lots of travel lately – I don’t mind because I am open to and enjoy the random interactions that occur. Example: between meetings in the capital city this week, I grabbed lunch at a little cafe.  I noticed an older gentleman wearing what had to be his finest suit.  He was decked out from coordinated socks to a beautiful tie to his exquisite hat – you don’t see hats much anymore.  As I got up to pay my bill, I complimented him on his handsome hat – a wide grin broke out and we enjoyed a short chat – he was in town in meetings on behalf of a seniors care organization (similar to Meals on Wheels).  He was polished, articulate and commanding;  I can’t imagine anyone saying no to him.  Well the company I work for has a program that seniors can benefit from – he has my card and I have a friend in Mr. William (Bill) Jones.  You just never know where your path will take you;  I’m glad mine took me to him.

3 )  Saw this the other day and it reminded me of my cousin and I – who does this remind you of?  I need to send it to my sister, too – she’ll get it!

laugh-till-you-snort4 ) An Auntie has been dealing with a tough situation over the past few months – my offers to help have been politely declined.  One day last week she contacted me and said “I need your help – I am at my wit’s end.”  The back story is she’d been forced to place her (dementia-afflicted) husband in nursing home care – a decision that was very tough for her to do.  The problem was the home he ended up being placed in was a) too far away, b) not not working for them and c) all efforts to move him closer were regularly thwarted by the (for-profit) center.  As I told her, I don’t know anyone in this world, but I have many contacts and I’ll try. I spent the day on the phone, and by 4pm had his case over to the state regulatory bureau who investigates and licenses nursing homes. (Go big or Go home, my Mom would say!!)    Uncle was moved the next morning, after months of attempts.  The best part was that every (Government)office I called – and every person I spoke to – once they heard their story-  they reacted as I had – with disbelief, anger and a sense of urgency.  It buoyed us all to know that, when given the opportunity, strangers very happily did the right thing … and quickly.   He’s closer, she’s happier, and being able to help her blessed me.   🙂

5 )  And with that, I’m off on my next road trip – but – I’ve timed it so I can meet a friend for lunch on the way back into town today.    Life’s rolling by too quickly and it’s time to carve out some friends time, too.

“Yes, you see, there’s no such thing as coincidence. There are no accidents in life. Everything that happens is the result of a calculated move that leads us to where we are.”
― J.M. Darhower, Sempre: Redemption

What’s random in your world these days?  Met anyone interesting?

 

 

Categories: Attitude, Blogging, Confidence at any age, Determination, Faith, Family, Friendship, Growth, Home, Life, Love, Mom, Personal, Quotes, Self Discovery | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 10 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

5 Verses, 1 message

Luke 2:1-3

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register.

census

Luke 2:4-7

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a Son. She wrapped Him in cloths and placed Him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

journey-to-bethlehem

Luke 2:8-12

8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

jesus-in-manger

Luke 2:13-15

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

shepherds-seeking

Luke 2:16-20

16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

shepherds-see-jesusMessage:

Google.Images.com

Google.Images.com

Merry Christmas!

 

Source: http://Guidepost.org

Categories: Faith, Forgiveness, Gratitude, Growth, Joy, Life, Love, News, Personal, Quotes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

‘Till next time

There’s no other way to say it than to say it: Mom passed away last week.

She’d been up & down and things weren’t getting better; but we’d been there before, collectively holding our breath.  And then the little bit would rally and surprise us all, over and over again.

Oldest sister sat with her last Sunday and they talked frankly about things; thankfully Mom made her own choices about being moved from the nursing home to the hospital.  “No way,” she said emphatically.  But the meds weren’t working as they had before.  Sissy asked if she was tired and Mom said yes, yes she was.  Sissy told her it was OK to rest that she would sit with her and she did. She asked about calling the others. Mom’s response was a typical Mom response, “Don’t believe that’s necessary.”  Sissy did anyway and they all visited the next day.  The morning after that, Mom slipped quietly away.

