Posts Tagged With: marriage

The 3 sides of love

Dear You:

When his marriage ended he thought the world did, too.  We moved him and what remained into our basement.  We helped pay his bills and care for his children and tried to assure him that things would be all right.  We didn’t know how and we didn’t know when but we knew that, in time, it would.

It wasn’t long before the walls here at home closed in; he’d had enough of us and we of him.  And, as adults go, he was ready and that was fine.  He moved to a place he could hardly afford, sleeping on air mattresses and living on leftovers and cheap groceries. I worried and barely slept, because that’s just how I roll. He found a job working outside in the driving snow but he held on to the hope that one day – some day – things would be all right.

He dated a little, but there was always a part of him that he held back.  That part that didn’t trust any more. Still, we talked regularly, and with an armful of groceries, he’d hear us say again and again … that things would be all right.

Over time he and the kids settled into a routine and, when the next summer came ’round, he started to live again .. but at an inch at a time.  He grilled out and had friends over.   But it was those nights when the wee ones weren’t there with him that were the hardest.  He told me how he couldn’t sleep so he’d go for walks late at night.  He talked longingly of other families through living room windows.  He told me in a whisper how hard he prayed for one of his own.

Believing that if you dream it you can be it I asked him to tell me what he wanted.  Clearly he replied: “I want someone who gets me, who laughs, who listens, who is kind, who doesn’t yell at me when I forget something or mess up. I want someone who wants to be in a relationship not just talk about it. I want a partner. I want what you have.”

Years passed, time pressed on and he and the littles grew.  We could see what he couldn’t  –  progress.

But still, there was always something missing … and that’s where you come in.

Last Christmas, he mentioned how he’d met a girl by chance (no such thing!) and how different she was. Sweet, kind, giggly, adorable, smart, funny, and easy-going.  His list of adjectives to describe her  you went on and on.

Now that I know what I know, I know this: it might have been your brown eyes and beautiful smile that drew him in but it was your kind and accepting heart that held him there.

Did you know that he loves how you’re always cold?  I’ve never known him to buy anyone a blanket; he would have mocked anyone who did.  He bought you a red fuzzy one and talks about how cute you are under it.  Uh-huh.

He marvels that you think to pick up items he’s low on like toilet paper and milk and snacks that kids might enjoy on a field trip.

He was happiest that you were perfectly happy hopping into his truck and riding along with him on an evening work errand.

He’s different now. He smiles more. He’s also fiercely protective of you. He’s not come around as much, he doesn’t call as often, and growth is happening again.

Then there’s the littlest ones – they love you too, did you know that? The boy saved his money to bring you a present from the school carnival. The girl draws pictures … with you in them.  Even his ex-wife drops them off to you when needed.  That says so much right there.

Couple Love concept

So thank you. Thank you for seeing in my boy what I’d hoped you would:  a capable man with a goofy sense of humor, a strong work ethic, and a big heart still willing to love.   You see someone who’d help a neighbor but is just as likely to stop for a stranger, too.  A fellow who’s waited and prayed and hoped for a girl who understands, accepts and appreciates him – his strengths, his faults, his wins, his losses.  You do this – just this – and that man will swim through shark-infested waters to bring you the best glass of lemonade you’ve ever had.

My role is changing again.  He’ll always be my little boy but, more importantly, he’s your man now.  I’d like to share this quote I found some time ago ~ it’s helped me and maybe it will you, too.

“Love is made up of three unconditional properties in equal measure:

1. Acceptance
2. Understanding
3. Appreciation

Remove any one of the three and the triangle falls apart.

Which, by the way, is something highly inadvisable. Think about it — do you really want to live in a world of only two dimensions?

So, for the love of a triangle, please keep love whole.”

-Vera Nazarian, The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration


*dedicated to oldest boy and his girl on their engagement this past weekend.






