Sunday, November 30, 2008

Simply Sunday: In Trying Times



"In trying times, don't quit trying."


"And let us not get tired of doing what is right,
for after a while we will reap a harvest of blessing
if we don't get discouraged and give up."
-- Galatians 6:9 TLB


Wishing you a beautiful day,
Brenda
xox


Quote from God's Little Devotional Book for Women, 1998





Saturday, November 29, 2008

New Slippers, Anyone?


We all know how easy, oh so easy, it is to stay in our peaceful comfort zones. After all, it's nice, predictable, and comfy... just like a pair of fuzz-less, old slippers.

I must admit though, sometimes too much of the same thing gets just a little bor-ing. Like those old slippers, nothing hurts or pinches anymore, they 'schlep' so nice around the house, but, alas, they've been around so long, they've lost any sense of pizzazz.

Recently I've been thinking that maybe it's time to move out of the comfort zone. And I think I'd like a new pair of slippers -- maybe even dancing slippers this Christmas. I'm ready to venture further afield. Creating this blog has given me the courage to actually consider pulling off the shelf one of those binders in which I've got pages of notes and research for the beginnings of a book. And maybe I'll actually gather the courage to sign up for some tango lessons with my hubby (I do love that movie with Richard Gere and Jennifer Lopez, Shall We Dance).

Who knows what exciting new challenges are waiting if we move out of our comfort zones, even just a step or two. I'm ready to try on some new shoes! How about you?

Yours for happy challenges,
Brenda



My Comfort Zone
By Author Unknown

I used to have a comfort zone
where I knew I wouldn't fail.
The same four walls and busywork
were really more like jail.

I longed so much to do the things I'd never done before,
But stayed inside my comfort zone and paced the same old floor.

I said it didn't matter that I wasn't doing much.
I said I didn't care for things like commission checks and such.
I claimed to be so busy with the things inside the zone,
But deep inside I longed for something special of my own.

I couldn't let my life go by just watching others win.
I held my breath; I stepped outside and let the change begin.
I took a step and with new strength I'd never felt before,
I kissed my comfort zone goodbye and closed and locked the door.

If you're in a comfort zone,
afraid to venture out,
Remember that all winners were at one time filled with doubt.
A step or two and words of praise can make your dreams come true.

Reach for your future with a smile;
success is there for you!






Friday, November 28, 2008

A Perfect Match



On that day ten years ago we looked deeply into one another's eyes and said those wonderful two words, "I Do"!

Today we celebrate the fact that we'd say them all over again. "For me God hath provided thee" is the phrase inscribed inside our wedding bands. A perfect description of how our two lives came together.

I tried looking for someone on my own before and it never worked out, but as soon as I took my hands off and said, God, will you be my Matchmaker, this wonderful man came into my life just months later. I came home from work one day, and there he was... standing in the garden. It turned out that Jean, my dearest friend and housemate, and Rick had both enrolled in the same Master Gardener Course. Rick, having given Jean a ride home from class that first day, was in our backyard, inspecting the garden with Jean.

When you let God pick him for you, He does it perfectly. Sometimes, it still boggles my mind how beautifully our lives came together, how we fit hand in glove. Truly, a match made in heaven.

Happy Anniversary, dearest Husband! You are still the most wonderful man in the world, and I'd still follow you to the ends of the earth. Joy! Joy!

With all my heart,
Brenda


"Faith, Hope, Love...
the greatest of these is Love."




Thursday, November 27, 2008

What's In A Name Reading Challenge



Look what I found, Mom! Another reading challenge for the new year.  This is a small challenge with only six categories but it looks like a fun search to find suitable book titles to match. If any of you want to join, click here for information.




What's in a Name? A Reading Challenge
January 1, 2009  to December 31, 2009
You may overlap books with other challenges,
but please don't use the same book for more than one category.


Here is my List for 2009

A book with a "profession" in its title
The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron

A book with a "time of day" in its title
4:50 from Paddington by Agatha Christie

A book with a "relative" in its title
The Good Husband of Zebra Drive by Alexander McCall Smith

A book with a "body part" in its title
The Seven Longings of the Human Heart by Mike Bickle

A book with a "building" in its title
 Bertram's Hotel by Agatha Christie

A book with a "medical condition" in its title
Adrenaline and Stress by Dr. Archibald D. Hart


This should be interesting!
Brenda







Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Seven Small Steps To Reach Your Goals





As I look back at my blogging challenge of the past 100 days, it turns out that I followed a series of steps that are often taught in the Mary Kay (skincare and cosmetics) world.

I've noticed that what I've been learning as I write monthly newsletters for consultants in the industry easily translates into other areas of my life. I didn't even realize I was following these seven steps for my blogging goal until I came across the list the other day. Perhaps you'll find these steps helpful too.

Seven Small Steps to Help You Reach Your Goal

1. Write it down. I wrote my goal that I would complete 100 postings in 100 days.

2. Share it with someone. I then shared it with dozens of people by posting my plan on my blog.

3. Break it into smaller tasks. I wrote one posting every day.

4. Put a deadline on it. The deadline was 100 days from the first day -- November 25, 2008.

5. Plan the steps to achieve it. I decided on the topics. I made space in my day to sit at my computer and work on one post a day. I read information online about how to blog and I visited other blogs for ideas and know how. I read up on how to do some of the technical stuff.

6. Focus daily on it. I kept the goal fresh in my mind. I visited other bloggers for inspiration.

7. Take immediate action. I sat down at my computer and began my first post -- as my post title indicated, I just jumped in. I put my hands on the keyboard, typed, deleted, and typed some more!


