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Posts Tagged With: community

Random 5 Friday ~ Christmas treats, traditions and “41”

It’s Friday and you know what that means ~ it’s time for my Random 5 Friday!  Ready?  Let’s go!

1 )  Christmas Treats: Made my first round of Christmas treats last weekend.  Background:  I bake & make Christmas treats in “rounds” to give Hubbs his “due” ~ it’s a strategy that seems to work because he gets his fill and if I make enough “rounds,” I end up with some treats left to share with others.  Case in point:  just the other night, he exclaimed, “No more fudge till Christmas!” (( Like I’m-a-gonna do this all again on Christmas Eve?  … um No!))   But I ran into a quandary I hadn’t foreseen.  See, we gave away our larger freezer a few years back so I don’t have an easy storage spot.   I put on my thinking cap and …. Bingo! Problem solved:

Chocolate covered peanuts hidden in the crisper ~ He’ll never look there!  (( Shhh don’t tell ))

2 )  Holiday traditions:  When we moved to Hubb’s home state of Michigan 18 years ago it was his idea to throw a Christmas party and bring the extended family together.  His eyes would mist over recalling the big family gatherings of his childhood.  So, we started a small family party in our home that soon grew to a hall; we continued to host it annually for a dozen years or so; others in the family took it on for a few years and now, younger cousins have the lead.   Regardless who hosts or plans, the workload to do it, during the busiest time of the year, is never  insignificant.  There are menus to plan, details to organize, a hall to book, decorations to buy or recycle, addresses to update, invitations to share and more.  Just like in life, there’s always someone quick to point out what was missed or what wasn’t done. (Those same ones typically contribute nothing).  Regardless of the snark, the tradition continues and the family comes together.  Dishes are made involving 4 important Holiday food groups:  cheese, chocolate, BBQ sauce and cool-whip.  Little kid cousins get re-acquainted and run around together, red-faced and sweaty in their Christmas outfits,  elders tell stories and for a while everyone slows down and lingers in the moment.   And that’s what it’s all about, Charlie Brown!

Christmas time is here! An Emjayandthem (C) photo

3 ) Community: Stopped at my local (tiny) grocery store last night and, in the baking aisle, shared a conversation with Ray, the older stock boy man.  Maybe it’s because I’m not from here and still long for a sense of community, I always make time to chat with him.  I know he walks his dog in the mornings, before work, that he lost his wife years ago and alternates between tears and smiles when he speaks of her, and that his daughter makes him cookies all year-long.   This is my small neighborhood store, not a big box chain.  They don’t stock everything and yes, you pay a little more sometimes.  But I like that bath soap isn’t 2 miles from the butter.  And I love that the checkout clerks know me and I know them.  In line to pay, I let a lady with a just a few items go ahead of me. She thanked me then  commented, “I really like this store, it’s so calm here.”  I smiled and I got it.     And it hit me right then that perhaps my little community has manifested itself right before my very eyes.

“Community is a sign that love is possible in a materialistic world where people so often either ignore or fight each other. It is a sign that we don’t need a lot of money to be happy–in fact, the opposite.”
Jean Vanier, Community And Growth

4 )  Family Photos:   When our boys were little, it was easy to seat one on our laps and stand the other next to us for a family portrait.   But now that everyone is older and there’s far more of us, family pictures are harder to come by.  I enjoy the perfectly posed portraits on friends’ Facebook pages — the coordinating plaid, hair bows and Holly,  littlest ones in Santa hats, bow ties, Christmas dresses, black patent leather shoes and white stockings.  Somehow I know if we tried this today, we’d end up with something like this:

Truth!

5) Passing of a Giant – Like many of you, I watched the coverage of President George H.W. Bush’s funeral with rapt and tearful attention. It was stately. Poignant. Emotional.  Respectful. Moving.  Epic.  So many moments, such long, long days for the family.  So many tributes to his character, life and legacy.  This picture though …

Together again

Your turn:

  • Do you also hide holiday treats?
  • Are there any Christmas traditions you’d like to share with us?
  • Where do you get a sense of community from?
  • Does your family take annual holiday photos?
  • And .. did you watch?
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Categories: Animals, Attitude, Faith, Family, Food, Fun, Growth, Holidays, Home, Humor, Life, Personal, Quotes, Relationships, Seasons, Snarky, Thoughts, Traditions | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Random 5 Friday ~ TV dinners, road trips, community and common sense

Random Five Friday pic

It’s Friday and here are 5 random happenings and thoughts from this week:

1.  Hubbs and I talked about this a couple of days ago but who else remembers when TV dinners were good and something to look forward to?   I remember, on special occasions, Mom coming home from town with some of these.  Our excitement was palpable as we placed our foil trays into the oven and, later, peeled back the cover and attacked the fried chicken, potatoes, vegetables and little apple or cherry dessert.  It was even better if Mom and Dad were going out for the night and my cousin and I had an Elvis movie coming on at 8!   Haven’t had one of these in 35 years but I still smile at the memory.

tv dinner

Oh yes!

