Chandler Pond

Our little town hosts serene mountain views as well as farming fields and pastoral hillsides. It’s the type of town you can relax in and absorb all the scenic wonders. One such wonder is lovely Chandler Pond. It sits at the corner of Millbrook and Gale Chandler Road with a mountains in the distance framing it in. Chandler Pond is a man-made water hole and Tom says it was for transporting logs for a business. We are assuming this was many years ago but we don’t know an accurate date.

 

 

Now and then on a spring or summer evening Tom and I will seek peaceful refuge here. A stillness lives here and it settles us. We don’t talk much at Chandler Pond and we don’t need to. We stand and look in this quiet country setting and just be.  Sometimes Tom hooks a fish and others he doesn’t and I don’t think that matters to him other that he is here amid the beauty. It bursts at you right away, for it is reflective of the surrounding trees and mountain ranges.

 

 

There have been moose here and deer nearby. Ducks flock here. Beavers swim and build lodges of sticks and mud. Parading geese and their young trek on the bank. Unfortunately Tom and I had to walk as if in a maze, dodging the poop piles. Most of you must know that geese are great to look at but very messy where they live. It is what it is…a sign of nature.

 

On a July evening Tom and I visited this gem with intentions of seeking peace after a hectic day. Our wishes were met as we walked along the pond and looked for fish, as the night air cooled

There are two places you can park and get out and walk around the freshly mowed edge.The water flows into a spillway, which runs into a winding stream. That’s where Tom likes to cast his fishing pole and catch fish that are stocked there.

 

 

 

Here is the spillway with the Chandler Pond overflow feeding into it. From there it goes in a culvert and into a stream.

 

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This is where Tom fishes over the railing into the brook below

 

 

 

When we first started dating Tom took me on a boat ride here. It was in a cheap blow up boat with plastic oars, one that I won in a work raffle at the store. Shifting every so slightly caused the plastic to squeak and I couldn’t help wondering how sturdy it was. I remember that day and the stillness as my heart fluttered being with this man. Although I should live in the now, coming back to the pond taps into this past memory.

 

How blessed we are to live in this town and reap the ponds rewards. I suggest that you find your peaceful spot in your town. Visit when you need to fill your cup and cherish the silent moments.

 

Chandler Pond in the fall

 

 

Here’s my handsome husband in his element, the outdoors.

All My Best,

Heart and Soul

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First Day of Summer Vacation

Hello All,

This was my first day of summer vacation and my 49th birthday! I woke to no alarm…just sun glinting in my windows and my sleeping cat Smokey at my feet. I think he thought something was wrong as it was a little later than usual. It was grand taking my time as I sipped my cup of coffee and had toast with honey and butter.

 

I spent the morning walking around our yard and weeding and working with my flowers. It took a little time clipping off gone by lilac flowers but it was great satisfaction to take care of it. My dad told me you should clip them off every year.

 

Here is my favorite bird bath my niece Michele made from re-purposed dishes and cups. The bottom piece fell and broke but we managed to re-glue it so hopefully it will be strong in the summer winds. I have yet to spy a bird land in its beautiful bath dish but look forward to that!

 

June is amazing here! Flowers have emerged everywhere, with bursting colors to brighten yards and decks. Out back we have pink and white wildflowers growing in patches here and there. Tom said that the state plants them on roadsides and so on our little country drives we get to see them.

A stand of maples shade our back yard, where soon our deck will be. Wind chimes flutter in the breeze and I hear the tinkling little music that blends in with chirping robins.

Tom and his friend Mike worked with Mike’s tractor to smooth our back yard and get rid of a huge clump of dirt. Soon we will plant grass and put up a little fence bordering the dirt road. That way we will have a little needed privacy on our deck.

That’s all for now! Summer officially begins! I look forward to waking without an alarm and to my own rhythm. My time will be spent catching up with a few household chores, working in my veggie garden and outside flower beds. I truly hope to read all of your posts and catch up as much as I can. Thanks for stopping by and check in now and then for summer posts!

All My Best,

Heart and Soul

Don’t Take it Personally❤️

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No matter how hard you try

some people will always find fault with

your every action and word.

Don’t take it personally,

for it’s their baggage and insecurity!

The sooner we learn that no matter what…

you are not always going to make everyone in your life HAPPY,

the sooner you can grow and move on.

Keep living your truth and be confident with your

actions and words.

I still battle this… for I’m a people

pleaser and have always been one.

I’m diligently  working on building myself up to

be strong and not to take people’s social media

reactions personally.

I’m just me, doing the best I can.

If I make people smile and be happy,

that’s  great!

If I don’t, well… it is what it is

and I’m not taking it personally!

Do you take things personally, especially social media reactions? I think Facebooks likes and loves have created a monster. The reactions are a nightmare for someone with anxiety because you read into the likes and loves.

What do you think?

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 ❤

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two Years and Counting

While browsing my blog stats and dates, I noticed that my blog has been running for two years. It all started as a simple idea and a whim. I had no expectations or plans tied with the launch. All I knew is that it was time to present my writing and satisfy my need to be complete. For as you and I both know, if you’re not practicing and doing what you love, then you’re not truly being yourself. I had to write and this blog was a way to do so.

 

I want to thank you, all of my readers who many have become lovely friends who I “talk” with back and forth such as Rhonda, Jodi, Tammy and Ellen just to name a few. Others who I check in with from time to time mean just as much. The one thing I’ve learned as a blogger is that you become a family member of the community, gaining a rich patchwork of friends. With all  you special people, I have read fascinating stories, tried delicious recipes and gawked over amazing photos and pieces of artwork! In the process I’ve shared my life stories and pictures and have put everything out on the table and trusted you all. It’s felt natural and good to trust and share my life.

I hope to continue this blog as long as I can for years to come. With this wish, my other dream is to compile alike posts and write a book someday about a mom’s life in rural New Hampshire. 

So here’s a HUGE thank you to my family and friends who regularly read my posts and offer positive comments in response. This is what has propelled me to keep moving forward…it’s something I’m very grateful for! ❤❤❤

All My Best,

Heart and Soul 💗

Mary ❤

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