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Posts Tagged With: simple pleasures

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?

 

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

Saturdays, soup and happiness

Saturday.

The house is quiet and the ambience lazy.

Chicken soup simmers on the stove.

Windows open, a cool breeze wafts in.

The dryer hums in the basement.

Hubbs and I refill our coffees and look towards the day:

  • No plans.
  • No schedule.
  • No particular place to be.

Happiness.

I feel it seeping in.

“October knew, of course, that the action of turning a page, of ending a chapter or of shutting a book, did not end a tale. Having admitted that, he would also avow that happy endings were never difficult to find: “It is simply a matter,” he explained to April, “of finding a sunny place in a garden, where the light is golden and the grass is soft; somewhere to rest, to stop reading, and to be content.” ― Neil Gaiman, The Sandman, Vol. 4: Season of Mists

100_2077.jpg

Categories: Family, Food, Home, Joy, Thoughts, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Remember her

I’ve written consistently about cleaning: cleaning out cupboards and sorting through friendships ~ deciding which to treasure and which to discard.

I’ve written on how learning to say “no” has made room to say “yes.”

To that end, there’s been a shift again, and I feel it.  There’s an obvious one currently, a re-organization at work, and re-organizing at home.   At work I’ve got new peeps to account for, and new generals to account to.  That’s fine, it’s what I do.  And, for the most part, I’m doing all I’ve done with the addition of – you guessed it – more.  At home, renovations on the new-to-us house are coming along and there’s a move in our future, sometime in June.

In the meantime I can feel it ~ chaos swirls. Sleep evades and my mind spins.

My solution?  A day off.

Tomorrow I’m stepping away –  No schedule.  No phone.  No people.

Instead, sunshine, green grass, books and lemonade.  Later a shower, the scent of sunscreen lingering on my skin and patio conversations with Hubbs.

Today ~ I’m not just remembering~ I’m reclaiming – her.

 

remember her

Can you see yourself in this post? When’s the last time you stepped away?

image from photos.igougo.com

** Happy Memorial Day, my 8th as a citizen**

 

 

Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Confidence at any age, Determination, Faith, Family, Growth, Holidays, Home, Humor, Joy, Life, Patriotic, Personal, Thoughts, Wisdom, Women, Work | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

The best part

Yesterday morning, as I pulled out of the driveway, I smiled and thought, “this is the best part.”  Prepping for a meeting across the state at a place I’d never been with people I didn’t know, rehearsing talking points out loud with the morning news, I felt butterflies in my stomach. Not nerves. Excitement.

I said out loud, “Thank you, Lord. This is just the best part!”

Then, walking into that meeting and opening a dialogue, connecting-the-dots and feeling their excitement, I smiled and thought, “man, this is just the best part.”   Enjoying lunch with a new-to-me colleague, I laughed at something said and thought again, “wow, this is so the best part.”

A young woman approached me recently seeking career advice ~ she’d witnessed my passion and wanted some of it.  My words were these – “Volunteer for every project, push yourself, make connections & never sell yourself short. If you’re not selling it, no one’s buying it.”

The truth is it matters less what you know than how you conduct yourself; be the one who shows up early, delivers on time and maintains a good attitude ~ people will want you on their team.

If you’re not selling it, no one’s buying it.  

And after we’d had that conversation I thought to myself, “boy, if that isn’t just the best part!”

What’s been the best part for you lately?

A-Masterpiece-and-a-Work-in-Progress

related posts:

Snapping strings

Being thankful for doors that closed

The Fear of the Fear

https://emjayandthem.com/2013/08/14/the-thing-about-alices/

Categories: Attitude, Confidence at any age, Determination, Faith, fear, Growth, Life Lessons, Opinion, Personal, Self Discovery, Thoughts, Wisdom, Women, Work, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Random 5 Friday ~ 2 weeks!

It’s Friday (finally!) – here are 5 random happenings in my world this week:

1 Stopped last night to buy Christmas crackers for our family gathering in 2 – count ’em – 2 weeks.  As a Canadian, this is a British tradition we enjoyed  loved as kids — one person held each end of the cracker and pulled them apart – a *POP* sound soon followed, and everyone ended up with a tissue paper hat to wear, a small toy and a joke or riddle to share.    Our boys and grands have grown up with these at the table and it wouldn’t be Christmas without them!

