Quotes

On Choices

“Attitude is a choice. Happiness is a choice. Optimism is a choice. Kindness is a choice. Giving is a choice. Respect is a choice. Whatever choice you make makes you. Choose wisely.” – Roy T. Bennett, “The Light in the Heart”

Autumn makes me happy. Of all my seasons to choose from, this is the one that makes my heart sing ~ the colors, the sights, the smells. I love Autumn!

My favorite neighborhood tree!

A dog’s attitude is a great reminder on how to live: play, play, play, sleep.

Sully with a stick = happiness

Being and staying healthy makes me happy.

And grateful.

Every day I choose to put myself on the “to-do” list I’ve carried for 40+ years.

I choose movement, engagement, discernment, nutrition, and sleep.

I choose by turning off the “news” & smart phones and reaching for a book instead.

I choose by tuning out the voices who blather on with opinions on issues or choices they’ve never lived, researched, or attempted.

I choose to walk outside even if that involves gloves and long johns.

I choose to go to bed sooner and get up earlier to savor the sacred stillness of a quiet morning.

I choose to honor my body with real, whole foods made at home by yours truly.

I choose me.

What are you choosing? Have you put yourself on your “to-do” list yet? If not, why not? If not now, when?

Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Confidence at any age, Determination, Elections, Faith, Gratitude, Growth, Home, Life, News, Opinion, Personal, Politics, Quotes, Self Discovery, Thoughts, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Thanks God

“If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, “thank you,” that would suffice.” -Meister Eckhart

I’m so thankful that the stress-reliever walks I started taking in March morphed into a daily walks of gratitude. I’m so grateful to not miss T-H-I-S!

What are you thankful for today?

Chief is thankful for friendly neighbors who love dogs!

Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Faith, Gratitude, Growth, Life, Quotes, Seasons, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

The Good Stuff

Chatting with my sister yesterday we laughed about how, like Mom, we wear the same things over and over: A raggedy tee shirt, a fraying nightie, favorite shorts with a rip in the pocket.

There’s comfort in old clothes and in old things ~ they’re worn and soft and easy on the skin. We know what to expect and they deliver. It’s not that we can’t buy new clothes, we can. It’s not that we can’t wear new clothes, we do. But, time and again, we reach for what’s comfortable, what’s familiar, what endures.

  • Old recipes on batter-stained pages.

  • Coffee cups that fit our hands.

  • The love of an old pet who leans in for more.
  • How good the house smells as something simmers in the kitchen.

We talked further about “the good stuff,” about how, as you get older, material “stuff” matters less and less. What we want are connections, meaningful conversations, comfortable temperatures, good stories, tasty foods, deep sleep, great coffee, and loyal friends. We want our kids and grands and pets to be OK and everyone we know to feel safe and loved and remembered.   And in the chaos this year has brought we reach for the good stuff.

 

 

 

  • Can you relate to our conversation?
  • What does your “good stuff” involve?

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Confidence at any age, Faith, Family, Food, Gratitude, Growth, Home, Joy, Opinion, Personal, Quotes, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Random 5 Sunday ~Pandemic Pantries, Hanging on, Good Trees and Quiet

It’s Sunday in Summer and time for 5 randoms from my world.  Ready? Let’s go!

1 ) Pandemic Groceries – Still working my way through our pandemic-groceries.   Background: at the start of the lock-downs, Hubbs was doing the weekly grocery shopping, a task he enjoyed very much. I pulled the plug on his outings given his asthma & other risk factors.  Other risk factors included the potential for altercations in Aisle #5 (paper aisle).   But before our shift change in late-April, he was Mr. Pandemic-buyer.  I think we have enough canned goods to last to 2028.  With just two of us, it was already difficult to cook “small,” (I grew up in a family of 7… leftovers were a rarity in my house, and Mom prepared multiple meals daily).      But while I’ve teased him about his purchases, I admit to having enjoyed “perusing” the pantry to set a meal plan for the week.   Not ours, but pantry-envy worthy!

2 ) Hanging on – There’s been a shift again working remotely ~ we haven’t re-ordered letterhead or business cards.  With no in-person meetings now or anytime soon, there’s simply no need. Logos & return addresses can be affixed digitally, e-copies suffice.  Conversely, my days are longer than ever because I start earlier and work later.  I exercise early mornings but rarely take breaks or more than 15 minutes for lunch.  It’s not uncommon to have Corporate schedule (video) calls that start at 5pm, 6pm or later.  It’s a weird world nowadays.   I’m adapting, what else can you do?

