Saying NO

Credits, from Facebook page Becoming minimalist

I look back upon my busy years of raising sons and keeping our family afloat during times of baseball games and commitments, appointments, school, my college classes, work and housework and I wonder how I did it all. I guess I was young enough with a never ending energy that helped me get through. Life was good but busy! Being busy isn’t always good for you, because you run through life at full speed and forget to slow down and relax.

My son’s baseball team a few years back, the Lisbon Panthers. He’s number 11 in the huddle.

I remember my schedule during baseball season. I loved going to Dylan’s baseball games, they were exciting and it was so much fun seeing him and his teammates play. But it was busy, going to baseball games three times a week and sometimes four. I didn’t have time to make supper for Tom and I know he didn’t like it. I scrambled to find time to do laundry and regular housework as well because I really was never home.

 

I don’t have regrets, believe me. I loved and still love baseball and that feeling of showing up for my son. I do have one regret though. I wish I would’ve said “No” more often to baking for fundraisers and other commitments I should’ve passed on. I was trying desperately to be the perfect mom where I should’ve just said no for my sanity and peace instead.

Warm up at the Senior game a few years ago.
Dylan at bat

I read somewhere that being busy isn’t Godly. I don’t know if I agree, but I do agree with the fact that it’s too rushed and that when you are busy(especially if you are a mother and wife), there’s no time to be quiet and still. In those silent moments a sense of tranquility grows. It’s a time to stop the thoughts and put down the to-do list and just be. If a mom can learn to settle and slow down, then her children will learn from her and reap all the benefits from it.

 

Now it’s easier to say no to events and commitments that aren’t in my heart. Sometimes we moms and wives need to take time for us, to pass on the eternal “yes”answer. For you young moms out there, give yourself permission to say no when it can’t be done or you don’t feel it in your heart. Everyone will be okay and people will respect your answer and move on. No one cares if you say yes or no and if they do, then it’s their baggage and not yours.

I hope you all are enjoying the month of June and finding time to slow down. That quiet time is great for self reflections and with that you and your family will be so much stronger and peaceful because of it.

All My Best,

Heart and Soul

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The Best Show in Town

Captured through a screen

Look what I found nestled in my photo collection!

Our cat Smokey watching the best picture show in town…a flock of turkeys investigating our yard. This was snapped last year , at that time they visited every single day. As they visited, some investigated this side of the yard while others hung out near our towering pine tree on the opposite side of the house.

 

Twenty or thirty of them would strut and sometimes close to the window!

Smokey continues to love his picture show, watching flocks of turkeys, flitting robins and perky chickadees in a nearby tree. 

 

 

All My Best,

Heart and Soul 💗

The Ice Castles

My husband wishing I didn’t take a photo of him…but he was part of the adventure so I pleaded with him for a shot.

As winter is supposedly  making its last call,  I am recalling events  of this past season. I spent a  bulk of the season sick with a flu, pretty much weighing me down and leaving me stuck indoors. Although winter was tough to get through,  I do have a pleasant account of a visit to the Ice Castles in Lincoln, New Hampshire.

 

Lincoln is about 45 minutes from us south on route 93, a place we frequent throughout the year visiting one of our favorite Chinese restaurants, Chieng Garden. They serve delicious and fresh food, without MSG. We also used to go to Lincoln to watch Dylan’s baseball games .Those days are long gone but still strong in our memories and hearts.

 

It’s been a few years since people started talking about the Ice Castles. This year I told myself that I would buy Tom and I tickets and just go, seeing what all the hype was. I’ll tell you that if you are ever in the area in the winter, it’s an amazing sight but a little disappointing towards the end of the season.We went the first week of March, probably a little too late. I would recommend going in January…just bundle up and experience an outside wonder. Also the tickets were expensive totaling $35 for two.

 

 

This was the entry way of the adventure.