Even when you expect it, there’s no way to prepare for the loss of someone you love. You can’t.  All you can do hold on as hard as you can and brace yourself for the waves of grief that are sure to come. Some are Tsunamis, some are ankle nippers.  You try not to drown.  I’m still there, some days floating, other days gasping.

I had booked flights for my nephew’s wedding at the end of July; our oldest son’s wedding is this Saturday.  It was so like her to slip off before all that – not wanting to cause a fuss. It was so like her to put space between those milestones so as not to tamper anyone’s joy.

Tickets have been changed, I’ll leave sooner.

She wanted to be cremated and for us to hold a service “when it made sense.”  That was also so her. We laugh about how, even now, she’s still ‘large & in charge.’  Sobs come through our stories.

We’ll have a service at the grave site then a gathering in the town hall with several hundred people followed by a lunch. There’s no church big enough!!  And not having everything this week or next gives people time to come.  And they are. By the droves.  Not just locally but from all over Canada & the U.S. as well.   Mom was well-known and loved; friends & family want the opportunity to tell their stories and pay their respects.  I’ve tried to help where I can, making phone calls, sending photos, and just being part of things.  But I know when I step off the plane that grief will hit me in the face like a wet towel.  Drafting her obituary last night stung but I was  honored to do so.

As sad as I am and as much as I’ll miss her I know she’s free.  She’s with Dad on a date night, holding the winning ticket to a fast horse, enjoying a hot Rye, her purse just a-swinging.    I smile knowing Frankie’s tucked up under Heaven’s kitchen table getting fatter by the second; she always called that dog “the Gentleman.”  Her Mom and Dad are there, she’s with other pals and family.  Farm dogs, barn kitties and ponies we’ve lost along the way are all snuggled up close to her. How can we be sad at that?

Mom and Dad with one of their winning horses - and a date night. An Emjayandthem(C) photo

Mom and Dad with one of their winning horses – and a date night. An Emjayandthem(C) photo

No, the sadness, that’s for us. The sadness comes in knowing we have to wait to see her again. And I’m not that patient.

But mixed with the grief is the gratitude: for all who she was, all that she did, and how deeply we loved her.

I’ve lived far from home for 32+ years. She and I enjoyed many happy visits, there, here, other places, plus other trips and adventures. We had a thing: we never said “good-bye” we always said, “’till next time.”  The last time I was home with her, when it came time to leave for the airport, she stood to hug me and laid her head on my chest. We stood quietly like that, her head on me, me supporting her, and her hugging me tightly. I’ll never forget that hug.  Breaking apart we looked each other in the eyes and said “till next time.”   She smiled and I smiled and headed out the door.

Soon my siblings and cousins, aunties and friends will gather – we’ll share her stories and we’ll sing her songs.  We’ll find ourselves saying the things she would have said. We’ll sip on a Rye and we’ll reflect on the gift of a Mother happy to be one.  On the gift that was her.

related:

“When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.” ~ Kahlil Gibran  

angels-kiss

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Attitude, Confidence at any age, Determination, Faith, Family, Gratitude, Grief, Growth, Home, Life, Love, Mom, Personal, Relationships | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Random 5 for Mother’s Day

Mom & I watching the SK football game 3 weeks ago. An Emjayandthem (C) photo

Mom & I watching her favorite football team. An Emjayandthem (C) photo

  1. A mom reads you like a book, and wherever she goes, people read you like a glowing book review.” ~Robert Brault.  If only I could do half the things Mom believes I can!
Mom would call these "Life Lessons"

Mom would call these “Life Lessons”

  1. Mom taught me a lot, but in spite of her best efforts, there remain some lessons that didn’t take: I can’t sew, I don’t enjoy gardening and I never mastered her bread recipe.   Here are the ones that did: sharing a meal lovingly prepared, the joy in make-believe play on stormy days, the places books can take you and the ability to laugh at myself. (Remember her story “I’m Gay?”)
Grandma and Mom in the kitchen together; and Emjayandthem (C) photo

Grandma and Mom in the kitchen together; and Emjayandthem (C) photo

  1. Mom loves music and always had the radio playing in her kitchen, and I do the same.  She also taught me the importance of date nights, of a dab of perfume and a swirly skirt and jewelry that makes you feel like a girl. Mom loved me enough to let me go yet never failed to rally and cheer, “You can do it, kid!”
..:: read it ... learn it ... live it ::..

