Monday June 20, 2016 is our Summer Solstice
– the longest daylight day of the year!
It just happens to be my favorite!!
The sun rises at 4:45 AM and doesn’t fully set
until 10:34 PM at which time
our night is graced with the Full Strawberry Moon.
If you do nothing else today,
try to spend a few minutes outside;
during the daylight hours and then again
when the sun sets.
If the weather is clear where you live,
the moon promises to be brilliantly magnificent!

Beautiful nights like this one captivate me and
always lull me into a hypnotic mellow trance.
Please join me, for just a few minutes,
as we gaze upon one of the magnificent miracles
the earth offers us.
Thank you God.

~ There is a little downside to this, though.
I’ll probably not sleep a wink due to the fact that the
moonlight coming through my round-top bedroom window
will make it look like the middle of the day.
Small price to pay for such beauty!




I absolutely love brussel sprouts
and I found them in the produce department today.
They may be my favorite vegetable to roast
and since I already had my sockeye salmon
defrosting in my fridge, planning my meal
for this evening was easy.
I threw a little rice in a pot and wa-la!
I had dinner ready in less than 45 minutes
and it was scrumptious!

When you don’t have much time,
roasting your vegetables along side any type of meat
(cooked in a grill pan) is a no fail way
of enjoying a delicious meal.
Taking a few easy steps can turn any vegetable
into a rich and tasty side to any main course.
When I’m expecting company,
I’ll usually roast several vegetables
on two large sheet pans.
They are always a hit and they go with everything.
Here’s I how do it.


1 – 2 lbs. of your favorite vegetable
2-3 Tbls. Olive or canola oil
sprinkle of hot pepper flakes (optional)
2 Tbls. graded parmesan
fresh chopped parsley
cooking spray

Pre-heat oven to 375.
Spray a large cookie sheet with cooking spray.
Thoroughly clean the vegetables either
with a brush under cold water,
or peeling and removing rough stems and tough skins.
Dry thoroughly between two paper towels to remove
all the water.
Cut into uniform sizes making sure
all the pieces on the cookie sheet cook evenly.
Drizzle with oil, sprinkle with salt, pepper,
cheese, and pepper flakes.
Toss together with your hands until all the
vegetable are coated with the oil and seasonings
then distribute evenly over the pan.

Roast in hot oven for approximately 20-25 minutes
turning vegetables half way through cooking time
to brown evenly. Sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley.

Some variations:
~ Toss with cooked bacon chopped into tiny bites
half way through roasting for a salty twist.
(This is so good!)
this gives the vegetables a little crunchy coating and more body.
~ Drizzle with a tiny bit of balsamic glaze half way
through cooking time for a richer flavor.
~ Squeeze half a lemon over vegetables when you
take them out of the oven for a fresh finish.
Pairs well with fish and chicken.
~ Mix several different types when cooking for a crowd
and serve them on a platter with some fresh bread.
Examples: red, green, and yellow peppers, eggplant,
asparagus, sweet onion, green beans, and mushrooms. YUM!!




I hate to feel (or look) like a failure – at anything.
I am a very proud woman and
passionate about everything I do (even when I shouldn’t be)
so when something falls apart,
that I’ve put my heart and soul into,
I feel totally devastated.
Second-guessing and self-deprecation
becomes an endless reel of thoughts
going round and round inside my head.
It is exhausting.

Many times throughout my life,
I am faced with a choice.
Do I continue to struggle relentlessly
through a desperate situation or
do I choose a different path and call it quits?
Despite my stubborn nature, I eventually see
the writing on the wall and
it was within those heart-breaking moments of acceptance
that I realize I am not giving up – I am letting go.

When do I face the inevitable?
When I realize that:
1) I am only human,
2) I don’t have control over everything and
3) God has a different plan for me.

