What’s Ripe in January?

As January has come to a close, I have been reflecting on the month. Living in the great northeast, about the only thing growing around us is snow :). Of course that is much to my delight as I love snow, skiing, snowshoeing, snuggling under heavy blankets and the pure peace, beauty and coziness that comes with a good old fashioned snowstorm.



Untouched trail about to be demolished by my snowshoes and Pup’s paws..I sank to my knees on snowshoes and I was still not hitting ground!

There is one thing that grows here in January however,  and grows most everywhere this time of year… and that is diet culture.  Talk of various diets, weight loss, exercise plans and Fit Bit trackers is ubiquitous at this time.  In the past I really thought it was ‘my issue’ that I felt stressed around that kind of conversation, and to be fair, it is. My stress is mine and if something triggers me, it is because I hold something in me that touches that particular topic.  It is a journey as I continue to work on listening to my body and respecting my needs – whether that be for kale and cucumbers or for brownies and ice cream.

I have come to a new place with this topic though and I just realized this yesterday.  We were in the lunchroom at work and talk began about a contest some are having involving weight loss and tracking steps.  I felt slightly stressed as I tend to around any diet talk, but I also felt very clear – this talk is toxic – not just to me but for our culture at large. It impacts people in ways we do not even realize because we are so accustomed to hearing it.  To the outsider it just sounded like friendly banter of coworkers in the midst of an effort to improve their health. But what we know about that is that it negatively more than positively impacts health.

What kinds of conversations

could we be having if we were not talking

about food and weight so much of the time?


How can that be? Don’t all Drs prescribe weight loss to their patients who are suffering from pretty much any ailment they present for?  What we know now is that prescribed weight loss is not sustainable.  Sure, anyone can go on ‘X’ plan and lose weight, but why do 95% of those people gain that weight (and often more) back? Would we take a birth control pill that was 95 % ineffective? So people lose weight, gain it back, and feel like they failed, creating yet another reason to say ‘what the H-ll’ and binge in response to their self -defeated feelings and their weeks/months of restriction. What they are unable to see is that they did not fail – the diets fail. They  feel more disempowered and disconnected from their bodies with each attempt.

January brings this renewed sense of  ‘this year will be different’ and because of our culture’s messages, a large part of that is focused on weight. Office lunchrooms, school cafeterias, dinner parties will all find multiple conversations leaning in this direction. This year I am choosing to just remove myself from the area when I hear this kind of talk though certainly at times, when appropriate, I will share my viewpoint. I recognize that everyone is not ready to let go of the thin ideal, that these messages are deep and fixed in so many of us and it is a process (one that I am still in the midst of) to shift to a new paradigm. This shift often results in a grieving process as people have dreamed that ‘once I am “x” weight….’ life will be perfect, I will have love, money, respect, health’….I have patients who are young 20 somethings to those who are retired, grandparents, widows…who struggle with these issues on a daily basis.  I feel so inspired when they are able to take in even a tiny bit of this new information….people are remarkable.


‘Good’ foods are any foods

that feel nourishing to my body and soul’ 


How amazing would it be if we could all be more respectful of our bodies? If we could give ourselves what we want and need and not apply moral judgement to food choices?  I have been slowly, shifting to this mindset with the awareness that our bodies are smarter than we give them credit for. If we take care of them, they find where they want to be regarding weight. We can go to various lengths to try to change that, but it is ultimately temporary because our bodies are designed to survive and fight efforts that work against them. 

My intention is to keep feeding the love by feeding my body <3


Many Blessings,


New Year, New….

Garage door???


