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Posts Tagged With: traditions

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.

Why?

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 mountains..to the prairies

To the oceans..White with foam

God Bless America!

    My Home Sweet Home

Happy birthday, America …. from a grateful citizen.

 

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

Memories of Masterpiece

Winter has arrived in Michigan – we’re on our 3rd day of heavy snow – yesterday was swirly, twirly snow spinning down and around and to the ground.  Today snow is falling quickly, like rain. It’s cold and beautiful and slippery!

“It’s a good day for a house,” Mom used to say.   Yes indeed.

Hubbs is making omelettes and I’m wrapping presents.  Christmas tunes play on the radio.  We’re cozy, tucked in and content.

Reminiscing last night about the Christmases of our childhood, Hubbs and I laughed at how our parents always bought us board games.  Well 1), because we asked for them but 2) setting up the board and figuring out the rules kept us all occupied for hours.  In my home our dining room table often had a board game set there on a rather permanent basis – Monopoly,  Clue, Masterpiece, just to name a few.

My oldest sister was the keeper of the rules and my youngest brother was the one most likely to bend them.  Oldest brother sometimes played and sometimes he didn’t – by my middle sister and I were fierce competitors.  The real fun started when our cousins and aunts/uncles arrived.  Kids games were quickly  moved to a back bedroom as the adults took over for Cribbage, Rummy, 7 card stud and Whist.

Hubby and I remember smokey clouds above the card table and counter tops covered in nuts, treats and ingredients for various adult beverages – Caesars,  Harvey Wall-bangers and Rum/Rye and Coke.  Nobody over did it, Bing and Dean played on the record player and sometimes they danced.  Ladies wore dresses and pearls, slingback heels and peep toe shoes.  Gentlemen sported dress slacks and buttoned-down shirts, jackets and sometimes a tie or a sweater.   I remember Dad grinning as he took Mom for a twirl around the kitchen before guests arrived – I watched in my Church dress and white tights.  Those moments stay close even though they’re both gone.

Coca-Cola was a hot commodity, too – that was a treat we rarely got.  At Christmas time Dad would buy a few cases of pop to keep in the basement (ever cold) and if we were good – and only IF – we might get to split a glass of pop with a sister or cousin.  Ooh what a treat.

Sipping on a glass of Ginger Ale, stealing Aunt Irene’s famous peanut-butter balls and winning at Masterpiece  — now that’s a Christmas vacation I can only dream about today.

parker_brothers_masterpiece_auction_art_game_board_box_lid

Forgery!! – A favorite from my childhood

**When you think back to Christmases of your childhood – what comes to mind?  Did you play board games or card games in your family?Which ones? What tastes and smells take you back to the Christmases of your dreams?

 

 

 

Categories: Family, Fun, Gratitude, Holidays, Joy, Life, music, Personal, Random, Relationships, Romance, Seasons, Thoughts, Traditions | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Random 5 Sunday – Vacation, Naps, Plans and Cheer

It’s time for Random 5 Sunday on the first Sunday in December:

  • Thanksgiving week vacation:  I’ve never taken the whole week of Thanksgiving off. I’ve taken a day here and a day there. But never the whole week. And now, ladies & gents, I do believe I have a new tradition ~  whoop!

good-for-your-soul

  • Hallmark Channel Holiday movies.  While on vacation, I watched at least 5 Hallmark Holiday movies – sometimes I only caught the tail end or the beginning.  You have to admit, the plot is easy to predict most of the time – a beautiful young lass soured on love by a jerky boyfriend moves back to her home town only to bump into the world’s hottest handy-man while shopping for her daughter who it turns out only made 1 friend at school – the (widowed) hottie’s son … and in just a matter of weeks she finds the love of her life, saves a small town business, rescues kittens and puppies and all they live happily ever after, over hot chocolate in perfectly coordinated tartan jackets ~ sigh

hallmark-christmas-movies

  • Naps – glorious, wonderful, and life-redeeming.  Because we stayed on our “normal” schedule during our time off,  just 1 nap was enough. Somehow I kept up on my rest.   Went back to work wide-awake and refreshed.  And good thing, because I clocked 800+ miles last week alone!