Too much fun!

Too much fun!

2  Tuesday at the State Capitol (which is wide open to everyone, by the way) my team and I were busy  setting up Legislative interviews when a young man wandered into the studio. At first I felt a bit annoyed, because you see I didn’t really have time to shoo him out of there. But as he stood and looked around – with wonder in his eyes – my eyes softened and we ended up talking for about 20 minutes. He’s my youngest boy’s age and he told me how he’s going to Community College, working part-time, and lives with his Grandmother. He told me more about himself in those 20 min than maybe I needed to know – but in that moment he let me know he needed to be heard. It was yet another lesson to STOP – SLOW DOWN- and LISTEN. Everyone has a story to tell and sometimes you just have to stop moving to hear it.

“Be careful how you live. You may be the only Bible someone ever reads.”

MI Capitol in fog

The Michigan State Capitol .. and State Christmas tree, blanketed in fog in December. An Emjayandthem (C) photo.

3  Still no snow.  Driving to meetings and running errands is easy-peasy; it was 59F yesterday.  People are out without coats. Shocking – in December.  I didn’t feel any Christmas spirit until youngest boy and I decorated the tree last night.    Leveraging his height, we laughed as he straightened the angel and tweaked the lights “just so.”  Standing back to admire his handiwork, we both agreed that their home-made ornaments are our favorites.  He put it best, “They tell our story, Mom.”

a shot of youngest boy in grade school ...

a shot of youngest boy in grade school … An Emjayandthem(C) photo

4. I’m glad today is Friday and that the weekend is not yet another runaway train. At least not yet.  Hubbs is prepping for a business trip next week and he’s stressed about that, I have a full schedule, too, yet there’s so much to accomplish here at home.  I think a vacation day is in order – the house to myself?  Ooh ahh …. 🙂

and there it is

and there it is

5  Talking with friends about how hectic our days are – jobs – kids – grand kids – aging parents – and BAM here come the Holidays.  More and more we’re all talking about simplifying things.  This simple message resonates with me:

Google.Images.com

And you?    What Holiday tradition from your childhood have you carried with you?   How are your  preparations coming along?  Are you taking any time outs just for you?

 

Categories: Beauty, Blogging, Faith, Family, Fun, Gratitude, Growth, Holidays, Joy, Life, Random, Seasons, Thoughts, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Dream out loud

As the grand-kids circled their favorites in the Toys-R-Us flier recently, youngest boy posed a serious question: “Should we really be encouraging all that?”

He wondered about kids getting their hopes up only to not have the big guy in red come through.  They’ve been through so much, he said, his eyes saddened.

My response, ” Kids need to dream.”

sears wish bookAs a girl, I remember the much-anticipated arrival of the Sears Wish Book. My sisters and I fought over who got it first – oldest sister always won, middle sister and I shared.  We weren’t allowed to “dog ear” pages; instead we were encouraged to write down item numbers and page references so Mom could share our finds with Santa.

So what if I pored over walnut jewelry boxes with little ballerinas that danced when the lid lifted?  So what if I was a girl without jewelry?

So what if the outfits I coveted would not have fit my gangly 12-year-old body?  So what if the corduroy jacket was impractical in -20F temps?  So what?

I spent hours looking through the toys, the fashions, the luxurious velvet robes, the gift sets, and the gifts under a certain price. Reading, reading, reading.  Touring the pages, I learned what items were where.  By the time the holiday arrived, I was a Wish Book Tour Guide.

I was a realistic child; I knew I wasn’t going to receive everything I’d referenced but part of the fun – the magic if you will – was the idea that I could.  Part of the fun – a big part of the fun – was the anticipation.

No, kids needs to dream. Kids need to ooh and ahh and wonder.  Kids need magic and so do I.

 

dream quotes

What do you dream about?  Do you remember the Sears Wish Book?  Is it wrong to encourage kids to wish for things?

