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 ❤

 

It’s Growing!

 

Upon checking out my garden today I spotted a Monarch butterfly resting.

 

 

As many of you know, one of my summer focuses is my garden. A timelapse process is playing out for me. One day I’ll work diligently among the family of plants and the next day,  a massive growth spurt will occur. It’s mind-boggling how much plants can transform into a towering cousin, still the same being but a much larger version. My tomato plants are swaying trees, busting out of the metal cages and the squash leaves lean towards the tomatoes, creating an intertwined row. Not only are the plants growing, but their veggies are expanding from one day to the next. Leaving one finger sized cucumber one day leads to a gigantic cuke the next! I’m not sure if it’s the sun or few rain showers we’ve had, but it’s a must to visit the garden everyday!

 

 

 

 

 

I picked all these beauties this afternoon.

 

Our corn stalks sway with the New England breeze and the husk appears from the growing cobs. The green bean plants proudly stand about 12 inches with beautiful beans in tow. Romaine Lettuce has been cut back and it grows for other cuttings. I’ve thinned out the carrots as they grew quite thick in the row. Now green fluffy leaves look so pretty in the soil, my ornamental beauty in the garden.

 

 

 

I feel so blessed and in a monumental state of peace beyond the wire fence. It’s a different world, away from bills and problems. I can only wish that you all can bathe in this euphoric sensation…whatever activity you indulge in. It’s these moments that pull us through tough times or mundane days. The restoration feeds the heart and soul, something we all need to live calmly.

 

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤

 

 

 

A Garden in July

 

 

 

 

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I’ve allowed a lot of space this year so I’m hoping it grows in some. From left to right eggplant, carrots, broccoi with cauliflower in the back, swiss chard, thyme and basil, squashes to the right.

 

 

 

When I think of summer weather, my thoughts focus on my vegetable garden. My blogger friend Rhonda asked if I ever post my garden’s progress so this post was born. Thanks, Rhonda! I believe that my last garden post was last month in the beginning of its birth. Since then all the vegetables have sprung up.

 

 

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It’s been crazy weather here in northern New Hampshire! We’ve had beaucoup amounts of rain to the point of affecting some back roads. Tom knows all about that,  as he works as an assistant road agent and has been drastically trying to bandage the town roads. About 2 weeks ago a powerful rain storm reaped havoc on our region, similar to hurricane weather and we even had a rare tornado warning. My husband heard that in our area we had 2-4 inches of rain in an hour! Since then we’ve had copious amounts of rain! At times my garden soil has resembled a pit of clay but after a few sun baked days, it dries out again until the next rainfall.

 

I can’t help wonder where summer is hiding, behind the clouds? Despite that and on a positive note, we have had some gleaming sun shining as well, just not enough for people to be completely satisfied.

 

 

 

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My scant rows of corn, cucumber plants next (ready to be staked tepee style, I’ll post that update when it’s done), eggplants, carrots.

 

 

 

Today has been a bright sunshine filled day, lovely growing weather for my babies! As they shoot up full and reach to the sky, I’ll post their progress! Until then if you’re a gardener, enjoy your labors, breathe the fresh air and absorb the God given sunlight.

 

All My  Best,

Heart and Soul ❤

 

A Lovely tomato plant

 

Laura’s Spirea Bushes

 

My front yard has come to a vibrant life! With our annual posies framing our house front, a vibrant splash of color greets passers-by.  A few weeks ago I noticed how my Spirea   bushes have grown immensely since I received  them. Two years ago my co- worker, Laura Mulkigian gave me these full green beauties for my birthday. That day she also made me a strawberry cake and all the girls at lunch ate some in celebration. Every time I glance at these beauties, I’ll think of her. She recently passed away after a courageous battle with cancer, something I’m trying to come to terms with. ❤

 

 

 

Before

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Look at how tiny one of the bushes was!

 

After. Click on the link for picture from Microsoft Word. 

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It was our first year in our new house and I proudly planted them in front of our house, one on each side of the steps. These lovely shrubs host many small leaves  and have grown magnificently!  Both of them are spreading a few feet wide and are about two feet high.  In the beginning we didn’t realize how big these bushes would grow! We may have to cut them back so they don’t block our window.  I expect them to continue the growth spurt and as that happens I’ll replant my hostas to allow more breathing room. 

 

 

 

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As October dawned an autumn glow in hues of orange and reds, the bushes sported the same fiery colors.  Notice how the sky casts a pinkish color to match the scene. This was taken last fall. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spirea betulifolia TOR bushes flourish with tiny white  flowers in June even though the tag states that they bloom in the fall. I’m going to research  it and feed them fertilizer to help the blossoms. This year it mildly hosted just a few flowers so my future goal is to have full bushes of flowers of a beautiful veil of white.  It would be wonderful to see it bloom twice in the summer!

 

 

 

Do you have any unique bushes in your yard? Have they grown much larger than you expected? In coming years we’ll keep an eye on “ Laura’s bushes” and trim them if needed. I truly feel blessed that I have these to remind me of Laura. 

