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Posts Tagged With: journey

Where is there?

Walking downtown one morning recently, I thought about how my phone’s GPS had done all it could: It got me “there.”

But where was “there?”

The locator announced “You’ve arrived at your destination.”  I parked and got out, looking around. Up, down, all around.

Where is there?

Her voice chirped in my earpiece, “head north for 200 feet.”

Which way was North?   Was I supposed to start counting steps?

question

I turned, felt the biting wind, and turned again.

Walked some more.

Nothing.

Popped into a coffee shop and asked a young man serving.  He knew his address but not any others. I found out he lives in Eastown.  Pleasant yes, but totally irrelevant.

I bought a coffee anyways.  Delicious.

Stepping back into the wind, I turned right, away from it.

Followed my nose, so-to-speak.

Finally, I ducked into another portal and called the # associated with the meeting.  Thankfully the meeting organizer answered.  Explaining my dilemma, she laughed and said, “I didn’t think to give everyone a landmark, sorry about that.”   She described their building, gave me the suite number, and that was the end of that.

Looking up, I saw the building, and realized I’d been there, or close to there, the whole time.

I was here … and there!

“The path to our destination is not always a straight one. We go down the wrong road, we get lost, we turn back. Maybe it doesn’t matter which road we embark on. Maybe what matters is that we embark.” ― Barbara Hall

 

*Can you relate to this?  Have you ever found it hard to tell here from there?  How often do you turn off GPS and follow your instincts?

 

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Categories: Determination, Faith, Growth, Personal, Quotes, Random, Self Discovery, Thoughts, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Being thankful for doors that closed

When I look back at some of my career opportunities (and those that weren’t) I’ve learned to be grateful for closed doors.

Encouraging someone recently, I offered this, “You have to believe that you deserve a good life.  A happy, meaningful and beautiful life.  Every time the door closes is a test of faith; sometimes you won’t know till years later what was on the other side.  You just have to believe that He knows the plan for you and trust that it’s good.”   Tears filled my eyes as I said what I did and – truth be told – these words weren’t mine, someone gave me this message to share and I did.

We have all had times when the door closed — moments that, looking back, weren’t for you in the first place.  Dead-end jobs.  Bad people.  Relationships that suck the life out of you.

Like the faithful being led out of bondage, a shut door can be a metaphor for the closing of the Red Sea.  No more chains on us!

When this happens, yes sometimes I stare at the lock for a while. Other times I see things for what they are and give a prayer of gratitude for the people who rejected me, the superior who discounts me, the friend who slights me.  That’s when I dig my heels in and move forward anyways.  And I always find that, had I remained where I was, I would have missed where I am.

Every time He shuts a door, there is something better coming.  I’m sure of it.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  Jeremiah 29:11

shut the door

What closed doors are you grateful for?

Categories: Attitude, Determination, Faith, Family, fear, Forgiveness, Growth, Life, Life Lessons, Personal, Quotes, Relationships, Self Discovery, Uncategorized, Wisdom, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 26 Comments

R5F – Easter

1. As a child, I was deeply conflicted that we called this day “Good” Friday.  I learned in Sunday School lessons what they did to Him.  How was that good?  It was years before I could disassociate chocolate eggs & ham dinner from suffering.

2.   I’m off work today. Yep, up early with no alarm, coffee sipped, laundry done, chores started.  Birds are singing, the sun is shining and I am luxuriating in the day.

3. Grands are coming tomorrow, and so is Great-Grandpa. We’ll have 4 generations together.  Chocolate eggs, ham dinner, no suffering.

Mr. Bun Bun visits the family across the street every Easter; here's our grandson being overwhelmed at the meeting!  2010

Mr. Bun Bun visits the family across the street every Easter; here’s our grandson being overwhelmed at the meeting him in 2010

4.  Cleaning the house is simply more enjoyable with tunes.    I don’t mind scrubbing bathrooms and wiping down counter-tops when I’ve got Elvis, The Bee Gees, Al Green and Journey to accompany me!

So true!

Isn’t that the truth?  Google.images

5. Being home today allows me time to prep for tomorrow. But that’s not all. It’s an opportunity to step away and to reflect on the significance of this weekend.  To swing between the sorrow of the sacrifice and the joy of the gift.

