Posts Tagged With: winding road

Where is there?

Walking downtown one morning recently, I thought about how my phone’s GPS had done all it could: It got me “there.”

But where was “there?”

The locator announced “You’ve arrived at your destination.”  I parked and got out, looking around. Up, down, all around.

Where is there?

Her voice chirped in my earpiece, “head north for 200 feet.”

Which way was North?   Was I supposed to start counting steps?


I turned, felt the biting wind, and turned again.

Walked some more.


Popped into a coffee shop and asked a young man serving.  He knew his address but not any others. I found out he lives in Eastown.  Pleasant yes, but totally irrelevant.

I bought a coffee anyways.  Delicious.

Stepping back into the wind, I turned right, away from it.

Followed my nose, so-to-speak.

Finally, I ducked into another portal and called the # associated with the meeting.  Thankfully the meeting organizer answered.  Explaining my dilemma, she laughed and said, “I didn’t think to give everyone a landmark, sorry about that.”   She described their building, gave me the suite number, and that was the end of that.

Looking up, I saw the building, and realized I’d been there, or close to there, the whole time.

I was here … and there!

“The path to our destination is not always a straight one. We go down the wrong road, we get lost, we turn back. Maybe it doesn’t matter which road we embark on. Maybe what matters is that we embark.” ― Barbara Hall


*Can you relate to this?  Have you ever found it hard to tell here from there?  How often do you turn off GPS and follow your instincts?


Categories: Determination, Faith, Growth, Personal, Quotes, Random, Self Discovery, Thoughts, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments


Five years ago, Hubbs and I and youngest boy spent the night in Detroit so I could take my citizenship test early the next morning.

Five years ago, I passed that test with flying colors.

Five years ago, I raised my right hand and took the oath of allegiance to the United States of America and proudly stepped forward as a new citizen.

Five years ago, I got my second passport.

Five years.

Five years ago, I couldn’t have imagined that five years later I’d be heading to Washington, D.C. this morning to represent my employer and my state.

Five years.

Only in America!

The United States Capitol is the meeting place of the United States Congress, the legislature of the federal government of the United States. Located in Washington, D.C., it sits atop Capitol Hill at the eastern end of the National Mall.‎

…she cried because prejudice outlives passion and because she was sentimentally patriotic.”  ― Irène Némirovsky

related posts:

Categories: Attitude, Faith, Growth, Joy, Life, Patriotic, Personal, Politics, Quotes, Thoughts, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 32 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

Love at the table

It was Easter weekend, only a few weeks ago now. We had oldest boy and the wee ones over, plus Grandpa, youngest boy and, of course, Frankie the dog.  Add in me & Hubbs and we had ourselves a full table.  The kitchen was brimming with the scents of ham and roast turkey, double stuffed potatoes, steamed vegetables, salads and desserts.  The table, loaded with place settings and bunnies, was peppered with talk of egg hunts later on.

As we gathered, little MJ, the youngest of the bunch, leaned over and asked, “Nana, can we pray?”

“Of course we can,” I said.  Seeing her delighted smile, I asked “Would you like to say the blessing, Luvee?”

Shyly she nodded.

Ignoring her brother’s eye roll, she took his hand firmly in hers and watched as he took Pops’ hand. She reached for me and I, in turn, reached for Grandpa who reached for oldest boy who reached for youngest who reached for Hubbs/Pops. Together, we completed a circle.  Even Frankie, lying at Grandpa’s feet, was in on it.

Three and half years old, she waited for everyone to bow their heads before she started to sing, “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so. Little to ones to Him belong; they are weak but He is strong.”

And with that, she clapped, we cheered, and the love at the table was palpable.

The singer with her Easter "Pack-Pack"

The singer with her Easter “Pack-Pack”

Categories: Faith, Family, Food, Growth, Holidays, Home, Joy, Life, Love, Personal, Thoughts, Traditions, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 14 Comments


I wrote about Boston yesterday. Today I found out about an odd coincidence:

Sheryl, the gal who taught my blogging class so long ago? She’s a runner and ran the Boston, her first time. She and her family are OK and you can visit her blog at:

I don’t know why but, somehow, finding this out made me feel better.