Upon entering the parking lot of the monstrous frozen structure, I have to admit we were a little disappointed. We had to visualize it looking as a castle. To us, it appeared melted and worn down and the structure just looked like mere ice. Even so, we gathered our hats, gloves and my camera and gave it a try.  I had longed to go for years and the least we could do was check it out once. Sometimes that’s all you need to satisfy your need and then you never need nor want to do it again.

 

See what I mean? Doesn’t really look like a castle from the outside, does it?

 

 

A narrow walkway with flowing icicles actually was magical but drippy. That made me nervous as I envisioned chunks falling as we walked through. But thankfully it was all in my mind.

 

Hundreds of people flocked in the court-yard. Children played and slid down magical slides. Surrounding speakers belted out elevator music, supposedly  enhancing the experience. We could’ve lived without it, you were not going to experience peace here with all the gathered people. I’m sure bringing children and grandchildren is more fun, seeing glee and happiness through innocent eyes.

 

I thought of how they created the ice castles. Tom said they have water guns to shoot the water up and it ices up right away. It looks like a lot of time and hard work involved.

 

 

I thought the interior sides of the ice castle resembled frozen waterfalls, rushing down and stopping frozen in time. It was a magnificent sight against the beautiful March sky. As we walked around the main court, Tom and I were quiet. I think there are moments that call for peace and quiet, to absorb nature. Although we were hushed, many family voices rang throughout and you didn’t reach a peaceful state. I think it would’ve been better with fewer people so you could reflect instead of trying to ignore all the noise.

 

 

This was one of the mini slides with two stalls for wee tiny children to scoot down. I can just imagine how magical it was for them under the iced structure.

 

This was one of the rooms in the ice castle bearing a big fountain in the middle. It’s hard to see from my picture, but actual water spewed up from it. It chilled my insides just to see it, but it was amazing.

 

We were in the ice castle for probably a half hour. Perhaps most families spend much longer perusing the man-made wonder, while their children coast down on slides of sparkling ice. We were discouraged from the long lines at the slides and otherwise I would’ve given a go for laughs. It was an experience we can see we did…finally taking part in something many north country people have done. Tom and I decided that it was our last time because we had seen it first hand . Some events you only need to do once and in my opinion, this was one of them.

 

With this post, I officially say goodbye to winter. I’m ready for spring, with that said all weekend we had snow and freezing rain. This morning is a two-hour delay, a treat for a Monday. I’m having an extra cup of Joe and spending valuable time blogging.

I hope you all have a great Monday where ever you are!

All My Best,

Heart and Soul

Jojo’s Photography Dream

There’s this young woman I know who has inspired me to write this post and share her work with you all. I am thankful to say I know her and am getting to learn more about her everyday. She has given permission for me to share her photos and interview her on her love, photography.

 

 

Her name is Jojo Anderson and I know her because she dates my youngest son. They both attend the same college and have been dating for a year. There’s something special and loving about this lady…she’s kind, thoughtful and honest and has taken lovely photos, so it’s a pleasure to share her story and photography with you!

 

 

Jojo started taking photos when she bought her first camera in the sixth grade. Her photos were of everything with no rhyme or purpose, just for fun! Suddenly one day the camera broke and she stopped taking photos for a while. Years later, just before her senior year,  her parents encouraged her to buy a new camera. Jojo says that the more photos she snapped the more the she fell in love with the power of it.

 

Isn’t this photo of captured nature beautiful?

This talented young woman always had an interest in old cameras but she really doesn’t know why. She was attracted to how things were made, which lead to an intention to pursue engineering after high school. Jojo applied to colleges with this major in mind. While taking photos and exploring photography, Jojo realized that she loved it! With the change of heart and majors, she applied to Mount Ida College majoring in photography with a back up of being a vet tech.

 

 

Jojo started posting her work on social media and received attention from professional photographers. Her dad taught her some basic principles of art/ photography fundamentals such as the rule of thirds and the rule of odds. Her parents were a big influence on her goals, especially her dad.

