Bring Your Own Joy



My life is full of joy but it wasn’t always like this. You have to choose joy and welcome it with resolve to accept no less.



A few weeks ago I was reading a newspaper article about a local high school graduation. A speech topic from a teacher struck me and I’ve thought about it ever since! This teacher was stating boldly that it was important to BYOJ where ever you go. Sounds like BYOB on an invitation, doesn’t it? But instead of toting a beverage, it’s Bring Your Own Joy. Bring your own joy to any occasion or situation.




Bring your own joy where you go…spread it around where you go. Live with this contentment and find it in the simplest things.Bring your own joy to work, even if you don’t feel like being joyful. Many times it will just happen. Bring your own joy to the supermarket, the doctors office and to the bank.



I firmly believe we all have the power to unearth joy within us! You can learn to be joyful despite of life’s factors. Carrying a peaceful presence with love for yourself and others is vital. Carry the truth around with you that no matter what, you will live your life with joy. When this joy lives in your heart, others discover a special glow about you. People will want to be around you, as joy is infectious.


We don’t have to rely on others actions to be joyful. Joy grows from inside you and you  create it on your own. I understand some people would disagree with me on this, because think of your children and cuddling grandchildren and the immense joy that you have around them. Even if people can bring you joy, you must bring your own joy to every situation first.


My life is currently full of joy, but I haven’t always had this. There was a time I focused on being unhappy and down on myself. Yet one day something changed! I was exhausted from being negative and joyless, so I changed! I made the crucial decision to live in joy. With resolve to live happier and fulfilled, I found peace and joy in the simple life.

Walking on a country road…

Listening to the chirpy heartfelt  tunes of birds…

being at peace with myself…

finding special moments with my family….



When you choose to grow joy, you will see a turn around in your life. Whatever it takes to  create joy in yourself and your life, do it. Wake up each day with the positive affirmation that you will live with joy. It will change your life and put you on a different road to being fulfilled.


All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤️

☀️☀️☀️ It’s a beautiful day to celebrate! WordPress just informed me that I have 51 subscribers and 5 email followers! Thank you for your support, your faith in my writing and wonderful comments! You all have made a difference in this blog and I appreciate each and every one of you! I started this blog in January of this year and didn’t expect as much as I’ve received. I will continue to write about small town life with my heart and soul. Stay along for the ride and let me know from time to time how you are doing. What would you like to know about? What is your favorite entry? 










All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤️



Take a Number ?








When shopping at my local grocery store last week, something interesting happened. A long train of shoppers with parked carts surrounded the deli counter. Suddenly a man stepped up behind me and approached the ticket dispenser. He went to take a number but nothing came out. I knew right away that he either wasn’t from around here or he never shopped at this store before.I piped up and said they really didn’t use that system here and that it was for stores down south. If you frequent Market Basket further south of us ( a few hours away) this ticket system is the norm. There people don’t hesitate to step up to take a number. It’s a larger city with more population than our town.





Once you take a number it all goes downhill. What I mean is that I don’t want to be reminded of the wait and it feels cold and heartless. I’m just a number? Number 93, what would you like today? Well, for starters I’d rather be number 1 and to make it personal, my name is Mary.



Take a number, that’s definitely not a north country tradition! You’re more than a number, it’s an insult otherwise! You see, I’m used to shopping in a small north country store where the workers know me as a person, not as a number. They remember what I get every week and continue conversations from the week before. It feels like we are old friends. If I have to start taking a number, it may become business like and maybe we won’t be able to chat. It’s impersonal and it may resemble big boxed store .




After all this take my ticket rejection, guess what happened this week? While shopping at the deli, I was finally told to take a number! It must be the busy Fourth of July mob of tourists who drove Shaw’s Supermarket to do it! I took a number and giggled, because you just never know what will happen once you start thinking about things.



I cautiously predict that the ticket system will fail, simply because our town is so small and there will not be a need for it! Just a few of my thoughts on taking a number and I would rather not be just a number but a person. Just sayin’.

Do you have to take a number at your local grocery store? How do you feel about it? Am I just being silly about this?


All My Best,

Heart and Soul❤️


A Prayer Jar 🙏

I first heard of a similar idea from Elizabeth Gilbert but this photo was taken from Pinterest.





While living life as a good Christian, I feel the need to write down my prayers as well as voice them. During the school year I hear of stories of suffering from Cancer and tragedies, to the point that I felt overwhelmed! Yet the answer to being overwhelmed by strife and pain is to simply pray. Prayers heal our soul and send a message of love and faith in  God.





Being overloaded with prayer requests throughout the year led me to problem solving. Why not write down my prayers in a small notebook,but continue to voice them as well. Better yet, why not create a prayer jar? I found this brilliant idea on Pinterest! Acquire a jug or jar with a wide mouth and lid. Decorate it as you wish. Voice your prayers with resolve, then jot them down on paper and deposit in the prayer jar.




On New Year’s Eve read the prayer requests from all year and be amazed how God worked wonders, in many ways. He works for our favor, in small and huge circumstances and you must be looking for signs or you may miss it! Sometimes God doesn’t answer prayers right away or in the way you expect, but it’s for good reasons.





