Mother’s Day: Grateful For These Women💗

On this Mother’s Day I’m reflecting upon special women in my life and their roles. I’m extremely grateful for these moms!  As a mom myself, I wish to honor them, for how can I truly enjoy this day without paying homage to my loved ones who have made a difference and influenced my mothering?

 

 

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Thank you to my mom, who has supported me from day one and loved me unconditionally. I owe so much to her for helping me grow and overcome so much, when I was younger. She was my go to person, who I could always  count on, until I stood on my own two feet. What I love about her is that she has always listened to me no matter what. When I’m down and out she whispers sweet little prayers for me aloud. It does my heart some good to know that mom is still looking out for me, even though I’m grown and a mother myself now. Happy Mother’s Day to the lady who gave birth to me so long ago with love.

 

 

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There’s another sweetheart in my life who befriended me at work so many years ago and brought me to her home for a hot meal and loving conversation. That day I met her only son, who happens to be my husband now.

 

On this special day I can’t write this post without mentioning Theo, my second mom. I’m so thankful for my mother in law and her friendship. She’s always been there for me and a champion for our family. We’ve done baseball games together, camped with the kids in the summers and spent several Christmases cooking a meal. She’s been an outstanding grandmother to her grandchildren and has always been there for her four children. That’s the kind of lady who sets an example and someone I learned from when I was starting out. Happy Mother’s Day to her with love.

 

 

 

I must mention my sons today as well. There’s not a day that doesn’t go by without my grateful feelings for my two sons. Being a mother has been the most learning, humbling, exhilarating and rewarding experience of my life!❤️ If I would want to be remembered for anything once I pass on, it would be that I was a great and loving mom and that I was happy doing it. I have no regrets, even with mistakes I made because I know I made up for them with love. Also that’s what makes me human!

 

 

Last but not least, I’m extremely grateful for the group of women I work with. We all work in an elementary wing and every teacher and para there are kind, like old friends who support each other with love. I have to thank Laura, Carol, Anne, Brittany, Beth, Darcy, Aimee, Joanna and Donna who work together with joy, their main goal is to teach children, support them and provide a safe loving environment. These special women are all mothers in one way or another through their nurturing and loving actions with the school children. Kudos to these heroes I know, who are teaching our future leaders with a grace and confidence that’s impeccable!

 

As I wrap up this post, I challenge you to think of the special women in your life.  Have you made the time to visit them, message or call? Most importantly, have you told them that you love them? That means the world to mothers , coupled with tight hugs and lots of kisses.

 

Happy Mothers Day to all you moms out there! I hope you receive precious time with your children and hugs too!

 

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤️

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who’s at Your Breakfast Table?

 

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Our handsome son with college long hair with an unshaven look

 

Look at who sat at our breakfast table this week! Our son was on spring break and was home all week. Tom and I rose Sunday morning with an ambition to cook breakfast together as a team, for our son. Scrumptious bacon sizzled on its pan in the oven, as eggs bubbled in pools of butter and the cinnamon French toast scent wafted through the house.

 

 

 

 

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It made my heart full to plan my cookie baking while my son was at the table.

 
We were happy to wake with our son under our roof. Tom and I patiently waited awhile for the delicious aromas to wake Branden,but he really needed to sleep in. We ate in quiet with the sun shining in our little windows. He woke later and entered the kitchen to discover his plate and his breakfast warming in the oven. A sleepy smile came to his face and I was grateful for this and for his presence, at our table.

 
It was a rough week, later on with our son getting the stomach bug. We collectively made sure he was hydrated and on the road to recovery. We sanitized all week and built our immune systems up so we could stay healthy while he was home. Despite the crummy week, our breakfast moment was special.

 

 

Who is at your breakfast table? Your family or guests are there for a reason, to be with you. Instead of being glued to your cell phone or device, enjoy the people at your table. Talk and laugh and be grateful for their presence.

 

All My Best,

Heart and Soul

Katie’s Cat Nap

 

 

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It’s an afternoon at home…I’ve already tended to my garden and now it’s about time for a light lunch. In my kitchen window lies a roly poly kitty named Katie.She’s a gray tiger cat with cool black marking stripes. She’s lived 13 years this month, hailing from one of our neighbor’s litters. Once a tiny fragile kitten, now she’s grown into a pudgy cat with an extremely soft coat of hair and a magnificent striped tail. So lovable and a dear, she’s an important member of our family!

