Posts Tagged With: gratitude

‘Till next time

There’s no other way to say it than to say it: Mom passed away last week.

She’d been up & down and things weren’t getting better; but we’d been there before, collectively holding our breath.  And then the little bit would rally and surprise us all, over and over again.

Oldest sister sat with her last Sunday and they talked frankly about things; thankfully Mom made her own choices about being moved from the nursing home to the hospital.  “No way,” she said emphatically.  But the meds weren’t working as they had before.  Sissy asked if she was tired and Mom said yes, yes she was.  Sissy told her it was OK to rest that she would sit with her and she did. She asked about calling the others. Mom’s response was a typical Mom response, “Don’t believe that’s necessary.”  Sissy did anyway and they all visited the next day.  The morning after that, Mom slipped quietly away.

Even when you expect it, there’s no way to prepare for the loss of someone you love. You can’t.  All you can do hold on as hard as you can and brace yourself for the waves of grief that are sure to come. Some are Tsunamis, some are ankle nippers.  You try not to drown.  I’m still there, some days floating, other days gasping.

I had booked flights for my nephew’s wedding at the end of July; our oldest son’s wedding is this Saturday.  It was so like her to slip off before all that – not wanting to cause a fuss. It was so like her to put space between those milestones so as not to tamper anyone’s joy.

Tickets have been changed, I’ll leave sooner.

She wanted to be cremated and for us to hold a service “when it made sense.”  That was also so her. We laugh about how, even now, she’s still ‘large & in charge.’  Sobs come through our stories.

We’ll have a service at the grave site then a gathering in the town hall with several hundred people followed by a lunch. There’s no church big enough!!  And not having everything this week or next gives people time to come.  And they are. By the droves.  Not just locally but from all over Canada & the U.S. as well.   Mom was well-known and loved; friends & family want the opportunity to tell their stories and pay their respects.  I’ve tried to help where I can, making phone calls, sending photos, and just being part of things.  But I know when I step off the plane that grief will hit me in the face like a wet towel.  Drafting her obituary last night stung but I was  honored to do so.

As sad as I am and as much as I’ll miss her I know she’s free.  She’s with Dad on a date night, holding the winning ticket to a fast horse, enjoying a hot Rye, her purse just a-swinging.    I smile knowing Frankie’s tucked up under Heaven’s kitchen table getting fatter by the second; she always called that dog “the Gentleman.”  Her Mom and Dad are there, she’s with other pals and family.  Farm dogs, barn kitties and ponies we’ve lost along the way are all snuggled up close to her. How can we be sad at that?

Mom and Dad with one of their winning horses - and a date night. An Emjayandthem(C) photo

Mom and Dad with one of their winning horses – and a date night. An Emjayandthem(C) photo

No, the sadness, that’s for us. The sadness comes in knowing we have to wait to see her again. And I’m not that patient.

But mixed with the grief is the gratitude: for all who she was, all that she did, and how deeply we loved her.

I’ve lived far from home for 32+ years. She and I enjoyed many happy visits, there, here, other places, plus other trips and adventures. We had a thing: we never said “good-bye” we always said, “’till next time.”  The last time I was home with her, when it came time to leave for the airport, she stood to hug me and laid her head on my chest. We stood quietly like that, her head on me, me supporting her, and her hugging me tightly. I’ll never forget that hug.  Breaking apart we looked each other in the eyes and said “till next time.”   She smiled and I smiled and headed out the door.

Soon my siblings and cousins, aunties and friends will gather – we’ll share her stories and we’ll sing her songs.  We’ll find ourselves saying the things she would have said. We’ll sip on a Rye and we’ll reflect on the gift of a Mother happy to be one.  On the gift that was her.


“When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.” ~ Kahlil Gibran  









Categories: Attitude, Confidence at any age, Determination, Faith, Family, Gratitude, Grief, Growth, Home, Life, Love, Mom, Personal, Relationships | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

Friday happiness

Friday’s here, but I think I skipped Wednesday and Thursday,  it’s been that kind of week.   Like stuffing 10lbs of potatoes in a 2 lbs sack kinda week. Travel, meetings, calls, travel, meetings, calls, repeat.

But, I got to talk with Mom last night – she’d not been feeling well so that made phone calls not an option for the past little while.  She’s on the mend now.  Happiness # 1.


Something I’ve been working on for 6+ months is finally coming to fruition. And it’s something good for my team. I get to tell them about it next week.  Happiness # 2.

happy boy

Oldest boy’s fiance went bridesmaid shopping last night and grand-daughter MJ went, too.   I hear she tried on every hair accessory in the store, including this one:  Happiness # 3.

