Personal

On being a citizen

* Originally posted July 3, 2013.

* * *

What does being a citizen mean to you?  Really mean?

Does it mean you can vote? Does it mean you belong?

What does it mean?

To me, it means a defining moment in my life.

It represents the moment I stepped away from what my family might think and into what I thought.

To me, it means the opportunity to have a voice.

To have a say.

To count.

Sure I’d had responsibilities all along (taxes). But I’d never had a voice to go with it. (the ability to vote)

Yes, as a Canadian, I had those rights already. But as a Canadian woman living in the United States with her husband and sons, I always had an underlying feeling of being in limbo. Of belonging to one place but living in another. Of feeling .. disconnected.

But not anymore.

Why?

Because I’m a new citizen; Five years ago, I stepped up with 78 others  (from 34 different countries) to take the Oath of Citizenship.  It was one of the proudest and most emotional  moments of my life.  (more about my journey here.)

The thing is … I could be a citizen for 40 years and I’ll still choose to say that  I’m a “new” citizen.  Why? Because I don’t know how else to communicate the significance of it all to me.

God Bless America, Land that I love

Stand beside her,  and guide her

Thru the night with a light from above

From the mountains..to the prairies

To the oceans..White with foam

God Bless America!

    My Home Sweet Home

Happy birthday, America …. from this grateful citizen.

**This is my 12th Independence Day as a new citizen. I’ll celebrate the holiday with flair, independently, of course!

Categories: Attitude, Faith, Gratitude, Growth, Home, Joy, Life, News, Opinion, Patriotic, Personal, Thoughts, Vote | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Random 5 Friday ~ Bored & busy, dogs, rules and Grover

It’s Friday, here are my 5 randoms from “shelter in place” / COVID-19.   Such a strange time we’re living in.

1    I’m grateful to be employed and my job is busier than ever, so many conference calls – 3, 6, 10 a day.   Now, because we’re working remotely,  we’ve transitioned to Web/Video calls.     Maybe I’m just punchy from being home this long but there’s a small part of me that wants to train the webcam on my Grover puppet (had since I was 7), wonder if anyone would notice?

Bueller? Bueller?

2   Sometimes the calls I’ve been on are very interesting and sometimes they are calls to prepare for other calls.  During the latter, I bundle up and take a walk.   But other times, after a flurry of morning calls, I might have one or even no calls that afternoon.  I walk anyways but instead tune into podcasts (free).   One still resonates … the author talked about being “bored or busy.”  In this pandemic, many find themselves on one side or the other and wish for the opposite.  Busy?  Man, wish I had time to be bored!  Bored?  Man, wish I had something to do!  The point being that, regardless what we’re doing through this, NO ONE LIKES IT.  Why?  It wasn’t our choice.   Ding! Ding! Ding!    All we can do is do it.

Outta my way, peeps, I’ve got stuff to do!

3   Back to my walks, I’m dead serious when I say they are saving my life right now.  Getting fresh air, sunshine or not, with my Toque, scarf, coat and mittens, has been life-saving.  I wave to neighbors I’ve never seen before and smile at the dogs being walked.  And I haven’t seen a sad dog yet!     🙂

Our Frankie-bear resting during a walk; an Emjayandthem (C) photo.  Sure do miss him.

4  Hubbs and I are adapting – missing out on Easter with our kids & grands was hard, very hard.  He’s cried a few times from the stress of it all.  I’m a pretty strong individual but seeing my big-shouldered man cry makes me cry.  On the flip side, we belly-laugh about the silliest things:  songs we’ve made up, the 3,000 paper towels he has in reserve (but not so much TP),  pictures the kids send us of our grand kids and grand dogs.   Jokes back and forth.  Going through this together, I’m grateful that the life we live is a life worth rushing back to.

