Friday, October 31, 2008

Day 75. We're Redecorating!

To create one’s own world in any of the arts (including a blog) takes courage.
—Georgia O’keeffe



We're redesigning here at It's A Beautiful Life. And playing around with new possible headers. It's a lot of fun dreaming up new sketches that might work, but I can't promise that this header or that one will be the final look, because can any woman ever say she's done with decorating forever?

There are so many blogs out there where creative people generously spill out their wizardry and ideas for blogging that other people can access and use. There's everything from free backgrounds to widgets to bling-blings for bloggers. It's like going into a candy store at Christmas time. What to choose first?

Since blogging is still so new to me, I'm very grateful for all the ideas and suggestions and 'how-to' posts that people share online.  I've learned so much already.

Now stay tuned -- below are some possible new headers...




 
**************





**************




 **************

 


***

“The artist never entirely knows — We guess.
We may be wrong, but we take leap after leap in the dark.”
~ Agnes de Mille

***

I think it's fair to say that personal computers
have become the most empowering tool we've ever created.
They're tools of communication, they're tools of
creativity, and they can be shaped by their user.
~ Bill Gates

***


 Wishing you a beautiful day,

Brenda






Thursday, October 30, 2008

Day 74. The Grace To Stay The Course





The day has swirled with all manner of pink thoughts, as I've been in the thick of planning and designing the next issue of our Mary Kay newsletter. We're working on the theme of consistency. It's not so much a matter of doing things in a big way, but rather doing what we do, however large or small, consistently and with persistence.

For many of us, it's not an easy lesson. But I have been noticing a pattern of consistency has been developing as I write on my blog every day. If I had not made a commitment to write 100 blogs in 100 days and say it 'out loud' on this site, I probably would never have carried it through.

There have been days when I've been very busy with other projects; there have been times when I felt drained and didn't have a clue what to write about; there have been days when I was away on holidays and not near a computer...

And yet through it all, something no matter how small has been posted every day. For me, that's a big achievement! I'm usually a sprinter -- I stay eager and motivated for the short term, but it's the long haul marathon projects that wear me down. The finish line usually seems too far away and I weary long before I reach it.

It would be good to explore this whole area a little more, to find out what keeps me motivated, and to find any clues that could translate into other areas of my life. Perhaps we all can learn how to 'stay the course' with more grace, ease and joy.

Until tomorrow! Peace be within thy walls!

Gracefully yours,
Brenda



Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Day 73. 10 Ways To Fill Your Colour Tank

 Photograph by Kelly  Sikkema / unsplash.com
 
 
Earlier today I made a quick visit to Sew Me Something Good. I was astounded -- it felt like I had dropped into a large paint tray filled with colours or a bright new box of crayons. What a feast for the eyes.

That's when I realized my soul has been craving colour. I suddenly felt like I was being fed. With many people (including myself) wearing so much black these days, over time, my colour tank was seriously depleted of this wonderful gift.

I remember reading an article many years ago about individuals who came to North America from countries behind the Iron Curtain. They were surprised at finding so much colour in the world around us. From clothes to art to flower-filled gardens. They loved it. Apparently their own surroundings were sombre, filled with shadows and muted greys. I really felt the impact of that, making me realize the awesome gift that we have in Colour all around us. I started taking time to really notice the colours around me and appreciating the joy this beauty brings to my world.
 
***

If you've been feeling a little grey, here are 10 ways you can add a splash of colour and zest:

1. Visit a few quilting/designing/art inspired blogs.

2. Buy a big new box of crayons (the biggest box you can find) and a colouring book or blank art book. Now spend some time playing with all the wonderful shades and hues.

3. Visit a quilting/fabric shop in person. Let your eyes feast on all the shades of blue and green and yellow. Marvel at how many shades of red are sitting there bolt after bolt of fabric.

4. Go to the nearest scrapbooking store and let your eyes rove over the display of colourful paper.

5. Add more colour to your home designs. If you've got beige walls, buy some new cushions in some stunning new colour.

6. Alexandra Stoddard puts coloured pencils in a holder and sets them on her desk. Love that too.

7. Fill a jar with jellybeans or jube-jubes. My friend, Rosalie, just gave me a jar full of jube-jubes -- they look like bright jewels on my desk.