kitten asleep

  • Travel plans ~  Sissy and I are planning a “sister’s” getaway – we’ll likely revisit Branson, MO for a week of visiting, shopping, visiting, shows and fun.  We’ve visited there once before, 10 years ago, when we took Mom for her 77th birthday.  What a great time we had – and such a relaxed and friendly place to be.   After our 3rd night Mom happily chirped, “You know, I’ve never stayed in a hotel this many nights and I’ve never gone out for every single meal!”  We were girlfriends on this trip you see, more than mother and daughters.  She loved the adventure and spoke of it many times with fondness.  I know she’d love that we’re planning to go back.
me, mom & my sister in Branson, MO, 2007

me, mom & my sister in Branson, MO, 2007

  • Christmas Spirit:  I wasn’t really feeling any Christmas spirit heading into our Family Christmas party last night.  The hustle and bustle and holiday ho-ho-hos didn’t do it.  Lots of yummy foods, hugs and merriment didn’t do it.  No – it was capturing this picture – of wee cousins (with our grands in the mix) at the exact moment they all cheered “SANTA CLAUS” – that’s what did it.
xmas-party-2016-kiddos

Santa Claus!! An Emjayandthem (C) photo

“He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree.”  ― Roy L. Smith

What randoms would you like to share?  Are you feeling the Christmas spirit yet?

Categories: Attitude, Blogging, Faith, Family, Fun, Growth, Holidays, Home, Joy, Life, Patriotic, Random, Thoughts, Traditions | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

‘Till next time

There’s no other way to say it than to say it: Mom passed away last week.

She’d been up & down and things weren’t getting better; but we’d been there before, collectively holding our breath.  And then the little bit would rally and surprise us all, over and over again.

Oldest sister sat with her last Sunday and they talked frankly about things; thankfully Mom made her own choices about being moved from the nursing home to the hospital.  “No way,” she said emphatically.  But the meds weren’t working as they had before.  Sissy asked if she was tired and Mom said yes, yes she was.  Sissy told her it was OK to rest that she would sit with her and she did. She asked about calling the others. Mom’s response was a typical Mom response, “Don’t believe that’s necessary.”  Sissy did anyway and they all visited the next day.  The morning after that, Mom slipped quietly away.

Even when you expect it, there’s no way to prepare for the loss of someone you love. You can’t.  All you can do hold on as hard as you can and brace yourself for the waves of grief that are sure to come. Some are Tsunamis, some are ankle nippers.  You try not to drown.  I’m still there, some days floating, other days gasping.

I had booked flights for my nephew’s wedding at the end of July; our oldest son’s wedding is this Saturday.  It was so like her to slip off before all that – not wanting to cause a fuss. It was so like her to put space between those milestones so as not to tamper anyone’s joy.

Tickets have been changed, I’ll leave sooner.

She wanted to be cremated and for us to hold a service “when it made sense.”  That was also so her. We laugh about how, even now, she’s still ‘large & in charge.’  Sobs come through our stories.

We’ll have a service at the grave site then a gathering in the town hall with several hundred people followed by a lunch. There’s no church big enough!!  And not having everything this week or next gives people time to come.  And they are. By the droves.  Not just locally but from all over Canada & the U.S. as well.   Mom was well-known and loved; friends & family want the opportunity to tell their stories and pay their respects.  I’ve tried to help where I can, making phone calls, sending photos, and just being part of things.  But I know when I step off the plane that grief will hit me in the face like a wet towel.  Drafting her obituary last night stung but I was  honored to do so.

As sad as I am and as much as I’ll miss her I know she’s free.  She’s with Dad on a date night, holding the winning ticket to a fast horse, enjoying a hot Rye, her purse just a-swinging.    I smile knowing Frankie’s tucked up under Heaven’s kitchen table getting fatter by the second; she always called that dog “the Gentleman.”  Her Mom and Dad are there, she’s with other pals and family.  Farm dogs, barn kitties and ponies we’ve lost along the way are all snuggled up close to her. How can we be sad at that?

Mom and Dad with one of their winning horses - and a date night. An Emjayandthem(C) photo

Mom and Dad with one of their winning horses – and a date night. An Emjayandthem(C) photo

No, the sadness, that’s for us. The sadness comes in knowing we have to wait to see her again. And I’m not that patient.

But mixed with the grief is the gratitude: for all who she was, all that she did, and how deeply we loved her.

I’ve lived far from home for 32+ years. She and I enjoyed many happy visits, there, here, other places, plus other trips and adventures. We had a thing: we never said “good-bye” we always said, “’till next time.”  The last time I was home with her, when it came time to leave for the airport, she stood to hug me and laid her head on my chest. We stood quietly like that, her head on me, me supporting her, and her hugging me tightly. I’ll never forget that hug.  Breaking apart we looked each other in the eyes and said “till next time.”   She smiled and I smiled and headed out the door.