5   Michigan’s Governor has enacted some of the most Draconian stay-at-home orders possible;  folks are ticked, to put it mildly.    Under the rules, you can buy Pot, but not seeds for a garden.  You can buy Lotto Tickets and Liquor but not carpet or paint.   If you own a Michigan cottage “up north” you can’t travel there, but if you live out of state and own a Michigan cottage “up north,” you can.   Stupid.  People are stressed and some have ratted others “out” for perceived “wrongs.”  *Shudder*.   Freedom isn’t free and what’s legal isn’t always what’s moral.   And there are some in power who want this to drag on and on so as to create a nation of people dependent on the government.     Not me! *Shudder*

PS Not a Libertarian

 

So … how are you holding up? 

Categories: Attitude, Determination, Elections, Faith, Family, Growth, Home, Life, News, Opinion, Personal, Women, Work | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

12 Tiny Things You Can Do Right Now

  1. Go outside, look all the way up and take 3 deep breaths
  2. Open a window ~ let the spring air in
  3. Find sunshine and sit/stand in it 🙂
  4. Call a friend or family member just to check in
  5. Drink a glass of water
  6. Write a letter
  7. Turn off the “news”
  8. Offer to help someone – a meal, groceries, a roll of TP
  9. Sing & dance to a favorite song
  10. Push your shoulder blades back 3 x – feel the tension release?
  11. Reach down and touch your toes, ahh!
  12. Laugh

 

How are you doing in self-isolation?

#12tinythings

 

**This is my 1000th post, who knew?

 

Categories: Attitude, Confidence at any age, Determination, Faith, Fun, Growth, Home, News, Opinion, Personal, Self Discovery, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 10 Comments

Random 5 Friday ~ Soup, Social Distancing & Life Lessons

It’s Friday, the first Friday of our “stay-at-home” COVID-19 order.  I hope this finds you all safe & well ~ Here are my random 5 for today~

1 )  Being home is fine with me & Hubbs ~ we are both more introverted than not and home is our happy place. He’s wandering around, suffering from sports-withdrawal and is our resident news hawk.  Reading is my escape.  When it all gets too much, and it does, I turn off the 24/7 coverage and jump head-first into a book.

Lesson: both of us being home full-time has been a good practice run for retirement.

2 )  It’s been a week since I got sick, and 10 days for Hubbs.  We’re still coughing and appetites are slowly returning.  We’ve noshed on soups and omelettes, fruit and coffee.  Beef noodle vegetable was on the lunch menu yesterday and, because I come from a family of 7, I made enough for us, neighbors + some to freeze.  🙂

Lesson:  Yeah I could pare it back but neighbors are happy and the freezer is stocked.  All good.

3 )   I feel for the parents, home now full-time with kids, while worrying about safety, finances, job security, etc.    I say build a fort, play a board game, draw pictures, and cook together.  Let them get bored, it’s OK.   Kids don’t need to learn a new language or master advanced math right now, they just need you.

Lesson:  Do what you need to do & keep a sense of humor – for the best parent tweets about Social Distancing click here .

4 )  Benefits of staying home:

  • It takes me no time at all to get ready for work 🙂
    • I’m working longer hours and on back-to-back calls
      • Cough cough
  • No need to pack a lunch, I’m only 15 steps from the kitchen and the cook’s pretty good 🙂
    • Trying to avoid the “Quarantine 15”
  • Lesson ~
    • I love being home, I still enjoy working, and I miss being able to go out when I want
      • The lesson for me is that there’s always a lesson in there (Thanks Mom)

5 )  It’s a crazy, scary surreal time.  We’ll get through it.  After all, many of us grew up using this:

Lesson  – we are a (mostly) hearty bunch and a strong nation ~It might take a while but we’ll come back from this.

 

So how are you holding up? 

Categories: Attitude, Blogging, Confidence at any age, Determination, Faith, Family, Food, Growth, Home, Humor, Life, Life Lessons, News, Opinion, Personal, Random observations, Relationships, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

Control your controllable(s)

Crazy times we’re in ~  and that’s the understatement of the year!  New buzz words pepper our vocabulary ~

  • Quarantine
  • Self-isolate
  • Mitigate spread
  • Prepare, prepare , prepare

COVID-19. Pandemic. Confusion. Fear.

We are tucked in, with Hubbs battling a viral bug and me not far behind.   We’re on the mend and thankful for a stocked pantry with enough paper products for a while ~ no hoarding here.

