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Posts Tagged With: childhood

Random 5 – Mom looks, phone calls, traffic, forgetting and Pearls

We’re halfway through May ~ wow!  I’ve been traveling so much that I was halfway through April when I realized my desk calendar said … March.  And wouldn’t you know that, ever since my last post, I’ve been craving Penny Candy?  🙂

I’m not here as much anymore, sorry, but I do read your posts when I can, and I think about writing. I really do.  I just … well … 10 & 12 hour work days + night meetings + copious travel and … yeah, you get it.   Something’s gotta give … and this g-a-v-e.

But a few randoms caught my attention lately and I thought “those would be great for the blog” – so here we go.   Random 5 on a .. gulp .. Wednesday.

(1)  Mother’s Day was great – relaxing – joyful.  The boys came and went, chats were had, hugs and presents were given.  Didn’t need anything fancy – just them.

… and we laughed about the power that IS “the Mom look”

( 2 )  Is it just me or has there been an uptick in anonymous calls?  Home, office and cell phone.  Hey, pal, if you can’t even announce who you are, I’m not answering.  This isn’t 1974 when no calls were ignored …!

( 3 )  My face.  In traffic.  Every day.  Except I’m dressed.

( 4 )  Did this the other day — walked around looking for my glasses which were on my head.  Geez Louise.   Have you gone to the basement and walked around wondering why you were there?  Came back up only to remember?  Gah!

( 5 )   An Auntie shared this photo recently of Dad’s mother, Grandma Pearl.  I get my naturally curly hair from her.  She was a marvelous cook ~ her pan-fried burgers with sautéed onions were to die for ~ and her baking was out of this world.  Sometimes she let me help – such a privilege!  I had the good fortune (and prior planning – wink wink) to be over for a noontime visit she’d invite me to stay for lunch with her and Grandpa and, before lunch even started (translate feast) she’d hand me a plate and ask me to go pick out baking for dessert — in the basement she had a freezer full of baked treats – gingerbread cookies, short breads, “Aunt Mary’s cookies,” home-made donuts, tarts, bars and more.  Any lucky grandchild carrying the plate could simply tip-toe down the gleaming white stairs to the baking freezer, crack open the lid and take our pick from the plethora of homemade goodness that lived there.  Setting the selections aside as we enjoyed lunch together, the treats would quickly defrost.  After lunch, Grandpa would dip spoonfuls of sugar into his coffee/cream, they’d quietly nibble their selections in the midst of  the clatter my stories must have generated.    When I see her face, I’m transported to the summers of my girlhood — pigtails, my pony tucked in the barn or a 10 speed right at the front door.  I feel again what I’d always known to be true.  Something they didn’t speak of, you had to be there to feel it.  Loved.

This picture taken in 1923 ~ 94 years ago ❤️ Pearl was 19. Her only daughter passed away on Mother’s Day ~ hard for us but a gift to her.  An Emjayandthem (C) Photo

 

What’s new in your world?  Did your Mom have “the Mom look” down?  What picture or fragrance transports you back to your Grand parents?  Do tell!

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Categories: Attitude, Blogging, Faith, Family, Friendship, Fun, Home, Humor, Joy, Life, Love, Opinion, Personal, Relationships, Self Discovery, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Church memories and penny candy

Reminiscing with Hubbs last night we laughed at the similarities of our childhoods:

  • Huge gardens & summer canning projects ~ a kitchen filled with steam
  • Church / Sunday School on Sundays through the school year
  • Vacation Bible school in the summer (plus 4-H camp for me and sports camp for him)
  • Family birthday parties with cake, coffee and a weenie roast
  • Freeze Tag, Kick-the-Can and Hide & Go Seek with cousins afterwards
  • Riding our bikes to the lake
  • And summer chores, saving our money for penny candy

Remembering my Sunday School routine, I told how our little village had a “Confectionery” downtown (1 1/2 blocks from the Church).  Because it was part of the hotel it could be open on Sundays (nothing else was) — Mom would give us  .25 cents  (two bits) with which we could buy:

  • a Pop and a bag of chips or
  • a Pop and a candy bar or
  • a little brown bag FULL of penny candy (always my choice)

Kind of like this

He and I agreed on the need to “make our candy last” – and how we’d negotiate with parents or siblings to get the best deal.    We differed on our choices, with him preferring chocolate to my licorice.

remember red hot dollars?

and licorice pipes?