Hanging on!

3 )  Great trees make me grin – Below are a few of my favorite neighborhood trees ~ totally climb-able.   Being raised a prairie child I shall forever appreciate a great tree.

Aren’t they gorgeous?

4 ) Quiet: The older and busier I get the more I savor quiet ~ the quiet of an early morning, a Sunday afternoon, or that moment when dusk turns to night.   Hubbs is a TV-on-all-the-time kind of guy.  He often wanders through the house to find me tucked into a book, the only sound that of a slow summer fan.  Ahh.

  • “Have you ever heard the wonderful silence just before the dawn? Or the quiet and calm just as a storm ends? Or perhaps you know the silence when you haven’t the answer to a question you’ve been asked, or the hush of a country road at night, or the expectant pause of a room full of people when someone is just about to speak, or, most beautiful of all, the moment after the door closes and you’re alone in the whole house? Each one is different, you know, and all very beautiful if you listen carefully.”  Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth.

The magic of a summer read in a house full of quiet.

5 )  Driving.   I don’t know what’s up but some appear to have lost their ability to make rational decisions AND drive at the same time.   I blame the masks!

So … how was your week?

Categories: Attitude, Determination, Faith, Fun, Growth, Home, Joy, Life, News, Opinion, Personal, Quotes, Seasons, Self Discovery, Uncategorized, Wisdom, Women, Work | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Love in a rocking chair

Going through family photos last year, I snapped cell photos of the ones I wanted and this one takes me right back to our farm Kitchen, the heart of our home.

and Emjayandthem (C) photo

– The morning sun streaming in through sheer curtains trimmed in cheery yellow.

– The metal pail to the right, filled with garden tools and produce.

– A can of coffee and a tin of Raleigh salve atop the fridge.

– …. and our family rocking chair.

It’s where she sat restless kids or misbehavers, those who needed “time to think.”

It’s where she put us as she laced up shoes & boots, tied scarves and matched up mittens.

It’s where she placed items before heading to town – a baby gift, a dessert to drop at the rink, a bill to be paid.

It’s where she read to us – and where we learned that, reading to children, even before they can understand words, teaches them to associate books with love and affection.

She taught us there was always time for stories, for love and affection.

No wonder I love books – and her – so much.

 + + +

What does this photo say to you?

Categories: Beauty, Blogging, Family, Growth, Home, Joy, Life, Mom, Opinion, Personal, Quotes, Thoughts, Wisdom, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

September, Stew and Dog Stories

September is here ~ I’m delighted because it’s one of my favorite months!

I’m leaning in for:

  • A steady stream of sunny days
  • A significant drop in humidity (my hair approves!)
  • Stew simmering in the Crock pot
    • This morning the kitchen smells of savory meat, root vegetables and pepper
      • No fall candle can top that!
  • The start of College Football
  • Windows open, A/C off
  • Sweater weather returns
    • But we may need shorts & a hoodie in the same day!

Tracking Hurricane Dorian and scrolling through other news stories, this caught my attention:

When I was a girl, we ended up with a Pit Bull at our farm ~ one of Dad’s jockeys brought him to Canada from Louisiana, probably illegally.  He was skinny and jumpy, tied up all day in the city.   Brian brought him out in the spring when they broke horses and when he left, Butkus stayed.  Filled out. Bulked up.  He followed Dad everywhere ~ he snorted and  drooled and intimidated everyone who pulled into the farm yard.  But he was a big baby ~ a cuddle bear, he loved to play tug-o-war and lie on his back for belly scratches.   The irony of his ruff & tuff exterior was that it was two “safe” dog breeds – an idiot neighbor’s Labrador & Dalmatian, who got to him.  They fought, he lost; he crawled home where he died in my Dad’s arms.     #therearenobaddogs

Now, I don’t want to end this post with you upset and sad, so I offer you this —

Ha Ha!

  • Any dog stories to share?
  • What do you love about September?
  • Are you craving stew now?

 

 

Categories: Animals, Attitude, Family, Growth, News, Opinion, Quotes, Seasons, Uncategorized, Women, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Jet-Skis, Bullies and Towanda

I was so looking forward to this day: a gathering at a friends’ lake house.  A day of sunshine, water, good eats, laughter, camaraderie  & pontoon rides.  A day of good tunes, easy conversations, jet skis, sunblock and beach hair.

Like I do, I carefully planned the foods I’d bring, deciding on a fresh peach/blueberry cobbler & an appetizer dip.    Hubbs and I eagerly anticipated the day, the forecast was perfect for a country ride “up” to the lake house, and the camaraderie we were soon to experience.

