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Posts Tagged With: joy

The road to 2017

2017The days between Christmas and New Years afford us an opportunity to reflect and address the state of our union.  To take stock of our physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual happiness.

As we look back and ahead we pause to ask:

What was my biggest lesson?

What do I want to learn next?

What do I want more of? Less of?

What makes me happy? Sad?

What do I want to experience?

What do I want to feel?

What/who do I need to forgive?

What do I need to let go?

What do I want to do?  What am I willing to do?

What holds me back? Is it true?

newsboy 2

What will your 2017 headline say?

As you look to the new year, will you celebrate your accomplishments and forgive your blunders?  What excites you about 2017?

*Story idea: Frankie Perez’s MindGym

chapter

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Categories: Attitude, Blogging, Confidence at any age, Determination, Faith, Forgiveness, Friendship, Gratitude, Growth, Holidays, Life, News, Opinion, Personal, Relationships, Self Discovery, Thoughts, Wisdom, Women, Work, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Random 5 Sunday – Vacation, Naps, Plans and Cheer

It’s time for Random 5 Sunday on the first Sunday in December:

  • Thanksgiving week vacation:  I’ve never taken the whole week of Thanksgiving off. I’ve taken a day here and a day there. But never the whole week. And now, ladies & gents, I do believe I have a new tradition ~  whoop!

good-for-your-soul

  • Hallmark Channel Holiday movies.  While on vacation, I watched at least 5 Hallmark Holiday movies – sometimes I only caught the tail end or the beginning.  You have to admit, the plot is easy to predict most of the time – a beautiful young lass soured on love by a jerky boyfriend moves back to her home town only to bump into the world’s hottest handy-man while shopping for her daughter who it turns out only made 1 friend at school – the (widowed) hottie’s son … and in just a matter of weeks she finds the love of her life, saves a small town business, rescues kittens and puppies and all they live happily ever after, over hot chocolate in perfectly coordinated tartan jackets ~ sigh

hallmark-christmas-movies

  • Naps – glorious, wonderful, and life-redeeming.  Because we stayed on our “normal” schedule during our time off,  just 1 nap was enough. Somehow I kept up on my rest.   Went back to work wide-awake and refreshed.  And good thing, because I clocked 800+ miles last week alone!

kitten asleep

  • Travel plans ~  Sissy and I are planning a “sister’s” getaway – we’ll likely revisit Branson, MO for a week of visiting, shopping, visiting, shows and fun.  We’ve visited there once before, 10 years ago, when we took Mom for her 77th birthday.  What a great time we had – and such a relaxed and friendly place to be.   After our 3rd night Mom happily chirped, “You know, I’ve never stayed in a hotel this many nights and I’ve never gone out for every single meal!”  We were girlfriends on this trip you see, more than mother and daughters.  She loved the adventure and spoke of it many times with fondness.  I know she’d love that we’re planning to go back.
me, mom & my sister in Branson, MO, 2007

me, mom & my sister in Branson, MO, 2007

  • Christmas Spirit:  I wasn’t really feeling any Christmas spirit heading into our Family Christmas party last night.  The hustle and bustle and holiday ho-ho-hos didn’t do it.  Lots of yummy foods, hugs and merriment didn’t do it.  No – it was capturing this picture – of wee cousins (with our grands in the mix) at the exact moment they all cheered “SANTA CLAUS” – that’s what did it.
xmas-party-2016-kiddos

Santa Claus!! An Emjayandthem (C) photo

“He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree.”  ― Roy L. Smith

What randoms would you like to share?  Are you feeling the Christmas spirit yet?

Categories: Attitude, Blogging, Faith, Family, Fun, Growth, Holidays, Home, Joy, Life, Patriotic, Random, Thoughts, Traditions | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Working out & Tacos

  • Hubbs and I had big plans for this weekend.

Big plans.

  • He was going to organize the garage so I could start parking inside.

Never happened.

  • I was going to sort through benefits statements and file them away.

Never happened.

  • We were both going to work out.

Never happened…

want to run a mile or eat 10 tacos.jpg

  • But we did have tacos.

Man, I feel so accomplished! 🙂

How’s your weekend?  Any intentions get scrapped?

