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Posts Tagged With: Reading

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?

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

Books are a home

We’re mid-way through February and just out of five weeks of naughty winter.  Bitter Arctic cold followed by a sixty degree swing in temperatures with freezing rain and ice storms, downed trees and power outages.  Next came another band of snow … “Lake Effect” snow and more snow.  Then wind, blowing the snow, making it skitter and scatter across driveways, rooftops and roads.

ice on the back steps .. so treacherous!

We’re a hearty bunch, us Mid westerners.   We’re used to winter, and some of us (me) enjoy all four seasons.   And, growing up in Canada or living here in Michigan, I’ve found the weather is always a safe topic no matter where you are – the gas pump, the grocery store, kids’ game or coffee shoppe.  Weather is a favorite and “safe” topic in the check-out aisle, “So did you come through the storm(s) OK?” “Any damage at your place?”  Quasi-strangers commiserating on a common theme affords a sense of community I long for.

This year, winter has kept us in more than out; yesterday was an “out” day — brunch with the Elders. The restaurant was packed with folks happy to be out and about.  You’d never know it was 20F outside because inside, conversations flew easily over coffee being poured and the smells of bacon and sausages sizzling.  People lingered, stopped by nearby tables to visit, and the chatter of so many confirmed all were happy to be there.

Winter 2019 – an Emjayandthem(C) photo

The reason for our gathering was two-fold:  1) celebrating a birthday and 2) creating a reason to get out & get together!   It was Uncle Ron’s 81st birthday ~ he laughed and guarded his allotment of my home-made treats like a Quarterback shielding the ball.   His sister, Auntie Karen, smiled with delight at the bag of paperbacks and cookies I handed to her.  Not to be left out, Grandpa John, Hubb’s Step-Dad, tucked his cookie stash into the cab of his truck while shivering over one last smoke before heading home.    We make it a point to get together on a regular basis and, for the reasons listed above, winter gatherings are always the feistiest.

Arriving home, Hubbs headed off to for a nap; I chatted on the phone with my cousin then snuggled into a chair with a new book – my 7th this year.  Leaning in, sipping tea, I felt warm and wonderful and yes grateful – grateful for seasons and reasons that remind us that home is a wonderful place to be.

“Books, for me, are a home. Books don’t make a home–they are one, in the sense that just as you do with a door, you open a book, and you go inside. Inside there is a different kind of time and a different kind of space.”
Jeanette Winterson, Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?

 

How about you? 

  • Any (winter) damage at your house?
  • Read any good books this winter?
  • Spring is just 31 days away 🙂

 

Categories: Attitude, Family, Fun, Holidays, Home, Humor, Joy, Life, Love, Personal, Relationships, Seasons | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Random 5 Snow Day(s) ~ town buddies, pant checks and heroes

Like much of the country, we’ve been smack in the middle of a winter storm for nearly a week and today, temperatures plummeted ~ Meteorologists are breathlessly reporting, “Polar Vortex, Arctic Chill and Extreme cold warnings!!” as the furnace hums steadily. I was up long before I needed to be but enjoyed puttering around the house in winter’s quiet.

Seeing the scroll of school, church and business closings last night I couldn’t help but remember my farm childhood and hearing two deliciously wonderful words at morning’s cusp, “SNOW DAY!”  And my snowy memories inspired me to post these Random Snow Day Thoughts ~ here we go:

1 )  Growing up in the country farm kids like me had a “town” buddy in case severe weather came quickly.  My town buddy was a classmate named Melanie Wright – her house was in the middle of the village.  I’d estimate a walk there took less than 10 minutes but it sure felt longer to me.  I recall spending the night once or twice, being fed and warm but also terribly homesick.  I couldn’t have been more than 7 or 8.   I think that’s Melanie in the sailor dress next to me (in the bow tie), front row.

  • This picture represents 2 grades; my grade was one of the largest with 11 kids.
    • We often had 3 grades sharing one room in our little brick schoolhouse ~ God Bless our teachers!

