Sunday, September 14, 2014

Simply Sunday: Take Courage


Each of us will have things to face this week...whether they are mild inconveniences, news of a startling, even crippling, nature, or perhaps the arrival at some crossroads where a choice will change the direction of our live in some way. Maybe we need to begin a new job or start a new project that takes out of our comfort zone.

You might ask what that is for me this week. Two things for sure.

First, there will be the choice every morning to get up and immediately begin untying the gifts of the new day -- yes, even at 3 a.m. when it's dark out and we're not quite awake as we head off to work. To invite the Lord Jesus to walk with me into the new day. To  anticipate the small gifts of mercy that He's mindfully gathered for my encouragement, benefit and delight. To let a sense of wonder rise up and watch for glimpses of heaven in unexpected places...amazing how many I find even at that time of day. And, to let Joy replace ugg, resentment, or self-pity.

Second, to begin the task of taking the bits and pieces of memories I have gathered together and actually begin shaping them into vignettes -- tiny tales -- that will unfold as the memoir story I'm working on. It's a new venture, and I'm feel a little nervous to jump into so large a project.  

In light of that, I've gathered some quotes that speak to me and bring light to my mind. I take refuge, courage and joy in these words from people who've faced their own giants...and I pray that you, too, will find something that you can carry forth as your beacon for this new week.

"The ideas that have lighted my way and, time after time, have given me new courage to face life cheerfully have been Kindness, Beauty, and Truth." ~ Albert Einstein, Scientist

"Facing it, always facing it, that's the way to get through. Face it." ~ Joseph Conrad, British novelist

"The most glorious moments in your life are not the so-called days of success, but rather those days when out of dejection and despair you feel rise in you a challenge to life, and the promise of future accomplishments." ~ Gustave Flaubert, French novelist

"It takes courage to push yourself to places that you have never been before... to test your limits... to break through barriers. And the day came when the risk it took to remain tight inside the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. ~ Ana├»s Nin, French author

"What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?" ~ Vincent van Gogh, Dutch painter

"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm." ~ Sir Winston Churchill, British politician

"A (wo)man of courage is also full of faith. ~ Marcus Tulius Cicero, Roman orator

"Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” ~ from Joshua 1:9

The quote that seems to be really standing out for me today is the Anais Nin quote... yes, sometimes staying where we are is more painful than the risk of blossoming.

I ask you now, what would be your beacon quote for today?

Wishing you a*´¨)
> ¸.·´¸.·*´¨) ¸.·*¨)
> (¸.·´ (¸.·´ * beautiful day! *


Photo source:

Saturday, September 13, 2014

No Time For A Comment...Just Click Like


There have been times when I wished we had a LIKE button on our blogs the way we do on Facebook.

It turns out other bloggers share a similar sentiment.There have been various conversations going on in Blog Land about the time it takes to leave comments on every post when we visit our blogging friends. If you didn't see it, you might want to check out one great post on this very topic by Cheryl at Thinking about Home.

Of course we'd love to be able to visit all our friends and leave comments on all the wonderful posts we read, but sometimes we just can't spare the time... and occasionally we might not have much to say at the moment. Plus, we all have off-line lives to lead.... and we don't want our husbands to be blogger widows or our children wondering where their moms are...again.

Well, dear blogging girlfriends, I figured something out for those of us who use Blogger !

It's not perfect but I think we could make it work... until our creative gurus at Blogger figure out something like that for us ... please sir ? 
Here's how: first, go back to the top of my blog post. On the left side you'll see a spot where you can click on the Like.... feel free to click it... just to see if it works...
In your dashboard -- go to Layout -- you'll see the big Blog Post box with a tiny edit in the corner --  click on edit -- now you'll see the list of choices of how you want your blog post to show up -- look for the choice Reactions -- select it --
When you click on it you have the ability to change that word, as well as interesting, funny, cool to whatever words you want to to add. If you notice at the top of my blog post, I changed the word 'reactions' to 'click' -- and I removed the words  'interesting, funny, cool' and replaced them with 'Like'.
Now you also have the ability to move some of those selections around -- you could have the like button at the bottom of your page, if you prefer. Play around with it.
PS.  Don't forget to SAVE the changes before exiting.
PSS. Now Vee tells me that when she tried to do this, it didn't work for her, because she uses a classic template; this only works with layout templates.

As a reader, you now can indicate that you've stopped in. We won't know it's you, but it still gives us an idea that there are more people reading our posts than might leave comments. So for those too-busy days, choose to click LIKE... just another way to leave a wee footprint on someone's blog post.

Wishing you*´¨)
> ¸.·´¸.·*´¨) ¸.·*¨)
> (¸.·´ (¸.·´ * a beautiful day ! *

Graphic source:  microsoft images


Friday, September 12, 2014

Dutch Apple Cake Dee-licious


Dutch Apple cake just out of the oven. The house smells wonderful.

This should perk the lord and lady of the manor right up on this grey, somewhat gloomy day! They were feeling a little un-perked earlier as they both were in serious need of an afternoon nap, which they had. Now for a piece of this yummy cake and a cup of decaf coffee.

A grateful thanks goes to Sandi over at Rose Chintz Cottage who shared this toothsome recipe on her blog yesterday.
As I was finishing up this post, the phone rang. Friends in need of a little supper -- they were out and about all afternoon -- are coming over for a bite of sustenance, some dutch apple cake with coffee, a sit in front of the big screen to watch a movie with us, and to just catch their breath after their very busy day. I love how serendipity happens!
On that note, I'm wishing you all a pleasant evening... ah, the sun just slipped out from behind the clouds. The sunflowers are smiling... lovely!

Wishing you glimpses of heaven*´¨)
> ¸.·´¸.·*´¨) ¸.·*¨)
> (¸.·´ (¸.·´ * in unexpected places ! *

Photo: © Brenda Leyland, 2014

Thursday, September 11, 2014

A Thursday Chat

The golden sun peeks into our backyard where the phlox is still blooming

Well... I'm happy to report that whatever that was with the white stuff these last couple of days... is over, for the time being at least. The weatherman promises us some sunny, warmer days ahead. We'll take that with a glad heart!

This morning I've been feasting my eyes as I gaze out the window at the harvest blue skies and the golden sunshine peering into a corner of the garden. Not to mention the bright red berries that stand out against the fading green of the mountain ash leaves.

I feel almost mesmerized as I watch the chickadees flitting back and forth from the tree to the sunflowers -- they are busy poking out seeds -- even though I wasn't sure if the heads were ripe enough; the birds seem quite taken with their buffet in the breeze.

This morning I came home from my stint at the local performing arts centre feeling a tad weary. In mind and body. It was busy. And, now as I sit here with my fingers poised over the keys, contemplating what I might share with you, I feel a little like a child who's fighting to keep her eyes open but doesn't want to take a nap, lest she miss something important.

And, of course, I would miss something important if I didn't stop to say hello to you, my beautiful blogging girlfriends. First, I wanted to tell you that the weatherman is back on track... which I've now mentioned again... and we are once again enjoying and celebrating autumn's gifts.


We're planning a trip to the library early this afternoon. Not to browse for some good September reading -- because I'm currently re-reading the delightful story entitled September by Rosamunde Pilcher ...

No, I'm going to the library because I need to use one of their large library tables on which to spread out some of my memoir notes. I'm beginning the next step in earnest, now that summer's over. 

In the springtime I gathered the memories and stories...they tumbled out by the dozens. Everybody wanted to have their moment in the light of day -- you see, they all wanted to be in the story. I kept telling them, not everyone belongs in this story. But they insisted. So I let 'em talk. And I wrote down all the memories the tumbled out. I thought I was done and I kept remembering more and more. In chatting with my memoir tutor, she said if that's what's happening, obviously they need to come out, so let 'em out.

But now we are ready for the next step... to begin choosing what, of all those memories and stories, will actually become part of the story... the 100 tiny tales that string together a journey that unfolded between two key events and over two decades.

Just a hint: It all started when a young woman, just graduating from college and about to embark on her life's journey, breathed a prayer as she paused before closing her dorm door for the last time. An unexpected prayer that came from somewhere deep inside... God, please don't let me marry the wrong man.

And so I'm away.  The time has flown -- I feel refreshed and ready for the day.

Hugs to you all....


Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Comfort Food


Here's a peek at yesterday's comfort food when that white stuff was falling around our place.

We're calling it Making Up For The Weather Soup aka Meatball Minestrone Soup. We didn't follow a recipe and we just used ingredients that were near to hand.

Aside. The Urban Peasant used to say on his television program years ago, if you don't have the ingredients he's using for a recipe, use your imagination and do the best you can with what you got. It's one of those bits of advice I never forgot.

So, here's what I did:

Started by sauteing 1/2 large onion in olive oil (with a dab of butter too) till soft in my blue le creuset pot. Chopped 1 large meaty tomato (Italian), a bit of diced celery, a couple fresh sprigs of thyme and Greek oregano. Added these to the pot.

I let these saute on very low heat for about 20 minutes. Stirred occasionally until everything began to caramelize and come together. For me, that's a key to making soup taste richer; don't be in a hurry at this stage. Oh... and I like to sprinkle a wee bit of salt and pepper on everything as I cook it.

Then I added 5 cups of hot beef broth and a generous handful of orzo pasta. Added salt and pepper to taste. Stirred. Then I found a few cooked meatballs in the freezer... y-e-s... must have made 'em for such a time as this.  If I would have remembered, I'd have included a wee bit of hot pepper sauce...

I let it simmer about an hour on really low heat. At the very end, I added a dollop of sour cream, stirred it in, and sprinkled with a bit of parsley. We paired the thick soup with thinly sliced dark rye bread. Yum.

Somehow the snow didn't matter after that.  

“Some foods are so comforting, so nourishing of body and soul, that to eat them is to be home again after a long journey. To eat such a meal is to remember that, though the world is full of knives and storms, the body is built for kindness. The angels, who know no hunger, have never been as satisfied.” ~ Eli Brown, author of Cinnamon and Gunpowder

BTW, our weather is coolish today, but so far no insistent signs of the white stuff...... a good day for writing blog posts, working on a new chapter of my memoir story, and coming to visit you.  Thanks for stopping by.  Now, here's wishing you......

Glimpses of heaven*´¨)
> ¸.·´¸.·*´¨) ¸.·*¨)
> (¸.·´ (¸.·´ * in unexpected places ! *



Photo: © Brenda Leyland, 2014