We both laughed at this one:

Candy cigarettes!

The two of us could still remember the sweet, crunchy taste of a candy cigarette.  The sugar rush from a Pixie Stix.  The mess of “Fun Dip.”  He talked of hiding his Hershey bars from his brother and I did the same with my stash.  We agreed that underwear drawers were favorite hiding spots  ~ no one ventured there!

Funny how a little trip down memory lane can take you to places both sacred and sweet.

*****

*What was your favorite childhood candy?  How much did it cost?  Do you remember candy after Church, too? *

Categories: Faith, Family, Fun, Gratitude, Growth, Home, Joy, Life, Personal, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Memories of Masterpiece

Winter has arrived in Michigan – we’re on our 3rd day of heavy snow – yesterday was swirly, twirly snow spinning down and around and to the ground.  Today snow is falling quickly, like rain. It’s cold and beautiful and slippery!

“It’s a good day for a house,” Mom used to say.   Yes indeed.

Hubbs is making omelettes and I’m wrapping presents.  Christmas tunes play on the radio.  We’re cozy, tucked in and content.

Reminiscing last night about the Christmases of our childhood, Hubbs and I laughed at how our parents always bought us board games.  Well 1), because we asked for them but 2) setting up the board and figuring out the rules kept us all occupied for hours.  In my home our dining room table often had a board game set there on a rather permanent basis – Monopoly,  Clue, Masterpiece, just to name a few.

My oldest sister was the keeper of the rules and my youngest brother was the one most likely to bend them.  Oldest brother sometimes played and sometimes he didn’t – by my middle sister and I were fierce competitors.  The real fun started when our cousins and aunts/uncles arrived.  Kids games were quickly  moved to a back bedroom as the adults took over for Cribbage, Rummy, 7 card stud and Whist.

Hubby and I remember smokey clouds above the card table and counter tops covered in nuts, treats and ingredients for various adult beverages – Caesars,  Harvey Wall-bangers and Rum/Rye and Coke.  Nobody over did it, Bing and Dean played on the record player and sometimes they danced.  Ladies wore dresses and pearls, slingback heels and peep toe shoes.  Gentlemen sported dress slacks and buttoned-down shirts, jackets and sometimes a tie or a sweater.   I remember Dad grinning as he took Mom for a twirl around the kitchen before guests arrived – I watched in my Church dress and white tights.  Those moments stay close even though they’re both gone.

Coca-Cola was a hot commodity, too – that was a treat we rarely got.  At Christmas time Dad would buy a few cases of pop to keep in the basement (ever cold) and if we were good – and only IF – we might get to split a glass of pop with a sister or cousin.  Ooh what a treat.

Sipping on a glass of Ginger Ale, stealing Aunt Irene’s famous peanut-butter balls and winning at Masterpiece  — now that’s a Christmas vacation I can only dream about today.

parker_brothers_masterpiece_auction_art_game_board_box_lid

Forgery!! – A favorite from my childhood

**When you think back to Christmases of your childhood – what comes to mind?  Did you play board games or card games in your family?Which ones? What tastes and smells take you back to the Christmases of your dreams?

 

 

 

Categories: Family, Fun, Gratitude, Holidays, Joy, Life, music, Personal, Random, Relationships, Romance, Seasons, Thoughts, Traditions | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Goofballs & Billy Boy

*originally posted October 29, 2011

Halloween parties meant a costume parade through the entire school! (My grade school ~ An Emjayandthem (C) photo)

When I was a little girl, Halloween was a very exciting time. We had a class  party and costume parade to look forward to, yummy treats to enjoy, games to play and of course …“Trick or Treating.”

