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On Choices

“Attitude is a choice. Happiness is a choice. Optimism is a choice. Kindness is a choice. Giving is a choice. Respect is a choice. Whatever choice you make makes you. Choose wisely.” – Roy T. Bennett, “The Light in the Heart”

Autumn makes me happy. Of all my seasons to choose from, this is the one that makes my heart sing ~ the colors, the sights, the smells. I love Autumn!

My favorite neighborhood tree!

A dog’s attitude is a great reminder on how to live: play, play, play, sleep.

Sully with a stick = happiness

Being and staying healthy makes me happy.

And grateful.

Every day I choose to put myself on the “to-do” list I’ve carried for 40+ years.

I choose movement, engagement, discernment, nutrition, and sleep.

I choose by turning off the “news” & smart phones and reaching for a book instead.

I choose by tuning out the voices who blather on with opinions on issues or choices they’ve never lived, researched, or attempted.

I choose to walk outside even if that involves gloves and long johns.

I choose to go to bed sooner and get up earlier to savor the sacred stillness of a quiet morning.

I choose to honor my body with real, whole foods made at home by yours truly.

I choose me.

What are you choosing? Have you put yourself on your “to-do” list yet? If not, why not? If not now, when?

Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Confidence at any age, Determination, Elections, Faith, Gratitude, Growth, Home, Life, News, Opinion, Personal, Politics, Quotes, Self Discovery, Thoughts, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Random Tuesday 5 – Cakes, skies, closets and chaos

It’s been a weird summer  season year.  Yes it sure has, and that’s putting it mildly.

I have read your blogs but not been blogging myself.  So here are some of my thoughts on a random Tuesday ~

1 Birthday cake drive-bys- To celebrate Hubbs’ birthday, we had our boys & their girls +our grands over for a get-together this weekend.  After much deliberation – and out of all choices offered – a Texas Sheet Cake is what he chose for the celebration.   I get it, this cake is hard to beat.  See there are 4 sticks of butter and many cups of sugar/powdered sugar in this beauty.  8 or 10 tbsp of cocoa, and all sorts of other goodness.

You don’t get a sheen like that from margarine, no sir-eee-Bob.     Some was devoured, some went home with the kids but the one enjoying it most of all is Hubbs … you see, near what remains is a fork.  His fork.  A drive-by fork.  And I laugh every time I pass it by!

a before shot of the Texas Sheet Cake with overflowing frosting

2 )  September Skies –We’ve been enjoying the most beautiful weather – sunny, warm days, cool nights and, my favorite – BLUE SKIES as far as the eye can see.   Today it’s overcast and cold, but blue skies are coming back, per the forecast.  MY*FAVORITE!   There’s just something about a September sky …

Our Walnut tree and hubby’s head. Oops.

3)  Closet clean-outs.   I’ve been on a health kick for years.  But this year, between intermittent fasting & my daily walks, I’m seeing changes – big changes.   Most of my clothes no longer fit.  I took the advice of the experts and if it didn’t a) fit, b) flatter or c) make me want to wear it RIGHT NOW, it’s gone.   Pictured below is one of 3 piles that went to a) the consignment shoppe, b) donation drop-off or c) garbage bin.    Anything sagging, bagging or dragging is G-O-N-E.  And I was ruthless- tried on everything (that’s a workout, holy smokes!)  and now, a week later, I can only remember 2 of the 100s of items that went.   I kept 3 pairs of jeans, 2 are too big and should have gone, too – and I’m sure I kept them out of a sense of security.  Funny how we think, isn’t it?

every color under the sun & I won’t miss any of it. Never wore that plaid shirt once!

4 ) Fat loss – working on 6 of these, see picture below.  Since 1/1/20 I’ve lost 27lbs & 39.2″ – I’m 5’2″, 39inches is more than half of my height. Yes I am slowly shrinking — inward —  Intermittent Fasting (time-scheduled eating) for the WIN!  for more information visit Gin Stephens – Books on Intermittent Fasting.

5 )  Chaos – I don’t know about you but every time I go out I think, “why did I go out?”    I get it, it’s a trying time. But folks have forgotten their manners, forgotten how to drive, how to park, and what to do.  I think I’m staying in for the foreseeable future.   Coffee up!

So …. what are you up to?

 

Categories: Books, Determination, Faith, Family, Food, Growth, Holidays, Joy, Life, Love, Men, News, Opinion, Personal, Self Discovery, Thoughts, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

To just enjoy a book or two

 “Today I’d like to sit and read. 

Forget I have a job I need.

Ignore the things I have to do.

And just enjoy a book or two.”

I read.

I read a lot.

I read quickly.

I read often.

I read.

*

I read outside in the sun.

I read at night when my work is done.

