Family Dinners

 Most of my married life, my family has sat at the table for dinner. That’s what our families did when we were young and we don’t know any other way. We believe that a meal together is strengthening and family building.






The family devouring a meal together is just one element of the sit down. It’s a time for conversation, laughing and catching up on everyone’s day. 
It’s a family connection and relationship builder. If there’s a problem, it’s spoken and another member may solve it. If you learned a new joke, share it with the family for a hearty laugh! 





Would you believe many young families don’t eat meals together? When do they talk, laugh, share or problem solve? I firmly believe that you need to use this precious time to build your family to be as strong as you want it to be. I think all our meals together helped raise our sons into thoughtful people and hopefully they will eat their meals at the table, together with their families someday.





 Years ago Dylan brought his phone to the table and I felt that it violated our personal time. After saying no, it never was an issue. He respected my wishes and I’m really grateful for that. If I had given in to it, dinner time would never be the same again. I know that many families won’t see cell phones or iPods at the tables as an issue. If your family freely uses them at the sit down meal, I have one question to ask, do you all still talk to each other? Chances are the answer is no and that blame lies on the device…it’s invading your family connection time.



My husband and sons at Thanksgiving.





As most of my readers know, our sons are out of the house living their own lives and having dinner on their own. Now Tom and I feel like we paid our dues and this means our dinner time can change the way we like. This winter has been drafty and cold and we long for eating our food in warmth. Many nights we eat dinner with tv stands in our livingroom, just a few feet from our cranking stove. We’re happy to relax and talk over a movie or show on Hulu.




I don’t feel guilty for abandoning our tradition because it continues when the boys and Lexie are home. We eat dinners at our dining room table and celebrate birthdays and eat cake and ice cream with Branden’s funny stories. They are special times and I wish that for your family. It’s these moments that make my husband and I truly happy, catching up with our kids and enjoying their company. Whenever we are all together or have family or friend guests, there we will eat, at the table. A place to connect, share and laugh.




 Do you think mealtime together forms a strong unified family? Do you have a no cell phone policy at the dinner table?



All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤

One Lovely Blog Award

Hello readers! I’m beyond excited to have our spare room project almost completed! Dylan and Lexie came for lunch today and helped us move furniture from the garage storage into the house. Be looking for a future post soon on the results!


Yesterday morning I was thrilled to find out that a lovely blogger friend nominated me for the “ One Lovely Blog Award.” I’ve learned that this award honors and supports fellow bloggers in their endeavors to share our stories with each other. Tammy from Faithhopelovefood has nominated me as one of her chosen bloggers.

I’m tickled pink about it and her blog! Tammy devotes it to inspirational topics and her relationship with a God. It has been one of my constant go- to sites where she has insight and scriptures about life and I really find it helpful to me in my personal journey. I want to thank Tammy for nominating me and the other wonderful blogging sites!
With acceptance of this award I need to share 7 facts about myself with you.

1. Family is priority in my life, period. My family that I was born into, the family that I married into, and the family team my husband and I created all hold a special place in my heart!

2. I work at a little school, helping young children read. It’s an amazing job where I get to teach, laugh and listen eagerly to the things kids say! It’s the best and most rewarding job that I’ve ever held and yeah, I love it too! It’s like I’m living in a dream because I longed to be a teacher as a child.
3. I have written since third grade. I’m not sure who inspired me but I remember seeing cut out magazine pictures and dreaming up stories about them. Many years I wrote fictional stories but now I find that I prefer nonfiction and writing about my life and experiences. I still have a few notebooks from seventh and eighth grade.

4. Like Tammy, I love music too! Thanks to my son who told me about Spotify, I can listen to my chosen songs in playlists. I have a quiet playlist for those serene moments, old favorite pop and rock songs for happy dancing and current pop hits to listen to while baking or doing housework.  Lately I’ve been listening to ” A Million Reasons” by Lady Gaga, Prince’s 80’s hits ” When Doves Cry”, ” Let’s Go Crazy”, Third Eye Blind, Little Bigtown…just to name a few.

