Posts Tagged With: stress

Take me to the River

Building on this post I thought I’d revisit a question I asked at this time last year: What’s saving your life right now?

Literally. Figuratively. Possibly. Maybe?

What’s keeping you going?

So much negativity in the news, way too many rants on Facebook (and not enough puppies, kitties & babies) and it’s the dog days of winter, so I ask you this:

What’s. Saving. Your. Life. Right. Now?

I’ll go first:

  1. Quiet (TV and phone off by 8:30 pm)
  2. Rest (aiming for 8 hours nightly, averaging 7.25 … yazz!)
  3. Faith
  4. Challenges ~ pushing myself to take on scary things like early morning public speaking engagements ~ Try that without copious amounts coffee. Yes, it can be done and it’s exhilarating!
  5. Music.  Tunes in the car, while cooking on Sunday afternoons, whenever the mood strikes.
  6. :: Love ::
  7. Repeat


Take me to the river,  wash me down …won’t you cleanse my soul, put my feet on the ground …


What’s saving your life right now?

Categories: Attitude, Blogging, Faith, Growth, Home, Life, music, Personal | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 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

Stress, horizons and pie

Vacation is on the horizon!

vacation next exitStarting Monday ~ 5 glorious days off with Thanksgiving tossed in for good measure.

Emails will pile up, phone calls will continue, conference calls will be scheduled even though others know I’m away.

“Take the time before you lose the days.”

I now have more vacation time “in the bank” than I have time to use.

Emails continue to come in, fast and furious, hundreds every day.

Calls, meetings, schedules.

Lately I feel like I’m scaling the Grand Canyon on a daily basis…. blindfolded.   I can feel the tension in my shoulders, which now approach my ears. I can feel stress in my heart rate when I lie down at night and can’t quieten my thoughts.

1,000+ miles in the past 10 days, 150 yesterday and another 400 tomorrow – and all the while project calls get scheduled and scheduled and scheduled. “Could you take the lead on this?”  “But you and your team know so much about X” “We want you on this task force…”  Flattering but cup runneth over.

I hear my mother’s voice whispering in my year, “You can’t be everything to everyone, dear.”

My weariness reminds me to shut it down, shut it up and shut them out.

So – vacation is on the horizon … and there shall be pie!

“We must have a pie. Stress cannot exist in the presence of a pie.” ― David Mamet, Boston Marriage

*Note: no pies were consumed in the writing of this post.  Pies shall be made for 1) Grandpa (apple), 2) oldest boy (blueberry) and 3) youngest boy (pumpkin).  Will I have any? Not likely. See, the joy is in the creating ~ the cutting, the simmering, the kneading of the dough, Al Green on the stereo and happiness in my kitchen.

Oh so true!

Oh so true!


*Are you taking some time off over the Thanksgiving Holiday? What are you looking forward to most?  Is there a pie in your future? 😀

Flapper pie; an Emjayandthem (C) photo

A Flapper pie I baked in Mom’s kitchen ~ an Emjayandthem (C) photo



Categories: Determination, Food, Growth, Holidays, Home, Joy, Life, Mom, Opinion, Personal, Seasons, Thoughts, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

The right side of the gate

rodeo clown

When I was a girl I often helped Dad outside in the barnyard. In fact, I’d choose nearly any chore over chores inside.  Mucking stalls, loading bales, hauling chop (chopped oats), you name it.  I’d happily hop in the truck with Dad and run an errand, too: pick up a load of hay, drop off a steer, etc.  Plus, riding with Dad had its bonuses, namely you ride with the Candy Man you get some candy, man!  🙂

Flash forward to my corporate life today: I’m inside a lot, but I take the opportunity to get out “in the field” and in front of people as much as possible.  There’s only so many spreadsheets a girl can take.  I can create and run pivot tables, populate Power Point, yada yada yada, but, as I’ve blogged about before, sometimes you just have to put yourself out there and experience things head on.

A situation has been brewing that I’ve been managing and monitoring; I’ve pulled in local leaders and they understand the scenario.  Getting our corporate team’s attention isn’t always as easy, however.  Not for any other reason than what’s concerning me isn’t blowing up their backyard, it’s blowing up mine.

