Thoughts

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

Random Tuesday 5 – Cakes, skies, closets and chaos

It’s been a weird summer  season year.  Yes it sure has, and that’s putting it mildly.

I have read your blogs but not been blogging myself.  So here are some of my thoughts on a random Tuesday ~

1 Birthday cake drive-bys- To celebrate Hubbs’ birthday, we had our boys & their girls +our grands over for a get-together this weekend.  After much deliberation – and out of all choices offered – a Texas Sheet Cake is what he chose for the celebration.   I get it, this cake is hard to beat.  See there are 4 sticks of butter and many cups of sugar/powdered sugar in this beauty.  8 or 10 tbsp of cocoa, and all sorts of other goodness.

You don’t get a sheen like that from margarine, no sir-eee-Bob.     Some was devoured, some went home with the kids but the one enjoying it most of all is Hubbs … you see, near what remains is a fork.  His fork.  A drive-by fork.  And I laugh every time I pass it by!

a before shot of the Texas Sheet Cake with overflowing frosting

2 )  September Skies –We’ve been enjoying the most beautiful weather – sunny, warm days, cool nights and, my favorite – BLUE SKIES as far as the eye can see.   Today it’s overcast and cold, but blue skies are coming back, per the forecast.  MY*FAVORITE!   There’s just something about a September sky …

Our Walnut tree and hubby’s head. Oops.

3)  Closet clean-outs.   I’ve been on a health kick for years.  But this year, between intermittent fasting & my daily walks, I’m seeing changes – big changes.   Most of my clothes no longer fit.  I took the advice of the experts and if it didn’t a) fit, b) flatter or c) make me want to wear it RIGHT NOW, it’s gone.   Pictured below is one of 3 piles that went to a) the consignment shoppe, b) donation drop-off or c) garbage bin.    Anything sagging, bagging or dragging is G-O-N-E.  And I was ruthless- tried on everything (that’s a workout, holy smokes!)  and now, a week later, I can only remember 2 of the 100s of items that went.   I kept 3 pairs of jeans, 2 are too big and should have gone, too – and I’m sure I kept them out of a sense of security.  Funny how we think, isn’t it?

every color under the sun & I won’t miss any of it. Never wore that plaid shirt once!

4 ) Fat loss – working on 6 of these, see picture below.  Since 1/1/20 I’ve lost 27lbs & 39.2″ – I’m 5’2″, 39inches is more than half of my height. Yes I am slowly shrinking — inward —  Intermittent Fasting (time-scheduled eating) for the WIN!  for more information visit Gin Stephens – Books on Intermittent Fasting.

5 )  Chaos – I don’t know about you but every time I go out I think, “why did I go out?”    I get it, it’s a trying time. But folks have forgotten their manners, forgotten how to drive, how to park, and what to do.  I think I’m staying in for the foreseeable future.   Coffee up!

So …. what are you up to?

 

Categories: Books, Determination, Faith, Family, Food, Growth, Holidays, Joy, Life, Love, Men, News, Opinion, Personal, Self Discovery, Thoughts, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

To just enjoy a book or two

 “Today I’d like to sit and read. 

Forget I have a job I need.

Ignore the things I have to do.

And just enjoy a book or two.”

I read.

I read a lot.

I read quickly.

I read often.

I read.

*

I read outside in the sun.

I read at night when my work is done.

I read to enjoy, to escape and relate.

I read at night, usually too late.

I read.

* I’ve not counted how many books I’ve read this year, but it’s safe to say my “Quarantine” pile is tall enough to topple over. I’d guess between 50-60.  My favorite this year has been “The Authenticity Project” by Clare Pooley.

Are you a reader? 🙂

 

Accurate!

 

 

Categories: Attitude, Determination, Fun, Growth, Home, Humor, Joy, Life, Personal, Products I love, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Women, Work | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

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 – Life Lessons, Favorites and Dogs

It’s the first Friday in June – wow!

Memorial Day passed without the Holiday ~ no parades or BBQs, somber or otherwise.    Lock-downs continue, with “social distancing,” face masks and the like.   I’m in Michigan where businesses are just now beginning to re-open but haircuts are banned (you can’t make this up).

Here are 5 randoms from my world view ~

1 )  Daily walks – what started in winter has continued and daily walks have saved my sanity.  I get away from the laptop to admire landscapes, pets and flowers while enjoying podcasts as I meander the neighborhood.

Lilacs in May

2 ) Lifelong learning ~ In addition to podcast learning and regular reading, another AHA lesson of late has been realizing AGAIN how much I love being home and how compatible Hubbs and I are.   We have our little rhythm going; part of the day is spent together, part not, and we like and need both the connection and the time apart.  I can’t imagine what this “stay at home” time would have been like had I been sheltered in place” with someone other than him.  🙂

3 )  Ch-ch-changes  I feel my body changing, adapting to and craving daily exercise.  My FitBit registers the “jump” in activity, from 5-6K/daily steps to 12-13K daily.   On rainy days I use my rebounder inside.   As a result, no “Quarantine 15” for me – actually, the reverse – I’ve lost lbs & inches, some due to exercise but most due to intermittent fasting, otherwise known as “time-restricted eating.”  No longer noshing throughout the day, I drink black coffee/water in the morning, open my “eating window” when my body signals that it’s hungry, usually somewhere around 12:30 -2pm.  Later, I enjoy dinner, listening for the “sigh” (your bodies’ signal it’s satiated) and stop, “closing” my eating window around 7-8pm.   Since I give my body a daily break from constantly digesting, fasting is healing and restorative. Think of it as letting the cleaning lady in to do the heavy lifting for you – she clears the junk away ~  As a result my clothes are bigger, I’m smaller, and my eyes, skin & hair are brighter.