8. Buy a new scarf for your fall jacket. If you are normally conservative in your choices, be bold and outrageous -- choose a colour you wouldn't normally pick. Like orange.

9. If you've still got fall colours in your neighbourhood, go for a walk in it. Bring autumn branches into your house and set them in a large vase.

10. Visit an art gallery. Or visit your child's school -- their walls are often displayed with vibrant and joyful art.


***
 
 
My colour tank feels fuller already! Adding colour is an easy way to bring more joy and beauty into our lives.

Wishing you glimpses of heaven in unexpected places,
Brenda



Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Day 72. The Autumn Quiz

 Photo by Tran Mau Tri Tam / unsplash.com

 
Do you enjoy taking those personality quizzes you find in magazines? I do. I've always enjoyed seeing what my results conveyed to me about myself. Mind you, I never really took them too seriously.

I used to try and fit into those boxes. When I couldn't give the answer that made me fit, I sometimes felt like a mis-fit. UNTIL....I realized that I didn't need to fit in a box. Unique people, like you and me, may have many similarities, but we're also as different as the proverbial snowflake.

Now I'm able to enjoy my uniqueness, and I don't try to make a fit when there isn't one. I still have fun taking those quizzes, and sometimes I do learn something about myself that's revealing or confirming.
 
 

Today I found one called The Autumn Quizz. It's available at Blogthings.com and only has a few short questions, so it doesn't take long if you decide to take it.

Below are my test results. In this case, I am amazed at how much fits this time! Especially when it said I loved feeling cozy. In fact, cozy is one of my all-time favourite words in the English language.

Your Autumn Test Results

* You are a dynamic, vibrant person. You aren't afraid to pursue your passions.

* When you are happiest, you are calm. You appreciate tradition and family. You enjoy feeling cozy.

* You prefer change to come slowly. You need a long transition period when your life changes.

* You find love to be the most comforting thing in the world. You feel at peace when you're with your loved ones.

* Your ideal day is spontaneous and surprising. You like to play things by ear, and you always end up doing something interesting.

* You are very impatient. You spend more time waiting for something than actually enjoying it.
Anyways, here's to personality quizzes! Here's to not having to fit! Here's to enjoying your uniqueness!

Wishing you a beautiful day,
Brenda







Monday, October 27, 2008

Day 71. Purr-fectly Picturesque

 
Miss Kitty in the Sweet Alyssum Patch


Miss Kitty, you've met in previous postings. Here she sits like a princess in the flower patch. She came into the family as a little stray. My mom found her hiding in among the irises in her garden. Day by day she coaxed the kitten to come nearer by leaving food closer to the house. Eventually she was tame enough to hold her.

As Mom couldn't keep her, I brought her home with me one day so I could find a good home for her. I found one ... she's been with us ever since! She's now 13.


 Gilbert loved baby's breath and could sniff it out at a hundred paces


Gilbert and his sibling, Sullivan, came to us when they were six weeks old. Gilbert used to sing when he was a kitten. So we named the pair of them 'Gilbert and Sullivan'.

Even at an early age, Sullivan seemed quite sure of his place in the world, but our lovable Mr. Gilly, being the tiniest of the litter, always seemed just a little behind when it came to learning about life. He was the sweetest kitty cat, and I loved him dearly, even when he was too small to find his way down to the litter box, and I'd wake up at night wondering what that warm wet spot was by my feet.


 
Sullivan in the Summer Grass


Sullivan, or Sully, as I used to call him, was a beautiful grey medium hair cat. He was more aloof than Gilbert, still loving, but he didn't care to be picked up and cuddled. However, he absolutely adored being petted while he ate, especially with a glove that had tiny nubs on it.

He'd sit on the back of the couch and purr delightedly into your ear when you sat there, but he wasn't one for lap snuggling. He was quite masterful at keeping the yard free of what he considered 'undesirables'. Although he had asthma, that never stopped him from hurtling down the driveway to chase off any other feline intruders. I think Kitty really missed his protection when he got sick.



 
Miss Roxy, the gal who had her own feline mind
and wasn't afraid to use it

I'll never forget the very first time I went to Rick's house shortly after we met. He had a self-assured tabby named Roxy.

