* 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.
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.
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!
We’re nearing the end of our July vacation ~ and it always amazes me how quickly vacation flies by!
Ahh the lazy days of summer. It’s hot, sticky and sunny. Even with my 70SPF I have a warm tan with tan lines where my flip flops go and tank tops end. As when I look back at all we’ve accomplished and had going these past 2 weeks it’s no wonder we’re both moving a little slow this weekend.
- I arrived home on a Friday after attending a 3 day corporate conference
- Had new window treatments installed (involved moving furniture/etc out of the way and back again)
- Played in a couples golf scramble
- all in the same day 😀
- what was I thinking?
- Say yes and you’ll figure it out later
- all in the same day 😀
- Picked my sister up from the plane and, for a week, stayed up late and got up early, still talking
- Visited the big lake (Lake Michigan) 2 x + Won and lost money at the Casino
- Cried watching “Toy Story 4” and “The Mustang”
- laughed at all the same places in “Bridesmaids”
- Reveled in the ability to sit across the table from each other, laughing until we choked while finishing each others sentences
- Skipped breakfast & enjoyed watermelon and cherries for lunch
- Savored pots of coffee & tea out on the patio with sister, Sully and Hubbs … plus a cold beer or two, too
- Up and outside early and to bed when tired with no alarm clocks – WHEE!
- Celebrated the 4th with amazing fireworks, dancing fireflies and neighbors
- Decorated the hall for the kid’s wedding and hosted the rehearsal dinner, ordered the limo, catering, bar, DJ and more plus managed the details!
- Helped him get ready on his big day
- Cried with Hubbs and my sister at ^^ above
- Smiled at his smile when he saw her
- Cried again
- Cried with Hubbs and my sister at ^^ above
- Witnessed their vows, celebrated by dancing with our boys, my sister, hubbs and friends.
- Polka’d till I lost my breath and then went out and did it again 🙂
- Cleaned up the hall and tumbled into bed
- Got up early & hosted a gift opening
- Languished in the hot tub
- Cared for, slept with and supervised grand-dog Sully ~ who is adorable and hilarious but a bit like having a 70lb toddler
Today I cooked up brunch, did some catalogue perusing and online shopping but still haven’t started on my books, there’s been no time. …. but I think I’ll take a page out of Sully’s book and go enjoy a nap in the a/c.
What are you up to today? Take any naps lately?
It’s time for Random 5 Sunday on the first Sunday in December:
- Thanksgiving week vacation: I’ve never taken the whole week of Thanksgiving off. I’ve taken a day here and a day there. But never the whole week. And now, ladies & gents, I do believe I have a new tradition ~ whoop!
- Hallmark Channel Holiday movies. While on vacation, I watched at least 5 Hallmark Holiday movies – sometimes I only caught the tail end or the beginning. You have to admit, the plot is easy to predict most of the time – a beautiful young lass soured on love by a jerky boyfriend moves back to her home town only to bump into the world’s hottest handy-man while shopping for her daughter who it turns out only made 1 friend at school – the (widowed) hottie’s son … and in just a matter of weeks she finds the love of her life, saves a small town business, rescues kittens and puppies and all they live happily ever after, over hot chocolate in perfectly coordinated tartan jackets ~ sigh
- Naps – glorious, wonderful, and life-redeeming. Because we stayed on our “normal” schedule during our time off, just 1 nap was enough. Somehow I kept up on my rest. Went back to work wide-awake and refreshed. And good thing, because I clocked 800+ miles last week alone!
- Travel plans ~ Sissy and I are planning a “sister’s” getaway – we’ll likely revisit Branson, MO for a week of visiting, shopping, visiting, shows and fun. We’ve visited there once before, 10 years ago, when we took Mom for her 77th birthday. What a great time we had – and such a relaxed and friendly place to be. After our 3rd night Mom happily chirped, “You know, I’ve never stayed in a hotel this many nights and I’ve never gone out for every single meal!” We were girlfriends on this trip you see, more than mother and daughters. She loved the adventure and spoke of it many times with fondness. I know she’d love that we’re planning to go back.
- Christmas Spirit: I wasn’t really feeling any Christmas spirit heading into our Family Christmas party last night. The hustle and bustle and holiday ho-ho-hos didn’t do it. Lots of yummy foods, hugs and merriment didn’t do it. No – it was capturing this picture – of wee cousins (with our grands in the mix) at the exact moment they all cheered “SANTA CLAUS” – that’s what did it.
