Three Years Ago

January 10, 2016…three years ago I settled in my recliner to write my first blog post. Back then I didn’t know what to expect or if anyone would even be interested in reading it. It was the first time in a very long while that I put caution to the wind and really took a chance. Those fleeting moments of filling the page with words felt liberating. There…I had done it. I listened to my heart and invested in the possibilities. It felt like I had unleashed a woman who had hidden within me for ages, not only a married working mom, but a writer who had copious words and stories to share. This passion has always lived within me, bubbling up finally. I thought maybe no one would care. Maybe someone would. I simply trusted myself and my readers and put it out there.

Since then I’ve learned that not everyone in your life will pay attention or care. Some joke about my blog like it’s a stupid thing or that its funny. That’s okay! But some have been interested and have encouraged me along the way! They signed up for my email! They read now and then and comment, sharing in my experiences in life. Whether you are my family of friends or ones who have stumbled upon my site, it doesn’t matter. What matters to me is that you care, that you support me as I travel this special journey. I’m eternally grateful for your support, your love and friendship.

As I continue this journey and dream of compiling my penned posts, I am considering taking writing classes to learn more. I hope you all will stay connected with me. I wish you all peace, joy and love as you start this new year.

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤️

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A January To Do List

If you live in the wintry Northeast of the United States, you know that many January activities involve the cold, snow or inside venues. I compiled a little to do list for you New Englanders to try this month. If you live elsewhere ask yourself if any of these ideas would work for you.

Credits to Janet Lee Logan & Princess Sassy Pants & Co. Thank you.
  • Go sledding with your family and friends! We have a long Tobaggon that I won at work many years ago. It can hold two or three bodies and goes like the wind!
  • Host a Saturday lunch for friends. I’m hosting my two friends Laurie and Michelle in a couple of weeks. Serve hot or cold sandwiches or homemade soup. Have tea, coffee or hot beverages available.
  • Organize desk drawers or cluttered countertops. It’s easier now while the weather is colder outside. Once spring comes, you’re going to want to be outside instead.
  • Organize your printed photographs or digital thumbprints. Label folders such as Christmas 2018 or Summer 2018.
  • Take an afternoon hike in the woods. Tom and I hiked about a mile to check on his game camera and feed the local deer. It was simply magical with snow falling while we were in the midst of the stand of trees. Animal tracks spiraled throughout the woods like a crazy maze.

  • Build a cozy fire in the stove or fireplace and cuddle up nearby. Watch a good movie, Mr. Church on Netflix. It’s a heartwarming story of a mother and daughter who have a cook who becomes part of the family. Read a good book! Right now I’m reading The Divide by Nicholas Evans about a family facing a tragic loss of their daughter and the search to find out what happened to her.

I hope you all enjoy the month of January and everything that comes with it!

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤️

Spreading Kindness in the New Year ❤️

‘‘Tis the season to spread a blanket of kindness everywhere you roam! 

Here are some ideas I thought of to spread kindness! 

Pay the road toll for the person behind you.

A little bit of summer, my way of spreading kindness to you!

Let someone with less groceries to skip in front of you in the check out line. ( I do this all the time, it’s a great feeling!)

Put little chocolates in someone’s mailbox at work.

If you work at school, take a co- worker’s duty on your duty free day.

Make sure to comment someone on their haircut or new sweater if you notice it.

Listen to others and don’t listen to respond. Just really listen! 

Bake for your co- workers and friends.

 Bake for nursing homes and hospitals.

Smile at others, the simplest gesture!

Help a handicapped shopper at the store.


If we all pay attention to spreading kindness, our corner of the world would be more peaceful, don’t you agree?

All My Best,

Mary ❤️

Unforgettable Christmas Memories

My sister Barb and I at Christmas. I was 8 and she was 4.

Most families have hilarious Christmas memories that are retold every year. Some of these antics are captured in photos and others live in the depths of memory, ready to be shared with family and friends. I want to share my crazy and not so crazy Christmas memories with you all.

My sister and I were probably 12 and 8 and it was the eighties. We had a habit of taking out the presents under the tree and inspecting and even counting how many they were. I know…this is obnoxious but it was innocent kids’ play. One night while everyone else was asleep, Barb and I started our present pile up. The tv blared HBO and Timothy Hutton in TAPS played. We laughed. We piled. Suddenly our Christmas tree swayed and shimmied, toppling over in a loud crash! Right on top of all the presents! We tried to get the tree back in its stand to no avail.

Remember the old pull string lights, that’s what’s hanging in front of me. From our old Victorian house we grew up in.