I read to enjoy, to escape and relate.

I read at night, usually too late.

I read.

* I’ve not counted how many books I’ve read this year, but it’s safe to say my “Quarantine” pile is tall enough to topple over. I’d guess between 50-60.  My favorite this year has been “The Authenticity Project” by Clare Pooley.

Are you a reader? 🙂

 

Accurate!

 

 

Categories: Attitude, Determination, Fun, Growth, Home, Humor, Joy, Life, Personal, Products I love, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Women, Work | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Control your controllable(s)

Crazy times we’re in ~  and that’s the understatement of the year!  New buzz words pepper our vocabulary ~

  • Quarantine
  • Self-isolate
  • Mitigate spread
  • Prepare, prepare , prepare

COVID-19. Pandemic. Confusion. Fear.

We are tucked in, with Hubbs battling a viral bug and me not far behind.   We’re on the mend and thankful for a stocked pantry with enough paper products for a while ~ no hoarding here.

Self-care is foremost including:

  • Hand-washing and cleaning
  • Fluids and plenty of rest
    • Slept 11 hours Friday and took a 2 hour nap Saturday
      • As Mom would say, “You must have needed it”
  • Reading, reading and reading
  • Turning off news after a while,  usually in evenings.
    • It’s hard to sleep after all that.
    • Updates bring more anxiety
  • Moving around and stretching
  • Laundry, washing jammies and sweatpants and blankies, because that’s what we’re using most
  • Cooking a little, enjoying eggs, fruit, tea and toast

Sending good thoughts to all  ~ We’re thankful our boys & their girls and all of our littles are well and at home.

Yep, we’re doing our best to “control our controllables” – and praying for patience for all ~

 

So ~ how are you doing?  Be safe and please stay home!  

 

Categories: Attitude, Faith, Family, fear, Home, Life, Love, News, Opinion, Personal, Thoughts, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

More of my old friend

It’s the New Year and I’ve been (mostly) absent from this blog.  I’ve read yours (thank you for continuing to post while I’ve been away). You see, I’ve reconnected with an old friend ~ my books.

I’ve read, and read, and read some more.  Yes I’ve also cooked, cleaned, socialized, worked, and worked out .. yes, all that. But I’ve mostly leaned in and cozied up through this cold, dark January ~ So far Grand Rapids has had zero sunny days, 10 days with a little sun and 17 entirely cloudy days.  Until I read that article I hadn’t noticed!  You see between this little gadget shown below (used every morning) and all my delicious reading, I’m too content to care 🙂

I am relaxed and happier – all from doing what I love – with no guilt. Reading, learning, growing, and more.  So much more.

  • Does your reading activity go up in winter?
  • Is it sunny where you are?

“Never forget that once upon a time, in an unguarded moment, you recognized yourself as a friend.”
― Elizabeth Gilbert

  • (and this friend READS )
Categories: Attitude, Blogging, Faith, Fun, Growth, Home, Joy, Life, Love, Personal, Self Discovery, Share | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Love in a rocking chair

Going through family photos last year, I snapped cell photos of the ones I wanted and this one takes me right back to our farm Kitchen, the heart of our home.

and Emjayandthem (C) photo

– The morning sun streaming in through sheer curtains trimmed in cheery yellow.

– The metal pail to the right, filled with garden tools and produce.

– A can of coffee and a tin of Raleigh salve atop the fridge.

– …. and our family rocking chair.

It’s where she sat restless kids or misbehavers, those who needed “time to think.”

It’s where she put us as she laced up shoes & boots, tied scarves and matched up mittens.

It’s where she placed items before heading to town – a baby gift, a dessert to drop at the rink, a bill to be paid.

It’s where she read to us – and where we learned that, reading to children, even before they can understand words, teaches them to associate books with love and affection.

She taught us there was always time for stories, for love and affection.

No wonder I love books – and her – so much.

 + + +

What does this photo say to you?

Categories: Beauty, Blogging, Family, Growth, Home, Joy, Life, Mom, Opinion, Personal, Quotes, Thoughts, Wisdom, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Reading through several lives

It’s National Book Lovers Day!

This should be a national holiday .. with paid time off .. with cozy chairs and coffee/tea for anyone interested. 😀

I’ve written before of my love affair with books .. and it hearkens back to being a very young girl.  Cozied up next to Mom while she read me a story, I remember the heat of her body on mine as I leaned in wide-eyed and wondering.

Mom took me for my first Library card before I started school and I still remember the joy felt filling the book bag up to the top, the weight of it necessitating a drag to the Oldsmobile.   Sorting through my choices, the smells filling my senses, I lined my books up in order of priority.