Soon my siblings and cousins, aunties and friends will gather – we’ll share her stories and we’ll sing her songs.  We’ll find ourselves saying the things she would have said. We’ll sip on a Rye and we’ll reflect on the gift of a Mother happy to be one.  On the gift that was her.

related:

“When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.” ~ Kahlil Gibran  

angels-kiss

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Attitude, Confidence at any age, Determination, Faith, Family, Gratitude, Grief, Growth, Home, Life, Love, Mom, Personal, Relationships | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 20 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? google.images.com

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.  😀

chapter

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

Christmas 2015 ~ Changes, lessons and blessings

Christmas has come and gone and with that comes time to reflect.  I have a few days off ahead of me and a couple of closets that need attention.  But I also have new books waiting on the end table … I think the books might win. 🙂

The grand kids were with us the night of the 23rd and all day the 24th, and our family feasted, played and opened presents that evening. It was fun and cozy and wonderful.  But it was also different.  You see things changed this year: they’ve slept over on Christmas eve for 3 years now, and we have embraced waking to two bright little faces … even if they do tend to get up on the early side.

But this year was different.  They wanted to go home, to hang their stockings there with Dad and his fiance.  That’s a very good sign that they know who their home is.

Still, we packed as much in as we could, playing Yahtzee and Dice, making chocolate chip pancakes and lunches/snacks, enjoying Holiday movies like “Elf” and “Prancer” and calling the Santa Tracker regularly to check on the big guy’s whereabouts. We read the story of Jesus’ birth and “The Night before Christmas.”    At the end of the night, as Dad and his love bundled them up, they were sleepy but excited to go home, see the dog and put out cookies for Santa.

Several times that day I had tried calling Mom but she didn’t answer; what I didn’t know is she’s congested again and that impacts her hearing.  The phone is next to her, but she never heard it ring.  Talking with my sister Christmas Day she relayed that she and my oldest brother spent part of the day with Mom and how much she enjoyed it but that it played her out, too.   I shared my connectivity concerns and she suggested I call the front desk and have them bring Mom the portable phone, which we did.  For about 5 minutes Mom chatted with me, Hubbs and youngest boy, and while our conversations were brief,  we all expressed our love and gratitude for her as well as our sincere wishes for a Happy Christmas.  We each had a tear when the call ended. And if the time comes that she can no longer hear well enough to talk on the phone, I guess I’ll have to come up with an alternative.

I’ve beat myself up for weeks,  wondering why I wasn’t feeling it ~ the Christmas “spirit.”

I can see now that life has been preparing me for another change.  Time to let some things go – to roll with the changes – and to land safely on the other side.   I’m trying to remain open as to what He has in store for me.

a time to keep

“Sacred blessings and divine opportunities appear in your life disguised as unforeseen changes and challenging circumstances.” ― Miya Yamanouchi

 

What changes are you sensing?  Are you able to roll with them?

Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Confidence at any age, Determination, Faith, Family, fear, Grief, Growth, Holidays, Life, Life Lessons, Love, Mom, Personal, Quotes, Relationships, Seasons, Self Discovery, Thoughts, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 20 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

Random 5 Friday and special occasions

It’s Friday and the day after Thanksgiving, and Black Friday for all the shoppers. Here are 5 randoms from my world this week:

1  Sent most of the leftovers home with oldest boy & his family last night.  It’s yummy and all but one plate of that calorie-dense food is enough for me.  I’m still full today! Normally I would have enjoyed a piece of pie with my morning coffee today but instead I opted for a nutrient-rich Nutribullet smoothie.  It’s all about balance.  And saving room for a burger later. 🙂

funny!

funny!

2  The house still smells like Thanksgiving dinner.    There’s no candle that could match it!

peanuts-thanksgiving

3  When I was a girl Mom’s Holiday table was a sight to see  – she used her  best china, cut crystal and tablecloths. The table was set several days ahead and we’d circle it, marveling at the tiny decorated Christmas trees or crafted pumpkins down the middle. At mealtime we were given a small bit of Ginger Ale to sip from a goblet, and she served shrimp cocktail to all – young and old. Learning to use those tiny forks and handle fine china – those experiences are precious to me.   Most importantly, she taught us not to save our best for company but to share with all who gather.   The grands are learning how to leave the table without taking the table-cloth with them, they have their own “special” goblets to use, and they and our boys have learned they’re special enough to warrant the good stuff.

cut crystal

“Start living now. Stop saving the good china for that special occasion. Stop withholding your love until that special person materializes. Every day you are alive is a special occasion. Every minute, every breath, is a gift from God.” – Mary Manin Morrissey

 

4  When asked recently if I would be shopping on Black Friday I gave my patent response, “Not without a gun to my head.”  You see I tried it once, years ago, and it was miserable. Life lessons abound, though, because standing in line for a long time affords one the opportunity to determine how badly you want/need the item you’re about to “save” $$ on.  I remember putting it back and leaving the store where I waited for my friends in the fresh air.  People rushed past me, I was the only one smiling, and I learned I’ll happily 1) pay full price to avoid all that or 2) go without.