2.  Road trip Wednesday crossing three counties and at least 3 weather bands.  Several times I drove through freezing rain or flurries.  On my way to my last appointment, I rounded the bend on a country road, and spotted something odd.  It took me a few moments to realize what I was looking at: newly shorn sheep shivering in the snow.  (Say that seven times – ha!)

sheep-thumb

Dude! It’s way too early for us to be naked!! Google.images.com

3.  Stopping for gas yesterday morning, an older gentleman was filling his van up just ahead of me.  As the wind blew my hair sideways I looked up, his eyes met mine, I smiled and commented, “So much for Spring, hey?”  He laughed and replied, “I know, we just got home from Florida yesterday, and I told the wife next time we’re staying there!”  He chatted a bit more about their trip there and the snow on the ground at his home here and what a crazy year it’s been weather-wise.  He paid his tab, wished me a good day, and off he went.  And as I left the gas station, there he was at the next intersection, giving me a hearty wave good-bye.  I smiled, waved back, and gave thanks for living in a place where weather is always a safe topic and more people than not are friendly and nice.

4.  I’ve been out of the office a lot lately and something I’ve had reinforced again is a simple rule of business etiquette.  When I’m away, I put the “out of office” message on ~ I let internal employees know how to reach me and my team and external contacts know I am away until X time or date.  I do the same with voice mail.  This helps manage the influx of requests, keeps inquiries and tasks moving, and lessens the “Hi it’s so and so; call me back please” messages — simple, effective, and irritating when others don’t do it, too.   Yes I know we live in a 24/7 society and instant everything but there are times I’m in meetings or out of range.  I’m not a Fireman and managing expectations has become as important as meeting deadlines.

out-of-office

5.  Saw this recently and laughed out loud.  I’m pretty sure our dog Frankie would have answered to these names, too!

stop that dog

Do you remember having TV dinners on special occasions as a kid?  What’s the most interesting thing you’ve seen on a recent road trip?  Does it make you happy when random people comment on the weather to you?  What rules of business etiquette work for – or annoy – you?  And what other names do your pets answer to?

Happy Friday, peeps!

Categories: Animals, Attitude, Family, Food, Fun, Home, Humor, Joy, Life, Mom, music, Personal, Random, Seasons, Thoughts, Work | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

The greatest dysfunctional family, ever

Every day, we fight about how to make this a better country.  And while we may disagree on how to get there, Independence isn’t about always getting what you want.

It’s about thinking what you want. Saying what you want. And always being able to stand up for what you believe in.

Happy Independence Day to our beautifully conflicted, argumentative, always-fighting country.

You’re the greatest dysfunctional family in the world.” – Brad Meltzer

Are dysfunctional families actually functional?  (Photo from "Little Miss Sunshine")

(Photo from “Little Miss Sunshine”)

Think about it: are dysfunctional families actually functional?

Categories: Attitude, Faith, Family, Forgiveness, Friendship, Joy, Life, News, Opinion, Quotes, Random, Thoughts, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 20 Comments

Bang on the drum all day

It’s Friday.

Friday. Friday. Friday!

2 weeks till my Mom & sister get here :).

The weather’s warmed up and the forecast actually looks promising.

There’s lots to do at the office and plenty to be done at home.

But never mind that.

My conference calls would be a lot livelier if these were in my office!

Conference calls would be a lot livelier if these were in my office! (google images)

It’s Friday.

I just want to bang on the drum all day!

You?

(be sure to crank up the volume for the song below)

Categories: Attitude, Family, Friendship, Fun, Joy, Life, Opinion, Uncategorized, Work | Tags: , , , , , | 12 Comments

A river moving

It’s Friday.

That long awaited, much anticipated day.