On a conference call with two lawyers the other day, I sensed they weren’t getting it.  So I brought up my Dad.  I explained that I’d learned a lot about the work I do by observing him as a Rural Municipal rep. He navigated political situations adeptly, he was a good listener, and his quiet charm and gentle approach served him well.  As a girl I tagged along to his meetings, making sure the coffee was fresh and the literature was straight.  I watched and learned as he listened to others’ concerns.

Further, I explained there were certain times when Dad would enlist all 5 of us kids for help – working cattle.  And one of his life lessons was to ensure we were always on the “right side of the gate.”  I shared his words, “If the bull’s out, you want to be in. If the bull’s in, you want to be out.”  Using this analogy, I related that I recently I’d felt like I was in the chute with a frothy mob of bulls bearing down on me and that it was up to the company to give me support as I vaulted up and over to the right side of the gate.  When I added that lately I’d felt like a “rodeo clown,”  they laughed and I felt Dad with me.

Me and those attorneys?  They get it, we formulated a plan and I am once again on the right side of the gate.


Oh you could put yourself between her and her babies, but I wouldn’t advise it. An Emjayandthem(C) photo


Can you relate to this story? Have you ever found yourself on the “wrong side of the gate?”   What childhood life lesson applies to your work life today?

Categories: Animals, Attitude, Confidence at any age, Elections, Faith, Family, Growth, Home, Life Lessons, Self Discovery, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

On taking breaks and restoring vessels

Apparently I’ve taken a break from blogging.  I didn’t intend to but life has gotten in the way and before I knew it weeks had passed.

I’ve thought about you all and I’ve missed our interactions, but there’s so much going on that I struggle to get it all done much less articulate it.

Cleaning, sorting, gifting, going.  16 years in this house, and oh the stuff I’ve found stuffed in drawers and cupboards – oy!   3 – soon to be 4- trips to Goodwill, piles and piles of clothes, toys, and household items. But the treasures found have out-weighed the dust and the mess.  Baby shoes. Boxes of photos. Keepsakes from another time. My 4-H badges, Hubbs basketball pictures, our marriage license.  The love letters sent back and forth- be still my heart <3!

It is cathartic to rid ourselves of clutter.  It’s also hard work – I’ve averaged 6-7 miles per day in the house! Up the stairs, down the stairs, back up the stairs, out to the dumpster or to my car — my arms and legs and even my hands are weary.  When I lie down at night my body melts into the bed and the alarm screams for me way too soon.

But still with this, with all of this, my soul sings – why?  Letting things go – clearing out clutter – keeping what matters and jettisoning the rest ~Liberating!

I’ve missed you and I will return but I’m not sure when.   I miss the release I get from expressing my thoughts and connecting with all of you.  But I’ve also learned I cannot pour from an empty cup.

And on that note, at least I still have a cup, in fact I have many and that cupboard’s next!

will return whenever I want


How about you? Have you found yourself in a similar position? How did you handle it?



Categories: Attitude, Blogging, Faith, Family, Gratitude, Growth, Home, Joy, Life, Opinion, Personal, Relationships, Thoughts, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Random 5 Friday – Restart, reset & carry on

It’s Friday! It’s Labor Day weekend! Time for 5 randoms from my week ~ here we go…

end of summer

1) Summer should be issued a speeding ticket.  I don’t know about you but our summer took it’s sweet time getting here but seems to be in a hurry to depart. We’ve had a few weeks of “nice,” a few weeks of cool, and this has been the hottest one yet.  But … with the end of summer comes the arrival of my favorite season:  Fall!  Here’s to bright sunny skies, humidity under 400%, leaves turning color, all things pumpkin and the sights and smells only Autumn can bring – yeah!

isn't Autumn glorious? an Emjayandthem (C) photo

isn’t Autumn glorious? an Emjayandthem (C) photo

2) Heard this song recently and I smiled and sang along, especially the part about “Summertime in Northern Michigan” – sing it, Kid.

3) Hubbs commented recently, “Do you realize you hardly ever talk about work any more?” My response, “No need. I’m rat-free!”   Whee – and – bonus: my shoulders no longer touch my ears!

kitty stretch neck

I do a lot of this!

