A Wish for 2017

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Hello friends! I hope your weekend has left you feeling rested, happy and ready to conquer a great new week! I also hope you are lucky to be spending this Monday doing what you want, and not going to work!

As I’ve had time to get some much needed organizing done due to our wintery weather a few weeks ago, I’ve also had some time to reflect on the past months, and brainstorm for the future. So much has happened over the past year, and I cannot wait to see what 2017 has in store, for all of us!

So I thought I’d share something that has been on my mind often, but just haven’t had time to say, until now.

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My wish for you in 2017…..

I know at the end of a year and the start of a new one, two things can happen. You can be celebrating all the great changes in your life that have happened or are coming. Or you can be kicking the old year goodbye and praying for life to send you a blessing or two, that just haven’t happened yet.

No matter what side you are on, my wish for you is that whatever you dream about, work for, and imagine to become your reality, I hope it does.

I want you to be surrounding by what makes you the happiest, that includes people, your profession, and life in general. I want you to love this life for all that it has to offer to you, because we only have one.

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I wish for your health and healing. I know that life isn’t easy,  we all struggle and experience loss in one form or another. We all handle our lives differently, but I wish for the end result in any given situation to be the same, for you to heal, grow and learn from your personal experience.

Life is a journey and I believe the best way to live it, is with our eyes open to all possibilities. I wish for you new experiences that excite your passions and creativity. The kind that make you wake up in the morning with your two feet already out of the bed. Life can be so joyous if you just allow yourself to feel it.

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I wish for you new relationships and the rekindling of olds ones, that ignite your soul. The people we surround ourselves with play a very important role in our overall happiness. Positivity breeds positivity. In all honesty, none of us should allow anyone to steal our happiness through negativity, but we all know it happens . If you have found yourself in a situation with someone who doesn’t make you feel like a better person, as hard as it is, it’s time to remove yourself. Easier said than done, but I know you can do it.

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Lastly, I wish for you self-care and love. Not one of us walks a day in your shoes, and you are the only one that can truly know what you need in life. You deserve to love yourself, because you are beautiful. We are all imperfectly perfect in our own ways, and you deserve to realize how amazing you are. I hope 2017 gives you time to take care of yourself, embrace your body, and realize that you were made exactly  how you were meant to be. We all have the power to change what we do not like, but love yourself in all the seasons. Accepting yourself as you currently are, allows you to always be the best version of yourself while still striving for more.

I don’t believe life is a bunch of sunshine and rainbows, because we all go through things that we may not understand. I know for me, how I treat myself and others, are the defining moments in my life.

Take the time to focus on you, your passions, the people you love, and the goals you have for a wonderful 2017!

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What do you wish for?!

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Last Date of 2016

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If there is one piece of advice I could give anyone in regards to relationships, it would be this….

Date each other.

No matter how many years you’ve been together, no matter how your situation has changed, kids, jobs, life….

Date each other.

Your hearts deserve that happiness called the beginning of every relationship, the love bubble. You deserve to keep that feeling alive throughout your lives together, and the best way to do that….

Date each other.

Our last date of 2016 was a good one, it left our hearts happy and was the perfect end to a year full of much hard work and joy!

Our first stop of the day was to Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory & Gardens, to spend some time with one of my most favorite little beauties, butterflies.

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It was relaxing, happy and so wonderful to have them all flying around us.

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Some even enjoyed some quality time.

I have always had the belief that a butterfly that lands on you, is a little angel in your life that has passed, coming to visit. I don’t know why this has always been my belief, but nothing is going to change that. It’s a beautiful thought and it makes me happy!

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After that magical moment, we went to Yankee Candle Village. Oh my goodness, is all I can say. There is so much to see, and so much you can buy! I really enjoyed our time there, looking at everything, smelling the candles and just being with my husband.

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I was able to finally get something that I have wanted for a long time, my mantra bracelets! Words are very meaningful to me, I am a quote junkie and certain things just call to my very sentimental side. These bracelets represent all that the past years have been and what 2017 will be, a continuation of our infertility journey, our journey to parenthood.

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After spending what seemed like not enough time to soak in all that Yankee Candle had to offer, we took a drive to Richardson’s Candy Kitchen.

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Because what is the end of the holiday season without candy, right?

