A Familiar Scent

Do you have a certain scent that brings back precious memories? It’s amazing how smells can transport us back in the past or right beside a special person we knew! It could be the Patchouli perfume that your grandma wore that instantly brings you back to the days that you could speak with her or the sweet smell of butterscotch candies that your grandpa had hidden in his pocket for special occasions.

 

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My favorite scent that evokes memories is chimney smoke. I know that’s strange but it is something that sticks with me. It reminds me of comforting days in my childhood. Our family always had a fireplace or wood stove. Playing outside I couldn’t help but notice it’s pungent odor. It meant warmth and tranquility, for when I went inside, we gathered around the fire. A sure sign of fall and winter, the smokey scent was exhilarating amid the chilly air.

 
Wisps of gray curly smoke plummets from the chimney. Sometimes it shoots straight up and others whips north, depending on the wind direction. It makes a whimsical path in the sky and really is beautiful to me. Despite its beauty and necessity on this cold day, it’s familiar scent is what affects me to my inner core!

 

 

Chimney smoke has a distinct smell combined with fresh air outside. It also reminds me of my Grandpa’s camp long ago, in Vermont. It’s smell brings me back there where I played one day with my cousins. The only memory I have, other than playing with my cousins, is the chimney smoke.

 
On winter days, when returning from home the first sight I see is chimney smoke pluming upward. It means my home is warm and waiting for me. It means piles of cut wood will be neatly stacked in the log carrier and my husband and I will have to retrieve more from the outside wood stash.

 

 

On frigid days coasting down the hill towards work, I enter the bowels of a small town. Chimney tops from street to street are working with their flow of smoke. My favorite scent that evokes memories is chimney smoke and I can actually smell it from a nearby home, through the car window. This sight is comforting, the fact that townsmen are warm during the winter. Although It’s a basic necessity, something some people suffer without.

 

 

Notice what scents bring you back in time, to comforting memories and people. Our senses truly serve us well to connect to thoughts and memories that may have passed on to oblivion if we didn’t have them.

Daily Prompt: Scent

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/2017/01/31/scent/

All My Best,
Heart and Soul

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Courage is…

 

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Taken from HealthyPlace.com

 

 

 

 

I believe courage lives within all of us but not everyone lives in it’s truth or knows how to tap into it. Maybe you practice everything with a breath of courage waving a flag, that dominates everything you do. Perhaps you’re the type of person who has it tucked away humbly and sometimes it surfaces with a powerful force. Its overflow may surprise the heck out of you and it changes you and your self image. Maybe you are tougher than you thought!

 

Sometimes I feel like the famous cowardly lion and others I surprise myself from my bravery battery. When I do act and live in courage, it’s from my faith in God. He helps me stand strong and take anything life throws at me. When I try to depend on merely myself, it doesn’t always work the way I would like.

 

Courage is…

when your primary decision is life changing and you must buckle down and change your life. You do this in silence and by yourself.

Courage is…

the woman who’s fighting cancer but she’s still going through life, giving to others, working, loving and still praying. While she battles illness, she does so with a smile.( Laura)
Courage is…

getting up and showing up and being there for others during trying times.

Courage is…

standing up for what you believe in even if it means losing friends or causing conflicts. Courage is doing what is right even if it feels like you’re losing control of your comfort, but you know you need to do it.

Courage is…

mending relationships with family, friends or coworkers and swallowing your pride and saying a heartfelt apology.
Courage lies within all of us…deep down in your gut or in that smile you forced yourself to make.

I pray that you discover bravery within you, when it’s needed. I was tested this week and unfortunately I wasn’t as brave as I could have been. The story is for another post but I’ll say it happened in the middle of the night and I thought someone stole my car, right out of my driveway. I’ll post that story soon.
All My Best,

Heart and Soul 💜

A Winter Walk

My husband and I were on a carefree Saturday afternoon drive on local back roads, looking for the perfect photo opportunity. Recently I’ve penned a post about trees, all alone in their environment and what they remind me of and how striking they are to me. ( to be posted soon) For a few days now I have been on a mini quest for promising photographs of these trees, with no avail. Although our search was a dead end, we were in a peaceful and quiet daze.