Living on a farm eight miles from town, “Trick or Treating” involved 2 absolutes: cold weather and a car.  Mom and Aunt Irene helped us make our costumes and we often recycle pieces of from older costumes into something new. After supper, we’d pile into one of their cars and head out for the night.  This involved a total of five – count ‘em – five farms to visit:  The Lee home (neighbors), Uncle Harley & Aunt Maxine’s, Grandma and Grandpa’s, Aunt Irene & Uncle Jarl’s and ours.   So, depending on who was driving, we’d start at one and end at the others with three stops in between.   It was expected that we’d “sing for our supper” – sing a song, tell a joke or do something entertaining. Our song of choice was always, “Billy Boy” (Oh where have you been, Billy Boy, Billy boy .. Oh where have you been, charming Billy..) because 1) we knew the words, 2) they knew the words and 3) it always seemed to bring the best results.

I still love Halloween! Me & the Hubbs had a lot of fun with this costume.  An Emjayandthem (C) photo

Bear in mind that very few treats were “boughten” at that time – most offered us a home-made treat.  ((and trust me, this was the good stuff!!))   Norma and Roy Lee always gave us pop – our choice – orange or root beer – and a small bag of home-made cookies or fudge. Yum!  Aunt Irene was known for her caramel apples; Granny Smiths smothered in a thick layer of buttery rich caramel… mmm.  Aunt Maxine was crafty and loved to carve massive jack-o-lanterns to delight us… and her chocolate fudge was delicious as well.   Grandma made each of us our very own candy bag filled to the top with home-made popcorn balls and cookies mixed in with a few store bought treats – black licorice, toffee, and Old Dutch potato chips.  Smiling shyly, Grandpa always slipped in a can of pop and two bits (a quarter) and we felt oh so rich.  Our pillowcases were filled with to the brim with treats and good wishes.  After much admiration of the genius of our costumes and our profound musical talents, off we’d go to the next farm, darting through the biting October wind, wondering at the sky and trying to spot the witches we just knew were flying around.

At the end of the night, we’d get back home and marvel at the abundance of treats .. but it was always those home-made delights we fought over most.

I remember Mom making us “Goofballs” and I think I’ll make some for my grand-kids today :).

GoofBalls

Goofball image courtesy of theartofmakingthings.tumblr.com

1 pkg. Kraft caramels
1 can Eagle brand milk
1/2 lb. butter
1 box Rice Krispies
1 bag large marshmallows

Unwrap the caramels and place into a heavy saucepan.  Add the Eagle brand milk and the butter and stir until the caramels are melted and a sauce is formed. Remove from heat.

Stick 1 toothpick into a large marshmallow and dip it into the sauce carefully.  Immediately roll the caramel covered marshmallow in Rice Krispies. Set on a waxed paper-lined cookie sheet to cool (remove toothpick).    These travel great and kids (and adults) gobble them up!

And .. sing something, will ya?

Happy Halloween!!

Categories: Attitude, Family, fear, Food, Fun, halloween, Holidays, Home, Joy, Life, Mom, Personal, Thoughts, Traditions | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

The desire to be whole again

Next week I’m stepping away from all that is my world and returning to my childhood home: the farm I grew up on in rural Saskatchewan, Canada. The farm-house where I lived from birth till 19.  The yard where I played and coulees where all our adventures were carried out.  Mom’s still there, my brother and his wife are just across the way and sissy is up the hill.  Cows, farm dogs, wind, a wide open sky and conversations that meander in and out and go on forever.

an Aerial view of the family farm .. an Emjayandthem(C) photo

an aerial view of the family farm .. House and Homestead top left, barns and corrals lower right. An Emjayandthem(C) photo

A family wedding is the cause for celebration and I’ll be Mom’s date!   She with her Oxygen and a twinkle in her eye.  I teased her that we’ll “Thelma & Louise-it,” without the driving off the cliff part.  She snorted.  But when I told her that if we see Brad Pitt hitch-hiking I’m pulling over, she laughed out loud.  God, I love her.

themaand louise

Up to no good. Google.images.com

To say things there are familiar would be an understatement. The truth is, time has a way of standing still in your childhood home. And it’s comforting to know that some things still remain.