..:: read it … learn it … live it ::..

  1. When I think about how much I love my boys, I get how much she loves me.  And I think that when you’ve been loved .. you can love.  ❤ Tomorrow, they’re taking me out for Tex-Mex and Margaritas, laughter and love.  And if she could, she’d be in there “like a dirty shirt.”

get-your-happy-on-quote-1

  1. Some of my best times with Mom have taken place when it was just the two of us; up late in a quiet house enjoying rambling conversations.  In those moments she told me more about herself and her life’s journey than I had known or imagined. Time stopped and we were just two good pals hanging out together– laughing, crying, looking back, and being grateful.   I’m so glad I took the time to know her as a woman and not just as my Mom.

Nameless moments

related:

In everything I’ve ever accomplished and all that I’ve ever experienced, I’ve had one tiny but mighty powerhouse behind me: my Mother.

The 3 words that describe her best?  She. Was. There.

* * *

Happy Mother’s day to all of you!  Please share a favorite memory of your Mom with me!

Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Confidence at any age, Determination, Faith, Family, Holidays, Home, Life, Love, Mom, Personal, Quotes, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , | 20 Comments

Random 5 Saturday- Radiators, Revolutions & True loves

Here we are at Saturday again and this week felt like four-in-one.

1.       Attended a meeting in an ancient City Hall recently and noticed steam radiators at the back. They took me back to grade 6 in our tiny prairie school.  That’s where we defrosted (homemade) wool mittens and, in a stroke of pure genius, my cousin and I convinced Mom and Aunt Irene to pack us grilled cheese sandwiches wrapped in foil. Why? About 30 minutes before noon you’d find those same foil packets set amongst the wet woolies and we’d guarantee ourselves ooey-gooey goodness for lunch.  I still remember the hissing and clanging sound those things made … and being cold most of the time.

 Radiator

2.       Went through a Starbucks drive-thru on my way back into town the other day. Now I don’t love Starbucks, as their coffee is a bit strong for me, and I’ve never adapted to their haughty sizing conventions. Venti-Grandayyyyy-whatever. I ordered a medium mild coffee with lots of cream and waited my turn in line. Well apparently we all waited too long because a gal behind me tooted her horn to get everyone going. Looking through the rear-view, I gave her what Mom always dubbed, “the look.” You know the look – you likely learned it from YOUR Mom. The look can turn someone into a pillar of salt. Anyways, confusing my acknowledgement for something else, she waved and offered what could politely be called a “hurry up” gesture.  Quietly and deliberately, I took my foot off the brake and put my car in park.  For a minute.  Or two. Maybe three? Who knows?  Just long enough to see her wave her hands and lose her you-know-what. Just long enough to send a message of, “Hey Honey, don’t mess with old(er) people.  Ta-wanda!”

 3.       Speaking of Tawanda, a bowling acquaintance told me I remind her of Kathy Bates in “Fried Green Tomatoes.”  I adore Kathy Bates but haven’t wrapped myself in Saran Wrap or hatched plans to smash some chick’s car in the parking lot … oh wait. See # 2. Ha!

I do love this movie!

I do love this movie!

4.        Next week oldest boy turns 30.  2 minutes ago he was this little.  Sniff, sniff.  He’ll always be my first true love.