 

Categories: Attitude, Blogging, Determination, Fun, Home, Humor, Life, Relationships, Romance, Thoughts, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Remember her

I’ve written consistently about cleaning: cleaning out cupboards and sorting through friendships ~ deciding which to treasure and which to discard.

I’ve written on how learning to say “no” has made room to say “yes.”

To that end, there’s been a shift again, and I feel it.  There’s an obvious one currently, a re-organization at work, and re-organizing at home.   At work I’ve got new peeps to account for, and new generals to account to.  That’s fine, it’s what I do.  And, for the most part, I’m doing all I’ve done with the addition of – you guessed it – more.  At home, renovations on the new-to-us house are coming along and there’s a move in our future, sometime in June.

In the meantime I can feel it ~ chaos swirls. Sleep evades and my mind spins.

My solution?  A day off.

Tomorrow I’m stepping away –  No schedule.  No phone.  No people.

Instead, sunshine, green grass, books and lemonade.  Later a shower, the scent of sunscreen lingering on my skin and patio conversations with Hubbs.

Today ~ I’m not just remembering~ I’m reclaiming – her.

 

remember her

Can you see yourself in this post? When’s the last time you stepped away?

image from photos.igougo.com

** Happy Memorial Day, my 8th as a citizen**

 

 

Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Confidence at any age, Determination, Faith, Family, Growth, Holidays, Home, Humor, Joy, Life, Patriotic, Personal, Thoughts, Wisdom, Women, Work | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

Random 5 Friday ~ communications & coincidences

It’s Friday at last~ but I’m helping staff a charity event tomorrow so I am home today – working & doing some of the chores now that I’d normally do tomorrow – laundry, groceries, yes + emails, conference calls and projects.

My life/world/schedule has been a whirlwind lately, with me clocking well over thousand miles this month and today’s only the 20th.  Whew!

So here are 5 randoms from my world recently:

  • At the State Capitol recently, I “randomly” met an Elected official at the restaurant where my team and I were having dinner – someone with whom I had a scheduled meeting with that same week. That random meeting turned into a good conversation and our getting to know each other.   I “ran into” her twice more before our meeting  and, as a result, it was comfortable, she was relaxed, and introduced me to staff as her “friend.”    Random happenings rarely are.

coincidence quotes

  • In the Capitol meeting with various officials, I saw a Facebook post from a friend’s son, a single father, there on a field trip with his daughter.  Now Hubbs used to babysit this boy when he was little, as his Dad (hubbs’ friend) was a Single Dad, too.   I haven’t seen him or her in quite some time but as we hugged in the hallway, our smiles said it all!  Random? Not so much.
Capture

An Emjayandthem (C) photo

 

  • Driving to a meeting recently, I felt nerves overtaking my confidence.  I knew I had nothing to be nervous about but the part giving me pause was the unknown – who would be there and how would they behave.  (Didn’t want to encounter yet another rat!)  2 of my favorite Gospel songs came on my music player and played back to back – as it was set to Random Shuffle – and I felt any anxiety simply melt away.  Parking my car and sitting quietly for a minute, I said a prayer of thanks for His grace and my strength, grabbed my purse and marched on in. 🙂

PrairieSunrise

  • Attending an event later in the week I spotted him before he did me – the work Rat was back.   I listened as he chatted about himself, him and his other favorite topic, him, then found myself pulled into conversations with other guests. (Thank you!)  I kept him in my periphery, hovering nearby like a gnat. He sat near me during lunch, offering updates on himself, his adventures, his purchases, him.  With pride, I watched my team listen but not lean in, and soon we all found ourselves engaged with other guests.   With no one to whine to or show off for, he slunk away.   I’m pleased I didn’t allow recent rat sightings to torture me and that affirmed my stated intolerance for mangy mammals.  Random growth, glad for it.

no more rats

  • Lastly, last weekend I attended my (soon-to-be) daughter-in-law’s bridal shower. I walked in, set my gifts down and a lovely lady smiled up at me. Something clicked and I knew – just knew -that we’d crossed paths before. I couldn’t place where or when until she spoke- with a lovely lilting English accent. And she seemed to know me, too. We put two and two together & realized we met last summer – in the MSP airport – as she & her husband were heading home to MI from visiting her English family, and I was coming home from my niece’s wedding/visit with Mom in Canada. At the time we had a friendly conversation and agreed that (English) Cadbury’s and Rowntree make the best chocolate (She chuckled at my stash of Canadian candy bars for our boys and the grands).  That lady in the airport? Grandmother of the bride, my soon to be daughter-in-law!   The world just isn’t that small and there are no coincidences. I still have shivers just thinking about the serendipity of it all.