On this particular day, Miss Roxy went outside and when he called her to come in, she turned and started towards him, as if in total obedience. I was impressed -- my cats didn't do that. She sauntered along the sidewalk, until she reached the front door, at which point, without missing a beat, marched right past and flopped herself into the flower bed for a roll in the dirt. She made it quite clear who was boss in that house!



Our neighbour cat, Casper, visits our garden

Casper was the only cat Sullivan allowed to visit our yard. He'd come often to visit and sometimes he'd saunter into the house, where we'd find him curled up on our dryer having a snooze. Or he'd stand in front of the closet door asking for the catnip he knew was stored inside. He was such an amiable neighbour, I loved having him visit. And our own cats never minded him.

***
I thought of that old song by Willie Nelson, To All the Girls I Know. If you change some of the words, it sings just as nicely for our kittycats (maybe even better) -- To All the Cats I Know. So here's to all our cats. Meow! Meow!



To all the puddycats I know
Who traveled in and out my door
I'm glad they came along
I dedicate this song
To all the cats I loved before.

To all the cats I once caressed
And may I say I've held the best
For helping me to grow
I owe a lot I know
To all the cats I've loved before....

 ***

Wishing you a beautiful day,
Brenda




Sunday, October 26, 2008

Day 70. Kitty Snoozes

 
I have been visiting a few blogging friends today, including a few kitty cat bloggers.
 
For instance, I just met Mr. Kelly a handsome sandy coloured puddy-cat. Actually he stopped by to leave a comment for Miss Kitty (who's enjoying the sunshine in the photo above). Just imagine, some kitty-cats have their own blogs.
 
Miss Kitty certainly has figured out the art of napping and hanging out. She's pretty mellow.
 
I think we all could take a page from her book. Dogs may have the corner on demonstrating what 'utter and complete joy' looks like, but of all God's creatures, cats really do know how to hang out, let go, and truly take a rest.

Perhaps if we paid more attention to their example, we'd find ourselves being happier and healthier. 

Something to muse about...
Brenda
xox





Saturday, October 25, 2008

Day 69. The Other Guy's Out Dancing

Photograph by Andre Hunter


"Don't carry a grudge; while you're carrying the grudge, the other guy's out dancing." -- Buddy Hackett

I used to get really grumpy about rude and careless drivers. Picture it. There's some guy butting into traffic, weaving in and out like he owns the road. I get irritated, and while the proverbial steam is coming out my ears, I yell 'genteel' words really loud at him.

Can he hear me? Does he care? No... he's long gone in a puff of diesel, totally oblivious, or even if he was aware, he'd probably display some colourful sign language to show me just how much he didn't care.

Who's left irritated with an upset stomach? Me! It finally clicked one day, this really is some of that small stuff we read about. Why get so incensed? I can't do anything about his choices, I can only do something about mine. And in my effort to walk in beauty and kindness, this means I quit badmouthing the guy (even if he can't hear me) and I release him from my offense.

Did it make my commuting experiences quieter and calmer? Absolutely. And way less stressful too. It's been another stepping stone in my journey of making my life more beautiful.

Here's to happier commutes for everyone!

Cheerfully yours,
Brenda






Friday, October 24, 2008

Day 68. Going Numb!


"A house is not a home without a pet."
~ Anonymous


Guess what! I'm sitting on the edge of my computer chair again tonight. Kitty has absolutely no intention of getting up and finding another spot. So in order to save the feeling in that area I'm sitting on, I'll have to make this short and sweet.

As you can see how sweet Kitty looks sleeping on 'our' chair, you'll know why I can't scoot her off.

And, so here's to the pets in our lives ... those furry four-legged wonders that add so much joy and pleasure to our lives.
 

Numbly yours,
Brenda



Thursday, October 23, 2008

Day 67. Kitty's Place



Miss Kitty thinks bouquets of roses that arrive at the house are hers too. Especially if they have baby's breath in the arrangement. She loves baby's breath as much as catnip -- it's a good thing she doesn't try to roll in it!

Fortunately Miss Kitty adds to the charm and comfort of our home, so we're happy to share our flowers with her.

Wishing you a purr-fect evening,
Brenda




Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Day 66. Canadian Artist Elsie Underwood




I recently met Canadian artist Elsie Underwood who an inspiring watercolour and ink artist. She has painted landscapes professionally for over 25 years and is inspired by the Bible verse that says, 'the heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the works of his hand.'