5. I was named after my maternal grandmother, Mary Elizabeth. My grandmother and I are not the only Marys in my family. My  great grandmother ( whom I never met), my cousin on my mom’s side, another cousin on my dad’s side of the family are all Marys. When I was young, my aunt and her family and grandparents nicknamed me “ little Mary”, while my cousin was older. I have an old fashioned name but I cherish it and am proud of it!

6. I lived in Boston for three months in 1988. I thought that I wanted to go into television work and attended Newbury College. My dorm was on Commonwealth Avenue, just a few blocks from the Prudential on Boylston. I worked part time at Mrs. Field’s Cookies and sold a cookie for $2.00, which I thought was outrageous for a mere cookie!

7. I have faith in God but do not attend church. I did go to a Congregational church nearby for a few years but stopped going. It seemed that there was politics and man made rules that clouded things and stressed me out. I do need to learn more about Him and eventually find a good fit church locally. Until then I will continue to believe, pray and read my Bible.
Now as part of this nomination, I will nominate fellow bloggers who have inspired me. Check out these wonderful blogs, ones that I follow everyday.



Nominated bloggers, if you choose to accept the One Lovely Blog Award and pass it along, you will find your instructions below:

Thank the person that nominated you and leave a link to their blog
Post about the award
Share 7 facts about yourself
Nominate at most 15 people ( I did only 6)
Tell your nominees the good news!


All My Best,





This is a keeper and I think I’ll frame it. 




We all have bad days now and then. It’s simply a part of the package of life, even if you are the happiest person you’re bound to experience them. The other day was my bad day. I don’t need to share every detail that made it that way but trust me, it was horrible. Everything I said or did was booby trapped and I got to the point asking God, “ Really, is this a joke?”





When I get physically and emotionally tired, it seems that bad days turn into catastrophic events. It brings me back to my teenager days when my emotions were raw and would set me in a state of chaos. When I feel like this, I call my mom and she listens and says a sweet little prayer on the phone. Other times I reach out to my mother in law and friend, Theo, who lives in Florida now but we can connect by phone or messaging. I try not to give my problems to my husband and this is why, he’s tired many times because of work and I don’t want to add to his stress.




My horrible, awful really bad day hungrily fed my low self esteem and I started beating myself up over certain events. I stewed over it and cried salty tears that reddened my face and made my throat scratchy. This time I chose to call my sister and she was at my nephew’s snowmobile race so it wasn’t the best timing. While watching the race, Barb heard me out. She offered soothing words and a few minutes later I hung up, feeling a little better.




One crucial help that I forgot was calling on God. Every night I say my prayers and thank Him for my wonderful life and family, yet when I’m having a terrible day, His presence gets pushed under the rug. Why do I forget His promises of comfort during trying times? It’s a pattern that I repeat often and then when I look to him wearily,  he brings me up to a place of peace and comfort as warm as my softest blanket.



Yesterday my daily trip to the mailbox was a surprise…inside sat a blue envelope addressed to me, from my sister. I was tickled pink even before I tore it open because it had to be a card of some sort.


The cover was :

The GOOD in You is STRONGER Than Any Bad Day


My sister and I on my 40th birthday, a photo from her throwback Thursday album. 

This inspiration made me feel better! Knowing that my sister believes in me, caused me to question myself. Why can’t I do the same thing? As the self esteem battle continues from time to time, I know from deep within me that I need to put more energy in this project. I’m going to think about this and share my journey with you all.

Does anyone have some tips for me to try busting up low self esteem? Thank you, friends!

All My Best,

Heart and Soul 💗

The Mountains vs. The Ocean




I live in the mountains up North and love them like close family. My heart also belongs at the beach. If I had to choose between the two, I couldn’t!


