“Earning Your Keep”

While browsing through last April’s posts, I stumbled upon this post I wrote. It’s about how New Englanders thrive in all the seasons and the extremes. It takes a strength and pereseverance to live here, to remain content while the harsh conditions can test your endurance. As winter shuts its door and welcoming spring gradually begins, I wish to share this once again.



Toppled Trees

When trees coming crashing down into yards, the landscape and sometimes the roads are affected.  Monstrous branches with emerald green foliage plummet to the earth making us wonder how this tree lived for so long upright.Things come to a stand still as people wrap their brains around a sudden event. The chainsaws come out much to a working man’s satisfaction( for what man doesn’t love a good chainsaw cutting). My husband is one of those men with a lumberjack tendency.

With these unexpected falls, roads can be blocked and everyone just stops. Cars wait or turn around as road crews work their magic. Every now and then power lines whip down from the weight of bulky snow or from the piercing force of winds. A few summers ago our town had a road blocked and power out because of a tumbled tree. Our little hamlet came to a standstill for a few short hours.

Maple stood erect and towered towards the heavens with it’s sturdy branches intact. Until one day…a few years back a major appendage to this tree plummeted to the ground in a wind storm. For countless years this maple hovered over the yard, providing well needed shade and a sense of comfort to all. It witnessed many families come and go. We were just one of a few families who lived in the “cottage” at the Geneen Estate, appreciating that tree.

As Tom assessed the scope of the situation, I grabbed my camera and flashed photos. Most people overlook the significance of a downed tree or major limb. The towering tree still proudly stood but it was scarred. It would never be the same.  But as we know, humans can also be hurt and changed but they amazingly adapt, staying strong. That maple still stands proudly lacing the property, providing shade for the new young family living there.

After a couple of hours of cutting and tedious piling up heavy branches,  the yard was once again manicured, resembling a show piece. That’s what my caretaker husband prides himself on. That day as we trekked down the winding driveway, Tom and I had a new appreciation of all the towering trees, stretching our necks up to see the wondrous erect trunks and widespread branches. Their elegance framed the estate’s winding driveway, like standing soldiers guarding something precious.

Thank God for trees and the beauty, shade and oxygen that they gift us!

All My Best,

Heart and Soul

Maine in September




Most Maine vacationers visit in the steamy summer for an ocean get away from life’s moninity. The driving desire of the beach lures hundreds of families to the Ogunquit area, crowding restaurants and jamming roads to the brink. Their vision rests in the salty sand and beating globe of the mesmerizing sun. Flocks of seagulls dance among beach folding chairs, seeking quick tasty snacks from humans. Ocean waves rush in with a timely purpose, nipping at exposed ankles and cooling off hot swimming bodies.


Unlike most tourists, my husband and I prefer to stay away from Maine in the depths of summer. We wish to enjoy the scenery and venues without traffic and crowds. The last few years Tom and I venture to the coast in September, after Labor Day. Some traffic remains and you still have to plan and look at available restaurants, but it’s calmer and a little less crowded.It still feels like summer but with a hint of fall.



This trip we stayed in a simple motel called The Beaches in Wells, a little seaside town bordering Ogunquit. The room was small but all that we needed to sleep in. The first night after supper we sat by the little fire pit ( gas) and talked under the stars.




During our weekend visit we decided to go for a quiet nature walk in the woods in the Rachel Carson National Refuge in Wells. It started out in a pine wooded spot with picnic tables and a ranger station. The day was warm with a few bugs around but even so, it was a great walk! The trail was well taken care of and the views were pleasant. Every few feet there was a lookout point to sit or take photos. We could see wet marshy land leading to the ocean and smell the salty air. Herons stood still and erect, watching for fish in the water.