Categories: Beauty, Faith, Family, Growth, Home, Joy, Life, Love, Personal, Relationships, Romance, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 28 Comments

Random Friday 5 – New Friendships, Old Favorites, Love and Night Life

It’s Friday! It’s time for 5 random thoughts from my ever-swirling mind.

1. I love the smell of Noxzema.   Growing up, that’s what we girls used to wash our faces at night – and that menthol clean smell still means clean to me.  I’ve bought the expensive tubes and creams and gels and every last bit of it sits – and rots – on my shelf.  


2. This week I initiated FB friend requests to a few long-time blogging pals.  You know who you are. Please know this.  My ❤ swelled when you said “yes.”  There’s a lot of things I blog about that I don’t post on FB, so for me to take a risk and invite you in, means I trust you.  My little writing hobby that started 4 years ago blossomed into friendships with some amazing people whose input I truly value.  People I hope to meet one day. My heart grins just thinking about it!

add as a friend

3. Yesterday morning, around 4:30 a.m.,  a thunderstorm rolled through.  I did a tuck and roll and all was right with my world.  Am I the only one who finds a T-storm an invitation to dive deep into slumber-land?


I love this sound!

4.  Hubbs and I celebrated our wedding anniversary this week: 23 years.  Crazy. Recently, I’d made a favorite meal of his and, although he doesn’t usually do so, he announced he was going to indulge in another favorite: bread and butter on the side.  I’d already eaten and the kitchen was cleaned up and things put away. Quietly I took the (supposedly spreadable) butter out and set it on the counter.   Because who wants hard chunks of buttery goodness on a roll? No one.  A while later, he came upstairs to fix his plate, saw the butter and laughed out loud. And from the kitchen I heard this, “Thanks for the butter take-out!  There’s 23 years of loving right there!”  It was a good reminder that cards and flowers are great but often all we really need is to know that we matter to someone else.


Love was in the butter.

5. And with that ~ I’m off. Off to a new city to meet new people and do my job.  Coffee’s poured, tunes are ready, and I am rousing up some old classics like this one:  Ray Price crooning “Night Life” with Willie Nelson accompanying him. Ray’s voice is as rich as his Polyester Fortrel suit and I love it!

What fragrances take you back to your childhood?   Made any new friends lately?  Are you scared of T-storms or do they make you want to get cozy, too?  What simple ways allow you to express your love for someone? What type of music is your favorite to drive to? 

Have a great day, peeps!


Categories: Attitude, Blogging, Faith, Family, Fun, Life, Personal, Products I love, Quotes, Random, Thoughts, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 24 Comments

1,144 weekends

22 years, 8,030 days and 1,144 weekends.

Ups, downs & all-arounds.

22 years.

Meeting a man who could lay down the first brick told me all I needed to know and like the song, pretty soon I was singing “It had to be You.”

22 years of Date Nights, 22 years of Virgo and the Circus and 22 years of songs I love to sing with him.

22 years ago I stepped away from the fear and into the arms of my big-shouldered Michigan man.

22 years .. today!

me & the hubbs at our wedding  - an Emjayandthem (C) photo

me & the hubbs at our wedding – an Emjayandthem (C) photo



Categories: Faith, Family, Gratitude, Joy, Life, Love, Men, Personal, Relationships, Romance, Seasons, Women | Tags: , , , | 24 Comments

Guess what day it is? (Hint: It’s Friday .. and it’s random)

Nope, not that day.

Actually, I love Caleb the Geico Camel

Actually, I love Caleb the Geico Camel. Google.images

It’s Random Five Friday which … when you think about it .. is perfect for a Friday. Why?  Because maybe it’s the best we can do at the end of a long, long week.  🙂  Here we go!