“He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree.” ― Roy L. Smith
What randoms would you like to share? Are you feeling the Christmas spirit yet?
15 years ago today, we experienced an inconceivable tragedy when terrorists attacked our nation simply because of who we are and what we stand for. We will never forget.
4 years ago, we experienced this evil once again when 4 Americans were killed in a terrorist attack while serving in Benghazi, Libya. We will never forget.
We remember the heroic law enforcement officers, fireman and medical units who rushed TOWARDS danger when everyone ran from it. And our men and women in uniform who fiercely protected our freedom then and now.
So to the cowards whose jealousy and warped ideologies motivate attacks on us – I remember what happened here post 9/11: I remember people coming together NOT apart, strangers rescuing strangers and neighbors helping neighbors, people donating blood,money and food, an outpouring of love & pride for our country and renewed appreciation for our service men and women. We united this great nation as ONE. I never saw so many American Flags flying so bright and so often.
We were one nation indivisible with Liberty and Justice for all.
Sneaky terrorist creeps will never be able to take away what is intrinsic to our nature as citizens: our desire to live a full and FREE live. Honor. Faith. Hard work. Patriotism. And FREEDOM, BABY!
We remember the people we lost…and the heroes who rose.
Random 5 Friday is here again and wow – what a whirlwind it’s been. You should know that I’ve composed many posts in my head but I do believe random ramblings are all I’m capable of today 🙂
1) Packing. Moving. Sorting. Unpacking. Unmoving. Unsorting. I discovered a pattern: there wasn’t one. I’d been pretty organized ahead of it all and my guys did the heaving lifting. They did a great job grabbing boxes and putting them where they thought they should go. Awesome! That’s great till your first morning in your new house and you can find sweaters, socks and clothes for WINTER but can’t find lightweight dresses for SUMMER. GAH! I made it work but at my first meeting I probably looked like I dressed in the dark. Wonder if folks just think I have eclectic tastes?
2) Oldest boy is getting married in 2 weeks. 2 Weeks!! 2 minutes ago they got engaged. For more … read this post I wrote to her. With permission, it will be on display at the wedding! 🙂
3) It’s Canada Day today (!) and Independence Day Monday (!) – my 8th as a Citizen…. so much to celebrate! Hubbs is going to enjoy some golf, I’m going to unpack and cook and enjoy some down time with him out on the patio. You?
4) Working this morning then cleaning at the old house. I’ll scrub carpets, wash down walls, and pretty up the bathrooms. The house will go on the market next week – along with 3 others on our street! Thankfully it’s located in a desirable neighborhood with great schools and we’re in prime time to sell. Between you and me, I really hope a young family falls in love with it and I hope to God they get a dog. That house misses having a dog race downstairs in a thunderstorm, sniff the perimeters and cozy up to the fire. Our old dog Frankie can still be felt there and I like to think he’ll be part of the welcoming committee, especially once they spark up the grill!
5) 3 weeks has me flying home for a wedding & a visit with Mom. Years ago I bought her this picture and she hung it in her bedroom. It now hangs in my new house. She’d like that. I am looking forward to my nephew’s wedding and seeing everyone but mostly, I’m longing for time with her.
What are your plans this weekend? Have you ever shown up somewhere looking like you dressed in the dark? What random thought comes to mind when you hear the word, “moving?”
* * Happy Canada Day! Happy Independence Day! * *
I’ve written consistently about cleaning: cleaning out cupboards and sorting through friendships ~ deciding which to treasure and which to discard.
I’ve written on how learning to say “no” has made room to say “yes.”
To that end, there’s been a shift again, and I feel it. There’s an obvious one currently, a re-organization at work, and re-organizing at home. At work I’ve got new peeps to account for, and new generals to account to. That’s fine, it’s what I do. And, for the most part, I’m doing all I’ve done with the addition of – you guessed it – more. At home, renovations on the new-to-us house are coming along and there’s a move in our future, sometime in June.
In the meantime I can feel it ~ chaos swirls. Sleep evades and my mind spins.
My solution? A day off.
Tomorrow I’m stepping away – No schedule. No phone. No people.
Instead, sunshine, green grass, books and lemonade. Later a shower, the scent of sunscreen lingering on my skin and patio conversations with Hubbs.
Today ~ I’m not just remembering~ I’m reclaiming – her.
Can you see yourself in this post? When’s the last time you stepped away?