New hardware replaced but will need much more than that in the long run:(

Well we are in a much better place than last year at this time….on January 1, 2018 we discovered we needed a new hot water heater, washer and dryer. Whoo hoo!  Here we are January 2019 and on Thursday Steve had a snow day (#4!) and while he was trying to clear the driveway (it was actually pouring rain and roads were very icy which was reason for school cancellation), the tractor caught the garage door string and it came slamming down on the Kubota and just missed really injuring/killing Steve.  We are beyond grateful that he did not break his back or worse but are also a bit bummed to have to replace the door. The Overhead Door man came and did a temporary fix so the door is operable for the moment which is great given the freezing temperatures.  We a just increased our homeowners insurance deductible in an effort to reduce monthly expenses. Lovely right?  We have never used the homeowners so thought it was silly to have such a low deductible. Ha! Timing is everything.


On to brighter new things however….in another effort to reduce expenses, I have decided to forgo my hair highlighting appointments and a friend of mine offered to do it for me.  She has very little experience but so much knowledge, interest and passion for this, that she is really quite good. She does her own hair, her daughters, sister-in-law and mother’s hair…and now mine :).


This always makes me think of the Beauty School Dropout scene in Grease!


Finished look….still very poofy hair though… great for the 80s but not so much for 2019!;)

She did this a couple weeks ago and then Friday night came over to cut my hair and try various makeup on me. She is very stylish and gifted with these things and always looks phenomenal herself. She knows I am not too into makeup so went with a natural look for me.


Me and my makeover queen:)

It was fun to have a new look and I was ready for a change with my hair. As Brendan said ‘Mom, you have had the same haircut my whole life!” Plus I can still pull it up which was a requirement for me – just so easy!

So thanks Missy, for feeding the love with my new style 🙂


Many Blessings,


Happy Holidays!

Just stopping in to wish you a very Happy Holiday season and a 2019 filled with peace, good health, joyful moments, and lots and lots of love <3…I have been MIA for the past month but plan to post twice a week for 2019…


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Brendan, Seamus and Casey with the newest member of our family and favorite Christmas gift, Tarra 🙂

May 2019 be a year of feeding love


Many Blessings


An American Iconic Event

Well who knew the Army Navy game was such an event! I guess lots of people knew – just not me! I will admit Steve and I were a bit different in our anticipation of the weekend. He has been planning for it for months – ever since Seamus accepted his appointment to the Academy actually.  I, on the other hand, had been a bit anxious about it because the thought of standing out in the cold for 12 hours was a bit much.  In the end – it was a really fun day and I am looking forward to 3 more years of this tradition 🙂

We set out Thursday night to stay at our friend’s, Ken and Lisa in NJ.  We pulled up to a big Christmas display courtesy of Ken and their daughter Brianna, who is Christmas crazy 🙂



This photo does not do justice to the plethora of lights displayed

On Friday, Steve and our 2 friends from Canada  went into Philly to tour around and see some of the pre game festivities. Yes – apparently it is such an iconic event that even two Canadians, with no attachment to the Army or the Navy, drove 8 hours to see the game. I opted to stay back as 2 days outside in the cold did not sound like a good idea for me. I took my time running errands, making some food for the tailgate and getting some work done. It was a leisurely day which seems so rare.  Before dinner, I took a walk around the neighborhood to enjoy the vast displays of Christmas decorations. I could do that for hours and am a bit deprived where we live since there are not many houses and most do not do much for decorating.


Wegman’s haul for tailgate (and chips to send back to school with Casey as well)

Seamus is in 13th Company which is the ‘ball running’ company. This means they go in groups which each have a leg of the run from Annapolis to Lincoln Financial Stadium in Philadelphia, where the game is held.  Being a plebe, Seamus assured us his leg would be in the middle of the night in some podunk town in PA.  Well he sent us the route on Thursday night and low and behold – he was running 1 mile from Steve’s parents house. What in the world?!!! We could not believe it! We comtemplated heading down there for the night so we could go out and see him but with having so much to pack up bright and early (actually, dark and early!) the next morning, it did not seem feasible.  But Granddad (who wins granddad of the year award!) braved the cold and met up with the crew at 1:45am at the end of their leg.