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There’s something special about a winter afternoon walk!

On a back road in  a nearby quaint village , Tom spied a snowy laced road that’s not maintained in the winter. His recollection was that he had hiked up there years ago and that an older woman lived up there in the summer months.

It was a cloudy yet mild day, the kind of day that beckons you to enjoy nature’s offering. We decided that a simple walk was what we truly needed. It would be a chance to stretch and breathe in silence and nature. We slogged in a scattered trail of footprints in the snow and proceeded to climb the slope. The spindly branches framed the road as the snow tread ground resembled a glittery web of white. Tom discovered deer tracks cast in the white powder and we followed their trail with our observant eyes. Dog tracks appeared as well, an indication that neighbors walked their furry friends a time or two.

img_2175This is the road adjoining the slope that’s not maintained. Such beauty and I’m so grateful to live nearby!

There’s something humbling about a simple dirt road. It’s a subtle symphony of natural peace, where you can explore by foot or wheels. The road paves the way for personal thoughts of a tranquil nature. Solutions can be born here and problems fade away to dust. An anxious heartbeat slows to comfort as this world is calming and medicinal.

Upon walking back down the hill, an older man appeared. For a minute I wondered if it was his property or if he would ask us to leave. Coming closer to him, an immediate kindness alleviated my fears. He asked us if we had walked to the cabin. “ No, We just went halfway up, but maybe we can check it out when spring arrives,” I responded. ( It was a little slippery and I didn’t want to fall and make my back worse.)

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Tom enjoying the trek.

The man told us that he lived just a bit down the road and liked to hike up there. He had a recent foot injury, so we told him to be careful. Walking away, he favored that foot but was going to make the best of it. We wished him well and I thought how fortunate that God had placed him in our path that day!

All My Best,

Heart and Soul

Petrified of Pie Baking

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My less than perfect cherry pie with a lattice crust and a cherry blowout.

If anything intimidates me in the kitchen, it’s pie baking. It all starts from mixing the dough perfectly to the rolling step and lastly fitting the crust over the pie. Because of these fears, most of the time I’ve stayed away from pies and baked cakes and cookies instead.

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My first pie baked when I was 24 years old!

I remember that first pie I crafted. I was 24 and living in our apartment in a tight kitchen place but got this desire to bake an apple pie. I got the recipe from Theo, my mother in law and away I worked. Truthfully it came out magnificent for my first one and received compliments and an empty plate from Tom. The crust came out perfect the first time but it wouldn’t last.

Here is the apple pie recipe Theo shared with me. It makes a delicious pie, using honey!

1/3 cup honey

2 Tbsp sugar

2 tsp. cinnamon, I use 1 Tbsp cinnamon. It depends on your preference

2 Tbsp corn starch

dash salt

6-8 medium cooking apples (7 1/2 cups)

1 beaten egg for brushing over crust

coarse sugar to sprinkle atop crust

Place aluminum foil or pie guard around crust for first 30 minutes and remove after that.

Peel and slice apples. Add sugar and honey and spices. Coat with corn starch. Mix all together and place in prepared pie crust. Preheat oven to 425 F. Bake for 15 minutes and then lower to 350 F. Continue baking 35 to 40 minutes or until golden brown and apples are soft.

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My cherry pie from Thanksgiving. The edges need some work but the pie was really tasty!

For years I’ve played the struggle game, mixing and measuring, holding my breath so it wouldn’t fall apart. No matter what I’ve tried it doesn’t come out right. Now 23 years have flown by and I think I got it right. I’m not stating it’s perfect but pretty darn good!

 

 
Back in November my mom shared a pie recipe that she had. I was skeptical…every time I’m optimistic about crafting the crust, it becomes a horror show! Yet, I managed  to bake a nice pie…with the best pie crust I’ve ever made!