Class picture, an Emjayandthem (C) photo

2 )  Bitter blizzards and freezing winds take me right back to Mom’s kitchen where she, the 100lb dynamo, would stand at the door and make my siblings & I pull up our pant legs to give evidence of tights or long johns underneath. No negotiating,  no exceptions, “don’teventryit.”    She showed her love and care for us in a multitude of ways but the love I felt via a pants inspection lingers with me still.  Man I miss her.

Mom & Sport, winter 1952-53. An Emjayandthem (C) photo

3 )  Being home since last Thursday I’ve leaned into my stack of books. Read 3, ordered 4 more, and plan on starting another tonight.   Couldn’t. Be. Cozier.

“The world was hers for the reading.” – Betty Smith

Bucket List Goals: Trinity College Library in Dublin, Ireland

4 ) Our local news has been sharing heartwarming stories of folks stepping up to help others out of a snowy ditch, clearing sidewalks, checking on elderly neighbors and even rescuing dogs out in the (dangerous) cold.   I have my own story to share:   a  situation arose late Monday that necessitated me making a quick trip to the office to pick up several (specialty) items ~ these were to be shipped to a colleague in another state.  The request came Monday evening, in the midst of white-out conditions with winter warnings” all around.   Pondering my next move, Hubbs made it easy, “I’ll take you.”    Yes I could have driven myself but that wasn’t the point.   Accompanied by his calm demeanor, fuzzy pants and snow boots, we set out the next day ~ roads were awful, snow-covered and icy.  Visibility was maybe 12 feet.  It was in that moment I was reminded of something Mom had always said:  Romance is not always flowers and chocolates … it’s someone willing to lay down a brick for you, over and over and over again.   And, as usual, she was right.

5 )  With 480+ area schools on an extended winter break, Schwartz Creek School Administrators in Clayton Township, Michigan got their “Snow Day” announcement just right  ~  Hallelujah, indeed! 🙂

 

  • Is the 2019 Polar Vortex affecting you / your area?
  • Did you have a “storm buddy” as a child?
  • Any “hero” stories to share?
  • Ever had a “pants” inspection?

 

Categories: Attitude, Determination, Faith, Family, Fun, Gratitude, Home, Joy, Life, Love, Mom, News, Personal, Quotes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Sunday thoughts: Tidying up, sunshine & magic

We’re already into mid-January it occurred to me this morning that I haven’t blogged since last year!

Gulp.  Life comes at us fast, especially in the new year.

2019 came at me like ..

Holidays ended, work resumed, and tripled in intensity.   It’s been a steady dose of crazy since, with not much room or time to breathe.  Early mornings, long days, lots of travel and copious conference calls.  Thankfully, a solid winter storm blew in this weekend, encapsulating us in icy roads, fresh snow, with a fridge full of leftovers and no particular place to be.

Darn.

That brings me to today ~ awake at 6:30 I hit tossed in a load of laundry, padded through the house and caught up on your blogs.

Random observations came my way and they include:

1  )   Have you heard of the “Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up book and movement afoot?   Based on her best-selling guide to de-cluttering your home, and soon-to-be TV series,  Marie Kondo espouses the virtues of sorting through everything – and I mean – every thing to determine “what sparks joy.”  If it doesn’t, it goes.   Now I am very familiar with the term “you can’t organize clutter” so I purge/donate/recycle on a regular basis.  Her advice is to start small, say with 1 drawer, and go through every piece that’s in it … I started with my sock drawer and found it can’t be opened all the way … probably because of the preponderance of black dress socks.  ~ Sigh.  I laughed, and set my sights in another direction.  If you’ve tried this approach and it’s helped you, do tell!

2 ) Last night I had every intention of delving into several new books; I’ve got a stack waiting for me, purchased with Christmas gift cards ~ my favorite.  Instead I read women’s magazines, binge-watched “Shark Tank,” laughed with hubby and chatted with my cousin.   Regardless, doing nothing and lots of it, was great therapy.  PS My favorite “Shark Tank” product so far has been this one ~ an amazing cleaning do-dadd that really does work:

3 )  Growing up in bright & sunny western Canada (Saskatchewan) I took our daily sunlight for granted. Yes winters were cold and windy but, for the most part, ALWAYS sunny.  Sunglasses and Sunblock are a necessity year round– now I live in Western Michigan, and because of our proximity to Lake Michigan (and lots of winter cloud cover) our winters are regularly dreary, dark and long.  I really struggle with lack of sunlight.