** Happy Memorial Day, my 8th as a citizen**
It’s Friday and time for 5 random happenings and observations from my world.
1. My Lilacs have come and gone but look who is making their grand debut?
2. Last night we ran the dishwasher, a routine task done a few times a week. It’s normally filled with plates, silverware and coffee cups. Youngest boy put a large sauce pot in the lower tray upside down. Reading quietly in the next room I heard a sound I couldn’t quite identify and then it hit me: the spray of water hitting the bottom of that pot reminded me of milking cows as a little girl. With 5 kids we always kept one or two milk cows and Dad would let us “help.” More often than not we tilted Bossie’s *ahem* appendages in such a way that the barn cats got both a milk shower and a good drink and we probably spilled more than we didn’t. Dad let us learn anyways. Memories come to us in the most random of ways don’t they?
3. I recently bought a “Fitbit” – a nifty little bracelet that works as a pedometer and tracks your sleep. (You can track other things, too, but those are the ones I was interested in.) The first day I wore it was a Saturday and, between laundry, groceries, and yard work, I clocked 6 miles. I slept well that night – 7 hours with 8 minutes of restlessness. I really wanted it for my D.C. trip next week because we walk so much, up and down stairs in the Capitol office buildings. Did you know that tunnels connect these buildings? They’re clean and well-lit, but old as time. I always feel a bit like Desmond in “L.O.S.T” in there … freaky. Oh and elevators are reserved for Members when Congress is in session. That means I’ll be hoofing it to everything — in heels. And yes, I think I’ll sleep well every night :).
4. This week my job took me to the Michigan State Capitol – the day we were there happened to be “Older Michiganians Day” which meant we had a steady stream of older folks touring the building and sometimes stopping to ask us questions. Everything was fine until two ladies came through and brazenly swiped several handfuls of cookies. Right in front of us. With a look in their eyes that said, “whaddyagonnadoboutit?” We looked at each other incredulously and shook our heads. People are fascinating! And that day I clocked 7.8 miles – in heels!
5. Jumping back to the Fitbit I also got it because, when I’m in the office, I’m aware I don’t move much. It was shocking to me that, by noon yesterday, after a morning of conference calls, I hadn’t yet hit 2,000 steps. That served as a powerful motivator to get in a workout! On the treadmill last night, thinking about all I have to do before I fly out Sunday, this song came on and I knew it had to be shared:
Whatever it is you may be going through
I know He’s not gonna let it get the best of you
You’re an overcomer
Stay in the fight ‘til the final round
You’re not going under
‘Cause God is holding you right now
You might be down for a moment
Feeling like it’s hopeless
That’s when He reminds You
That you’re an overcomer… You’re an overcomer!
Happy Friday, folks! What sound take you back to your childhood? Tried any neat gadgets lately? Ever witnessed Senior crime? What are you working hard at overcoming?
It’s time for five random thoughts from the ever-swirling mind of yours truly.
1. I’m off to D.C. soon and last week, with the help of my Congressional office, I booked a guided tour of the U.S. Capitol. Normally you should book these tours months in advance … my schedule is jam-packed while I’m there. I took a chance and found there was one spot left on the afternoon I was available. Luck or fate? I’m going with a bit of both. And, if you don’t ask, the answer is already “no.” Just ask – who knows?
2. Last Thursday marked 7 years as a citizen. 7 years ago I obtained my 2nd passport and voted (here) for the first time. 7 years. Stepping forward, with 78 other hopeful new citizens, that moment – and the memory – is still goose-bump-worthy.
3. I’ve been saying “Yes” as much as possible lately and enjoying what comes next. Last week I received an email from a long-time hero and mentor, Pat Katz. Pat, teen leader and champion from the 4-H days of my youth, now writer, speaker, motivator, coach, artist, and all around fabulous woman. She made a lasting impression on a young farm girl 36+ years ago and when we reconnected on Facebook, I felt like someone gave me the key to the cool kid’s club. She shared this quote below and encouraged me to continue saying yes – and mentioned how fun it would be to meet up the next time I’m in Saskatchewan. I immediately said yes – I’m going home for an August wedding and we’re grabbing a coffee and a hug at the airport arrival with my sissy Pat –and I’ll have my two favorite “Pats” in the same place – how sweet is that?
“Once you make up your mind and start something… Once you commit to it, say “Yes!” and never look back.