 

 

 

Happy days to you all and thanks for stopping by! It means the world to me to have such lovely ” pen pal” blogging friends! 

 

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤

 

 

 

 

That Summer Breeze

Summer breeze makes me feel fine

Blowing through the Jasmine in my mind…

Copywriter Jim Seals & Dash Croft 1972

 

A gentle breeze sways my lilies in the beating bright sun.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The perfect summer day lives on

in your precious memory trinket box,

to open magically on frigid January days.

 

That honorable day would host the glory

of never ending sun kissing your skin

and virtuous flowers of colorful hues,

a mosaic of beauty indeed.

 

A cool breeze blows in continuously,

teetering trees and sending pine needles for a magic carpet ride.

The breeze ruffles your wavy hair and you just go with it,

accepting the free massage.

 

Hanging sheets float their glorious  flowing dance,

the wind orchestrating its choreography.

The fresh spring smell infuses the cotton

and will be inhaled by a lucky sleeper tonight.

Cool hypnotic breezes sift through the window screen,

a thrifty air conditioner and less rattle and racket.

 

Groups of twittering birds ride the wind

and dance with a freeness

I wish humans could replicate.

Their acrobatic twists are enhanced by mother nature’s surge and a wonder for all to see.

They glide in a free state with a breezy flow,

no restrictions.

 

There’s something special about a cool breeze…an entity to be appreciated and not ignored. I do hope you all take advantage of the summer breeze and get lost in its magic.

 

All My Best,

 

Heart and Soul

 

 

 

 

My Top Ten Summer Ideas

My Top Ten Summer Ideas….

 

These are just a few things you can do this summer ( in no specific order, just try them all)

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1. Have your morning coffee on your deck or outside table! Here in New Hampshire the evenings and mornings are mostly cool. The refreshing air wakes you up and of course that delicious cup of Joe tastes delicious outside! Listen to all the summer birds sing their morning song and be grateful for it. I’ve indulged in this tranquil time twice and intend to do it more this summer.

 

 

2. Go for walks before or after work. I find lately I really enjoy walking in the morning while there are less cars and more wildlife. I bring my camera for that sudden photo opportunity and have a little bell to ring to scare off bears. Truth be told I think most bears are more scared of us but the thought of a protective mama bear and her cubs crosses my mind now and then. 

 

 

 

3. Add fruit to your lemonade or iced tea pitcher. I was planning on doing this anyway but I was surprised one day when I caught my son Branden making it. His first pitcher was an experiment and the lemonade tasted primarily of watermelon. Since then he’s abandoned the watermelon idea and instead added a small amount of raspberries, strawberries or blueberries. It’s super easy…wash them good, cut the ends off the strawberries and pick the little stems from the blueberries. Blend well in your blender and then add to iced tea or lemonade! If you don’t have fresh fruit but you have a lemon or lime, slices of that make the drink special too! Don’t forget to add lots of ice to the pitcher!

 

 

 

 

 

4. Fire up the grill and smoker! Marinate beef, chicken, pork, shrimp…you get the idea and grill while you sip a glass of wine. Sit out at your outside table while grilling and enjoy it. Grill corn on the cob or veggies. Sometimes I use foil for potatoes or veggies to grill or I have a grilling pan meant for the high heat to cook sides dishes. It works great and cleans up well.

 

 

 

5.Visit your local ice cream stand! I am lactose intolerant but found that a soft serve cone doesn’t bother me. Yummy! Enjoy that juicy watermelon, sweet strawberries and blueberries, crisp corn on the cob and fresh garden veggies picked from the soil. I know what you’re thinking, that some of my favorite summer things are definitely  foods but how can you truly enjoy summer without relishing in it’s cuisine?

 

 

 

 

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Lovely Pearl Lake in Lisbon, New Hampshire

 

6. Go to the lake. Go fishing (only if you have a license), take a boat ride and snap photos and  swim in the fresh water. Watch the trout jump and the ducks dive for bugs and relish in the goodness of it all. Bask in the sun and be thankful for the quiet moments away from work and the stresses of everyday life.

 

 

7. Visit new places, especially ones that are just open this season. I’ve lived in the north country all my life and I’m just minutes from Mount Washington but I’ve never been up it. This summer Tom and I may ride the Cog Railroad up the Mountain. A hot July day can be cool or even snowy so bring a jacket and take in the amazing views! I’ll keep you posted if we go on this adventure!

 

 

8. Read books! Compile a wishlist…I do this on Pinterest and record the books I read every summer. So far I’ve read Turpentine Lane by Elinor Lipman. I just picked up The Signature of all Things by Elizabeth Gilbert and look forward to it. She is such a great writer and when I read her books, it flows. A great book sucks you in and you don’t want to put it down. If you’re making yourself read  a book just to finish it but you don’t ENJOY it, discard it! Reading is for enjoyment so choose something that excites and fascinates you.