4) A rainy day off and the house to myself — ooh, ahh.  What started as a “100% chance of reading” kind of day quickly morphed into a “100% chance of working” day instead.  A number of high priority requests came directly to me and responses  are needed long before my Tuesday return.  No worries, I cancelled my vacation time, brewed some more coffee, and carried on.  I’ll wrap up soon and then the weekend can begin – whoop!



5) We had friends over last night to watch College Football and one dear lady brought her world-famous homemade veggie pizza – some of that was my breakfast today.  Non traditional, yes, delicious, absolutely!

photo from

photo from


 “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”Allen Saunders


** What song makes you think of summer?  Ever had a day off hi-jacked? How did you handle it?  How’s your Labor Day forecast looking? **


Categories: Attitude, Growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

One letter

This week – like many others – has been a blur.

Outta my way, peeps, I've got places to be!

Outta my way, peeps, I’ve got places to be!

I love the work I do, and usually, feel on top of my game.  To quote my friend Lynette, “Large and in Charge!” 🙂

Something that can derail my peace and happiness is someone else’s last-minute problems becoming mine. 

I can handle it, and often do.  See, I started my working days as an Admin Assistant and worked my way up.  In that role, you wear many hats, get used to juggling knives and quickly finding answers to multiple inquiries.  Those skills have never left me {thank God!} but – when another’s lack of effort becomes a big hairy mess for me to manage- I can do it but often find it then ruins my momentum and steals my joy.

So what I do is this ~ I remove one letter from the word ruin:  that letter is “i.”  When I turn ruin into run – I’m back – Large and In Charge – just like that.

yes i can

What tricks do you use to manage your stress and work load?  Can you relate to “Large and In Charge?”

Categories: Attitude, Confidence at any age, Determination, Fun, Growth, Humor, Life, Personal, Quotes, Thoughts, Women, Work | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Not missing it

It’s been another wild week at work.  For months now, I’ve been putting in a tonne of extra hours on a project that will last most of this year, and I’m also filling in for another who has been in and out with health issues. It’s exhausting and yes, I’m exhausted.

Feeling the pinch, I scheduled a day off for tomorrow.

Can’t really do it.  Probably shouldn’t do it. And to me, that’s a sure sign I need to do it.

Guess what I’m doing tomorrow?

Nothing in particular!

No chores. No cleaning. No cooking. No laundry. Nada.

No checking email. No returning phone calls. No work. None.

Coffee and blogs in the morning then lunch with my girlfriends. A pedicure. Open a few windows and roll in the day.  Evening with hubbs, tunes on the mp3 and a smile on my face.  Ahh.

Happy Spring! Happy Everything! Tell me where you are going today, even if it’s just a daydream at this point :).

Categories: Faith, Friendship, Fun, Gratitude, Growth, Joy, Life, Personal, Quotes, Relationships, Self Discovery, Uncategorized, Women, Work | Tags: , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Random March Friday – Roll with it

It’s here! Friday! Whoop!

1.  Been fighting a cold all week, trudging through my workout and work days and barely managing to haul my carcass out of bed every morning.  Daylight savings time kicks my behind every year.   I have never adapted to it and I doubt I ever will.  Why?  Read on.

2. Where I grew up, time didn’t change for any season or any one.  You adjusted  or you didn’t and there were no expectations about moving this or tweaking that.    You rolled with it, and that mentality has been instilled in me ever since.

Canadian Time Zones;

Canadian Time Zones;

3. After a busy week with my own job and department and covering for another (a role I never seem to shake) I got up early today, put on my out-of-office and called it a day. I have a capable team, my desk is in order and I happily crawled back to bed where I remained for several hours.  Ahhh.  Sometimes, we just need a time-out and if I’m the one to put me there, then so be it.

True that!

True that!

4.  Guess what sound we heard this week?  Snow … dripping off the roof.  A steady drip-drip-drip as the sun beamed brightly.   Could Spring be coming? I sure hope so.

5. Lastly, playing around with my cell phone, I tried out some new-to-me edits to a “selfie.” B&W, kinda fun, but where did my nose go?  🙂

goofing around with the cell camera :)

goofing around with the cell camera 🙂

Happy Friday, peeps!