Update on my previous product review:  I cannot say enough good things about the Verilux Happy Light –  AMAZING!   In just 2 weeks of using it I cut my total coffee consumption in 1/2 and caffeine dosage from full throttle “Farmer’s coffee” to decaf by using this amazing little light.  Sitting near it first thing in the morning helps reset your circadian rhythm & will help you sleep (instead of lying in bed making 3AM “to-do” lists like I used to). 

Caution:   Do NOT use at night, you will be up for 1/2 of it, oops. 

I started out small, at 7-10 mins. a day, and have worked my way up to 30 mins. daily.  If YOU also slog through the dark days of winter, give the HappyLight Compact ($40 on Amazon) a try.  The. Best. $40. Ever. Spent! 🙂

4 )  Long-time blog readers, family and friends know I enjoy technology and gadgets.  But after our son told me how their “Alexa” interjected into their conversation, more than once,  I firmly advised him  to “never buy me one.”  My cell phone does enough eavesdropping as it is.  This Meme is about right, ha!

5 )  And, as much as technology makes our lives easier, and sometimes even healthier, there’s always going to be something about a real book that draws me in … and so does this picture:

Your turn:

  •  Are you working to “tidy up?”
    • What method works for you?
  • Any cool new-to-you gadgets to share?
  • What’s the best book you’ve read lately?

Happy Sunday!

Categories: Attitude, Determination, Family, Fun, Home, Humor, Joy, Life, Opinion, Personal, Products I love, Self Discovery, Share, Thoughts, Travel, Uncategorized, Useful Information, Work | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Small Comforts add up

Coming back from running errands Friday afternoon I grabbed a glimpse into my past:  someone carrying a basket of laundry into the laundromat.  That image transported me back to my college and young adult years – the laundromat years ~ ugh!

Who else remembers trying to time a visit just right so as to secure an open machine? Wondering if you had enough quarters? Being tempted to just buy more underwear and towels …. And hoping and praying no one removed your stuff from the dryer before the dryer was done.

It made me realize how small comforts add up ~

  • Coffee auto -brewing before I leave my bed.
  • A meal simmering in the crock-pot.
  • Stacks of books waiting for me to choose who’s up next.
  • A good tune playing in the background …
  • Check-ins from our sons, for advice, but just as often just to visit.
  • Windows open, bees buzzing, birds chirping.
  • And this one:
    • Warm laundry, right out of the dryer, no trip to the laundromat needed.  😀

What small comforts are you enjoying today?

 

 

Categories: Attitude, Blogging, Family, Fun, Home, Personal, Random, Seasons, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Sunday thoughts – Resolutions, Squirrels & boxes of joy

It’s Sunday; snow’s falling, brunch is calling and I just remembered I have tomorrow off.  Yippee Skippy!

Chatting with a colleague recently, I used the squirrel analogy ~ never heard of it?   It goes like this:

Make a decision and take what comes with it.   And not deciding is taking action, too.

It’s January and we’re bombarded by “diet” ads on TV, including NukeyourSystem, Weight Counters, you name it.  Radio ads tout  gym memberships and today’s newspaper featured “deals” on “heart healthy” prepacked frozen foods with green (think healthy) packaging.  This picture below made me laugh because it is so much closer to reality:

Lately I’ve tuned out the noise, enjoyed the “off” button on the TV/Radio/iPhone and found myself devouring a box of joy, see below:

“The greatest gift is the passion for reading.
It is cheap, it consoles, it distracts, it excites,
it gives you knowledge of the world and experience of a wide kind. It is a moral illumination.”

Elizabeth Hardwick

 * * *

What are you reading?  And did you make any New Years resolutions?

 

Categories: Attitude, Family, Food, Fun, Growth, Humor, Joy, Life, Life Lessons, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Random 5 Sunday – Family, Flea Markets and Pie

It’s Sunday and I was up early with the sunshine, sipping coffee, packing for my week ahead and thinking it’s about time for 5 Random Ramblings from my world.   Pour some coffee and join me, will ya?