The kitchen radio, on from sun up to sundown, with farm reports and cattle prices, corny jokes and auction announcements.

The bedspread from the Sears catalogue, the same one that’s been on my bed since I was in college.  Cheery and clean, waiting for me.

Mixing bowls nestled where they’ve always been, tin foil in the 2nd drawer, and a toaster you have to jiggle the cord for.  A big can of coffee sits on the floor near the fridge, just under that east window.  Ivory soap in the dish by the sink, the same one where Dad stood as he cleaned up at night.  I swear I can still see him standing there sometimes.

... Dad's

… Dad’s “shop” .. where I still expect to hear him whistling … An Emjayandthem (C) photo

Books in bookshelves, pictures on walls, throw pillows arranged just so.

And at night?

Quiet.  Dark.  No streetlights, no cars rushing by, nothing.  Just quiet.

Big deep skies with stars that go on forever and, if I’m lucky, the Northern lights will visit me, too.

image from canada-maps.org

image from canada-maps.org

In the morning, I’ll be up with the birds and outside as daylight arrives.  I’ll visit the cows and play with the kitties, feel the wind blowing, and the farm dog will tag along with me.  My soul will sing and my smiles will not be contained.

Laddy and Stevie... family farm; an Emjayandthem photo (C)

Laddy and Stevie… family farm; an Emjayandthem photo (C)

I know things have changed, she’s had some setbacks, but her spirit is as strong as ever. She’s loyal as ever to her Riders football team, debates the news, and is a voracious reader. Talking about my visit and our plans, she said with such longing,  “It’s going to go by so fast.”

me & mom MD 2014

Me & Mom, Mothers Day 2014. An Emjayandthem (C) photo

I know.

I know.

That’s why I already feel the pinch because to stop everything and spend eight days together, every day, every meal, every night, and roll in those moments when it’s just the two of us, let me tell you what: I love it.  I love that we get to laugh and talk and tell stories and secrets and be girlfriends for a while.  Yes I’ll get out of her hair and take a walk and stretch my legs and when I come back in there she’ll be .. waiting for me.  Bright eyed. Ready to pick up right where we left off.

And I’ll thank God for the opportunity to love the life I have but still be so very lucky that I can touch wood, kiss her face and feel whole again.

“The desire to go home that is a desire to be whole, to know where you are, to be the point of intersection of all the lines drawn through all the stars, to be the constellation-maker and the center of the world, that center called love. To awaken from sleep, to rest from awakening, to tame the animal, to let the soul go wild, to shelter in darkness and blaze with light, to cease to speak and be perfectly understood.”  ― Rebecca Solnit

 

Can you go back to your childhood home?  What’s the experience like for you?  Have you ever spent an entire week just hanging out with one of your parents? If not, I recommend it ~ you might be amazed what you’ll learn!

related posts:

Categories: Attitude, Confidence at any age, Faith, Family, Friendship, Fun, Gratitude, Growth, Home, Joy, Life, Opinion, Personal, Quotes, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 28 Comments

Where dreams are born

Yes, yes I did :)

Yes, yes I did 🙂  Google images.com

Growing up in a farm family of five kids we not only rode in the back of a truck, we drank from the hose and the tap down at the barn.  We lived in a house with lead paint, climbed trees, jumped off barns, tied a toboggan to the back of the snowmobile and let ‘er rip, rode our ponies bareback and more.