John 3:16  For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life

related: I love you this much

 

Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Faith, Family, Grief, Growth, Holidays, Home, Personal, Relationships | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Vegorama Pizza

 ‘Tis the season again!  The Fall/Holiday potlucks have begun.  🙂

In a quest to eat a bit healthier, I made this dish recently.  For my office-mates.  You know, the team who rarely touch vegetables.

Yep, at our office we have four important food categories:  cheese, bbq sauce, cool whip and chocolate.

If a pot-luck dish doesn’t contain one of those four items (and lots of it), it’s out like a fat kid in dodge-ball.

photo from Allrecipes.com

photo from Allrecipes.com

Make no mistake, this shouldn’t be considered health food.  The base of crescent dough, cream cheese and sour cream is enough to slow a few arteries down.  But the crunchy fresh veggies on top counteract the richness of the base resulting in a creamy/crunchy and tasty appetizer.

Here’s how to make your very own Vegorama Pizza:

You’ll need:

  • 2 – 8 oz packages refrigerated crescent rolls
  • 1 cup of sour cream
  • 1 – 8 oz package of cream cheese, softened (I used Jalapeno flavored)
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill (don’t skip this!)
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 package of dry ranch dressing mix  (I use 1/2)

Toppings

  • 1 green onion, chopped with greens
  • 3-4 radishes, chopped
  • ½ red pepper, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 1 large bunch of broccoli (about 1 cup), chopped
  • Shredded cheese

Directions

  1. Remove crescent dough from the fridge and let it sit on the counter while you pre-heat the oven to 350 F.
  2. Coat a large cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray.
  3. Roll out the crescent roll and press it into the pan; you’ll want to “connect-the-dots” as in pieces so you end up with one solid piece of dough.  Pierce the dough with a fork and then let stand for about 5 minutes.
  4. Next, bake for 11 minutes; remove from oven and let cool 20 minutes.
  5. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine sour cream, cream cheese, dill, garlic and ranch dip mix.
  6. Spread this mixture all over the cooled crust.
  7. Top with onion, carrot, broccoli, radish, bell pepper and broccoli  and then sprinkle shredded cheese across the top.
  8. Cover and let chill about an hour.
  9. Once chilled, cut it into squares and serve.  (I made this the night before a pot-luck and simply cut into squares, layered with waxed paper, covered and served the next day.. Results?  Zip. Bang.  Gone!)

“It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.”  ― Ernest Hemingway.

My little blog recently passed 130,000 beautiful readers.  Thank you for riding along with me!

Categories: Blogging, Family, Food, Holidays, Home, Recipes, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

Finding now in the next

Whew – we made it! Months of planning and prepping, organizing and arranging brought us to and brought us through our youngest boy’s graduation party.

It – was – a – lot – of – work.

We’re tired but in a happy kind of way.

Our guests had fun.

He had fun.

And little ones had fun.

And, in my usual fashion, there’s that old familiar feeling creeping in … the one that says now what?

I’m the planner, you see.  The keeper of the social calendar. The orchestrator of fun.  A maestro of mischief.

And what’s next is a lot of open time.

Oh, there are a things coming up – other graduation parties, family gatherings and a wedding.

But that’s not what I mean.

What’s next is undocumented.

What’s next is rather unknown.

And that feels a odd to me.

But instead of charging forward and making myself yet another to-do list, I’m settling into the now.

I’m easing into what it feels like to know he’s grown and it’s his time now. It’s up to him to get up in time for work, to register for classes in the fall, to make sure his clothes are ready and that he has enough gas in the car.

I’m finding now is a rather nice place to be.

Quit worrying about what’s next. I want you to be worried about your next door neighbor. Do you know your next door neighbor? ~ Mother Theresa

Categories: Faith, Family, Growth, Home, Joy, Life, Personal, Quotes, Uncategorized, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , | 39 Comments

Getting (back) up again

Here we are, several months into 2012 and I’m just wondering – how are those New Year’s Resolutions going?

I didn’t make any.  I started out the year behind, having gotten sick at Christmas and staying that way through most of January. Next came a cold sore and a stomach bug. Oh the joys of it all!

By the time mid-February arrived, I realized that all I’d done was hold my ground. And, considering the challenges I’d faced, that actually felt like something.

Then I read this Japanese proverb,“Fall down Seven times, get up Eight!”

I laughed and thought, “Now that’s something I can do!”

I can get back up.