1 )   A Family brunch yesterday had a host of familial layers all at the same table: Uncles and Aunts, Cousins and kids, Step-in-laws, son’s girlfriend and me.    Uncle Ron sat next to Hubbs who sat next to cousin Johnny who sat next to me.  Facing them was youngest boy, his girlfriend, an Auntie, Grandpa, a cousin and another Auntie ~ I nodded my head to the youngest ones to get them to look ~ and they caught it — all of the guys, various ages but similar in looks, structure, and all folding their arms up high on their chests, head tilted just so to listen to the  story being told.   The story-telling was being done by another cousin,  directly across from them, whose arms were no longer folded. Like them, when talking, his arms and hands were wide open and out as he drove home the point of the story, “and then they brought ME the mailbox they’d ran over like I’m supposed to go back and fix it!”  Laughter filled the restaurant and diners nearby looked our way, mostly with understanding, one with annoyance but many with longing.  Family.  It’s big and it’s noisy and it’s wonderful. Gotta love it!

2 )  Fall is here and glorious ~ colors are magnificent, the sky is blue and deep and wide and the air is dry and crisp.  It won’t last, I know.  But windows are open, supper is in the crock-pot and I’m loving every minute of it. Fall is my favorite season and I wish it could stay just a little longer …

Many scenes like this one right now google.images.com

3 ) With Fall’s arrival comes the start of indoor trade shows ~ I remember going as a girl with Mom & Dad.  This is shopping I love — wandering around from item to item, chatting with people and trying new things.  The shows we attended were Agriculturally focused with cattle breeders, farm implements and a host of novelty items targeted to the wives and kids accompanying said farmer  ~  the latest & greatest “as seen on TV” gadget,  smoked meats, candles, jewelry, make-up, toys, knives, you name it.  One such event rolled into town this weekend and a friend and I decided to go — and yes we saw the latest & greatest “as seen on TV” gadgets, sampled smoked meats, smelled the candles, laughed at the toys and books and “man-cave” items and more.   The usual suspects were there ~ selling Cinnamon almonds, home-baked goods, and of course, knives.   I came home with jewelry, Avon hand lotion, a pie and some herb-flavored butter.   Fun!

Like this but with 20x the people ~ Shipshewana on the Road

4 ) Traveling this week to a corporate conference ~ I’m looking forward to seeing my colleagues again.  I’m sure to learn a few things and I’ll do my best to avoid snakes (lipstick can’t cover fangs).  Over my working career, I’ve dealt with my fair share of Rats and Snakes and there’s always been a part of me that wants to ask this question, even though another part of me already knows the answer:

“Were you always such a snake,” the child asked, “or did you grow into what you are?”
― Dean Koontz, Odd Apocalypse

5 )  At the Flea Market yesterday I bought my friend and I each a sweet potato pie.  “Uncle Calvin” was selling them and promised the pies were his “Momma’s” recipe. That’s enough for me.

Before anyone freaks out about my non-sweets craving self enjoying a pie, I’ll share some perspective:

“The” pie .. next to my hand 🙂

Yep, I’ll scoop out the contents, skip the crust and enjoy every morsel.  It’s a taste and that’s enough for me.

So what’s new in your world? Had any pie lately?

 

Categories: Attitude, Blogging, Faith, Family, Growth, Home, Humor, Joy, Life, Mom, News, Personal, Products I love, Thoughts, Travel, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Random Five Friday – Rats, Math and Boom-Shakalaka

It’s a random August Friday – humid but with a cooler Fall breeze wafting in.   Summer lingers but Autumn is coming, we can feel it.

Here are 5 randoms from my crazy world ~

1 ) Recently hit a milestone – I celebrated 2 years Rat-Free.   2 years!  In that time I’ve had 4 different bosses to report to — but, thankfully, none have been rats.  Some have been more challenging than others but none have belittled me, stolen my work/ideas or endeavored to make me feel less than.  To the contrary.  It’s lovely living in a rat-free lane.  And once you’ve lived/worked/endured rat behavior – 2 years can pass and your tail still twitches at the thought of the experience.