Immediately upon walking through the door, you are greeted with the most amazing smell of chocolate everything. How do people work there?!

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I was happy to see that they have a selection of sugar free candy for those of us that can’t have sugar. I know it isn’t the best choice, but we all need to live a little!

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We continued to drive around the area to site see for a little while, not much to report but we enjoy our drives 🙂

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Later in the evening, we went to Chandler’s Restaurant for dinner. I had high hopes for this place, but the food wasn’t amazing. We still had a good time in the cute and cozy environment.

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Calamari

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Pork Tenderloin Marsala with Pecorino Romano Spaetzle

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Crab Cakes

I love dates that last all day and feel very blessed that we have been able to continue this tradition. Life is busy, we both work (which we are grateful for) but making time for each other is very important in our lives. We are definitely looking forward to what 2017 has to offer!

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If you haven’t gone on a date in a long time, try to make it happen! You will feel like a new couple, I promise you!

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A Grateful Heart

With Thanksgiving having passed and Christmas fast approaching, there has been something on my mind that is so important to me. It is an attribute that I value not only in myself, but most definitely in others, a grateful heart. While I don’t believe that the holiday season is the only time we should notice all we are blessed with, it is a time to slow down and take it all in, eyes wide open.

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If there is one thing I have learned in the past years, it is that in our struggles is where we find our true selves, the meaning of this life, including the things we should invest our time and energy in. These are the things that we should feel most grateful for, because these should be what makes us the happiest.

This blog, Our Grateful Hearts, is so near and dear to my heart. Not only because it allows me to take the time to write about life, food and share the words that matter to me, it reminds me daily just in its perfect name, what I want my life to be centered around.

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While we have had our own struggles just like each and every one of you, we have been blessed in so many beautiful ways. I thought I would share a few things that make me feel most grateful, and they may not be what you would first think. There is no denying that my family, loved ones, favorite people and fur-children are my absolute number one priority in this life, and I do my best to appreciate them, love them, and support them. There are other things that I find myself appreciating more as I become older and wiser (hopefully!)

Currently, in this season of life, I am grateful for……

Timing

I truly believe that in his time, all things are made beautiful. It may not be the timing that we all had in mind for our lives, but when something is meant for us, it happens. It happens when we are ready for it, physically, mentally and emotionally. I reflect often about my life and how it all has unfolded in front of me. There are so many wonderful things that I have worked for, struggled with, and eventually timing worked on my side. If you are currently struggling with something that isn’t working out, please know that maybe it’s not time yet, and keep going!

Patience

This has not always been my strongest attribute, but with currently being in the wait, I have grown to be a very patient person. We can’t always control, plan and have what we want, when we want it. Sometimes, life is most definitely out of our control and we just have to embrace the moment we are in and be patient with what is meant for us. The virtue of patience has allowed me to be a more calm, productive, and happy person. I appreciate both people and things very differently, and I am so thankful for that. I really feel it has allowed me to live a life I love, while still dealing with our struggle of growing our family.

Hope

A single word, that holds so much meaning to so many people and by definition, to cherish a desire with anticipation. Hope is what allows all of us to keep living, giving, learning and accepting what life throws at us, even if some days aren’t the best days. Not one person can say that life is perfect, but hope allows us to feel perfection surrounding us in an imperfect world. It allows us to be fully present in our current situations while allowing us to dream of what our future could hold. Hope wraps around us in our time of despair and raises us up to be able to love, laugh and live a life we truly enjoy. Hope is a beautiful thing and I hope you can feel it, because wonderful things are made if you just believe.

Opportunity

So much of our journey through life happens due to the opportunities that we search for and those that fall upon us. I find myself in awe of how my personal goals over the past years have become my present circumstance. I feel so blessed with the changes I have made as an individual and also what my husband and I have accomplished as a team. I’m also fortunate for the opportunities that didn’t work out along the way. These are the things that have brought us closer together, made us stronger and made us recognize what wasn’t meant for us. It’s important to reflect on both the good and bad, because doing so gives you the opportunity to change.

That change can bring you to the next opportunity that you have been patiently waiting for, the life you have hoped for, all because you trusted his timing.

I hope this holiday season brings you great joy and has you surrounded by all the beautiful people you love. Take the time to really appreciate what is in front of you, and know that while life can be difficult, it is not without a purpose. 