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9.  Do you have a green thumb? Then start a Garden! In our neck of the woods it’s a short growing season but a beautiful way to become one with nature and feel peace in your heart. Perhaps you want to grow a small garden…if so, plant seeds that grow fast like lettuce, spinach, and radishes. You could always garden in containers, with already grown plants, flowers or herbs. I make it a point to browse through my gardens everyday but if you work then try to tend to it a few times a week. If these ideas aren’t possibilities, definitely seek local farmer’s markets. They sell all home grown vegetables and fruits, honey, have cut flowers, hand made crafts, and many other goods.

 

10.Last but not least spend valuable time with the people you love. Recently a dear co-worker and friend of mine passed away from cancer at the young age of 54. This wake up call further instills the importance of making memories and time count. So far this summer I’ve seen my three siblings at my nephew’s high school graduation, saw my dad and will visit him and Corinne next Friday, my mom, and my friends Laurie and Michelle. My mother-in-law Theo will be visiting in a few weeks and we’ll see Tom’s sister Pam and her husband Jim.  I’ll also get to spend some time with Tom’s sister Bev, who I always look forward to seeing. Although I have summers off, I  have much to do and garden around home. Even so, I make it a point to see my family and friends who I love because time is precious and I know that making time for loved ones builds relationships.

 

My favorite photo of my sister and I taken a few years back and Alexis (my son Dylan’s girlfriend who is part of our family now) and Tom and I in Maine.

 

 

 

Have fun this summer and make sure that you try new things..taste different foods, visit new places and learn more about the world around you. Share with me experiences you’ve pursued this summer. I would love to hear from you.

 

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤️

 

A Fawn’s Cry

 

Here is the landscape where the poor helpless fawn wandered into. Perhaps the doe on the right from last year is his/her mother.

 

 

 

On a bright sunny Saturday afternoon the birds were chirping as endless cars raced down our road. The day before strutting busy turkeys appeared in a nearby field as well as a huge bear sighting the day before. If you’ve read my posts before you may remember that we have two game trails on either side of our house, which is a fabulous way to spot animals all year long. Wildlife sightings are special to Tom and I and we look forward to those precious moments. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As I worked on my garden and flower boxes, I happened to look up at the right moment to spy a new fawn walking across our road a hundred feet away. The young fawn was gingerly crossing behind our pond.With wobbly legs and an uncertain gait, the newborn could’ve been about a week or two old or maybe even younger. I continued to watch apprehensively because it’s mother was nowhere in sight. Being a mother myself, my gut instinct was to make sure that she was around. What would I do anyway….nature has to take care of itself. Perhaps it already crossed, I hoped with an open heart.

 

 

 

 

The afternoon wore on as my husband and I did yard chores and he left to work on one of his client’s lawns. Hours later, towards the end of the afternoon Tom and I sat at our outside table enjoying the last moments of the day and talking. He held a cold beer as we laughed and talked and reminisced about our day. Suddenly we heard a wild crying. Something was wrong but what was it? Tom knew right away the source of the crying…it was the fawn. Evidently it strayed from the mother and was parked in our woods, lost and alone. I wondered what the poor thing had be doing all that time! Probably it played in the woods and became tired and laid down to rest. 

 

 

 

 

Tom wondered if maybe the mother doe had twins, like one of the deer who lived nearby last year. It can be tough watching two little ones and if one runs off, it would be hard for the mother to find it with another baby in tow. Tom said that the piercing crying would alert the mother and she would follow it to her baby. I hoped so because I didn’t want the ending to go bad. Awful thoughts of a coy dog or another predator haunted me.

 

 

It’s cries gave me goosebumps all over my arms and legs and I had a tight sick feeling in my gut. These unforgiving incidents of  nature breaks my heart! I’ve witnessed a few heartbreaking scenes in nature and even though that’s what’s meant to be in nature, it’s still painfully hard for me the older I become. I’ve seen a neighboring farmer run over a hiding newborn by accident and the desperate mother doe seeking her young days after. The frantic fear and desperate longing sat deep within me, I knew just how she felt. The worse part of the situation was that I was helpless…if I could’ve done something to help her I would have!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The every fawn’s cries forced me in the house because I was helpless in the situation. I went about my housework and vowed to go back out later to investigate. Hours later upon revisiting my yard, I saw what I had longed to see. The mother deer was attempting  to herd her young across the street and all the while the wobbly legged fawn confusedly ran here and there but not where mama wanted her. Watching keenly, the scene reminded me of many child rearing episodes when I desperately tried to steer my boys on the right path. They didn’t always want to do that…their young independence and nativity surfaced many times.

 

 

 

It’s been a week since I’ve seen mother and her young fawn and random thoughts come to me. My worst fear is that they became separated again or that something tragic happened to the young fawn. I pray that they fare well in their world and that little fawn learns how to defend itself and follow mother’s lead.

 

The only regret I have of this post is that I don’t have a picture to share with you. Everyday I bring my camera outside with me just in case I am handed the golden opportunity of capturing this beautiful pair. Who knows…possibly by the end of the summer I’ll be granted the magical moment and I’ll share it with you all.

 

All My Best,

Heart and Soul