5  Saw this a few days ago and knew you needed to see it, too.  Happy Thanksgiving, friends.

grateful for

** How was your “Turkey” Day?

What traditions have you kept from your childhood and which ones have changed? **

Categories: Attitude, Faith, Family, Food, Holidays, Home, Life Lessons, Love, Personal, Quotes, Thoughts, Traditions | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

Random 5…. Monday

It’s Monday and I’m off today … so here are 5 Randoms from my week.  Ready? Let’s go.

1 Took a road trip with Hubbs over the weekend  – we had a family wedding to attend so we left Friday, got stuck in traffic, and chatted all the way to our destination – Frankenmuth, MI — a Bavarian town with cute shops, yummy foods, and the world’s largest Christmas store.   Yes Hubbs went in.  Neither of us lasted long and we didn’t buy anything. But he went in and experienced it and I love him all the more for that.

2 We spent a bit more to stay downtown so we could walk to everything.  And it was a good thing we did, because the “all you can eat” Chicken dinner nearly put us down.  Might have been the German beer, but it could have been the four salads, fried chicken, mashed potatoes, buttered noodles, dressing, gravy and veggies.     Pretty sure there was an army of Grandmas back in that kitchen!

bavarian dinner

3 Saturday morning, I took a brisk walk and enjoyed all of the “in & out” shoppes — even though I’d been to the big Christmas store, THIS is what got me in the spirit.    I don’t particularly enjoy malls and this is why — I remember the stores of my small town, and the window displays of Christmases past.  Peeking in, hearing a bell jingle as I entered, made me feel just like this little girl right here:

little girl store window

4 On one of my stops, I ventured into a store that I’d been in before. See I bought a little keepsake here for Mom years ago and she had it hanging in her bedroom at the farm.  She really can’t take personal things with her to the home, there are several who “wander” and things will turn up missing.  This little item is the one thing I’ve asked for specifically and sissy has it put aside for me.  There’s no commercial value, but I loved it then and I love it now and when it comes back to me, it’s going in my bedroom, too.

A Victorian Prayer

5  We enjoyed the wedding and the visit with family but not the kids who were allowed to run laps at the reception. At one point, I asked them to stop.  They smiled and promptly continued.  Hubbs and I were both “community raised” and if our parents hadn’t seen it, an auntie or neighbor surely would have.  And none of them would have held back from correcting us AND telling our parents.  Anticipating the answer, I asked what would’ve happened to him had he dared behave like that.  His response matched mine: “I’d have received an invitation to my own funeral.”  Where were the parents?  On their phones instead of on their kids.  ~sigh.

bratty kids

 * * * *

How was your week? Taken any road trips lately? When’s the last time you felt like a kid?  What happened to make you feel that way? Do you prefer “in & out” shops or shopping malls?  When parents let their kids run wild, what is your response?

Categories: Attitude, Faith, Family, Fun, Home, Joy, Life, Love, Men, Mom, News, Opinion, Personal, Random, Relationships, Seasons, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Goofballs & Billy Boy

*originally posted October 29, 2011

Halloween parties meant a costume parade through the entire school! (My grade school ~ An Emjayandthem (C) photo)

When I was a little girl, Halloween was a very exciting time. We had a class  party and costume parade to look forward to, yummy treats to enjoy, games to play and of course …“Trick or Treating.”

Living on a farm eight miles from town, “Trick or Treating” involved 2 absolutes: cold weather and a car.  Mom and Aunt Irene helped us make our costumes and we often recycle pieces of from older costumes into something new. After supper, we’d pile into one of their cars and head out for the night.  This involved a total of five – count ‘em – five farms to visit:  The Lee home (neighbors), Uncle Harley & Aunt Maxine’s, Grandma and Grandpa’s, Aunt Irene & Uncle Jarl’s and ours.   So, depending on who was driving, we’d start at one and end at the others with three stops in between.   It was expected that we’d “sing for our supper” – sing a song, tell a joke or do something entertaining. Our song of choice was always, “Billy Boy” (Oh where have you been, Billy Boy, Billy boy .. Oh where have you been, charming Billy..) because 1) we knew the words, 2) they knew the words and 3) it always seemed to bring the best results.