2 )  Back to school for the littlest ones soon – I am so happy to be past the helping-with-homework stage! Essays, speeches, science, geography and social studies – sure, no problem. Math- ugh, no and where’s Dad??

3)  Vacation a few weeks ago was just wonderful.  I had the first 3 days largely to myself ~ yes I had big plans to head to the big lake then I remembered a certain festival going on so I skipped the crowd.  Instead I went to the backyard ’70s style — a big sheet spread out with my beach chair centered on it, a jug of Iced tea, books, snacks and sunshine.  I read and read and relaxed and read some more.  Hours in the sunshine, taking breaks to refill my water/tea and then later, after a shower, back out to the patio to read some more.  3 books, 22 magazines, and peace to my soul.   When friends ask my take on a given movie, in my head this is what I see:

meh

4 )  Sometimes it seems we’re surrounded by anger and division, chaos and hate.   I find myself, more and more, turning off the news and flipping back to simpler times:

5 ) And on a totally random note – this made me laugh out loud!   TGIF, peeps!

Care to share your randoms with me?

 

Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Blogging, Confidence at any age, Faith, Family, Fun, Growth, Home, Humor, News, Opinion, Personal, Seasons, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Summertime Sundays

Summertime Sundays often find me alone in the house ~ with good intentions but few accomplishments.

I wake when I wake, no alarms, just quiet.

The house is cool and calm .. Hubbs has slipped off to golf before my eyes ever opened.  The woof-woof-woof of the sprinkler thumps in the background.  He set it up “just so” with a note asking that I check on it and turn it off soon. I will and I do.

I pour a coffee and wander throughout the house, thinking about the day, the week, my life.

Laundry is done, leftovers are in the fridge and I have no particular place to be.  My chair calls, I can feel the stack of books and magazines pulling me closer.  My mind drifts to work – there’s a tiny inclination to turn on my company laptop and check to see which project is on fire today – but the inclination soon passes.  Monday, and all the breathless anxiety it brings with it, will be here soon enough.

I’ve grown fiercely protective of weekends over the past few years — during the week, the days blend into night, calls and projects come in at any time, and boundaries are shrinking.  Now I guard my Sundays like a child guards their money.

Sunday finds me cooking, reading, singing, blogging, resting, putzing, dreaming, talking and, most of all, living.  And I’m getting really good at Introvert Bingo.

 

“SUNDAY  – The day..I planned a lot but actually do nothing.”
― Lovely Goyal, I Love the Way You Love Me

 

How about you? Do you ever plan to do absolutely nothing?  Have you found yourself wandering through the house, looking at your list of stuff to do, but doing none of them?  How good are you at giving yourself a day off?

 

Categories: Attitude, Blogging, Determination, Family, Home, Joy, Life, Opinion, Personal, Quotes, Relationships, Self Discovery, Thoughts, Wisdom, Women, Work, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Strong Women, Grey Ties & Valentine’s Day

As a girl, Valentine’s Day was celebrated with a school party, card boxes, ice skating and moms visiting our classrooms.

google.images.com

google.images.com

As a teenager, Valentine’s Day was celebrated with a boyfriend if I had one and avoided if I didn’t.

google images

google images

As a young married woman, Valentine’s Day meant cards and flowers – for a while, anyways.  As our relationship evolved, romantic gestures were replaced by thoughtful ones.  Things you can’t buy in the store: taking out the trash; filling my car up with gas on a snowy day.  Running his vehicle through the car wash then detailing the inside myself. Folding the laundry left in the dryer; bringing in the groceries.   It’s the little things  ~ but they’re helpful and kind and nice.  And there’s a flow and a comfort to it that I love.

In my 50’s I don’t wait for someone else to make me happy ~ I make myself happy.

get-your-happy-on-quote-1You see I learned it from her:  My mother was a strong woman and my role model  – 100lbs of dynamite ~ she calved calves, trained horses, wrangled 5 kids, a husband, a 1/2 acre garden, 2 dogs and 14 cats.  She rode in trail rides, taught 4-H and Sunday School, balanced the books and Chaired the Board.  She always got out to vote, once taking the tractor to the highway to catch a ride to the polls. No muddy roads were going to stop her!  Not much ever did!