Believe_In_Coincidence_by_reds2005

How about you?  What random happening happened to you lately?  Do you believe paths cross for a reason?

 

Categories: Attitude, Blogging, Confidence at any age, Fun, Growth, Joy, Life, Mom, Personal, Politics, Quotes, Random observations, Rants, Thoughts, Wisdom, Work | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

The best part

Yesterday morning, as I pulled out of the driveway, I smiled and thought, “this is the best part.”  Prepping for a meeting across the state at a place I’d never been with people I didn’t know, rehearsing talking points out loud with the morning news, I felt butterflies in my stomach. Not nerves. Excitement.

I said out loud, “Thank you, Lord. This is just the best part!”

Then, walking into that meeting and opening a dialogue, connecting-the-dots and feeling their excitement, I smiled and thought, “man, this is just the best part.”   Enjoying lunch with a new-to-me colleague, I laughed at something said and thought again, “wow, this is so the best part.”

A young woman approached me recently seeking career advice ~ she’d witnessed my passion and wanted some of it.  My words were these – “Volunteer for every project, push yourself, make connections & never sell yourself short. If you’re not selling it, no one’s buying it.”

The truth is it matters less what you know than how you conduct yourself; be the one who shows up early, delivers on time and maintains a good attitude ~ people will want you on their team.

If you’re not selling it, no one’s buying it.  

And after we’d had that conversation I thought to myself, “boy, if that isn’t just the best part!”

What’s been the best part for you lately?

A-Masterpiece-and-a-Work-in-Progress

related posts:

Snapping strings

Being thankful for doors that closed

The Fear of the Fear

https://emjayandthem.com/2013/08/14/the-thing-about-alices/

Categories: Attitude, Confidence at any age, Determination, Faith, fear, Growth, Life Lessons, Opinion, Personal, Self Discovery, Thoughts, Wisdom, Women, Work, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 18 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.

get-your-happy-on-quote-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!

Related:

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

5 for Friday ~ fudge, Christmas lists and hooligans

It’s Friday (whoo hoo!) and it’s random.  Here are 5 random happenings from my world this week:

1 Office potluck called for my first batch of fudge of the season — this one uses only 4 ingredients.  Ready?  a) 1 bag of chocolate chips (or peanut butter or butterscotch), b) 1 14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk, c) 1/2 bag of mini marshmallows (3 cups) and d) 1 1/2 cups of dry roasted peanuts (or walnuts).  Directions:  Melt chocolate chips and condensed milk in microwave – on high – for one minute. Stir.   Continue for 15 min 15 second intervals until fully melted (mine took 1 min + 15 sec).  Stir in marshmallows and peanuts and pour into well greased (9 x 13) pan. Pop into the fridge to set for 1 hour then cut.   Take to office or family gathering, stand back, and watch these babies disappear.

rocky road fudge

2 Bought my first Christmas present this week – for the monkeys.  They circled their “ideas” (translation = everything) last weekend.  From that came THE list.  The best part of this (free) exercise are their comments during the activity:  Littlest one asked me what I wanted for Christmas and I replied I just wanted all of us together: playing games, enjoying each others company, yummy food and having lots of fun. So she replied “so you just want us?” and I said “yep,  that’s what I really want.” Her reply, ” well put a bow on me, Nana, – here I am!” Kids!

grands and xmas list

an Emjayandthem (C) photo

3 Had my first touch of snow this week – last night – and more on the way today.  Last year at this time we had 30″ of the white stuff.  Not complaining … yet :).

www.mlive.com

it’s coming

4  You know those Hallmark holiday commercials with the cozy “normal” families? Yeah, that is so not us.  Here are our boys as we try to take a birthday picture at youngest kid’s birthday.   You can see why I don’t write Christmas newsletters … most of what they come up with is not fit for public consumption!  But I never laugh as hard as I do as when I am with them :D.

hooligans at bday

an Emjayandthem (C) photo

5 Heard a quote this week that bears repeating, “The only way any of us can grow to be older and wiser is if we’ve already been younger and stupider.”   Boy if that isn’t true!

owl1

The wise old own .. the big black crow .. flapping their wings singing go, birdie go …

What random happenings happened in your world this week?  Are your family shenanigans suitable for a Christmas letter?  Craving a little bite of fudge now?