Seamus is so happy to see his Granddad <3


13th Company 12am-2am running group

We arrived at 8am and started the tailgate with lots of food – eggs, bacon, sausage, bagels, coffee cake, fruit, coffee, cocoa and some very popular Bloody Marys.


Steve did an amazing job with limited kitchen conveniences


Casey (mid-bite) and Ken….do you think he is warm enough?


Steve with the Canadian contingent – Stewie and Mike or ‘Postie’

Our friend Jeff brought his 85 year old father who was in the army – it was on his bucket list to go to the Army Navy game. He was so great and seemed to have a ball!


We were kind even though they wore the wrong hats 😉


By chance, Seamus and his company were parked right near us so we were able to go chat with them a bit and bring them a little grub.




Happy runners with breakfast sandwiches…they each ran 11 miles but Josh (middle) chose to do 2 legs and ran 20 miles!

We were psyched Casey could make it (we were not sure if he would have exams right after but he had several days between the game and first exam). My brother was supposed to bring him but had a conflict which we found out about just a few weeks before the game. Fortunately a good friend of Casey’s, ‘Squishy’, was psyched to have the opportunity to see the game that has always been on his bucket list too (these bucket lists, I tell ya!). He drove Casey down and was such a fun and easy addition to the group.



We headed in the the game in time for the March On by the Midshipman…I bundled up a bit more…multiple layers including 2 heavy down coats, heated mittens with addition hand warmers in them, foot warmers and a down skirt. My very hot travel mug was confiscated (despite being empty) by security – it was actually run by the secret service because the President was in attendance. I was beyond thrilled to see that they sold phenomenal hot mugs at the gift shop! Whoo hoo – hot tea to keep me warm. And it was a USNA mug so fun to purchase regardless 🙂


Fashion statement 😉

The pregame festivities were the best part in my mind….both Army and Navy had paratroopers come down into the stadium, Army had helicopters fly over and Navy had fighter jets fly over.

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It was a beautiful day for December – sunny, low wind, and 36 or so.


Seamus was not sure we would get to see him because the Mids were told that they could only leave their seats to go to the bathroom twice. At halftime though, he texted Casey who went down to Seamus’s seat and ended up staying for the rest of the game. Steve, Squishy and I joined him towards the end. It was such great energy being right next to the whole brigade when Navy scored a touchdown.


The most powerful part of this game is that these teams are such rivals…yet in the end they are both on the same team.  Both attract the same kind of player – men who are smart, athletic and dedicated to serving their country above themselves.  And we know that all of the families there are in the same boat – they just joined a different military family depending on where their child ended up in school.

And knowing that they are all on team USA feeds the love no matter who wins the game.

Many Blessings, 



Last week was a bit busy with catch up on work and home after a house full of family and then a weekend away in Boston, thus, I am just now able to post a quick recap of a wonderful holiday. It will be a photo recap…more for my benefit than anyone else’s 🙂



We started the holiday week with lots of the white stuff!

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Casey was so lucky to be the first one home…Pop wasted no time putting him to work! The snow came so early – we had not put away our outdoor furniture!


We went to pick up Seamus at the airport Wednesday night and met fellow plebe families there…The Durfee’s were much more prepared than we were 😉


So sweet that they included Conners and Seamus in their sign


Some boys that are very happy to be home for the first time since June

As we were waiting, a local news reporter approached my friend Kim (holding balloons) and wanted to do a story on a happy homecoming. They ended up interviewing Kim, her son Jake, me and Seamus.






Jake, Seamus and Conners…smiling nicely but ready to get home!


Seamus is almost cracking a smile…game face is most photos these days….just missing Brendan though 🙁


And of course they had to measure to see if Seamus had grown at all….(much to his disappointment, he had not)

We arrived home at 9:30 or so and the boyz had a bonfire…despite 2 degree weather!