Following our walking adventure, the Footbridge Beach called our name. The beach is located in the neighboring coastal town of Ogunquit. It’s about five minutes from Wells. The  temperature was in the 60’s with a partly cloudy sky. Seaweed piles lined the edge of the water, something we don’t always see. Even though it was cooler and the sun wasn’t scorching hot, it still felt nice to sit in the sand. I closed my eyes and listened to the peaceful flow of the tides, while Tom spotted sailboats with his trusty binoculars.  Seagulls called while people laugh and talk. At one point we watched nearby Canadiens play a friendly game of volleyball.




We rested together in the sand for a few fleeting hours. It was summer’s last hurrah, a chance to load up on all the ocean’s beauty. We ate a lunch of carrots and hummus and Tom’s salami and Smartfood popcorn. Of course he fed the seagulls ( as he did when we brought the boys) and they approached with a fearless front. With each popcorn piece thrown, they edged closer and closer to my bare feet. Yikes! It was too close for comfort but pretty funny!


After sitting for a few hours, we decided to walk up the beach to Ogunquit Beach, where motels line its perimeter. We watched the rising river at high tide. It was fun to walk up the other side back to where we parked. It’s pretty navigable but you can tell people don’t venture there often. Teeny sandpipers scurried here and there and a few seagulls were looking for fish. I could tell we had walked a few miles as my legs stung! It was the exercise I needed that day after sitting.



The next day we visited the outlets at Kittery. The Kittery Trading post held a festival with a children’s band dressed as Revolutionary minutemen. They pounded their drums as visions of a new bow danced in Tom’s head. As he bought his bow and the helpful clerk adjusted it, I watched many other wives following their husbands around the hunting section. They were all jumping through the hoops like I was, with no particular interest in the sport,  but a thrill for their husbands or boyfriends’ purchases. That bow brought quite a smile to my husband’s face and that made the trip to the store worth it.



If if you ever are up north on the coast of Maine, check out Wells and Ogunquit. We love the Footbride Beach in Ogunquit. You pay a $15 parking fee for all day. If you arrive early before the ticketman, you can get in an early beach walk free. We get our breakfast to go from Dunkin’ Donuts and eat and drink coffee on the beach.


I recommend going in September after Labor Day, unless you don’t mind lines and busy restaurants. It’s a wonderful beach get away with the beaches, shopping, hiking and delicious dining.

All My Best,

Heart and Soul 💜





Wedding Blessings

It was a magical wedding on August 18th in a bucolic New Hampshire countryside. Although the weather was drizzly and cloudy in the morning, at the wedding time it cleared up enough for all to enjoy the event.

My first son Dylan James took his longtime girlfriend Alexis  Hite in marriage. Here he is proudly watching his bride approach him, with love and awe. She walked down a trail in the field holding on to her dad Jerry. Her look of extreme love and deep emotion shows on her face and is endearing. My dad and stepmom Corinne are in the background watching proudly. ( my dad is on the far right and Corinne beside him snapping a video.)

Wedding guests stood, sat in chairs or hay bales as the ceremony started. Their close friend Gary spoke inspirational and loving words. Lexy’s mother Arlene orchestrated the ceremony and married the two, being a Justice of the Peace in New Hampshire. How special that must have been marrying her only daughter!


Dylan and Lexy wrote their own personal vows and as we all listened, I was impressed and proud  with my son’s choice of words. He said that when he was with her he felt like David Ortiz knocking the winning homer in the ALS series, one of the greatest comebacks of all time. This was in line with Dylan’s 𝐋𝐢𝐟𝐞 𝐋𝐢𝐟𝐋𝐢𝐟𝐞lifelong interest, baseball.  The crowd chuckled as probably most are Boston Red Sox fans as well. It’s a New England thing!

Dylan vowed to fix things Lexy didn’t mean to break. More laughter ensued. He vowed to protect her and keep her from harm.

Alexis promised to support him even when that meant having a deer hanging in their garage. These are powerful words coming from a vegan! Her vows were poetic as she  promised to love him with every beat of her heart.


The proud newly married couple danced their first dance to ” My Best Friend” from Tim McGraw. What a lovely moment for them.