 

 

 

 

What a beautiful cat she is! I think I better snap some photos to remember this moment! She relaxes and naps in the sill, feeling the wonderful cool breeze. The hummingbirds frequent the feeder just outside the screen. A warm sun covers the yard with an uplifting gold light… but that breeze! How comfortable and inviting!

 

 

 

 

 

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Oops! I think my Ipad disturbed her nap! A little voice inside me warns me to let her be. Tiptoe away softly so she can resume her napping. Time to go out and read a book in this heaven. I hope that you get to enjoy sunshine in your neck of the woods, read a summer novel or take a cat nap.

 

Oh…the joys of summer in New Hampshire!🌞🌞🌞😎

 

 

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤️

Bring Your Own Joy

 

 

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My life is full of joy but it wasn’t always like this. You have to choose joy and welcome it with resolve to accept no less.

 

 

A few weeks ago I was reading a newspaper article about a local high school graduation. A speech topic from a teacher struck me and I’ve thought about it ever since! This teacher was stating boldly that it was important to BYOJ where ever you go. Sounds like BYOB on an invitation, doesn’t it? But instead of toting a beverage, it’s Bring Your Own Joy. Bring your own joy to any occasion or situation.

 

 

 

Bring your own joy where you go…spread it around where you go. Live with this contentment and find it in the simplest things.Bring your own joy to work, even if you don’t feel like being joyful. Many times it will just happen. Bring your own joy to the supermarket, the doctors office and to the bank.

 

 

I firmly believe we all have the power to unearth joy within us! You can learn to be joyful despite of life’s factors. Carrying a peaceful presence with love for yourself and others is vital. Carry the truth around with you that no matter what, you will live your life with joy. When this joy lives in your heart, others discover a special glow about you. People will want to be around you, as joy is infectious.

 

We don’t have to rely on others actions to be joyful. Joy grows from inside you and you  create it on your own. I understand some people would disagree with me on this, because think of your children and cuddling grandchildren and the immense joy that you have around them. Even if people can bring you joy, you must bring your own joy to every situation first.

 

My life is currently full of joy, but I haven’t always had this. There was a time I focused on being unhappy and down on myself. Yet one day something changed! I was exhausted from being negative and joyless, so I changed! I made the crucial decision to live in joy. With resolve to live happier and fulfilled, I found peace and joy in the simple life.

Walking on a country road…

Listening to the chirpy heartfelt  tunes of birds…

being at peace with myself…

finding special moments with my family….

 

 

When you choose to grow joy, you will see a turn around in your life. Whatever it takes to  create joy in yourself and your life, do it. Wake up each day with the positive affirmation that you will live with joy. It will change your life and put you on a different road to being fulfilled.

 

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤️

☀️☀️☀️ It’s a beautiful day to celebrate! WordPress just informed me that I have 51 subscribers and 5 email followers! Thank you for your support, your faith in my writing and wonderful comments! You all have made a difference in this blog and I appreciate each and every one of you! I started this blog in January of this year and didn’t expect as much as I’ve received. I will continue to write about small town life with my heart and soul. Stay along for the ride and let me know from time to time how you are doing. What would you like to know about? What is your favorite entry? 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤️

 

 

My Son, the Entertainer

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Last night I visited my son’s senior project night in the school’s gym. Many people were packed in the gymnasium learning about various topics that seniors and sophomores had studied. Some projects stood out to me, assisted suicide, gmo free products ( genetically modified organisms) and are serial killers sane( which I strongly believe, no, you’ve got to be crazy to kill.)

 

B stood proudly at his table, set up next to his good friend . A three tiered poster was on display, portraying animation as it was in the early years compared with computer animation now. B presented his project and spoke confidently and with charisma.

 

I learned about different animated techniques and the fascinating tricks movie makers create with computer imaging. One interesting fact B taught was that the makers of Fast and Furious 7 had footage of Paul Walker acting but then he died in a car accident in the middle of shooting the movie. Amazingly enough, with computer imaging, they took footage of Paul Walker’s head and added it to his brother’s body. His brother was a stand in.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The wolf in Into the Woods

 

 

As I listened to all this, I was extremely proud of his knowledge. I understand why he’s chosen the computer animation field…to entertain.