I’m loyal to the steadfast mountains for they are my home. Believe it or not I never tire of their monstrous slopes and gray faces. It’s peaceful and quiet, close to nature and God. This time of year snow frosts them and driving by close to Cannon Mountain miniature skiers sway to and from down the trails. The air is as fresh as you get and while hiking you can smell wafts of pine. 


Then there’s the sea…


I don’t remember the first time that I saw the ocean or smelled it’s  salty, fishy scent. I do know that once I left it, it’s calm and soothing essence stayed in my soul. I can count on one hand how many times I visited the shore as a child and teenager but the frequency increased as I grew into a woman. Every time I walk along the sandy beach and feel the sizzling sun bake my skin and gaze at the horizon of blue and crest of white, I love it even more. 


As every year passes, these places remain to be a part of me. How thankful I am to love where I live in the mountains and wake up every morning as if it’s my first day here! My husband truly loves living here too but has grown to enjoy the ocean too.


Most of our vacations are to Ogunquit, Maine, about three and a half hours from here. It’s a wonderful seaside town with outstanding restaurants, quaint little shops, and accommodations dotting here and there. We used to take the boys with nets, sand shovels and pails bouncing around in the back of our vehicle. Windows rolled down and laughter in the air, the mountains would slowly be replaced with a lower elevation and water as far as the eye can see. 

I will never choose between the two…but continue to enjoy both places and love them both for different reasons. Isn’t that the best way to really live? 





Top Shelf

My dad enjoying a nice Easter last year



It’s the tough moments that make you resilient, when you want to cry in agony but instead you stand strong and tall. You hold back tears and swallow hard when faced with a loved one’s sickness. It’s this way because there’s nothing you can do but be there. When darkness shades the good of your day, we must remember who really is in charge of our fragile lives. You can’t control the situation and you must kneel and pray and give it to God.




That’s what I did this week when my dad went through surgery and complications. In one afternoon I heard terrible news about a sick co- worker and then received an emergency phone call from my sister, about my dad. After finishing work we raced an hour and twenty minutes north to see our dad in the hospital.




Although he had a tough painful day, my dad was lying in a hospital bed and when the nurse asked how he was, his answer was, “Top Shelf ” with a smile on his face. This is the ultimate strength, perseverance and a positive uplifting attitude. It’s this man who I look up to and proudly say, he’s my dad.




Just one of his amazing wood projects, dad has such a talent!


I  am relieved to share that dad is home and resting. Hopefully he is on the mend and better days are ahead! It’s this scare that solidifies how much I love him and value him in my life.




Another hobby of dad’s, gardening. This is something that I love too.

Two little reminders slapped me in the face boldly…first trust God and give your problems to him and notice how he pulls you through every time. Second, when down and out there’s always some light of good to be optimistic about. Even if you are in a dark place, find the positive face and you may end up on the “ top shelf”.




All My Best,

Heart and Soul 💕




So Blessed!

Thank you to all my followers who have read my posts and commented regularly. Now I have 200 WordPress followers in the 14 months I’ve written my blog. The numbers aren’t as important as the friendships I’ve made with people in the U.S. to other regions around the world including India , the U.K., and other European countries. I feel beyond blessed to have these friendships! 


Thank you for investing your time to read my posts, for your friendship and kindness. It means so much to me for others to hear my voice and to keep returning.

Have a great day blogging! 🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉

Bus Stops on Your Journey

My first meme that I made with my own picture, of a local backroad. I made it on



Long ago a friend used an analogy that has stuck with me, simply because it just makes sense. He said that any little diversion or step back you take on this journey of life is like a bus stop. My friend said that all his jobs, no matter how trivial or common, were like waiting in a bus station. He was working towards a bigger goal but realized that to get there, little steps had to be taken.



I believe that we all have these brief distractions from our goals and that they change us. Bus stops are meaningful lessons, for they are where you learn and don’t even realize it much of the time. These quick detours may be problems or distractions
and you probably will be annoyed by them.