I remember being around 12 and thinking it would be cool to smoke a cigarette – ick – glad that habit never stuck and no, I never smoked more than 1 or 2 puffs of it.  Cough! Gag! Sputter!  Bet you’ll never guess our hiding spot while we tried this out?  The hayloft.  Dry as tinder – surrounded by bales – and it made perfect sense at the time -but I shudder about that one now.

I also remember swimming in a fast moving river,  skating on a (mostly) frozen pond, snowmobiling by moonlight, mowing the lawn in flip flops and running quickly through the bull’s pasture.

We did it all and lived to tell the tale   My kids have only done a few of these things and the grands, even less. Somehow I’m not so sure that’s a good thing.

The freedom I grew up with gave us opportunities to make decisions for ourselves – good and bad.  We learned the consequences of our actions.  We saw what can happen when things go terribly wrong.   We saw what can happen when …  they don’t.

When my brothers and sisters and I reminisce about these adventures, Mom just shakes her head and covers her ears.

Google.images.com

Google.images.com

How about you? Did you survive … or thrive?  What was the last thing you did that made you feel like a kid again?

 

 

Categories: Animals, Attitude, Confidence at any age, Determination, Faith, Family, Gratitude, Growth, Home, Life, Life Lessons, Opinion, Personal, Random | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

Short week Wednesday!

Ha!

Ha!

Due to the Holiday it’s already Wednesday – a short work week, yes it is!

Last night, after the Grands first day, I reflected on all it took to get our boys ready for school.  New shoes and clothes. School supplies.  Meet the Teacher.   Trying to get them to bed when it was still perfectly light outside.   Lunches.  Backpacks by the front door.  A picture in front of it and then – they were off!

And then I remembered how I used to read this book to both of them as we got them ready to start.  In my Grover voice, of course.

And I smiled as I remembered that same book lives in Miss MJ’s room now ~ and that her Daddy reads it to her, too.  In his man-Grover voice.

I still love school supplies and was happy when school started again.  Do you remember going to bed when it was still “perfectly light outside?”   What was in your lunch pail?

Categories: Animals, Attitude, Determination, Faith, Family, Growth, Home, Joy, Life, Seasons, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Random Five Friday – April

Another Friday and  another week has flown by.  A few things were different this week, though.  Ready? Here we go:

1.  It’s April.  I think. It was close to 60F Monday, 32F with gale-force winds on Tuesday, 30 & snow flurries Wednesday, 40 then 30 with freezing rain yesterday and today?  30-something with a 100% “chance” of rain.  I don’t know about you, but when the weather guy says “100%” the word “chance” probably shouldn’t follow it.

4 seasons of weather

2. I worked out Sunday-Mon-Tues and Thurs.  Yes, I skipped Wednesday. Why? My job took all my “mojo” and at my age, I know when to push it and when to not.

You got it!

You got it!

3. Wednesday was “Grandparent’s day” at our grand-daughter’s preschool.  It doesn’t seem that long ago that I was visiting our boys’ classrooms so to have another little person coming through feels surreal. And wonderful.  🙂

MJ couldn't wait to show Nana all the learning centers!

MJ couldn’t wait to show Nana all the learning centers!

4. Playing with MJ and her friends, and taking in their excitement, took me back to my playground days.  Freeze Tag, Olly-Olly-Oxen-Free, Red Rover, Dodge-ball and of course … our endless swing competitions.   I wonder if kids are even allowed to “pump” the swing and fly as high as possible anymore?

Yes I do!!  google.images

Yes I do!! google.images

5.   For the first time in 29 years, Mom and I are spending Mother’s Day together!  Of course I’ve been back many times in all those years, but we’ve not spent that holiday together since …I became a Mom. Just 34 more sleeps and I’ll be on a plane towards home … a week on the farm hanging out with her sounds absolutely grand to me.  Excited? Why, yes I am.

Happy Friday, peeps!

 

Categories: Attitude, Confidence at any age, Faith, Family, Friendship, Fun, Home, Love, Opinion, Personal, Random observations, Self Discovery, Uncategorized, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

Random Five Friday

It’s Friday! It’s Random! Let’s go!