My mother son dance, a special dance for me



My favorite photo of Tom and I. Proud groom’s parents

Another favorite of us

My niece Michele and I. We had loads of fun dancing at the reception.

Tom, our brother-in-law Chris, Tom’s sister Bev and I

Family photo of us, my husband and I, son’s and new daughter-in-law

Tom and I dancing

Tom’s sister Pam and my son Dylan









What a special day of celebrating love with family and friends together. There was barbecued food and vegan choices, and a lovely birch looking cake with sunflower cupcakes. Wedding guests had a red neck apple pie moonshine toast with wedding party speeches preceding it. Dancing and twinkly lights filled the tent. Towards the end of the evening the bride and groom and their friends danced to their music choice as we started cleaning up.


Tom’s mom Theo and her grandson, the groom



My niece Ella Kate, Emma Jo Anderson, my son’s girlfriend and my son Branden



All in all the wedding was a success with much fun and celebration. It was a day to remember and our photos will be mementos of the happy occasion.

Thanks to all who took pictures that I have shared, Tiana Sparks, Jojo Anderson, Glenn Castro, Wendy Wells, Barbara Payer and anyone else I may have forgotten. 

I hope you all had a magical month of August. Now my husband and I enter fall with an empty house. We brought our son to college in Cambridge yesterday where he is sharing a cute apartment with his girlfriend. We are extremely happy for them and look forward to having time together this fall.

All My Best,

Heart and Soul 💕


















Rehearsal Cook-out

Every wedding rehearsal is unique in some way, whether it’s the location or events that spontaneously happen. Looking back 23 years ago, I remember Tom and mine. It was held at the wedding venue, my in-laws back yard. Picture a sprawling rich green lawn leading downhill to a beautiful tranquil pond with cat tails growing here and there. We practiced the wedding party walk and where everyone would stand. People laughed and visited and soon after we ate outside under the white wedding tent.


I’m going to share with you a rehearsal cookout our family had on Friday August 17th, for our son Dylan and our daughter in law Lexy. It took place in our yard under our majestic pine tree. Not far from the set-up stood my majestic uplifting  sunflowers and my garden. We put up two pop up canopies, placed chairs all around, a folding table for the food and our deck table for gathering.



Tom uses a stump to chop wood on and it usually sits on the outskirts of the wood pile. I wanted it to be a part of our cookout and give it some rustic appeal. It was quite heavy so I had to roll it where I wanted it. Next I fashioned a mason jar with baby’s breath and decorated the jar with burlap and lace and a raffia ribbon.


We also had galvanized buckets of ice for the drinks. My son’s girlfriend Jojo fashioned burlap around the outside of each. Thanks to co-worker and friend ( she even was one of my high school teachers as well) Pauline Corzilius for the use of the buckets.



Unfortunately I was so busy setting up I didn’t get a chance to snap photos of the food. We had grilled hotdogs and hamburgers, ( thanks to Tom for all his planning and hard work on the grill) macaroni salad, potato salad a friend made, vegan pasta salad Lexy’s mom made, a deli wrap platter, a large vegetable platter, deviled eggs, pickles, chips, tortillas and salsa and guacamole. My mother in law made beautiful watermelon baskets of fruit for all to enjoy.


What is important to capture to me is the people and connection everyone made…all because of the happy couple’s love. I borrowed some photos from Glenn, Lexy’s stepdad and I thank him for taking these photos for us.

My son and Lexy’s step brother Cole. Cole is starting 7th grade in a new school soon. I wish him well.


Lexy’s brother Regan and his wife Megan. It was great to get to know them during the festivities.


Lexy and her mom Arlene enjoying a moment


Glenn Castro, Arlene’s boyfriend and Megan


The New Jersey crew, Arlene’s cousins and relatives all arrived in a party bus, pulling in towards the end of the evening. Everyone was excited that they arrived and hugs and then introductions ensued.


