Looking Back and Ahead

 

 

Recently I was rummaging through old digital images and found these keepers from 2014. Surprisingly I have never shared them and forgot them in this busy whirlwind of life. It was an emotional time as our family was getting ready to say good luck to our oldest son, Dylan as he made his way to college in Maine. Branden was still in high school and entering his junior year. 

 

 

 

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This October trip was our last one as a family and I could already feel significant differences. Our boys weren’t boys anymore but strong young men with dreams and hopes for their futures. As they walked the path to the ocean, I couldn’t help compare it to their new lives. Looking out upon the vast and open ocean, perhaps my sons thought of their uncertain but exciting future! The never ending water symbolized their journey into the unknown real world. No more mom and dad holding their hands or life in a small town as they knew all their lives. 

 

 

 

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The few family vacations we ventured on were to the beach at Ogunquit, Maine. Years ago, as little active boys they would run and kick the sand and chase after the seagulls. Wading in and out of the rushing in tide could entertain them for hours. We would laugh and play and soak in the sun. Those memories will live with me forever. 

 

 

 

This trip they gazed at the ocean, sat in the sand and walked up to the approaching tide. It was a chilly but bright October day with few crowds. Most people were bundled in coats or sweatshirts and merely walked the ocean’s edge unlike the brave summer swimmers from months before. 

 

 

 

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I feel grateful beyond belief that Tom and I had all this God given time with our sons. Now, as they start their new lives, we welcome all their stories and life experiences and offer wise advice when they ask for it. This is a happy and joyful time of our lives where we look forward to our family expanding and being grandparents someday!

 

 

 

What a blessing to find these pictures during a time I feel nostalgic of family times. This wasn’t the best of trips but just as meaningful and I’m so happy that we did it that weekend and enjoyed our sons as grown men!

 

 

 

All My Best,

Heart and Soul >3

 

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It’s Always ” in the Blood”

 

 

 

 

 

 

It really is amazing where this writer finds her inspiration! Sometimes a blurb on the news or a passionate song blaring on the radio motivates me to jot down  thoughts and ideas for my blog. Yesterday I heard another song on my car radio that I love and it energized me to write. Unlike many songs, it was the words that strongly spoke to me.

 

 

 

 

Have you heard, In the Blood by John Mayer? If you haven’t, look it up and absorb the lyrics.

 

 

 

 

How much of my mother has my mother left in me?
How much of my love will be insane to some degree?
And what about this feeling that I’m never good enough?
Will it wash out in the water, or is it always in the blood?
How much of my father am I destined to become?
Will I dim the lights inside me just to satisfy someone?
Will I let this woman kill me, or do away with jealous love?
Will it wash out in the water, or is it always in the blood?
I can feel love the I want, I can feel the love I need
But it’s never gonna come the way I am
Could I change it if I wanted, can I rise above the flood?
Will it wash out in the water, or is it always in the blood?
How much like my brothers, do my brothers wanna be?
Does a broken home become another broken family?
Or will we be there for each other, like nobody ever could?
Will it wash out in the water, or is it always in the blood?
I can feel love the I want, I can feel the love I need
But it’s never gonna come the way I am
Could I change it if I wanted, could I rise above the flood?
Will it wash out in the water, or is it always in the blood?
I can feel the love I want, I can feel the love I need
But it’s never gonna come the way I am
Could I change it if I wanted, can I rise above the flood?
Will it wash out in the water, or is it always in the blood?
Songwriters: John Mayer
In The Blood lyrics © Reach Music Publishing

 

 

 

 

Family.

 

Love.

 

Loyalty.

 

It will always be in the blood.

 

There aren’t enough words to describe my feelings for my family, my blood.

 

Perhaps my pictures can depict the enormous grasp that my family holds me in.

 

Will this song will speak to your heart? It sure touched my soul.

 

 

Love to you all.

All My Best,

Heart and Soul >3

 

 

 

The Jubilant Days of June

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A little Goose family trekking along the town cemetery

 

 

In the jubilant days of June…

I awake to spreading goosebumps

and a chill from cool

and refreshing morning air.

Little enchanting birds

sing their triumphant

melody in tandem.

Their familiar sing song stirs

my rising soul.

A pleasant wake up call

simply soothes.

No shocking alarm clock

this morning!

Thank goodness

for nature’s peace!

 

 

 

A family of geese waddle

along the cemetery green,

parading proudly and always

together.

Suddenly the  mesmerizing sun

glows amid the clouds

and I whisper,

“Welcome back dear old

Sunshine!”

“Please stay awhile!”

 

Long lost winter dreams

melt away with the sun,

as picnics and bare feet

take over.

The jubilant days of June….

must linger and stay.

That’s my wish!

 I  cherish all of its gifts 

with a contented sigh.

 

 

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤

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No Worries

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Shared from behave.neTt

 

 

 

 

In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength and my refuge, is in God.

Psalm 62:7

 

 

Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us.

Psalm 63:8

 

 

 

My grandmother Gould (who I called Nanny) was a constant worrier. She worried about car accidents and snow storms. A mere rain shower would unravel her composure and she wore the little plastic hats over her hair because she was worried about her hairstyle being messed up. Even though I remember all this, I also reflect on happy and joyful times with her. 