Self-care is foremost including:

  • Hand-washing and cleaning
  • Fluids and plenty of rest
    • Slept 11 hours Friday and took a 2 hour nap Saturday
      • As Mom would say, “You must have needed it”
  • Reading, reading and reading
  • Turning off news after a while,  usually in evenings.
    • It’s hard to sleep after all that.
    • Updates bring more anxiety
  • Moving around and stretching
  • Laundry, washing jammies and sweatpants and blankies, because that’s what we’re using most
  • Cooking a little, enjoying eggs, fruit, tea and toast

Sending good thoughts to all  ~ We’re thankful our boys & their girls and all of our littles are well and at home.

Yep, we’re doing our best to “control our controllables” – and praying for patience for all ~

 

So ~ how are you doing?  Be safe and please stay home!  

 

Categories: Attitude, Faith, Family, fear, Home, Life, Love, News, Opinion, Personal, Thoughts, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Can’t say no

Grand-dog Sully

Grand-dog Sully is here for the weekend. He’s like having an 70lb toddler around, in/out, up/down, squeaky toy, wrestling toy, chew toy then knocked out-sleep.  I’m his favorite (I’m the cook & he’s no dummy) and while he likes hubbs he follows me ..and believes that he is a lap dog.

We were up & outside at 530, completed a yard inspection by 7:15 … at 25F. He barked at songbirds trilling – they know it’s warming up, but he missed the memo.  

I’m still recovering from dental hell but laughing at him has been good therapy.

And with that, I gotta go.  I promised my little pal I’d peruse the yard with him again after this last cup of coffee … and even though he is big and grown, when I look in his eyes I still see this:

baby Sullivan

What are you up to today?

Categories: Animals, Attitude, Family, Home, Humor, Joy, Life, Personal | Tags: , , , , | 10 Comments

The heart has no wrinkles

Happy Valentines Day! 💖💖💖

Recovering from dental surgery (an extraction & bone grafting to prepare for a future implant, ye-ouch), I feel the love from hubby – otherwise known as “he who doesn’t cook”- the same man who bought omelettes we could warm up.  He heats them just so, then cuts everything so I can eat it. (I had made soup but it’s too painful to slurp…)

I awoke with a start at 4 a.m. today and lay in bed thinking about the Valentines of my youth .. and remembered to being young/newly married, when we still bought gifts and cards and did all that “stuff” and I compared it to the love we share now.

And I smile my gap-toothed smile appreciating that “Real love” is hubby telling his wife – the one who looks like a goalie on the losing team “it’s not that bad” & then asks “is there anything I can do for you?” 

Real love is hubby asking “what book are you reading now?” even though he’d rather watch sports or politics than talk books. 📚

Real love shows up, checks in, accepts the bed hair, mismatched jammies and fusses to make sure all is well. Real love turns up the heat, warms up the leftovers, scolds with a finger point reminders to take the antibiotics and pain meds on a regular basis.    Real love does the best he can.

And that, my friends, is all the Valentines Love I need

I hope you are feeling loved today – be it self-love, partner love or pet love! XO

Related:

Happy Valentines Day !

1970s punch-out Valentines; google.images.com

 

Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Growth, Love, Men, News, Opinion, Personal, Relationships, Romance, Thoughts, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

More of my old friend

It’s the New Year and I’ve been (mostly) absent from this blog.  I’ve read yours (thank you for continuing to post while I’ve been away). You see, I’ve reconnected with an old friend ~ my books.

I’ve read, and read, and read some more.  Yes I’ve also cooked, cleaned, socialized, worked, and worked out .. yes, all that. But I’ve mostly leaned in and cozied up through this cold, dark January ~ So far Grand Rapids has had zero sunny days, 10 days with a little sun and 17 entirely cloudy days.  Until I read that article I hadn’t noticed!  You see between this little gadget shown below (used every morning) and all my delicious reading, I’m too content to care 🙂

I am relaxed and happier – all from doing what I love – with no guilt. Reading, learning, growing, and more.  So much more.

