Beautiful YOU

I love this quote because it’s so true! Many women need to accept themselves the way they are, including me!Just be yourself…for acting like someone else isn’t you. It’s fake. Do you want to be real and honest? Then just be you. Your friends and family will love you for who you are and the rest of the world doesn’t matter.

I’m placing this quote on my fridge for when I have self-doubt. Isn’t it just easier to be yourself with love and acceptance? I would imagine life will roll a lot smoother when you do this.

 

 

 

Happy summer, friends! I hope you all are enjoying it~

All My Best,

Heart and Soul

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Walking the Cat!

Walking the cat? Are you crazy? I can hear your surprised and amused comments and I first thought that too. Until my soon to be daughter-in-law suggested for me to start walking our cat Smokey. She walks her cat Smokey Joe outside and has been for a while.

 

 

Our two cats have always been inside cats. The reason is that we’ve lost two cats in the past, one to a coydog and one got run over in front of our house. We live on an intersection of two busy roads and don’t want to risk our cats being run over. With that said, with our cat Katie it’s always been easy. She loves being inside and secure and seems very content with her home. The few times our kids have brought her out she freaked out in fear. Our youngest cat Smokey is another story. He was born a barn cat and spent a little time outdoors with his mother before we got him. He’s always had a free spirit and would run out whenever he could.

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The last year or so it’s been worse. One time he got out and ran up our neighbors hill. I was afraid that he wouldn’t return and roam the nearby woods and find trouble. With both my sons’ help, we gathered him up and brought him back home. It was then that I knew we had a problem and we had to give him his outside time as he wishes for.

 

 

Branden and I bought a harness and leash in a pet store and started putting on the harness so he would get used to it. We take him on fifteen minute adventures most everyday except on rainy days. The funny thing is that he doesn’t even whine to go out on cloudy and rainy days. Must be that water thing…that cats just don’t like to get wet.

 

Smokey either wants to roll in the dirt, eat grass or hunt. The hunting aspect is a challenge and worry as I don’t want him to kill. There are little chipmunks around the yard and they know of his presence. One time I saw a poor little scared one tucked in between our fuel tank and the house. I felt so sorry for him that I immediately brought the cat inside. Who knows how long he/she would’ve been able to hide there!

 

So the “catwalk” continues…which really isn’t one as he walks in a low position and never gains ground as he stops here and there. There are many smells and textures of this outside world that Smokey has to learn. As he learns, I hope he can have some polite manners. Sometimes he growls or hisses at Branden and I if we take him in another direction from what he wants. The reason we do this is because of the birds and chipmunks and we don’t want him in the Poison Ivy.

After walking the cat I realize the differences between cats and dogs. I think dogs will follow you where you wish them to go, where cats have a mind of their own and get ticked off if they don’t get their way. Oh well, I signed up for this when we got our cats. I have no regrets as I buckle the harness for Smokey’s daily walk. Who knows what we will find but I do know he’s happier with the outside trek and that makes me happy as well.

 

All My Best,

Heart and Soul

A Garden Update

It has been very hot and dry here in New Hampshire. With just a one day of rainfall until yesterday, I was becoming good friends with our new garden hose (Thanks so much to Tom and Dylan for setting up the outside faucet and hose for me). I’ve been trying to save my frail cucumber plants. Have you ever had trouble getting yours growing? I have…even with a daily watering habit the cucumbers are floppy and the stems are white. This happens to my tender plants early in the season if the weather is hot.

 

Thankfully the day before yesterday we had a deluge of rain, perking up my green plants and moistening the garden soil. It’s amazing how a significant rainfall can make a difference with their well-being. With a blink of the eye, the growth is unbelievable!

Here is our little corn patch, four meager rows. Tom and Branden love corn and I enjoy it too. I made the decision to rotate its placement.  Last year the corn rested on the East side facing, where the sun comes up and this growing season it’s on the West side.

My green beans have sprouted nicely forming an L shape in the East corner. I hope they are close enough to the fence to intertwine the vine on it. It would be cool to pick beans off the fence.

As most of you may know, I planted a bed of sunflowers for my son and daughter-in-law’s wedding in August. Here is a recent photo of one and even now, with the rainstorm, it’s a few inches taller. Next Tom and I plan to fence it in to protect it from deer and woodchucks. I’m grateful that I can do this and really hope they will be ready to pick by the 18th.

How are your gardens doing? Have you spent much time nurturing and talking to your plants as I have? I think that’s my mother-in-law’s success with growing flowers is simple, talk to them everyday and love them. You can’t go wrong with love, don’t you agree?