Do you have any doubt that I won’t rush to your side? That legions won’t be summoned? That players won’t be drawn to help, assist, and fall in love? That connections won’t be made? Circumstances won’t be crafted? Dots won’t be connected? That the course of history won’t be irrevocably changed?
Good, I didn’t think so.
I’d say you’re ready,”
– The Universe
4. This past week everything “popped” at once – not just Lilacs and other plants but the trees, too. I’m popping Claritin like candy … but is sure is green and lush and lovely. Spring has sprung!
5. I don’t care who you are or where you’ve worked – we have all sat through that one long, boring meeting, speech or sermon and then …
What are you waiting to say “Yes” to? What would you try if you knew there was no way you could fail?
Have a great Wednesday, Peeps!
It’s Thursday and it’s Random. Why today and not tomorrow? Because I am off tomorrow – whoop! Here are my 5 random thoughts this week:
1. 30 degree temperature swing from last Saturday to Tuesday. Sunshine all around. Smiles all around. Neighbors coming out of houses, folks chatting at the mailboxes – yes – Spring is in the air. Hallelujah!
2. Tried something new this week: Acupuncture! Years ago I was injured in a car accident and I still have pain in my neck where I was hurt. And, when stressed, I tend to clench my teeth. I’ve been stressed, so my neck and jaw have been aching and pain relievers don’t even touch it. Does this work? Not sure. How’d it feel? Like someone was sticking me with needles! 🙂 Truth be told, some points I didn’t feel, others burned and stung (i.e. in the jaw area- d’oh) and, after all pins were in I relaxed. Having to lie still might have been part of that, not something I’m used to doing. That night I felt drained and slept very deeply. Will I go back? Yes, a couple of times at least. The jury’s still out on this one.
3. I took tomorrow off thinking I might try to do something productive around here. Hubbs blessed me with this last night, “Why do you put so much pressure on yourself to always get things done? Take a day off and enjoy it – sleep in- or not – and if you accomplish nothing, who cares? I don’t.” I sure do love my #1 supporter and predict my face will be into my books! 🙂
4. I work with a narcissist. It took me the longest time to understand just exactly what this is. If you’ve not experienced it, be thankful. Here are a few traits that I’ve witnessed: (a) believes he or she is special and entitled to special privileges (translate: not for you), (b) requires copious amounts of admiration and will get it any way he/she can, (c) will exploit anyone – will step on anybody to meet his/her needs (translate: the bus will back over you many times), (d) has no issues lying or stretching the truth, especially if the new version benefits him or her, (e) lack of empathy for anyone but themselves – example: if they suffer a loss, the world will know. If you do, meh. (f) reverse envy – assumes everyone wants to be him/her. Over the years I have learned how to manage my interactions with this person but doing so has come with a price. See #2 and #3.
5. Despite our differences, I do try to come at all relationships with this thought: we are all people. We all have something to contribute. We are all everyday people.
How about you? Would you ever try acupuncture or another alternative treatment? Do you feel the need to “work” on your day off? Have you any Narcissists in your life? What do you learn from the most difficult personalities around you? Are you grooving to Sly now? 🙂
Happy Thursday, peeps.
1. It’s cold. Bitter cold. But the sun is shining and that helps everyone handle it better.
2. Last night we attended the *surprise* birthday party for a gentleman turning 90. I wish you could meet him – he’s fit, sharp, smart, witty and debonair. His vocabulary includes words like “marvelous” and “terrific,” all while holding a glass of Scotch and winking at his pretty wife. Listening to his children share stories he’d never told anyone – his 52 missions into North Korea as a fighter pilot – left us filled us with awe; listening to their tributes and love for him filled us with emotion. And when his OLDER brother’s voice cracked as he described their close relationship well .. everyone lost it. It was wonderful to hear the kind words with him, instead of waiting until after he’s left us.
3. As the party ended Hubbs and I both got up to clear tables and pack up food, gifts and decorations. I shouldn’t be but always am surprised by the ones who should help but don’t. However, had we not done that, Hubbs would not have heard these words from birthday boy’s wife, “You’re such a good man; I can always count on you … Thank you.” Aww.
4. Came across this list today and had to share it with you – 30 days of growth – there is a lot here and I can’t possibly do them all but 7, 11 and 14 resonated with me. You?
5. Back to work tomorrow. I have a few things to get around yet today but … for the most part, I’m ready.
How’s your Sunday shaping up? Attend any fun parties lately?