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Random 5 – Congress, Mentors and Meerkats

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?

US.gov

Isn’t she grand?  VisittheCapitol.Gov

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.

That's me, holding the flag, and taking the Oath of Allegiance.

That’s me, holding the flag, and taking the Oath of Allegiance.  An Emjayandthem(C) photo

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!

100_2359

Emjayandthem(C) ‘s lilacs

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!

ha!

ha!

 

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Categories: Animals, Attitude, Determination, Elections, Faith, Fun, Gratitude, Growth, Joy, Life, Patriotic, Relationships, Vote, Work | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Fearless Radicalism

I’ve never been radical but I’ve always been fearless.

Fearless enough to venture far, far away from the nest and find my way.

Fearless enough to study for and pass my U.S. citizenship test with flying colors.

Appreciating the privilege, I’ve never not voted.

Never.

Yes the phone calls and flyers, negative ads and people at the door can get annoying.

And yes, there are items on the ballot I don’t care much about  — like who serves on the Board of Regents for various public colleges.

But most things I do.

And I’m so grateful to have a say.

So today, I’ll be late for work because I am stopping to vote first.  I’ll chat with the poll workers who know me by name and just that experience right there will put a spring in my step and a smile on my face.

As a citizen of this country for only six years, maybe I am a little bit radical.

fearless radicalism_womens vote

“Resolved, that the women of this nation in 1876, have greater cause for discontent, rebellion and revolution than the men of 1776.” – Susan B. Anthony. Google.images.com

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

You voting today?

 

Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Confidence at any age, Determination, Faith, fear, Growth, Home, Joy, Life, Opinion, Patriotic, Personal, Politics, Self Discovery, Thoughts, Vote | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 31 Comments

Time changes everything

We never changed our clocks where I grew up. Never.  So it was weird for me when I first lived in other places.  What is this you speak of?  Fall back? Spring what?

Now I live in the western-most part of the Eastern time zone and our summer nights seem to last forever. But once we do the “fall back” the days feel like they’re about 6 hours long.

It will be nice to wake up to sunlight tomorrow but it will be dark when I get home from work. ~sigh~

funny clock

On that note, one of the many nuggets I picked up at the conference last week was this one — A.A.R.P. is launching their own tablet geared for technology fearful seniors.  Check out the Real Pad here.

I made a note in the margin of my papers and explored the site later on. It was in watching the demo and finding myself excited by the features and the price ($189) that I realized, at 51, I’m one of the seniors they’re targeting.

Time changes. Everything.

I feel so fortunate to have seen both Johnny Cash and  Ray Charles perform their music live in my lifetime.   Johnny when I was 9 and Ray when I was 20.  Today, there’s no one touring I’d buy a ticket for.   Time changes. Everything.

source Legacy Recordings.com

Johnny Cash & Ray Charles; source Legacy Recordings.com

 

 

 

 

Categories: Attitude, Blogging, Faith, Family, Fun, Growth, halloween, Humor, Life Lessons, music, Opinion, Personal, Random, Relationships, Share, Thoughts, Vote | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

Vote by voting or not showing

I will never forget the first time I voted in the United States. It was November, 2008, and the citizens were deciding who would take the Oval Office for the next four years.

I woke early and dressed carefully, paying attention to the reverence I felt for this special day. You see, as a Permanent Legal Resident, I’d had the responsibility of paying taxes for years, but I’d yet to experience the privilege of voting that comes with the promise of citizenship. I could hardly contain my excitement.

As I neared the polling location and saw the lines of people out front, to the side, and around the back of the building, I could hardly believe my eyes.  Fighting back emotions, I took a moment to consider the significance of this day.  I reflected on how well I’d done on my citizenship test – earning a 100% I might add – and how very proud I was to take the oath at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential museum.

Nervously, I checked my purse again, ensuring my identification was in order. Of course it was, it was right where I’d left it the last time I’d checked. Geez.

The mood of the people was palpable and so much, so very much, was riding on this day.

Taking my place in line, I noticed how most folks seemed patient, how many shifted their weight from one foot to another, and that quite a few passed the time chit-chatting with others nearby.

Roughly four people ahead of me, there he stood:  Mr. Notice-Me.  Mr. Impatient.  Mr. tap-tap-tap his foot so everyone around would know how important his time was. As if ours wasn’t.

He did his best to engage others in his commentary about the inefficiency of the system, how sorely lacking our Township for not having “enough” voting booths, at the fact that many of the poll workers were pensioners who moved slower than molasses-in-January.