Many years ago, during a most devastating time in my life,
I remember my mother trying desperately to comfort me.
She was terrified for me and really didn’t have
any idea how to help me,
but what she said during a tearful phone call
changed my entire outlook.
As my frantic sobs poured through the phone,
she very calmly said to me:
“Claudia, sweetie, you’ve done all you can do.
It is in God’s hands now. Let it go and pray.”

I dried my eyes, took in a few deep breaths, and let it go.
She was right.
It all turned out exactly the way it was supposed to
and no – I never gave up – I just let go.

That was 14 years ago, and her loving words
have continued to guide me through life’s ups and downs.
I am still the same stubborn and passionate woman
that I’ve always been – except now I let God take the lead. ✞



These wonderful little summer treats have been
a part of my family’s summer menu ever since
I was a little girl.
Once you taste them you’ll see why they
are one of our favorite desserts – ever!
Be prepared to share the recipe with
everyone who tries them!
There are only 4 ingredients and
they are super simple to make!
Happy Summer!
(Go to my ‘tips’ page for the easy recipe.)❀/



My mother, Arlene, has been making these sweet treats
since I was a little girl
and I’ve made them every summer (many times)
ever since I ventured out on my own.
Be prepared to share this recipe
with everyone who tastes them.
They are scrumpdileeishous!


1 Cup Peanut Butter (Creamy or Crunchy)
1 Cup Light Karo Syrup
6 Cups Rice Krispies
1/2 Gallon Neapolitan Ice Cream – softened

Combine peanut butter and Karo syrup in a microwave proof bowl.

Microwave on high for 15 seconds then stir.
Repeat 2 more times.
This will make the peanut butter smoother
and easier to combine with the cereal.
Stir in the Rice Krispies just until it is evenly mixed.

Divide mixture in half.

Line a 10” X 15” pan with parchment paper
and coat with butter or cooking spray.
Pat ½ of the cereal mixture into pan.
Carefully spread the entire container of ice cream
over the cereal.
Freeze for about an hour then spread the remaining cereal
over the top of the ice cream, pressing down gently,
watching that the entire surface is covered evenly.

It does take a little patience.
Cover and freeze for at least 3 hours or overnight.

Pull entire ice cream cake out of pan
and place on a cutting surface.

With a very strong and sharp knife, cut into squares.

Place on serving platter and keep frozen
until you are ready to serve them,
or you can place them in an air tight container
for up to a couple weeks. Enjoy!




Life gives us answers to our desires in three ways:

1~It says yes and you get exactly what you want.
2~It says no and something so much better happens.
3~It ignores you and makes you wait for the
right time,
right circumstance,
or the right person.

So don’t fight the inevitable.
When a relationship, either personal or professional
is impossible to make right,
it will behoove you to walk away.
The heartache you will experience leaving
will be profoundly less painful than if you
stubbornly cling to a place that continues to hurt you.

When I was much younger, facing a failing situation
brought out my tenacious fiery temper.
Despite the advice of loved ones,
I would stubbornly hold on to relationships,
both personal and professional,
until it turned into a painful mess.
When I finally walked away,
the scars were deep and excruciating.

How could I not see the overwhelming imbalance?
Looking back, the truth was always there;
relentlessly nagging at my subconscious.
I simply refused to accept the inevitable and in doing so,
I caused myself unnecessary anguish.

Thankfully, those days are long over.
It didn’t take long for me to understand
the pattern unfolding in my life.
Believing that my life’s purpose had been in play
since the day I was born,
has released me from the pressures
of always knowing the right answers and
stubbornly holding on to the wrong ones.

Faith allows me the luxury of following the path
God has laid out for me. ✞ Each day, each step,
and each interaction are part of my journey;
a journey which will inevitably cross with yours.
I hope and pray, that when it does,
we smile knowing that that moment
had been in his plan our entire lives. ♡



When I’m out and about passing by strangers
throughout my busy day,
I often think of the song – One of Us, by Joan Osborne.
Have you ever heard it?
It is about the possibility that God is showing himself
to the world through ordinary people,
challenging us to own up to our treatment of each other.
Would we approach a stranger differently
if we knew he or she was God?

