Happy Birthday, Dylan🎉

I have told you all before that twenty two years ago today my life changed drastically. I transformed from a  26 year old woman to a young mother, a role that I had to learn and practice. Although it took years to learn it all, one thing I never had to try at or practice was loving my son.

As most mothers will retell their story, I cherish telling mine. I awoke at 3 am out of a sound sleep, only to be surprised with my water bursting! After a hurried call to the doctor and a quick shower to calm my nerves, Tom and I headed to the hospital and to our new life. Eight hours later after a labor that I’ll never forget, Dylan James was born. He had a full head of dark hair and peach fuzz hair all over his little body. His anxious new born cry sent shivers up in my spine, a reminder that this really happened. I cradled him in my arms, looking at his five fingers and toes. Tom proudly held his son, a moment that touched my heart and made me so thrilled that we had a son.

 

My story continues, for I need to share something that happened on that hospital floor that stays with me. That night, after visiting relatives went home after meeting Dylan, the nurses wheeled my baby away to the nursery. They insisted this so that I would get my sleep and rest as needed. I lay there still and listening and of course I couldn’t sleep a wink. Five or ten minutes raced by and suddenly I heard Dylan’s cries floating down the hall. I just knew they were his, no doubt in my mind. I had to go to him and hold him. Trudging down that cold floor, I was ready to power talk those nurses and plead for my son to come back to our room. Sure enough Dylan lay wailing in the incubator and with tears running down my cheeks, I simply said, ” please bring my son back.”

I lay on my side that night, with one eye resting and one on my new baby. No, I didn’t get much sleep that February night but my son was by my side with his dad not far off in a recliner. All was good in the world.

 

Now that my little mothering story has been told I want to wish Dylan a very happy 22nd birthday! He’s a great  guy holding down a full time job at a local garage and paying his bills responsibly. Dylan plans to marry the love of his life in August and will start his family story. Tom and I are very proud of the kind of man he is and the young lady he’s chosen to marry…she’s a peach.

 

All My Best,

Heart and Soul 💗

 

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Who Inspires You to be Good?

Flipping through Oprah’s March 2018 magazine, I saw the question, who inspires you to be good? I’m always striving to live like Jesus would, with kindness, compassion and empathy for my fellow-man. As I age, so does my heart expand with these traits and I work on these because I want to be good, to do amazing things in this world and affect others in a positive light. This doesn’t mean that I’m perfect by any means and sometimes I waiver and I  need God’s little  reminders to keep me on track.

 

 

My mom is one of the people who inspires me to be good. She visits people in nursing homes and prays for them and volunteers at a local senior center.

 

 

When I ponder over Oprah’s question, several inspirations come to my mind. First, God inspires me to be good in this life. I may not attend a church in this time of my life but I hope that I live a godly life. I pray throughout the day as a connection to Him and he carries me through every time. I realize that I need to take time to read the scripture and learn as much as I can. It’s a void that I’m going to fill soon.

 

Secondly, like many of Oprah’s readers, I am inspired by my family starting with my mom and dad. Even if I’m nearing 50, it still matters to me what my parents  think of me. I want to make them proud and that desire will never wane!

 

I wish for my husband to be proud that he married me. He doesn’t tell me all the time but I know I inspire him to be his best. We both compliment each other in that way. His calm and loving nature is good for me and the way he treats his clients is heartwarming ( he never charges more year to year because he knows people have a hard time making ends meet).

 

I also care what my sons think and want them to be happy by my example and live that way too.

Here is my dad, a hard-working man who creates wood projects with love and who I’m very proud of.

So I’m inspired everyday by God, my mom and dad, my husband and my sons. These people are who I look up to, who I wish to shine the brightest for and that keeps me going, striving to be the best person I can be. I’ve learned many principles in this life and one of them is to stay inspired and inspire others by trying to be an impeccable person. There are days I fall short of that desire but instead of crying in a puddle of tears, I pick myself up and try again.

As you go about your life, ask yourself  who inspires you to be good? You probably have multiple people as I do. Ask yourself are you being as good as you could? Are you focusing on others or yourself and your needs?

All My Best,

Heart and Soul 💗

What Cats Do Best

Our kitty Smokey laying just across a roaring fire with feet pushing up against the wall!

Spread right out,

be yourself

in an envelope of comfort!

Don’t  hold back,

relax and give in.

Sleep the hours away

and indulge in

a peaceful slumber!

Advice from cats!

 

Katy doing what she does best, relaxing in her chair without a care in the world.

 

 

 

Our sweet Smokey curling up on his favorite chair which happens to be mine too!

 

 

My beautiful kitty Katy, who is 14 1/2 years old.

My cats are quite the characters with their unique and quirky personalities. What do they do best? Sleep the days away but we love them even more because of that.

Isn’t it great dreaming of a sleep away kind of day?