They smartened up and came inside to hang in the basement….hmmm…do you think the grandparents who were sleeping upstairs got a good night’s sleep 😉

On Thanksgiving….My brother Tom and his family came (minus my nieces’ SOs)…DSC_0177

With a big group effort everything was delicious and came out on time 🙂



We missed Bear but at least got to FaceTime with him…everyone standing around computer chatting with him <3



Addy bonds with Steve’s mom thru princess chatter…she had all the dresses and Jeanne KNOWS her princesses…I do not know anyone who has been to Disney more than she has!



I feel so blessed that our parents have established such a nice friendship and seem to truly enjoy each other’s company

Addy practices photography to walk in her mom’s footsteps…and Connor shows his skill as the ‘Puzzle Master’


Friday was pretty mellow and lovely…then Saturday we headed bright and early to Boston for the football game since Casey had to play (drums…not football!)IMG_0754

Gran was a trooper – went to her first football game in years just to see her grandson play in the band. 


The boys had a ball…Seamus goes to football games all the time (mandatory at USNA to attend all home games) and is usually not thrilled (mostly because they are during what would otherwise be liberty time)…he loved it though and particularly thought the band added so much to the spirit of the game

Sunday we went to a brunch for the band and their families before saying goodbye and heading back home… it was lovely…and Steve made his mom walk just a few more steps for this photo op….she was ready for some rest after this weekend!


Again…photo missing Brendan…looking forward to having him in some pics soon!


Thanks for letting me rewind…it allowed me to revisit a wonderful holiday…reviewing time with family and feeling blessed all over again feeds the love.

Many Blessings,



Happy December 1st!

Happy first day of the most magical month of the year! I love December and have celebrated December 1st since I was 9 years old.  This year is a bit different with no boyz at home :(… So I compensated by sending packages…

Brendan is getting the biggest package since he has to cook for himself. Trader Joe’s for the win! All Christmas themed – pasta, goldfish, cashews, chewies, clif bars, towels, lights, decorations, Christmas Vacation boxer briefs and of course Christmas cookies :)…

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Casey and Seamus received mostly the same things…

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And my niece Erin gave me the best shirt….

IMG_0801She made this with her ‘Cricket’ – she is so creative, talented and thoughtful 🙂


May the magic of December feed the love in your home…

Many Blessings,


Time Away

Time away is so crucial to our mental health. We need time away from our routine, our comfort zone, our day to day and our people. I have been fortunate to have had several phenomenal ‘get aways’ over the years but it has been a few years since I have done this.

I started my time with a stop in Albany to meet a new friend, and fellow USNA mom, Lisa. We went to Starbucks to catch up a bit- she is a beautiful soul with a calm and authentic presence. We  then to an aerial yoga class which was so awesome! And our teacher Jennie Lee was a wealth of knowledge and inspiration. The class started with a lecture piece on anatomy and how the class would help with various injuries and pain.




I left there and went on to Stockbridge to an ‘Embodied Practitioner’ training.  We have been going to nearby Lenox for years as Steve’s parents have a time share there, and I have always wanted to try Kripalu and had never been. It was a truly wonderful experience – great facility (it is older so I thought it might be cold inside but it was toasty warm!!!), friendly staff, delicious food and solid yoga classes.

The training was phenomenal – led by two experts in the field of Body Positivity and Intuitive Eating.  We had a group of 21  and it was a perfect combination of personal work with professional training. I left feeling more empowered and embodied to carry this work to my patients.

One of the best parts of the training was the schedule – we had a few hours in the morning and 2 hours in the afternoon, with a long lunch break. It left room for plenty of time for yoga, walks, journaling, sauna….self-care indulgence:).  I went to a Yoga Dance class which was so awesome! The instructor led us through some movements that helped to release old stories we hold in our bodies as well as free flow dance. Very freeing.