Arriving just after 1pm we set down the coolers and arranged chairs;  food covered their kitchen counter and friends hugged hello, gathering around the patio table.  Classic 70s rock playing in the background, a waterfall trickled softly and we savored the summer breeze off the lake.

Soon the Hostess asked if I was up for a ride on her “new” jet ski, the high powered one gleaming in the distance.  “You bet,” I answered but “let’s visit first.” And so we did.   When I offered how I didn’t bring my swimsuit and just had a tee shirt & shorts she promised, “I won’t get you wet.”  And I know she knows what she’s doing .. so I went with it.

As we strapped on life vests and headed to the dock, another couple joined the party – so soon came more greetings before climbing onto the Sea-do.   Heading to the open water, with my pal driving and me holding  tight, we navigated smaller waves until a time she could “open it up” – flying now – fast and tight, my hair whipping behind me, I caught a glimpse at the speedometer: 57mph.  Shrieking, we leaned into a turn, jumped the wake left by a puttering pontoon boat, both of us rocketing forward and laughing our heads off.   Hanging on,  fully exhilarated, truly living.

Having an “it-doesn’t-get-better-than-this-moment,” and then some. 😀

Life is too short to sit on the shore!

We circled a few times then made our way back to the dock where friends gathered, men on the deck, ladies on chairs in the shallow water, waves lapping their calves.   Coasting into shore, I commented on how good of a driver my friend is, and thanked her that I did not have one drop of water on me, amazing!   We hopped off and waded  towards shore, where the women gathered.   With everyone watching, one gal commented “you went all that way and didn’t even get wet” and I nodded and smiled, about to compliment my friend on her excellent command of the machine.  But before I could do so, that same woman reached down and, with both hands, doused me in water, from head to toe.  Water soaked my hair, dripped down my sunglasses and face, top, shorts and underwear now completely drenched, with rivulets of water running down my legs.  I stood there in shocked disbelief, having my own “Carrie” moment, trying to come to terms with what just happened.

What. The. ???    What’s wrong with you?

Stephen King’s 1970’s Horror classic, “Carrie”

Looking back, there’s a part of me that almost did what I’d always done: “take the high road” “turn the other cheek” and all that other passive bullsh*t I’d been preached to my whole life. The same words that always translated to just lie down, be quiet and take it.

And I might have done that until I saw another so-called friend laughing.

And that was it. That was the tipping point.

Shaking water off my sunglasses while simultaneously wiping it from my eyes I looked around at those who looked away, said nothing, and the splasher and that one “friend” laughing.

All at my expense.  Nice.

I’m 5’2″ and the splasher well she’s 3 years younger and 4″ taller.

But it only took an second – I lunged at her with both hands, knocking her off her feet.

I’m petty sure she got air before landing in that lake sideways with a thud.   Sputtering she got up yelling, flailing  and swearing …. “I thought you were a nice girl” and my response was this, “I am. You started it.  Want some more?”

Women backed off, clucked, fussed and did nothing.

Someone said “this feels like High School” and I answered “YEP it sure does,  I hope you all remember who started it.  Just keep it up and I’ll finish it!”

  • I probably should feel remorse …. but I don’t.
  • I probably should be embarrassed …. but I’m not.
  • I hit her with everything I’ve got and then some. And I’d do it again.

#Sorrynotsorry

Maybe when bullies decide they’re going to pick someone’s hide, they should consider who they’re picking: in my case, she picked a 50-something woman who’s had enough of immature jerks and is no longer going to lie down and take it.

And I have better insurance, too.

 

Gotta love me some TOWANDA!

Your turn:

  • When’s the last time you dealt with a bully?
    • What did you do?
  • In the situation described above, what would you have done if you were me?
    • Why?
  • If you ever retaliated against someone’s nastiness, how did leave you feeling?
    • I don’t feel great about it, but I don’t feel bad, either.  😀

 

Categories: Attitude, Confidence at any age, Determination, Faith, Growth, Life Lessons, Opinion, Personal, Quotes, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Reading through several lives

It’s National Book Lovers Day!

This should be a national holiday .. with paid time off .. with cozy chairs and coffee/tea for anyone interested. 😀

I’ve written before of my love affair with books .. and it hearkens back to being a very young girl.  Cozied up next to Mom while she read me a story, I remember the heat of her body on mine as I leaned in wide-eyed and wondering.