 

 

 

My son has always been an entertainer…

 

when he was around three years old, he and his big brother received harmonicas in their Easter baskets and played for us all day.
Then there was the Christmas Eve he sung Christmas carols solo for us and my husband’s employer and her family.

 

 

Over the years B has been in many plays including Little Shop of Horrors, Grease, Into the Woods, and The Hollywood Hillbillies.

 

He acted passionately as Professor Marvel and The Wizard in The Wizard of Oz. These roles were his best and he received an acting award for The Wizard. During the Professor Marvel scene with runaway Dorothy, the stage crew forgot to put the fire prop out. Yet B cleverly pulled it off by ad libbing, “ A fire, I wish I had a fire!” Here he was roasting a hot dog over a non existent fire! The audience roared with laughter.

 

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It takes a special person to ad lib and generate funny lines, where they fit perfectly. B has that God given talent that will serve him well in his life. As we wait for college acceptance letters, I know that where ever he goes to school, he will be successful and generate a few laughs too.

 

All my Best,

Heart and Soul ❤️

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read Across America

 

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Who was hanging around our school all week? Why Dr. Seuss, of course! The school I work in celebrated Read Across America Day yesterday. Most of the time schools acknowledge it on March 2nd, to honor Dr. Seuss’s birthday. We celebrated early, a week before vacation, for some fun for the kids because it’s Winter Carnival week for the middle and high school. As the middle and high school seeped with a carnival enthusiasm, why not include the elementary children in the wacky antics?

Everyone knows Dr.Seuss books, like Cat in the Hat, Green Eggs and Ham or Hop on Pop. I’ve worked in a school/preschool setting for 17 years now and I’ve never encountered any children disliking his books!  They’re fun! They’re creative! Zany characters jump off the page, making children smile. The words rhyme, while entertaining kids of all ages, and teaches the rhythm of language.

Read Across America started on Monday with Grinchy Green day. Teachers and students dressed in varying shades of green sweaters, shirts, socks and even scarves to mark the occasion. I had a perfect ensemble of a green sweater and a vivid lime green scarf wrapped around my neck. Tuesday was Foxy Sox day, a day to sport crazy and funky socks. In my travels, I spied socks bearing foxes, vibrant striped tights, camouflage socks and pink and purple glittery colors flashing around the school. Then Wacky Wednesday arrived with a sea of backwards shirts and cockeyed hats while unmatching socks and shoes paraded the halls. Some Kindergarteners and First graders wore stiff gel in their hair, to make it wacky.

One day the fifth graders visited the elementary classes for book buddies. Each fifth grader read Dr. Seuss books to a younger child and some of the blossoming younger students read a page as well. Laughter and genuine conversations about the book hung in the air. It was apparent that this activity was valuable to all and that we should do it more often like once a week or once every two weeks!

 

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Thursday was the special day of Read Across America events, starting with a monthly Community Meeting. Our elementary school has this meeting every month in the morning. Kindergarten through fifth grade sit in the huge gym and kids take turns running the meeting, even able to use a microphone. We all say the pledge of allegiance first. Then it varies by month. Sometimes a class will read a Reader’s Theater or perform a skit. Sometimes the Principal gives awards for Honor roll and we all clap for every student, with the hope others will join the group next quarter. Usually there is an organized game for all to play with the mixed grades. It’s great to watch the older kids helping their younger peers. Most of the time the music teachers create a hype with a fun sing song or dance, generating a contagious excitement as kids bust a move, laugh and prove that we do have fun in school!

This Read Across America meeting was special. Everyone was wearing red and white stripes for Dr. Seuss’s the Cat in the Hat. Honor roll students were called up and given their awards and teachers took pictures for the newspaper. Our Title One teacher organized the festivities and came up with the brilliant idea of making paper chains, one chain per book that a student read. We broke up into groups and the children each made their own mini chains, some with five and others had fifteen chain links and hooked them together ceremoniously. Excitement was in the air, as all the groups attached their colorful chains together and it spanned the monstrous gym. Kids held on to them and paraded around proudly! Last, we hung them up in our hall, to symbolize all the books we had read collectively. What a beautiful rainbow gallery we will walk through the next few weeks!