1.  The weather. Still crappy. The end.

credit to

Michigan wins the coveted title of “most snow covered” State.  Miss Congeniality was awarded to someplace more habitable, like Mars. credit

2.  Hubbs flew out Tuesday and promptly got stranded in, you guessed it, Atlanta.  The guy who is afraid of heights and loves hates to fly.  He made it to his destination, eventually, but around hour 14 of his travel day, it obvious the anxiety was mounting. For more on my kind-hearted but control loving Virgo, read Virgo and the Circus.

3. Every workday morning, I turn on a small radio that I keep in the bathroom and listen for traffic and weather updates as I get ready.  I had grown fond of the two goofy guys hosting the morning show: their teasing, bantering, and wise-cracks. They were funny, not mean, and they were easy to listen to, and laugh along with.  They got the axe about 2 weeks ago and I still listen, hoping they’re coming back, but last night I found out that’s not the case.  My other choices? Shock jocks, all sports, political rants, or easy-listening bland-as-toast fodder.  I don’t know why this bothers me as much as  it does.  It’s like the end of an era, and I’m none too happy about it.

4. Yesterday I had a tough work situation to wrap my head around. It wasn’t anything that can’t be resolved, but it was a perfect storm — everything that could have gone wrong .. had .. and it was right around then that the entire matzoh ball landed in my lap for resolution. I read through the email trail, collected my thoughts, picked up the phone, and apologized.  Not because I had done something wrong, but because it needed to be said.  The customer and I had a good conversation, and I listened more than I talked.  This is not something that always comes easily to me, but I’m glad I followed my instincts to do just as I did. Waking up this morning, I don’t know what the fix is, but I know I’ll be part of the solution.  And that, well, that makes me smile!

5.  God-willing and the weather cooperates, Hubbs comes home tomorrow.  I’ve missed him, and he’s missed me.  And after nearly 23 years together, I still giggle like a school-girl just thinking about that. Tonight, I’ll cook up some of his favorites and he’ll come home to a clean house, a full fridge, and a wife who’s happy to see him.  Looking back, loving him has been the best risk I ever took.



What’s on your Random 5 list today, peeps?

Categories: Attitude, Faith, Family, fear, Growth, Home, Life, Men, News, Personal, Random, Relationships, Romance, Share, Travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

Cats & dogs

Darla’s post about marriage and relationships inspired me to make the observation that Hubbs and I are like a cat & dog together.

I’m like a golden retriever in the relationship – happy, lively, kinda goofy —and  he’s the cat.  Fussy, jumpy and difficult to please.

He’ll decide if he (we) wants company, He’ll decide if/when/where – whatever.

Every once in a while, like a big ole dog would, I’ll whomp him upside the head (not literally) and settle his fussy self down. Pretty soon he’s purring again.

retriever & cat

But, just like cats & dogs, we have a way of getting along and, nearly 22 years later, it’s never been dull.

I stumbled over this old favorite on YouTube yesterday morning and have been humming it ever since.

You ask me if there’ll come a time
When I grow tired of you
Never my love
Never my love

You wonder if this heart of mine
Will lose its desire for you
Never my love
Never my love

What about you? Can you see similarities in your relationship here?  How are you the same? How are you different?


Categories: Family, Friendship, Growth, Home, Life, Men, Relationships, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

It’s just this simple

We took a much-needed break this week with some time off.

No stress. No clocks. No dress code.

No meal plans. No chores. No particular place to be.

Wake when we wake, sleep when we sleep.

Eat when we’re hungry and stretch when we’re sore.

Quiet mornings sipping coffee as the fog lifts from the yard.

Happy evenings spent talking, laughing and connecting.

No phones. No distractions and no one else’s problems to solve.

We’ve gambled,golfed and gamed.

We’ve laughed, lunched and lingered.

We’ve napped, read and putzed.

And we’ve done it all … together.

Intimacy = into ME see.

Ahh Michigan summers!

Ahh Michigan summers!

