Posts Tagged With: thoughts

Random 5 December ~ Traditions, time off and dogs

Hello again, friends.  It’s time for another Random 5  from my part of the blog-osphere. Ready? Here we go:

1)  Thursday morning, I woke with a start …. it was 4:04 a.m. and there I was, wide awake thinking about Christmas cards!  Ack, rolling over, I tried to resume my slumber.  No-can-do.  Muttering to myself that Hubbs never experiences such thoughts, I found my way to the kitchen and pressed the “brew” button on the coffee machine.

I used to enjoy writing Christmas cards, especially when the boys were little and I could include a picture or funny story about them. I don’t enjoy it anymore.

I can remember my parents’ delight when a Christmas card came in the mail. They were such a lovely alternative to newspapers, bills and other correspondence.  I recall the sparkles on my hands after reading updates from people I didn’t recall: Aunt so and so.  Cousin somebody.   Mom carefully taped the cards and put them up all around the kitchen window.  Red and green, silver and gold, shimmered in the light and brought festive to the room.  That she took the time to do so for each card suggested reverence to me.

There’s only a few family members left that I would normally mail a card to – this year, I’m calling instead.  And I think they’ll be just fine with a laugh and a chat and a “I miss you, too.”

2 )   Balance. As an adult I’ve struggled to balance between what I want (to do) for Christmas vs. what (I think) is expected of me.    Shopping is done, wrapping is not.  Some baking was accomplished …but also eaten (Hubbs!).

So what I’m working towards is making room for MY Christmas —  I relax and smile when the tree lights are on; reading or cooking near them makes me happy. There’s a peace I feel being able to pay the bills, have $ for gifts and a bit to put away, too.  There was a time I couldn’t do that, and I appreciate now that we can.  I look forward to time with the boys – card games, good foods, “knock knock” jokes with the grands, and days off with Hubbs.  No particular place to be.  No schedule. Reading more than a page or two at a time.  Knowing I can sleep in even though I won’t.  I’ll be up early, watching the snow fall, sipping coffee and reading your blogs.

My stack of reading is close to this size


3 ) 9 and 119 days left of work for THIS YEAR then 11 – count ’em – 11 glorious days off!  Time for a reset button.  I’m fortunate that I enjoy the work I do, but this year the challenge has been in being able to do it.  This has been a year of organizational change, steady movements, restructuring, people coming, people going, and that constant shift of the horizon has left me dizzy and needing a break.  And I plan to take it, no exceptions!

4 ) Shades of Frankie. Youngest boy got a dog, and memories of our beloved Frankie definitely influenced his choice.   Our Frankie as a Pup:

Frankie as a wee one

Ladies and gents, meet Sullivan, or “Sully” for short:

Sullivan (an Emjayandthem (C) Photo)

I haven’t met this furry little friend yet but I’m sure I’ll cry when I do.

5 ) We’re heading into the new year soon.  Can you believe it?   I haven’t thought about my goals and dreams for next year, but I’ll work on them over my time off.    A good friend is leaving our company next week; she hasn’t had time to think about what her “next” looks like.  I encouraged her to create a Vision Board.   I know she won’t, but it reminded me that I’m ready to.  


What traditions are worth continuing and which ones have you stopped? 

What gift are you giving yourself this Holiday Season? 

Wishing you peace at Christmas and always

Categories: Animals, Attitude, Family, Fun, Growth, Holidays, Home, Life, Personal, Seasons, Thoughts, Traditions | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

32 and 9 and still new

32 years ago I immigrated to the United States with $178 and a guitar.

9 years ago I stepped forward with 78 others to take the Oath of Citizenship.

It was one of the proudest and most emotional  moments of my life.

(more about my journey here.)

You see, someday I will be a citizen for 15 or 20 or 35 years and I’ll still choose to tell folks that I’m a “new” citizen.


Because I don’t know how else to communicate the significance of it.    The choice of it.

We’re not perfect, this country, we’ve got our flaws.  Like most families, there’s bickering and divisions and  always someone willing to point out what’s wrong with us … but still … there’s a heart and soul about America that continues to inspire people to imagine a life here.

* * * *

God Bless America, Land that I love

Stand beside her,  and guide her

Thru the night with a light from above

From the the prairies

To the oceans..White with foam

God Bless America!

    My Home Sweet Home

Happy birthday, America …. from a grateful citizen.