Categories: Attitude, Confidence at any age, Determination, Faith, Family, Friendship, Growth, Home, Joy, Life, Personal, Quotes, Thoughts, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Plans, reality and vitamins

So … on Friday I wrote about how I was looking forward to Hubbs coming home on Saturday morning.  Well, let’s just say that things didn’t go exactly as planned.

the best laid plans ... google.images

the best laid plans … google.images

His saga started when the taxi didn’t show up at the hotel … at 4:30 a.m.  A last minute ride got them to the airport in time for the 7:00 a.m. flight to Atlanta.  Where he soon found most flights to MI — xlld.

To put it mildly, he was “fit to be tied.”  The travel agency … useless.  The airline … nonchalant.

Surrounded by other stranded and road-weary passengers, he did the only thing he could think of …he quietly approached a gate agent and stayed calm.  Eventually, the agent found Hubbs a flight to Detroit with a possible connection to Grand Rapids. But no guarantees and no promises.

He fell asleep before take-off and found himself landing in Winter Storm Maximus (and when did we start naming storms, anyways?)

he landed in the pink

he landed in the pink

Not to be deterred, he grabbed a rental car with the warning that road conditions were extremely dicey, with many cars in the ditch… and made the 3 hour drive in 6.   He’s pretty sure his finger nails are still in the steering wheel of that Chrysler.

Returning the car, he retrieved his SUV and pulled into our garage around 9:00 p.m., 10 hours past his expected arrival time.  He looked dreadful, was shaking cold, pale, hungry and stressed.  But, he was home.

A few servings of Poor Man’s Chop Suey, a shower, a chat and .. off to bed.

Today, the ole boy has a skip in his step. It’s Super Bowl Sunday and friends are joining us later to watch the game.  We’ll enjoy wings and snacks, subs and soup and Game Day brownies.

We both took tomorrow off so today really feels like a Saturday.  A Saturday with a warm house, a happy wife, a contented hubby and gratitude.  Lots of gratitude.

google images

google images

What are you thankful for today?

Categories: Determination, Family, fear, Gratitude, Home, Joy, Men, Personal, Recipes, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Work | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 28 Comments

on Racing

I read a quote last night that stuck with me:  “If you’re always racing to the next moment, what happens to the one you’re in?”

Wow, is that ever my life right now.

List-maker, do-er, chief domestic engineer.  Full-time staffer, Mom, wife, Nana, cousin, sister, friend.

The weekend was just here, right?

We had a full day Saturday so Sunday was my cook-a-bunch of stuff/get the laundry done/talk to my Mom and such kinda day … then came Monday, and it started all over again.


where is it?

Somewhere in there is room for me, right?

I think the reason that quote hits me so hard is that we just had 10 days off — 10 glorious days over Christmas to enjoy — 10 days we spent …  s i c k.

I’m glad we had the time off to rest … but those best laid plans of fireside chats and trying new restaurants and sleeping in … were replaced by extra blankets, Vicks  Vapo-rub and soup.

Now, we’re back in the trenches.  Back in the guts and the glory without the time off we worked all year to get.


Anyone else need a “do over” button?

Categories: Animals, Faith, Friendship, Home, Life, Personal, Quotes, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 24 Comments

Adding to the Christmas list

Originally posted by Emjayandthem on December 15, 2010

photo credit

photo credit


It’s not something we do for others; we do it for ourselves so we can heal and move on.

I can’t count the number of conversations I’ve had with friends lately about how much they’re dreading the holiday get-together because their Dad is difficult or their Stepmom/sister/brother/cousin/aunt will be there  and you know what they’re like. Hurt feelings, disappointments, stand-offs, words that should never have been said.

Add some booze to the mix and stir — wheee!

Not. So. Much.

It’s uncomfortable; it’s the elephant in the room.

It’s why they don’t want to go home.   They’re considering staying put.

I know that not everything can be forgiven (abuse, violence) but, in my experience, more things can … than cannot. And when you let those past hurts go, something shifts:  Your burden is lightened.  Oh those others? They will remain as they are but something in you will change.


I know it’s not easily done but, trust me on this:  it gets easier with practice.  Like any skill, the more you do it the better you’ll be.

Forgiveness. It really can set you free.

I wish you peace.

* * *

Related posts:

Go where you’re celebrated

Battery Chargers

Price Point

“Not forgiving is like drinking rat poison and then waiting for the rat to die.” Anne Lamott

Categories: Animals, Faith, Family, Forgiveness, Home, Personal | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

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