“Let the wife make her husband glad to come home and let him make her sorry to see him leave.” ― Martin Luther

Categories: Attitude, Faith, Family, Joy, Love, Men, Personal, Romance, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 26 Comments

On house-building

“An elderly carpenter was ready to retire. He told his employer-contractor of his plans to leave the house building business and live a more leisurely life with his wife enjoying his extended family.

He would miss the paycheck, but he needed to retire. They could get by. The contractor was sorry to see his good worker go and asked if he could build just one more house as a personal favor. The carpenter said yes, but in time it was easy to see that his heart was not in his work. He resorted to shoddy workmanship and used inferior materials. It was an unfortunate way to end his career.

When the carpenter finished his work and the builder came to inspect the house, the contractor handed the front-door key to the carpenter. “This is your house,” he said, “my gift to you.”

What a shock! What a shame! If he had only known he was building his own house, he would have done it all so differently. Now he had to live in the home he had built none too well.

So it is with us.

We build our lives in a distracted way, reacting rather than acting, willing to put up less than the best. At important points we do not give the job our best effort. Then with a shock we look at the situation we have created and find that we are now living in the house we have built. If we had realized that we would have done it differently.

Think of yourself as the carpenter.

Think about your house.

Each day you hammer a nail, place a board, or erect a wall.

Build wisely:   It is the only life you will ever build.

Even if you live it for only one day more, that day deserves to be lived graciously and with dignity. The plaque on the wall says, “Life is a do-it-yourself project.”

Your life tomorrow will be the result of your attitudes and the choices you make today.” – Unknown

A friend shared the words above with me recently.  Little did she know how much I needed to read them.  Serendipity, yes, I think we could say that.

And to that end, it’s time.

Time for an absence of schedule. Time for a little less obligation and a lot more recreation.

It’s time to say “no” to phones, socks, clocks and conference calls.

It’s time for shared glances, twirly skirts, golf dates and date nights.

Every summer, hubbs and I take a “time out” to do all the above …and this year?

It starts …. tomorrow!

 * * * You are the carpenter. Your life is the house. How are you building it? * * * 

"Choose the guy who ruins your lipstick, not the one who ruins your mascara." -Unknown.  Me & Hubbs, an emjayandthem photo

Me & Hubbs: we sure have fun together.  (C) an emjayandthem photo

Categories: Attitude, Faith, Family, Holidays, Home, Men, Personal, Uncategorized, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 25 Comments

on Communicating

Most of the time,  Hubbs and I communicate pretty well.

He’s a planner, even more so than me. It’s the Virgo in him.  You can set your watch to this guy.

He’s the one who taught me to speak up about where I’m going and what I’m up to and what time you can expect me to be somewhere.  Being a Gemini, I’d never much considered telling anyone all that. But, as we dated, I seemed to have a knack for frustrating him. If he said “let’s meet at such and such place at this time” he’d be there. Early. Every time.  Not so with me. I’d be there, on time, or shortly thereafter. I’d see him look at his watch and sigh and give me the look.   Quite honestly, it was annoying.

It took me a few years to understand that when I stopped at the grocery store on my way home from work without saying anything ahead of time, that action caused him anxiety. I thought he was ridiculous. He thought I was uncaring.

It took him explaining the knot he got in his stomach when I wasn’t where he thought I’d be. It took him referencing his brother’s sudden death for me to understand that my actions were actually causing him pain. When I wasn’t where I said I’d be, his first thought, his first instinct, was that I was lost to him … forever.

Geez that’s heavy stuff.

But in the 22 years we’ve known each other, I’ve grown.  I’ve learned to communicate proactively, to share my plans because someone else cares to know. I’ve learned that speaking up doesn’t mean surrendering a part of me, it means caring for another, too.

But even after all that, we still have our moments when I think we’re talking two different  languages.

I’m all about words, kinda obvious, since I write a blog. 🙂

He’s a quieter guy who doesn’t always want to talk.

I can talk about anything and often do.

He relishes silence.