She paints so her watercolour and ink paintings 'depict something of the essence of God as revealed in his natural creation.'
 
Her website is no longer available online (Sept 2016), but here is her Facebook page which includes details of her work as well as a photo gallery of her beautiful art. I hope you'll come away inspired to live your life more beautifully.

 Wishing you a beautiful day,
Brenda





Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Day 65. 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. ... 

*****

Please Note:  This post was updated since it was originally published here in 2008. For the 'new and improved edition', please click HERE.


Wishing you a beautiful life,
Brenda





Monday, October 20, 2008

Day 64. Small Courtesies


 Photo by Evan Kirby / unsplash.com


Sometimes in our rush to get things done, the small courtesies can get lost.

As we go about our day, it's good to remember that these niceties help cushion our lives, making the journey softer and pleasanter for ourselves and for others. Courtesies like acknowledging e-mails, saying thank you for gifts and kind words, arriving on time for meetings, putting our grocery cart back in the right place, smiling at people instead of staring past them.

As Nancy Lindemeyer, former editor of Victoria, once said, 'Nice matters.' It all adds up to living our lives more beautifully.

 Courteously yours,
Brenda



Sunday, October 19, 2008

Day 63. Simply Sunday: Peace



Beloved...

"Peace I leave with you,
my peace I give to you...
Let not your heart be troubled,
neither let it be afraid."

~ Jesus




Saturday, October 18, 2008

Day 62. All In A Day

Source


Vroom Vroom
(vacuum cleaner roaring 'round the house)


Te-clunk-Te-clunk-Te-clunk
(buttons hitting the sides of the dryer)


Spritz-spritz
(showers and toilets being cleaned)


Snap-snap-snap
 (tea-towels and T-shirts and pillowcases being 'snapped' and folded)


Sizz-sizz-sizz-sizz 
(beef stew browning in hot oil)


Blub-blub-blub
(water boiling for a much-needed cuppa Earl Grey)


Clank-Clank
(dishes being washed in the sink)


"Ahhh... and so to bed!"


Yawningly yours,
Brenda









Friday, October 17, 2008

Day 61. Grace-Laced



I'm often intrigued by the interesting names people give their blogs. The way book titles give a clue to what the books is about, blog names provide visitors a clue of what they can anticipate when they click on the site. They give a glimpse, as well, of what matters to the blogger -- what motivates her and fills her heart with passion.

As someone who is motivated by beauty and gracious living, I felt immediately drawn to the blog entitled GraceLaced. The tag line 'finding grace in the every day' made me want to know what this author, Ruth, had discovered about living more gracefully in her daily experiences. As well, I was interested to learn if this blogger's heart was motivated by grace in the same way beauty motivates mine. It would appear that by bumping into this blog, I've found another kindred spirit.

Enough musing for now. The day progresses, and I promised myself laundry and dust-bunny collecting, not to mention bringing some order out of chaos in my basement. Will need some grace for that one!


 Here's wishing you a beautiful day!
Brenda
xox

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Day 60. Blogging Is Better Than Sliced Bread!

Source

It's like going into a candy store! Or a fabric shop if you're a seamstress.

I've been armchair traveling this evening. Blog surfing, to be specific, and I've visited some amazing sites. My head swirls with visions of colour and design, and I feel a childlike excitement to realize so much creativity and beauty is available to us here in cyberspace.

I have to admit I think blogging is the best thing ever... even since sliced bread. You 'meet' so many interesting people -- you'd probably never meet them in person. And yet there you are surfing to find their writings, their photography, their creative talents on display. And it's relatively easy, all with just a click of a button.

I'm just so pleased to be able to enjoy the gifts that people share through this venue. Looking at all the wonderful sites gives me 'scope for the imagination' (as Anne of Green Gables used to say). It gives me room to dream, to grow.

If I thought I was weary and neck sore at the end of my busy day, just linking through a few of these wonderful sites has revived me body and soul!

Have I whet your appetite? Below are the links I was browsing this evening.

Joyfully and blissfully yours,
Brenda





Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Day 59. Beauty Is A Daily Requirement


Sometimes our lives get so busy it's easy to let the beauty of each day slip through our fingers. 