Finally I decided that we had to wake up mom or dad to help us. Oh boy, was my dad mad and cussed in his bed at us! It’s funny that I don’t remember if he got up to help or if he fixed it in the morning. I do know that our present piling came to an drastic halt that night!

While rehashing crazy holiday moments I have to share this one. My mom, sister Barb and I were coming home from Christmas shopping. It was a snowy day with accumulations with few snow plows in the area. We gleefully sang Christmas songs in the spirit of the season. Suddenly our car hit a patch of ice and our car spun in a 360 and hit a telephone pole. It’s humorous looking back because we were so joyful and singing and such a freak accident was so unexpected! Thank goodness we were all okay but the car was dented a bit.

Another memory was when I threw away one one of my Christmas records as a teenager! The 33 must have gotten mixed up in the clutter of wrapping paper and it was never recovered! It was a valuable lesson learned! Always keep organized when unwrapping presents and keep the bags of wrap handy in case something ends up missing.

My sister and I.

Every Christmas my sister and I tried to wake up our sleeping older brothers to get up for the tree. No matter what they always kept sleeping! What a lasting memory of impatience on exciting Christmas morning!  Then there were a few early mornings our dad made us have breakfast first before opening presents. Looking back I’m grateful he did this, a little family time over a festive breakfast is a blessing.

There is that Christmas Eve I heard jostling around and thumping around our fireplace. Being a curious child, I couldn’t help but try to catch the big man in the act! I gingerly snuck out of bed. Opening the door ever so softly, I peeked out to discover my dad filling the stockings. At eight years old I knew the truth…the magic was over but it was kind of humorous seeing him in action.

What crazy Christmas memories do you have?

All My Best,

Heart and Soul 🎄

Netflix Suggestions Part II

We are fortunate to spend under $50 a month on television entertainment. Years ago we were fortunate enough to have our employer pay for our satellite tv. Back then cable wasn’t available in our neck of the woods and that was the best you had. Now many tv watchers are rethinking the high cost of cable and satellite services and are resorting to downstreaming apps such as Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime to name a few. We have those three services as well as YouTube available on our PlayStation console. I’m happy to report my avid tv watching husband is completely satisfied with all the shows, something that worried me in the beginning.

Here are a few Netflix suggestions that are downstreaming currently.

Wonder ( this is on the dvd plan but also available on Amazon’s Prime)

A sentimental family film featuring Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson. It’s about fifth grade Auggie who has facial deformities and his loving family who supports him throughout. It’s based on the book and years ago I read it in school with fourth graders.

The Holiday Calendar

This movie is about a motivated photographer who is gifted a magical advent calendar. The calendar could lead her right to love. It’s a sweet holiday story with that Hallmark feel.

El Camino Christmas

This movie drew me in and I don’t usually like robberies or violent movies. I’m not sure if it was the acting and their interesting characters or bonds that are formed…all I know is that it was a good movie and very entertaining!

Julie & Julia

An oldie from 2009 but a great movie. It is about a woman who cooks up all of Julia Child’s recipes. Meryl Streep is fabulous in this! I would recommend this to you if you love to cook!

Big Miracle 

This flick is also an oldie from 2010 starring Drew Barrymore. She is a reporter who writes about stranded whales in the Article Circle. Based on true events, the US and USSR work on rescuing the whales. A good family movie!

This time of year I get my Christmas movies out to compliment Netflix. Every weekend and some week nights I choose one to watch in front of our Christmas tree. Yesterday I chose A Christmas Carol with George C. Scott. I remember long ago as a teenager watching it and loving his acting. It’s a calming way to indulge in a hot cup of coffee in my comfy armchair. Within the next few weeks I’ll view It’s a Wonderful Life, Home Alone and I’ll Be Home for Christmas. 

What movies do you watch this time of year?Are you also bypassing cable tv and opting for downstreaming apps? 

All My Best,

Heart and Soul

Being Grateful Every day

This month of November it’s common to hear in podcasts and other media the theme of gratefulness. Thanksgiving reminds us all of what we have that we cherish…our family and friends, our health, a roof over our heads and food for meals. Although being thankful is truly what this holiday is about, I’d like to think that being grateful is my mantra every day of the year and not just the third Thursday in November! 

 

 

 

 

I used to have a practice of listing five things I was grateful for. Sometimes I listed Tom and the boys. Others my job and friends were included. I listed my health more than once, for despite a few health scares I’ve always managed to stay strong and healthy. Most times I thanked God for having Tom and the boys healthy too. 

