Love Letters Can Create A Love Story!

Be Inspired To Love Better!

I’m not sure why, but sometimes it’s hard to view our parents in any sort of romantic, “lovey-dovey” context.  When we were young, it seemed like any sort of loving gesture exhibited by our parents often elicited silly giggles and exaggerated gag reflexes!  Deep down though, I think we can’t help but realize that having loving parents is what gives us that sense of security that ultimately helps us build better relationships and good foundations for stronger marriages of our own!

A Most “Delicious” Time Of Life!

I always feel a little wistful when I read in my father’s journal the description he gives of my mother during the time period of their engagement; it reads like a love novel!  My mom was a lucky gal to have her future husband describe her in such a way…

“Merle and I became engaged in February (1946) and made plans to marry in June…I was so proud of Merle; she was very beautiful, meeting all of my expectations for a wife, and more!  Our friendship ripened and the next months became the most “delicious” time of my life!”

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An Appropriate Time For A Husband To Write His Wife A Letter!

After my father passed away, this letter that he wrote to my mom celebrating their third anniversary was found.  It has proved to further solidify in my mind that my parents truly shared a genuine love story!  (I assume my dad had a secretary at his school type the letter, since my mom kindly teased him on occasion, that his handwriting sometimes resembled chicken scratching…I can certainly attest to the fact that my dad did not excel in penmanship!)


Through the years I observed many thoughtful gestures that my parents shared with each other.  This doesn’t mean that they didn’t experience tough times, they absolutely did!  But throughout their marriage of more than 50 years, my father always took advantage of the opportunities he had to share some of the things he found most endearing about my mom.  He wrote this sentence in one of the last chapters of his personal history…

“My wife has always been most special.  In spite of some challenges, our years together have been very happy and productive of the many satisfying growth experiences I had hoped for in our marriage.  Merle has truly been the right companion for me and I love her most dearly!”

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Write A Special Valentine’s Day Letter

I hope this journal entry will help you be inspired to write a Valentine’s Day love letter of your own.   Yep, a good old-fashioned hand-written letter!  My friend, Maggie Rees from Pintura Fine Art Gallery, has created some special vintage stationary for you to use.  Simply click on the image or the download button to download a PDF file to print.  This should be a great opportunity to write a letter to someone you love; someone special who has shown you love and how to be loved!  I bet it will be a memorable Valentine’s Day for both of you!

What I’m Learning Now is…

When we’re young and in love, there seems to be no limit to our romantic ways!  Then “real life” has a way of taking over and sometimes showing genuine love and appreciation becomes less of a priority.  What I’m learning now is that with some mindful consideration and creative planning, we can all enjoy our own “love story” all over again!       

I hope you’ll either share who you chose to write your letter to and why, or share an excerpt from your letter!  Let’s inspire each other!

Here’s the stationary for your letters!  Good Luck!   –Mary

Valentines Day Stationary Red _8.5x112 copy copy


Valentines Paper Stationary_Pink_8.5x112



Valentine’s Day became an even more special day for our family when my youngest daughter, Mandi, was born on February 14, 1986!  Mandi was a sweet Valentine’s dream come true when she arrived a month early with her beautiful blue eyes and jet black hair.  Her desire to live life to the fullest never ceases to amaze me!

pic48_edit Happy Birthday, Mandi!

To Every Thing There Is A Season…Some Seasons Are Just More Preferred!

Ecclesiastes 3:1: “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven.” is referencing the “seasons” of our lives; or perhaps for some of my generation, it cues memories of the song “Turn Turn Turn” by the Byrds–ahhh, good times!  But for the purpose of this journal entry, I’m referring to the seasons of the year.

Glimpsing out at my world lately…you’ll see a sort of Dr. Zhivago movie-type view, but without the intrigue and adventure…!



The air is murky and the cold chill seeps quickly into the layers of sweaters and coats worn.  Right now I dream of being here…


Where I grew up, winter, spring, summer and fall all seemed to hold their own special fascination; I never wished one away before the other arrived!  As we get older, I guess it’s human nature for us to sometimes think that our lives will be better enriched with the essence of another time and season that’s just around the corner!  As this winter lingers, I’ve tried to remember how my parents went about fostering their regard for mother nature’s personality fluxes!  Days spent playing outside in the snow always seemed to end happily with my mom’s warm hands rubbing my cold fingertips as numb toes were placed over blowing furnace vents.  To top things off, yummy homemade soup was often served for dinner.  Reading or homework was done later while sprawled out by the living room fireplace.  It seemed so magical then.  I’m sure I’m romancing the memory a bit, but it still serves as a good reminder to do a better job at appreciating the unique qualities of each season, and to try and do things that will help make them more enjoyable for others too…including the winter months–ugh, that’s a tough call right now!