Mom took me for my first Library card before I started school and I still remember the joy felt filling the book bag up to the top, the weight of it necessitating a drag to the Oldsmobile.   Sorting through my choices, the smells filling my senses, I lined my books up in order of priority.

I remember a similar thrill when the Book Fair came ’round each school year ~ bringing home the paper-thin order sheet and circling choices, then handing my list over for her review and approval.  She always encouraged us to “read up,” and we discussed choices and our reasoning behind them.  Looking back, I can see she favored intelligent choices and those fought hard for.  And if you couldn’t defend it, you didn’t need it.

  • Another one of her life lessons right there!

And, as I’ve grown, books remain a comfort to me ~ a place I love to belong.

A summer read takes me back to our backyard canvas tent, reading my sister’s “Valley of the Dolls” or “Love Story” before moving on to “It” or “Roots” or other intriguing plots.

A winter read can transport me back under the covers of our shared girls’ bedroom, the weight of winter blankets cocooning me into a drowsy state of relaxation.

It’s National Book Lovers Day ~ but I’m celebrating all year long!

“A great book should leave you with many experiences, and slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading.”  ― William Styron, Conversations with William Styron

 

  • Are you celebrating National Book Lovers Day with me?
  • If you’re a reader, who encouraged your love of reading?
  • What recent book are you still thinking about?
    • for me, it’s “The Nightingale” by Kristin Hannah

 

Categories: Attitude, Blogging, Confidence at any age, Determination, Family, Home, Life, Mom, News, Opinion, Personal, Quotes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

The last thing to grow

It’s August already! Summer took forever to arrive and now it’s flying by .. “Back to School”  supplies have been on store shelves since 4 seconds after the 4th.  We’ll blink and Halloween will be here.

For me, the first half of the year flew by due to copious amounts of work travel, work schedule, work projects, work calls and … work.

One thing that’s saved me has been steadily indulging my passion: reading.   I’m devouring books on planes and in hotel rooms; picking up more at bookstores in tiny towns as I pass through.  I’ve lost count of the number read this summer … but it’s not about the number.  It’s about the departure.  Falling into a good book is like coming home.

Just finished. Delicious!

Recently I saw these words below and they resonated with me.   Not just because I adore the fruits of summer … cherries, watermelon, and fresh peaches coming soon … but because, just like in life, we can’t feel our growth until the fruits begin to appear.

 

  • Can you relate?
  • What passions do you want to indulge?
  • What are you reading this summer?
Categories: Attitude, Confidence at any age, Faith, Growth, Life, Life Lessons, Personal, Quotes, Seasons, Self Discovery | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Served what you deserve

This recent article about a suspected Rhino poacher who was trampled by Elephant(s) and then eaten by lions .. y-ouch!

It takes me back to working for a belligerent trophy-hunting executive years ago, the one whose African Safari journey ended in a big fat slice of Karma Pie.

this is what I imagine Karma pie to look like .. but maybe it’s chunky and hard to choke down?

Or the snarky sneaky lying rat of a boss who finally met his match and helped this believer drop 250 lbs in one day.

Karma’s coming!

Yep, every time I hear of a story like this, I’m reminded of something I’ve always told our boys:

  • Karma is only bad if you are

 

 

  • Do you believe in Karma?
  • Have you witnessed Karma coming full circle – in good ways and bad?

Categories: Attitude, Determination, Growth, Life, Life Lessons, music, News, Opinion, Personal, Quotes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

When the soul weeps

I still miss her.

Mom.

This July will be 3 years.

She would not want this, she’d chide me, give me sh*t and push me to “get on with it, for Heavens sake.”

She’d even snort once or twice.

She in her cat-eye glasses and pedal pushers.

She.

All 100 lbs of her.

I miss her.

I long for our conversations.

I suppose I always will.

The depth. The breadth. The range.

The absurd, the large, the small, the swing of it all.

I see her face in little old ladies faces at the grocery story, except they don’t carry a red purse or possess the spunk she did.

You know what I miss most?  Our friendship.

How lucky was I?

I know I should just “deal” and be grateful, and I am.

But her name was Gay, and she epitomized the word fierce.

Mom on Buck, an Emjayandthem (C) photo

And I miss her.

 

“The worst type of crying wasn’t the kind everyone could see–the wailing on street corners, the tearing at clothes. No, the worst kind happened when your soul wept and no matter what you did, there was no way to comfort it. A section withered and became a scar on the part of your soul that survived. For people like me and Echo, our souls contained more scar tissue than life.”
Katie McGarry, Pushing the Limits

 

Who are you missing tonight?