We all make plans and set goals. Sometimes we’re successful and sometimes we’re not.  Sometimes our best laid plans are dashed by illnesses, job changes or other unforeseen circumstances. Setbacks are normal; perfection isn’t.

Whatever it is you’re trying to change, know this: The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. (Lao Tzu).

So many of us are trying to accomplish the same things:  Lose weight. Eat better. Watch less TV.  Read more. Save money.  Go to bed earlier. Quit smoking. De-stress. Exercise regularly. Go to church again.   Etc. Etc. Etc.

Whatever it is, when you stumble, just get back up again.

I will if you will.

“Did you just fall?”

“No, I attacked the floor”

“Backwards?”

“I’m freakin’ talented.”

 – Anonymous

Categories: Attitude, Faith, Family, Growth, Home, Life, News, Self Discovery, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , | 35 Comments

Reflections

There will come a time when you will catch your reflection in the mirror and  stop to really see yourself.

You will see … you.

at 48, I finally accepted my naturally curly hair.

You will see a person who’s made their way in life, who has caused hurt, been hurt, laughed, cried, stumbled, loved and been loved.

You will see you as you really are and you’ll notice … when you lean in to look closer … that the creases around your eyes and the lines near your mouth …only go where the smiles have been.

You’ll notice the shape of  the body that carries you every day and maybe you’ll take a moment to be amazed at all it does .. and tries to do … when asked.  You’ll feel sorrow for the times you’ve taken it for granted and not rewarded it for hard work.

You’ll contemplate the many thoughts and ideas that cross your mind every day, every hour, every minute and you will realize who’s in the reflection; you’ll finally see your spirit living inside.

This moment may cause you to step back.. but then … you will take inventory of those who occupy the warmest spaces of your heart; those who love and support you and those whom you love and support.  And you will begin the eviction process for those who’ve wounded you and left marks upon your soul.

You will realize that the time has come; the time has come to accept all that you are and to finally see all you bring … to the world.

The time has come to be thankful, to be accepting, and most of all,  to be loving.  For if you cannot do this for that person in the mirror, how can you pretend to do it for anyone else?

We are more than the sum of our parts; join me and give thanks for every step of life’s pathway.

Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Forgiveness, Friendship, Growth, Joy, Life, Life Lessons, Patriotic, Personal, Random, Relationships, Self Discovery, Share, Uncategorized, Wisdom, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

Change is hard

The Mighty Mac stands confidently in the Straits; photo from Michigan.gov

 

“You cannot change what you won’t acknowledge.” – Dr. Phil

Boy, do I get that.

Change.  Is.  Hard.

Everyone says it.

And it’s true .. right?

Sometimes what needs our attention is obvious:  exercise more, eat better, get more rest,  blah, blah, blah.

But I don’t think that’s where most of us struggle.

I think we get bogged down before we even start … because .. before you can change anything.. you first have to acknowledge it.  To see it. And for many of us, me included, it’s easier to keep on doing what we’ve always done.

For a lot of us, recognizing an issue is the hardest part of change.

Why?

Because once we see it, and I mean really see it, it’s a bit like stepping out onto your front porch wearing only your underwear: You’re. Completely. Vulnerable.  Unlike in the past, when we’ve strolled through life blissfully unaware that our fly was open or a skirt was tucked into our pantyhose, once you know, and once you get it, it feels like everyone else does, too.

And I think it’s right there that we get stuck.

Isn’t it easier to be who you’ve always been?  C’mon, it’s comfortable to play a familiar role, to be the “go to” gal, the funny guy, the chubby girl, the reliable neighbor.  Why?  Because when we acknowledge what we want to change, we realize that we may actually have to do something about it. And that feels … risky.  Why? Because taking action feels like a threat to all that we know; will it undermine our relationships?  What happens when we don’t do as everyone expects? If we Lysol the toxic people out of our friendship cupboard, who will remain?

I’ve asked myself all those questions and discovered something unexpected in the discomfort:   It’s here that growth lives.

Change. Is. Hard.

Or is it?

Categories: Attitude, Confidence at any age, Faith, Forgiveness, Friendship, Growth, Life, Opinion, Personal, Self Discovery | Tags: , , , , , | 14 Comments

You say it’s your birthday …

This is how old I feel today (that's me in about grade 4); an emjayandthem photo

and it is! It’s my birthday today! Whee!