I still love Halloween! Me & the Hubbs had a lot of fun with this costume.  An Emjayandthem (C) photo

Bear in mind that very few treats were “boughten” at that time – most offered us a home-made treat.  ((and trust me, this was the good stuff!!))   Norma and Roy Lee always gave us pop – our choice – orange or root beer – and a small bag of home-made cookies or fudge. Yum!  Aunt Irene was known for her caramel apples; Granny Smiths smothered in a thick layer of buttery rich caramel… mmm.  Aunt Maxine was crafty and loved to carve massive jack-o-lanterns to delight us… and her chocolate fudge was delicious as well.   Grandma made each of us our very own candy bag filled to the top with home-made popcorn balls and cookies mixed in with a few store bought treats – black licorice, toffee, and Old Dutch potato chips.  Smiling shyly, Grandpa always slipped in a can of pop and two bits (a quarter) and we felt oh so rich.  Our pillowcases were filled with to the brim with treats and good wishes.  After much admiration of the genius of our costumes and our profound musical talents, off we’d go to the next farm, darting through the biting October wind, wondering at the sky and trying to spot the witches we just knew were flying around.

At the end of the night, we’d get back home and marvel at the abundance of treats .. but it was always those home-made delights we fought over most.

I remember Mom making us “Goofballs” and I think I’ll make some for my grand-kids today :).

GoofBalls

Goofball image courtesy of theartofmakingthings.tumblr.com

1 pkg. Kraft caramels
1 can Eagle brand milk
1/2 lb. butter
1 box Rice Krispies
1 bag large marshmallows

Unwrap the caramels and place into a heavy saucepan.  Add the Eagle brand milk and the butter and stir until the caramels are melted and a sauce is formed. Remove from heat.

Stick 1 toothpick into a large marshmallow and dip it into the sauce carefully.  Immediately roll the caramel covered marshmallow in Rice Krispies. Set on a waxed paper-lined cookie sheet to cool (remove toothpick).    These travel great and kids (and adults) gobble them up!

And .. sing something, will ya?

Happy Halloween!!

Categories: Attitude, Family, fear, Food, Fun, halloween, Holidays, Home, Joy, Life, Mom, Personal, Thoughts, Traditions | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Random 5 – Summer, strawberries and being pretty

It’s not Friday but it is time for 5 random thoughts from the ever-swirling mind of yours truly. Ready? Set? Go!

1. I make my bed as soon as I get up. Every day. Not 10 minutes later, not an hour, right away.  Unless Hubbs is in it. Hard to make a bed up over someone 6′ tall.

VEGAS-WORLD-MARKET_3

I have nearly this many pillows on the bed.

2.   A Facebook friend told me joyfully that it’s only “6 months till Christmas!”  And that’s how people get themselves de-friended or – worse yet – punched!

google.images.com

Google.images.com

3.  Bought several quarts of Strawberries at the Farmer’s market earlier this week.  Not sure if it’s all the rain we got but these are some of the best I’ve ever had!!  I’ll eat till I can’t and freeze the rest. The fragrance? One word: Heavenly. My favorite birthday dessert was Mom’s Strawberry Shortcake:  tiny sweet berries picked fresh from the garden, hearty REAL rich whipped cream piled on top of a thick slice of Angel Food cake.  I have a mandate that you MUST drizzle some of the berry juice onto the cake and let it soak in and turn the cake pink.   The taste of summer – next to a burger off the grill or farm fresh corn on the cob, that’s about as good as it gets!

strawberries

Can you smell them?  Just heavenly!

4. Last weekend was my niece’s shower and my sisters and I giggled remembering how, in our day, a Bridal Shower was a social gathering and big time Ladies outing.  There was never an assumption that all of us could attend.  Oh no.  It was an afternoon or evening out for Mom, in her best dress, her hair curled up and her Avon lipstick on.  She’d always let one – not all three – of us girls go with her.  We all remember my middle sister pleading with Mom to let her go instead of another and assuring her she’d not get wet.  She probably did get to go after all, but what I remember most were Bridal showers in Church basements, tea in teapots, dainty squares on doilies and the privileged feeling of being included.

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Showers were held in the basement of this United Church; the smell of Lemon Pledge and coffee percolating permeates my memories to this day.

5.   We have often heard someone described as pretty.  I love this definition even more:

pretty

Yes!

And how is your week going?  How were Bridal and Baby showers different when you were growing up?  What summer time fruit are you enjoying these days?  What are you pretty at?

Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Faith, Family, Home, Life, Mom, Personal, Quotes, Relationships, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 27 Comments

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