Welcome, Autumn!

The first few weeks of autumn in our little state actually felt like long-lost summer days, hot and steamy like Florida. Summer hung on as Mother Nature  didn’t get the memo to transition into cooling autumn. Muggy days with temperatures in the 80’s hung thick over us, making our clothes stick to our skin. Many days when I hit the pavement, sweat poured from every pore and even though I welcome summer weather, I truly set my hopes for fall.

 

 

 

Finally weeks later it feels that fall has rushed in with a swoop of cool air accompanied with sunny and pleasant days. Most nights we have to close our windows , as the air cools right down in the 40’s and 50’s. My favorite part of the evening is when Tom lights our trusty stove. The mesmerizing scent of smoke wafts in the livingroom and the crisp smell of burned wood reminds me of my childhood years of fireplace and stove fires. Orange licks of flames shine through the stove window and I thank God that we have heat and can be cozy and warm because of it. Our cats appreciate the comfort of the hearth and soak in the heat, as their tails flick back and forth.

 

Our neighborhood during autumn.

 

 

 

 

 

Like many New Hampshire residents, I welcome autumn days. There’s something  exceptional about mustard golds, pinks, reds, and peach leaves hanging on the trees and falling with gentle breezes. The mountainous landscape becomes a natural canvas for all to gawk at and feel the immediate tranquility. Warm yet mild days give way to apple picking, pumpkin searching, football games and gathering up leaves for the jump in contest. Plummets of fall smoke fills the air, brush fires, bon fires, wood stoves crank up the heat while little critters prepare for the coming days of winter. The cool night air feels like luxury to your skin, kissing you with pleasant tingles.

 

 

 

It seems that the colors emerged earlier this year, sometime in early September. I enjoyed them but visioned immense foliage displays this month. I believe the hot days have lessened the pop and without those cold temperatures, I noticed the colors were muted and less this year. As we are immersed in late October, foliage has passed on. Despite this truth, the piles of beautiful leaves, pumpkins and scarecrows perched on porches remind me that autumn is here, my favorite time of the year!

 

 

 

Wherever you may be, notice the significant changes of season. Maybe you didn’t have foliage where you are…perhaps it’s a subtle change of temperature or lessening of the tourist deluge. A new season is a perfect time to indulge in your local foods and products. Here in the north country, apple cider is available as well as glowing orange pumpkins in farmer’s fields. Crafters set up at local fall sales as visions of upcoming holidays dance in our thoughts.

 

 

 

Embrace a new chapter in this change of season. This shift in time truly is a gift to cherish, a subtle reminder that there’s a time and place for everything. This can be your time to explore. Why not visit a new local venue or hike a trail you always have meant to? Whatever you decide to do, live in the moment and use your senses to indulge. What do you see with beckoning eyes and not a cell phone picture? What pleasant scents  appeal to you? Do you hear noises that become peaceful memories? How about touch…do you feel the rough bark of a nearby tree or the bumpy pumpkin skins on display? If you focus on the experience with your senses, it will be a warm memory to hold on to.

 

 

Happy Autumn days to all! What are your favorite fall moments?

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤️

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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An Everyday Positive Intention

Okay, friends, take a gander at this beautiful scenery and you’ll know why I relish my walks in this small town in New England. It all started this summer when my mother-in-law visited and we trekked a six-mile or more hike through every corner of this hamlet. From then on, I caught the walking bug and found that I felt really great physically and emotionally when I hit the pavement. Most days I walked by myself about a mile or so. Other times I walked a few times with co-workers after school, panting and chugging the whole way. (About three or miles each time.) 

 

 

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Would you believe this used to be our view, right in our back yard? Now I walk by it with fond memories and appreciation for its majestic beauty.

 

 

A few weeks ago I took a chance and asked my neighbors to walk. We’ve lived here almost three years and unfortunately I hadn’t connected with them yet. I’m beyond blessed that I’ve made two friends in the walking process.  Anita, Irene and I walked twice a week up our road and stretching uphill towards town with friendly conversation shaping our walk. 

 

 

Another beautiful sight on our walk.