There’s still lots of the week left in today, but we’re close enough to the finish line to begin thinking of other things.

peeking kitten

I see you, weekend!

Weekend warriors or time to just be?

Maybe a little of both?

Whatever you choose, take it from me and do what feeds your soul.

“When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.”― Rumi

*image from Pinterest

Categories: Animals, Attitude, Faith, Family, Fun, Home, Joy, Life, Opinion, Personal, Random, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

A Valentinian Twist

google images

google images

What’s that?  Don’t have a Valentine?

Valentines Day is for new love and little kids, you say?

Or maybe you’re part of a couple and you’re past all that.

I get it.

It’s winter. It’s cold. You’ve got things to do.

I know.

I say all the same things myself.

And then I read this.  And it made me think:

Wouldn’t that be a fun twist on Valentine’s Day?

No giant teddy bears. No footie pajamas.

I don’t care to match a bear!

No 1-800-whatever.

How about this instead:

Each of us. Take one moment. And do something nice. For someone else.

Clear the snow from a neighbor’s walkway.

Buy some sweet treats for your office mates.

Leave a hand-written note of encouragement for your spouse, child or friend.

Let someone ahead of you at the check-out line.

Smile.

Take a deep breath.

Be patient.

I will if you will.

“Be kind whenever possible.  It is always possible.” –Dalai Lama.

P.S.   Please let me know what you did and, most importantly, how’d you feel when you did it?

** Happy Valentines Day, friends! **

You're the best!

You’re the best!

Categories: Attitude, Charity, Faith, Family, Forgiveness, Friendship, Fun, Home, Humor, Joy, Life, Personal, Random, Self Discovery, Share, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

Snapping Strings

Maybe it happened when you had good news to share: an opportunity to talk about or the scale moving in the direction you wanted it to.

Like me, when those moments happen, you want to share them with others – friends and family – and instead, well instead sometimes you found excitement squelched by * crickets *.

But how much time have you spent dwelling on the approval you never got? May never get?

How many times has the stark silence of someone’s resistance dampened the high fives that rolled in … from others?

For me, it’s happened more than I’d like to admit.

You see, as much as I have tried to grow it up and suck it up and push all that stuff aside, it still irks me when I catch myself doing it.  When I realize how much weight I’ve allowed their actions to have.

Is it a control thing?  Is it true that when we allow what someone says or does to upset us, we are really just allowing them to control us?

google.image

google.image

I don’t think that’s it.  I think it goes deeper.

I think it goes back to the little child living in each of us. The one who just wants to be heard.

The one who wants to be relevant, charming, witty and smart.  Who wants to be valued, admired, celebrated and loved. Who wants to be invited back to the big kids table.  Who wants never to be turned away.

I’ve come to realize I might never all the connections I long for but I’ll always have me and that’s a relationship worth cultivating.  It’s probably time to snap some strings while I’m at it.

emjayandthem in grade one

emjayandthem in grade one

Will you join me?

Whose approval are you waiting for?

* * *

“I know what it’s like. I’ve seen it played out a zillion times. You’re waiting for that magical day when someone makes the connection and recognizes who you really are. Maybe they’ll first catch the sparkle in your eye. Or perhaps they’ll marvel at your insights and the depth of your spirit. Someone who will help you connect the dots, believe in yourself, and make sense of it all. Someone who will understand you, approve of you, and unhesitatingly give you a leg up so that life can pluck your ready, ripened self from the branch of magnificence. Well, I’m here to tell you, your wait is over. That someone, is you.” –  Mike Dooley

Categories: Faith, Family, fear, Growth, Life, Life Lessons, Love, Quotes, Random, Relationships, Thoughts, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 33 Comments

Facial lessons

“Some people come into your life as blessings; others come as lessons.”

This is the face I’ve caught myself making when encountering yet another lesson.

You?

jan14mama1

google.images.com

Happy day, all.

Categories: Attitude, Forgiveness, Friendship, Fun, Life, Life Lessons, Quotes, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

Go to your baby a million times

I saw this image recently and it made me chuckle.

Why?

Because this is me and this is how I mother. All-in.

google.images

Both boys tower over me by 10″ or more but when times are tough and obstacles seem impossible, I help silence their fears by channeling Mrs. Cluck.

* * *

“Don’t stand unmoving outside the door of a crying baby whose only desire is to touch you. Go to your baby. Go to your baby a million times. Demonstrate that people can be trusted, that the environment can be trusted, that we live in a benign universe.”  – Peggy O’Mara

If you’re a parent, can you relate? 