** Thanks to my friend Diane H. who caught the 15 min error above – if you nuke your fudge for 15 min instead of seconds, your kitchen might be smoking! 🙂

Categories: Attitude, Blogging, Family, Food, Friendship, Fun, Holidays, Home, Love, Opinion, Personal, Recipes, Seasons, Thoughts, Useful Information | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

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?

 

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

How a believer lost 250lbs in 1day

* This is a true story and not a weight-loss testimonial.

Once upon a time there was a hard-working donkey who worked steadily at meeting deadlines, helping others and getting things done.  Over time, her skills got attention and she found herself recruited for special projects on a pretty regular basis. And her workload grew.

donkey with heavy load

But that was OK because she was a sturdy donkey who could carry a lot – and, when no one was looking, she dreamed of a day when things might be better for her and the others in her group.  When he, her supervisor (otherwise known as the rat), would pick up his share of the work, listen to her ideas, and appreciate her efforts.  But that was not to be.

donkey with load man beside

He liked leaving her places.. and laughing about it.

But her star shone steadily anyways.  And he didn’t like it. Didn’t like it one bit.  And then one day a miracle happened – an opportunity appeared.  He told that he was moving up.  What about his spot, she asked? Could it be for her?  No, not for you, he snorted.  She couldn’t stop thinking of all the work she’d done – covering his 300+ absences over 5 years – and she knew she had to try.  She would get the work, that’s for sure, ought to at least try for the money. Sadly he didn’t support her, in fact, he lobbied for another donkey.   Still .. 4 interviews later, and with an armful of recommendations, she triumphed, the job was hers. He moved out, she moved in and brought her team up with her.   For one glorious year he was … off in the distance somewhere. But, as sometimes happens, a reorganization brought him back  to her again.

Say what?

Say what?

It was perfect! For him.

He was used to taking her ideas and packaging them up as his own.  How he loved to bring her along to meetings, not prepare and then throw her in at the last-minute.  Once again. Once again. And every time a deadline approached he’d have yet another illness.  Some real. Some imagined. Yet again. Yet again.  And for a while, the donkey, well,  she felt defeated.  Betrayed.  Hopeless. She plodded along the circle, even when it made her sick.   She didn’t sleep, she barely ate, dark circles took up residence under her eyes.   She cried, she railed, she prayed. Oh, did she pray.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

“all I want for Christmas … is a break”

Meanwhile the rat prospered.  He worked to convince others what a great rat he was. How he had all these great ideas (hers), he got projects completed (hers), and, from the surface, it appeared he was one good rat. And he was.  He was very good at being a rat.

warren t rat american tail

And soon, the load grew again.   But this time, it was different. Something had changed.  She had grown, too.   The yoke no longer fit!! No longer dangling in the air she righted herself and when a much more Sr. Donkey asked her “how are you doing?” she looked him in the eye and she answered.  She squared her shoulders, stood in her truth and saw his gasp of horror.  He listened and she spoke and she heard his words of understanding.  Time passed and she figured maybe he was just one more Sr. Donkey who’d allow a rat in his midst. But she was wrong.

donkey up in air

In time, she saw the rat’s unease.  She listened to him whine at being questioned why he always had to come to Donkey for answers.  And why was Donkey’s name on all the work? Who exactly was doing the work? The questions coming at him were rapid and direct and not easily dodged.  That wily rat found himself nailed like a fat kid in dodge ball.

warren t rat surprised

And then, one day, happy news came her way – delightful, happy, wonderful news!  Can you guess what it was?  The gig was up! The rat was out – leaving the company.  Secretly Loudly she danced. She danced, she cried, she smiled so much and so often her face hurt.  She slept. She finally slept.  And dreams returned, in just days. Dreams returned.

happy donkey

Is that the Karma bus I see in the distance?

One morning, as she finally put into words what she’d experienced in her years with the rat, she felt the weight of a 250lb yoke slipping off her shoulders.  No more shackles to his messes, his problems, him. No more cleaning up, fixing up, and covering for.  No more. No more. No more.

And as she said it, she saw it, and the tears ran down her face.  Tears of liberation.