MJ dress shopping; an Emjayandthem (C) photo

MJ’s joy at being included; an Emjayandthem (C) photo

There’s been sickness all around – stomach flu, respiratory bugs – you name it.  Not sick.  Happiness # 4.

happy donkey

Living my life grain-free is now a way of life. Down 11.5″ and 11lbs in 30 days.  Feeling rested, healthy and in control – for the first time in years.   Happiness # 5.

super hero girl

What are you feeling happy about this week? What victory can you claim?

Rock on, friends!


Categories: Attitude, Confidence at any age, Family, Food, Gratitude, Growth, Joy, Mom, Opinion, Personal, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Random 5 Friday and special occasions

It’s Friday and the day after Thanksgiving, and Black Friday for all the shoppers. Here are 5 randoms from my world this week:

1  Sent most of the leftovers home with oldest boy & his family last night.  It’s yummy and all but one plate of that calorie-dense food is enough for me.  I’m still full today! Normally I would have enjoyed a piece of pie with my morning coffee today but instead I opted for a nutrient-rich Nutribullet smoothie.  It’s all about balance.  And saving room for a burger later. 🙂



2  The house still smells like Thanksgiving dinner.    There’s no candle that could match it!


3  When I was a girl Mom’s Holiday table was a sight to see  – she used her  best china, cut crystal and tablecloths. The table was set several days ahead and we’d circle it, marveling at the tiny decorated Christmas trees or crafted pumpkins down the middle. At mealtime we were given a small bit of Ginger Ale to sip from a goblet, and she served shrimp cocktail to all – young and old. Learning to use those tiny forks and handle fine china – those experiences are precious to me.   Most importantly, she taught us not to save our best for company but to share with all who gather.   The grands are learning how to leave the table without taking the table-cloth with them, they have their own “special” goblets to use, and they and our boys have learned they’re special enough to warrant the good stuff.

cut crystal

“Start living now. Stop saving the good china for that special occasion. Stop withholding your love until that special person materializes. Every day you are alive is a special occasion. Every minute, every breath, is a gift from God.” – Mary Manin Morrissey


4  When asked recently if I would be shopping on Black Friday I gave my patent response, “Not without a gun to my head.”  You see I tried it once, years ago, and it was miserable. Life lessons abound, though, because standing in line for a long time affords one the opportunity to determine how badly you want/need the item you’re about to “save” $$ on.  I remember putting it back and leaving the store where I waited for my friends in the fresh air.  People rushed past me, I was the only one smiling, and I learned I’ll happily 1) pay full price to avoid all that or 2) go without.

5  Saw this a few days ago and knew you needed to see it, too.  Happy Thanksgiving, friends.

grateful for

** How was your “Turkey” Day?

What traditions have you kept from your childhood and which ones have changed? **

Categories: Attitude, Faith, Family, Food, Holidays, Home, Life Lessons, Love, Personal, Quotes, Thoughts, Traditions | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

Bombdiggity Do

The Devil loves it when people are miserable. Oh yeah, he lives for that.

He loves to see us whine, complain, gossip, and separate from each other.

He loves to destroy communities, countries and cultures.

Loves it.

Here’s something I’ve learned — if you’re someone who counts your blessings, suddenly you find yourself with more to count .. and those who are down and sad are drawn to that grateful, happy energy. They want some of it. The D doesn’t want them to have it, and therein starts the strife.

I say … shine on anyways.

Crank it up.  Let ‘er rip.

“This little light of mine .. I’m gonna let it shine…”



You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.

In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to our Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16

Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Confidence at any age, Faith, fear, Growth, Quotes, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

On Mothering

One of my favorite pictures of Mom & me... having a Killian's in Branson, MO

One of my favorite pictures of Mom & me… having a Killian’s in Branson, MO

A mom reads you like a book, and wherever she goes, people read you like a glowing book review.  ~Robert Brault


We all need someone who believes in us – someone who sees our potential and who encourages us to keep on going when times get hard.  Someone who reminds us of what is working in our life and that tomorrow will be better.  Someone who points out all we have to be grateful for right now.

We need someone who cheers the loudest when we succeed and stays the closest when we’re hurting.

No matter how robust our self-confidence is, knowing that we are treasured is the magic elixir that gives us the ability to be our best.

In everything I’ve ever accomplished and all that I’ve ever experienced, I’ve had one tiny but mighty powerhouse behind me: my mother.

Thank you to my Mom who taught me the importance of a meal lovingly prepared, of make-believe play on stormy days, the joy of reading and the ability to laugh at myself.

Thank you to my Mom for driving me to piano lessons even though I could “hear” the music and didn’t bother learning to read notes; for sewing my skating costumes, helping me finish 4-H projects and listening to me practice my speeches.

Thank you to my Mom who put up with my petulance at 14, what I was sure was true love at 16, and impatience at 18.