1.  For as many vegetables and fruits as I eat most of the time, I still maintain that potato chips could be their own food group.  What naughty food could you make a meal out of?

2.   On Facebook, there are photo-sharing trends people enjoy like “Throwback Thursday” and “Flashback Friday.”  The newest one is “Wet-nosed Wednesday.”  I shared this picture of Frankie recently, it’s from last year,  taken about this time.  I love how he’s sleeping but not really.  And yes, we still miss the old boy.  It’s not as painful to speak of him now, but when we do, every one of us share watery-eyed smiles at the memories of the world’s greatest dog.

Frankie with one eye open, is lunch ready?  An Emjayandthem (C) photo

Frankie with one eye open, is lunch ready? An Emjayandthem (C) photo

3.   Hubbs raced out to meet some of our friends to watch College Basketball last night.  Of course he asked if I wanted to go but I declined, citing work.  And I did work for a while, but when I got home, I opened the kitchen window, poured a glass of lemonade and surfed the TV for a bit.  In the quiet I found this beautiful and haunting documentary about elephants.  And I never want to support a circus again.  You’ll find this 40 minute program on HBO – and while some scenes are hard to watch – just as many that are soul-stirring.   Amazing.

4.   I don’t know if it’s the approach of Spring or just a need to purge but I’ve been on a cleaning kick of late.  When I was a girl and Mom announced it was time for “Spring Cleaning” I’d always prefer to be outside with the baby calves vs. inside washing walls and taking down curtains.  I’m glad I had to do all that because I know how to but … more importantly .. I understand the difference it makes in your home.   Some things aren’t as dirty as much as they are cluttered.  I start there …

Amen to that!

Amen to that!

5.   Speaking of cleaning, my favorite cleaning smell is still Lemon Pledge.  Why?  Because it takes me back to my childhood church – one sniff transports me to the hymnals, coffee percolating in the basement kitchen and the combined fragrance of Pledge and Pine Sol  – a scent that said this place is clean, this place is Holy; something so deeply ingrained that just a whiff today can take me immediately there.

I remember friendships and baby showers, funeral lunches and old-lady hugs. Christmas concerts and Easter Sundays, weddings and baptisms.  But mostly I remember the warmth of the  congregation and the soft presence of dear ones who left us years ago.

100_1235

my hometown Church: Macrorie United. An Emjayandthem (C) photo

Happy Friday, friends!  What’s on your Random Five today?

Categories: Animals, Beauty, Faith, Family, Fun, Holidays, Home, Joy, Life, Personal, Random, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Survey says 11-11-11

My blogging friend, Dianna, at These Days of Mine tagged me in this challenge recently.  As Dianna said, this one’s a bit long so you might as well make yourself comfy now.

The Rules:

1. Post the rules.
2. Post a photo of yourself and 11 random facts about you.
3. Answer the 11 questions given to you in the tagger’s post.
4. Create 11 new questions and tag new people to answer them.
5. Go to their blog/twitter and let them know they have been tagged.

Since I’ve been blogging since 2010, it was challenging to come up with 11 random things that I haven’t shared before.  So here goes nothing!

this is me .. 28 years ago

this is me 28 years ago. Wonder where that red Zebra shirt went?

1) I never wear red. The photo above is an exception as I’m partial to blues and purples.

2)   I am a light sleeper and find it hard to sleep in hotels because I hear everything and am afraid of missing the alarm.  So, I  go to bed extra early to make up for all the hours I don’t sleep at all. Ugh!

3) Not long after I came along, Mom got very sick and I had to go live with her parents in B.C., 2 provinces away.  I lived with Nana and Grandpa for a year and didn’t learn of this until I was a parent myself.

That's me as an infant with my parents, brothers and sisters. Mom was so tiny. I wore that dress as part of a costume for a play; I was a size 2 at the time and that dress was tight on me!