Later in the afternoon, we divided all the kids with mixed grades into groups for activities. Every group was led by a teacher and covered a unique theme. There were groups reading about bugs and dug for bugs in dry coffee grounds, one group read about cars and made cars and roads. Another group read Rainbow Fish and had a painting project, while another read Harold and the Purple Crayon and made purple yarn mobiles and painted the foyer windows with bright happy pictures. Closing our joyous day, all the groups had a little treat of blue jello with a couple of gummy fish.

All in all the children and adults had an exciting week with all the activities. It was amazing to see all the excitement and love for books! All week classes read the rhythmic Dr.Seuss classics and cemented the fantastic idea that reading is fun! Want to make a huge investment? Read to your children, grandchildren,  nieces and nephews, friends and neighbors!

 

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤️

 

 

 

 

The Smile Project 😀

 

The Smile Project

I haven’t always smiled. When I was a young child, I mastered the scowl pretty well. If you questioned my mom, she would say I was special and an emotional child. It’s not that my life wasn’t great but inside, I felt lost and sad. It took me a very long time to know myself and what makes me truly happy. If I could change anything in those lost but not forgotten years, I would take my high school teacher’s encouragement to smile more often.

My younger sister, Barb, gave me sage advice a few years ago that has stayed in my heart. She spoke of the necessity to always wake up with a smile, even if you don’t really feel it inside. Her reasoning is that if you keep doing this eventually it will come naturally and you’ll feel the happiness. Barb accounted the times when she proudly marched through the motions at work with a smile. She worked in a chaotic hospital doctor’s practice and there were times she just didn’t feel like smiling constantly, yet she persevered with a positive attitude.

When I first heard this, I pondered the notion deeply. I wasn’t confident that a manufactured fake smile beat a genuine frown, because anything fake isn’t real and true. Would I overcome the dreadful blues one day and plaster on a gritty grin ,when inside I would be boiling with other emotions? How would I generate a smile during the toughest day of my period? Could I smile when deadlocked in a chain of heaping grocery carts on a hectic afternoon? The answer is yes….absolutely and I’ll tell you that it works!

After my deep conversation with my sister, I decided to go through my days and simply observe smiling people. Most of the time we go through the motions of life, too busy to notice details such as a smile. The first day of strict observations, I noticed how beautiful people were while sporting a smile. A warm, loving feeling filled my insides, overflowing of kindness for others. It’s amazing how a toothy grin  leads to not only goodness, but fosters a human connection. We are all in this together and if we just smile and stay positive, we can accomplish great things.

This project continues everyday at home, in public venues and at work. I smile and hug my husband when he comes home tired from work and listen to my sons with a warm expression. In public I’ve noticed how strangers reciprocate a grin back and even sometimes chat a little. On a extremely busy day picture me in the crowded grocery line with cramped carts lining the check out area. The store employees rush around and attend to customers ,while baggers bag in sync with the cashier’s scanning and managers nonchalantly walk through the chaos. Disgruntled, impatient shoppers cuss about the line and how they should’ve come on this excursion another day. The frustrated middle-aged cashier with chestnut brown long wavy hair, didn’t seemed thrilled with her day. Once I reached her and hurriedly placed my stash of groceries on the conveyor belt, I felt the need to cheer her up. I smiled and freely passed on positive vibes. She immediately smiled back and relayed to me that it had been a stressful day. After I paid my bill and proceeded through the line, I sincerely wished her well with the rest of the day. I also hoped the older couple behind me would treat her kindly.

There have been times that I’ve forgotten this advice and strayed from this, but I started living it again a few months ago. My true intention is to continue doing this with God’s help. This small town wife and mom feels as if she’s made a difference! It’s been a wonderful journey and challenge to smile and spread goodwill to all people I may encounter. I’ve made acquaintances in the grocery store, reached out to people at work who I wouldn’t have before and targeted just about anyone who I have eye contact with! The smile project has developed into not only an act of goodwill but has fostered my self-esteem and overall well being. It feels as good as helping a friend in need or taking care of my family.

The next step in this profound journey is to spread the great news! A beautiful beam will change your day and your outlook on life. Instead of viewing everything with a cloudy negative vision, flex those facial muscles and stay strong with a positive purpose. When a friend or family member is down and in need, pass on the smile and you will reap endless rewards! Smile inside and out, knowing in your heart that whatever obstacle or happy milestone you reach, you’re prepared with a smile.

All my best,

Heart and Soul ❤️