Categories: Attitude, Faith, Family, Holidays, Home, Joy, Life, Mom, Personal, Seasons, Thoughts, Wisdom, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , | 26 Comments

Random 5 Sunday – 5 years

It’s a beautiful sunny Sunday (yay!) so here are 5 randoms from my little corner of the universe.

1  Cooked yesterday and doubled everything. Why? I’m dropping off half to oldest boy and the grands later today.   The work/school/homework schedule is just nicer when you have “extras” around.  Homemade soup, sloppy Joe’s, Game day brownies  and more.   To quote Mom, “Love is Groceries.

food ina garten

2 It was Mom who taught me the significance of caring for others.  On Mothering is just one of many posts I’ve written about her. She taught me so many things but, most importantly, she taught me how to mother.  And, like her, I’m fierce — no apologies.  Because of that, I can’t wrap my head around that our grand children’s mother left them like she did.   But it was my wee Mom who reminded me He gave our boy big shoulders for a reason and sometimes Mom & Dad are the same person.

smell the color 9

3  Stopped the other day to take this picture – October will end soon and all of this will pass.  Don’t miss it.

Country Club trees

4  I write as means to formalize my thoughts, connect-the-dots and express myself.  Through this experience I’ve connected with many of you, and one I’ve even met in person (lucky me).   When I write what I know – posts about life, relationships, personal growth, faith and home – you chime in and I love that so much.

m151be-yourself-unknown-posters

5 Going back to Mom, she was moved to Nursing Home placement this week and, when asked how things were going, her response made me laugh.  “I’m doing the best I can and managing to stay out of trouble… so far!”  This center is small, 17 beds, and in a rural setting, which is much more her style.  Both my sisters are certain she’ll get more personalized care and that’s of comfort to us all.  Thinking of her it hit me that 5 years ago today I published my very first blog and, not surprisingly, I wrote about  another life lesson learned from Mom.      5 years, 824 posts,179,273 visitors, still writing.    Thank you for reading along.

yes i can

Happy Sunday to you!  When you look back over your blogging lifetime, what do you see?

 

 

 

 

Categories: Attitude, Blogging, Confidence at any age, Determination, Faith, Food, Growth, Home, Life, Love, Opinion, Personal, Quotes, Seasons, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

Random Fall Friday

It’s Friday and it’s time for 5 random thoughts from my little corner of the world.  Coffee up, let’s do this!

coffee star trek

1 A project I’m working on led to  me introducing myself to a lot of people I don’t know.  Scrolling through names on a website, I recognized a name I know  – my friend Diane, the beautiful lady with the expressive hands, whom I met at a workshop earlier this spring.  We met once, instantly connected, and when I saw her name I couldn’t help but giggle just dialing her number. We caught up like pals do and she quickly shared some insights with me.  Would have never happened had I not said YES to that workshop.  Life’s funny like that, isn’t it?

Coincidence-Fate2 Saw the cutest thing the other morning:  pulling up behind the School bus, I waited patiently as all the little choppers got on board.  One last little soldier remained, his Mom across the street holding baby sister, wrapped up in a blankie against the morning chill.  Just before he boarded, he wrapped his arms around himself in a full body hug then threw his arms out wide like he was throwing Mom a big hug.  And with that, he tromped happily up the stairs and onto the bus.    I smiled all the way to my meetings!

driving-behind-school-bus

 3  Beautiful blogging friend Tobi, Momma to 2 little darlings, introduced me to “Stitch Fix” via her blog post “My First Stitch Fix” – and I thought it was so clever, I signed up, too.  Stitch Fix is an online styling service: you create a profile on their site, with your sizes, style/color preferences, clothing types desired (work, date nights, weekends, party clothes) and schedule a shipment. $20 gets you 5 items to try – all picked by a stylist – and your $20 goes towards the cost of what you keep. My stylist listened to my many suggestions (smile) and I received a beautiful Teal green drapey kitten-soft cardigan for work, a classic cut silver/grey sweater for work or weekends (fits like a dream) and jeans that fit like they were sewn just for me. Two items I didn’t fall in love with are going back via FREE shipping so that’s no big deal.   AND, you get $25 credit each time you refer a friend (hint, hint).   Click here for more.  🙂

stitch fix style guide

Items arrive with a style guide and suggestions on how to use each piece multiple ways!