Categories: Attitude, Faith, Holidays, Home, News, Opinion, Personal | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Random 5 ~ NYE

It’s Friday Thursday and New Year’s Eve.  Here are 5 randoms from my world:

1 Remember when New Year’s Eve was a big deal?  Getting dressed up, wiggling into pantyhose and new shoes and a sparkly little something to go out with a bunch of people, dance, and kiss under the 5-4-3-2-1 Happy New Year countdown?  It’s been years since I’ve felt like that.  Yes we’re going out with a group tonight – to dance, sing and such -but there’s no pantyhose in sight :).  I have a sparkly sweater in mind and we’ll probably be home by 10:30 to watch the ball drop in the basement ~ the only one I’m smooching is Hubbs.  🙂

What sparks your creativity?

2 I’ve been on vacation this week but didn’t feel like it until yesterday.  You see I’ve been on conference calls and had people pinging me left, right and center.  Yesterday I slept in, pushed away that nagging feeling saying I “should” accomplish something and instead embraced the massage chair that accompanied a pedicure.  I sipped a Caramel Iced coffee and read Hollywood magazines, catching up on the lives of people I don’t know.  When I was done I drove my relaxed self home and warmed up leftovers for supper.    A better day was not to be had.  ❤

giant coffee

3   “A year of ending and beginning, a year of loss and finding…and all of you were with me through the storm. I drink to your health, your wealth, your fortune for long years to come, and I hope for many more days in which we can gather like this.”
― C.J. Cherryh, Fortress of Eagles

Mom me and sissy - wedding 2015

Me, Mom and my sister – August 2015.

4 Another year is upon us.  I stopped making resolutions a few years ago and instead continue to do what works for me — clearing away the clutter and making room for the good.  Getting rid of those who drain me and resisting the urge to let just anyone in. There’s a reason the rear view mirror is small and the windshield is wide.  😀


5 I’ve always loved this song.  And so I ask you this, “What are you doing New Year’s Eve?”


Happy New Year, friends!  ~MJ



Categories: Attitude, Blogging, Faith, Family, Grief, Holidays, Home, Life, Love, News, Opinion, Personal, Quotes, Romance, Seasons, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Meandering thoughts and some nights

Are you like me and have 22 coffee cups in the cupboard but always end up using the same 3?

my favorite!

my favorite!

Do you ever wake up in the middle of the night and wonder what – or who – woke you up?

Found a picture from – gulp – 20 years ago.  Size 6 and thought I was fat.  What an idiot. Note the ’90s hair scrunchy.

Employee picnic, 1995.  Me & youngest boy who was distressed by the 'love bugs' - An Emjayandthem(C) photo

Employee picnic, 1995. Me & youngest boy who was distressed by the ‘love bugs’ – An Emjayandthem(C) photo

Went back to work this week and had the best week!  It was nice to be missed, accomplish some tasks, catch up with colleagues and feel the excitement at what’s coming up this year.  Plus, we had a visit from a 6 week old Border Collie. Now how could anyone resist this wee face?

aww .. She fell asleep in my co-workers arms.

aww .. She fell asleep in my co-workers arms.

Caught a new song that snagged my ear so hard I just had to Google it and play it over and over … and who knew the video was so cool?

How about you?  Do you have a favorite cup you use? How many others in the cupboard?   Tripped over any old pics lately? Met any new friends?  What song’s grabbed your attention of late?

Categories: Animals, Beauty, Fun, Joy, Life, music, Opinion, Personal, Relationships, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , | 20 Comments

Random Five Frrriday

Brr, it’s cold.

this morning in West Michigan

Jan 3rd 2014 in West Michigan

My random Five Frrriday (emphasis on my chattering teeth) are:

1) You know you’re getting used to it when Hubbs says, “but look, the high Saturday is 30” with a smile.  We’d talked about how we’d most likely stay in all weekend, not meet friends for drinks & dinner, and skip the cold.   In Michigan, 30F is an “acceptable” temperature to venture out in, provided you do the venturing late-afternoon, early evening! 🙂

2) 2nd day back to work — but the truth is, I worked a bit over vacation.  I did that for me – to keep up on things & to clean out the ever-growing inbox.  Finally got it down to ~400 instead of 1,000.  The volume these days … insanity.

