Thursday, May 4, 2023


                                          Your Arms Were Always Open

Your arms were always open
When I needed a hug.

Your heart understood
When I needed a friend.

Your gentle eyes were stern
When I needed a lesson.

Your strength and love
Guided me and gave me wings
To help me soar.

April showers bring May flowers. It also allows us to salute mothers all over the world.

When I think about my mother, a farmer’s wife who left this earth too soon, I think of one of the strongest persons I’ve ever known. She was the youngest from a family of nine siblings, and grew up bilingual in a Polish household on a farm outside Clifford, Pennsylvania. Her father, Charles Shefsky, and her mother, Mary, were immigrants. Unfortunately, both my grandfather and grandmother moved to New Jersey and died when I was very young, so I never knew them.

Jean Shefsky Lashinski was a talented lady and seamstress who could sew, crochet, and fashion beautiful articles and clothing on a simple pedal Singer sewing machine. And, she was a skilled crafter and painter as well. From her, I learned to not only make crafts, but also to have a love for books. An avid reader herself, mother made sure my sister and I had books—either purchased or from the Bookmobile—to keep us engaged and entertained with the written word. Obviously, her love for reading rubbed off on me and was the reason I went to college for journalism and communications.

Although she was a very kindhearted person, my mother was also a very stoic, resilient, and outspoken woman for her time. From her, I learned you needed to be able to stand up for what you thought was right, for your own rights, and for the rights of others. She was a strong advocate of women’s rights and routinely worked at her local polling place during election years.

I admit that I still talk to her on occasion when things go wrong or when times seem overwhelming. I can hear her in my head. In her own voice, in her own tone, and in her own words, she would remind me: “Life is tough. You must learn to be tougher.” 

This month, I'm featuring FOUR WHITE ROSES which won three awards 
and has a main character who is a young widow and mother of a little girl. 
"Can a wily old ghost help two fractured souls find love again?"

Saturday, April 1, 2023

April Slides in with National Poetry Month and Earth Day

April has arrived.

Photo JosepMonter, Pixabay
For many people April brings the excitement of an awakening in our land as we watch the dull brown of sleeping vegetation in the northern regions morph into the many vibrant hues of green. What better way to enjoy the month than to smell the earthy scent of mud, feel the warm sun on your back, and rekindle your hope that spring has arrived with its many showers and colorful flowers?                                  

April is also National Poetry Month and, on April 22nd, we celebrate Earth Day in the United States along with Canada and other countries around the world. This year, the theme for Earth Day is Invest In Our Planet and continues to focus on the effects of climate change.

One of my favorite poems is It Must Be Spring, by May Fenn. It not only ushers in joys of the season, but also highlights the wonders of our earth, giving a nod to the importance of Earth Day.

Hush, can you hear it?
The rustling in the grass,
Bringing you the welcome news that
Winter’s day is past.
Soft, can you feel it?
The warm caressing breeze,
Telling you the sticky buds
Are bursting on the trees.
Look, can you see them?
The primrose in the lane.
Now you must believe it —
Spring is here again.

Photo by Beeki, Pixabay

So as we watch the red buds burst and bloom and see the first yellow dandelions emerge in the grass…or listen to the returning birds in the bushes and the honking geese in the skies overhead… let’s take time to enjoy the jaunty month bringing renewal to our earth and optimism to our lives. 




Wednesday, March 1, 2023

MARCH - Named for the Roman God of War

Paddy caps (hats) off to the Irish! March is a windy, sometimes chilly, but joyous month when everyone becomes Irish on St. Patrick’s Day. In the northern states, it’s also the month which can come roaring in like a lion with cold blustery weather and go out with warmth and the softness of a lamb or—vice versa.

Everyone looks forward to March 20th, when spring is supposed to march in and put an end to winter weather. Daffodils, the flower of March, rear their sleepy heads and poke through the cold ground, bringing the color of sunshine back to the drab flowerbeds.

Rain and mud are part of spring. If we’re fortunate, we might well see the return of early migrating birds. Birds that nest in the Northern Hemisphere tend to migrate in spring to take advantage of burgeoning insect populations, budding plants, and an abundance of nesting locations. I love to step outside, search the sky, and listen when I hear the first flocks of geese winging their way toward Canada.

For me, it’s also a bittersweet month. My mother passed away in the month of March. Ironically, her birthday was on St. Patrick’s Day. For someone of Polish ancestry, she was always a good sport and laughed and loved the cakes, iced in green with shamrocks, we made to celebrate her special day.

Most of all, for those of us who like to garden, who like to watch things grow, it’s an exciting month as we start planning the flowers, vegetables, herbs, and other greenery we’d like to plant for the coming spring, summer, and fall ahead. Last year, we had a bucket garden filled with a variety of spices. This year, my husband has found a “vertical squash” plant we want to grow. But that’s a story for another day.

Hats off to all… and to the month of March named for the Roman god of war, Mars.  May it be a prosperous and pleasing one for all.



Sunday, February 5, 2023


Compliments of Blue Apron
The other day, my husband and I stopped at Perine’s Produce, a grocery and local fresh vegetable and fruit market in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, where I discovered a striking, new, red and yellow striped pepper.

It’s a Holland bell pepper called the Aloha or Enjoya. Discovered in the Netherlands, Aloha peppers were cultivated to show off their stunning stripes. They taste very similar to bell peppers and have a sweet, mild flavor.

They can be eaten raw or grilled or cooked, making them perfect for salads and hot dishes. They keep their pretty variegated stripes even after they are heated. My Aloha pepper cost me $0.99 for one. 

I’m looking forward to trying them in my stuffed pepper soup recipe below. According to the recipe, you can use red, yellow, or green peppers. I’m wondering what striped Aloha or Enjoya peppers will taste like in the recipe. 

 Stuffed Pepper Soup

1lb lean ground beef
1 large onion, diced
1 cup uncooked or 2 cups cooked rice, plain or wild

1 can Hunts flavored diced tomatoes
1 can tomato sauce (14.5oz can)
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp basil
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
1 box chicken stock (32oz)
2 cups water
2 tbsp powdered beef stock
3 bell peppers – green, red and yellow can be used
Cheese for topping (optional)
Fresh cracked black pepper for garnish (optional)


In a large soup pot coated with cooking spray, over medium-high heat, brown the grown beef with the onions and rice. Browning rice gives it a nutty flavor, but do not let it burn.

Dice peppers into small ½" pieces, set side.
Add in the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, oregano, basil, salt, pepper, chicken stock, water, and powdered beef stock, then allow it to come to a boil.

Reduce heat, cover and allow it to cook 20 minutes then add the peppers and allow it to cook another 20-30 minutes depending upon the type of rice.


Serve with cheese on top (optional)

Serves 6 - [398 calories]