Not about what happened.  Not about what people are going through.

About the connections we make that seem so happenstance at the time.

About feeling a little less alone in all this turmoil.

About knowing that there’s a larger plan in place than what I know it to be.

Curved asphalt road

Everyday is a winding road …

“Coincidences are just God’s way of remaining anonymous.”

Have you ever experienced a coincidence that gave you comfort?


Categories: Attitude, Faith, fear, Friendship, Gratitude, Life, News, Relationships | Tags: , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Turning down life’s volume

I don’t know about you but most of my days are pretty scheduled.   During the work week, I am up early and out the door on time; I usually work through lunch and conference calls don’t often end until well after the quitting hour.  The funny thing is, I love a schedule. I enjoy the nuances of my work and the fact that some weeks have me traveling one day and in the office the next.    The company I work for is changing, morphing, growing;  keeping a schedule and helping my team know what to expect is critical to our success.

But, when Saturday rolls around, I still arm myself with a big list of things to accomplish.  You know what I mean: clean the closet, organize that stack of medical reports, wash the floor, etc.

I know from where it comes: my parents and Grandparents.  Hard work was expected but good work was praised. Growing up, they didn’t have time to pursue extra interests so what attributes were commented on?  Work ethic. “Oh … he’s a good man, that one, a really hard worker.” Or “Oh that guy, kind of a slacker, be glad you didn’t marry someone like that.”

So there’s a certain genetic marker in me that is programmed to work. To be useful. Effective. Organized.

But also living inside me is the dreamer, the creative one, the one who wants to play.

Some Saturdays you’ll find me going after the house like the White Tornado.

Remember Ajax's "White Tornado?" google images

Remember Ajax’s “White Tornado?” google images

And other Saturdays finding me doing just the opposite.

Today, I did something I don’t often do: I slept ’till I woke. It was 8:08 when my eyes opened … not late, really, but choosing to snooze till my body said “wake” felt like a gift.

I could have slept longer, but I didn’t.

I could have immediately started laundry and put away the dishes and and and.

But I didn’t.

Instead, Frankie and I stood in the doorway to the yard and watched the snow fall.  He sniffed and I sipped and we both smiled at the robins flitting about.

Yes there are things to get done but, more than anything, we’re pushing the off button.

“Quiet is peace. Tranquility. Quiet is turning down the volume knob on life. Silence is pushing the off button. Shutting it down. All of it. – Amir”  – Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner

Are you able to lower the volume on your life?  Do you have that same genetic marker that tells you work-work-work?

Categories: Attitude, Faith, Family, Home, Life, Opinion, Relationships, Self Discovery, Thoughts, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | 28 Comments

On Fridays

happy dog

Friday’s make me grin

On Fridays, coffee shop lines are filled with people who smile at each other.

On Fridays, the weekend peeks over the horizon with projects and possibilities.

On Fridays, conversations turn to dates and plans, dreams and stories.

On Fridays, we turn off the lights on our week’s work.

On Fridays,  4:30 is to meetings what water is to boarding.

Happy Friday, peeps!

happy cat

Have a great weekend!

*all images from Pinterest.

Categories: Animals, Attitude, Beauty, Faith, Friendship, Fun, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 14 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

Filling the tank

“Many of us harbor hidden low self-esteem. We deem everything & everyone more important than ourselves and think that meeting their needs is more important than meeting our own. But if you run out of gas, remember that everyone riding with you will be left stranded by the side of the road, too.” – Bishop T.D. Jakes

So there I was yesterday, midway between one conference call and another when I heard a sound.

Snap – Crackle – Pop and it wasn’t Rice Krispies.

It was my neck.  My poor old chicken neck feeling like it’d been wrung out to dry.



Daylight savings time. Back to back meetings and conference calls, schedules and deadlines, reports and more.

And then I remembered something I’d tucked away.  Something I’d saved for a day just  like this one. Something that I knew I’d keep for just the right moment.

What was it? A massage gift certificate from Hubbs – a Christmas present that lived in my purse for nearly 3 months.

My hands trembled as I dialed the phone … “What’s that? Yes, you can see me today?  At 5pm?  Sweet!”

Oh I didn’t just walk out the door, I’m pretty sure I galloped.