 

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Happy Holidays!

     Melissa

A Mother’s Heart

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I have been raised by one of the most selfless mothers. She raised me to love, be kind and most importantly, she showed me what it is to be a good human being.

I have valued beyond measure all she has taught me in life, thus allowing me to learn things I didn’t expect to know.

If it weren’t for the strength of my mother, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I wouldn’t be sitting here writing this post about my heart, a mother’s heart, who has no children.

For over fives years, we have prayed, cried, struggled, but still tried to expand our family. We have met obstacles, defeat and sadness, but we still have hope that our persistence will lead to a miracle.

As difficult as it is to write out the words no children, I most of the time do not see myself that way.

I have loved a sweet little bean that couldn’t stay with us long, for four years. I will never know what that little bean would have turned into, because for one reason or another, they weren’t meant to stay here with us.

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I have faith that despite when we had our loss, that there is another story to be told, we just have to keep going, turning the pages as they come.

This journey is not something we expected, but we are embracing each day, and moment with each other as we faithfully wait for what is meant for us.

I yearn to hold our child in my arms, and even though this child does not exist yet, I love them. I have hope that the love my husband and I share, will help create the miracle we long for. I have never wanted anything so very badly, but find myself patient with this  very long, sometimes heart wrenching journey.

If you find yourself going through a similar circumstance, please don’t lose hope. I truly believe it is in these moments, when you truly find yourself and the life that is meant for you. It is a beautiful life, no matter how much you don’t understand your own personal struggle. So be patient, and most importantly be kind to yourselves during the wait. You deserve that.

While we wait, our arms may be empty, but our hearts are so very full. I do have a mother’s heart, and I can’t wait until the day I finally get to use it.

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This post is to honor and remember all the pregnancies and babies lost before their beautiful lives were truly known. October 15th is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. It is a day that many parents both dread and are thankful for. All pregnancies and infants lost are something we carry in our hearts every day. You may not see them, but we still feel the love and pain all the same. Every child, both living or unfortunately not, are beautiful miracles- some just aren’t meant to stay. We will never understand the why, but to find strength in a community that unites because of this common pain, does bring us all comfort. To all the little perfect angels that watch us from above, we miss you, we love you, we celebrate you, we mourn you, we honor you.

Life Lately…It’s Fall!

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The end of summer has come and gone so now it’s time to enjoy the beautiful season of fall! While I’m sure we were all sad to see the longer days of sunshine leave us, there is something so wonderful about this current season.

From the crisp, fresh air to the absolutely breath taking views of the leaves changing colors, these are just a few things that the lovely autumn has to offer us!

I know I am not alone in saying when fall rolls in so does my desire to be in the kitchen more. This is the time to make more hearty meals, bake more and time to slow down and enjoy the people in your life. Since fall is already here and the days seem to go by much faster as we age (thanks momma, for always driving that point home 🙂 ) I am trying to embrace all our moments. There is no better time to do something than the present because every day is such a gift. Maybe that is what fall is all about. Learning to slow down from the hot and busy summer, and to really be grateful for everything you have in this life.  It’s like a yearly reminder that the holidays are coming, and there is so much to be thankful for, every single day.

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There are many wonderful activities to do in the fall and I am hoping to cross these off my list this year!

Fall 2016 Bucket List

  • Big E  Done!
  • Apple picking
  • Make Low Carb Pumpkin & Apple Treats
  • Cornmaze
  • Haunted House
  • Pumpkin Carving/Decorating
  • New England Day Trip to see the leaves
  • Go on a fall picnic
  • Autumn Hike

These are just a few things I hope to do, I’m sure there are so many more!

Until I am able to cross off those activities, I’ll take a step back and reminisce about the past month or so.

There has been fun activities with some of my favorites…

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There has been some delicious eats….

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Pecan Crusted Chicken Salad…last salad of the season!
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Philly Cheesesteak Mini Meatloaves
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Low Carb Blueberry Cheese Danish Coffee Cake

There has been the continued hard work on our new deck…

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There has been many strolls with these lovelies….

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Quiet time too….

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We also celebrated 12 years of dating each other by going out to Marketplace Kitchen & Bar for dinner! While it was a bit noisy, the company was amazing and we shared this awesome appetizer that I will one day recreate. So simple, but yet, so tasty.