So the other day when he commented about “having to clean out the dryer lint drawer cause no one else ever does” what I heard was “you’re an inept housekeeper and whatever you do will never be good enough for me.”

That’s not what he said, but that is what I heard.

And that’s when the snarping started.

I understand now what he was really saying: See me.

I understand now what I was really saying: See me.

Later today, I’m heading out to run a few errands. The 9-year-old in me doesn’t want to tell anyone where she’s off to.  The woman in me commented on the amazingly clean lint drawer and referenced stops at the dry cleaners and gas station.

# # #

How do you and your loves communicate?  Has it changed over time?

“The only way that we can live, is if we grow. The only way that we can grow is if we change. The only way that we can change is if we learn. The only way we can learn is if we are exposed. And the only way that we can become exposed is if we throw ourselves out into the open. Do it. Throw yourself.”
― C. JoyBell C.

related – Virgo and the Circus

Categories: Attitude, Faith, Family, Life, Men, Personal, Relationships, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 26 Comments

On Dating

Talking with my niece and nephew earlier this summer, I caught their attention when I said that Hubbs and I still date.

I saw the look of disbelief in their eyes and they saw the twinkle in mine.

One is in a long-term relationship and the other is not.

Leaning closer,  I explained why we schedule weekly date nights and have since we first met more than 20 years ago. It doesn’t mean we go out or even spend any money, it just means we set aside that time – non negotiable time – for each other.

When we married, we became an instant family, (more here) so we’ve never had time that was just “ours.”  We’ve never been on a Honeymoon; we’ve always been parents and that’s OK – it’s the life we chose and neither of us would change it. Our way to navigate together has been to schedule it, as a way to reconnect and reaffirm what we already know.

I’m glad we have prioritized this because:

  • Date nights mean “I hear you.”
  • Date nights mean “I love you.”
  • Date nights mean “I’m here for you.”
  • Date nights mean wearing something other than “Mom & Dad” clothes, a whiff of cologne, cleavage, a buttoned-down shirt, a swirly skirt and lipstick.
  • Date nights mean “You are still it for me.”
  • Date nights mean singing our songs, telling our work stories, and being in the moment.
  • Date nights mean comfort, warmth, passion and love.
  • Date nights mean “In spite of everything around us – jobs – kids – family – I still choose time with you over everything – and everyone – else.”

I love that he schedules tee times early enough so that he can come home, shower, change and spend the night with me. What girl wouldn’t love that in her man?

He loves that I use my time to do what interests me and, when he returns, he’s greeted by a warm and happy companion who looks nice, feeds him and wants to spend her night with him. What guy wouldn’t love that in his girl?

For us, date nights have always been the buoy we swim to against the undertow of daily living.

How about you?  How do you nurture your relationship?

“Choose the guy who ruins your lipstick, not the one who ruins your mascara.” -Unknown. Me & Hubbs, an emjayandthem photo

Categories: Attitude, Family, Friendship, Fun, Joy, Men, Personal, Romance, Self Discovery, Thoughts, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , | 28 Comments

Sugar & spice and everything nice

In addition to the Easter candies around this weekend, I decided to bake something special for our guests.  Grandpa and the wee ones really enjoyed a dessert I deemed the “perfect marriage.”  What is it?

Simple – just bake up my two-ingredient Magic Pumpkin Spice Cake and top it with my Opally Delicious Carmel Icing and what do you get?  A perfect marriage of spicy and sweet.  A rich and fiber-filled cake that’s yummy with brunch, over coffee, or tucked in with their leftover care packages.

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I’m traveling for work and, after today, won’t be blogging ’till the weekend; I wish you all a happy, good week :).  -MJ

Categories: Family, Food, Home, Life, Personal, Recipes, Relationships | Tags: , , , , | 28 Comments

On Passion

Uh huh huh .. a lifelong Elvis fan, yes I have found my inner Elvis!

