Posts Tagged With: patriotic

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?

US.gov

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!

100_2359

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!

ha!

ha!

 

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

Random 5 Friday .. the pm version

Here we are again, peeps.  Random 5 Friday is back and I give you the Friday night edition!

1) Normally on Friday nights, I’d be out doing something with Hubbs. Dinner. Meeting up with friends. Something.  OR we might be stay in and sit near the fire. Not tonight. After his disastrous travel schedule a few weeks back, he had back to back meetings and ended up sick with the flu this week. He did like I did .. he worked through – as in worked his job — and I think that when you do that, you end up with “it” longer.  So, tonight’s not date night at my house, it’s Alka-Seltzer-Plus and Puffs, Vicks-Vapo-Rub and extra blankies night.   Poor guy.

2) On the way home, in the driving sleet, I thought, “Hey, maybe I should take this opportunity to reorganize some closets and do some deep cleaning!”  And then good sense got the better of me and I stopped for a pizza, ginger ale for hubbs, a couple of Lime Beers for me, turned on the tunes and settled in to listen to the wind howl away the night.

3) #2 reminds me that I don’t really like a routine without him in it.   Probably should tell him that.  But not tonight. He’s under 2 blankets and moaning.  At this point, he needs space ….. without me in it, unless I’m bringing him ginger ale or soup.  Poor guy!

4)  A week from Monday, I fly off to our nation’s capital.  Like I mentioned last year in Milestones, not that long ago I wasn’t even a citizen of this great country.  I could pay taxes, but I couldn’t vote.  I felt like a bystander. But soon I’m off to the highest Governmental offices in the land to represent my company and our business.  Pretty. Sweet.  Pretty. Surreal.  Pretty… Awesome!

5) I saw this today and it not only made me laugh, now the song is stuck in my head:

google images.com

google images.com

Do you remember that song? What’s your Random 5, this chilly Friday night?

Categories: Attitude, Blogging, Faith, Family, Fun, Gratitude, Life, Love, Patriotic | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 24 Comments

Like that

I lifted this list from a previous post because I saw a trend of mine in there … the words “like that.”

1.    Some of you know that I hold citizenship in both Canada, my birthplace, and in the United States, my home. What you don’t know is that every time I go through customs, it’s all I can do to hold it together.  When an Immigration Agent says, “Welcome home” at either border, I blink back tears, every time.  I’m patriotic like that.

image from photos.igougo.com

I love this land. Image from photos.igougo.com

2.     I love to read and always have a book at my side.  But I get ornery when authors leave me hanging with a poor plot line or a dismal ending.  I will finish a book I’m not enjoying but won’t visit that author again. They don’t know this, or care, but I do. I’m stubborn like that.

Great book!!  image from goodreads.com

Now this is a book I’d read again and again. ~Wonderful!~ image from goodreads.com

3.     I bake goodies and give them away; chocolate does little for me.  Potato chips?  Different story.  Potato chips take me back to summer nights in a backyard tent, reading comic books with my cousin, telling stories and plotting our next great pony-riding adventure. I’m quirky like that.

oh yeah!

oh yeah!

4.     I love going to the airport.  I can cry watching someone else’s reunion.  I’m sappy like that.

The beautiful Budweiser Clydesdales; an emjayandthem photo

The beautiful Budweiser Clydesdales make me cry, too; an emjayandthem photo

5.     The older I get, the less I care what people say and the more I watch what they do. I’m seasoned like that.

photo source: watch-roseanne-online

“Seriously?” photo source: watch-roseanne-online

6.     I try not to look back unless the view is really worth seeing.  I’m determined like that.

The day our own Royal Princess arrived - baby MJ!  (an emjayandthem photo)

The day our own Royal Princess arrived – baby MJ! (an emjayandthem photo)

7.     No matter how big or tall or experienced they become, my boys will always be mine and I pity the fool who dares hurt them. Yep, I’m a Mom like that.

This is how I mother. Get over it. google.images

This is how I mother. Not apologizing!  google.images

I’d love it if you shared 7 things about yourself “like that.”

Categories: Animals, Attitude, Family, Gratitude, Home, Opinion, Personal, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 30 Comments

On being a citizen

image from photos.igougo.com

image from photos.igougo.com

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.

Why?

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 mountains..to 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!

Related:

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

Just how beautiful life can be

Driving North this week, I encountered many signs of fall.

I allowed myself extra time to drink in scenes like this … one of yellows and oranges popping against a startling September sky:

ahhh

I saw reds and golds and every color in between:

look at that range!