All My Best,

Heart and Soul

A February Snowstorm

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We’ve just weathered ( excuse the pun!) a snowstorm . It dumped a few inches shy of a  foot of new heavy snow. Looking outside my window all I see are mountains of white, pushed against our house in drifts. The road is encased with snowy forts up to four feet. The DOT  monstrous orange plows rumble back and forth, pushing snow up against the banks. Private snowplows rush by with the flashing lights on their roofs as the new promising day begins.

 

 

 

It started its magic about 11 am on Wednesday and continued with nature’s force until it petered out in the late evening. We were released early from school at noon, and even then teachers were already digging their cars out and roads were frosted with new snow. Most cars slowed down in slow motion, as snowflakes fell at a rapid rate.

 

I arrived home quietly and greeted my two lovable  lounging cats. As I lit my candles and ate a little lunch, our road became still. There wasn’t the  usual deluge of passing vehicles going somewhere. I suppose many people went straight home, as I did and nestled in it’s comfort.

 

Is it odd to say that’s one of my favorite elements of winter? The nesting inside…beside the blazing heat and crackle of the fire. Gazing at the constant glittery show of the snowfall, sometimes pelting against the windows. The feel of snugly lap blankets and fuzzy slippers. The good hot cup of tea or rich coffee in hand and an interesting book or my iPad to write.

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That night while I prepared for bed, snowplows hurried by and I hoped the drivers would be able to rest soon, including my husband. I went to bed and left the light on for him and in the midst of the night I heard the ruffle of blankets as he tiredly climbed in our cocoon. We both fell asleep and I didn’t even get to ask him about his snowy work filled day.

 

I woke up to more plow trucks racing by with weary drivers at the helm. The school bus barreled by and as I fixed my breakfast I thought that this is a way of life here. The outside world is piled up with snow and even so, life goes on as usual. I would dress and anticipate my school day, as I always do.

 

Yes, we have to endure snow boots, gloves and hats, snow tires, huge heating bills and sometimes inconveniences of messy roads. But through all this, I’ll take it and my husband will to. For we chose to live here, to dwell in the four seasons and reap in its rewards. Winter has its lovely elements, despite nasty flu floating around as well as cold temperatures and snow.

 

A winter blessing is the sparkling beauty of snowfall and it’s magical presence hung on branches. The cold air makes you feel alive ( I’ll take this over too much heat). Winter is the perfect time to rest, to renew from the passing year and prepare for the months ahead. It’s the only time you can snowshoe and stargaze at a perfect sky frosted with unbelievable stars. Tracks from our wild friends scatter throughout the yard like a busy maze, something we can’t see in other seasons.

 

 

So winter is in full force here, in New Hampshire. Our beef stew is ready in the crockpot along with a pan of freshly baked biscuits. The stove crackles and pops and the white wonderland outside is where I live, where I rest and mostly love my family.

 

I was born in New England like my mom and my dad and both sets of grandparents. I hope to die here. I’m proud to live here! Maybe I’m crazy!  Maybe it’s a stubborn trait, to defy the odds and stay. Or maybe I’m just at home, no matter which beautiful season it is! I’ll accept winter and the rest as snow falls outside and the stars twinkle their show.

 

Are you content where you live? Do you have snow or tropical weather?

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤

My Journey of Patience

 

The caretakers ” cottage” where we raised our sons and called home.

 

If you didn’t already know…I waited 22 years to live in our renovated home. We already lived in a home just down the road nestled on a grand estate. A winding driveway led to a grand mansion, garages and sheds, an apple orchard, a Christmas tree field, a built-in pool, all surrounded by a serene stonewall. It was a magical place to raise our sons and we felt as comfortable as can be. But it wasn’t ours and sometimes the reality of that slapped us in the face.

 

 

Mrs. Geneen’s grand estate

As time ticked on, money and precious time were factors in a renovation standstill. The house stood lonely and cold and every time I passed it, I felt a break in my heart. Every now and then I would dream of what curtains I would have and where our furniture would go, just to keep the dream alive. Then it would fade away again, with unsettled future plans in limbo.

 

 

Finally we decided to finish the house and make the big move. Our employer and friend, Mrs. Geneen had passed away a few years before and we were eventually paying rent to stay. It was the perfect time to let go, to walk away and start a new life in our home! Now, three years later, we occupy our dream home and it’s a blessing and a relief. Sometimes I pinch myself while walking through the rooms. It doesn’t seem possible that we are finally here in our own home! The wait has gifted me patience that maybe I didn’t possess before, a strength that flows in my blood now.

 

 

If you can learn anything from my circumstance it is this…sometimes all that you desire or think you need isn’t meant to happen right away. For the journey you travel while you wait makes up who you are and why would you pass up something so teaching and beautiful? If you’re being tested and have to wait, remember my story and keep marching on. Stay strong and hopeful during your journey. Eventually events happen as you wish, but not on your timeline but God’s. Trust it…for such beauty lies in the wait!

