A Walk in the Woods

Icy fingers of chilled air caress the features of my face. Venturing through drifts of glistening mounds of snow, I spy animal tracks. One is of a coyote and the other a deer. The defined tracks wind and lead the way into the woods. I think of the deer and his/ her possible frantic getaway from the predator. An intense sadness sweeps through me, yet I remember that this harsh reality is nature and how it’s supposed to go. Suddenly I feel a prickly heat generating under all my layers, long johns,warm long sleeved shirt and sweatshirt with my Columbia winter coat encasing it all. The coat is unnecessary….and so I unzip, letting a rushing coolness sweep in. Ahhh a relief, a fresh feeling. The northern New Hampshire air feels exhilarating!

As I immerse my thoughts into the beauty of nature, my heart revisits gratefulness. Quite often I tend to practice this, remembering how it keeps me grounded. When troubled times trip upon me and my family, praying to God for strength and peace helps me. A simple uneventful walk in our woods clears my mind and brings me full circle back to being thankful for what is, instead of focusing solely on what could be or what isn’t.

As I tread upon the crunchy iced snow, my heart soars when I spy a curling gray plume of smoke rising steadily from our chimney. Within minutes I’ll burst through the cottage door, greeted by a warmth that penetrates the bones. Our black kitty will probably be nursing his old age by the fire, his sleek blackbody stretched around the hearth. My husband will be either feeding the raging stove or watching wildlife tv shows.

Now you know how I ground myself in the winter. What is your peaceful practice? Does it involve exercise or gratefulness? Id love to hear your thoughts.

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤️

I Was Born to do This!

Hello blogging friends,

Six years ago I started this blogging journey

in my cozy cottage living room

with my ipad and a prayer.

I didn’t wish any accolades or thumbs up.

There was a persistent need living inside me,

one that had to share my stories. Almost

like a desperate thirst that must be quenched.

It didn’t all start six years ago

though.

This is when I was 7 or 8, around the time I thought of stories. Im on the left and my sister Barb is on the right.

My first memory of writing was in

Mrs. Tuttle’s Third grade class,

where I penned short stories

on brittle yellow slips of paper.

The next memory was the play I crafted

in fourth grade with a bear in it.

Understandably I don’t remember the other characters because it was over forty years ago.

My artistic mom helped me with cardboard props

and my friends and I performed the short

play in class. Possibly Vanessa English

and Christine Roy remembers this?

Should I mention my penchant

for creative writing and

that the stories were a way

of coping with feeling less than?

Ms. Sirlin’s Fifth grade class was my

introduction to pictures mounted to cardboard

in a writing center.

The student’s job was to

see a story in the picture,

to create a flow of words to accompany it.

I guess that’s when I realized

that I was born to write

and to love it as well!

I have skipped a year or two

but here I am once again,

putting myself out here.

I believe God makes us all unique,

made special. From an early age writing seemed to flow through my veins.

I would make up stories in show and tell,

not knowing that it was the author in me.

I feel blessed that I have this.

I may not be talented enough to publish

but for now, this is enough for me. Who knows what my future

is in this, for I’m only 52!🤣

I was born to do this.

All My Best,

Heart and Soul

Mary ❤️

Spending More Time With Family & Friends

Okay let’s be honest here! How many of you truly keep your New Year’s resolution and honor it throughout the whole year? I’ve never kept my intention, not from not caring about it but life gets busy with work and commitments and it gets pushed to the wayside. With that….it’s lost and forgotten replaced with to do lists, bills to pay, etc.

My interest in setting a new year goal for 2020 was sparked by my daughter- in-law Lexy. She shared that she and her best friend were getting together to set New Years goals. I liked the idea of sharing with a friend for accountability sake but it can also turn into a fascinating conversation. Sharing your positive intentions for the new year opens up channels of new ideas and thoughts fostered through friendship. I have always kept my resolutions private and perhaps that’s why I’ve failed at them. Maybe I’ll start shouting from the rooftops of my goal, with a true desire to reach it.

This year I honestly intend to spend more time with friends and family, especially since I’m feeling better. I may go to lunch more often, make a few more phone calls, write quick sweet notes and send them in the mail. I want to see my mom and dad more, making the trips to their homes. I’m blessed to still have them and their spouses alive, in their seventies and early eighties. They mean the world to me and I want them to know how fortunate and happy I feel to have them.

When our Florida family comes in the summer I wish to connect through down to earth talks, nice country walks or by lounging on our deck in the sunshine. I want to hear stories of how their life is going down there and have Tom reminisce of old times growing up and of relatives passed but not forgotten.

This year I vow that I’ll try to keep this goal alive and not hidden. I wish to connect more, talk more, laugh more and let my friends and family know how precious they are to me. 2020 will be an amazing year of wonderful possibilities to carry my resolution through. I pray to God for me to carry it through and reach out to people even more than I have!

What’s your New Year’s resolution and what is your strategy for keeping it alive and going all year?