  • Does your reading activity go up in winter?
  • Is it sunny where you are?

“Never forget that once upon a time, in an unguarded moment, you recognized yourself as a friend.”
― Elizabeth Gilbert

  • (and this friend READS )
Categories: Attitude, Blogging, Faith, Fun, Growth, Home, Joy, Life, Love, Personal, Self Discovery, Share | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

That feeling ~ New Year’s 2019

December 31, 2019 ~ I woke to a darkened house, blanketed in quiet from the snow swirling down.  It’s New Year’s Eve ~ and here we are on the cusp of a new month, a new year, a new decade.

Just like that.

When asked my resolutions for 2020 and I answered quickly – it’s simple, really. All I have to do is look back at the past 11 days off,  and therein lives my answer.

In 2020 I’ll try my best to recreate that ~

  1. That feeling, as winter winds roar outside the windows and you lift your head up from reading for 4 hours straight, plowing through magazines and books without a care or a distraction, a deadline or a phone call.
  2. That feeling, stretching and waking gently, without the glaring jolt of an alarm.
  3. That feeling, when you listen to your body and move it a little more, haul the boxes and work up a sweat taking down and packing up and catch yourself smiling because it’s only 9:30 a.m. and you’ve been up for 3 hours already.
  4. That feeling, between two major holidays, when you’re not sure which day it is – is it a work day? is it a week day?   And you have to consult the calendar to confirm.  And laugh about it.
  5. That feeling when your sustenance consists of coffee, bacon, eggs, cheese, pickles and clementines.

Nope, no New Year/New You for me. Not this year. I’m gonna focus on finding more of that feeling denoted above.

Your turn:

  1. How are you ringing in the new year?
  2. Do you resolve to do things differently?
  3. Do you want more of what you already have?

 

“When life is sweet, say thank you and celebrate. When life is bitter, say thank you and grow.” —Shauna Niequist

Happy * New * Year *

Categories: Attitude, Blogging, Confidence at any age, Determination, Food, Growth, Holidays, Home, Humor, Joy, Life, News, Opinion, Personal, Self Discovery, Snarky, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Happy Boxing Day!

Happy Boxing Day!

Growing up in Canada, our holidays were chock-full of British influence; Canada is a jewel in the Commonwealth’s crown,  after all.   Mom used to tease us that Boxing Day was a day to clean up and box up (a ploy she cleverly used to get us to tidy the house).

As a child, Boxing Day was a full day of fun –a day of sledding & skating with cousins, adults playing cards, with everyone still full from feasting the day before.   As we got older Boxing Day brought dances and Curling socials, a time to visit all who’d come home for the Christmas holiday.  

google.images.com

Now it’s more commercialized with stores open for gift returns and clearance sale prices. 

But for me, it’s still a day to visit and we will be doing just that ~ And with temps approaching 60F here in West MI (not a snowflake in sight) we have the perfect weather to do so!

– To learn more about Boxing Day visit https://www.cnn.com/2019/12/26/world/boxing-day-facts-trnd/index.htm

 

So … what are you up to today?

Categories: Blogging, Family, Fun, Holidays, Home, Joy, Life, Personal, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Random 5 ~ Christmas 2019

Here we are, the eve of Christmas Eve, and here are my random 5 for the season:

1  )  Christmas in my hometown looked like this when I was a kid .. with more snow.   Oh how we’d look forward to our annual trip to admire the lights and do our shopping.  Of course we man-handled the toy displays that were set out especially for Christmas ~ our town didn’t have a “toy store,” but several of the “home goods” stores created a toy aisle for the Holiday (sometimes in the basement or upper level of the store, so cool!)  We’d pick out our gift for that special someone on our list (a cousin, a sibling) and 5 more for ourselves, chatting animatedly about each and every feature we admired and desired.   At the end of the outing we’d stop at the local Cafe for Chinese food or maybe a grilled cheese and Vico (Chocolate Milk) before heading home, singing Christmas carols all the way.   ~Magical!

