Posts Tagged With: citizenship

Random 5 Sunday ~ Spring, Weddings and Anniversaries

Good morning and Happy Sunday to you!   Time for 5 Randoms from my world.  Ready?  Let’s go.

1 )   Spring.  I’d been away from the office for several weeks, returning last week to a stacks of mail and Spring  outside my window.   After (what felt like) a 10 month winter, Spring seems even brighter this year. And overdue.  Yes, it rained all weekend, but the rain washed away the pollen and, for the first time in a week, my eyes no longer feel gummy.    Farmer’s daughters have a hard time wishing away rain anyways.

**Hello Spring! **

2 )  Travel ~ as fun and adventurous as it was to be away ~ including staying an extra night because of flight delays (in a hotel, not the airport, yay), it’s wonderful to come home again.  With 3 days in the office last week and 1 more tomorrow, I’m nearly caught up.  On Tuesday I’m off again for a couple of nights and back home in time to slide into the long weekend.   This is the kind of travel I love~ by car, with stops along the way, the schedule is (mostly) all mine, structured enough to accomplish my objectives but with enough free time to take in the sights.  I’ll be winding my way north along the shores of Lake Michigan and back again.   And I won’t miss my desk one bit.

**Travel makes one modest, you see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.**

3 ) Companions– While visiting city officials and town halls I’ll have Dad with me.   See Dad, in addition to being a full-time farmer,  served his local Rural Municipality (R.M.) as a Councilor for 30+ years and this girl went with him much of the time.  I’d straighten the paperwork and make sure the coffee pot was full, watch how he listened, interacted, and worked the issues.  I learned from him how to relax and stand confident in what I know.   Although my present day role is much different from his, there’s much of what he did that comes with me.  And I still  experience a child-like wonder as I walk into a century-old City Hall, seeing the grooves in the floor from so many before me, smelling furniture polish and the must that exists in those cavernous old rooms.     I can easily spot the radiators still hugging the walls and, before long, enjoy a relaxed camaraderie with present day staff.

**A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.**

4 )  Anniversary –  This week marks 10 years as a U.S. Citizen.    10 years! Yes, 10 years ago I raised my right hand and, with 78 others (from 34 countries) took the oath of allegiance to the United States of America and stepped forward as a new American. It signified the end of one journey and the beginning of another.   It was one of the proudest and most emotional  moments of my life.  (more about my journey here.)

You see, someday I will be a citizen for 15 or 20 or 35 years and I’ll still choose to tell folks that I’m a “new” citizen. Why?  Because I don’t know how else to communicate the significance of it.    The choice of it.

We’re not perfect, this country, we’ve got our flaws.  Like most families, there’s bickering and divisions and  always someone willing to point out what’s wrong with us … but still … there’s a heart and soul about America that continues to inspire people to imagine a life here.

That’s me, holding the flag, during my swearing in ceremony; An Emjayandthem (C) photo

“The first requisite of a good citizen in this republic of ours is that he shall be able and willing to pull his own weight.”


3) The Royal Wedding – Unlike past events, I didn’t set my alarm, instead I set the DVR.  Snoozing till 8:00 I hopped up out of bed, poured a large cup of coffee, and turned on the TV.   For whatever reason, I just didn’t have the same interest in this wedding as I did for Diana and Charles in 1981 or William and Kate in 2011.   Maybe I was still trying to learn about the gal who’d bedazzled a Prince and, let’s be honest, some of the attraction was the hot mess certain members of her family had been, too.    The day was dazzling, the sky glorious, the hats large and the dress fancy.   Having the DVR recording allowed me to fast-forward through the speculative coverage by “new” Royal experts and get to the good stuff.  Yes, I cried when I saw the two brothers walking so confidently together.   I giggled at the cuteness of the little page boys and flower girls.   I teared up watching Prince Charles join her on her lone walk in, when the two of them said their vows, shared a kiss, and hopped into the Carriage to be swept off to their future.   I’ve cried at this and every wedding I’ve ever witnessed.  This was no different: in the end, it’s all about love.  I wish them well.

image from

**All you need is love … ** -Paul McCartney

So, how was your week?


Categories: Attitude, Blogging, Confidence at any age, Faith, Family, Growth, Home, Joy, Life, Love, News, Opinion, Personal, Politics, Relationships, Thoughts, Traditions, Travel, Women, Work, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

On being a citizen

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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.


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 the prairies

To the oceans..White with foam

God Bless America!

    My Home Sweet Home

Happy birthday, America …. from a grateful citizen.

A great day - the day I became a citizen!

Teary-eyed at becoming a citizen!


Categories: Faith, Family, Gratitude, Joy, Life, Share, Thoughts, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 24 Comments


Five years ago, Hubbs and I and youngest boy spent the night in Detroit so I could take my citizenship test early the next morning.

Five years ago, I passed that test with flying colors.

Five years ago, I raised my right hand and took the oath of allegiance to the United States of America and proudly stepped forward as a new citizen.

Five years ago, I got my second passport.

Five years.

Five years ago, I couldn’t have imagined that five years later I’d be heading to Washington, D.C. this morning to represent my employer and my state.

Five years.

Only in America!

The United States Capitol is the meeting place of the United States Congress, the legislature of the federal government of the United States. Located in Washington, D.C., it sits atop Capitol Hill at the eastern end of the National Mall.‎

…she cried because prejudice outlives passion and because she was sentimentally patriotic.”  ― Irène Némirovsky

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Categories: Attitude, Faith, Growth, Joy, Life, Patriotic, Personal, Politics, Quotes, Thoughts, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 32 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

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