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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength and my refuge, is in God.
Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us.
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.
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.
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.
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.
On this Mother’s Day I’m reflecting upon special women in my life and their roles. I’m extremely grateful for these moms! As a mom myself, I wish to honor them, for how can I truly enjoy this day without paying homage to my loved ones who have made a difference and influenced my mothering?
Thank you to my mom, who has supported me from day one and loved me unconditionally. I owe so much to her for helping me grow and overcome so much, when I was younger. She was my go to person, who I could always count on, until I stood on my own two feet. What I love about her is that she has always listened to me no matter what. When I’m down and out she whispers sweet little prayers for me aloud. It does my heart some good to know that mom is still looking out for me, even though I’m grown and a mother myself now. Happy Mother’s Day to the lady who gave birth to me so long ago with love.
There’s another sweetheart in my life who befriended me at work so many years ago and brought me to her home for a hot meal and loving conversation. That day I met her only son, who happens to be my husband now.
On this special day I can’t write this post without mentioning Theo, my second mom. I’m so thankful for my mother in law and her friendship. She’s always been there for me and a champion for our family. We’ve done baseball games together, camped with the kids in the summers and spent several Christmases cooking a meal. She’s been an outstanding grandmother to her grandchildren and has always been there for her four children. That’s the kind of lady who sets an example and someone I learned from when I was starting out. Happy Mother’s Day to her with love.
I must mention my sons today as well. There’s not a day that doesn’t go by without my grateful feelings for my two sons. Being a mother has been the most learning, humbling, exhilarating and rewarding experience of my life!❤️ If I would want to be remembered for anything once I pass on, it would be that I was a great and loving mom and that I was happy doing it. I have no regrets, even with mistakes I made because I know I made up for them with love. Also that’s what makes me human!
Last but not least, I’m extremely grateful for the group of women I work with. We all work in an elementary wing and every teacher and para there are kind, like old friends who support each other with love. I have to thank Laura, Carol, Anne, Brittany, Beth, Darcy, Aimee, Joanna and Donna who work together with joy, their main goal is to teach children, support them and provide a safe loving environment. These special women are all mothers in one way or another through their nurturing and loving actions with the school children. Kudos to these heroes I know, who are teaching our future leaders with a grace and confidence that’s impeccable!
As I wrap up this post, I challenge you to think of the special women in your life. Have you made the time to visit them, message or call? Most importantly, have you told them that you love them? That means the world to mothers , coupled with tight hugs and lots of kisses.
Happy Mothers Day to all you moms out there! I hope you receive precious time with your children and hugs too!
It was a beautiful April day in Homosassa, Florida. The wind whipped more than usual, while the sun shined as it only can there. At the Homosassa Riverside Resort, on the Homosassa River, there’s a dock and a few boats alongside it. Imagine a pelican flying by and a heron hunting on the edge of the dock. Silent and still, it intently gazed at the water for its next meal.
Fifty yards away sits a diminutive island dressed up with a lighthouse and tree house structure built up high from the water. This just isn’t any island, for five spider monkeys inhabit it. Sassy, Ebony, Emily, Eve and Ralph entertain visitors, the show monkeys can only give. These primates swing and climb and bask in the sun. Sometimes they will approach the edge of water but don’t proceed because they don’t like water. Supposedly they scare any approaching alligators by throwing rocks in the water and seek the higher ground, the house. ( credit to abcactionews.com from Tampa Bay)
The Resort’s owners are the monkey’s caretakers, who feed them and take care of them. When hurricanes approach they keep a close eye on the monkeys and have an evacuation plan if needed. ( credit to abcactionews.com) I had to mention this because this worrying thought came to my mind and it immediately made me feel better that they were monitored and protected.
Tom’s mom, his sister Pam and husband Jim,his other sister Mary and her husband Joe, and Tom and I ate a nice lunch together at the Resort’s restaurant. Many of us enjoyed the fried Grouper fish sandwich while watching the monkey theatrics across the way. Good company and food brought us together, something we all don’t do often. The only sibling missing was Tom’s sister Bev and her husband Chris.
The monkeys were amusing as I watched closely. One laid out in the sun, stretched long while another sat up in the house. Two hung out together and it looked like one was being a mother hen and was picking off something off the other. I’ve read somewhere before that they have a tendency to groom each other, so that was interesting to watch.