That face! My boy. My first true love. An Emjayandthem (C) photo

That face! My boy. My first true love. An Emjayandthem (C) photo

5.       Yesterday marked 60 days grain-free.  60 days!  I’m feeling good, sleeping well, and no longer complain about aches & pains.  My skin’s happy, my clothes are looser, and I’ve found what works for me.  Social events are a challenge, travel can be as well, but you know what? I’m worth fighting for.  I’ve finally put myself on that d*mn to-do list I’ve carried around for 30 years.  Whoop!

TODOLIST

What’s random in your world this week?  What revolutions have you inspired in your mind?  Did you have alternate uses for heating appliances as a kid?  What’s the last kind thing you did for yourself?

Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Blogging, Confidence at any age, Determination, Faith, Family, Food, Growth, Humor, Joy, Life, Love, Men, Personal, Rants, Relationships, Self Discovery, Thoughts, Useful Information, Wisdom, Women, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

Random 5 ~ NYE

It’s Friday Thursday and New Year’s Eve.  Here are 5 randoms from my world:

1 Remember when New Year’s Eve was a big deal?  Getting dressed up, wiggling into pantyhose and new shoes and a sparkly little something to go out with a bunch of people, dance, and kiss under the 5-4-3-2-1 Happy New Year countdown?  It’s been years since I’ve felt like that.  Yes we’re going out with a group tonight – to dance, sing and such -but there’s no pantyhose in sight :).  I have a sparkly sweater in mind and we’ll probably be home by 10:30 to watch the ball drop in the basement ~ the only one I’m smooching is Hubbs.  🙂

What sparks your creativity? google.images.com

2 I’ve been on vacation this week but didn’t feel like it until yesterday.  You see I’ve been on conference calls and had people pinging me left, right and center.  Yesterday I slept in, pushed away that nagging feeling saying I “should” accomplish something and instead embraced the massage chair that accompanied a pedicure.  I sipped a Caramel Iced coffee and read Hollywood magazines, catching up on the lives of people I don’t know.  When I was done I drove my relaxed self home and warmed up leftovers for supper.    A better day was not to be had.  ❤

giant coffee

3   “A year of ending and beginning, a year of loss and finding…and all of you were with me through the storm. I drink to your health, your wealth, your fortune for long years to come, and I hope for many more days in which we can gather like this.”
― C.J. Cherryh, Fortress of Eagles

Mom me and sissy - wedding 2015

Me, Mom and my sister – August 2015.

4 Another year is upon us.  I stopped making resolutions a few years ago and instead continue to do what works for me — clearing away the clutter and making room for the good.  Getting rid of those who drain me and resisting the urge to let just anyone in. There’s a reason the rear view mirror is small and the windshield is wide.  😀

chapter

5 I’ve always loved this song.  And so I ask you this, “What are you doing New Year’s Eve?”

 

Happy New Year, friends!  ~MJ

 

 

Categories: Attitude, Blogging, Faith, Family, Grief, Holidays, Home, Life, Love, News, Opinion, Personal, Quotes, Romance, Seasons, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Christmas 2015 ~ Changes, lessons and blessings

Christmas has come and gone and with that comes time to reflect.  I have a few days off ahead of me and a couple of closets that need attention.  But I also have new books waiting on the end table … I think the books might win. 🙂

The grand kids were with us the night of the 23rd and all day the 24th, and our family feasted, played and opened presents that evening. It was fun and cozy and wonderful.  But it was also different.  You see things changed this year: they’ve slept over on Christmas eve for 3 years now, and we have embraced waking to two bright little faces … even if they do tend to get up on the early side.

But this year was different.  They wanted to go home, to hang their stockings there with Dad and his fiance.  That’s a very good sign that they know who their home is.

Still, we packed as much in as we could, playing Yahtzee and Dice, making chocolate chip pancakes and lunches/snacks, enjoying Holiday movies like “Elf” and “Prancer” and calling the Santa Tracker regularly to check on the big guy’s whereabouts. We read the story of Jesus’ birth and “The Night before Christmas.”    At the end of the night, as Dad and his love bundled them up, they were sleepy but excited to go home, see the dog and put out cookies for Santa.