There were pumpkins and mums, bears and old pickup trucks:

near Kingsley, MI

And of course, apples… loads and loads of apples:

bought a bag of course!

But this, this was the sign worth turning around for:

Not his Mom but still I cried.

“Fall has always been my favorite season. The time when everything bursts with its last beauty, as if nature had been saving up all year for the grand finale.” 

– Lauren DeStefano


Categories: Faith, Family, Home, Patriotic, Seasons, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 33 Comments

Vote by voting or not showing

I will never forget the first time I voted in the United States. It was November, 2008, and the citizens were deciding who would take the Oval Office for the next four years.

I woke early and dressed carefully, paying attention to the reverence I felt for this special day. You see, as a Permanent Legal Resident, I’d had the responsibility of paying taxes for years, but I’d yet to experience the privilege of voting that comes with the promise of citizenship. I could hardly contain my excitement.

As I neared the polling location and saw the lines of people out front, to the side, and around the back of the building, I could hardly believe my eyes.  Fighting back emotions, I took a moment to consider the significance of this day.  I reflected on how well I’d done on my citizenship test – earning a 100% I might add – and how very proud I was to take the oath at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential museum.

Nervously, I checked my purse again, ensuring my identification was in order. Of course it was, it was right where I’d left it the last time I’d checked. Geez.

The mood of the people was palpable and so much, so very much, was riding on this day.

Taking my place in line, I noticed how most folks seemed patient, how many shifted their weight from one foot to another, and that quite a few passed the time chit-chatting with others nearby.

Roughly four people ahead of me, there he stood:  Mr. Notice-Me.  Mr. Impatient.  Mr. tap-tap-tap his foot so everyone around would know how important his time was. As if ours wasn’t.

He did his best to engage others in his commentary about the inefficiency of the system, how sorely lacking our Township for not having “enough” voting booths, at the fact that many of the poll workers were pensioners who moved slower than molasses-in-January.

I saw him trying to catch my eye and suck me into the conversation; I looked everywhere but at him. I didn’t want his negativity to taint my special day.

Finally, he couldn’t take my silence any longer and said – loud enough for many to hear – “You’re so quiet, how can you be so content just standing there?”

This time, this time I looked him dead on, smiled warmly and said: “Sir, I’ve waited years to stand in this line. You see, I’m a new citizen and this is my first time voting here and I will happily stand all night and into tomorrow if I have to.”

There was a sea of delighted “Congratulations” and “Wow, that’s awesome!” comments that surged around me.  But I don’t mind telling you, it was with pleasure that I accepted his hand and his humble words of “Welcome, point well taken.”  He was oddly quiet for the balance of our time together.

In May of 2008, seventy-eight of us (from thirty-four countries) took the oath of allegiance to the United States of America and stepped forward as brand new citizens right here in Grand Rapids, MI.  It signified the end of one journey and the beginning of another.

We’ve got 60 more days of promises, campaign ads, documentaries and debates to slog through. But no matter that, I will happily take my place in line come Election Day.

Will you?

“Every election is determined by the people who show up.”
―Larry J. Sabato, “Pendulum Swing”

Categories: Attitude, Determination, Elections, Forgiveness, Joy, Opinion, Uncategorized, Vote | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 35 Comments

Red, white & blue: you can, too!

It’s potluck day at the office again!  Oh do we love our potlucks.

Our theme today is Red, White & Blue in honor of our upcoming Independence Day Holiday :).  Many of you know that I grew up in Canada and we wore our red & white proudly.  When I became a U.S. Citizen, I happily added blue to my repertoire. I’m proud to be a citizen here and a “dual” there … and I’m always happy to contribute something fun to a party.

I saw this idea in a magazine; reading it over I thought, “I can do that” and guess what? So can you.

Have fun with it .. and to my Canadian family & friends … follow the steps below and just skip the blue:  have fun creating your very own True North Strong & Free delights, too!

* * * *

* Patriotic Strawberries ~~ What you need *

  • Strawberries, rinsed & dried (keep stems)  (I used 4 lbs)
  • CandiQuick or Dolci white melting chocolate (I used 2 packets of Dolci)
  • Sugar ( I used about 1/4 cup)
  • Blue food coloring ( A couple of squirts)
  • Waxed paper (enough to line your platter)
  • Paper towel (to put clean berries on & to dry with)

Instructions:

Rinse strawberries and place on paper towel.  Pat dry (be sure they’re dry or candy coating won’t stick.)