Categories: Beauty, Determination, Family, Grief, Home, Love, Mom, Personal, Quotes, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Random 5 Snow Day(s) ~ town buddies, pant checks and heroes

Like much of the country, we’ve been smack in the middle of a winter storm for nearly a week and today, temperatures plummeted ~ Meteorologists are breathlessly reporting, “Polar Vortex, Arctic Chill and Extreme cold warnings!!” as the furnace hums steadily. I was up long before I needed to be but enjoyed puttering around the house in winter’s quiet.

Seeing the scroll of school, church and business closings last night I couldn’t help but remember my farm childhood and hearing two deliciously wonderful words at morning’s cusp, “SNOW DAY!”  And my snowy memories inspired me to post these Random Snow Day Thoughts ~ here we go:

1 )  Growing up in the country farm kids like me had a “town” buddy in case severe weather came quickly.  My town buddy was a classmate named Melanie Wright – her house was in the middle of the village.  I’d estimate a walk there took less than 10 minutes but it sure felt longer to me.  I recall spending the night once or twice, being fed and warm but also terribly homesick.  I couldn’t have been more than 7 or 8.   I think that’s Melanie in the sailor dress next to me (in the bow tie), front row.

  • This picture represents 2 grades; my grade was one of the largest with 11 kids.
    • We often had 3 grades sharing one room in our little brick schoolhouse ~ God Bless our teachers!

Class picture, an Emjayandthem (C) photo

2 )  Bitter blizzards and freezing winds take me right back to Mom’s kitchen where she, the 100lb dynamo, would stand at the door and make my siblings & I pull up our pant legs to give evidence of tights or long johns underneath. No negotiating,  no exceptions, “don’teventryit.”    She showed her love and care for us in a multitude of ways but the love I felt via a pants inspection lingers with me still.  Man I miss her.

Mom & Sport, winter 1952-53. An Emjayandthem (C) photo

3 )  Being home since last Thursday I’ve leaned into my stack of books. Read 3, ordered 4 more, and plan on starting another tonight.   Couldn’t. Be. Cozier.

“The world was hers for the reading.” – Betty Smith

Bucket List Goals: Trinity College Library in Dublin, Ireland

4 ) Our local news has been sharing heartwarming stories of folks stepping up to help others out of a snowy ditch, clearing sidewalks, checking on elderly neighbors and even rescuing dogs out in the (dangerous) cold.   I have my own story to share:   a  situation arose late Monday that necessitated me making a quick trip to the office to pick up several (specialty) items ~ these were to be shipped to a colleague in another state.  The request came Monday evening, in the midst of white-out conditions with winter warnings” all around.   Pondering my next move, Hubbs made it easy, “I’ll take you.”    Yes I could have driven myself but that wasn’t the point.   Accompanied by his calm demeanor, fuzzy pants and snow boots, we set out the next day ~ roads were awful, snow-covered and icy.  Visibility was maybe 12 feet.  It was in that moment I was reminded of something Mom had always said:  Romance is not always flowers and chocolates … it’s someone willing to lay down a brick for you, over and over and over again.   And, as usual, she was right.

5 )  With 480+ area schools on an extended winter break, Schwartz Creek School Administrators in Clayton Township, Michigan got their “Snow Day” announcement just right  ~  Hallelujah, indeed! 🙂

 

  • Is the 2019 Polar Vortex affecting you / your area?
  • Did you have a “storm buddy” as a child?
  • Any “hero” stories to share?
  • Ever had a “pants” inspection?

 

Categories: Attitude, Determination, Faith, Family, Fun, Gratitude, Home, Joy, Life, Love, Mom, News, Personal, Quotes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

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Better Days Blog

Learning from yesterday, living for today

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 four opinionated cats

Renee Johnson Writes

Novelist, Traveler, and More

Life Is A Journey... Not A Guided Tour

My Journey From Merchant Mariner to Mother, And Spiritual Being.

notquiteold

Nancy Roman

She's A Maineiac

just another plaid-wearin' java-sippin' girl

I also live on a farm

Just another WordPress.com weblog

Wordsmith's Desk

some thoughts along the way

Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

music, poetry, musings, photography and philosophy from a woman who found her way back home and wants you to come over for a hike and a cocktail.

these days of mine

Stop in and see what's happening during these days of mine

When I Ride...

How life coaches me as I ride...

RICH RIPLEY

EMPLOYEES MUST WASH HANDS...