I remember a similar thrill when the Book Fair came ’round each school year ~ bringing home the paper-thin order sheet and circling choices, then handing my list over for her review and approval.  She always encouraged us to “read up,” and we discussed choices and our reasoning behind them.  Looking back, I can see she favored intelligent choices and those fought hard for.  And if you couldn’t defend it, you didn’t need it.

  • Another one of her life lessons right there!

And, as I’ve grown, books remain a comfort to me ~ a place I love to belong.

A summer read takes me back to our backyard canvas tent, reading my sister’s “Valley of the Dolls” or “Love Story” before moving on to “It” or “Roots” or other intriguing plots.

A winter read can transport me back under the covers of our shared girls’ bedroom, the weight of winter blankets cocooning me into a drowsy state of relaxation.

It’s National Book Lovers Day ~ but I’m celebrating all year long!

“A great book should leave you with many experiences, and slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading.”  ― William Styron, Conversations with William Styron

 

  • Are you celebrating National Book Lovers Day with me?
  • If you’re a reader, who encouraged your love of reading?
  • What recent book are you still thinking about?
    • for me, it’s “The Nightingale” by Kristin Hannah

 

Categories: Attitude, Blogging, Confidence at any age, Determination, Family, Home, Life, Mom, News, Opinion, Personal, Quotes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

July Random 5 – Aging apps, Shirley MacLaine and self-care

It’s Sunday, mid-July, and here we are cruising down hill towards August.   Time for 5 Rapid Fire Randoms from my world.  Ready? Set – Go!

1   Aging apps – friends on Facebook are posting results of an app that ages you by 40 years.  Here’s one to try- ha!

Dog days of Summer –  Our West MI Summer took it’s sweet time arriving.  Our first 80F day was June 20th.   But now that we’re into July – with more than 3 weeks of warm weather behind us – folks are already CRABBING about it.  I was doing fine until that sweltering sweaty muggy stuff landed last week ~ the hot, humid, dank weather that steals your breath away at 6am.   The humidity so high that you sweat AFTER a shower.   Our local AM radio host cheerfully announced, “The heat index – with the humidity – is already over 90F.”     I turned up the fan and suppressed my crabbiness.3 Grand Dames – I read a recent interview with actress Shirley MacLaine.  Always liked her.  Classy, smart, sassy … takes no prisoners.  This quote resonated with me:

“I have what I consider just a perfect life … I eat what I want, I sleep when I want.  Not that much bothers me. I think attitudes are a choice.  Anger is a choice, peace is a choice, sarcasm – which is what I’m good at – is a choice.” ~ Shirley MacLaine

I wanna be Shirley MacLaine when I grow up!

the incomparable Shirley MacLaine

4 Stopping when necessary – As I’ve gotten older I’ve gotten better at stopping what doesn’t work for me.   Try something new but don’t like it?  Don’t keep doing it.  Order a new food that disappoints?  Set it aside.   The same goes for books – I LOVE to read, as in l-o-v-e to read.  Summer = reading for me.   But just recently I started a book with characters so awful – I had to stop.  The female character allowed herself to be manipulated by a narcissistic and cruel man, a man who enjoyed  the “game,” playing with her emotions and physical safety like a cat with a mouse.    I could see where the story was going after reading just a few chapters. Yes, I knew she’d probably become her own kind of hero but I just couldn’t sit through the abuse.

So I stopped reading it.

I didn’t give it away, I didn’t turn in for re-sale or donate it.

I threw it out.

You might be empathic if …

5  Heading to a corporate conference this week ~  practicing self-care now – there – and thereafter!

  1. Ever stopped doing what didn’t work for you? 
  2. Does Shirley’s quote resonate with you as well?  Why?
  3. How do you practice self-care? 

 

Categories: Attitude, Confidence at any age, Faith, fear, Food, Growth, Life, Life Lessons, News, Opinion, Personal, Thoughts, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Spending my Sundays

Sunday ~ windows open, birds chirping and lawnmowers buzz in the distance.

3 weeks ago ~ snow; today ~ 70F.

Hubbs hurried around earlier as he readied for golf; I slept in, savored coffee and started a pot of soup.  He’ll be back later, wind burnt and sore, happy and tired.   We’ll visit over soup and smile at the day.

It really doesn’t matter what season it is, there’s something about Sundays that I love most.

It could be the quiet stillness of the house.

It could be the smell of supper lingering on the stove.

It could be meandering phone conversations with my sister or cousin or none at all.

It could be me starting a new book or reading 5 magazines or sitting on the floor sorting .shoes.

It could be towels tumbling in the dryer and fresh warm sheets on the bed.

It could be me that I spend my Sundays doing whatever I choose.