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Fresh mozzarella wrapped in prosciutto, over garlic spinach and vodka sauce

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There is nothing more that I love to do, than just spend time with this handsome face. He really has been my rock, my best friend, and life entertainer for these past 12 years. I feel so blessed to have spent these moments with him, and hope for as many more that we are able!

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What are some of your favorite fall activities?

 

 

 

 

Five Things I’ve Learned in Five Years

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June 10th, 2011 was a beautiful day. It was the day I married my best friend and life partner. I wouldn’t change anything about that day, despite how things have changed over the years. I am more in love and a better person since I met my husband. He has shown me more patience, honesty, kindness and trust than I could have ever imagined.

For twelve years he has stood by my side through both thick and thin. Not just during life struggles but even with my own battle with my weight. Never once has he made me feel ugly, embarrassed or any less beautiful than when I met him. He continues to support me with all my endeavors, and I am forever grateful for being blessed with having him in my life.

I have learned many valuable lessons through the years, lessons that have shaped me as an individual but most importantly, lessons that have helped keep our relationship wholesome. I thought I’d take a few minutes and share what has worked for us.

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Communication

I feel like this is the biggest and most important part of any relationship. Whether it be family, a friend or your partner, good communication is always key. I have not always been the best at spilling my guts when it comes to how I’m feeling. I hold a lot of what I feel inside and when I’m most vulnerable, I let it out and then some. It has not been effective in any way to making me feel better in the past, because things are said that were not meant. I have made a huge effort to speak up about things before they get to a point where this can happen. I’ve never had a problem talking with my husband, he is always willing to listen, but I did have to learn to actually listen and accept his advise. A relationship is a two-way street and the most successful communication comes from both parties being fully engaged.

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Respect

Life can be very stressful at times. Between different schedules, work, finances and other personal matters, tempers can get heated without intention. At least mine can. I married such a gentle soul, I am definitely the hot pepper of the relationship! With that in mind, no matter if my husband chose to marry me, this whole package, hot pepper personality or not, I make the choice every day to respect him. He makes it easy, but I choose to respect him because he deserves it. We all do. Every day I try to show him kindness, love and appreciation. I choose to respect his decisions and desires in life, because there is no I in this team. He is a vital part of our life, and I am so fortunate for all he does for us.

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Support

Life can change so quickly and a lot of the time it’s not by choice but by outside forces. The best relationships can get severely rocked by these circumstances and you must always lean on each other, supporting one another as best you can. Life is never going to be picture perfect, but wait, what is that? Life is what you make out of it, and it’s your own kind of perfect no matter what struggle you may have. The best relationships come from those who survive a storm together. At times, one may need to support the other more but it’s the constant give and take that makes a relationship survive and flourish. I know that my husband is my rock, but I’m a tough girl too. We lean on each other when needed and sometimes we can just stand tall separately. The most important thing you can do, is let your partner know that you are there all the time, if needed.

 

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Friendship

Friendships in life come and go. Some stay the long hall but a lot of relationships are found during certain seasons in your life. People relate to those who are going through similar phases at certain times more. There is nothing wrong with these types of friendships, because you met for a reason. I believe in order to have the best relationship with your partner, you need to be their friend as well as their lover. I 100% feel that my husband is my best friend and in conversation, he feels the same as well. We have the best times together, whether it be talking, going out, or just sitting quietly on our couch. He is my absolute favorite person and one of the best friendships I’ve ever been blessed to have.

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Laughter

Life can be so serious sometimes, and difficult. We all experience loss, rejection and uncertainty throughout this journey. I completely agree that the best medicine is laughter and it’s even better when you can laugh together! Nothing can perk up a bad moment faster than an inside joke or a funny thought. I think it also keeps a little spark in your relationship to be a little quirky and sarcastic. There is a lot of spice in this life, you just have to remember to be present and use it!

I am by no means a relationship expert and I do not claim to be. I just know what has been working for us for these years, and I wanted to share. What works for us, may not work for you but that’s ok. Find your own values, learn the lessons that make you a better person and/or couple. Most importantly, do what makes you happy!

I am thankful every day for what I’ve been given, and I don’t take my husband or our relationship for granted. I cherish every moment I have with him and hope we have some happy, healthy years ahead!

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I wish the same for you!

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