All My Best,

Heart and Soul

Capturing JOY

Capturing Joy…

One of my friends on Facebook ( Keri Lyndes) posted this gem of her children enjoying the snow. What a capture of joy! This photo was my inspiration for this post!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our niece Michele’s friend’s darling daughter before a dance recital.

 

 

 

My son Dylan and my beautiful daughter in law to be announcing their engagement in our little humble town.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Embrace moments of joy…

Feel the very essence

of its beauty,

its exploding energy

that erupts from your core

that can’t be tamed.

 

This joy that speaks to us all,

The excitement of the moment,

the thrill that send chills

up your spine.

 

 

Our nephew Justin playing baseball. 😁

 

My son Dylan pitching in baseball

 

 

The excitement of playing

what you love

is an act of pure joy.

 

 

My nephew’s Spencer and Luke winning a snowmobile race

 

The special graduation milestones

express joy,

these images forever

embedded in our hearts.

 

Our beautiful niece Paula, her precious daughter Alena at her Kindergarten graduation with Paula’s best friend Jill

 

 

Our niece Samantha celebrating her high school graduation with her Stepdad Roger.

 

 

It’s the joy that creates belly laughter

among family and friends.

 

My sister Barb, myself, my mom and my niece Ella.

 

The joy of mothers and their daughters

 

Our niece Jennifer and Tom’s sister Mary

 

Tom’s mom Theo and his sister Pam

 

and of mothers and their sons

being together.

 

Our niece Jennifer and her three sons Justin, Jared and Joe and his girlfriend

 

My sons Branden and Dylan and me

 

 

My husband Tom and his smile of pure joy

Capturing Joy…

recognizing bright smiles

in a family moment.

 

 

 

The joy of knowing yourself and it shines through like golden rays of the sun

 

The joy of young love 💗

 

 

The joy of family reuniting,

bridging long distances

with tightly wrapped up hugs.

The joy of finding the special one

 

Our niece Paula’s awesome stepchildren.

 

How amazing it is

to see evidence of

pure joy

and feel it

and all the love in  a single picture.

 

 

If we could just remember

the joyful moments

from our lives

on sad lonely days

and swallow our sorrows

away!

We could open up those

memories like

pretty packaged gifts!

 

 

Breathe Joy.

Indulge in JOY.

Capture the Joy!

 

Remember to capture your moments of joy! Thanks to Keri, Theo, Pam,Mary, Paula, Jen, Michele and Jojo for contributing their lovely photos and memories! Thanks for the expressive writing inspiration, Michele! 

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cream Pies ( Cookies)

I must say so myself, these are delicious! Merely the cookie without the filling would be great too!

 

 

Recently I was thumbing through my Better Homes and Gardens Christmas Cookies magazine. It’s been in my recipe collection for 17 years. It’s worn and torn in places, showing its age and constant use. It has been one of my favorite magazines to find cookie recipes all year. I say all year because many of the recipes are good for all through the year and why limit them to December and Christmas?

 

It was a Saturday afternoon and I wanted to whip up these peanut butter oatmeal cream pies ( cookies) for Tom and the girls at school. I try to bake for them all weekly and the weekend off is a great time to do it! I gathered my ingredients, lit my kitchen candles and away I baked!

 

Homemade Peanut Butter Oatmeal Pies

Taken from Better Homes and Garden Christmas Cookies publication

1/4 c. flour

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. baking powder

1/2 c. butter, softened

1/2 c. sugar

1/2 c. brown sugar, packed

1 egg

1 tsp. vanilla

1 c. quick cooking oats

Filling

2 tsps. hot water

1/4 tsp salt

1- 7 oz. jar marshmallow cream ( Fluff)

1/2 c. shortening

1/3 c. powdered sugar

 

My new mixer that I have used a lot!

 

 

1. Preheat oven to 350  degrees F. Grease a cookie sheet. In a small bowl combine flour, baking soda, salt and baking powder. In a large bowl combine butter and peanut butter. Beat on medium until combined. ( I used my Kitchen aid mixer but you could use a hand mixer) Beat in sugars until fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla until just combined. Stir in flour mixture and oats.

2. Drop dough by rounded teaspoons 2 inches apart onto cookie sheet. Bake in oven for 8-10 minutes or until edges are light brown and centers are set. Cool for one minute and then transfer to wire cooling rack.

3. In a medium bowl combine hot water and salt. Stir until dissolved. Add marshmallow cream, shortening ( I’m not crazy about shortening and may use butter next time) and powdered sugar. Beat until well combined.

4. Spread filling mixture onto flat side of half of cookies. Top each frosted cookie with another cookie. Makes 13 sandwich cookies.

I store my cookies at room temperature in my plastic cookie keeper that’s air tight. These are so much better than store-bought cream pies…look out Little Debbie’s!

 

 

Enjoy your week and take time to bake for your friends and loved ones!

All My Best,

Heart and Soul