 

 

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First photo is of my mom, myself in my early twenties and my nan Gould. Second is of my mom, brother David, myself and Nan at the pancake house in North Haverhill.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It seemed to consume her and I really noticed it once I grew up and after my grandfather passed away. I think I’ve been passed down her worry genes! I remember even as a little girl worrying about things. Once when my mom was bringing us home from my favorite aunt and uncle’s house , it was really foggy and I opened the car door to get my mom’s attention. (stupid, huh?) I was worried about her driving but looking back, I’m not sure why I thrust the door open…what would that accomplish?

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s taken me years to recover from and control it but I believe I’m doing it. I am aware that I’m not the only one with the anxiety fight. Many people crawl their way through life with the constant cloud hung over them, worry. It surely affects decisions, plans, relationships and adventures. How can one truly enjoy and indulge in an adventure if worry taints it? Spontaneous adventures are meant to be carefree and fun, without pressure, anxiety or stress.

 

 

 

 

 

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My boys and I

Now when I start to worry about my boys and what they are doing, I put it out there and then squash it. Instead of dwelling on it, I hand it to God and pray. Then all the negative worry and energy transforms into positive thoughts. I let Him shoulder the weight and He pulls through for me EVERY TIME, in one way or another.

 

 

 

 

What a relief it is…to let go of worry and channel it into something healthy and good! I only wish that my nanny would have done this…let go of worry and trusted the Lord instead. I write this post thinking of her, despite her worry she was a champion of grandmothers and loved me dearly. As a matter of fact, I was named after her. 

 

 

My latest motto is  “no worries!” It’s a blessing to say it and pass it on when communicating with others who are worried or apprehensive about their situation. It also conveys the message to “don’t sweat the small stuff.” Instead give it to God.

 

 

 

All My Best,

 

Heart and Soul ❤

 

 

 

Rhubarb Custard Bars

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Shared from thelocalbeet.com

 

 

Recently I read a post from Plainsimplelivingblog.wordpress.com The author’s post was focused on rhubarb and how many rhubarb recipes are riddled with sugar. It brought me back in time…years ago when the boys were little and Tom took Dylan and his dad to Maine for a special fishing trip. I made rhubarb custard bars to welcome them home. I remember vaguely that the recipe had sugar but wasn’t overly sweet.

 

 

 

 

It was early spring, in May and the rhubarb patch was thriving and ready to pick. I picked the smaller stalks, as they were deep red and I knew were rich in flavor. I stumbled upon a recipe online and decided to surprise Tom with a yummy dessert.

 

 

 

Here is the recipe I made so long ago and I believe that within a day or two, they were long gone but not forgotten. What I love about this recipe is the subtle orange juice sweetener. It does have quite a bit sugar but you could experiment with it to find a balance that would work.

 

 



Rhubarb Custard Bars
shared from twosisterstherecipes.blogspot.com

 


Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees
lightly oil a 9×13 pan
For crust:
in stand mixer, or by hand:
2 cups flour
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup cold butter cut into pieces
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt

mix together until the texture of frozen peas. press firmly into pan and set aside.

for filling:
6 eggs
1 3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup orange juice
1/4 cup flour
whisk all above ingredients together well… then stir in 3 cups of fresh rhubarb- chopped
pour over crust. bake 45 minutes to 1 hour until center is firm. Cool completely before cutting.

 

Hopefully your growing rhubarb hasn’t gone to seed so that you can try this! If you try baking these, let me know if you enjoyed them or if you cut the sugar and your results.

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤

Geranium Love

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This dark red color has an orange tint to it. I like their glow for my boxes!

 

 

 

I simply love geraniums but it’s a rather new adoration for me. My early memories of geraniums date back to relatives’ porches and upon graves in cemeteries. As a young girl they didn’t impress me that much.  As an adult I was reintroduced to them by my husband’s former employer, Mrs. Geneen. She had Tom plant several box planters on her deck. Patriotic red geraniums were boldly the focal point of each beautiful arrangement. There was a staunch beauty in those geraniums…and so my adoration of them was born.

 

 

 

 

 

Last year Tom built me window boxes and we planted Mrs. G’s flower mix as a tribute to her. The familiar flower mix brought us back to the summer days she and her family visited the farm. They looked amazing and grew even better than we expected. Vibrant colors of dark purples, rich patriotic reds and pure white flowers greeted everyone passing by. We planted two geraniums, two petunias, two white bicopas and a gorgeous spike in the middle to balance it out.

 

 

 

 

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Newly planted, the purple petunias have yet to grow, but with time and patience they will.

 

 

Geraniums are hearty and easy to grow. They are far from fragile and thrive whether the weather is rainy or hot. They withstand heat pretty well and don’t need to be watered as often as most flowers. In our old house, it was pretty impossible to hang petunias or any other flowers in our back yard. With no trees or forgiving shade, planters cooked in a matter of weeks and never survived the entire summer season. Not willing to give up, I resorted to geraniums in pots! Tom said they were strong and seemed to be heat resistant and so I decided to give it a go. He was right…the deep red flowers did well in the heat and made it to September.