Several times that day I had tried calling Mom but she didn’t answer; what I didn’t know is she’s congested again and that impacts her hearing.  The phone is next to her, but she never heard it ring.  Talking with my sister Christmas Day she relayed that she and my oldest brother spent part of the day with Mom and how much she enjoyed it but that it played her out, too.   I shared my connectivity concerns and she suggested I call the front desk and have them bring Mom the portable phone, which we did.  For about 5 minutes Mom chatted with me, Hubbs and youngest boy, and while our conversations were brief,  we all expressed our love and gratitude for her as well as our sincere wishes for a Happy Christmas.  We each had a tear when the call ended. And if the time comes that she can no longer hear well enough to talk on the phone, I guess I’ll have to come up with an alternative.

I’ve beat myself up for weeks,  wondering why I wasn’t feeling it ~ the Christmas “spirit.”

I can see now that life has been preparing me for another change.  Time to let some things go – to roll with the changes – and to land safely on the other side.   I’m trying to remain open as to what He has in store for me.

a time to keep

“Sacred blessings and divine opportunities appear in your life disguised as unforeseen changes and challenging circumstances.” ― Miya Yamanouchi

 

What changes are you sensing?  Are you able to roll with them?

Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Confidence at any age, Determination, Faith, Family, fear, Grief, Growth, Holidays, Life, Life Lessons, Love, Mom, Personal, Quotes, Relationships, Seasons, Self Discovery, Thoughts, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Random 5 Friday and special occasions

It’s Friday and the day after Thanksgiving, and Black Friday for all the shoppers. Here are 5 randoms from my world this week:

1  Sent most of the leftovers home with oldest boy & his family last night.  It’s yummy and all but one plate of that calorie-dense food is enough for me.  I’m still full today! Normally I would have enjoyed a piece of pie with my morning coffee today but instead I opted for a nutrient-rich Nutribullet smoothie.  It’s all about balance.  And saving room for a burger later. 🙂

funny!

funny!

2  The house still smells like Thanksgiving dinner.    There’s no candle that could match it!

peanuts-thanksgiving

3  When I was a girl Mom’s Holiday table was a sight to see  – she used her  best china, cut crystal and tablecloths. The table was set several days ahead and we’d circle it, marveling at the tiny decorated Christmas trees or crafted pumpkins down the middle. At mealtime we were given a small bit of Ginger Ale to sip from a goblet, and she served shrimp cocktail to all – young and old. Learning to use those tiny forks and handle fine china – those experiences are precious to me.   Most importantly, she taught us not to save our best for company but to share with all who gather.   The grands are learning how to leave the table without taking the table-cloth with them, they have their own “special” goblets to use, and they and our boys have learned they’re special enough to warrant the good stuff.

cut crystal

“Start living now. Stop saving the good china for that special occasion. Stop withholding your love until that special person materializes. Every day you are alive is a special occasion. Every minute, every breath, is a gift from God.” – Mary Manin Morrissey

 

4  When asked recently if I would be shopping on Black Friday I gave my patent response, “Not without a gun to my head.”  You see I tried it once, years ago, and it was miserable. Life lessons abound, though, because standing in line for a long time affords one the opportunity to determine how badly you want/need the item you’re about to “save” $$ on.  I remember putting it back and leaving the store where I waited for my friends in the fresh air.  People rushed past me, I was the only one smiling, and I learned I’ll happily 1) pay full price to avoid all that or 2) go without.

5  Saw this a few days ago and knew you needed to see it, too.  Happy Thanksgiving, friends.

grateful for

** How was your “Turkey” Day?

What traditions have you kept from your childhood and which ones have changed? **

Categories: Attitude, Faith, Family, Food, Holidays, Home, Life Lessons, Love, Personal, Quotes, Thoughts, Traditions | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

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