 

 

Anita has taught me that it’s healthy to set a positive intention everyday. In the mere hours of a quiet morn, I sit still and reflect on the coming day. At this time I also pray to God for the people in my life and for ones in need. In the peace of these moments, I’ve started to set a positive intention to focus on for the day.

 

 

 

My intention is to focus on something new everyday and breathe positive air into my corner of the world. The first positive intention was calm. That day whenever something stressful appeared , I focused and breathed of calm. The next day my positive intention was confidence. I have fought low self-esteem much of my life, especially at work when I have to be on top of my game. Although I had a rough day, my lesson was that I need to be confident with whatever life throws at me. Fastball zingers happen and it’s up to me to stay strong and take them as they come. 

 

The grown up road side bordering a local farm.

 

As the autumn season rushes in, our daylight is diminishing. Walks may be less frequent and more spontaneous on weekends and such.  As I reflect on this, I am extremely grateful for our country walks with fresh air and mountain scenery, fit for a postcard. A nearby pasture hosts curious cows watching our steps down the road with keen interest. Trees shed leaves of crimson and mustard yellows, wind swirling them in squalls. These nature strolls are even richer with the company of two really nice people!

 

I challenge you to try to set a positive intention everyday. Some ideas to focus on are peace, calm, giving, listening, smiling more and forgiveness. Meditate in a quiet spot in the morning before you plunge into your day. Write your intention down and how it could help you grow. It’s been a healthy practice for me and an inspirational way to stay positive in a chaotic world.

 

All My Best,

Heart and Soul 💗

That Sassy Seagull!

 

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Let’s name this guy Sassy Sam, a fitting name for a new little friend that wouldn’t leave us alone.

 

On a mid-September jaunt to the beach

frigid Atlantic waves crashed in

towards beach goers.

An endless canvas of a pale blue sky

mirrored the stretching sea.

 

Mysterious footprints mazed around the sandy beach,

each treading a unique and personal story.

Sea gulls dotted the landscape, some squawking with a deep seated

desire for fish.

Others repeatedly circled beach sun bathers,

searching and snoopin’ for snacks,

any that would curb their cravings.

Perhaps they would stumble upon kernels of popcorn from a plastic snack bag or a

snippet of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich from a busy little

toddler.

As the sun stood high in the sky and

afternoon prepared it’s reign,

the resting couple from higher elevations of NH

dug their toes in the smooth warm sand.

The male peered in his trusty binocs

at the wide world of sea before him

and skimmed a hunter’s magazine.

The lady breathed the salty air and listened to the waves

soothing her mind.

She read a book quietly

until a nosy and mischievious sea gull

sprung to action!

Sassy Sam snuck

between the metal chairs in a covert operation,

while other sea gull mates stood by to inspect

his work.

With a snap of his beak, he pulled a chip bag

from the beach bag!

The lounging lady followed him

and hung out until he was done browsing

in the sack.

Minutes after Sassy Sam’s persistence shined,

as he tugged with full force on the lady’s towel.

Never underestimate the strength of a hungry

seagull!

 

 

 

A few weekends ago Tom and I ventured down the route 93 into Portsmouth, New Hampshire. It was a Friday late afternoon and cars were hustling everywhere, possibly from commutes from work or other vacationers seeking peace on weeks end. Once we pass the majestic metal bridge into Kittery, Maine, we’re home free. It’s about a half hour on a good day and maybe 40 minutes other days up route 1 into York and then Ogunquit, Maine.

 

 

We ate delicious seafood meals and stayed in a little quaint motel called Towne Lyne Motel. There we were fortunate enough to have a private cozy porch off our room, where we watched the river and had little Dixie cups of berry wine.

 

It was heaven exploring the infamous Marginal Way, starting at the Perkins Cove. We parked there and followed the trail above the craggy cliffs and watched breaking waves crashing against the rocks with a vigor that’s unmatched. While walking I greeted most walkers and even talked with a few including a nice couple from Chicago. We reveled in unison of the majestic beauty there and soaked in the sunny day with all our might.