70s Christmas

2 )  My work world/life has been so chaotic, stressful and busy that I completely missed the fact we are approaching a new decade in just 8 days.   I haven’t done any goal setting yet, but hearing that fact inspired me to ~ so much has changed in the past 10 years that I want to be intentional about the next 10.  Rise up, indeed!

Rise Up!

3 )   Speaking of changes, we welcomed a new little love into our world – Grandson Soren.  He’s beautiful and perfectly made and big sister (and all of us) are in love.   Soren is a family name; my great Uncle Soren was my Grandpa’s brother and their family hails from Sweden.   ❤

baby and big sissy ~ An Emjayandthem(C) photo

4 )  I recently had an opportunity to meet with the Governor and other dignitaries – like I do for any and all special occasions, I wore one of Mom’s rings (Peridot – her birthstone) so she could come along, too.

–  It was her ring on my right hand when I shook the hand of Governor and others.

–  It was her necklace and another one of her rings that I wore to meet baby Soren.

This is my way of sharing my excitement & delight with her ~ She – the 100lb dynamo – who during one rainy election, rode a tractor with Dad a muddy country mile to the highway so they could catch a ride into town to VOTE, would that moment. She – the woman who fought bureaucrats to keep polling stations located in small/rural areas so everyone could participate – she’d be pressing me for details, and grinning .. just as I am now.

Mom’s ring ~ an Emjayandthem(C) photo

4)  I attended little one’s Christmas party but wasn’t responsible for the snack list this year ~ this made me laugh so hard because I can totally see it happening.  oh Mylanta!

5 )  All silliness aside – it’s a joy to celebrate the reason for the season~

Luke 2:10-11 ESV: And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

  • Care to share memories from your childhood Christmases?
  • With a new decade approaching, are you setting goals or making any changes?
    • Wishing you peace at Christmas and always.

~ Merry Christmas! ~

Categories: Attitude, Blogging, Family, Food, Gratitude, Growth, Holidays, Home, Humor, Joy, Mom, News, Opinion, Personal, Politics, Seasons, Share, Women, Work | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Random 5 Friday – Opening day, extra days and Adulting

It’s Friday and time again for Five Randoms from my world.  Ready?  Let’s go!

1  –  November 15th – the “high Holiday”- it’s opening day of firearm/rifle season in Michigan.   Several years ago I traveled across the state on a beautiful Fall morning, completely oblivious that it was “opening day.”   About an hour into my two-hour trip my attention turned from my tunes to the abundance of men in Orange jackets and pickup trucks off-road.   Startled deer burst out of the woods and across the highway.    I’ve never made that mistake again- nope, no more opening day road trips for me!

High-tail it Martha!

2 – This made me laugh out loud because it’s a little too true and don’t you dare touch my red spatula!

3 – Last week my team & I put together our Holiday time-off schedule – it wasn’t until I did so that I realized I have an extra WEEK of vacation days to use before year-end.    My face when I realized the mistake in my favor:

swirling, twirling dance of JOY!

4 – As a result -I’ve taken the WHOLE week of Thanksgiving off + time at Christmas AND New Year’s- I have a new verb for what I’ll be doing:  Hallmarking!  I plan to sleep till I wake, read till I can’t, watch sappy movies, decorate, cook, clean, work out, putz around and mostly lean in hard to my highly-savored time OFF!

5 – Even with the holidays off I still have days to spare – I’m saving those for our new grand-baby’s December arrival.  I plan to cuddle and rock our little one, take care of Mom & Dad, cook, clean and fuss over them all.  ❤

When’s the last time a mistake worked in YOUR favor?  

Categories: Attitude, Confidence at any age, Family, Gratitude, Holidays, Home, Joy, Life, Love, Personal, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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Another Stir of the Spoon

Food, Art, Books, Birds and whatever...

A Little Wild Farm

Planting roots on our little wild farm.

Connie Rosser Riddle

Connecting with People in My Path

Atypical 60

A Typical Blog. A Typical Woman. A Typical Take On Life. With An Atypical Twist!

A New Day Dawns

Arise, shine; For your light has come!

Virginia Views

Country Living for Beginners

Views and Mews by Coffee Kat

Kate's views on life edited by three 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...