Just as our body needs that 'minimum daily allowance' in vitamins and minerals, so our soul needs her minimum daily requirement of beauty, love, joy, and creativity in order to stay healthy and in balance.

I found a link on YouTube that may be just what the doctor ordered for you to restore beauty and balance in your heart today. It's that old tune sung by Louis Armstrong What a Wonderful World.

Don't let the day's beauty slip through your fingers!

Beautifully yours,
Brenda
xox





Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Day 58. Lucy Van Pelt Says...


"All I really need is love,
but a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt."

from a Peanuts cartoon



Monday, October 13, 2008

Day 57. Being Grateful



Source

"Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more.
If you concentrate on what you don't have,
you will never, ever have enough."
~ Oprah Winfrey


What if all the blessings, people, events, experiences for which you have not articulated any gratefulness or thanks suddenly disappeared from your life? What would you have left?

When I first heard this question it made me stop and think! What had I been taking for granted? Sometimes we just don't pay attention to all that we do have, especially if we're used to focusing on what we don't have. Sometimes we don't express gratitude because it's so natural to us, we don't think of it as a blessing, we think it's no big deal.

For instance, what about the water service we get? Where clean safe water flows from our kitchen taps every day? What about the hot water that showers over our head every morning?

Years ago, I met a woman who traveled from the Ukraine. She was visiting Canada and enjoying all the amenities of our country. She told me that she lived in an apartment back home that didn't always have the water turned on, and especially not hot water.

On one occasion she came home on a cold and rainy day; she wasn't feeling well from a bad cold, and she longed for a hot bath. She told me that she prayed to God about it, please let there be hot water, even though it was a day when it wouldn't be there. When she got to her apartment, she found not only the water turned on, but there was hot water too! It was just what she needed...talk about being thankful that day!

How often I think of that woman and her miracle story, especially when I regularly sink into my own bathtub filled with steaming sudsy water. Olga's story reminds me not to take this two-fold gift for granted, to be thankful that where I live I can get water from the tap -- hot or cold -- any day, any hour. It's a wonderful gift. I'm so grateful!



"Some people are always grumbling because roses have thorns. I am thankful that thorns have roses."~ Allophones Karr


In gratitude,
Brenda
xox


Sunday, October 12, 2008

Day 56. Turkey And Harvest Fruit Dessert




We're enjoying a lovely Thanksgiving weekend with my sister's family.
 
It's a bright and sunny day, and we all just came back from a leisurely walk (wearing off a bit of turkey from the scrumptious dinner we enjoyed too much of last night). The only highly energetic one in the bunch is Sage, the family dog; she's had a blast chasing up and down the off-leash area, checking things out.
 
To make your visit today worth your while, I'm including a recipe of one of the scrumptious desserts we enjoyed yesterday. It's called Harvest Fruit Dessert (originally from What's Cooking magazine, Fall 2008). Alas, we gobbled it down before pictures were taken.
 
I hope you'll take my word for it that, sight unseen, it's worth your while to make.
 

Harvest Fruit Dessert
 
CRUST
1/2 cup non-hydrogenated margarine (I use butter)
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup flour
 
FILLING
 12 oz pkg (250 g) cream cheese
1/4 cup sugar
3 Tbsp maple syrup
1 egg

FRUIT TOPPING
 2 plums, thinly sliced
2 small apples, thinly sliced
1/4 cup ground toasted pecans
 
approx 1/4 cup maple syrup to drizzle after baking

***
Heat oven to 375 F.
Mix margarine and 1/3 cup sugar until fluffy.
Add flour; mix until blended.
Press into the bottom and 1 inch up side of 9-inch spring form pan.

Beat cream cheese and 1/4 cup sugar until blended.
Stir in 3 Tbsp. maple syrup and egg. Spread onto crust.
Top with fruit and sprinkle with nuts.
Bake 40 - 45 minutes or until center is almost set.
Let stand 5 minutes.

Run knife around rim of pan to loosen; cool before removing rim.
Refrigerate 3 hours.
Drizzle with maple syrup.

***

On that note, I'm off -- it's time for turkey leftovers.
Yum! Here's wishing you a wonderful day.