Mom wrangling a Thanksgiving turkey in 1963 - mother of 5, do-er of anything she set her mind to. An Emjayandthem(C) photo

Mom wrangling a Thanksgiving turkey in 1963 – mother of 5, do-er of anything she set her mind to. An Emjayandthem(C) photo

Like she did, I go to bed when I’m tired,  take a nap if I need one and I stay up late when I choose to.  I make room for the things I love – books – and never apologize for the space they occupy.  I have learned how to say “no thanks” to stuff I don’t want (or want to do) and “YES please!” to the ones I do.

Years ago Mom bought my sister & I that novel about the guy with the grey ties  ~ She made it clear she had no intentions of reading it and quipped “you can handle it” with a snort.   The two of us traumatized our grown kids by leaving it out on end tables.  The comments of horror from my nieces and the looks our boys shot my way were so worth it.  That was her point, to stir the pot and to remind us we always have a choice.

I chuckle remembering how Mom and I joked that if a good looking, rich man came near us with a grey tie, he’d find himself in some deep do-do.

God, I miss her.

So this Valentine’s Day I wish you this:

  • I wish you the courage to make the leap you’ve been pondering,
  • I wish you dreams in technicolor,
  • I wish you the conviction to change what’s not working, to stop worrying about what others think and to do the things that make your soul sing.
  • Time’s a-wasting and, per the wisest woman I’ve ever known, the only hero we have is ourselves.

 

strong-women

 

 

 

Categories: Attitude, Confidence at any age, Determination, Faith, fear, Fun, Gratitude, Grief, Growth, Holidays, Humor, Joy, Love, Mom, Personal, Romance, Uncategorized, Wisdom, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

What’s saving my life right now

Inspired by my blogging friend Leah’s post – I am taking on her challenge to think – and write about – what’s saving my life right now.

  • Background – Leah is a fabulous writer, author and Mom who moved with her family from  Sunny San Diego to a less-than-sunny wintry Indiana (I can so relate to the absence of sunshine!) – She cites writer Barbara Brown Taylor who, in her memoir Leaving Church, tells about a time she was invited to speak, and her host assigned her this topic: “Tell us what is saving your life right now.”  The idea behind this is  that most can articulate what may be bothering us but few of us stop to note what’s giving us life.

Bam!  So thought-provoking!

Here are the things saving my life right now ~ in no particular order:

  1. Exercise:  After work I make time for A) the treadmill or B) Yoga.  Either helps me unwind and forget my schedule and responsibilities.  My mind drifts off and creativity sneaks in. ~ Ahh.
  2. Minimizing Electronics: The company cell phone gets shut down at 7pm and lately, the best thing on T.V. has been the off button.
  3. Books – by taking step #2  I create space to devour deliciously good reads & have  created something to look forward to on a regular basis.  Joyful!
  4. Rest: In winter I go to bed earlier, it’s a necessary step to create the energy for slogging through the greyest of days.
  5. Up:  Because of #4 I get up earlier, can sip coffee longer, and have an hour of “soul time” to myself every morning.
  6. Supplements: Vitamin D in copious amounts – 5,000iu per day.  Start slow and work your way up but this is a GAME changer especially if you live where winter happens without measurable sunshine.
  7. Color and lots of it. Again – it’s so grey here right now – you’ll find me in sweaters, scarves and dresses of purple, teal, ocean blue or green.
  8. Flowers – they’re not just for Valentines and anniversaries.    For $7.99 I can add a pop of color to my office – and flowers are nature’s happy little reminder that Spring will soon come again.
  9.  Music.  My job requires a lot of car travel back & forth to meetings – sometimes 5 -6 hours in one trip – I turn off the rants and the politics, add in some Gospel, Motown and Classic Rock and sing my way to my meetings.  Winning!
  10. Connections – phone conversations with my sister or cousin, time out to dinner or staying home with Hubbs, messaging with our boys, breakfasts with Grandpa & the Aunts/Uncles.  Chatting with someone at the grocery store.  Connections – without steps 1-9 – I wouldn’t be as motivated to create and sustain connections~!

What’s saving your life right now?