Thank you to my Mom who taught me that a real man cries, loves children and animals and his wife, and shows up.

Thank you to my Mom who  inspires me to challenge what I know for sure, to stretch my limits and to never underestimate what can be done.

Thank you to my Mom, who let me have sleepovers, talent shows, weenie roasts and birthday parties.

Thank you to my Mom for teaching me how to have a warm & inviting home; to cook, clean and entertain in a way that makes my family want to be home more than not.

Thank you to my Mom who taught me to not save my best manners for strangers and to, no matter what, stay up for kids coming in at night so there’s always an audience for their stories.

Thank you for my Mom who let me go; who, in spite of the miles that separate us, and the time between our face-to-face conversations, has never failed to rally behind me and say “You can do it, kid.”

Thank you, Mom, thank you.

The greatest gift I’ve ever received … is a Mother who is happy to be one.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.

*originally posted 5/6/2011

Want to read more about the 4’11” dynamo?

Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Faith, Growth, Home, Joy, Life, Personal, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 26 Comments

It’s not forever

Till we’ll go from this:


to this:


to this:


to this:


and back around to this:


“Once she stopped rushing through life, she was amazed how much more life she had time for.” – Unknown


Frankie has perfected the art of slowing down.

Frankie has mastered the art of slowing down.

Have a great day, friends!

*all Emjayandthem photos

Categories: Animals, Attitude, Faith, Growth, Quotes, Relationships, Seasons, Thoughts, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 22 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 rust of the week

Sunday has come around again and I’ve asked it to linger.

Friday night was fun, Hubbs and I had a date night in the garage. We laughed, we chatted, we waited in the rain for the Tigers to play but … no dice.

Yesterday was our “warrior” day – suited with Windex, paper towels, garbage bags and the vacuum, I tore through our bedroom, the one resembling a storage unit of late.
Inspired, Hubbs joined me and together we hauled out bags for Goodwill and loads of trash, too.  What a difference!

And now, Sunday’s arrived like the gift she is; the house is clean, the sun’s shining and  leaves are swirling down around the house.  Hubbs has Lions football and a Tigers’ double-header today, can you say ‘happy guy?’   I’ve got a pot of chili simmering on the stove and old dog waiting to go on our walk.

No offense to the other days, but Sunday can’t be beat.  She’s my favorite.

Sunday clears away the rust of the whole week – Joseph Addison

I’m happy Fall’s arrived: image from

What are you up to today?

Categories: Attitude, Faith, Family, Joy, Life, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

At home

So, there I was, two weeks ago, boarding ticket in hand, bags packed and ready to go see my ailing Mom. The fridge was stocked, my guys had hugged me 2 million times and all there was left to do was to just get there already.

Not really knowing what I was headed into, I can look back now and admit that I was a mess.  The flying was uneventful but I sure wasn’t.  Sitting in MSP airport I watched as a young girl interact with her grandmother… and silently I cried.   Standing behind a woman buying soup, I watched her rest her hand on her daughter’s head and silently I cried.  Working my way through customs, I did my best to stand purposefully and move the line along and when the Immigration Agent politely asked the purpose of my visit, silently, yep, I cried.

You see, I just couldn’t say the words out loud and this was the big secret I carried: the fact that this trip felt different. This trip frightened me. I couldn’t acknowledge how this trip felt bigger than many of those that had come before it.

So …. as most of us do … I held myself in check and choked out short answers like, “Just visiting family” to airport inquiries and prayed my watery eyes wouldn’t betray me.

But when I got through customs and into the receiving area, I lost it.  Spotting my other sister, the one I’m not as close to as I once was, I can only imagine now how much my sobs must have confused her.

It’s been a long summer.  There’s been a lot of uncertainty.  A lot of “what ifs” and a too many miles separating me from the rest of them.

But … so much of that melted away when I walked into my oldest sister’s home and spotted Mom comfortably ensconced in her sun room.  Her face lifted and when those eyes met mine, the grins were undeniable and then, well … that’s when the tears came.

After the hugs and the how-are-yous, we found ourselves settling into a new normal. I’ve never stayed anywhere but with her on the farm because there’s an unwritten rule that my time is always, always spent on her. Well, Mom was at Sissy’s and now, so was I.

What I didn’t realize until I got there was the role I would take.  Yes I knew I would comfort, cheer and engage but I soon found myself supporting my sister as she did the work to nurse Mom back to health.  I found a spot at her sink, washing dishes and cleaning garden vegetables. I found myself folding towels and at her range, simmering soups and whipping up favorite icings.  I found myself up early with my brother-in-law, brewing coffee and crafting omelettes and doing everything I could think of to make it easy. I made myself available so Sissy could step away for a break, a shower, a moment.