Hugs,
Brenda
xox
 
 
 



Saturday, October 11, 2008

Day 55. Thanksgiving in Canada


Source

Here in Canada we're heading into our Thanksgiving weekend. Although the official day is Monday, many people tend to celebrate at various times over the weekend. It may be gloomy and cool outside, but the promise of enjoying roast turkey, stuffing and all the trimmings with family and friends brings a warm and festive feeling inside.

I think many of us practice the art of being grateful all through the year, but there is something extra-special about taking time to focus on all the blessings we do enjoy. I've started my list here, and I think I'll keep working on it over the weekend. It would be interesting to see how long it would take to reach 100! You are welcome to join me....
1. The love of a wonderful husband
2. My mom, my family, many wonderful friends
3. Joy and the ability to laugh often
4. The ability to see, taste, smell, hear, and touch
5. The ability to read and enjoy many wonderful books
6. Plenty to eat
7. Peace in my heart
8. Sudsy hot baths on cold evenings
9. Hot buttered toast and poached eggs
10. Roast turkey, stuffing, and cranberries
11. Knowing that God loves me, no matter what!

When I read my list to my hubby, he wanted to add brussel sprouts...well, each to their own (smile).

Wishing you a beautiful day,
Brenda
xox
 


Friday, October 10, 2008

Day 54. Autumn Friday



Autumn, the year's last, loveliest smile.
~ William Cullen Bryant


There's a decided nip in the air today. Winds blow from the north and crunchy leaves scuttle across the road as if scurrying for shelter. In spite of the gloomy skies, there's one corner in the garden that looks cozy and inviting. Layers of colourful leaves nestle beneath the berry-laden mountain ash, as if an artisan had laid out a hand hooked scatter rug.

There's some amazing autumn photography out there. I just came across a small slide-show of autumn vistas on-line. If you're hankering for more autumn colours, click here to take a peek.

And now, I must dash. Have a wonderful day. Stay warm and cozy.

Gracefully yours,
Brenda






Thursday, October 09, 2008

Day 53. Abkhazi Garden in Victoria


Photo by Brenda Leyland, Abkhazi Garden, Victoria, BC


We just got back from a wee holiday in Victoria, British Columbia. Located on Vancouver Island, we always enjoy coming to this lovely city to visit dear family, as well as to take in the sights and tour some of the well-renown gardens in the area.

This trip we had a chance to visit the Abkhazi Garden. As the brochure so aptly puts it, the "garden offers an escape from the rush of modern life. Created by Prince and Princess Abkhazi, it is a heritage garden famous for its majestic trees and dramatic site....Stay for lunch or afternoon tea in the original house....Our Shop in the Garden offers unique and interesting gifts for all occasions."

If you are ever visiting Victoria, you'll want to put this delightful garden on your list of places to see. For information, check their website at www.conservancy.bc.ca/abkhazi.

On a note closer to home, we were delighted to find our own garden still in bloom. Although the days -- and nights -- are definitely getting cooler, the blackening frost has been stayed for another day, so riotous sprays of golden marigolds greeted our return.

Till next time!

Brenda






Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Day 52. What Really Matters In Life


Source: morguefile.com


Well-known Canadian author Janette Oke writes from a place of 'profound simplicity of what she knows best—real life, honest love, and lasting values.' It was she who once said that getting things accomplished isn't nearly as important as taking time for love.
 
How true! So, when your kitty wants you to pet her with the glove, when your 5-year-old wants a tea party, when your mom needs a visit from you, getting things accomplished isn't nearly as important as taking time to love!

Maybe we should write that quote on the top of every to-do list, so we remember what really matters most in life.

Wishing you a beautiful day,
Brenda


Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Day 51. Enough Is A Feast





I recently read W. Phillip Keller, author of Taming Tension, where he says something interesting about taking on too much in our lives.

"Most of us tend to bite off much more than we can chew in life. And because we cannot chew what we have bitten off, we tend to take life in lumps and have difficulty digesting it at all.

Too many of us take on too much. We are overly ambitious, overly acquisitive, overly obsessive. We are much better off to take just a little of anything at a time, taste it fully, and suck all the sweetness from it. 'Enough is a feast.' "

I used to wonder why life sometimes seemed as lumpy as ill-made porridge. Now I know why ... I've probably bitten off more than I can chew.