“You own everything that happened to you. 

Tell your stories. 

If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should’ve behaved better.” 

– Ann Lamott

I’m that donkey.  And between now and 5:00 today I’ll lose 250lbs. By His grace, I’m a believer.

Dance with me, will ya? 🙂

 

 

Can you relate to this?  Whose yoke have you become used to? What needs to happen before you can put it down?

 

 

Categories: Attitude, Determination, Faith, fear, Growth, Humor, Joy, Life, Life Lessons, Opinion, Personal, Quotes, Thoughts, Work | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 39 Comments

In the now to enjoy the Wow!

I’m a planner, I admit it. It’s one of my strengths, both socially and in the business world.   I know my schedule weeks in advance. There’s room for modifications but, for the most part, I’m the one driving my bus.

driving the busEvery once in a while I feel it – a nudge.  A thought, fleeting or lingering, reminding me to stop looking out and start looking around.

Yesterday was one of those days.

Here is a glimpse at the internal dialogue that occurred between 7:30 and 8:00 a.m.

Another Dentist appointment, ugh.

Beautiful sunny morning, yay!

Dentist office 1.6 miles away, hmm.

Walk? Why not!

Put on sneaks, grab phone, ID, and garage door opener and go!

A half block from home the inner lizard chimes in:  you’re not going to make it, you’ll be late (I hate being late).

Legs keep moving.

2 blocks later, arms swinging, mouth smiling, the lizard chimes again: you’re going to arrive there all sweaty and hot.

Legs  keep moving.

3 blocks later, roofers working, neighbors talking, birds singing, mouth chirps out, “Good morning!”

Legs keep moving.

1 mile later, traffic moving, kids playing, lizard makes one last attempt to turn me around, “Aren’t you hot?  Aren’t you tired? This is stupid.”

Nope.  Mouth smiling. Hair bouncing. Legs moving. Arms swinging. 

Arrive at Dentist office where I sit. Cool down. Recover.

And roll in the joy of being fully alive.

“You gotta be in the NOW to create and experience the WOW!”
― Steve Maraboli, Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience

bull in pasture

When’s the last time you changed things up?  What was it and how did you feel?

*all images from Google.com

Categories: Attitude, Confidence at any age, Determination, Fun, Growth, Humor, Joy, Life, Opinion, Personal | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

On saying Yes

I’ve been thinking a lot about a workshop coming up this weekend — a women’s retreat, so-to-speak, and time away to be with like-minded individuals in a supportive, creative environment.

Thinking about the questions posed to us ahead of time (loosely translated): 1) what’s the greatest risk you ever took and how did it turn out? 2) How do you define passion? and 3) What’s your big “Super Hero” dream – i.e. what does “next” look like?

girl-with-arms-open-wide-to-the-sky

google.images.com

The first two were easy to answer: 1) moving to another country with $178 and a guitar .. and here I am, a successful citizen.  2) It’s all that I am and what I can’t ever leave behind – it’s me doing the right thing regardless if anyone’s around to witness it – it’s music and love, family and relationships, hard work, silliness and stability. But #3.  3 has me thinking .. a lot.

On the treadmill last night, I had an epiphany (treadmill walking will do that to you … you can’t do much else, at least I can’t.) I can’t read or watch TV, pretty sure I’d fall off, but I digress.

I thought about how I gave oldest boy some of my sage advice last week on the power of saying “no.”  And, a direct quote was, “No. It’s a sentence.”  He used it and, by golly, it worked and here we are.

And I realized, at a 3.4 mph speed, that the past 5 years I’ve worked hard at saying no.  No without guilt. No without noise.  One word: “No.”

Saying no has opened up room for “Yes.”  And I’ve done a little of that … but last night I realized I already had my answer to #3 above.

I’m saying “Yes.”

Yes to adventures and events, to meeting new people who inspire and get me, yes to delight and wonder and learning and growth.  Yes to noise and yes to quiet.  Yes to order and yes to messy. Yes to love and comfort, joy and happiness.

I’m saying Yes.

“Say yes and you’ll figure it out afterwards.” -Tina Fey

What do you really want to say yes to? Have you made room for it in your life?

 

Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Blogging, Confidence at any age, Determination, Faith, Family, Forgiveness, Friendship, Fun, Home, music, Personal, Self Discovery | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 27 Comments

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