That’s me as an infant with my parents, brothers and sisters.

4) I performed a Wheat-ectomy 4 weeks ago; no more joint pain, no more hypoglycemia, -7lbs down, and feeling snazzariffic. For more read http://www.wheatbellyblog.com/

5) I never watch horror movies or anything demonic. Ever.

6) Elvis was my first crush. I might have shared that before. Hee Hee.

Hello, Handsome!   google.images.com

Hello, Handsome! google.images.com

7) I grew up at the racetrack. I’ve written about that before, too.

In the Winner's circle with Mom & Dad, 1982.

In the Winner’s circle with Mom (front) & Dad (right behind me in green), 1982. That’s our hunky horse trainer, Bill, far right. He was my 2nd, 3rd and 4th crush.

8) I choose listening to music over watching TV every time.   I love to sing along and don’t care who’s listening!

9) I once went 2 years without eating candy bars. Didn’t miss them but I could never give up pie.

10)  I care less about what someone tells me than what they do.

11) In my heart of hearts, I’m still a farm kid.

getting ready to hit the dusty trail!

getting ready to hit the dusty trail with my cousin Kathy. I’m on Riley, my Arabian/Welsh pony, and she’s riding Queen, cousin Deb’s Pinto/Palomino mix.

Here are the 11 questions Dianna asked:

1) What’s a favorite summertime memory from your childhood?   Playing cops & robbers on horseback in the coulees around the farm.

2) You and a close friend have an afternoon to spend together. What are your plans?  Have lunch somewhere cozy that allows for plenty of raucous laughter. Maybe on my patio.

3) What dish can you prepare without using a recipe?  All of them. I mostly cook from memory and that’s why no two dishes are ever quite the same.

4) What image is on your mouse pad?  Family photos

5) Do you have a nickname?  MJ but Mom calls me Jeansy.

6) What is your favorite way to exercise?  Dancing.

7) Do you play a musical instrument? Yes, piano & guitar

8) Were you named for someone? If so, whom?  My middle name is Jean and that’s for Nana Jean

9) What is your favorite type of music?  A mix between Classic Rock, Country, Disco and Elvis of course.

10) When is your birthday (month and day)?  6/21 or as Hubbs likes to tease, “the longest darn day of the year!”

11) What’s the closest you’ve ever been to a natural disaster?   Do mountains of snow count?

And lastly, my 11 questions for you are below:

1) Coffee or tea?

2) Who mentored you in your career/job?

3) If you could go back in time and right one wrong, what would it be?

4) It’s your birthday and everyone important to you is gathering to celebrate:  what type of celebration do you prefer? (large/small, type of food, inside/outside, at home/restaurant, etc)

5) What’s the last book you recommended?

6) Think about your family growing up – what role did you play and do you still? (Organizer, peacemaker, etc).

7) You’ve been given 2 tickets to anywhere … where do you go and who’s going with you?

7) Finish this sentence: I’ve always wanted to ____________. (Please keep your answer P.G., thanks!)

8) What smell makes you think of summertime?

9) What do you wish others knew about you?

10) Do you have a quote that inspires you?  (I have many but a favorite is “To thine own self be true.”)

11) What one possession from your childhood do you wish you still had?

The rules didn’t specify how many bloggers to name for this so I’m choosing everyone who reads this post. I know it’s a bit involved but hey – if I can do it, so can you.  🙂 But, should you find yourself pressed for time, please feel free to choose just a few of my 11 questions to answer.   Either way, I’ll be right here, ready to readCheers!

Categories: Animals, Blogging, Faith, Family, Friendship, Fun, Joy, Life, Personal, Relationships, Thoughts, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Work it out

Growing up the youngest of five, there were times that we just didn’t get along.

With 9 years between the oldest and youngest (me) and 3 channels to watch, one of them French, TV shows were often decided on by the (much bigger) boys.   Favorites like “The Carol Burnett Show” or “The Wonderful World of Disney” garnered cooperation from all but  “Hockey Night in Canada” meant front row seats for them and we girls off doing something else.