I hope you all are having a pleasant week. I plan to catch up and read many of your blog posts.

All My Best,

Heart and Soul

One Small Sticker, One Huge Heart

I am always looking for special moments throughout the day, occurrences that restore my faith in humanity. Sometimes it’s a wide smile and a pat on the back…others times, it’s witnessing adults and students helping each other with a kindness that will surely change our world.

 

 

About six weeks ago at 7:20 with a steamy mug of tea in hand and my school bag slung over my shoulder, I walked the path to the school building. It seemed like any other work day. But little did I know I would receive a surprise at the door. A smiling eighth grader sat on the pavement with a book of bright glittery stickers. “Do you want a sticker?” Brendan Wall asked me. This was strange to me, for I am always  giving out stickers to my students, but no one has ever asked me!

 

I immediately thought that it was a special gesture, especially early in the morning. This was a sure sign that this kids heart was in the right place! From that day on, the sticker collection grew. Brendan would have sheets fanned out on the walk with surrounding kids waiting for a sticker to start the day. He would generously hand them out to students and teachers. Smiling and laughing kids and a genuine happiness hung in the air…simply from a sticker.

 

Brendan told me that he hands out the little stickers “because it makes people happy and that makes me happy.” He said some people ask if he wants money and the answer is always no, “because people don’t need to pay for their happiness!” he stated proudly.

 

I remember having this young man in reading a few years ago. What an inspiring gift it is, to see what good he is doing for the school community now! I’m not sure how Brendan got this fantastic inspiration ( I should have asked him) but I do know that with this simple sticker and kind smile, he’s contributing to a healthy and positive school climate. It sends a simple message that you can spread goodness and kindness with a small token but affect others in a huge way!

Upon taking these photos on the last day, Brendan gave out his sticker sheets for the summer. I didn’t ask him if this project would be ongoing and since he’ll be in high school, I expect it may change. One thing that won’t change is Brendan’s huge heart and his gifts of kindness to others. Maybe someday this young man will have a promising career serving others.

Thank you to Brendan for letting me share his story. Also a huge thanks to his mom for her permission to take photos and write about him. She must be a proud mama to have such a giving son and I’m sure her love and kindness has positively influenced him.

As you go about your day, how can you spread kindness and generosity in small ways? If we all do this, in these special and small moments, our world will definitely be a better place! I hope you will feel inspired from this young man and do your part to spread love and kindness to others!

All My Best,

Heart and Soul

aka “Mrs. Blowey” as Brendan knows me

Have FAITH

Sometimes heavy thoughts weigh on my mind, steamrolling anything light and positive. Those times I lose faith and dig in, assuring myself that I can beat the terrible thoughts and overcome them by myself. This has happened this week….an issue has been building up for a couple of years, something I thought threatened me and my family. I bucked hard against the negativity but many times gave in. When I did this my self-esteem plunged, I questioned my life and how it’s going and many things that I’ve always expected to be a certain way.

 

I cried a lot. I felt so defeated and defensive and uncertain of my future. Through all this tribulation, I forgot who to trust. I didn’t pray. Because of this drastic mistake, the situation in my mind grew to enormous lengths and I hit rock bottom. Not trusting in the creator leads to these doomsday ideas and thoughts. Not praying and believing in Him makes it the end of the world.

 

 

Thankfully I talked to my mom and she prayed. We both prayed to God. We prayed for strength, comfort and the ability to knock these low self-esteem thoughts from me. Mom prayed for a sign. She said, “Lord, send Mary a sign that you are listening and you have this situation under control, Amen.”

 

Lately I’ve prayed for sick relatives and friends. I’ve prayed for many things but not my life nor for myself. I forgot to do this. Then my mom’s prayers opened up those  gates I had put up and allowed me to pray again. I prayed early in the morning over coffee. I  prayed while performing chores. I quietly prayed at night under the silent covers.

 

This morning I looked over at my June calendar in my kitchen. My dad made this wooden calendar and I decorate it differently every month. On June first I had placed the wooden letters that spell, FAITH on the top. Yet everyday I wrestled with this situation I didn’t even notice FAITH until this morning. Maybe on June first God knew I would battle this and led me to putting up the letters. Maybe not…but I”d like to think he was behind it.

All in all, everything is fine. My marriage is strong and loving, despite my past worries and anxiety. We are happy and strong. We love each other. My inner image is a work in progress. I continue to pray for a strong self-image, for confidence and peace within the depths of my soul.