No one ever stays long at a bus station, for it’s brief, but those moments can present different people and experiences that will stay with you. They all contribute to a splendid and richly made mosaic, your unique life. Without minor distractions to keep us focused on our ultimate goal, there’s no inner growth. You may even abandon your goal for something better!





This little reminder has always stayed with me when I was stuck in a less than perfect chore or job. It helped me along this journey of life to appreciate every bus stop and the people and experiences that presented there. I’ve offered this advice to others, when they were discouraged with their situation.


If you aren’t where you long to be in your relationships or careers, step back and tell yourself that it’s okay. You may be striving for one precious thing but you keep stopping. Tell yourself that this is just a bus station and just making a quick stop. Practice patience and recognize that these bus stops are valuable and appreciate them for what they are. Eventually you’ll leave the stop and continue on your journey.



All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤


I’m Dreamin’ of Spring

My favorite photo I took of a sunset. 


With a loss of an hour sleep from Daylight Savings Time and bitter cold temperatures,


this morning I dream of warm beaches and magical sunsets,


green plush lawns and bountiful gardens stretching high to the sky, 


soothing sunlight and bees buzzing around, 


and windows wide open letting in fresh air. 



How  many days until spring?

All My Best,

Heart and Soul 💗


My favorite photo of a sunset

Who’s at Your Breakfast Table?


Our handsome son with college long hair with an unshaven look


Look at who sat at our breakfast table this week! Our son was on spring break and was home all week. Tom and I rose Sunday morning with an ambition to cook breakfast together as a team, for our son. Scrumptious bacon sizzled on its pan in the oven, as eggs bubbled in pools of butter and the cinnamon French toast scent wafted through the house.





It made my heart full to plan my cookie baking while my son was at the table.

We were happy to wake with our son under our roof. Tom and I patiently waited awhile for the delicious aromas to wake Branden,but he really needed to sleep in. We ate in quiet with the sun shining in our little windows. He woke later and entered the kitchen to discover his plate and his breakfast warming in the oven. A sleepy smile came to his face and I was grateful for this and for his presence, at our table.

It was a rough week, later on with our son getting the stomach bug. We collectively made sure he was hydrated and on the road to recovery. We sanitized all week and built our immune systems up so we could stay healthy while he was home. Despite the crummy week, our breakfast moment was special.



Who is at your breakfast table? Your family or guests are there for a reason, to be with you. Instead of being glued to your cell phone or device, enjoy the people at your table. Talk and laugh and be grateful for their presence.


All My Best,

Heart and Soul

Cats in Charge?


Taken from




Sometimes I feel like my cats are taking over….a feline revolt of sorts. Imagine furry friends marching all over the counter tops, jumping on the high point of the fridge and racing to and fro between rooms. They’re in our face looking for food, snuggling up just to acquire a treat. Proudly prancing around the kitchen, these sneaky kitties paw open cupboard doors and peek inside.

They secretly wait until we fall asleep and when snoring starts, Smokey springs into action! While our older cat Katie stands guard in the kitchen doorway (really doing nothing but she feels like a team player), the sleek black cat operates risky business. He jumps on the counter as soft as he can, for this has to be done in a clandestine way. This determined cat peers over the trash can , one paw strategically pokes at the trash cover and another jab will do it. Score, it lands on the floor!


Crash! It’s not too secretive or hush- hush now! I roll over in bed in confusion. What now? Smokey! Trudging down the stairs I hope that it’s not a false alarm for its 12:00 am, an hour I should be sleeping in a steadfast snooze.



After cleaning up trash on the floor and tying the bag to go outside, I giggle when washing my hands. They are truly taking over, affecting our everyday occurrences.  Our life is an unfolding story with our rowdy cats starring as the main characters. They call the shots and make the story happen, they are in charge. Even so, we couldn’t be happier here with our quirky kitties.


All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