There really is nothing like the warm “comfort foods” of the winter months.  More important is the special tradition of getting together around the dinner table.  It seems like this is harder to do after your children are grown, but it’s something that my husband and I try to do, and find it’s well worth the effort, especially after being out and about in the cold weather!

I hope this scrumptious family recipe of Hamburger Soup helps you enjoy a bowl together with family members or other loved ones!


1 pound hamburger and 1 cup chopped onion

Brown both together in a stove top skillet 

Put hamburger in large soup pot and add:

1 cup cubed potatoes  

1 cup sliced carrots  

1/2 cup diced celery  

1 cup shredded cabbage  

1 large can stewed tomatoes  

 Small bay leaf crushed  

1/2 tsp dried thyme

1/2 tsp dried basil 

2 tsp salt & 1 tsp pepper

Add 1-1/2 quarts water and simmer approximately 1-1/2 hours

Enjoy a warm bowl of soup and maybe a new perspective on the winter season! 

What I’m learning now is…

Winter really is over before we know it, as is every other season that comes and goes each year.  They all hold favorite aspects we enjoy about them, along with the more unpleasant ones that we don’t particularly look forward to as much.  Although it sounds cliche, what I’m learning now is that the quote on a plaque in my husband’s office states it the best…“Nothing is a waste of time, if you use the experience wisely.”

Share some unique activities you do to make the winter months more fun.

Hey, bring on the snow!


February 7, 2013:  Just thinking…and I bet you’ll agree, that a winter afternoon could be fun spent here with a cup of warm soup and a good book!



Rules To Live By…Especially When We Make Them Ourselves!

Just in case you looked at the title of this journal entry and thought I was going to renege on the constraint I used on my last post to forego a long list of New Year’s resolutions, don’t worry, I promise that’s not the case!  I’ve just been feeling a little bit of the January doldrums, wishing I could break free of some of my obligations and “fly the coop” so to speak!  I think we all feel the urge to nurture the more spontaneous facets of our personalities once in a while, and perhaps be a little less predictable; after all, doing so can be so much fun!  Then I saw this clip on a recent morning show about a lost rule book and decided that if we’re creative and use our imaginations, following rules can be just as much fun!  Well, almost as much fun!  As I watched this story about the rule book, I was not only intrigued with who might have penciled these unique words of wisdom, I also found myself equally fascinated with who the parents might be, they are obviously raising an insightful child with a wise and conscientious soul!  In the world we live in today, where breaking the rules too often gets our attention the most, knowing that a lost rule book can also create a small sensation is refreshing!  (Since my son is finishing up his dental studies, I especially liked the rule about not biting the dentist!)  May the ripple effect of this ingenious little rule book be felt for a very long time!

My son, Jake, who is attending dental school in Buffalo, New York, once sent me this picture he’d taken on a downtown street in upstate New York.  Knowing that he’d been taught that rules were usually made for our own good, he knew his dad and I would get a chuckle from the seemingly conflicted free-spirit who painted this wisdom on city property, but seemed to recognize that order and rules usually have a positive effect on our success in life…can’t you just hear your own parents expressing this same advice!

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What I’m learning now is…

Life offers so many ways to be happy and successful.  One of my favorite quotes is by Mark Twain where he says, “Always do right.  This will gratify some people and astonish the rest!   What I’m learning now is that living within the constraints that society may place on us, either by the laws of the land or accepted social graces, we are best served if we recognize that depending on our outlook, rules will either broaden our ability to seek after our dreams or laden us with the inability to gain a good perspective on what life has to offer!

Please share a rule that you live by and how it helps make a difference in your life!  I would love to collect these and create our own rule book right here!  

I’ll go first:  My mom taught me thisrule” when I was young, and continued to show me what a good rule it really is by how she exemplified it throughout her life!


It’s my sincere wish that we can all know true success as we follow the rules that help make us better people!


Speaking of my son, Jake, I want to give him a big CONGRATULATIONS!  He found out that he passed his dental boards last week!   I remember when he was in the second grade, his teacher wrote on his report card that Jake was an “eager learner”!  Little did I know then what path his life would take at that point, but he has indeed made the learning process seem very fascinating!   I recently asked Jake how he would describe his experience at dental school, he replied without hesitation that it was a rollercoaster ride, very intense, but so incredibly interesting!  Amazing job, Jake!  If anyone can make going to the dentist the least bit enjoyable, it is you!  You’ve worked so hard and you and Whitney deserve only the best as you embark on your next “venture” together!

jake dental pic

Update–January 29, 2013:  Even though it says there are “no rules” to doing what it suggests in this statement, I wish I could do better at living this way!


                                                 …and this on February 7, 2013 Love this–happy living!tumblr_mcbael9cb71qkxrtro2_1280