However you pray or what time of day doesn’t matter, just that you do. Writing prayers down helps me sort all them out. I especially like the prayer jar idea, a chance to see all the prayers for the year and how they were answered in different ways. I’m still looking for the right jar to start this. In the meantime I’ll continue to jot prayers in my book and say them day and night.





As I write this, I will keep you and your families in my prayers. Please comment with prayer requests if needed.

With many Blessings…

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤️




My Garden Thief !😝







Recently I’ve written about an unknown animal scalping my broccoli plants. We speculated it was a deer or a small animal but couldn’t find a trace of footprints. Just today while walking across my cool grass lawn, the thief appeared!


Suddenly I spied a large woodchuck with lots of brown fur and a fat body traipsing along my tomato plants. This pudgy guy wasn’t tiptoeing through the tulips! No wonder it’s so flabby from eating all my broccoli! I bet it was longing for red ripe fruit to snack on but instead it got a power shock , when I ran full force across the lawn! Harassing and hollering, “Get out!”, I managed to scare it away from my planted sisters. It ran as fast as it could through the tall grass on the back side of the pond.


Now I really need a fence! Tom….I’ll add it to my to do list and I love you too.

Hopefully to be not continued….

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤️

Fourth of July Family and Freedom🇱🇷





As I look back on our little Fourth of July celebration I think mostly of how quiet and peaceful it was. It was a raging hot day in Northern New Hampshire. It was unusual to have less car traffic zooming by our home but nice to have some quiet. Probably many people traveled away for the holiday or stayed put for a cook out, like we did.


It was a day of family and food, of course!  It was nothing fancy or booming spectacular like many Americans indulge in, but that’s okay with me! A morning of reflection and sunshine was well needed. My husband left briefly to tend to a neighborhood pool, as I set my fine blue Willow plates out on our outside table. I thought of using paper plates for our cook out but immediately decided that it was a special occasion and why not use the fine dishes?




Dylan and his sweet girlfriend Lexie arrived just before noon. With cold raspberry lemonade in hand and a cold beer for my husband, we walked the yard with Lexie’s dog Nugget. He was fascinated with this new place and smelled every inch of it! It was great having a dog around, as we just have cats and they stay inside.


The young men and Lexie played a quiet non competitive game of croquet. Nugget rested in the cool shade of the picnic table. Tom worked the grill with a beer in tow, as I finished up cooking our corn on the cob. As Tom joked about how a deer ate my garden, He said, ” Well, there he is right now!” Lexie and I thought he was joking and laughed giddily but when we looked, there was a pristine deer crossing the road from our pond. It was so peaceful and was meant to share in our day! 


We all sat at the table with the hot sun cooking us as we ate. It was so steamy hot that the butter on the butter dish melted instantly and we all laughed that it would spread easier now! Cheeseburgers and black bean burgers charred from the grill, macaroni salad, German potato salad ( the first time I made it and it was delicious!), pickles, chips, fresh fruit salad were all on the menu. A big part of July Fourth parties is the scrumptious food, so we ate with vigor  and it was all so good! 


 Dylan and Lexie left to go for a hike. An afternoon of leisure and naps were upon us. Later we hopped into the car and rode to Bretton Woods to see the fireworks. In recent years the Mount Washington Hotel put them off but we think that may have been Saturday and this display was separate. We sat in camp chairs by the side of a busy road watching red, white and blue fireworks paint the sky. With a few crackling pops and splashes of vivid color, it was over within minutes. 

Long gone are neighborhood parties where we lounged all day or floated in the pool. I  brought my crockpot brimming with chili and our family stayed for night fireworks and a fire at Tom’s sister’s house. Although we all miss those fun times and reminisce about them, this  celebration was still symbolic of our freedom. A quiet day was simple, yet meaningful. It was a day to remember everything that is great about our country, land of the free and brave. America isn’t perfect nor its politicians, but it’s home, my home and I feel blessed to be here.


All My Best,

Heart and Soul 🇱🇷❤️ 

An Unwelcome Visitor




It is with a broken heart that I share with you the story of the unwelcome visitor. In ten years of gardening at two different New Hampshire locations we have never have had such an terrible experience!  It had cleaned out my broccoli in a day and a half!





Every morning I prudently work in the garden while absorbing the sunshine glow and nature rewards. This is  good for my soul! Most of  the time I walk through again in the afternoon, when the sun shifts a bit. This particular day all was well in my humble plot as the sun warmed the earth.





I left the yard to prepare supper and do dishes after, maybe a couple hours in all.After supper my husband, son and I were talking in the yard when I noticed scalped broccoli plants. From a distance it almost looked like a heavy wind had toppled the plants. With a double take and a shot of disbelief , I ran to the garden. All that remained was the main stalk and a few leaves here and there!




Before I could even digest what happened, the next morning we noticed the unwelcome visitor dropped in again. A few more leaves were chomped on with no sign of tracks. Tom thinks it may be a small animal like a weasel, something that’s living near our pond.




So the story doesn’t end here, as more questions arise than answers! All I know is that a row of food has been wiped out and my heart is broken in the process. From this point on we are planning a fence. Until it’s finished I’ll scatter pepper to deter the hungry visitor and read up on possible animals.


All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤️