June 2018

I originally posted this last July as my reflection for that month.  Ironically, a year is about to pass and our country is currently having communications with North Korea.  How much can happen in a year.  My own son is graduating and it once again makes me think of how one action can change the course of a life forever.  I felt it fitting to honor the memory of Otto Warmbier one more time.

Anyone who is a parent knows that there is an undisputed unifying bond that connects us all.  We feel it the day that newborn is laid into our arms, we are immediately, undeniably forever changed.  Life continues and we develop a common sympathy with other parents regarding their trials and tribulations.  How many of us remember that feeling of handing your child the car keys for the first time??  To those of us with a son, or sons, teenage or young adult – how common those ambitious, beautiful (like Otto), ‘eager to take on adventure’ and also ‘quick to accept a dare’, wrapped up with a lot of naivete and a little bit of ‘crazy’, young men.  Believe me, I’ve got one!  That said, there is another even stronger parental connection, it is the one that unites all those who have lost a child.  Our connection is deep, we instinctively know the tremendous amount of “grief work” the other has gone through or is about to embark upon.  We are connected across the physical miles by human compassion and pain.  We can physically feel the angst of other parents over and over again, each time we hear of tragedy……it never goes away.   I followed Otto’s ordeal from the very first day he was ever mentioned in the news.  I worried for him every day and wondered if anyone else did as well.  I felt as he were my son and I was another one of his parents.  So imagine my elation when that boy returned home.  And like any other parent, hope against hope, prayed for a miraculous recovery that was not to be had.  I felt the life pass from my body once again, when I heard the news that Otto was gone to us all.  To see the Warmbiers enduring such heartache and exhibiting such grace before the world was crushing.  Then the inevitable onslaught of opinions – some unfortunately, negative.  And here is my very point.  How many of us look back at our younger selves and wish we could erase some of the “less than smart” things we’ve done.  How many of us have young adults – sons or daughters, that take risks we’d rather they didn’t.  It is a parents’ duty to raise our children as strong, compassionate, respectful individuals, with a good moral compass and enough sense to make good choices.  Then slowly we sense their need for independence and we have to step back and allow them to fail, learn from their mistakes and eventually soar.  It doesn’t take a lot of insight to see that the Warmbier’s did that job with perfection.  I don’t personally know the Warmbiers, but I know them well enough as a parent that if they could change anything to avoid what happened to their dear son they would in an instant without any hesitation.  And as time will ever so slowly soften and dull the sharp ache they have now, eventually they will come to accept that ache as part of them, because oddly enough, that ache will connect them to Otto.  I strongly discourage becoming a ‘blame seeker’, it serves no purpose.  Instead look inside yourselves and imagine if these circumstances were your own.  Have human sympathy for the Warmbier family and remember Otto simply, like so many families, as their beautiful son and brother. Peace.

May 2018

This is a repost from a few years back, but I just felt it captured how we are all feeling

right about now following some harsh months of weather!  Enjoy.

I found this lovely little watercolor on Pinterest, (nestofposies-blog.com).  I think it says all there needs to be said!  I think everyone can relate to opening the windows after a long winter.  The first wafting of fresh air through the house, the unavoidable first ‘SLAM!’ of one of the bedroom doors upstairs when a stiff breeze brazenly enters. Aaaahhhh, the smell, the feel, the joy, the warmth.  Driving along a beautiful stretch of road one day, I saw a car pulled over, the trunk was open and spread out wide were all the necessities for a day of plein air painting.  An elderly man sat on a make-shift stool, wearing a slouchy hat and a large shirt over a t-shirt, sleeves sloppily rolled-up.  Easel before him, he sat quietly painting the beautiful view of the valley and farms below.  I thought to myself, in our hurry up world, what a great way to just toss aside the chores and sieze the day.  I encourage you in this beautiful season, when the earth re-awakens to try to grab a moment, hour, day to yourself.  Take in the view.  Open the windows.

Be sure to check out the “Spring/Summer Essentials”  in the Style section.  I have added product links to purchase similar items as well.  Time to hit the refresh button!

April 2018

Here in the east, March came in…roaring!  Storm after storm has left us so winter weary that the mere thought of April warms us inside.  April too can be unpredictable around here, but there is no mistaking that warmer days are ahead.  I am tackling a few re-decorating projects around the house and like to have them finished before the spring to-do list comes out, as once I can get outside, the gardens start to demand my attention.  Something about that familiar fresh scent in the air, that promise of rebirth and growth.  The anticipation of blooms from bulbs placed in the ground last fall.  Hope really does spring eternal!

