Posts Tagged With: home

Reality and Visions

As we move around in this world there are moments of clarity that occur.

Moments of reality.

Moments like this:


Yes, I can see myself in her, sans the bustle.

Because in my head I have a vision for this new house, having closed on the sale of the old one last week.

I have a vision of things in their “place,”  good smells and pleasing views.  I have a vision of tidiness and order and coziness and comfort.

And in the way?



Interviewing to fill a vacancy, one I’ve covered for months now. And, after that, on boarding someone new, training, policy, understanding, compliance and meeting all deadlines in the interim.

Add to that a new organizational structure, new boss(es), new, new, more, more.

Conference calls. Meetings. Travel.  Repeat.

And Hubbs gimping around with a sore back.


So I’ve padded up my Labor Day weekend with a couple days off and maybe then I’ll make some headway. Maybe then our living room will transform into the “Home & Garden” vision in my head.  Maybe then.

Still, the aroma of a roasted meal lingers in the kitchen this morning. The counters are clear from last night’s efforts.  Progress – albeit slow – is there, if I let myself see it.

Youngest boy even declared “Mom, it smells like home in here” and his joyful statement helped me see that maybe we’re already there and not much more is needed anyways.

“Home isn’t a place, its a feeling”
― Cecelia Ahern, Love, Rosie

*** Can you relate? What vision in your head doesn’t translate to the reality in front of you?**

 Related: Just Like That


Categories: Attitude, Family, Food, Home, Life, Personal, Quotes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Coffee cups and personalities

I remember my very first cup of coffee ~ my cousin and I were at the local town Hall, and the Kool-Aid was all gone so we opted for some coffee. I thought it was gross, until she taught me how to make “kid coffee” – sugar, more sugar and copious amounts of cream.   Pretty sure we raced around that hall with our hair on fire after that.

As I grew up, I ditched the sugar and cream and switched to 2% milk.

Putting away Hubbs’ and my favored coffee cups this weekend, I just had to laugh.

I’ve written about this before, how we use the same 4-6 cups but have 20 in the cupboard.  Anyways … his are large and strong, robust and hearty.  Mine could be described as petite and sturdy, practical and feminine.  His favorite says, in bold capital letters, “FOX NEWS” while mine has kitties, flowers and butterflies.  Like there was any doubt whose is whose.

Those cups reflect our partnership and our personalities.

Our boys often say that they always know where they stand with us – we both paint a clear picture, although our methodologies are different.    We both are strategic and forward-thinking, but one is competitive while the other is contemplative.

They’ve nicknamed Dad “Clint” and me “Kitty.” (that 70s show)


Go ahead … drink my coffee.


What do your coffee (or tea) cups say about you?  What makes one a favorite over another?  And why do we keep so many anyways?







Categories: Attitude, Blogging, Family, Food, Fun, Home, Humor, Life, Men, Personal, Self Discovery | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 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.


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

Doggie dreams

I’m pretty sure Frankie never aspired for us to have another pet.

No, while he was around he was very content to be “top dog.” Or the only dog, for that matter.


“I’ll share your supper but not my toys, bed, or people.”

But this pooch seems intent on adding to the family. Watch on, it will make you smile.

I guaran-dog-tee it!

Categories: Animals, Attitude, Faith, Family, Fun, Home, Humor, Share, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 26 Comments

Christmas in July

So a cousin has been busy posting photos to our family Facebook page.  The page was started last year and surrounded a reunion I didn’t attend. I didn’t go for several reasons but the main one was that Mom had been ill, seriously ill, and I had a feeling I’d be going up to see her anyways. Just not to picnic. And I was right.

So anyways, back to the pictures.

There’s been some neat vintage-y ones. Some of Grandpa’s farm and barn, where this same cousin spent many a happy summer. And where I spent nearly every day of my childhood.

And then came the photos of Christmases from years past.

Of Grandma’s Christmas table.