Here are some of the lyrics:
If God had a face, what would it look like?
And would you want to see?
If seeing meant that you would have to believe
in things like heaven and in Jesus
and the saints and all the prophets?

Each day, when we leave our homes,
our focus is usually so intense that the thought
of any sort of spiritual interaction
never even enters the equation.
But over the years I have learned that
it is during these intense days
when God is with me and I become witness
to his divine grace through some
extraordinary act of kindness.
That is exactly what happened to me yesterday.

It began as a day with purpose.
I had 12 stops to make and I needed to be
organized. So with my detailed list in hand
I was on a mission.
Down the busy highway, through intersections,
in and out of parking lots,
I was focused and determined.
Next on my list – items for my Care Bags project.
I needed to make 15 bags next week
and my inventory of personal toiletry items
was running very low.
Into the store I went. The layout was very
familiar to me and within minutes
I had collected over 60 items.
Approaching the check out, I noticed a woman
unloading her very full buggy with what looked like
the makings of a huge children’s party.
I could see that she was getting worried
that her large order was holding up the line,
but with only me behind her, I told her not to worry.
With some friendly chitchat, I learned
that she was the Den Leader for a Girl Scout troop
and her purchase was for their end of year
picnic and awards ceremony.
She was expecting over 150 people.
I commended her efforts and expressed how lucky
that troop was to have such a dedicated leader.

At this point there were 4 other women in line behind me;
all of them carrying only a couple items in their arms.
Oh boy. I still hadn’t begun my purchase.
As I looked back, I apologized to them
and expressed my intentions of going as quickly as I could
when one of them questioned my odd quantity of items.
As I started loading up the conveyer belt,
I mentioned that the 20 deodorants were not for me
and that this was in fact a donation for my charity.
While trying to relieve some of the tension
with a little humor, I unwittingly peaked their interest
and they began asking questions.
As I briefly told them about the circumstances
and needs of these young girls,
I could see the look on their faces change.

One woman commended me, telling me that she
was a child of drug addicts and would have loved
a bag like this when she was younger.
Another woman shared with me her
son’s own history with drugs and yet another
wanted my phone number so she could send a donation.
Before I realized it, the Den Mother was finished,
turned and handed her email address to me.
Her Girl Scout troop is always looking
for volunteer projects and she wanted
to talk to me about a time when they could help.
Before I even realized it, my order was bagged
and the cashier announced my total of $62.10.
While I was pulling out my payment,
the lady behind me laid down
three twenty-dollar bills and some change.
I gasped. What is she doing? My mind was spinning.
How do I respond to this? I thanked her profusely
before the words became caught in my throat.
A tear ran down my face as I looked into her eyes.
There was God; standing there,
looking at me through the soft brown eyes
of a lovely middle aged woman. ✞
She told me how blessed her life was
and that paying it forward was something
she most definitely wanted to do.
We exchanged a big hug and I thanked her again.

When I was finally sitting in my car,
I was overcome with emotion.
That song “One of Us” came to me again.
What started out as a group of tired strangers,
evolved into the merging of compassionate and caring ladies -
having more in common than they initially realized.
Was God there? He most certainly was!

So to Barb, I would like to say:
Your generosity today was totally unexpected
and supplied enough products for me to fill fifteen bags.
The girls and I THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts!
You represent what is truly good and holy in mankind.
I believe that God was definitely present today, Barb,
and he was showing his divine grace through you.
How lucky I was to be standing there in his/your presence.
I hope and pray, that if you ever need anything,
someone steps up and pays it forward to you.
May God continue to bless you, Barb.
Thank you!




I am thankful for this day – just this day.
Separating myself from yesterday
and avoiding any thoughts of tomorrow,
I am feeling grateful.

It is a cold and dreary day here in the city where I live
and its affect on my body is reminding me
of my tumultuous journey to this particular place in time.
Complaining is not an option for me.
I don’t want to waste a single minute carping
on the effects of a life well lived.
Of course, I would love to wake feeling deliriously new,
but time does not allow us humans the luxury of rewind,
although, secretly I wish it would.

