Posts Tagged With: new citizen

32 and 9 and still new

32 years ago I immigrated to the United States with $178 and a guitar.

9 years ago I stepped forward with 78 others to take the Oath of Citizenship.

It was one of the proudest and most emotional  moments of my life.

(more about my journey here.)

You see, someday I will be a citizen for 15 or 20 or 35 years and I’ll still choose to tell folks that I’m a “new” citizen.


Because I don’t know how else to communicate the significance of it.    The choice of it.

We’re not perfect, this country, we’ve got our flaws.  Like most families, there’s bickering and divisions and  always someone willing to point out what’s wrong with us … but still … there’s a heart and soul about America that continues to inspire people to imagine a life here.

* * * *

God Bless America, Land that I love

Stand beside her,  and guide her

Thru the night with a light from above

From the the prairies

To the oceans..White with foam

God Bless America!

    My Home Sweet Home

Happy birthday, America …. from a grateful citizen.



Categories: Attitude, Faith, Holidays, Home, News, Opinion, Personal | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Random 5 – Congress, Mentors and Meerkats

It’s time for five random thoughts from the ever-swirling mind of yours truly.

1.  I’m off to D.C. soon and last week, with the help of my Congressional office, I booked a guided tour of the U.S. Capitol.   Normally you should book these tours months in advance …  my schedule is jam-packed while I’m there.  I took a chance and found there was one spot left on the afternoon I was available. Luck or fate?   I’m going with a bit of both.  And, if you don’t ask, the answer is already “no.”  Just ask – who knows?

Isn’t she grand?  VisittheCapitol.Gov

2. Last Thursday marked 7 years as a citizen.  7 years ago I obtained my 2nd passport and voted (here) for the first time. 7 years.  Stepping forward, with 78 other hopeful new citizens, that moment – and the memory – is still goose-bump-worthy.

That's me, holding the flag, and taking the Oath of Allegiance.

That’s me, holding the flag, and taking the Oath of Allegiance.  An Emjayandthem(C) photo

3. I’ve been saying “Yes” as much as possible lately and enjoying what comes next.  Last week I received an email from a long-time hero and mentor, Pat Katz.    Pat, teen leader and champion from the 4-H days of my youth, now writer, speaker, motivator, coach, artist, and all around fabulous woman.  She made a lasting impression on a young farm girl 36+ years ago and when we reconnected on Facebook, I felt like someone gave me the key to the cool kid’s club.   She shared this quote below and encouraged me to continue saying yes – and mentioned how fun it would be to meet up the next time I’m in Saskatchewan.  I immediately said yes – I’m going home for an August wedding and we’re grabbing a coffee and a hug at the airport arrival with my sissy Pat –and I’ll have my two favorite “Pats” in the same place – how sweet is that?

“Once you make up your mind and start something… Once you commit to it, say “Yes!” and never look back.

Do you have any doubt that I won’t rush to your side?  That legions won’t be summoned? That players won’t be drawn to help, assist, and fall in love? That connections won’t be made? Circumstances won’t be crafted? Dots won’t be connected?  That the course of history won’t be irrevocably changed?

Good, I didn’t think so. 

I’d say you’re ready,”
    – The Universe

4. This past week everything “popped” at once – not just Lilacs and other plants but the trees, too.  I’m popping Claritin like candy  … but is sure is green and lush and lovely.  Spring has sprung!


Emjayandthem(C) ‘s lilacs

5.  I don’t care who you are or where you’ve worked – we have all sat through that one long, boring meeting, speech or sermon and then …


What are you waiting to say “Yes” to?  What would you try if you knew there was no way you could fail?

Have a great Wednesday, Peeps!




Categories: Animals, Attitude, Determination, Elections, Faith, Fun, Gratitude, Growth, Joy, Life, Patriotic, Relationships, Vote, Work | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

The foundation of a free society

Hubbs noticed it before I did: stacks of political mail – all addressed to me.  Multiple phone messages – left for me.  Campaign workers at door asking to speak – with me.

You see as a new citizen, as soon as I could vote, I did.

And I’ve not missed an opportunity to since being granted that privilege.

Yes, it’s a bit disconcerting that my voting record is accessible to the pollsters.

But then I think about how when I use my “frequent shopper card” at the grocery store some marketing guy somewhere knows what kind of dish soap I prefer, too.

I heard yesterday that only 30% of eligible voters are expected to turn out for today’s Primary.

Elections are the foundation of our free country, but they are only effective if you take part.

I believe that every vote counts and, for that reason, I’m headed to the polls now.

“Elections belong to the people. It’s their decision. If they decide to turn their back on the fire and burn their behinds, then they will just have to sit on their blisters.”  ― Abraham Lincoln


Categories: Attitude, Elections, Gratitude, Growth, Life, News, Patriotic, Personal, Politics, Thoughts, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

R5F – The D.C. edition

I finally made it to D.C. Tuesday night, missed our conference but made all of my Hill meetings (that’s how the regulars say it when they’re meeting with Congressional reps … heh heh).

Here’s my Random 5 Friday for today – the D.C. edition ….

1. If you’ve never been to Washington, D.C. you must go.  Yes it’s a big city. Yes there are a ton of tourists. But – there’s so much to see and do. And nearly every step you take is laced with history and meaning.   I say this every year but next year I am adding a couple of vacation days to be a tourist and take it all in.