3) Last year, Uncle Mac & Aunt Janet told me about a new way of eating they’d adopted and how they’d collectively lost weight & felt better. Both had battled cancer and both felt bloated from the treatments and life in general.  They called it the “beans & greens” plan but it’s better known as “Eat to Live” by Dr. Joel Fuhrman.  I’ve had the book for a while .. and I know what do to, I just wasn’t doing it.  New Year’s day, while Hubbs enjoyed football and naughty food, I took it easy and ate my greens. And my fruit. And some more greens.  Did the same yesterday.  Down 3lbs today.  3 lbs in 2 days!     I am not sure if I will  do this full-time but I do think I could most times; I love veggies and fruit and I don’t mind (certain) beans.  I can live with having meat only a couple of times a week.  And who knew that Romaine has nearly as much protein as a steak?   Read more here.

4) Devoured a couple of books over Christmas break and now I feel like I’m in wandering lost through a canyon … anyone else feel like that when a good story ends? Not having a good book ready gives me anxiety.  Mom and I talked about this very thing on New Year’s Day and she gave me the best compliment, “You know, of all my kids, you’re the only one who reads like me; have you ever just wanted to live in a bookstore?”   Smile.

And #5 is below.

It's been 6 months.  I still miss him.

And so with that, I’ll leave you with this silly picture I found this weekend. Rest in peace, silly old dog.

Frankie and youngest boy; this was a daily pose from the 2 of them.  June 2013

Frankie and youngest boy; this was a daily pose from the 2 of them. June 2013

Categories: Animals, Beauty, Blogging, Faith, Family, Friendship, Fun, Grief, Home, Joy, Mom, Personal, Thoughts, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 27 Comments

Random Five Friday

It’s that day again!

We made it, peeps – whoop!

Here’s my Random Five on this first Friday in December …

1) The Tree’s up .. but there’s nothing on it.  Youngest boy asked, “Aren’t you even going to decorate it?” The horror in his voice was palpable.  Yep, it’s getting decorated, soon .. can’t tell you when because I don’t know myself. Hasn’t stopped me from turning on the lights and admiring it’s simple little self.  And considering stopping right there!

2) The fun filled-family Christmas party is this weekend. The one that Hubbs and I started years back, did to the max, and wore ourselves out on … we’ve stepped away from that part and now … we bring a dish and are guests.  Ahhh.    Read the story of my many manic moments at It doesn’t serve me anymore.

3) The shopping is done, the wrapping is not.  Hmm .. wonder if there’s a teenage girl in the neighborhood who’d like to wrap for me. I’d pay royally for someone else to do it. You?

4) It’s cold outside and, as predicted, that’s what folks are talking about today.  The weatherman has a gleam in his eye like a kid on Christmas morning.  Their lives must be so dull when it’s nice out.

5) When I think of Christmases past, I think of scenes like this:  all five of us, me in my red jammies, our tree twinkling in the background, and note the time of 1o:00pm?  We’d nicely gotten home from yet another Holiday get-together and were readying for bed.  Santa was on his way ….

The excitement in our faces is evident, the joy .. contagious.   That right there – those kind of moments – are the ones I aim to create for our boys & grands …

all of us:: an emjayandthem photo

all of us:: an emjayandthem photo

Care to share your Random Five with me? 🙂

Categories: Blogging, Faith, Family, Holidays, Home, Personal, Relationships, Thoughts, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 20 Comments

Fried Spam

Have any of you bloggers noticed a trend of late?

As in ….  more spam?

More hostile comments so nonsensical and poorly written that they’re laughable?

More links to – ahem – enhancement products and dating sites?

More subscribers with links to blogs that … don’t exist?

I have.

When I was a kid, Mom bought Spam sometimes.

this kind -- salty with a touch of slime

this kind — salty with a touch of slime

She’d slice it into thick slices and fry it on high heat, heat so hot the edges would burn and curl just a little.  Served up with scrambled eggs or cheesy potatoes we kids, fresh off our ponies, the lake or the field, would gobble it down.

It wasn’t great, but it was a salty-hammy-concoction that was tolerable.  Especially with enough ketchup.

Nowadays, Spam means something else.

Spam now is unwanted e-attention from ill-intentioned people and systems.

Systems and individuals looking to scam, steal, trick, coerce and lie their way into our good graces.

Do what I do … send ’em to the Spam folder.  Never respond. Don’t click on their faceless links.

And hope that WordPress turns the heat up so high they smoke.

The Akisment Widget in action

The Akismet Widget in action

Are you seeing more spam these days?  Have you turned up the heat? 

Categories: Attitude, Family, Food, Home, Life, News, Random | Tags: , , , , | 22 Comments

I believe

I believe … that I am never closer to God than when I am outside.

I believe … that I can do anything I decide to try. I just haven’t tried it all yet.

I believe … in life after death, that I know things I shouldn’t, and that I can sense good from bad.