I sit at my keys listening to the honks of the geese
flying over my house in search of the lake nearby.
The tapping of the rain against my window
lifts my head away from my thoughts.
Gazing over the new spring growth of the grass
and the tiny buds on the trees reminds me
that the warm weather is days away.
A pregnant robin is perched on my porch,
searching for twigs to cushion her nest.
Her only thoughts are here and now.
So peaceful.

This moment is already passing.
The next one is here and when I end this sentence
another will be gone
and I am grateful to have been here
to live through each of them.
I look at this day as a gift from God. ✞
There is no more reason for me to be here
than there is for another to pass.
I have surrendered to this mystery.
No, I won’t complain for that will diminish
the importance of this day.
Its purpose is clear to me. Live it! And I will.

Thank you – Today. I feel grateful!



As Christians, the friday before Easter Sunday
represents the death of Jesus on the cross.
This has always been recognized as a solemn day
of fasting, prayer, and introspection.
Why shouldn’t it be?
We are remembering and in some way mourning
the death of God’s son.
He died a cruel and unjust crucifixion
for the simple fact that he believed in God
and the goodness of his grace.
It made no sense then, and it makes no sense now.

Still today, thousands of years later,
we are experiencing a similar injustice
at the hands of a malicious group of fanatics
who are blatantly trying to take over the world
and control it with torturous domination.
Christians, Jews, and all the other peaceful religious
need to join in our belief that good will prevail
and that God’s love is more powerful than any force
the devil tries to inflict on us.
Not only are we witnessing God’s grace
throughout our lives here on earth,
but we have proof that there is eternal peace
with him in heaven through those who have seen
and lived to share his word.

So today, on the holiest of religious holidays,
I hope that your faith carries you through
whatever hardship you are facing.
Please, pray, and allow God’s grace
to fill you with peace.
My mortality is just as real as all of yours
and I pray every day for God to accept me in heaven,
just as he did his son, when my last day comes.

Easter Sunday we will celebrate the
resurrection of Jesus into heaven;
a day that has defined our life, death,
and faith in God. On this day,
God showed the world that there truly IS
eternal life and that it is beautiful
beyond anything we can imagine.
So through goodness, kindness, compassion, and love,
those who truly follow God’s word
will continue to show the world that goodness
will always prevail over evil,
and that eternal life in a peaceful heaven
is our greatest reward.

May God bless you and your loved ones
and I pray that his grace embraces you
and fills you with peace.

Happy Easter to you! ♡




On this one day out of 365 days, as women,
we can join together and celebrate each other.
No matter what your circumstance,
you are my equal on this earth.
I am a woman. You are a woman.
We may be different in a thousand ways
but each of us has a strong heart and a loving spirit.
So today, despite who or where you are
– I feel connected to you!
I can feel your need to achieve,
your desire to love and be loved,
and your wish to feel spiritually full and at peace. HAPPY
My wish for us is that we try more vehemently
to understand each other;
that we slow our judgment and embrace our differences,
but mostly reach out and help one another.
I can’t save or even help everyone, nor can you;
but together we can lift each other when we fall
and teach our daughters how to live with empathy,
compassion, confidence and honor.

So today, on the 8th of March, 2016, I send to you – love.
For no other reason other than I feel connected to you,
care about you, and truly respect you! ❤

~ This day is actually very pertinent to me because
this blog was created solely from this sentiment.
I have lived long enough to have seen and
experienced how difficult and rewarding
life can be and through it all,
there have been incredible women
who have influenced and helped me.
I want to pay it forward in honor of
all those women and try my best to reach out to others.
Thank you to all of you who have helped me
throughout my life.
You have truly made a difference and
I feel blessed to have known you.
Now it is OUR turn to reach out to each other.
Happy Day To You, my FRIEND! ♡