I thank God for pulling me out of the depths of despair and self-doubt. I am okay and I will destroy the terrible thoughts from my head. Sometimes those negative thoughts take up too much space and I feel the only way to combat it is to pray. Praying restores that sense of peace, a place I wish to be in to live a happy life.

I hope you all are having a great week! This week is my last at school, finishing up on Thursday with a good workshop on Trauma and kids. After that Tom and I have the summer ahead of us, with many exciting adventures. One is our oldest son, Dylan getting married in August.

All My Best,

Heart and Soul

Letting Fear Go

 

 

Many women have learned to live life with fear, either by being taught this or by being immersed in the fear cycle through emotional or physical abuse. I’ve always been fearful…starting as a little girl I was afraid of anything and everything. To this day I still need to remind myself that I’m stronger than the dark cloud of fear and that I can overcome it! I’m  tired of the pattern it knits and how it makes me feel inside.

 

 

What has helped me tackle it  is trusting God and riding the storm with his sheltering umbrella over me. It’s not to say that it creeps up now and then, but it keeps these feelings at bay and under control.

 

Recently I had to venture alone down south on busy route 93 to pick up my son close to Boston. I had scattered fearful thoughts of what if…my car breaks down? What if I get in an accident so far from home? When ever I go alone, fear invades my every being but I squash it and say to myself that I am confident and strong. For I am!

 

 

Fear stunts growth and keeps a person stuck in negativity. After acknowledging the fear, I let it go. I challenge its foundation and embrace strength instead. This is all part of my growing journey…an exhilarating triumph to see it for what it is and squash it entirely.

 

I’m not saying that all this inner work is easy for its not…sometimes life’s events will happen and jar my strength and then I am back to the drawing board. It’s constant work to remember that fear only lives when one gives it life, wouldn’t you say? I would rather give energy to strength and confidence. I can’t wait until the day I bid a complete goodbye to this work, but until then I’ll strive to do better.

As I write this, I think of another plaguing insecurity of mine is jealousy. I’ve planned on writing a post on it in the future and hope you all can lend me a hand on my journey by encouraging my removal of it from my life.

Thank you all for your friendship and love. I never could have imagined the incredible people on word press that have contributed to my life. I consider many of you dear friends, although we have never met, we share many hopes and dreams and hurts.

All My Best,

Heart and Soul

“Earning Your Keep”

 

I think most writers discover inspiration all around them…in nature’s beauty, in the eyes of their loves, in magical books and movies that take your breath away, to name a few. I watched a movie last night on Hulu, Tumbledown with Jason Sudeikis and a quote struck me so much that I thought about it all night. The female character was looking out over a frozen lake in April set in Maine and her prolific words touched my every being. ” I love living in a place where you have to earn your keep.”

 

 

What does that really mean? I know it was a reference to  living in New England. It can be brutal here with harsh weather with loads of snow and little sun many months of the year to the point of driving many people south for a reprieve. Staying here in this sometimes unforgiving land is”earning your keep.”You have to work hard. Live hard. Love with all your being. You have to accept the seasons and love the changes that are thrust upon you.

 

 

In spring the hearty tulips emerge in patches of snow. Newly arriving robins flutter and fly while frosty snow covers the ground. That’s not what I visualize when I think of spring…yet that’s the reality here.

 

In summer the warmth and pleasant temperatures take over, a season when towns fill up  with returning snowbirds. Small hamlets come to life as economies thrive once again, counting on the hot sunshine, the cool walks in the woods and the refreshing dips in the lake that appeal to any visitor and resident.

 

The crisp fall presence is a prelude of winter but a lingering glimpse of summer. Trees are an outstanding canvas of golden, pinks, bright yellows and rich reds. Mountains call to you to explore and experience the surreal peace on the way to the top.

 

Beautiful yet unforgiving winter brings sparkling whites, glistening sheets of ice and frigid air….testing your endurance. It’s the season your will must be steady and strong. You accept the harsh reality because the splendor and beauty can be humbling yet breath-taking.

 

When I think of living in New England, I think of “earning your keep”. It takes a strong-willed person to not only stick it out, but to love all the seasons for their unique qualities. We choose to stay, to live and love the changes the seasons hand us. That’s what a New Englander does….earns his keep and loves every minute of it!

 

The older I become the more my bones ache ( possibly arthritis) and my patience with the cold waivers at times. With that said, I still love living in the north. It’s all I know and my husband as well…both of us have lived in New England all our lives and I foresee that’s the way it will always be. 

Happy Weekend to you all!

All My Best,

Heart and Soul