Category Archives: FaMiLy


popcorn1I’ve chosen Healdsburg Mom: Darnell Williams darnell_067 as my first Featurette feature. 

What can I say about Darnell?  Every time I think about her I can’t help but smile.  People must look at the silly grin on my face and say, “What’s she so happy about?”.  Well, I’ll tell you what I’m so happy about.  It’s the wonderful grace of God in Darnell Williams life…that’s what.

Darnell and her children started fellowshipping at Calvary Chapel Healdsburg about 3-4 years ago.  During that span of time, I’ve had the privilege of watching Darnell’s life in Christ bloom.  I won’t get into the details of that “blooming”, for that would be up to Darnell to share.  But I will tell you this:  Darnell has a life that exemplifies surrender.  She definitely, as Paul said, “Dies daily” as she allows Christ to live through her.  She’s even more beautiful now then the first day I met her.

To learn a little more about Darnell, you’ll have to check out her blog for yourself.  She has a wonderfully deep insight into the scriptures, and shares what the Lord teaches her in regular posts.  And for all you moms out there (and “not moms as well 😉  ), Darnell has great tips for healthy eating, living…you name it.

I encourage all to drop on by Healdsburg Mom’s blog site.  Leave her a blessing….and tell her Mary sent you.



Filed under Calvary Chapel, Children, FaMiLy, FRIENDS

the heartbeat in the room

Visit the heartbeat in the room.  

A memorial website dedicated to my mother-in-law, Carol Faye Blaustone.

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Filed under FaMiLy

New Name

Sedona, Arizona

Sedona, Arizona

I’ve changed the name of my blog from Mary Blaustone, to Grace Land Living.  Cool, huh?  I took it from Chris’ teachings on living in the land of grace. 

Speaking of Chris’ teachings.  I’ve also added a “Land of Grace” page at the top.  It’s sort of a brief explanation on why the name “Grace Land Living”.  The only thing is, when you click on the link that should take you to Chris’ teaching on Galatians 1, all you get is a Mac page saying something like “no can do”.  So…I’ll work on that one.

Just a note.  I’m heading down south to be with Chris and his family.  Chris’ mom, Carol, is at the end of her battle with cancer.  The family is surrounding her with love, doing all they can to make her comfortable.  Hospice says it’s only a matter of days now. 

There’s so much going on right now.  So many emotions to sift through. 

As my dear friend Karen said Wednesday night, “When in distress, call 91:1”

“He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.”         Psalm 91:1

Sedona, Arizona is where Bob and Carol Blaustone lived for 18 years.  They recently moved back to Orange county for Carol’s health.  Sedona holds wonderful memories for us all.


Filed under Chris, FaMiLy

I’m Back!

And I’ve moved.  I’ve decided to break away from Blogger and move my site on over to WordPress.  Yippee!  It’s taken a while…but now it’s done.  Hopefully the user friendliness of this blog site will be just the encouragement I need to write more.  If you’ve subscribed to my posts, you will continue to receive email updates whenever I post.  Yep…I’m excited.

Natalie and Justin’s wedding was absolutely beautiful, amazing, and dreamy with yummy food and wonderful friends and family to share it with.  It’s crazy how so much blood, sweat, and literal tears go into planning this one day event.  But, it was more than worth it.  Our prayers, as well as the prayers of so many people, were answered above and beyond what we could ever ask or think.  We continue to hear reports of how hearts were touched and lives even changed by being a part of the day.  That was Chris’ and my prayer.  We wanted people to leave having encountered our Lord, Jesus.  And they did.  God is so good. 

So, now that the wedding has passed, and our lives seem to be moving on a more…shall I say, less hecktic path, I will try, try, try, to write more.


Filed under FaMiLy, Uncategorized, Wedding

Is it just me….

or are airports simply ghastly places?

Some of you are saying…”Oh no, I love airports. I love travel. I love crowds. I love waiting in long lines, with cameras watching and TSA personnel who look like they’ve been doing this job for 50 years (no offence). I love to fill up 2 plastic bins with all my belongings…placing pointless items in a plastic bag so they don’t “explode”…removing my shoes, belt, and jacket so I can walk through a metal detector and then put my clothes back on in front of everyone on the other side. I love having to open my carry-on to let the security guy rifle through it just because…I love that.”

And one more thing. Why do the maintenance people get to literally just “flash” their badges and walk on through? Does that make any sense at all? How do we know they’re not evil?

O.K. This random, sarcastic post is all to say that Chris and I did have a nice trip to visit his family in Arizona for his sisters birthday.

Here’s a little airplane/airport humor from my favorite comedian, Brian Regan


Filed under airports, Brian Regan, FaMiLy


I had promised to write about my grandma, but it’s obviously taken me a while to do that. How do I put into words the simple beauty of this sweet little lady?

Nataline “Nora” Saraceni was born, Nataline Chicklo on June 15, 1914 in Pennsylvania. Her mother and father, my great grandparents, were Italian immigrants. When “Nora” was 15 years old, her mother died. She was taken out of school and brought home to help care for her father and 6 brothers and sisters. I remember her telling me she was only educated through about the 8th grade. Her simple life of giving and serving others started at such a young age. As far as I’m concerned…it didn’t end until the day she died.

My memories of her…so many…too many to write about. The earliest ones are sweet and simple. She was beautiful. I have a photo of her that was taken when she was about 18 or 19 years old. She’s wearing a summer type short outfit, and let me tell you…she had great legs. Even in her 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s, the women had great legs.