And, at 48, I still love birthdays.  Mine & everyone else’s!

I know, I know. It seems childish but .. isn’t that the best part?

Last night, our youngest boy asked, “So Mom, when you’re older, do you still get excited about birthdays?” And I thought for a second, laughed and replied, “Of course!”   He countered with “Yeah that phone’s gonna ring all night long!”

And is that a bad thing?

I think not.

We went on to speculate how sad it would be to be all alone, to have no one who remembered, or cared enough to say so. The look on his face told me he couldn’t agree more.

Growing up, birthdays were a time to gather the family, have a wienie roast, a handful of chips, maybe a pop, and a big slab of home-made cake with iced cream on top.  Having a summer birthday meant a party near the end of school (we didn’t finish up until around now at my Canadian school).  It meant longer days and nice weather and Grandma and Grandpa visiting, he in a buttoned down shirt and she in a pretty pantsuit and jewelry. It meant Aunts and Uncles, cousins and friends and a $5 spot in a card. It meant three legged races, running through the sprinkler and opening presents wrapped in tissue paper.

You say it’s your birthday … and it is. 🙂

Categories: Attitude, Confidence at any age, Faith, Family, Friendship, Fun, Home, Humor, Joy, Life, Love, music, Opinion, Personal, Relationships, Self Discovery, Uncategorized, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , | 40 Comments

Growth

“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” – E. E. Cummings

Wonder how long it took for that tree to grow that much? an emjayandthem photo

I have a strong need to be in control.  Examples:

  • I plan gatherings, parties and vacations, down to the last detail.
  • I tend to be a perfectionist and am my own worst critic.
  • If you ask my opinion, I assume you want to know. I  get irritated when you don’t take my advice.
  • It’s difficult for me to trust.
  • I drink socially, but I can count on one hand the times I ever felt drunk … and that feeling?  Far from fun, try horrifying.
  • I make lists for everything.
  • It drives me crazy not to have enough to do.
  • Conversely, while I love a day off with no schedule I only love them if they’re by my design.  (I.E. sitting around waiting on someone else? Drives me c-r-a-z-y).
  • I do not like to be the center of attention, unless it was my choice to be.  Example:  I’ve never thrown anyone a surprise party; I think they’re vile and I’d never want to be subjected to one.  I know some people love them; it would be pure torture for me.

From an evolutionary standpoint, cultivating a sense of control over our environment ensures we will survive it.  Do I need to be in control as much as I need a sense of control over the outcome?

I’ve been thinking a lot about life and my next steps.  I asked myself, “What are you afraid of?”  At first, I couldn’t think of anything.  OK there’s the obvious big stuff that frightens most of us – war, an environmental disaster, something happening to my husband or children, etc.  I realized that, for me, what I am most afraid of is lack of control over my being or my life.

It started young; I’m the youngest of five.  My parents enjoyed a hobby (horse racing) that sometimes took them away from home.  I remember being frightened when they weren’t there and more scared during the parties that were held with loud music and strange people in my house.  I remember being told to go to bed even though I could hear the kids hooting & hollering in the room not far from mine.  I think about the trouble my siblings sometimes got into, and my vows to not follow in their footsteps. So, instead, I became the good kid; the teen who could be left alone because she was always responsible. I became the friend who would drive her drunk boyfriend and his friends home because she kept a level head. I became everything .. to everyone else.

I created a façade for myself; someone who takes care of everyone else and I became an expert at it.  Professionally, it helped that I am naturally organized and pay careful attention to detail.  Making lists was rewarded.  Soon, because I was responsible, on time, and someone others could count on, I was rewarded with more – more work, more responsibility, more to organize, more to care for, more to do. More.

During college, I didn’t date because I had three part-time jobs + a full time course load.  Don’t get me wrong, I was no saint, I went dancing with friends and we drank a little and flirted a lot and had fun, but those times were few and far between.  Consequently, I have very few memories of my college experience. What I do remember is always working, always being exhausted, always over-performing.  What I do remember of that time is intense loneliness and a desire to be something.

At 21, I left Canada and came to the United States. I had $178, a guitar and a few friends.  Auspiciously, I planned on staying for a season; I’ve been here 27 years (and I’m a citizen now .. yay!). It never occurred to me to fail, and I didn’t. But now, years later, I can see how terrified I was.  I was so afraid to fail; afraid that all my big dreams wouldn’t come true and I’d be one of those girls that came slinking home to her parents with no job and no prospects.  And to me, failure was to be feared.