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

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

My phone was off.  My whereabouts …  unknown.

For one glorious and blissful hour I wasn’t in charge of anything or anybody.

Just my breathing.


When’s the last time you stopped to make sure your tank was full?


*all Google images

Categories: Determination, Faith, Growth, Home, Joy, Life, Personal, Quotes, Relationships, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , | 30 Comments

You got it

Anything you want, you got it. Anything you need, you got it.

Anything at all … you got it.

How so?

Scroll down …

image from

image from

Got it?

I’m not walking by sight .. I am walking by faith.  ~T.D. Jakes

Categories: Attitude, Confidence at any age, Determination, Faith, Forgiveness, Gratitude, Growth, Joy, Life, Personal, Quotes, Relationships, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Survey says 11-11-11

My blogging friend, Dianna, at These Days of Mine tagged me in this challenge recently.  As Dianna said, this one’s a bit long so you might as well make yourself comfy now.

The Rules:

1. Post the rules.
2. Post a photo of yourself and 11 random facts about you.
3. Answer the 11 questions given to you in the tagger’s post.
4. Create 11 new questions and tag new people to answer them.
5. Go to their blog/twitter and let them know they have been tagged.

Since I’ve been blogging since 2010, it was challenging to come up with 11 random things that I haven’t shared before.  So here goes nothing!

this is me .. 28 years ago

this is me 28 years ago. Wonder where that red Zebra shirt went?

1) I never wear red. The photo above is an exception as I’m partial to blues and purples.

2)   I am a light sleeper and find it hard to sleep in hotels because I hear everything and am afraid of missing the alarm.  So, I  go to bed extra early to make up for all the hours I don’t sleep at all. Ugh!

3) Not long after I came along, Mom got very sick and I had to go live with her parents in B.C., 2 provinces away.  I lived with Nana and Grandpa for a year and didn’t learn of this until I was a parent myself.

That's me as an infant with my parents, brothers and sisters. Mom was so tiny. I wore that dress as part of a costume for a play; I was a size 2 at the time and that dress was tight on me!

That’s me as an infant with my parents, brothers and sisters.

4) I performed a Wheat-ectomy 4 weeks ago; no more joint pain, no more hypoglycemia, -7lbs down, and feeling snazzariffic. For more read

5) I never watch horror movies or anything demonic. Ever.

6) Elvis was my first crush. I might have shared that before. Hee Hee.

Hello, Handsome!

Hello, Handsome!

7) I grew up at the racetrack. I’ve written about that before, too.

In the Winner's circle with Mom & Dad, 1982.

In the Winner’s circle with Mom (front) & Dad (right behind me in green), 1982. That’s our hunky horse trainer, Bill, far right. He was my 2nd, 3rd and 4th crush.

8) I choose listening to music over watching TV every time.   I love to sing along and don’t care who’s listening!

9) I once went 2 years without eating candy bars. Didn’t miss them but I could never give up pie.

10)  I care less about what someone tells me than what they do.

11) In my heart of hearts, I’m still a farm kid.

getting ready to hit the dusty trail!

getting ready to hit the dusty trail with my cousin Kathy. I’m on Riley, my Arabian/Welsh pony, and she’s riding Queen, cousin Deb’s Pinto/Palomino mix.

Here are the 11 questions Dianna asked:

1) What’s a favorite summertime memory from your childhood?   Playing cops & robbers on horseback in the coulees around the farm.

2) You and a close friend have an afternoon to spend together. What are your plans?  Have lunch somewhere cozy that allows for plenty of raucous laughter. Maybe on my patio.

3) What dish can you prepare without using a recipe?  All of them. I mostly cook from memory and that’s why no two dishes are ever quite the same.

4) What image is on your mouse pad?  Family photos

5) Do you have a nickname?  MJ but Mom calls me Jeansy.

6) What is your favorite way to exercise?  Dancing.

7) Do you play a musical instrument? Yes, piano & guitar

8) Were you named for someone? If so, whom?  My middle name is Jean and that’s for Nana Jean

9) What is your favorite type of music?  A mix between Classic Rock, Country, Disco and Elvis of course.