That gloriously long table of tables that seemed to stretch on forever; she’d decorate for days, arranging everything just so. Every plate and piece of silver was shined till it sparkled.  Candles were lit, wee glasses of tomato juice poured, and scattered throughout were miniature trees and shiny delights, crystal pieces and breakable knick knacks that children weren’t supposed to touch but usually did.  Plates of lefse, bowls of corn and potatoes.    Everything absolutely glimmered.  To a child … it was pure magic.

one end of her table

one end of her table

What’s funny to me now is realizing that neither Grandma nor my Mom and Aunties are shown. The only ones sitting are the Dads & kids.  That’s right, the women were in the kitchen, getting it done. Funny how things really don’t change all that much.

that's me in blue, and no surprise that I'm sitting between my sister, Pat, and my Dad.

that’s me in blue, and no surprise that I’m sitting between my sister, Pat, and my Dad.

But then, a day later, this picture appeared!   This one, with Grandma standing, depicting her shy smile and the pride she took in all efforts.

Everything on that table was prepared by her, for us.  She didn’t allow anyone to bring a thing.  They could help serve and clean up but that was it.  Grandpa, with his purple tie, is of course at the head of the table.  I remember him nowhere else but there.

Christmas 1973

Christmas 1973

Imagine my delight when this snap appeared!

Grandma and Mom in the kitchen together

Grandma and Mom in the kitchen together

You see, I only have formal photos of Grandma. Photos at weddings, in dressy dresses, Grandpa in a suit. The trace of a smile.

Now this is how I remember my Grandmother.  Always wearing a dress, glasses resting on her rosy cheeks and her naturally curly hair tucked back with a comb. Her ample bosom and loyal apron; she gave the best hugs and smelled of vanilla, sugar and Cinnamon. This photo made my heart lurch forward; it brought forth a longing  for her that is so deep, so intense that I can taste the tears that collect in the back of my throat.

And when I look again at that picture I see my Mom’s beautiful smile, her cute figure and sparkly necklace.  She was only 43 in this photo and I smile and cry when I realize I wear necklaces like that one, too.

There’s a sign just behind Mom that reads, “Smorgasbord is now ready, help yourself.”

Here’s what’s so lovely to me about seeing that sign: it now hangs above my stove 1,400 miles away, in Michigan.


No wonder I feel her with me when I cook!

And when I think about the gift that a few dusty old photos have given me, I can’t help but smile at the bond that always connects us.  The one that winds through generations and has the ability to transport us back to warm hugs on a winter’s day and kind words and Ladies who wore aprons and generously let small girls help them in their kitchens. And that, that to me, is like Christmas in July.

Have you ever been transported to a moment, a feeling, a scent, via a photo?  Do tell.

What I like about photographs is that they capture a moment that’s gone forever, impossible to reproduce.”
― Karl Lagerfeld


Categories: Faith, Family, Holidays, Home, Life, Mom, Personal, Thoughts, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | 22 Comments

Need be still

Slowing down, accomplishing nothing.

On purpose.

Puttering in the kitchen to the snores of old dog.

Easy, meandering conversations.  Or none at all.

Quiet, simple, expansive moments of peace.

Would He want us to be “still” by being lazy through life’s trials and tribulations? Should we expect Him to swoop in and transport us to the mountain top?

I don’t think so. I think we have to walk with Him to get there.

And for me, walking comes by being still.

Being still comes easier on week-ends.

Being still doesn’t just mean times of quiet.

For me, it means being awake, feeling alive and staying open.

It means closing out the noise and opening up to faith.

snow on branches

Exodus 14:14: “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

Do you make time to let your needs be still?


Categories: Faith, Family, Growth, Home, Joy, Life, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 27 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

Friday vacancy

It’s Friday!

Friday! Friday! Friday!

A gloriously happy and favorite word graces our lips today! F-r-i-d-a-y!

friday cat

There’s always lots to be done:  calls to make, meetings to attend, and projects to wrap up. There are schedules to arrange, trips to plan, and conference calls to coordinate.  Presentations to line out, contracts to research and, and, and.