 

 

 

 

I learned this habit from Oprah and did it religiously for a few years in my journals. Slowly it faded away yet I mentally go over my grateful list most days and continue to thank God for all the good in my life as well as the difficult challenges. It’s plowing steadily through those barriers that has built my character and fortitude. It comes full circle and after experiencing the rough bumps on this road of life, I am aware that the hurdles have strengthened me. I am extremely thankful for the gifts hidden along the way, for they have made me the person I am today! 

 

 

 

Now that I’m approaching 50 this coming year and my family is raised, I have ample time to reflect. Being grateful every day doesn’t mean a joy ride or perfect circumstances  but to me, it is finding special and maybe little things that can brighten my day. A kind smile or phone call from a friend or family member, feeling the rich soil of the garden and planting seeds for future days, being able to walk on both legs and cherishing serenity in nature are all things I’m thankful for. 

 

 

 

 

 

The more I think about this the more I realize that being grateful in some way every day is the key to happiness. If you notice what you have( such as being healthy or having a beautiful family) and not dwell on what you don’t have, you’ll truly appreciate what God has gifted you. I believe everyone has something to be grateful for and if you ponder over this you can generate quite a list.

 

What are you grateful for? Do you reflect on this just in November or everyday of the year? The more we notice all the good things in our lives, the richer your experience will become. 

 

 

I’m busy getting ready for the Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday. Today I’m vacuuming and shampooing my rugs, generating a last minute grocery list and planning my table setting. I’m grateful that I’m able to do this at home and Tom’s sister Bev and her husband Chris are coming, as well as my youngest son Branden. Dylan and his wife Lexy will come later for dessert , so both my sons will be here together. Excitement  is in the air as the big day approaches! 

 

All My Best,

Heart and Soul 🦃

 

 

Netflix Suggestions Part I

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I don’t know about you, but this time of year I love watching Netflix at night and on weekends! There’s less to do outside with chilly temperatures and the gardens at rest, blessing me with ample reading and viewing time. My blogging friend Rhonda inspired this post recently with her question what’s good to watch on Netflix? Here’s my list…I hope you can find what you would like and enjoy!

 

Christmas in the Smokies

A young ambitious woman tries to save her family’s farm and wrestles with thoughts of her ex boyfriend as he arrives back in town. A heart- warming story set in the Smokey Mountains.

 

Dear Santa

Crystal finds a lost letter written to Santa by a young girl hoping for a new wife for her daddy. Another heart- warming story to enjoy.

 

A Holiday Engagement

Can you tell that I love Hallmark type of movies? My husband is a good sport and watches some with me. This movie is about a woman who fakes having a fiancé to bring home for Christmas. It’s a funny film and enjoyable to watch the story unfold.

 

Coffee Shop

A small town coffee shop owner and an ambitious writer from New York meet and you have to watch to see what happens.

 

Sixteen Candles

Young Samantha is feeling unimportant as her sister’s wedding overshadows her sixteenth birthday. I watched this flick in the 80’s growing up and still enjoy it with many laughs! It’s a funny and cute movie of her trials over her birthday and crush on a high school hunk.

 

National Treasure

A 2004 movie starring Nicholas Cage, Harvey Keitel, Diane Kruger and Jon Voight. It’s about a historian who discovers clues to hidden treasure and the Declaration of Independence is involved. How hard can it be stealing the historic document to continue his quest? This is a fast paced adventure with a bit of history involved. It was my oldest son’s favorite movie from school and we have the dvd. Currently it is trending on Netflix.

Pirates of the Caribbean At World’s End

Another movie installment of Johnny Depp’s interesting character Jack Sparrow. It’s fun and filled with adventure and Orlando Bloom appears once again!

An Unfinished Life

A beautiful film starring Robert Redford, Jennifer Lopez and Morgan Freeman. It’s about a woman confronting her past. Set in the country on a farm with a nice story and scenic views. A must to watch!

 

A Beautiful Mind

I watched this years ago at the movie theater with Mrs. Geneen,  her sister Lois  and niece. It’s based on a true story of a brilliant mathematician  who suffers from schizophrenia. I watched most of the movie not realizing this was so. A great story and Russell Crowe delivers an outstanding performance!

 

God Knows Where I Am

A documentary based on Linda Bishop’s slipping through the cracks of the mental health system. Based in my home state of New Hampshire, Linda was released from a mental health hospital and she found an old abandoned farmhouse to live in. Living in secret and surviving on picked apples and rain water, Linda kept a journal of the solitary days hiding. It’s an eerie insight into mental illness and read with so much expression by actress Lori Singer. At the end of this film it shows from route 93 the farmhouse and barn, taking me aback!💜I know exactly where it is and have passed it hundreds of times back from trips to Concord. It’s about an hour and a half from us. 

 

 

All My Best,

Heart and Soul

 

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