Add food coloring to sugar (use a bowl, you want a little depth here).  Try to ignore Tigers’ headlines.

Blend in sugar by mashing with a fork. At first the food coloring will want to stick together but you’ll soon convince it otherwise.

See?

Next, follow microwaving instructions on package to melt the coating (I melted and dipped one packet at a time and used 2 total).

Next, dip strawberries (one at a time) about 2/3 in the candy coating and immediately roll the bottom in the blue sugar.  Place on platter.

Resist the urge to be generous with the coating or you’ll get a gloppy mess like the one in the left:

Finished product below!

Smile, taste & celebrate!

Happy Canada Day (July 1st)!  *  Happy Independence Day (July 4th!)

Categories: Family, Food, Fun, Holidays, Life, News | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

Today

On a day of remembrance & deep sorrow, sometimes all we CAN do is reclaim our NORMALCY as proof that COWARDS who sneak in to attack us will NEVER take away what remains: our ability to live a FULL & FREE life.

So today, I remember, but I also celebrate Hubbs’ bday with our kids & grandkids and in-laws.

What survives? Honor, faith, hard work, patriotism and FREEDOM, BABY!!

Categories: Attitude, Faith, Family, Grief, Life, News, Thoughts | Tags: , , | 16 Comments

Back to the days of Pooh

photo source: freeextras.com

Last night our baby boy (17 next week) received his first armed services recruitment letter.

 Don’t they know he’s just a boy?

 Don’t they know he’s our baby?

 Don’t they know that while he’s smart and brave and strong and tall … when we look at him we see that little wistful face, the boy who tilts his head to the side to sing and closes his eyes when he passionately makes a point? Don’t they know that this letter surely was meant for someone else? Someone … older?

 I want to find my way back .. back to the days of Christopher Robin.  Back to the days of .. Pooh.

Categories: Family, Life, Personal, Random observations, Relationships, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

It’s all about the numbers…

895 days ago, I became a U.S. citizen.  🙂

This morning, I was the 89th voter in my precinct.  

It was my 4th opportunity to vote! 

We don’t expect our elected leaders to give us half an effort. We don’t hire them to serve half the people. 

Yet about half of us are expected to skip today’s elections in Michigan, content to let the other half do the hiring that we all will have to live with.

I showed up. I hope you will, too.

Why Election Day matters … read more here: http://www.freep.com/article/20101102/NEWS15/311020001/1322/Why-Election-Day-matters

Categories: Attitude, Elections, Gratitude, Life, Life Lessons, Patriotic, Quotes, Random observations, Vote | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Donate Halloween Candy to our Troops!

If your house is like mine, you’ve got leftover Halloween candy. Candy we don’t need. Candy we don’t want.  Candy that probably will end up at the office or thrown away. 

Did you know there’s an organization that would be HAPPY to get your  leftover (wrapped) Halloween candy?  And that this candy is shipped to our military personnel around the world?

Called “Operation Gratitude” (www.opgratitude.comtheir most urgent need is for:

  • personal letters,
  • candy, 
  • hand-made cool-ties /scarves,
  • Beanie Babies/WebKinz/Trolls
  • and financial donations to pay for postage. 

(On the website is an excerpt from a Marine’s letter:  “I live with 17 Marines and Sailors in one room. Everyone got a package and everyone loved it especially the cookies and beanie babies. The cookies are excellent and the beanie babies help us out a lot with the local kids. We give them candy and toys and they give us the location for IED’s. Once again, thank you for everything and for all the hard work that you put into the package. LCPL ND” 

Today’s Election Day.  

I’m thrilled to vote.  I’m honored I can do something that might put a smile on a soldier’s face.

* * *

Wrapped Halloween candy can be delivered/shipped by December 3 to:

 Operation Gratitude/California Army National Guard
17330 Victory Boulevard
Van Nuys, CA 91406
Charlie Othold:  818.437.6201
 
 For more information please visit:  http://www.opgratitude.com/howtohelp.php?page=individual 
 

 

Categories: Elections, Gratitude, Holidays, Life, Patriotic, Politics, Random observations, Seasons, Vote | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

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Happily After Retirement

- Loving where I am right now!

A Little Wild Farm

Planting roots on our little wild farm.

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!

A New Day Dawns

Arise, shine, for your light has come...Isaiah 60

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.

notquiteold

Nancy Roman

She's A Maineiac

just another plaid-wearin' java-sippin' girl

I also live on a farm

Just another WordPress.com 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...

RICH RIPLEY

EMPLOYEES MUST WASH HANDS...