“Spend your free time the way you like, not the way you think you’re supposed to. Stay home on New Year’s Eve if that’s what makes you happy. Skip the committee meeting. Cross the street to avoid making aimless chitchat with random acquaintances. Read. Cook. Run. Write a story.” Susan Cain, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking

 

  • How do you “spend” free time?
    • Do you feel compelled to be productive and get things done?
  • Are you able to let the day lead you?
    • When’s the last time you had nothing to do and a whole day to do it?

 

Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Blogging, Food, Home, Joy, Life, Opinion, Personal, Seasons | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Random 5 for Sunday ~ Good-bye March

It’s March 31st ~ Robins hopped in the snow today – their reappearance makes me hopeful even when the weather hasn’t caught up to the calendar.

5 Randoms from my world, here we go ~

1 )   The photo of this bed took me right back to my Grandma’s house ~ to starched sheets, sheer curtains blowing in a summer breeze, and the abject thrill I felt being able to spend the night there.  So lucky!

2 ) Someone raved to me about a new bakery that opened and I considered ordering some of their treats for an upcoming event I’m planning.  And then I remembered a southern family recipe I’d been given by a Texas colleague – for 7-Up pound Cake – and I do believe that my $6 cake beats a $20 professional one.  I might have to triple the recipe.

not my picture

3 )  Saw this and thought, yep ~ that’s been me this winter .. tucked in, books stacked, cozy, don’t bother me 🙂

4 ) Haven’t pulled a muscle but I have fallen over putting on socks.  And I draw the line at KALE 😀

5 )  Yes, this, fur-ever and a day ❤

What random thing happened in your world this week?

Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Blogging, Home, Opinion, Personal, Seasons | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

When the soul weeps

I still miss her.

Mom.

This July will be 3 years.

She would not want this, she’d chide me, give me sh*t and push me to “get on with it, for Heavens sake.”

She’d even snort once or twice.

She in her cat-eye glasses and pedal pushers.

She.

All 100 lbs of her.

I miss her.

I long for our conversations.

I suppose I always will.

The depth. The breadth. The range.

The absurd, the large, the small, the swing of it all.

I see her face in little old ladies faces at the grocery story, except they don’t carry a red purse or possess the spunk she did.

You know what I miss most?  Our friendship.

How lucky was I?

I know I should just “deal” and be grateful, and I am.

But her name was Gay, and she epitomized the word fierce.

Mom on Buck, an Emjayandthem (C) photo

And I miss her.

 

“The worst type of crying wasn’t the kind everyone could see–the wailing on street corners, the tearing at clothes. No, the worst kind happened when your soul wept and no matter what you did, there was no way to comfort it. A section withered and became a scar on the part of your soul that survived. For people like me and Echo, our souls contained more scar tissue than life.”
Katie McGarry, Pushing the Limits

 

Who are you missing tonight?

Categories: Beauty, Determination, Family, Grief, Home, Love, Mom, Personal, Quotes, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Lake Days, “Bomb Cyclones” and conversations

My new summer tradition, established last year on my birthday,  is this one:  I get up early, coffee-up, pack a cooler and leave for the beach at Lake Michigan ~ about a 40 minute drive due West.   There are audible smiles of joy as I pack and singing at full volume as I drive.

Easy-peasy free parking and lots of it, I set my beach chair, books and cooler up just before 10:00 a.m. near the water’s edge, with the chair angled towards the sun but so I can still see the waves.

Much like this guy below:

Grand Haven State Park, MI

 

~~~ ahhh ~~~at the Water’s edge ~ An Emjayandthem(C) Photo

As the day progresses, I turn to follow the sunshine.    Books are read, snacks are savored, I dip in and out of the water and make trips up the beach to the bathroom, too.  I might chat with strangers or little kids or no one at all.  I pack up and leave as the crowds … crowd the sand ~ somewhere  between 2 and 3 p.m.  Long before this:

picture from Michigan.org

On my way out of town, I stop at the “Tasty Treat” for a vanilla/chocolate soft serve and enjoy it (and its messiness) all the way home……ahh summer!

We’re in the dregs of winter now – and summer will come again.   Between now and then we’re facing such weather events like “bomb cyclones – rain, thunderstorms, ice and snow … and more power outages.  So I’m glad to have pictures like these because they hold me over until the time comes again when we can complain about the heat  🙂 !  

“Don’t knock the weather. If it didn’t change once in a while, nine out of ten people couldn’t start a conversation.” – Kim Hubbard

 

  • What’s saving your life (in winter) right now?

Categories: Attitude, Faith, Family, Food, Fun, Gratitude, Growth, Holidays, Home, Humor, Life, News, Personal, Seasons, Traditions, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

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these days of mine

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Better Days Blog

Learning from yesterday, living for today

Another Stir of the Spoon

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

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!

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...