 

 

One of Jojo’s favorite subjects is of people she loves. A few months ago this young lady snapped this gem of my son and he loved it so much that he used it for his social media profile. She values the fact that the photo highlights who Branden is as a person, a genuine capture of him without being fake. His smile is real and not posed for the shot. Jojo thinks it’s special that she captured  his essence, as if the camera wasn’t there. Sometimes Branden changes or freezes up when a camera focuses on him,( as most people do)  so this picture shows that he can relax for the camera. I do love this pose, spoken from a proud mama!

 

Jojo also took this great portrait of her younger sister. I love the outside backgrounds of these photos! She loves using photography to tell a story and enjoys taking photos that capture the moment in nature.

 

 

 

 

In class Jojo had an assignment of taking photos of food in an arrangement.

If you’re interested in viewing Jojo’s photos, you can sign up free on Behance.net. She also sells prints, cards and posters on Zazzle.com under her artist name Jojo Anderson. I ordered a beautiful card of a mesmerizing sunset recently. I was thrilled with its beauty and it was shipped to me within days.

Here’s my photo card I ordered from Jojo. I love it!

 

As I wrap up this post I’m encouraged of Jojo’s promising photography career. I believe she will succeed in what she sets her mind to. She wishes to work freelance eventually but may pursue a job in the industry, just starting out. Whatever this young lady achieves, it will be great because she has heart and guts to reach her dreams. I’m happy she’s dating my son and proud to know her and call her a friend.

 

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Mom’s Grace

Dedicated to my mom, her resilience in life and her grace I didn’t know until now.

 

My beautiful mom

 

 

About six weeks ago while my mom visited me, she excitedly gave me a pamphlet announcing a dance class that she was in. ” Could you go to this, Mary?” she sweetly asked me and of course I said I would. I thought at first that she wanted me to participate in the dance class and I wasn’t sure how I would do, but then I discovered that it was a dance recital and that I would be in the audience. Phew! What a relief that I didn’t have to bust a move!

 

 

                                                    My mom and niece on Cookie Day

 

 

The dance class, Body in Motion, was for women over 65 and was held in a function room at the Horsemeadow Senior Center in North Haverhill, New Hampshire. Instructor Jeanne Limmer taught this class highlighting confidence and joy. The women journaled during the class and performed simple dance movements. It was a reflective and emotional discovery for all of the ladies. The dance class instructor drove a two-hour trip to teach the class, with reservations at first. But as the class went on and she got to know these amazing women, she was happy to do the drive.

 

Courtesy of Upper Valley News Taken by Liz Sauchelli

 

Upon entering the building, I noticed happy positive people with teeming smiles and an energy I wanted to bottle up for myself! My mom stood there proudly when I arrived. I knew that I HAD to be there for her and that it was definitely a special event.

 

Shared from Upper Valley News Taken by Liz Sauchelli

 

 

The presentation was graceful and inspiring. The women took turns saying profound words to describe themselves using words such as strength, kindness, love and peace. Each woman  performed a quick fluid movement with her word, either reaching her arms to the sky or hugging herself.

 

 

Courtesy of Upper Valley News Taken by Liz Sauchelli

 

 

At one point in the program all the spectators were invited to dance on the floor and celebrate movement while focusing on the positive aspects of life. Swinging my hips and whole body among all these happy graceful souls, I felt alive! It was a few beautiful moments of sheer pleasure and peace, ones that I would love to reenact again. I didn’t care what people thought and no one else did either. We all celebrated life through dance and movement while practicing it in a forgiving space with no holds barred.

 

The closing of the recital was when all the women stood in a semi-circle and a joyous song, Bird Song by Heather Masse played. This angelic voice floated across the room singing , ” I hear a bird chirping up in the sky, I like to be free like that and spread my wings so high.”

 

As this beautiful tune played I watched my mom. She danced with peace and love, with a beaming smile that lit up the room. I was so proud of her that day, of her courage to participate in the recital, her grace to spread her wings and fly and not care what people thought. It was one of the best moments I’ve shared with my mother in a long time and I thank God for this chance to connect with her. I love her so and don’t tell her enough.