10) When is your birthday (month and day)?  6/21 or as Hubbs likes to tease, “the longest darn day of the year!”

11) What’s the closest you’ve ever been to a natural disaster?   Do mountains of snow count?

And lastly, my 11 questions for you are below:

1) Coffee or tea?

2) Who mentored you in your career/job?

3) If you could go back in time and right one wrong, what would it be?

4) It’s your birthday and everyone important to you is gathering to celebrate:  what type of celebration do you prefer? (large/small, type of food, inside/outside, at home/restaurant, etc)

5) What’s the last book you recommended?

6) Think about your family growing up – what role did you play and do you still? (Organizer, peacemaker, etc).

7) You’ve been given 2 tickets to anywhere … where do you go and who’s going with you?

7) Finish this sentence: I’ve always wanted to ____________. (Please keep your answer P.G., thanks!)

8) What smell makes you think of summertime?

9) What do you wish others knew about you?

10) Do you have a quote that inspires you?  (I have many but a favorite is “To thine own self be true.”)

11) What one possession from your childhood do you wish you still had?

The rules didn’t specify how many bloggers to name for this so I’m choosing everyone who reads this post. I know it’s a bit involved but hey – if I can do it, so can you.  🙂 But, should you find yourself pressed for time, please feel free to choose just a few of my 11 questions to answer.   Either way, I’ll be right here, ready to readCheers!

Categories: Animals, Blogging, Faith, Family, Friendship, Fun, Joy, Life, Personal, Relationships, Thoughts, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Work it out

Growing up the youngest of five, there were times that we just didn’t get along.

With 9 years between the oldest and youngest (me) and 3 channels to watch, one of them French, TV shows were often decided on by the (much bigger) boys.   Favorites like “The Carol Burnett Show” or “The Wonderful World of Disney” garnered cooperation from all but  “Hockey Night in Canada” meant front row seats for them and we girls off doing something else.

When Mom heard us bickering over something – the last cookie, the TV channel, etc, her response was always “Oh for Pete’s sakes, work it out.”

The thing is, we had each other and several thousand acres to run around on. We had animals and bikes, ponies and hay stacks.  We made up games and found ways to stay entertained.   And as much as they teased and tortured, my brothers’ schemes and ideas made for great adventures … and usually got us into trouble.

Like smoking in the hayloft.

Maybe not the best idea.

Or test driving the farm truck with three or four of us in the truck bed … headed down prairie trails at 50 mph and no brakes.  It’s a wonder we survived to laugh about it now.

In my experience, being farm raised meant a firm foundation and consistent values sprinkled with a healthy dose of neglect  freedom. We were taught what to do and we did it.  We had chores and responsibilities. We were trusted to figure things out as we went.  And did we ever.

I’ll never forget one hot summer’s day when the boys convinced us to trek a half  mile to the river for a swim. I was 4.   Filling a couple of mason jars and swiping a few cookies, I’m sure Mom assumed we were headed to the tree house, a daily play site.  The five of us took off, making our way through the brambles of the coulee, and down the raggedy hills to that swiftly flowing river.  I was too young to know better but oh-so-happy to be included.

the South Saskatchewan river, view from our homestead; an emjayandthemphoto (C)

the South Saskatchewan river, a view from the homestead. That water is cold and swift and deep.  an emjayandthemphoto (C)

The sun warmed my back as we played and that river sand felt so silky smooth sliding through my fingers. I remember water above me and lights cutting through it.  I didn’t know I was drowning but it was my brother’s arm who yanked me out, sputtering and scared.

A neighbor found us a few hours later and our parents, frantic and panicked, spanked every single one of us, both crying hysterically as they did.   I can only imagine the terror we terrorists caused them.

So when I saw this Mom’s creative way to make her kids “work it out,” I just had to chuckle, think of Mom and Dad and the five of us rug rats, too.   Because if we had been made to wear this as kids, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be around to talk about it.

image from

“You shut up; no, YOU, shut up.” image from

How were conflicts resolved in your family?  Did your parents have a saying you remember hearing?

Categories: Attitude, Faith, Fun, Home, Life, Life Lessons, Mom, Personal, Relationships, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Wisdom, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , | 35 Comments

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Connie Rosser Riddle

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