I also ‘spoiled ‘myself with a facial. Since work paid for the training, I thought I would use the excuse that I am in this lovely space, to do something I actually need more often but have only had a few times in my life.  Sad that I feel I need to have an excuse to do something like this but it is part of life with 3 kids in college.  When I was getting massaged and completely relaxing, my mind suddenly grabbed onto a fear thought about the boyz and all the things that could happen with them in school.  I was so aware of this shift. In my normal routine at home, I have these fears more often than I would like to admit, and I sometimes am not aware of them until I am down the road of some ‘fear story’ I am telling myself.  But in this setting, where I was so removed from daily worry and to dos, the contrast of a fear thought was drastic and noticeable. It enhanced my awareness of how these thoughts contract my energy and hold me hostage without even knowing it. Being away, in a different place and experience, allowed me to get this perspective and to see things in my ‘normal life’ in a slightly new way.  I was able to take some deep breaths, reminding myself to be present with the facial – to allow the calm and peace of the moment to flow through and heal the contraction of the worry thoughts.



Before leaving I took a short walk down to the lake to soak in more calm, more presence, more beauty.  Thank you to Kripalu, to my fellow embodied practitioners and to my phenomenal facilitators for feeding the love.

Many Blessings,


Charlie Brown Thanksgiving

As we are 2 weeks from Thanksgiving (actually as I publish this, we are exactly 2 weeks from Black Friday…how interesting that the day we spend on gratitude is followed by a day of buying stuff – – but that is for another post).We started the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving ritual in 2010 when we were living in India.  Steve was away for a conference with his fellow Fulbright colleagues and we were particularly worried about feeling homesick and sad on this holiday which is traditionally filled with family and was not celebrated in India (obviously) and Steve would not even be with us.

In order to make the holiday festive and different, I decided to surprise the boyz with a Charlie Brown Thanksgiving.  They were 10, vegetarian, and in no way missing the traditional Thanksgiving meal, and of course – who wouldn’t love snacks for dinner? Well….Peppermint Patty I guess 😉 So we commenced watching the special on our little computer and eating pretzels, popcorn, toast, jelly beans and ice cream for dinner.


Happy boyz 🙂


Watching a classic….and we cannot forget the ice cream!

So every year since then we have had a Charlie Brown Thanksgiving night on the weekend prior to the actual holiday.  We add some things to the meal, since it is hard for me not to add a fruit or veggie (I know – we could say the jelly beans are fruit and the popcorn is a veggie :)….but the staples are all there.

Our last CB Thanksgiving …Notice Charlie fooled by Lucy once again!

Since Brendan will not be home for Thanksgiving at all this year, and Seamus and Casey come home right before the holiday, I decided to send them each a CB Thanksgiving package.



The essentials 🙂

Hopefully it will add a little cheer to their day and they can share the tradition with their new friends.

And as we all know….Charlie Brown and his gang always feed the love 🙂


Many Blessings,


Let’s Be Curious

Here we are on election day, which got me thinking about judgement….I have never seen people so disturbed by the state of this country. I have elderly patients who come to see me purely as a result of the anxiety they feel due to listening to the news and struggling so with what is happening.  It can be so hard  to understand where the other side is coming from and we polarize based on our beliefs.  Yet I also know that underneath it all, we are all the same. We are all human, looking for love, happiness, health and relative ease in our lives.  For the most part, we all believe in kindness, honesty and compassion.  Of course, we do not all practice those things but I have yet to meet anyone who does not believe in the virtue of these traits.

From the time I was very young I recognized that we all have reasons that we do the things we do.  I was able to see that behind what might seem like irrational behavior or beliefs, was someone who had a clear reason for what they were doing or believing- whether right or wrong.

I believe there is a reason for everything. We all carry judgement to some extent – even if unconsciously.  Yet when we hear the story and reasoning behind someone’s decisions, actions or beliefs, we can much better understand and sometimes even accept where they are at.  We may not agree, but just having a full picture helps us to bridge the gap. I experience this daily when I talk with my patients and hear their back story.