 

 

 

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Our simple but lovely window boxes add a splash of color and beauty to our house front.

 

 

Yesterday I visited the nursery at Sullivan’s Greenhouse in Lancaster, NH, where I bumped into Landaff neighbors Stephen and Annette. While flower and plant browsing, I noticed geraniums come in a variety of colors now. There were bright red with a flashy eye popping hue and dark red, which I prefer. The dark red reminded me of the  patriotic red flowers I picked up last year and was close enough in color for me to snatch them. Other colors were pink and coral with an pinkish tone. They even had pink and white striped variegated geraniums for a different color scheme ( maybe someday I may try these to go for a new theme).

 

 

 

As this lovely and tranquil Sunday morn awoke from it’s nightly nap, I waited for my husband to return from early day chores. We ventured out and shopped for Miracle Grow soil, cedar chips and cow manure for our gardens. The day warmed up nicely in the 70’s with a blazing sun cooking us as we gardened. First we visited Tom’s dad grave in our little town cemetery. We were content to plant red geraniums on each side and a spike plant in the middle. After saying a prayer and us being silent for a minute, Tom and I left our new flowers with his dad.

 

 

 

 

 

It took us just a few minutes to screw the boxes on and fill with the soil. From then on, I took my time planting my flowers and soaking up the beautiful and healing sun. A faint lilac scent from my nearby tree almost put me in a trance. By day’s end the window boxes were planted and watered, as I breathed a sigh of contentment.

 

 

 

 

How great gardening is, especially after a 8 month hiatus! The time in between is a quiet period of reflection, dreaming and hoping for the sweet spring days to arrive. As I grow older in mid-age, I cherish these moments more than I did in my 30’s. Gardening is a healing practice for the soul, the mind, and the body. It’s a hobby that does me more than good and I never want to live without it.

 

 

 

 

How is your planting going? Do you have geraniums as well? Do you plant window boxes? I do hope you are enjoying your planting season and soaking up that wonderful sun!

 

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤

 

This Year’s Garden Plans

 

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I can’t wait to see these rich and green beauties grow in the sunshine!

 

 

 

In New England we are immersed in the dawning of spring…forgotten melted snow, sporadic warm sun and plenty of rain showers are here. The  plant buds are waking up and grass is turning a rich green in our neighborhood. With this season we read about  gardening plans highlighted in ads and in newspapers, making it extremely easy to become excited and enchanted with gardening!

 

 

 

The first of May is pretty early to plant here unless you’re doing it inside with a greenhouse room or under a bright heat lamp. But the first few weeks of this month is a good time to reflect on last year’s garden and what went well and not so well. 

 

 

In late March or early April, I start to contemplate my garden. It all starts with jotting down vegetables and planning what different ones I’ll try. Every year I change up my squash variety so that our family harvests something different. Last year I grew butternut squash and summer. This summer I may grow summer, zucchini, and buttercup, shaped like a queen’s crown.  I decided to daringly skip the zucchini deluge last year( see another post about this). 

 

 

 

I must mention that if you are an amateur gardener you must read up on plant companions and crop rotation. Certain crops grow well together like tomatoes and basil cucumbers and spinach and lettuce. If you search on Pinterest or Google for vegetable gardening companions you can learn more information about it. I also rotate my crop every year, because some vegetables drain all the nutrients out of the soil and so switching their locations is a bright idea. I never plant tomatoes or the squash in the same place.

 

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A section of last year’s plot

 

A drastic change in this year’s garden will be the long lost corn. My husband and I decided about twelve years ago not to plant it anymore and I bet you can guess why not. When we grew corn, we had raccoons and deer eating from the cobs and that would leave us with the just the corn stalks for October decorating. The mere stalk doesn’t seem worth all the trouble and it’s a huge disappointment when you’re expecting scrumptious corn smothered with butter and salt.

 

 

 

This year we’re trying to grow corn once again, with some tips taken from my dad, who’s an avid gardener and was influenced from my grandfather. My dad uses a screen attached at the top of the fence that keeps critters out. He did the enclosure last year and had success with it.  

 

 

 

As our region experiences a rebirth in spring and the air becomes warmer, I’m grateful for it all. My garden is so short lived here, making it special. Immersed in soil and surrounded by green lush leaves, I thank God for being able to garden every summer.

 

 

 

During the year I work/ teach at school and have the summers off. I’ve always asked my husband if I should get a little part time job but he says that I don’t have to. I am grateful for this time and for my husband, who works all year round for us. I make it up to him by caring for him in the house, growing veggies, cooking and taking care of the house. He’s happy and I’m happy to be home for the summer and it allows me to tend to our vegetable plot and flower boxes. That’s how a mutual respectful relationship works.

 

 

 

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Last year’s window boxes!

 

Are you planning your garden or have you planted already? If so, I hope you are enjoying your planning as much as I am! Happy planting!

 

All My Best,

 

Heart and Soul ❤

 

 

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These summer squash plants grew so well that spacing was an issue.