When Mom heard us bickering over something – the last cookie, the TV channel, etc, her response was always “Oh for Pete’s sakes, work it out.”

The thing is, we had each other and several thousand acres to run around on. We had animals and bikes, ponies and hay stacks.  We made up games and found ways to stay entertained.   And as much as they teased and tortured, my brothers’ schemes and ideas made for great adventures … and usually got us into trouble.

Like smoking in the hayloft.

Maybe not the best idea.

Or test driving the farm truck with three or four of us in the truck bed … headed down prairie trails at 50 mph and no brakes.  It’s a wonder we survived to laugh about it now.

In my experience, being farm raised meant a firm foundation and consistent values sprinkled with a healthy dose of neglect  freedom. We were taught what to do and we did it.  We had chores and responsibilities. We were trusted to figure things out as we went.  And did we ever.

I’ll never forget one hot summer’s day when the boys convinced us to trek a half  mile to the river for a swim. I was 4.   Filling a couple of mason jars and swiping a few cookies, I’m sure Mom assumed we were headed to the tree house, a daily play site.  The five of us took off, making our way through the brambles of the coulee, and down the raggedy hills to that swiftly flowing river.  I was too young to know better but oh-so-happy to be included.

the South Saskatchewan river, view from our homestead; an emjayandthemphoto (C)

the South Saskatchewan river, a view from the homestead. That water is cold and swift and deep.  an emjayandthemphoto (C)

The sun warmed my back as we played and that river sand felt so silky smooth sliding through my fingers. I remember water above me and lights cutting through it.  I didn’t know I was drowning but it was my brother’s arm who yanked me out, sputtering and scared.

A neighbor found us a few hours later and our parents, frantic and panicked, spanked every single one of us, both crying hysterically as they did.   I can only imagine the terror we terrorists caused them.

So when I saw this Mom’s creative way to make her kids “work it out,” I just had to chuckle, think of Mom and Dad and the five of us rug rats, too.   Because if we had been made to wear this as kids, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be around to talk about it.

image from Pinterest.com

“You shut up; no, YOU, shut up.” image from Pinterest.com

How were conflicts resolved in your family?  Did your parents have a saying you remember hearing?

Categories: Attitude, Faith, Fun, Home, Life, Life Lessons, Mom, Personal, Relationships, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Wisdom, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , | 35 Comments

More than just what I can see

Ausser & Pearl; an emjayandthem photo

I often think about what Heaven will be like, and have always imagined it to be centered around one place:  my Grandparents house.  I see Grandma there with her apron on, cooking at the stove and Grandpa, my sweet Dad and my Uncle Jarl sitting at her table, sipping coffee, smiling and ushering me in. The love and warmth and happiness there is indescribable, the feeling … enveloping.  Outside are all the dogs, kitties and horses of my childhood, just waiting for me to come and say hello.

As a child, my Grandparents home sat less than a mile away.  I rode my bike or my pony over to their farmyard and in I’d come, stinking of horses and fresh air and always, always I was welcomed.  Grandma’s kitchen was everything that was good: scents of cinnamon, butter, sugar and jam lingered, even long after meals were cleared.  Grandpa, curious and kind, was forever interested in my stories; Grandma, capable and whimsical, was also efficient and no-nonsense.  Sometimes I got to spend the night there, and the feeling of slipping my bare legs under her starched white sheets lingers with me still.

I loved and was loved.

Grandpa’s barn

It’s those memories that I slip back to when my heart’s been heavy.  But then I think about them, I remember the love that was given so freely, the hearts and doors that were always open, and the time that was shared.  And when they come back to me,  I believe.

Darla’s post inspired this one.  Thank you, sweet friend.

Categories: Confidence at any age, Home, Personal, Relationships, Thoughts, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 48 Comments

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