 

Myself, my mom and my sister Barb

 

Check out this song, Bird Song by Heather Masse on Spotify or iTunes. It’s a lovely expression of peace, a song that can be danced to or a great background for creating art or writing. Let me know what you think if you listen to it.❤

 

 

All My Best,

Heart and Soul 💗

 

The Ghost of Halloween Past

 

As October 31st approaches just around the corner, I remember Halloween days of what seems long ago. The celebratory ghost of Halloween lingers in my thoughts…memories of our sons choosing costumes for school and trick or-treating, visiting the in-laws to see what my mother-in- law would dress up in and the passing out of a few candy bars to neighbor children before we left out into the night.

 

There was the cowboy costume that Dylan proudly wore two years in a row. The black hat, shiny cap gun and pleather holster and a handy bandanna from my drawer. Then the year Branden wore a hot pumpkin jumper and sweat beaded on his face and he ended up crying from being overtired. I didn’t post the picture of him crying out of respect but it’s comical now looking back.

 

Cousins meeting together at Halloween. Check out their expressions!

One year Dylan wanted to be a Blue Power Ranger and coincidentally his cousin Spencer was one too but with a red suit. Oh I can’t forget the simple ghost costume Branden wore and the eyes kept moving off his face…

Since we live in a small community we would trick or treat by car. Tom and I would chauffeur them to a few neighbors’ houses to be greeted with smiles and candy, for that’s what neighbors do. Afterwards we trekked over a couple of miles to our in-laws to hang out for a few hours.

My mother-in- law is known for dressing up in costumes over the years and the tradition continued with her grandchildren. Every year she wore something different to amuse the kids, but we were enjoying it too. One year Theo dressed as a clown and we got this great picture of her and Dylan.

 

Out of all these fleeting memories filled with the boys laughter and costume fun, the best thing was that they transformed into something magical for one night a year. It wasn’t always about the candy but they loved that too, because I didn’t buy candy all the time. It sure was a treat. I grew up with my dad owning grocery stores and candy and soda were easy to acquire, therefore I didn’t want our boys to get addicted to it like I did.

There’s the Halloween when the boys were 6 and 8, great ages to explore new costumes, ones that kind of reflected their personalities. Dylan chose a hunter costume, probably in tribute to his dad who is an avid hunter. Branden wanted to be a scarecrow, perhaps out of like for the infamous scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz or out of a fondness for the floppy nature of one.

 

That year my mom, their Grammy G came and made a scarecrow with us outside.

A scarecrow hanging out on the wall, ready to spook visitors.

 

Flipping through these past memories, I remember being caught up in the hustle of buying or planning costumes and being stressed about the holiday. Even so, I truly enjoyed these moments and love looking back at photos I took. I had many people tell me to capture those moments with a camera because otherwise much would be forgotten. With a grateful heart I share these with you for some smiles and perhaps they will trigger fond moments of long ago for you.

 

As I plunge back into the present, I’ll tell you that Halloween is quiet now. We haven’t had a trick or treaters for five years, yet I still purchase a small bag of candy with slight hope. This may sound sad to you, but it really isn’t to me. There’s a time and season for everything and this is the season that we are in. In the present Tom and I will keep our light on, just in case and maybe watch a movie or play Scrabble Halloween night. Looking into the future hopefully we will enjoy our trick or treating grandchildren and everything will come full circle.

As I conclude this post I wish you will enjoy neighbor romping children and indulge in a little treat or two. If your holiday is rather quiet too, try to be thankful and remember what was while looking forward to what may be.

Happy Halloween to you all. Blessings to you.

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤

 

 

 

 

 

” A Blast from the Past”

This post is dedicated to all classic car enthusiasts who long for the thrill of restoring a gem to what it once was. 

 

 

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A look at Gary’s gem, a 1965 Chevy Impala SS with a 4 speed.