2. Just driving past the Pentagon takes more than a few minutes. It’s that massive.

3. In the 2 days I was in D.C., I walked at least 12 miles and most of it was below the city. Did you know that tunnels connect many Governmental Buildings?  They’re clean and well-lit, but old as time.  I felt a bit like Desmond in “L.O.S.T”  Freaky.

"See you in another life, Brotha."  -L.O.S.T.

“See you in another life, Brotha.” -L.O.S.T.

4.  Meetings were fast and furious, back-to-back and took a lot of effort to get from one place to another. But, more than once, I stopped the race to just look around and linger in the moment.  Me.  6 years a citizen. From immigrant to company representative, meeting with the highest offices in the land!  In one such meeting I stepped away from the talking points and commented on a  photo of that particular Congressman with President Ford.  Impulsively, I told him I was a new citizen and that I’d taken my Oath of Citizenship at the Ford Museum in Grand Rapids.  His eyes met mine, he reached across the table, shook my hand and, with a tear in his eye, he quietly said, “Welcome. We’re glad to have you.”  It was a good meeting turned great and I learned once again that being yourself is more than enough.

5.  As much difficulty as we had getting there, it was the people I met who made this trip great for me.   The elderly veterans, many on scooters, dressed in their uniforms and pins and badges, just so patriotic and happy to have someone stop them to say hello.   My work colleagues from around the country who shouted my name as I entered the hotel; it was so fun to have them close to me.    The students I helped in the tunnels, because even though I walked them multiple times, I know how easy it is to get lost and how good it feels when someone offers you a hand.

It’s Random. It’s Friday. And I’m glad to be home.  You?

Categories: Elections, Faith, Fun, Gratitude, Growth, Joy, Life, Opinion, Patriotic, Personal, Random, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

On being a citizen

image from

image from

What does being a citizen mean to you?  Really mean?

Does it mean you can vote?

Does it mean you belong?

What does it mean?

To me, it means a defining moment in my life.

It represents the moment I stepped away from what my family might think and into what I thought.

To me, it means the opportunity to have a voice.

To have a say.

To count.

Sure I’d had responsibilities all along (taxes). But I’d never had a voice to go with it. (the ability to vote)

Yes, as a Canadian, I had those rights already. But as a Canadian woman living in the United States with her husband and sons, I always had an underlying feeling of being in limbo. Of belonging to one place but living in another. Of feeling .. disconnected.

But not anymore.


Because I’m a new citizen; Five years ago, I stepped up with 78 others  (from 34 different countries) to take the Oath of Citizenship.  It was one of the proudest and most emotional  moments of my life.  (more about my journey here.)

The thing is … I could be a citizen for 40 years and I’ll still choose to say that  I’m a “new” citizen.  Why? Because I don’t know how else to communicate the significance of it all to me.

God Bless America, Land that I love

Stand beside her,  and guide her

Thru the night with a light from above

From the the prairies

To the oceans..White with foam

God Bless America!

    My Home Sweet Home

Happy birthday, America …. from a grateful citizen.

A great day - the day I became a citizen!

Teary-eyed at becoming a citizen!


Categories: Faith, Family, Gratitude, Joy, Life, Share, Thoughts, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 24 Comments

Happy Birthday, Amer-wica!!

that's me & our boys at my citizenship party; the one who did the cheering is in white.

That’s what our 4 year old shouted during a pause in the Fireworks that year.  The crowd responded with a collective, “aww” after hearing his squeaky little voice express his heartfelt sincerity.

There we were, the four of us, taking in the Ft. Bend County 4th of July festivities in Sugarland, Texas.  Cotton candy, snow cones, BBQ pork, turkey legs, pickles and crowds.  June bugs, carnival rides, and country music blaring in the background.  Hot summer sun, slices of watermelon and try-your-luck-here games of chance and skill.  Spreading a blanket out over the dusty ground, passing the bug spray, and leaning back to watch the dazzling fireworks fill the sky. Pure summer bliss.

I’ve always loved our holidays, but Independence Day might be my favorite.  Why?  Because I’m a new citizen; in May, 2008, I stood with 78 other individuals from 34 different countries to take my Oath of Citizenship.  It was one of the proudest moments of my life.  (more about my journey here.)

image from

The thing is … I could be a citizen for 40 years and I’ll still choose to say that  I’m a “new” citizen.  Why? Because I don’t know how else to communicate the significance of it all to me.

I’m a new citizen and today is Independence Day.

A day of parades and tributes, picnics and boat rides. A day for family, for visiting, for cheering and for reflection.  A day off work for many, and a day at work for some (thank you to our military, police, fire, rescue and other “essential” workers who keep us all safe).   It’s a day to slather on the sunscreen and take in a ball game,  dish up some potato salad and enjoy a cold drink and later, spread out the blankets and camp chairs to take in the fireworks.  It’s a day to remember that there are still many around the world who do not have the basic freedoms Americans enjoy every day.

It’s a day for gratitude.

I’m a new citizen; God Bless America … my home, sweet home.


Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Faith, Family, Food, Friendship, Gratitude, Holidays, Home, Joy, Life, music, News, Opinion, Patriotic, Personal, Quotes, Relationships, Thoughts, Traditions | Tags: , , , , | 24 Comments

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