Categories: Attitude, fear, Growth, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 32 Comments

A rather large amount of gratitude

“Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.” – A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

Today, I woke to morning’s light peeking into the yard.

I woke to old dog, sleeping soundly and without pain.

I woke to a day filled with nothing in particular to do and all day to do it.

I woke to views like this one and my soul had no choice but to smile.

isn’t Autumn glorious? {{ Click to enlarge }} an emjayandthem photo

What’s making you smile today?

Categories: Attitude, Faith, Family, Gratitude, Home, Joy, Quotes, Relationships, Seasons, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 25 Comments

The Average of Five

A quote shared by my friend Beth inspired this post today: (check out her blog here)

“You are the average of the five people you associate with most, so do not underestimate the effects of your pessimistic, unambitious, or disorganized friends. If someone isn’t making you stronger, they’re making you weaker.”
― Timothy Ferriss, The 4 Hour Workweek

Doesn’t that quote make you step back and think?

Think about who you work near and interact with the most.  Think about who challenges you, inspires you, motivates or aggravates you.  Think about family members, neighbors and friends.  Think about it all and then ask yourself this: Who’s on your Board of Directors? Is it time for a re-org?

..google.images.com..

Categories: Animals, Faith, Family, Life, Thoughts, Work | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 27 Comments

Making room for pie

one end of the pie table.

Harvest on the prairies. Dust blowin’, combines goin’, suppers in the field.

And I was there, back on the farm, the latter part of September.  It had been an early harvest for many in the community and this meant more smiles than sadness, more grins than complaints and more than enough pies, cakes and desserts at the annual Macrorie Fall supper. My hometown.    The supper is a fund-raiser, yes, but it’s more than that. It’s coffee with former bus drivers, it’s hugs from long-time neighbors; it’s fellowship.

See the two blueberry desserts out front?  See that carmelly looking meringue topped madness at 10:00?  That’s a sour cream/raisin pie, my Dad’s favorite, and I know it sounds dreadful .. but I assure you .. it’s not. It’s a combination of carmelly pecan-pie gooeyness peppered with raisins and sometimes nut meats.

The community supper  – a chance to share harvest’s bounty –  was scheduled to start at 5:00 Sunday.  By 4:20 no less than 200 senior citizens from a 40 miles radius were in their seats, forks in hand with their pre-selected pie at their seat.

For many elderly farmers, it was a the old favorites that won their hearts:  flapper pie, apple, and sour cream/raisin.  Ladies chose standards like pumpkin pie with real whipped cream, cherry delight or bread pudding with caramel sauce.  Me?  Pineapple upside down cake. Oh yeah.

In the midst of the communal enjoyment of roast turkey, dressing, turnips, mashed potatoes, garden peas & carrots, gravy, butter, salad and rolls, I witnessed behavior I hadn’t seen for a while: adults jockeying for position; nearly elbowing each other into line. Grown men gleefully discussing the merits of a good pie.

Someone nearby exclaimed, “Good Lord; it’s like they’ve never had food like this before.”

Oh they’ve had it all right.

They’ve had it at their Mother’s table some 60 years ago.

They’ve had it when their wife was still alive and did you know she loved to bake?  Baked a darned good pie that girl did. 

They’ve had it when they’ve been included in Thanksgiving plans and had the opportunity to take a few leftovers home with them.  And they’ll always choose pie.

It’s not the food itself that does it though; it’s that first taste of something you  haven’t had since grade school – that’s what does it. It’s that moment, that taste and smell that awakens the child in each of us. The child who longs for simpler times, for doughnuts at Grandma’s table and pie at the hockey rink. For coming in from a cold evening of freeze tag to the smells of cinnamon coffee cake.

We long for the taste of love, baked into each and every bite.

Thinking about it now, I don’t think I witnessed greed at all.  I saw wisdom in those pre-supper pie pickers.  They were experienced enough to go for the sweet stuff first and build their plate around it.  Why?  They knew there would probably be enough turkey and sides (sustenance), they’re farmers after all, but they’d learned, over the years, to not count on the sweet things in life (decent weather, fair prices and a good harvest).

Do you make room for the pie in your life?

The other end of the pie table ...

Categories: Attitude, Faith, Fun, Life, Opinion, Seasons, Thoughts, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 44 Comments

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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.

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