March 2018

 

Photo from Pinterest

Here in the northeast March is definitely coming in like a lion with a nor’easter expected to drop several inches of heavy wet snow.  March can be such a tease, one week sunshine and warmth hinting of the long awaited spring to come and the next…..well, snow and even snowstorms.  Whether you like snow and cold or loathe it, you can bank on March to be the last month for consistent winter weather.  While out for my morning walk the other day, I noticed that familiar clatter that made no mistake the red-winged blackbirds and starlings were back in town.  Slowly, the air is filling with our summer inhabitants and I always welcome their song and busy-ness.  Although it is not quite spring yet, March does allow us to think forward to the warm days ahead and our anticipated projects, gardens, vacations and such.  So while we are still primarily indoors, flip through the blog and perhaps try a new recipe or tackle a small project such as starting seeds indoors.  Make your spring to-do list and know that April is just around the corner.  Also, be sure to check out my Irish Soda Bread recipe.  It is a recipe given to me by a dear friend and I can assure you, it is absolutely delicious!

 

February 2018

Here we are, already one full month into the new year.  This will be one very exciting month as we celebrate the achievements of our Olympians at the Winter Olympics in Peyoung Chang.  I posted the picture above as an nod to my daughter, who has been pursuing her dream as well.  In December she competed at Team Selections for moguls in Winter Park, Colorado and made it into finals!  She is committed to her sport with constant year-round training and coaching to keep in peak shape.  I am always inspired by her and all athletes in such elite levels of their various sports.  I savor all the personal stories of the dedication and sacrifices made along the way to their dreams.  We can all take away something from their commitment – a conscious decision to try to be the best at whatever it is that motivates us.  Make this February a start to becoming the best version of yourself for you and all those around you.

January 2018

January – new starts, fresh beginnings.  With this post, I introduce to you my newly web-optimized, user friendly, updated blog!  I’ve been working on creating a blog that is easier to navigate as well as new features.  I’ve added a ‘Style’ section as well as indexing for my recipes.  I am hoping to offer consulting in the near future, in which my readers may contact me for advice on organization, décor, tablescapes, etc.  I am currently in the process of adding many new posts that were on hold while the site was under construction.  I will also be offering exclusive discounts on products I recommend through amazon.  This is an exciting time for me and I am thrilled to share with my readers!  Truly, happy new year and new beginnings!

December 2017


“Frosted windowpanes, candles gleaming inside…”  so the song goes.  As the days continue to shorten, coziness inside becomes more prominent, especially as we countdown the days to our respective holidays.  I am a big fan of candles and I make a point to light them every day at the dinner table as well as here and there around the house.  This truly is a magical season as evidenced when driving about and seeing the twinkling light displays.  It is also the time of year when most people entertain the most and enjoy pulling out all the stops.  Look for inspired table settings under ‘entertaining’ as well as some beautiful ways to present simple foods, such as the pine cone cheese and wreath of olives.  Try not to get stressed by the commercialism and simply embrace the warmth and the beauty of the season.

November 2017

I found this little image and quote on Pinterest.  As I sit and write my November post, the weather outside is terribly dreary.  Wet, foggy and cold.  What I consider perfect weather to stay inside and deal with projects, catch up on correspondence and yes, to stop and be grateful.  At this time of year, many start to feel the familiar pressure of the holidays creeping up.  That, coupled with our many other daily obligations, can really push the stress button.  Everyone that knows me well, knows that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  It’s such a wonderful holiday – a day put aside just to be grateful for all our blessings, family, friends, etc.  But who’s to say we can’t be that way more often.  Hence, the little quote above.  Steal a little quiet time to yourself, enjoy fully the change of the seasons.  Reminisce or look forward, a year ending, a new one not too far off.  Have a wonderful November and Thanksgiving!

October 2017

Autumn here in the northeast is one of the most beautiful times of year.  The vibrant colors, the smells, pumpkins and apples.  The familiar.  Once again, the turn of the seasons, the things that stay true and we connect to.  The sunlight looks different at this time of year, more subdued and golden and when it shines on a maple in full color the affect is absolutely glorious!  The shortened days beckon us to retreat inside to some of our favorite fall foods and recipes.  This is when I love candles in the late afternoon, cozy and welcoming.  I’ll be pulling our my Halloween decor soon, which always adds a bit of whimsy and fun to the season as well.  Time to warm up the house, pull out a throw and drape it over the couch.  Light some candles and wrap yourself around Autumn.

September 2017

September is here. The kids are back to school.  Back to structured days, routines and fall sports and apple orchards. Much as I hate to see an end to carefree summer days, I do welcome the predictability of the school year.  September is a great time of year to take long walks and enjoy the stillness in nature that comes with early fall.  The sunlight takes on a warmer hue and there is a definite tinge of coolness when in a shady spot.  Gone is the morning chatter of the birds, replaced with quiet rustling as they gather together preparing for their annual migration. The leaves are slowly turning and the trees will soon be ablaze with color.  This is a great time of year to organize around the home, clean out a closet, let go of some clutter.  This month look for my favorite fall recipes.  Grab a sweater, leave the ear buds at home and get outdoors and enjoy the show!