 

No mall for me!!

Saying no to a shopping mall = saying YES to my sanity!

4 The Grands are spending the night tonight 🙂 Hubbs and me and Uncle will take them out for dinner and then some play time at home and cozy in for the night.  Just thinking about their happy little faces – and a date night for our boy and his girl – makes me grin.

monkeys at movies

Monkeys at the movies; an Emjayandthem (C) photo

5 September! My favorite month ~ Dry air. Sunny days. Glorious Trees.  Need I say anymore? Welcome Fall, I love you!

It won't be long before my back yard looks like this! An Emjayandthem (C) photo

It won’t be long before my back yard looks like this! An Emjayandthem (C) photo

 

What new thing have you tried lately? How was it?  Do you believe in coincidences or fate?  What are you looking forward to this weekend? And are you as happy as me that Fall has arrived?

Categories: Fun, Life, Seasons, Self Discovery, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Random 5 Friday – meowtains and molehills

It’s Friday! It’s time for 5 Random thoughts from my world. Ready? Here we go!!

1.  I don’t watch much TV but I sure could relate to this:

change the tv channel

In rural Saskatchewan we had 4 channels, and one was French!

2.  Best book I’ve read this summer, hands down:

girl on the train

I couldn’t keep myself from reading it and was sorry when it ended. Yep, that’s a book hangover.

3. Peaches are ready.   I’ve eaten my fill and the rest will become a cobbler this weekend.

 mmmm

mmmm

4.  Meeting Grandpa and others for breakfast tomorrow. Guess who’s taking home cobbler? 🙂

5. We’ve all heard the saying, “Don’t make a mountain out of a molehill” – well, here’s the cat version:

meowtain cats

Ha!

Happy Friday, peeps!   Who had the job of changing the TV channel at your house?  Read any great books lately?   Is there a cobbler in your future?

Categories: Family, Food, Fun, Home, Humor, Life, Personal, Random | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 24 Comments

Random 5 Friday – Cancelled Subscriptions

It’s Friday – whew!  The past 3 weeks have been a blur but I’m home now (smile) and have the day off today (big smiles!).

1. The birds are chirping,  the sun is shining and coffee tasted especially good in my happy place this morning:

MJ's happy place (An Emjayandthem (C) photo)

MJ’s happy place (An Emjayandthem (C) photo)

2.  Had an appointment yesterday to have a spot on my forehead looked at lopped off.  The freezing hurt more than the biopsy. But, Skin Cancer has already made itself at home in my fair-skinned family and I’m not taking  any chances.  That little old(er)lady with the big floppy hat?  Yep, that’s me!

berry nice hat

3. Speaking of fruit, only two weeks till our Michigan cherries are ready!  I remember the summer that Mom and Dad took us (5) kids to visit our cousins in British Columbia.  The drive, through the Canadian Rockies and the Lower Okanagan Valley, took us right through orchard country.  Mom bought several cases of sweet Cherries and put them in the back window of the Oldsmobile where 5 Hooligans promptly took turns swiping them. Gulping them down secretly, thinking no one would know, would never suspect our cherry stained faces or fingers. Suffice it to say the road trip was delayed by frequent stops and stomach aches.  As an adult, my cherry-stained fingers take me right back to that summer. 🙂

Can't wait!

Can’t wait!

4.  Tomorrow we’re treating my Father-in-law to brunch.  We’ll be joined by our boys and grands.  4 Generations gathered together over French Toast, Ham and eggs.  Multiple conversations, laughs, abundant cuteness and love.  Can’t ask for more.  ❤

Fathers_day_Special

5. Read this quote and it reminded me to cancel a few subscriptions and continue to seek out battery chargers!

“Let go of the people who dull your shine, poison your spirit, and bring you drama. Cancel your subscription to their issues.”  – Steve Maraboli 

rocking horse warrior

Rock on, Warriors!  Google.images.com

And how was your week?  What summertime fruit takes you back to your childhood?   What subscription do you need to cancel?

Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Faith, Family, Food, Fun, Home, Humor, Joy, Life, Love, Men, News, Opinion, Personal, Quotes, Relationships, Thoughts, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Random Friday Five ~ a Bushel & a Peck

It’s Friday –  it’s random – here we go ~ Yippee Skippee! 🙂

1.  Took a road trip Wednesday and most of the route I spent dodging construction cones. It was in one of those slowed-down jaunts that I noticed the sign for a farm market.  And it was the “Honey Crisps”  (middle baskets) that drew me off the highway.  Perusing the apples brought a smile to my face and a small bag back to my car

Fall means apples here in Michigan ~ an Emjayandthem (C) photo

Fall means apples here in Michigan ~ an Emjayandthem (C) photo

2.  The apples are sold by the peck ~ which equates to 2 gallons or 10-12 lbs of apples.  They are also sold in 1/2 and 1/4 pecks.  On our farm wheat and barley are sold by the bushel.  When I hear the words “bushel and a peck” I can’t help but think of this song that Mom sang to us when we were little:

I love you a bushel and a peck, a bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck …

3. Before I left, I turned the corner and caught sight of this cupboard:

Jams and Jellies as far as the eye could see!  An Emjayandthem (C) photo

Jams and Jellies as far as the eye could see! An Emjayandthem (C) photo

No, I didn’t buy any – for I still have some of my sister’s jam brought from home. Her pantry, while not quite as fancy, can easily rival the professionals!

A bit of her jam makes a piece of toast stand up & dance!  An Emjayandthem (C) photo

A bit of her jam makes a piece of toast stand up & dance! An Emjayandthem (C) photo

4.  We’re heading north tomorrow to visit my Father-in-Law … the colors are turning and the nights are getting colder.  As much as he says he doesn’t need any help, the delight in his voice when we asked to come visit .. was palpable.   We’ll stop in., he’ll show us around, point things out, go out for lunch, and I’ll leave behind his all time favorite – peanut butter cookies.  It’s the little things, right?

image: pinterest.com

image: Pinterest.com

5.  Speaking of little things – a sense of humor is always welcome.  The meeting I headed south for?  This sign, in the ladies restroom, had me chuckling all the way home.

And I did :)  An Emjayandthem (C) photo

And I did!  An Emjayandthem (C) photo

And how was your week?  Seen any crazy signs lately?  How’s  your jam supply these days?

 

 

Categories: Attitude, Faith, Family, Food, Fun, Home, Joy, Life, Men, music, Personal, Quotes, Relationships, Seasons, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

Random 700 Friday

It’s Friday! It’s Random! Let’s Go!

1. Perusing old pictures recently, I found a few snaps taken inside the schoolhouse Dad attended as a boy.  In later years, that building was moved a half mile to Grampa’s farm and used as a “shop” (*garage).  I find it beautiful that, 70-some years later, the blackboard and cursive writing are still there.

an Emjayandthem (C) photo

an Emjayandthem (C) photo

2.  Mom’s birthday was yesterday.  Smiling as we talked, I loved hearing how excited she is about her two sisters visiting soon.  When I commented that they’ll be having a “sleepover” she giggled and agreed.  Sisters and sleepovers go together whether you’re 8 or 84.

One of my favorite pictures of Mom & me... having a Killian's in Branson, MO

One of my favorite pictures of Mom & me… having a Killian’s in Branson, MO.  An Emjayandthem (C) photo

3. Remember Jerry, the relative I haven’t yet met but blogged about?  He came home from the hospital yesterday :).

“Our prayers may be awkward. Our attempts may be feeble. But since the power of prayer is in the One who hears it and not in the one who says it, our prayers do make a difference. -Max Lucado

4. A newer friend asked me along to an outdoor concert this week.   “Yes” I said. “Sounds fun,” I said. And it was.  Keb Mo played some funky fun blues and when he gave us this song, “She just wants to dance,” well you gotta know we did.

5.  I have a few crowns.  Some of them need to be replaced.  Sigh – I know what that means…  time in the chair and no $$ to spare.   But this cartoon made me laugh.

crown

And how was your week?  

*This is my 700th post in nearly 4 years of blogging.  My how time flies!

Categories: Confidence at any age, Faith, Family, Fun, Joy, music, Personal, Random, Self Discovery, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

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