I saw him trying to catch my eye and suck me into the conversation; I looked everywhere but at him. I didn’t want his negativity to taint my special day.

Finally, he couldn’t take my silence any longer and said – loud enough for many to hear – “You’re so quiet, how can you be so content just standing there?”

This time, this time I looked him dead on, smiled warmly and said: “Sir, I’ve waited years to stand in this line. You see, I’m a new citizen and this is my first time voting here and I will happily stand all night and into tomorrow if I have to.”

There was a sea of delighted “Congratulations” and “Wow, that’s awesome!” comments that surged around me.  But I don’t mind telling you, it was with pleasure that I accepted his hand and his humble words of “Welcome, point well taken.”  He was oddly quiet for the balance of our time together.

In May of 2008, seventy-eight of us (from thirty-four countries) took the oath of allegiance to the United States of America and stepped forward as brand new citizens right here in Grand Rapids, MI.  It signified the end of one journey and the beginning of another.

We’ve got 60 more days of promises, campaign ads, documentaries and debates to slog through. But no matter that, I will happily take my place in line come Election Day.

Will you?

“Every election is determined by the people who show up.”
―Larry J. Sabato, “Pendulum Swing”

Categories: Attitude, Determination, Elections, Forgiveness, Joy, Opinion, Uncategorized, Vote | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 35 Comments

Beauty tips

Smile often. Smile hard.

“Wrinkles should merely indicate where smiles have been.” ~Mark Twain, Following the Equator

I’m smiling because I love this song and I think I love the video just as much.

I loved it so much I’ve added it to my MP3 player for the drive to work today.  But first I am going to stop and vote, and if that’s not something to smile about, well I don’t know what is.

What are you smiling about today?

Categories: Attitude, Fun, Home, Humor, Joy, Life, music, Opinion, Patriotic, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Vote | Tags: , , , , , | 45 Comments

A little of this and a lot of that…

Mom & me enjoying a Killian's Irish Red @ Waxy O'Shea's Irish pub in Branson, MO

Chatted on the phone with my mom last night and here’s a sampling of topics we discussed:

  • American Politics
  • The Wikipedia leaks and their impact
  • The passing of Elizabeth Edwards
  • Hockey stats
  • Restructuring of the business tax,
  • Eye care in Canada vs. the U.S.
  • Economic changes in Michigan
  • Cost of imported fruit

Mom still lives on our family farm. She’s 80 now; a former school teacher and easily the smartest woman I know.  She’s Mom to 5, Nana and great-Nana to many. She’s funny, charming, interested and interesting. She’s diplomatic, has a cheeky sense of humour and an amazing memory. She was a loving wife and partner to Dad for 52+ years.   I know she misses him more than she would ever say.

Mom suffered a pretty serious fall recently and is convalescing at home. This has been a big adjustment for her;  equate it to having her wings clipped. Right now, limited mobility, no driving,  and regular assistance from my brother and sisters with perhaps more tasks than she’d like but …she’s gracious and appreciative.   Still … a very big change for someone so fiercely independent.

 Talking with her last night, her comment on the whole situation floored me: “Well at least I’m not flying.”

HA! 

In response,  I sang to her my local radio station’s new hit song for the holiday, “Grandma got molested at the airport” and we both roared with laughter.

Positive. Intelligent.  Loyal.  Kind.  Determined.  Loving.  Fierce. Playful. 

If I can be half the woman my tiny little Mom is some day, I will have achieved all I’ve aspired to.

Categories: Confidence at any age, Determination, Family, Friendship, Gratitude, Humor, Life, Life Lessons, Love, Mom, Personal, Politics, Quotes, Random observations, Relationships, Self Discovery, Travel, Vote, Wisdom, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

It’s all about the numbers…

895 days ago, I became a U.S. citizen.  🙂

This morning, I was the 89th voter in my precinct.  

It was my 4th opportunity to vote! 

We don’t expect our elected leaders to give us half an effort. We don’t hire them to serve half the people. 

Yet about half of us are expected to skip today’s elections in Michigan, content to let the other half do the hiring that we all will have to live with.

I showed up. I hope you will, too.

Why Election Day matters … read more here: http://www.freep.com/article/20101102/NEWS15/311020001/1322/Why-Election-Day-matters

Categories: Attitude, Elections, Gratitude, Life, Life Lessons, Patriotic, Quotes, Random observations, Vote | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Donate Halloween Candy to our Troops!