Later today, when the sun starts to fade and I close my laptop and shut off my phone, there begins a bit of time that I like to call “purposeful nothingness.”

Sure there will be some cleaning and and some cooking this weekend but mostly? Mostly there will be vacancy.  There will be time … to just be.

Weekends don’t count unless you spend them doing something completely pointless.  ~Bill Watte

Are you able to purposefully “waste” time?  

*image from Pinterest

Categories: Animals, Attitude, Faith, Fun | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

Baby, it’s cold outside

I woke up to temps hovering at 1 degrees F (that’s -22C for my Canadian/European readers).

That’s cold. Darn cold.

photo courtesy of the Farmers Almanac.

photo courtesy of the Farmers Almanac.

It’s the kind of cold that used to garner us kids a phone call from Elliott the bus driver: “Back to bed, kids, the bus won’t start!”  We kids would squeal and race back to our covers; Mom would pull her house coat tighter and start a new pot of coffee.

It’s the kind of cold that freezes your nostrils together long before you make it to the barn.

It’s the kind of cold that makes every single effort that much more challenging: simply leaving the house takes longer b/c the car must be warmed up first.

It’s the kind of cold that demands I pack my lunch for no one is venturing out in this later on.

It’s the kind of cold that makes me long for someone to cancel my day so I could instead snuggle in and read, sip coffee and look out instead of in.

Baby, it’s cold outside.

It’s that kind of cold.

Categories: Attitude, Confidence at any age, Faith, Fun, Home, Joy, Life, Relationships, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , | 29 Comments

on Racing

I read a quote last night that stuck with me:  “If you’re always racing to the next moment, what happens to the one you’re in?”

Wow, is that ever my life right now.

List-maker, do-er, chief domestic engineer.  Full-time staffer, Mom, wife, Nana, cousin, sister, friend.

The weekend was just here, right?

We had a full day Saturday so Sunday was my cook-a-bunch of stuff/get the laundry done/talk to my Mom and such kinda day … then came Monday, and it started all over again.


where is it?

Somewhere in there is room for me, right?

I think the reason that quote hits me so hard is that we just had 10 days off — 10 glorious days over Christmas to enjoy — 10 days we spent …  s i c k.

I’m glad we had the time off to rest … but those best laid plans of fireside chats and trying new restaurants and sleeping in … were replaced by extra blankets, Vicks  Vapo-rub and soup.

Now, we’re back in the trenches.  Back in the guts and the glory without the time off we worked all year to get.


Anyone else need a “do over” button?

Categories: Animals, Faith, Friendship, Home, Life, Personal, Quotes, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 24 Comments

Close, clear & release

Close your eyes.  Clear your heart. Let it go.

sleeping puppy

Some people believe holding on and hanging in there are signs of great strength. However, there are times when it takes much more strength to know when to let go and then do it.” ―Ann Landers

What are you hanging on to? Can you let it go?

* image from Pinterest

Categories: Animals, Attitude, Faith, Growth, Personal, Quotes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

Inside the snow globe

Call me crazy but I love snow.

Fresh snow.

Fluffy snow.

like Buttercream frosting all over the yard; an emjayandhtem photo

like Buttercream frosting all over the yard; an emjayandthem photo

Falling snow.

Drifting snow.

I love snow.

dollops of fresh snow; an emjayandthem photo

dollops of fresh snow; an emjayandthem photo

I love the promise of new snow, the strength in heavy snow, and the crunchy, crunch crunch of seasoned old snow.

I love snow.

We face the west; an emjayandthem photo

We face the West; an emjayandthem photo

One of the best things I love about snow?  When I’m inside the snow globe looking out!

How about you? Any snow in your neck-of-the-woods?

* * * *

“All seasons have something to offer” – Jeannette Walls, The Glass Castle

Categories: Attitude, Fun, Joy, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 29 Comments

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