 

 

It was a glorious and relaxing weekend away for us! If you haven’t visited Ogunquit, Maine, check it out! There are quaint antique and unique shops, great restaurants and many accomodations for your needs.

 

Have a happy week everyone!

All My Best,

Heart and Soul

 

 

 

 

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Can you tell Sassy Sam just DOESN”T want his picture taken?

 

 

 

 

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A Little Sign

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Have you ever been on vacation or a get away and stumbled upon a surprise, a gentle reminder of God’s love? I have,  on my camping trip with Theo, my mother in law and friend. As far as I’m concerned the gift was no coincidence…

 

I sat on a metal folding beach chair when my right foot skated across a smooth surface, a rock. It was partially hidden in the shallow depths of the sand. I love finding special rocks and the few times that they are unique, they are secretly stashed in the folds of my pocket for the trip home.

 

This particular rock was not only smooth and beautiful, but a heart shape! It’s not the only heart shaped rock I have stumbled upon, for years ago I found a big rock that my mom painted for my garden and last year a pinkish heart rock that decorates my shady garden. It seems that I’ve started collecting heart shaped rocks simply by fate. 

 

This heart was a sign from God for a few reasons. I believe he coaxed me to find it so that I was reminded of his presence and His love. It also served as a reminder to drop anxiety and relax during the trip. I’m grateful for these signs, for they just appear suddenly when I seem to need them. I’m always on the look out for them, for if I’m not paying attention it may just pass by without meaning. Be on the look out for little signs from Him, however how small. There’s always a reason and you must figure that out for yourself.

I must mention in the wake of Charlottesville and recent terrorist attacks, I’m thinking of how the news focuses on all the evil in the world. Please remember to focus on the love that people freely give to each other instead of the evil and hate that occurs! Our steady army of people who refuse to give in to hate stand strong with an unwavering faith in good. God’s love lives in all of us who believe and fight for love and peace! Blessings and peace to you all.❤❤❤

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I think an amazing sunset is one of God’s pure gifts!

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤

 

 

Seeking Stillness at the Lake

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Imagine a comfortable warm afternoon at the lake. As you sit on the beach, you dig your toes in the smooth sand, getting lost in the luxurious heat. The lake smells of a fresh earthy scent, yet there is a faint musty odor as well. People smell of sunscreen rubs and bug spray. Wet dogs shake their hair upon emerging from the lake.
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Many families are spending their vacation here, at the Mountain Lake Campground, nestled in the northern mountains of New Hampshire. Laughs ring throughout the beach, an indication of content families basking in vacation togetherness.

 

 

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I sit by myself reading a book. A few years ago I would’ve been on edge and not truly relaxing. The boys would’ve been swimming in the lake, racing to the dock a few yards away while I worried if I could help them if they struggled. I’ve never been a good swimmer and almost drowned when I was 8. This still haunts me today, especially if I’m in charge of little ones in the water.

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This day at the beach is a stark difference. The boys are not here and are working this day. It’s my mother in law’s and my twelfth year camping together but the first one without children. My husband has a busy work schedule in the summer with his lawn business and part time job for the town, forcing him to skip most of the camping trips. There were a few times he could camp and so we would race away for the weekend, towing the pop up camper with two excited boys.

 

This beautiful day as I sit in my quiet reflective thoughts, I thank God for my body being still. I really have a hard settling myself and giving in to relaxation. This moment at the beach is pure serenity, stillness that is unmatched. I also praise Him for giving me the gift hearty laughter of the families and my ability to enjoy it and smile with them. I am genuinely happy for them.

 

The silent lake holds the key to my stillness and serenity. The water calmly ripples ever so gently from a kayak cutting through it. In the left swampy corner, one can spot a sea of white, water lilies creating a beautiful scene. Overlooking the glossy tranquil  water stands strong stately mountains, guarding the lake with clusters of pines and firs growing around its circumference. I wonder which animals congregate within them.