Be Curious, Not Judgmental…

                                                                        Walt Whitman

Curiosity is the antedote to judgement. If we become curious about other’s beliefs… their thoughts… their experience…their ‘story’ if you will, it can suspend judgement and maybe even hold it off altogether.  We can come to understand each other on a personal level which calms the toxic energy that we can otherwise feel between two opposing parties.

Think of how small children are before they have become ‘tainted’ by adult opinions.  If they see someone who is different from them, they are curious. They wonder why that person is different but they do not judge them until they learn from us to do so.

So let’s stay curious and let that feed the love this election day.

Many Blessings,



Yin and Yang

Opposites attract….We have all heard of yin and yang – how it takes opposite energies to make a whole. It is rooted in Taoism, the yin, or dark piece represents shadows and femininity, while the yang, or white side, represents masculinity and light.


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When Steve and I got together SO many people said how opposite we were …and our astrological signs emphasizes that message. He is Gemini, a wanderer, an adventurer…he is spontaneous, very social and always in the moment. I on the other hand, am a Cancer, a homebody who tends to be quieter and crave structure and schedules.  Rev Ned Coughlin,  one of the Jesuits from college who knew us both well, described these complimentary differences in his homily at our wedding.  Of course, I felt like Steve seemed like a great, fun guy and I sounded like I was just an organized, boring girl, but there was much truth to it all.  We have always said what many people in our situation say ‘we balance each other out’.  With Steve, I tend to do things I never  would do on my own – travel cross country in a van, move to India for 6 months, and build 2 houses. In turn , he says I ground him, give him a sense of place and calm.  So it has worked well for us despite our differences. Our deepest values are shared and that is ultimately most important.

At times though, this coming from different places feels stressful. I will come back from a  walk after listening to a podcast which emphasizes body positivity or spiritual growth and will find him listening to a guy talking about ‘training harder’ and ‘pushing through’.  I hear these guys deep, intense voices and feel stressed. However, when we talk about the things we are listening to, we are actually not speaking as different of a language as it may seem.

So it was one day I went into the garage where he has his ‘man gym’.  He and the boyz used to work out in there and now 2 of his friends from school work out with him. It consists of a weight bench, a boxing bag and such for strength training.  It has been great for Steve and he is loving the lifting and the comraderie with the guys.

But the top sign is what I saw on the wall…



So I just added the bottom sign to ‘balance things out’ a bit! 😉  He really put the top one up as a joke but it has stayed and every time I see it, I cringe. It makes me contract, feel stressed and it just goes against my grain. At the same time, I know the message – sometimes we do need to push through when things get tough. That is how we grow, change, and gain confidence in our abilities. And I am not just talking about physical abilities, I am talking about emotional, intellectual, spiritual. All of these areas can become overwhelming in their own ways – causing us to want to run the other way. But when we push through, we can find a part of ourselves that we never knew existed.

Yet – we do need to know when it is time to push and when is it time to listen to that need to stop. This is where aligning ourselves, tuning out external messages and going deep to our inner voice can help. Is it easy? No. Do we sometimes make a choice we regret in the end? Yes (ie -thinking we need a night in but then ultimately finding ourselves with more energy than anticipated and wishing we took our friends up on that offer to go out….or thinking we need to get up and run and finding ourselves depleted and realizing the ‘stay in bed’ voice was not just our ‘I too comfy under the covers to get up’ voice, but our inner voice knowing our body needed rest).


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I remember right after the boyz were born when Steve and I were going through a truly transformational time in our relationship.  Becoming parents brings up parts of ourselves that have yet to be examined and as this happened, my view of us as opposites began to shift as our sameness was revealed to us.   I began to see how ultimately similar we really are underneath it all. We may look different on the surface –  but opposite sides of the spectrum are the really the same.

So now I can look at those signs with calm, knowing it reflects the duality and ultimately, unity of life…and that, too, feeds the love.

Many Blessings,