Oh, Lord, help us to remember to take small bites and to know when enough is enough, so that we can enjoy the beauty of this life You have given us!

Joyfully yours,
Brenda





Monday, October 06, 2008

Day 50. Celebrate Achievement




Today I'm celebrating -- it's Day 50 and I'm halfway to my goal of 100 Posts in 100 days.

I'm also celebrating the fact that I've been able to write a post every single day since I started this blog. I've kept the writing goal in mind and I'm still here. I've never kept to a writing schedule before, so this little achievement makes me feel quite happy. To recognize that I have moved from one place to another, higher place in my life experience, I celebrate.

Abraham Joshua Heschel said that celebration is an active state, an act of expressing reverence or appreciation. It is a confrontation, giving attention to the transcendent meaning of one's actions.  

We take this moment to appreciate. To feel the sweetness of this little success. And to be grateful for growth and change. It's another way to make life more beautiful!

Celebrating,
Brenda
xox





Sunday, October 05, 2008

Day 49. Walk More Leisurely



Someone once said, "The one who walks through a countryside sees much more than the one who runs."

It's my hope that you will have the opportunity to walk more leisurely through the hours of your day, so that you might taste and see and enjoy the beauty that's being offered as a gift.

I wish you time to see today! And I wish you peace and wholeness... where there is nothing missing, nothing broken.

Tranquilly,
Brenda






Saturday, October 04, 2008

Day 48. Carve Out Time For New Projects


Do you ever go merrily along, enjoying all that's going on in your life, only to wake up one morning to realize you have somehow, once again, bitten off more than you can handle? More than you can chew? It was okay and then suddenly it's too much. Now you feel overwhelmed, weary, maybe even a little resentful that you're so overloaded.

It makes sense then to take some time to step back and re-evaluate what's all going on in your life -- especially note what you've been gradually adding to fill the hours of your days. Make a list of everything you do in a typical day. Look the most recent things you've added to your schedule.

No doubt you have probably heard the saying that, in order to simplify and maintain the balance in our lives, when we buy something new for our house or wardrobe, we should also get rid of something old. I believe the same principle fits for the times when we add a new task or role or project to our lives.

To keep layering new projects and jobs on top of existing ones in our usually already busy lives is a quick recipe for burnout and discouragement.
Having learned the hard way, I finally realized that if I want to add a new job or regular event to my schedule, I will need to carefully consider if I have the time or space, and if I don't, to decide what to let go so that it will fit. Time and space needs to be carved out for each additional task or event or engagement you add into your life.
 
Thinking more sanely,
Brenda


Friday, October 03, 2008

Day 47. Gardens of the World with Audrey Hepburn




I was thinking about gardens and roses today. You may wonder why I'm talking about roses in October; after all, many people in northerly climates have probably put their gardens to bed a while ago already. Usually we would be too, except we've had such warm weather this autumn that my roses are still in full bloom. What a treat!

Which reminds me, have you ever had the chance to see Audrey Hepburn in the wonderful Gardens of the World DVD series? A timeless work of art in which Ms. Hepburn reminds us how much we need gardens and flowers like roses to keep our souls and our society well.


"I must have flowers -- always, always!"
~ Claude Monet, Artist


Today, if you need a few minutes to unwind or envision something other than the piles of work staring at you, why not click on the 7-minute trailer below and take a leisurely stroll with Audrey through beautiful gardens of the world. The photography is so beautiful, you'll come back refreshed and ready for whatever is on your slate for today.




Wishing you glimpses of heaven in unexpected places,
Brenda
xox




Thursday, October 02, 2008

Day 46. The Story of a Sign



 
With a stroke of the pen, a stranger transforms the afternoon for another man in this short film called The Story of a Sign by Alonso Alvarez. It won the Cannes 2008 on-line short film competition.

Whether or not you've seen this wonderful video before, I think it's worth the four minutes it takes to watch just for the joy bubbles you'll feel in your heart afterwards.





Wishing glimpses of heaven in unexpected places,
Brenda
xox




Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Day 45. Be Kindness Itself



Be kinder than necessary,
because everyone you meet
is fighting some kind of battle.
~ Unknown


Sending you hugs for the day,
Brenda