All My Best for the new year,

Mary🎉🥰

Suddenly the Stockings Were Filled

Forgive me my friends…I meant to post this on Christmas Eve but family celebrations and excitement prevented me from doing so. I hope you all had a Merry Christmas with family and friends. Happy holidays to all! 🎄❤️🎁

As I rummaged happily in our boxes of Christmas of long ago, mementos from past Christmases appeared hidden in the depths of the box. One of them was my Merry Christmas stocking I had as a child. It’s really the only stocking I possessed growing up. It’s threadbare and simple but all red with holly and a font out of the sixties. Many little toys and candies were tucked in it through the years. Tom also has his old red stocking, one that saw many Christmases and always held a clementine in the toe.

When I see my stocking I think back to Court Street in Haverhill, where I grew up in a huge blue Victorian. Every Christmas at 3 am, my sister and I crept down the stairs to snatch our stockings. We tiptoed quietly with an overflowing anticipation of surprises and the magic only Santa Claus can provide. We would go back to our beds to look at our goodies and snoozed back to sleep until later.

One significant memory remains vivid. It was in a different town south of Haverhill, Lebanon, New Hampshire on Williams Street. I was eight years old and still believing in all the miracles of Christmas. But something changed that night, a drastic knowledge and understanding of how Santa Claus really worked.

In the depths of a late Christmas Eve night , I excitedly lay in my bed with bubbling up anticipation. Suddenly I heard a creek of the floorboards and rustling movements. As a curious young girl of 8, I had to sneak a peek at Santa. For what stories I could share and I could finally see what he looked like in person! Sadly that day, some of the magic dissipated, for I caught my dad filling the stockings. “ What the **** are you doing?” That was my dad’s surprise reaction, as he think he was just as disappointed as I was. Even though I knew the truth after that, I still believed in all of the wonders of Christmas.

Our stockings are hung on the stair railing and on the bureau knobs. It still gives me a tremendous joy filling them and seeing my family’s faces light up with surprise and gratitude. It’s a simple tradition, one that Tom and I practice with each other and covertly hide our goods in anticipation of the dark hours of Christmas Eve. A little globe of a clementine nestles in each toe while the rest of the stocking holds warm gloves, hats, toothpaste, deodorant, chap stick and candy.

It’s always been our tradition to open our filled stockings first in the wee hours of Christmas morning. This year Dylan and Lexy will be here celebrating the holiday on Christmas Eve. They will open their stockings then. The next morning Branden, Tom and myself will open ours.

We are blessed beyond belief not only with material goods but the incredible gifts of health ( my previous health scare has subsided and thankfully with God’s help I’m okay), friendship, family and most of all love. These beautiful presents carry us through the hard times.

My family’s Christmas photo

I wish you all a Happy New Year 2020 with health and love. Be looking for more posts in January as my health is better and I’m ready to write and share!

When the cat photo bombs your Christmas photo attempt!

All My Best,

Mary ❤️🎉

Being Gutsy…

My nephew Lucas and my dad, who everyone calls Top Shelf

Being gutsy is staying true to your beliefs and values

even when someone challenges you

Being gutsy is staying strong in any situation

easy or difficult, either way being on top is the

positive outlook ( a few years ago my dad lay in a hospital bed

sick but told the nurse he was on the “ top shelf”)

Being gutsy is fighting cancer everyday but laughing

anyway and finding the joys in every day( my niece is doing this, fighting

but mostly importantly LIVING)

Being gutsy is working hard day in and day out

having a strong work ethic and taking pride in every action

( my husband Tom practices this and it’s one of the many reasons

that I love him and I’m proud of him)

I know many souls that are gutsy

they’re living with extreme strength

and faith

with a quiet and steadfast perseverance

Rest In Peace Mrs. Geneen

Maybe you live gutsy

Plowing forward through your troubles

Making the best of it

Praying to God

and having eternal faith that all will be well.

Here’s to all the gutsy people in my life,

they have taught me strength

Persistence, confidence, and faith.

My cousins and I. Carmen in the middle

Anita, Sherrie, Dad, Tom, Laura ( Rest In Peace), Mrs. Geneen for your strength and example ( Rest In Peace) ,Theo for her strength through her trials, my cousin Carmen who has battled back from a horrific attack and tours now to teach others , my stepfather Gary and many more.

Theo on the right front, a woman who smiles no matter what
My niece Ella and my stepfather Gary who has had recent health challenges but still on top

All My Best,

Mary 💜🌈

Change Your Perspective

If you always think the worse then probably terrible things will occur! But if you foster pure positive thoughts and train your subconscious mind to dwell on uplifting peaceful ideas, that’s what you’ll get in life.

I’m going this route now, thinking positive and focusing on abundance coupled with my daily prayers and faith in God.