Whenever I’d give her a hug and a kiss, she smelled of Emeraude cologne and Oil Of Olay. I was priveleged to grow up with my grandparents living close by. My sister and I would frequently spend weekends at Grandmas house.


To me, Grandmas house always smelled like pasta and coffee. We would sleep on clean, crisp cotton sheets and wake to Cream of Wheat and butterd Roman Meal toast for breakfast. I loved listening to my grandma talking on their one, black, rotary dial telephone at the end of the hallway. She use to play checkers with us, taught us to play Black Jack, and a game she called “Piggy” that I swear she made up just to keep us busy.

She used to cut my hair with a razor. Boy did that hurt…not to mention looked terrible. I have many childhood pictures of me with “Grandma haircuts”.


She loved garage sales, and would have them herself quite frequently. I attribute this to her being a product of the Depression Era. She saved absolutely everything. If she found some value in what she was saving, she would carefully wrap it in tissue paper and place it in a plastic bag. After her death we found many things in plastic bags. A few years ago she blessed me with a wonderful gift. Her wedding dress. It’s a beautiful, off white, 1930’s style dress. It was much too small for anyone to ever wear again. My grandma was a tiny little thing. When she gave it to me, it was wrapped in tissue paper and placed in a plastic bag…and just as lovely as ever.

She worked in her garden, and washed down her front driveway with the hose all the time. She loved to keep up “apperances”, even in their tiny, 1950’s crackerbox house in Santa Ana.

Memory: Food

Oh my…so many of my Grandma memories include food.

Summertime meant weekends at Grandmas house. She’d make us K-Mart ham sandwiches on buttered hamburger buns. We’d take them along with potato chips to Balboa Beach for a picnic in the sun. My Grandpap would fish off the Balboa pier.

I have to say that Nora was an amazing Italian cook. I’m sure her culinary perfections were handed down from generations past. I always knew what to ask Grandma to cook for a birthday dinner. Potato Gnocchi of course. She made the best. It was a family affair with all of us at the table to “dig out” the little dumplings.

She also made the best meatballs I’ve ever had in my entire life. I asked her for her recipe once. Yet when I’ve made them, they taste nothing like hers.

She was also know for her Pizzells. Lacy Italian cookies with a hint of orange zest, sprinkled with powdered sugar. I’ve purchased a Pizzell iron, and I use her recipe, yet once again…nothing compared to hers.

Everything was a cooking lesson with Grandma. She liked to call my sisters and I into the kitchen while she was cooking to see if we wanted to help. I seemed to like this less and less as I entered my teen years. She would call us in to give us a lesson in the “proper” way to dish up Jello. Or, instruction on how to chop up a Zuccini. Being a teenager, her particular attention to the proper things in life frustrated me, and I would turn down her requests to join her in the kitchen. How I would give anything to go back there and spend more of that priceless cooking lesson time with her. I sure could use it now.

My mother and sisters and I were looking through my grandma’s things after her death. We came across a collection of handwritten recipes that she had tucked away. Some of them on scraps of old, yellowed paper…definitely in her own hand writing. A pinch of this…a dash of that. What a treasure for us to find.

The other day I asked my mom to tell me about the various jobs my grandma had worked in her lifetime. A glass factory in Pennsylvania. A coat factory in California. A heart valve manufacturer, as well as a business that delivered food to the military PX.

But the one job she worked that I have a vivid memory of, was when she sold Sarah Coventry jewlery. Now, for those of you who don’t remember this, back in the day, Sarah Coventry jewlery was “da bomb” of costume jewlery. All the soap opera stars wore it. Now my grandma could sell iceboxes to Eskimos and Arugula to hungry wolves.(hello…garage sales) Therefore, she was one of the top Sarah Coventry sellers in the state…maybe even in the nation. I was the proud owner of much of this jewlery as I was growing up. We always got it for birthdays and Christmas. I’m happy to say I now own a few more pieces. I’ll keep them forever.

There is so much more I could write. So many memories. I know why it’s taken me so long to write about my grandma Nora. It’s just hard. I miss her so much. I know I’ll see her again, but I miss her now.

Who knows…maybe I’ll post a treasured recipe.

Nataline “Nora” Saraceni 1914 – 2008


Filed under FaMiLy, food, grandma, Italian

Give Thanks

It’s almost here. My all time favorite eating day of the whole year…Thanksgiving. Our home may even look like that picture over there. Except I won’t be cooking the turkey this year, and I’m certainly not that old. Oh ya, and Chris doesn’t have that much hair on top. But, none the less, our home will be filled with fellowship as we once again open it to anyone who doesn’t have family or a place to go. What a blessing it is. We get to eat the best of the best of every ones favorite family recipes. I tell ya, the food is simply amazing, and there’s always enough for everyone to take home leftovers. I, of course, will prepare my specialty…..Green Bean Junk! Oh ya, it’s the best.

May we all remember the Father’s many blessings, and especially all He’s given us in Jesus.


“Oh, give thanks to the LORD! Call upon His name; Make known His deeds among the peoples! Sing to Him, sing psalms to Him; Talk of all His wondrous works! Glory in His holy Name; Let the hearts of those rejoice who seek the Lord! Seek the LORD and His strength; Seek His face evermore!”
Psalm 105:1-4


Filed under FaMiLy, scripture, Thanksgiving