We mothers of the bride and groom, Arlene and I.

Last but not least I was determined to say a toast in the kids’ honor. I wrote several, not knowing which I could pick. Finally I listened to my heart and went with this toast. Reading from my iPad and trying to keep eye contact with Dylan and Lexy as I said these words( sometimes a bit choked up with emotion but I got through) This was my first attempt at public speaking. I’m proud of myself for doing it and next time it may feel easier.

Rehearsal toast

I would like to make a toast to Dylan and Alexis.

Thank you all for coming to celebrate these two and we are happy to host and meet some of Lexy’s friends and family.

Someone once said when your children find true love, parents find true joy.

This expresses how Tom and I feel and I’m sure I can speak for all of us parents that this marriage is a blessing and a union of two families.

Dylan, I knew this day would come and my only hope was that it would be perfect in every way for you deserve that.

Lexy we are more than happy for you to become part of our family.

Here’s to many blessings in your married life with all my love. To Dylan and Lexy

The cookout was a success as people’s bellies and hearts were full and we all were looking forward to the next day. I was impressed with how many family members and friends helped clean up the food and trash. Big thanks to Christine Hudson, Jojo Anderson and my son Branden, my husband Tom, Jerry and Monica Hite, Glen Castro, Regan Hite and many others.

My next post will cover the beautiful wedding. Has anyone celebrated weddings this summer?

All My Best,

Heart and Soul💕

A Short Break

I am going to take a short break from blogging for a few weeks while Tom and I prepare for our son’s wedding and rehearsal cook-out held here. I will miss your posts and will catch up with all of you once things slow down and the wedding is over. I hope you all are enjoying life in whatever season you are in and if you’re not, ask yourself, what can I do to change that? Put a smile on your face rather than a frown.


In just two and a half short weeks my son Dylan will marry Alexis. I’m so happy that she will be my daughter-in-law!

All My Best,

Mary ❤️❤️❤️

A Beautiful Bridal Shower


A couple of Sundays ago,  the bridal shower for my daughter-in-law Lexy and my son Dylan was held. It was a beautiful party with her mom Arlene and stepdad Glenn hosting the event. Here is a little picture collage of the backyard event.

The shower guests, my son Dylan to the far left, his future bride Lexy three people in from the right


Lexy and Dylan were very surprised! Family and friends gathered on a cloudy day with just a hint of rain now and then. Great food and platters fed guests as well as a unique punch of Moscato and lemonade. (I’m going to try Arlene’s recipe soon, 1 bottle Moscato and Country Time Lemonade)

the beautiful future bride


It was cute to see Alexis take her time unwrapping gifts, for she didn’t want  to ruin the decorative paper. That’s how Lexy is, a caring soul with a thoughtful approach to everything she does!

She opened up box after box of handy cooking utensils, a Copper Chef set, bowls and a unique wooden recipe box with her and Dylan’s name engraved on it. Shower guests brought their favorite recipes to add to her collection.  Her sister-in-law’s mother sketched a picture of her and Dylan from one of their best photos. She framed it to complete the package.




A typical bridal shower wouldn’t be the same without the cutesy or flashy lingerie. Here Lexy’s friends treated her to a massage for before or after the wedding and check out the decorated bag it came in! SO clever and cute.




Lexy’s mom, Arlene gifted her a handmade doll made by her grandmother, Estelle Nedelak. The outer layer of the doll’s dress is crocheted while the underlay is made of her grandmother’s wedding dress. This was a sentimental moment from one generation to another with a mother daughter hug. I was happy to witness it and I’m thrilled for Lexy and her mom. Perhaps Alexis will hand down the heirloom to her daughter someday, our grand daughter.



The bridal shower was a lovely success with family and friends sharing in this momentous occasion, the joining of two hearts into a marriage union. The theme was ringing laughter and happiness. Everyone celebrated the bride as we all as the groom, as he attended as well. What a great start to the wedding festivities!

All My Best,

Heart and Soul