We were planning on going on a boat ride but the captain called in sick. We went to plan B and enjoyed our lunch and it all was wonderful. Sometimes things don’t go as planned and in that case, I use my co- worker Laura’s thinking, plan B. If the first plan doesn’t work out, then no big deal, switch to an alternative option and if that doesn’t work, there’s plan C. Life has disappointments all the time and it’s up to us cope with it and make special moments anyway. ❤
Then it was time for goodbyes and hugs to Mary and Joe. It was the second leg of our journey…over to Central Florida in Lake Wales. Jim drove us all back to the house, about a two hour ride. Along the journey we were still amazed to see palm trees and orange groves. What we didn’t find were mountains like in New Hampshire. It was refreshing to spy different scenery!
Upon arriving, we toured Pam, Jim and Theo’s house. It’s tucked in a community called Tower Lakes with homes weaved around the park. The park has a few ponds, a community pool and hot tub, and walking road and bridge. Theo told us that an alligator was in the pond but when he gets big, they will get someone to take him out. Yikes!
Their home is lovely decorated and with a Florida and seaside theme. It was homey and comfortable and so nice to see it after a few years.We slept in their guest room, opening from the living room through French doors. They have a futon serving as a sofa and a guest bed.
The next morning after Tom shot pool with Jim and his friends, we visited Circle B Bar Reserve in Lakeland, in Polk County. This is a free state park open to the public. Paths lead by the lake, tropical forests and by swampy areas. Words are hard to do this place true justice, but I’ll try to describe it the best that I can. Tom’s wonderful photos may paint an accurate picture and can hopefully bring you right there and share our beautiful experience.
Once we got down the trail a bit it all started happening! Everywhere we looked, there were alligators and many times they were a few feet from the trail, lying on the bank. Hundreds were in the lake that day, heads out of the water swimming slowly. It definitely was the most alligators that Tom and I’ve seen and the rest of the crew too probably. We went on April 25th close to alligator mating season and that may be why we saw many of them!
Tropical birds were everywhere, as well as blue herons hunting their prey in the swampy water. A flock of pure white birds were spotted in the distance with a pink flamingo in the mix. An osprey busily dove into the lake for a catch and we spotted a few huge osprey nests on the trail.
What amazed us all was how mesmerized Tom was. Jim was very kind to lend Tom his digital camera with a zoom and let him try it out for the day. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen my husband that infatuated and inspired. As he walked, he slowed and snapped photos with a burning passion, probably the same deep feeling that I have when I write.
We were all happy for such a special walk ( one that was almost three miles) and the natural wonders that we were treated to, but especially for Tom’s amazement and wonder. At times I didn’t talk but walked and gazed at the Florida wildlife and soaked in my husband’s happiness like a sponge. When your spouse has these moments, you feel good about it and ultimately happy for him. I enjoyed it as well for the reserve had more birds, gators and turtles than I’d ever seen. I have to admit that I ran and jumped when I felt threatened by the gators. There’s nothing holding them back from crossing the trail so I felt excited but a little scared too.
Towards the end of our adventure, we all decided that we would stop and rest on benches by the water. No sooner had we sat down then we spotted a big alligator in the water a few feet away! At first I wasn’t worried but suddenly the big guy slithered out onto the grassy bank next to another bench. Tom wanted to get a good picture and boy, did he! He, Jim, and his mom hung out just a few feet away with a group of spectators, while Pam and I hit the high road! I’m not embarrassed to inform you that fear made me run, I love my limbs and didn’t feel like giving any up that day! It all ended okay after a few minutes of worry and excitement. After turning down our trail a bit and shocking everyone, this monster sized gator decided to retire in the water across the way and then the show was over.
That was the closest we’ve ever been to these amazing creatures and that’s enough for me! I’ll enjoy the pictures and remember my racing heart and cries for Tom as part of my vacation memories! Ha! We all enjoyed a lovely seafood dinner at The Port after we went to Circle B. Thank you, Theo for treating us to that!
If you happen to be in the Lakeland area, look up the Circle B Bar Reserve, it’s an outstanding natural habitat of wildlife to see and snap photos of!
The very next day it was already time to bid our goodbyes with hugs and a few choked up tears. Airports are really sad for me for some reason. Jim took this photo of Tom, Pam, Theo and I just before we checked in at Orlando International Airport. It was a great couple of days and we want to thank all three for making us feel welcome and for such a nice visit!