I believe … in the magic of a favorite song on the radio, the wind in my hair and sunshine on my face.

I believe … that there’s a reason babies and animals come to me.

I believe … that good cooks have plenty of friends.

I believe … that there is more right with this country than there is wrong with it.

I believe … that the quiet Sunday afternoons I carve out are some of my best days.

I believe … that my children and grandchildren love me because I first loved them.

I believe … that being related doesn’t give someone the right to be hurtful.

I believe … in never turning down the hubby’s kisses.

I believe … in the power of a gentle touch, a kind word, and an open heart.

I believe … that a confident smile is the sexiest accessory.

I believe … that if you have to tell me how religious you are… that I’d rather watch your actions and decide for myself.

I believe … that I will meet my father, grandparents and others again.

I believe … in music, books, and just being still sometimes.

I believe … that I am at my strongest when someone I love is hurting.

I believe … that we are all a work in progress.

I believe … the best is yet to come.

originally posted by Emjayandthem on May 26, 2011

Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Determination, Faith, Forgiveness, Friendship, Growth, Life, Personal, Relationships | Tags: , , , | 19 Comments

I am

I heard some powerful words last night that I just had to share with you:

“Whatever follows ‘I am’ is going to come looking for you.” – Joel Osteen

Think about that, think about the words you tell yourself:

I am … tired.

I am … lonely.

I am … frustrated.

I am … unhappy with my body.

Now change those words:

I am excited about my future.

I am worthy of love.

I am capable.

I am beautiful.


Remember … your life is how you see it.  What do you see?

I see confidence!

Categories: Attitude, Determination, Faith, Friendship, Gratitude, Joy, Life, Opinion, Random | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 25 Comments

Reordering the order

I’ve been on a cleaning kick of late:

Cleaning out, sorting through, giving away and tidying up.

My cousin and I chat often and she’s well aware of the “stuff” that’s been taking up space in my head. She’s the one who picked up on my cleaning tendencies from 1,700 miles away.


In an email, she referenced the tasks she considering doing last weekend.  I wrote back … and prioritized her list for her.   Geez.

This mouse likes a clean house!

She commented, “Tidying up is one of your ‘tells’ you know” …. and she’s right.  When my world feels chaotic, there’s something in me that needs to organize what I can. It helps me make sense of the crazy.

As a girl, I remember “playing” office.  I’d straighten up papers and play with the typewriter, sit behind a desk and pretend to talk on the phone.  The desk was always clean.  The thing is, I didn’t know anyone who worked in an office so I don’t know who I was channeling. My siblings and played “School,” too, but this was different. “Office” wasn’t adventurous; “Office” could be played alone. The “Office” was also where I retreated to on wintry days when I couldn’t escape on my pony to sort out my thoughts.

To this day, my office is neat and clean.  Why?  Because job demands can change on a dime so being organized helps me deal with others … who are not. But that’s not all of it:  keeping my work space tidy …calms me.

At home, most of our space is organized and clean. There are areas that needed attention and lately, they’ve gotten it. They’re tidier, I’m feeling more at ease, and those other things picking at me? They’re still there.

* * *

What are your conscious (or not so conscious) ways of dealing with stress?

a room like this would stress me out; image from

Categories: Attitude, Faith, Family, fear, Home, Life, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 42 Comments

Anything can be

“Listen to the mustn’ts, child.

Listen to the don’ts.

Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts.

Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me…

Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.”
— Shel Silverstein

image from

Categories: Faith, fear, Personal, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

The rust of the week

Sunday has come around again and I’ve asked it to linger.

Friday night was fun, Hubbs and I had a date night in the garage. We laughed, we chatted, we waited in the rain for the Tigers to play but … no dice.

Yesterday was our “warrior” day – suited with Windex, paper towels, garbage bags and the vacuum, I tore through our bedroom, the one resembling a storage unit of late.
Inspired, Hubbs joined me and together we hauled out bags for Goodwill and loads of trash, too.  What a difference!

And now, Sunday’s arrived like the gift she is; the house is clean, the sun’s shining and  leaves are swirling down around the house.  Hubbs has Lions football and a Tigers’ double-header today, can you say ‘happy guy?’   I’ve got a pot of chili simmering on the stove and old dog waiting to go on our walk.

No offense to the other days, but Sunday can’t be beat.  She’s my favorite.

Sunday clears away the rust of the whole week – Joseph Addison

I’m happy Fall’s arrived: image from

What are you up to today?

Categories: Attitude, Faith, Family, Joy, Life, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

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