 

a $8.00 pick-me-up that lasts all week long. Google.images.com

a $8.00 pick-me-up that lasts all week long. Google.images.com

Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Confidence at any age, Determination, Faith, Gratitude, Growth, Home, Joy, Life, music, Personal, Quotes, Thoughts, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

A quiet recognition

Sunday morning, coffee’s hot; it’s hazy and cold outside.  There’s a whoosh as the furnace kicks on.  One lone squirrel scampers through the snow in search of something for his winter larder.

The hardest decision of my time off lies before me: which book to start next.

Last weekend, when all the kids and grands were here, our grand-daughter found my box of children’s books and happily marched herself over to my big leather chair, curled up and read.  Hubbs told me later, as he came in from outside, he caught a glimpse of her there in my chair, leg tucked under just as I do. Head tilted just so.  The resemblance gave him pause.  And me  ~ joy.

Some read because they have to ~ she reads because she wants to.  And my heart swells in quiet recognition of a girl who reads.

“You should date a girl who reads.

Date a girl who reads. Date a girl who spends her money on books instead of clothes, who has problems with closet space because she has too many books. Date a girl who has a list of books she wants to read, who has had a library card since she was twelve.

Find a girl who reads. You’ll know that she does because she will always have an unread book in her bag. She’s the one lovingly looking over the shelves in the bookstore, the one who quietly cries out when she has found the book she wants. You see that weird chick sniffing the pages of an old book in a secondhand book shop? That’s the reader. They can never resist smelling the pages, especially when they are yellow and worn.

She’s the girl reading while waiting in that coffee shop down the street. If you take a peek at her mug, the non-dairy creamer is floating on top because she’s kind of engrossed already. Lost in a world of the author’s making. Sit down. She might give you a glare, as most girls who read do not like to be interrupted. Ask her if she likes the book.

Buy her another cup of coffee.

Let her know what you really think of Murakami. See if she got through the first chapter of Fellowship. Understand that if she says she understood James Joyce’s Ulysses she’s just saying that to sound intelligent. Ask her if she loves Alice or she would like to be Alice.

It’s easy to date a girl who reads. Give her books for her birthday, for Christmas, for anniversaries. Give her the gift of words, in poetry and in song. Give her Neruda, Pound, Sexton, Cummings. Let her know that you understand that words are love. Understand that she knows the difference between books and reality but by god, she’s going to try to make her life a little like her favorite book. It will never be your fault if she does.

She has to give it a shot somehow.

Lie to her. If she understands syntax, she will understand your need to lie. Behind words are other things: motivation, value, nuance, dialogue. It will not be the end of the world.

Fail her. Because a girl who reads knows that failure always leads up to the climax. Because girls who read understand that all things must come to end, but that you can always write a sequel. That you can begin again and again and still be the hero. That life is meant to have a villain or two.

Why be frightened of everything that you are not? Girls who read understand that people, like characters, develop. Except in the Twilight series.

If you find a girl who reads, keep her close. When you find her up at 2 AM clutching a book to her chest and weeping, make her a cup of tea and hold her. You may lose her for a couple of hours but she will always come back to you. She’ll talk as if the characters in the book are real, because for a while, they always are.

You will propose on a hot air balloon. Or during a rock concert. Or very casually next time she’s sick. Over Skype.

You will smile so hard you will wonder why your heart hasn’t burst and bled out all over your chest yet. You will write the story of your lives, have kids with strange names and even stranger tastes. She will introduce your children to the Cat in the Hat and Aslan, maybe in the same day. You will walk the winters of your old age together and she will recite Keats under her breath while you shake the snow off your boots.

Date a girl who reads because you deserve it. You deserve a girl who can give you the most colorful life imaginable. If you can only give her monotony, and stale hours and half-baked proposals, then you’re better off alone. If you want the world and the worlds beyond it, date a girl who reads.

Or better yet, date a girl who writes.”
― Rosemarie Urquico

*What’s on your reading list?  When you have a bunch of time off how do  you strategically plan to spend it?  Where would you like to be stranded? *

Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Blogging, Confidence at any age, Determination, Family, Growth, Home, Joy, Life, Personal, Quotes, Relationships, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

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