If your house is like mine, you’ve got leftover Halloween candy. Candy we don’t need. Candy we don’t want.  Candy that probably will end up at the office or thrown away. 

Did you know there’s an organization that would be HAPPY to get your  leftover (wrapped) Halloween candy?  And that this candy is shipped to our military personnel around the world?

Called “Operation Gratitude” (www.opgratitude.comtheir most urgent need is for:

  • personal letters,
  • candy, 
  • hand-made cool-ties /scarves,
  • Beanie Babies/WebKinz/Trolls
  • and financial donations to pay for postage. 

(On the website is an excerpt from a Marine’s letter:  “I live with 17 Marines and Sailors in one room. Everyone got a package and everyone loved it especially the cookies and beanie babies. The cookies are excellent and the beanie babies help us out a lot with the local kids. We give them candy and toys and they give us the location for IED’s. Once again, thank you for everything and for all the hard work that you put into the package. LCPL ND” 

Today’s Election Day.  

I’m thrilled to vote.  I’m honored I can do something that might put a smile on a soldier’s face.

* * *

Wrapped Halloween candy can be delivered/shipped by December 3 to:

 Operation Gratitude/California Army National Guard
17330 Victory Boulevard
Van Nuys, CA 91406
Charlie Othold:  818.437.6201
 
 For more information please visit:  http://www.opgratitude.com/howtohelp.php?page=individual 
 

 

Categories: Elections, Gratitude, Holidays, Life, Patriotic, Politics, Random observations, Seasons, Vote | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Ready to vote?

 We’re one week from the mid-term elections on Tuesday, November 2nd

  •  Not sure who’s running for local office?
  • Want to take a look at your ballot ahead of time?
  • Need more information on candidates? 
  • Not sure of your precinct #? 

I live in MI and found this helpful link.. perhaps other states are offering it as well?   Simply type in your name & address & it generates a sample ballot populated with candidates websites and $$ spent.

https://webapps.sos.state.mi.us/mivote/     

Michigan has 83 counties, 274 cities, 1,242 townships and 259 villages and, some say, has been hit the hardest in the recent economic downturn.

  • In the last Gubernatorial (Governor’s) election (2006) 50% of our eligible voting population voted.
  • In the last Presidential election (2008) 66.2% of our eligible voting population voted.   source: https://webapps.sos.state.mi/us

Categories: Elections, Life, Life Lessons, Patriotic, Politics, Useful Information, Vote | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

High wind warning?

The weather guys are tripping over themselves with repeated warnings of high winds expected later today.

Is it all the political hot air flying around? 

Or … could it be the winds of change?

Categories: Elections, Life, Life Lessons, Politics, Random observations, Uncategorized, Vote | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

A new citizen votes .. again

That's me, holding the flag, during my swearing in

I am excited to vote on November 2nd. Because I can count one hand the number of times I have been able to do so.

I became a citizen two years ago and that moment stands as one of my proudest. Choking back tears, seventy-eight of us (from thirty-four countries) took the oath of allegiance to the United States of America and stepped forward as new Americans.  It signified the end of one journey and the beginning of another.

 “I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform non combatant service in the armed forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.”  http://www.uscis.gov/

Coming from Canada, I didn’t experience some of the challenges that other immigrants do. I already spoke the language and I understood most of the references. That doesn’t mean it’s been easy, because it hasn’t. It’s difficult to be far from my family, far from who knows me and what’s familiar.  However it was in stretching my boundaries and moving beyond what my wonderful parents taught me, and what my community instilled in me, that really made me grow.  

Could I have done this in my homeland? Of course I could have. But I didn’t. I chose another path. And that path took me here.

So in just over a week we vote again and, standing in line at the polls, you will hear me humming the melody to this lovely song:

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

America still is a land of opportunity. I know, because I’ve had many.

Categories: Attitude, Elections, Patriotic, Politics, Random observations, Traditions, Uncategorized, Vote | Tags: , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

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Happily After Retirement

- Loving where I am right now!

Makeup Connection

The best cosmetics on the web

A Little Wild Farm

Planting roots on our little wild farm.

3bones

Laugh. Dream. Dare. Inspire.

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...Isaiah 60

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

The View Out Here

A view in pictures, from me to you

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

Grace and Life

Looking for grace notes in life's journey...

When I Ride...

How life coaches me as I ride...

RICH RIPLEY

EMPLOYEES MUST WASH HANDS...