After several days we moved Mom back to her house and I saw a change in her that I hadn’t expected:  I saw her at home, in her element, and back in control.  I watched as she whipped her oxygen cord around like a lariat and laughed when I got myself caught in it.  I delighted in the fact that it was her little  face that I kissed good night and her sweet smile greeting me morning after morning. And when I caught myself standing at her sink washing vegetables or at her range simmering supper, I realized that I’d come home, too.

It wasn’t just that I’d come home to the place I’d grown up — but that I’d come home to a role she’d taught me — one I’ve grown familiar with over the years: that of being useful, of having a purpose, of offering up my assistance with a heaping helping of good cheer peppered with absolutely no b.s.

But it was when those little arms wrapped around me late at night and she expressed her appreciation for my just being there, I don’t mind telling you that those moments – those exact moments –  those were the most wonderful. Why?  Because they gave me the opportunity to pull her close and whisper “it’s been my pleasure.”

Me & Mom on her 82nd birthday. 8/21/12

How about you? Have you ever “gone home” again only to find yourself in a different role than the one you’d expected?

Categories: Faith, Family, Home, Mom, Personal, Thoughts, Travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 43 Comments

on Joy

The funny thing about Joy is that you only really find it when you’re too busy having fun to go looking for it.

photo from

Today, I’m joyful because it’s Friday. It’s Friday and I have several projects to wrap up and then I get to skip out into the sunshine and enjoy the glorious “Indian Summer” weather we’re having.

I’m joyful because my office is closer to orchards than it is the mall.

I’m joyful because I have Honeycrisp apples in my house and on my desk.

I’m joyful because Autumn’s beauty is starting to emerge and boy is she spectacular!

I’m joyful because 15 years ago I declared that I wanted to live in the four seasons again, with a screen door, a dog and have the boys know our families better. And we do.

I’m joyful because tomorrow brings the Vision Board class I organized … for others but just as much for me.

I’m joyful because our Tigers won last night and, in our excitement, the person we immediately called was my 81 year old mother.  Why? Because we knew she’d be up watching it, too, out of solidarity to us here in Tigers-land. She cheered, we cheered and that win was sweeter because we could share it.

I’m joyful …  because I am.

What’s brought you joy of late?

Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Friendship, Fun, Growth, Life | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 27 Comments

I don’t like to leave her

I love to see the joy on her face when she sees mine.

I love how my name sounds on her lips.

I love our meandering philosophical-political-newsy-relationship-opinionated-sports-life talks.

I love that we have so many things to discuss that we never get to them all.

source: johnnycupcakes

It’s from her that I get my love of jewelry, my fierce patriotism, my sense of justice and my ability to stand up for myself.

It’s because of her that I walk with confidence, devour a good read, can enjoy time alone, savor the taste of home-made soup and welcome others with grace.

I chuckle when she reminds me to bring along a jacket, checks for oncoming cars when I’m the one driving us around and tells me to let her “do it” when I try to help her.

I don’t like to leave her.

I don’t like to step away not knowing when I’ll see her next.

So I never say good-bye. I just kiss her and whisper, “till next time.

And when she leans in to ask that I please thank my guys for letting me come … I tell her through my sobs that I’m the one who is thankful.

For letting me go. 

For loving me.

For being the kind of mother every child should have.

I don’t like to leave her.

Categories: Attitude, Family, Food, Joy, Thoughts, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 35 Comments

On depth

the So. Saskatchewan river, view from home; an emjayandthemphoto (C). Click on photo for a larger view - well worth it!

You can’t do anything about the length of your life, but you can do something about its width and depth. – Unknown

 * * *

What makes your life feel wide and deep?

For me it’s life itself – those little moments that make my heart sing with joy:

The first taste of Mom’s homemade buns slathered with Raspberry jam.

A shared look between me and the hubbs last night.

Old dog leaning in for an extended pet.

Enveloping hugs from my boys.

A fridge full of homemade goodness and the smiles my efforts generated.

Shared laughter – and tears – with my sister.

Chats with my brothers. Tea at 4:00 pm.

Windows open. College Football and Baseball playoffs.

The wind in my face, the sun on my back and gravel crunching beneath my tennies.

The opportunity to return to where I grew up but come home to where I belong.

All of these and more … make my life wide and deep.

And you?

Categories: Animals, Attitude, Faith, Family, Food, Friendship, Home, Quotes | Tags: , , , , , | 22 Comments

Blog at

Happily After Retirement

- Loving where I am right now!

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.


Nancy Roman

She's A Maineiac

just another plaid-wearin' java-sippin' girl

I also live on a farm

Just another 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...



Happily After Retirement

- Loving where I am right now!

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.


Nancy Roman

She's A Maineiac

just another plaid-wearin' java-sippin' girl

I also live on a farm

Just another 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...