I’ll tell you briefly that since I started reading The Power of the Subconscious Mind, magical things are happening. The reason is I’m focusing on what can be instead of this can’t happen. I’ve applied it to several issues in my life and seen great results. A few Saturdays ago I went to a flea market with my friends with an intention to possibly find an old wheel and water pump for our gardens. I focused on both with the mindset that positive things would happen. Not only did I discover both items but I knew the lady who was selling them! She gave me a great deal for both and now they adorn my yard. Secondly I started healing my feelings towards others that I’ve had hard feelings about. Since focusing on love and letting go of resentments, I’ve seen fabulous results out of the blue. Lastly something that bothered me at work has come full circle, possibly changing my work environment. What goes around comes around they always say. How true is that!

Change your thinking.

Change your perspective.

Check out The Power of the Subconscious Mind by Joseph Murphy

My new Black Eyed Susans garden with my wheel. See a future post about this process.

All My Best,

Mary😉

Good Morning! 🌞😃

This photo was taken by accident but it spoke to me and fit with this post!

Good Morning world!

As I open my door a burst of birdsongs delight me

The sun’s glow tickles my skin

Off goes my shoes in one swoop

The grass feels cool and refreshing

and dew squishes between my toes

No car traffic exists this early

A hushed stillness speaks to me

It’s calming to just be here

To relish in the wee hours

of a brand new day

God’s gift with many possibilities

How precious this morning is

and I’m extremely grateful to be able to

Witness the miracles of a new day!

Thank you God for all the blessings of a new day and for my health, for my family and my happiness. Amen🙏

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤️

At the End of the Day

At the end of the day…

the small hamlet

is as hushed as a whisper

yet nearby peepers rattle their tunes

breaking the silence

lulling me to slumber

At the end of the day…

whatever negative occurrences

that happened don’t seem to matter

What remains are the beautiful moments

The warm peachy sunset promises

a bright new day ahead

A chance to commence anew

to rid all of your resentments

A cleansing and renewal

of sorts

At the end of the day

I thank God for the chance to live

and love.

My son Dylan and husband Tom. You can tell it’s at the end of the day…Tom looks pretty tired! God bless them!

All My Best,

Mary 💕

Just Like You & Me

Last month Tom and I boarded a Southwest flight to Chicago in exciting anticipation of a new adventure! We would connect to another flight to arrive four hours later in Vegas. I met the nicest Chicagoan who sat in the window seat next to us on the plane. Her name was Alexis, sharing her name with my special daughter-in-law! This coincidence cemented my immediate like for this kind woman.

She told me that she was headed to Las Vegas for a finance convention where she would work all week. We shared a special forty minutes before landing. The sun was setting as we passed by miles and miles of red rock mountains and untouched land. Eventually the bright lights of the city shone with mountains beyond it. After wonderful, friendly conversations and a smooth flight, Alexis and I hugged and bid our goodbyes. I knew that I’d never see her again but I would remember her warm kindness. Once again God introduced me to an angel on a plane ride, something I’m extremely grateful for because of my flying anxiety.

The ride to Hoover Dam from a lookout

I have been blessed beyond measure with all my recent airplane rides. Each flight I sat by truly kind and personable people. One young lady was a professor going to see her sister in Austin. Another father and son were traveling from Dallas to Boston for a father son weekend, for a special game they were attending. Another older gentleman was visiting his daughter. All these passengers were like you and me, traveling to a destination, sharing moments with me as we took off into the wide blue sky and held on tightly as we landed back on ground. We all put our lives in that pilot’s hands, especially in God’s mercy as we maneuvered our way across the country.

A beautiful part of traveling is connecting with others, other souls who hold a special story. Some may mirror mine and others not so much. Yet all our lives meet in the airplane, meant to be in our lives for a few hours. I’d like to call these passengers potential friends and not strangers. Strangers sounds cold and disconnected. All these people touched my life in a small but sincere way. We all rested, talked, laughed or simply sat on a plane, shared our journey in the sky and then landed to continue our life.

As I look forward to my future trips on planes and conquering my intense fear of them ( loss of control), I can’t wait to see how many more kind folks I cross my path with. I believe God has given me these experiences as gifts to heal my fears and so far it’s working!

On my last trip my mom and I landed in the little airport Love Field. My brother picked us up and the three of us had to walk to the parking garage. Mom and I rejoiced being on solid ground once again. As we strolled through the outer edge of the lot, we watched the Southwest airplanes take off and land. They were just a few hundred feet from us, giving us a front seat view. I was in awe as this monstrous vehicle smoothly sped up the strip and took off with such grace and precision. This experience gave us a brand new respect for airplanes and the pilots who maneuver them.

Lastly I want to share with you what I do when getting off the plane. Every now and then the cockpit will be open after the flight and the pilot and co- pilot will be standing there, both in uniform. This gives me a chance to connect and voice my “thank you!” It is with sincere appreciation that I say this, for that helps me beat the fear of loss of control. I also make sure to heartily thanks the stewardesses and male stewards, as they work hard to make it a comfortable flight.

All My Best,

Heart and Soul 😃