Here is the recipe and believe it or not, it has vinegar as an ingredient!
2 ½ cups flour
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. vinegar
½ cup ice water
¾ cup Crisco shortening

Mix flour together with salt and sugar. Add Crisco and work in dough, until crumbly. You can use a pastry blender or two knives. Add vinegar to ½ cup of ice water. Sprinkle a little at a time, moisten and gather dough together. Form two balls in bowl. Roll out on floured surface.

My next challenge is making the crust look halfway decent on the pie. The edges can be difficult but I’m going to practice and see how it goes. There are many decorative edges you can craft, from using a corkscrew, fork, pinching the crust and using the back of a spoon to make different designs.

Do you have trouble with your pie crust? Do you have any little pie crust secrets to share with me?

All My Best,

Heart and Soul

Being a Mama

 

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This was written long ago in 2006 when my boys were much younger. I found this in my journal recently and wanted to share it with all the young mothers and older ones too. If you’re a mom or dad, you know these feelings!

 

 

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Being a Mama
It’s the best gut wrenching, yet exhilarating feeling
that can suck you breathless and your mind reeling
It sometimes makes you entirely ecstatic
And other times a complete fanatic
But in the hushed moments of the night
I hear their soft breathing, they’re all right
As they toss their little heads
On their pillows long after being fed
This love that I hold is the most giving
I know this intensity is truly living

 

Being grateful for this little family of joys
I feel so much pride from my two little boys
I’m proud of their dimpled smiles and loose teeth
Even their messy hairdos with little ears beneath
Their uncombed hair and one son’s hilarious cry
To skip any combing, that look in his eye

“ Mom! Really! No one combs their hair!!!!!”

I’m so happy that I recorded this in one of my journals from a few years back. I would’ve forgotten those famous words and may have to remind my son that he spoke them. Haha. Thanks, Dylan for reminding me of what’s important!

All My Best,

Heart and Soul❤️

Winter Musing

 

 

 

 

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I’m a New Englander, born in New Hampshire and have lived here most of my life. Therefore winter is a way of life, a nice exhilarating change of season and beautiful in so many ways. While many residents complain about winter, I enjoy it and welcome it for these reasons :

 

 

 

Sparkling crystals of snow embellishing the ground

and the trees wear it as a pure ivory gown

It’s a picture postcard of spectacular white

 

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Inhale frigid air

Bringing zest to life

Exhale steamy puffs

A furry knit hat toppin your noggin’

Snug and smooth mittens, a matching pair

A wooly plaid scarf wrapped around your neck

Itchy but warm

Enchanting snowflakes

falling lazily from the heavens

Children giggling and romping

Gliding down hills

slippery sledding

Grasping their sleds as they race up again

A blazing fire raging in the stove

The warming of hands and toes

only to suit up in comfy pajamas

and new slippers

Snug rolled up in flannel soft sheets

Glance out the window

to find a coal black night

with blinking stars peeking out

The warmth of family in a little house

nestled amid piles of glistening snow.

Embrace the very essence of winter

and welcome all it’s majesties

Oh, what a magical delight!
All My Best,

Heart and Soul ☃

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Love is Love ❤️

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Love is just that, simply love.

It has no boundaries or rules, but just is.

You shouldn’t  judge someone’s love or try to measure it’s caliber.

As imperfect humans, do we have the right to gauge someone’s love?

Absolutely not!

Is it right to try to compare degrees of love

or lessen its power by competition?

Should we suspect one love to be stronger than another?

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My sister and I 

The next time someone tries to compare your feelings of love or lessen them, dismiss the conversation.

It’s not even worth the words.
Say a prayer for that person to quit comparing.

I love my husband with all my heart and always will.

I also love both my sons so much, each one is special in different ways and I feel blessed to have them both in my life.

I would be hurt if anyone ever tried to judge my feelings or compare it to others.
Love is no one else’s business but yours.

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Love with all your heart.

Exceed expectations and

forget the negative energy suckers,

who try to take it away from you.

No one has that right.

Love is powerful and true, not to be judged or compared. It just is.

 

All My Best,

Heart and Soul 💗