Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Passing the Gift Along


It's a lovely day out in our part of the world... bright and warm and feeling so much like Spring.

We can hope it will stay, but we know from past experience that it's really only just a reprieve. There will no doubt be days that feel quite wintery before the season's done. However, reprieve or not, we shall sally forth today to enjoy the warmth on our faces and to take in deep breaths of the air that smells of earth and melting snow.

I'm in the middle of working on a piece that has a deadline looming -- it's for a writers' anthology on habits essential to writers. So no big post here today, alas, but I'm happy to share a post from a few years ago that I just refurbished Pass the Gift Along and I do hope it makes your visit worthwhile.

Here's wishing you glimpses of heaven in unexpected places,


Friday, February 20, 2015

Red Tulips

Here's what's sitting in the middle of my kitchen table today.  It's the bright spot of colour on this grey-skied Friday morning... a cheerful contrast to the frozen garden still snow bound in the back yard with leafless branches sighing against a silvery grey canvas.

My heart sings for, in spite of the dullness outside, I feel a lightheartedness inside. A smile plays on my face. Tulips make me happy.

And so I offer this little gift to you, dear beautiful friends, with the hope that you are yourself cheered and oh-so-ready for this new weekend. Got plans?

With loving thoughts and a warm hug,


Monday, February 16, 2015

It's All in the Layering

Have you ever eaten a delicious three- or four-layer birthday cake?

One of those delectable mile-high desserts where between every chocolate-y layer a new flavour bursts on your taste buds. It's heavenly, isn't it? Now there is nothing wrong with a one-layer cake, but, oh my! it's much more exciting to savour a variety of flavors and textures in that one delicious mouthful.

In truth, I would like my life to be more like a three-layer chocolate cake. Interesting and slightly unpredictable, with promises of rich creamy texture, sweetness vs tart, along with smooth and crunch in my days.

Just as the baker of such a dessert gets to choose the cake and what each layer will be, so to we have some choice about what layers our days. Sure, we can have a simple one-layer sponge cake, working all day long, but wouldn't it be more beautiful to anticipate designing a day that's layered with needful tasks as well as creative ones, busy ones beside quiet, peaceful ones. Days that feel different, taste different, even smell different.

Layers of reading, scrap booking or birdwatching. Writing. Doing the crossword. Quilting or knitting or crocheting. Painting your bedroom with that gorgeous new colour you found. Walking, swimming, meditating. Visiting at large family gatherings and then enjoying quiet solitude in the garden or your favourite cozy corner. Layering the fun stuff between the more tedious tasks. Lazy moments alongside crazy busy ones.

It may be an old cliche, but it's true, variety is the spice of life. When I layer my days with an assortment of activities, people, and experiences, I find myself feeling richer, more vibrant, and bursting with the joy of living.

Yes, I want to create my life to be more like a three-layered birthday cake...

Will you come for tea and cake?

Original post published on Perfectly Pink, 2008

Thursday, February 12, 2015

My Book of Flowers

What a joy it was to discover this lovely book years ago by Princess Grace of Monaco and Gwen Robyns.

Published in 1980, this beautifully written and illustrated book which describes the flowers and plants of Monaco, as well as their floral history and legends, is one that goes perfectly with a cup of tea on a sunny -- or rainy -- afternoon.

When I first discovered the book at the library, I knew I wanted my own copy, but I couldn't find it anywhere to buy (that was years before amazon). It became one of those books that I checked out of the library regularly... so much so it started to feel like it was mine after awhile.

What I loved about it was that it gave me such a delightful glimpse of the Princess personally -- not just her as a movie star or royalty -- but of her deep love and appreciation for flowers and how she celebrated their beauty by creating lovely gardens for the people of Monoco.

The book includes 'up close' photos of her working in her home on some of her famous pressed flower arrangements -- one I think became the design for a postage stamp. She'd go hunting for the right blossoms and then use old telephone books to press them.

Photo from the book

I think it must have been the discovery of this information that inspired me many years ago to take up flower pressing and turning them into greeting cards. Like the Princess we used piles of old phone books to store our delicate treasures.

Here is one of my favourite quotes from My Book of Flowers.....
"When....I took the time to look into the heart of a flower, it opened up a whole new world -- a world where every country walk would be an adventure, where every garden would become an enchanted one, where one could never again be lonely, bored, or indifferent. It was as if a window had been opened to let in the sun. My eyes were waking up...seeing the unbelievable beauty of nature..." ~ Princess Grace of Monaco

When I read what she said all those years ago, I knew in my heart that, even though Her Serene Highness lived in Monoco and little ole me lived in Canada, we were kindred spirits at heart. I've never looked at a flower the same way since.

Alas, I still remember vividly that day when the news came that she'd died from a car crash. I still feel a pique of sadness all these years later. It was such a shame such a beautiful woman died in her prime of life -- which, of course, makes this book all the more treasured. I'm happy to report used copies are still available to purchase on amazon.com.

Gracefully yours,

Posted originally in 2008
Has been updated