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When you clear your mind of racing thoughts and jarring problems, you’re on the path to stillness. Open your heart to peace and acceptance of the moment. It’s a must that you give your body complete permission to allow it to happen, to enter relaxation and let go of everything. Maybe you can’t visit the lake and beach often and that’s okay. Seek a peaceful spot in your yard, perhaps under a special tree. Use that spot to be still and with that, your every being will cherish the peace.

 

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All My Best,

 

Heart and Soul ❤

 

The Early Days of August

A front view of our home this summer

 

 

It’s hard to believe that here we are, emerged in August! June and July have hurried by and left behind much rain. Summer days  of indulging in iced tea and watching flowers grow have commenced. August brings  steamy yet comfortable temperatures in the 80’s and relaxing breezes in our humble town. Flowers have bloomed and brought vivid colors to yards. The rich green grass is soft to my barefeet and cool to the touch.

 

 

It’s been awhile since I updated you all on our renovation and building projects. Some of you may remember my post last summer of my husband building his beautiful garage/barn. It’s pretty much finished besides pouring a cement floor and we need to purchase two industrial sized doors. We feel very proud of this structure and by chance it’s foundation is built where the old barn stood many years ago. This was done by  accident, for we didn’t know, but what a wonderful coincidence, don’t you think?

 

A look at the garage last summer. Isn’t it spectacular?

 

 

This summer Tom has started siding our house with cedar shingles. This is where we tore down an attached shed, leaving original clapboard ( not in the best shape) and unfinished work and insulation from many years ago before we were owners. I feel like I should help but I’m not too confident of using the nailgun. I hand him the shingles, alternating between fat sturdy pieces and the thinner shingles and of course I gab the whole time to keep him company. Tom was smart enough to keep the awning up to keep him out of the sun and rain. Eventually we can enjoy that side of the house with light brown shingles and a new window installed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summer is the one of the best times to create new gardens. Tom helped me dig out a space in the corner of our house facing the diningroom and the kitchen. I planted little purple coneflowers which hopefully will rise towards the sun in magnificent height. To compliment that color, I included coreopsis with a warm yellow glow. While it’s pretty much done, I have a few finishing touches like the gorgeous bird bath my niece made and wait until you see what it’s made from! But that post will come later so be looking for it in a week or two.

 

 

 

August not only brings warm pleasant temperatures, but family! Tom’s mother, Theo, has visited all the long way from Lake Wales, Florida. She arrived last week with Tom’s sister Pam and her husband Jim. After a long tedious day of traveling, I served my chili for dinner. It was a little different than what I usually concoct because at the last minute I added garden zucchini and I think that was a great decision!

 

We’ve spent the week talking, eating wonderful meals and  enjoying the outside with walks(one walk through our town took 4 hours and about 6 miles). We also visited Tom’s sister Bev and her husband Chris last weekend in Easthampton, Massachusetts. It was a great drive down on 91 and the trip was a little under three hours. Bev and Chris are immersed in a challenging renovation project, a huge three story home on a quaint small town street. They are restoring it to its original state, which takes time and patience. They reside upstairs and eventually they will rent the bottom half to responsible renters. I look forward to seeing their progress the next time we visit.

 

During our weekend we explored the bike path on that area, walking in shady and sunny parts and met the nicest people. Bev pointed out how many dads walk their children there and we saw families taking advantage of the trail. Bev served us scrumptious scallops and a lovely hearty breakfast of blueberry oat pancakes. It was special spending time with Bev, Chris ( I love how he laughs at my jokes, one of the few), my niece Michele and of course Theo. It was a magical weekend and I didn’t want to say goodbye but I was itching to hit the road and make the trip up 91 to home.

 

As August has started, the summer clock is ticking away and I glance now and then at the calendar. I believe that I have to be back at school in three weeks. But as the clock continues to tick outrageously fast, I intend to savor the rest of the summer and welcome what happens in those days.

Theo, my mother in law and my husband Tom, after a long day of work for him.

Theo and I are camping in a cabin at a campground north of us for about five days. In that time I won’t be posting or responding to comments but I will rejoin you all when I get back home. I’ll be sure to jot down notes and take pictures of my adventures. Blessings to you all and your families.

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