 

 

 

Spontaneity is the spice of life, don’t you agree? With that said, much of my adult life has been just the opposite. I plan, plan, plan and Tom goes along with it and in the end, we always have fun on our little excursions. About a month ago my son’s girlfriend  Alexis asked us  if we wished to go to a car cruise with them on Saturday afternoon. It was a work of spontaneity and fun! We were excited to jump on board, but didn’t know what to expect, only that there would be classic cars involved.

 

 

 

Gary Schoolcraft, a long time resident of beautiful Peacham, Vermont is the event’s organizer. Lexie knows him and his wife, Claudette and introduced us to him. Gary is generous enough to share his classic car , with Dylan and Lexie, letting them take it for weekends and such. This time he let Dylan drive the 1965 Chevy Impala while Alexis sat in the front seat and Tom and I lounged in the back. The weekend event was another fun excuse to dive back in time. Tom and I wish to thank Alexis and Dylan for asking us to tag along. We also want to thank Gary for his hospitality and making us feel welcome during the ride.

 

 

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This was the poster generated for the event.

 

 

 

The gorgeous 1965 Chevy Impala SS has a 396 engine with a four speed. This red as an apple beauty is completely original including the paint. The interior is a shiny red and sparkling. It rides comfortably and purrs like a kitten.

 

 

I thought of what a beautiful outing this was , as we perched on the vinyl seats with windows wide open to fresh Vermont air. The rushing air through the open window was exhilarating while it caressed my thick locks of hair. What’s the sense in taking a thrill ride  without letting everything flutter in the breeze?

 

 

While we waited for other  cars and their owners, we surveyed the vehicles before us in the blazing heat. The sweltering sun cooked up a hot steamy September day. After about 15 cars arrived at the first stop, we were all on our cruise down route 5 to the next stop, Wells River, Vermont. There many other classic cars  roared in, jumping in line for the parade of sorts.

 

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This is the car that Gary drove, a 1974 Corvette with a 454, a 4 speed. Pretty sharp!

 

 

Passing by little towns like Bradford and Fairlee, we saw people waving and smiling widely. I guess you don’t see classic cars like these everyday and it’s always a joy to be launched back in time! Our last stop before the drive-in movie was at Wings Market in Fairlee where we all parked askew all over the parking lot and raided the ice cream stand. As the line snaked out and people laughed while waiting , a familiar voice came from the crowd. Our nephew, Luke was there! What a coincidence…Luke was driving his friend’s classic car and spotted us in line. You never really know who you will bump into on a given adventure!

 

 

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Another beauty with on lookers including Alexis, Tom and Dylan.

 

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Dylan drove the Chevy Impala for the day. He was an outstanding chauffeur!

 

Arriving at the Fairlee drive-in I experienced a bit of nostalgia from my childhood. My parents and one time my brothers brought my sister and I to the drive-in to see movies. Back then they sold the mosquito coil that you would burn on your dash but they would end up scorching holes in it. The smoke would fill up the car and  yet the mosquitoes still were attracted to us. We would take the old metal speaker and latch it on the windows to hear the show. Now they give you the radio station to tune in to, to hear the audio.

 

 

All the classic cars paraded into the drive-in of all colors and makes. I would guess that maybe 40 or 50 cars were there. You could hear people visiting and laughing and engines roaring in, to celebrate days of old. After a quick dinner of hamburgers and soft drinks, it was time to settle in for the movie. While Dylan and Alexis sat in the front, Tom and I sat like two teenagers in the back in luxury.

 

It was so much fun seeing the movie with the kids and experiencing this day with them. It felt like we were immersed in a time capsule and thrust back to the 60’s for one special day. Riding in such a beauty was a magical experience but what really topped it off was to be surrounded by the nicest people! All the crowd had one thing in common….a desire to gawk at all the amazing automobiles and honor all the work and sweat poured into each frame.

 

 

 

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It was getting dark and we were ready for the movie, American Graffiti. 

 

 

 

All My Best,

Heart and Soul

Mary

 

 

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