What’s scaring me today is one word: change.   I am turning 48 in a few days and while I am not afraid of aging, I am unfamiliar with who this woman is.  I have always been able to count on myself.  Now, someone else is showing up and, what’s more confusing, I don’t always recognize her.  I don’t know if I can trust her.

Naively, I assumed that I’d become more patient, more giving, and more, well, everything,  as I grew older.  Meh .. not so much.  With my grandkids? Absolutely. Other’s idiosyncrasies? Best I just step away. “Pick the hill you want to die on” is a quote I love but, of late, I’ve picked unfamiliar hills and walked away from known ones.   Weird.

My life is full and, most of the time, I’m content.  I’m thankful that I’ve cleared out the toxic people to make room for the good. I eat well. I exercise regularly now. I sleep great.  I listen. I express my ideas. I share and I pull back.

Things are coming together and changing all at the same time.

What’s next?

I don’t know.  But I do know this: while some of what I’m experiencing feels foreign to me, I’m trying my hardest not to be afraid.  I’m trying to just have faith and not be so worried about controlling the outcome.  I no longer have to be in survivor mode.  I will get through this; I just don’t know who I’ll be on the other side.

Have you struggled through a transition of late?  Please share.

Categories: Attitude, Blogging, Confidence at any age, Faith, Family, Friendship, Gratitude, Life, Life Lessons, Opinion, Personal, Relationships, Self Discovery, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , | 24 Comments

What guilt can teach us

Being filled with guilt is like continuing to pay rent on a place you no longer live.

photo: snarkerati.com

Guilt can do to you what Hansel and Gretel did to the Gingerbread house.  Little by little, guilt picks away at our core, leaving us defensive and emotionally unavailable.

Did you know you can use guilt as a force for positive change?

It’s too late you say?   The person wronged has long since left – moved, you’re too afraid or .. worse yet .. they’ve passed away?

Even if you’re only just now admitting to a mistake from your past, it is never too late to acknowledge it.  Why?  Because the other people still in your life benefit when you attempt to right your wrongs.  And, surprisingly, so does someone else  – you.

Why? Because past mistakes that are never acknowledged ….  tag along for the ride like a naughty child, undermining the integrity of our current relationships, whispering destructive thoughts into our ears and delighting when bad behavior rises to the surface.

Whenever I find myself feeling guilty… I take a moment and examine it.  The funny thing is, it always ends up being one of two scenarios: 1) I’m actually feeling obligated to what I think someone else wants from me (whether they do or not) OR  2) I did something to feel guilty for.   Maybe I was short, impatient or disrespectful. I’ve learned that the only way I can assuage true guilt is to face it – to stare it down, own up to it – and attempt to fix the damages.

We can stop the cycle.

We can use guilt as our positive force for change.

How?

Repeat after me: “I was wrong.”  

For most of us, this is hard to do because admitting our shortcomings exposes our vulnerabilities.  It’s not ingrained behavior and it goes against everything that may have been modeled for us.  But honestly? Admitting when we’re wrong has as much good in it for us as it does for others.

You might be surprised how much these 3 little words resonate. I was.

There are 3 other important words that are often said prematurely or just simply over used .. to the point that they lose their impact. These are the real deal.  These 3 words will grow you up.

Admitting our mistakes. Correcting the wrongs.  Accepting ourselves and others.  Becoming the person we’d actually want to spend time with.

What comes next?

No more blank checks to absent landlords.

 # # #


Categories: Determination, Forgiveness, Grief, Life Lessons, Love, Opinion, Personal, Rants, Relationships, Self Discovery, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Next is not promised

my Lilacs are blooming and they're simply gorgeous!

The latest natural disasters have made me think again about what’s important to me.

It is NOT a tidy house or a clean desk.

It’s my family & friends.

BE mindful.

ENJOY each minute because the next is not promised to you.

Do what you love.

Smile more. Give more. Be more.

Laugh, love … shed only happy tears, dance to what moves you, forgive, let live and for heaven’s sake … BE grateful!

Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Faith, Gratitude, Home, Joy, Life Lessons, Love, Personal, Relationships, Self Discovery | Tags: , , , | 18 Comments

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