I feel ah-mazing!  The best part? It’s. Free.  😀

4 ) Dogs & cats ~  76 days in and I’ve yet to see one dog unhappy with the “stay home/stay safe” order.  I see cats in sunny windows; everyone is adapting.   Below is my pal, Chief, a favorite from my walking route:

5 ) In Summary ~ the first half of 2020 brought us Russia-Gate, impeachment attempts, COVID-19, Murder Hornets, Civil Unrest & Riots ~ this about sums it up:

So, how’re you doing?

 

Categories: Animals, Blogging, Determination, Faith, Family, fear, Gratitude, Growth, Home, Life, News, Opinion, Seasons, Self Discovery, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 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

Random 5 Saturday ~ Birthdays, Rinks and COVID19

It’s Saturday, the sun is shining and it’s time for 5 randoms from my world.  Ready? Set? Go!

1 )  Celebrating oldest boy’s birthday later today ~ which called for some home-made baking straight out of Mommacita’s kitchen.   My blueberry-loving boy gets a blueberry/peach cobbler and the rest will enjoy a Triple Chocolate “Rink” Cake (good enough to take to the rink, a nod to the winter home of my childhood).  That sheen on the cake? That’s from butter in the homemade chocolate buttercream frosting.  Margarine is never gonna give you that sheen ~ Love baked in every bite!

Blueberry Peach Cobbler

Triple Chocolate “Rink” Cake

Indeed it is

2 ) Speaking of the Rink .. it remains the H E A R T of my prairie home. Talking with my sister last night she filled me in on the “Spa Spiel” happening this weekend – a 3 day curling bonspiel, with 16 teams, ages ranging from grade school to seniors.  (** Winning team gets a trip to the local hot springs Spa**)  The rink kitchen will be humming with volunteers frying onions for “rink burgers,”  serving up homemade pie, homemade soup and homemade buns, all donated from area residents.   Those not curling will be visiting, skating, playing cards, eating pie and enjoying what’s likely to be the last winter “hurrah” for the real ice of that small-town prairie rink.   Spring will come and the ice will go – it’s just the way it’s always been.

I remember coming in to warm up, after skating for hours, and finding enough change for an ice cold-coke or Sprite out of this cooler.   We’d pull our drink out of the frosty water, wipe it off with the rag that’d been there forever, and enjoy, our cheeks burning as they warmed.    It is not possible to craft a better childhood and I’m so glad to hear those prairie traditions continue!

the old Coca-Cola chest …

 

3 )  Signs of Spring are everywhere – but March came in like a Lamb.  We all know what that means!

Roar !

4 ) Woke up to emails from airlines that I have upcoming business trip tickets with  ~ and assurances about clean air and cabin cleaning….  No CoVid19 around here yet but the FLU (which kills thousands every year) has been rampant, with many schools having to close for a week at a time.   NoroVirus, Influenza A and H1N1 are all in play – blah.   Between us, I’ve got a feeling my corporate conferences are about to be scrapped.   And that’s OK by me.

5 )  My new indulgence – Cuban coffee  ~ oh Mylanta, so good!

 

What’s new in your world?

Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Faith, Family, Food, Home, Joy, Life, Thoughts, Wisdom, Women, Work, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 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

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

It’s only fitting

It’s only fitting that, on my very last day of 9 glorious days off, I’d wake to this:

12.1.19 First snow an Emjayandthem(C) photo

It was, by far,  the best sleep of my entire week off … the house calm, dark and quiet.

A heavy quiet that only fresh snow can insulate  us from a hurry-up / busy world.  Cocooning from the noise around Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Leftovers, Holiday Travel, deadlines, to-Do lists.  Z-z-z-z-z-z

Planning to go out I re-planned and stayed in.

Coffee up. Decorations out.  Christmas is-a-coming.

Fa-la-la-la-la la-la-la-la!

I’m always intrigued by what I end up doing when I’m “off.”  Intentions are good but sometimes one should just lean in and “be.”

Example:

I went to bed when tired (10:30, 12:30, 1:30) and got up when I wasn’t (6:30, 7:30, 8:30.. )  ~  it depends and every day differed.

Worked out twice, but still clocked 10K steps daily **in the house**.  One day? 13K 🙂 and that was while cleaning!

Cleaned, scrubbed, sorted and donated.

Read, read, and read some more.

Watched a movie.  One. Meant to watch more, but visiting got in the way.

Subsided on take-out, leftovers and charcuterie.

And it was wonderful.

Your turn:

  • When’s the last time you surprised yourself?
  • What have you learned by setting plans aside and embracing what life brings you?

 

 

 

 

Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Blogging, Faith, Family, Growth, Home, Joy, Life, Seasons, Self Discovery, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 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

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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...