Passion is defined as having a “powerful or compelling emotion or feeling, such as love or hate” about a given topic.  We all know someone who’s passionate about their sports team, fitness, travel or even gardening.  Most I know care deeply for loved ones, homes and pets.

If asked, I’d have to say the following:

I’m passionate about my marriage.  We are surrounded by couples in distress, and that has made me even more attentive to our union.  But here’s the thing .. hubbs and I are not all that similar. We have different interests but similar philosophies.  One of the reasons we enjoy time together is because we  give each other the space to pursue what we love and then make it a priority to come back together again.  He loves to compete and is an avid sports fan. I’ve never seen anyone happier than him as he’s readying for a golf date on a Saturday morning. But .. he’s happiest when he returns, having competed and laughed with friends, excelling at a sport he loves, and all with my blessing.  When he’s away, I do what brings me joy … read, write and play with music and technology.  We don’t need to be alike or together all the time to be compatible. And when we are, we’re interested and interesting to each another.  And the best part?  After 19 years, that spark is still there.

I’m passionate about being a good example to my boys.  I let them see me work hard, laugh loud, get frustrated, mess up and keep on going.  They know  that, generally, I’m pretty easy going; they also know that if they cross the line they’ll hear about it.  I love that they know me, respect me, and most of all, value me.

I’m passionate about how I dole out my time and to whom.  I think of our grand kids, for example, and how much fun it is to answer questions and just play with them, marveling in all that they do.  I relish slow walks with the elderly dog and power walks for myself.  I’m passionate about sharing homemade salsa and the conversations it sparks with neighbors … about helping when I can, and chats with friends and family and strangers in the coffee shop.

I’m passionate about a meal lovingly prepared and liberally shared. As someone who loves to cook, there’s no better person to cook for than someone who loves to eat. Recently, we had friends in for an impromptu meal… nothing fancy, just hearty Midwestern food: roast beef, mashed potatoes & gravy, corn on the cob, salad and dinner rolls.  These friends often go out to eat so when they (shyly) accepted our invitation, they stepped into boisterous conversations peppered with requests to pass the butter.  To my delight, they relished every morsel. Our youngest and I shared a smile when our guest looked up, his buttered face accompanying his wide smile.   Moments like that reinforce that, while I enjoy cooking,  what I really enjoy most is sharing the meal with others I care for.

I’m passionate about the “little” things in life that make it delightful: the heady smell of lilacs in Spring, the sweet sounds of northern songbirds at daybreak, roadside fruit stands, the wind in my hair, the sun on my face and Michigan summer nights that require a “hoodie.”  I’m passionate about writing my blog, chatting up vendors at the farmers market, and days without schedules.  I’m passionate about “big” things, too: exercising my right to vote (I’m a new citizen), being on time, leading by example and doing the right thing.

I’m passionate about learning. Learning from others, learning from my mistakes, learning what’s worked for me and what hasn’t. I’m passionate about trusting my instincts, that it’s OK to be wrong but more important to be accountable.  And learning that, at 48, I am still capable of learning and growing, changing and evolving. And learning that life is still so exciting that I don’t want to miss … a thing.

What I’m passionate about comes down to this: it’s what’s not negotiable. It’s what I could never, ever leave behind.  It’s how I behave and who I am whether anyone is around to know. I know, and that’s enough. It’s honing the traits and values that I’ve carried with me from middle school to middle age.  It’s all of that and what’s yet to come.

What inspires passion in you?

Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Confidence at any age, Determination, Family, Food, Friendship, Fun, Gratitude, Growth, Home, Joy, Life, Life Lessons, Love, Opinion, Patriotic, Personal, Random, Relationships, Romance, Self Discovery, Thoughts, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 27 Comments

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Better Days Blog

Learning from yesterday, living for today

Another Stir of the Spoon

Food, Art, Books, Birds and whatever...

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!

Life Write Here

“I write because I don't know what I think until I read what I say.”

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...