Wishing you success with your own goals -- be sure to enjoy the journey!
Helpfully yours,
Brenda





Tuesday, November 25, 2008

100 Postings In 100 Days!


It's celebration time! One hundred days ago, I published my very first post on It's A Beautiful Life. One hundred posts later and it's time to get out the champagne ... to celebrate my little achievement.

I never imagined that setting the challenge to do 100 postings in 100 days would impact my life so much -- I wanted to use blogging as a way to develop the habit to write more regularly and consistently. To quit 'aspiring' and actually write, not just talk about it. And here I've done it! That's why I'm so excited.

What fun it's been too! I've met so many interesting and creative bloggers.  I've been learning my way around blogland, wrestling with the 'technie bits' as I tried my hand at uploading photos and new backgrounds. Not to forget the joy of anticipation as I sat here at my computer every day thinking up new posts that would hopefully spark readers' interest.

So thank you, Beautiful Readers, for making this new beginning so enjoyable. I appreciate hearing from so many of you -- it has made the beginning of my blogging journey sweet and oh so worthwhile.

In response to the question some of have asked, what will you do now? I'm having too much fun to stop now. I may not be here every single day, but I'm certainly going to continue blogging. I'd miss you too much.

Here's wishing you a beautiful day!
Brenda

Monday, November 24, 2008

Day 99. Pass The Gift Along



As much as I love giving and receiving gifts that come wrapped in pretty paper, I've learned that often the most precious gifts we give or receive don't arrive in ribbons and tissue.

Sometimes these gifts are all the wonderful things we've been learning over the past months that have changed us in some way for the better. The perfect insight someone shared in a book that now helps us in our own struggles to find the answers we need. A comment someone made even in passing that suddenly lights up with inspiration. A posting here in blog-land that gives encouragement just at the right time. We might jot these little 'gifts' in our journals and notebooks as reminders for ourselves.

But wouldn't it be wonderful to take these bits and pieces and create outlets for the inspiration we've received to flow to others? To allow our knowledge and ideas to move freely and gracefully from our own lives, letting them now refresh and nourish someone else. 

Booker T. Washington once said people should lay hold of something that helps them and then use it to help somebody else. Mary Kay Ash shared a similar thought when she noted how often we are the recipients of countless gifts from people and how we can, with gratitude, pass on to others something of what we have received.

What inspired idea helped you make your home more peaceful or organized? What great tip is making your business work better? What truth has come alive for you and is positively changing how you perceive your life?

Blogging can be a wonderful platform for doing this very thing. Let's be bold to share our lives and the things that have helped us. Someone out there needs it. 

Gracefully yours,
Brenda









Sunday, November 23, 2008

Day 98. Simply Sunday


"Never be in a hurry;
do everything in a quiet and calm spirit.

Do not lose your inner peace
for anything whatsoever,
even if your whole world seems upset."

~ St. Frances de Sales


Wishing you a peaceful Sunday,
Brenda
xox













Saturday, November 22, 2008

Day 97. Notice The Beauty






"Life is full of beauty. Notice it. Notice the bumble bee, the small child, and the smiling faces. Smell the rain, and feel the wind. Live your life to the fullest potential, and fight for your dreams." ~ Ashley Smith



Friday, November 21, 2008

Day 96. Magpie Treasures


Things are pretty much frozen in my garden now. I did spot a little squirrel snooping around our yard the other morning. It's not a usual sight to have squirrels here in our backyard, so I decided to leave a treat for the bushy-tailed fellow, snitching some fat peanuts from Hubby's personal stash.


Except...there has been no further sighting of my bushy-tailed acquaintance. Instead, a rather large magpie spied the peanuts, and he took up the task of 'squirreling' them under mounds of moldering leaves and snow piles.


Task accomplished, he took one in his beak and flew off with it. After all that hard work, I guess it was time for coffee break!

I love those nature moments...

Here's wishing you a beautiful day,
Brenda
xox



Thursday, November 20, 2008

Day 95. Read Your Own Books Challenge 2009


Book bloggers are already envisioning wonderful new reading challenges and projects to fill a brand new year. That means 365 whole days to enjoy all manner of reading pleasures, including the 2009 Read Your Own Books Challenge, for which I have now signed up.

I've decided to challenge myself to read at least 53 books in 2009 that are from my own home library. I must admit I have quite a few on my shelves I never read it.

Dear Hubby will be most happy to hear this, as this means I'm required to focus more on the books piling up everywhere around my house, and less on the ones still shelved at Chapters, Amazon, and quaint secondhand bookshops.

The rules are simple. You set your own goals and read your own books during 2009. If you'd like to join the challenge, click here.

Bookishly yours,
Brenda

 

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Day 94. Better Than Chocolates


I stared at the box of chocolates I was holding in my hand.

An unexpected pleasure, they'd arrived with a note from a friend in response to a letter and gift book I'd sent her a couple of weeks earlier.

Although I didn't realize it at the time, my friend had been feeling quite despondent; she was leaving her job with an organization that had been 'home' for 30 years and she was finding out how deep her roots had gone down.

When I first heard that she was resigning, I felt a quiet urging inside to send her a note of encouragement. Almost without thinking, I picked up my pen that evening and words tumbled out.

They came as a spontaneous thought... send her something that helped you during your own experience of dramatic change; give her the image that, like any plant being transplanted, she may feel and look a bit wilted as she adjusts and sets down new roots, but soon she will flourish in her new environment.

In her note, my friend told me that I had shared exactly what she needed to hear. My words had given her a glimmer of hope that, yes, there would be life after this job.

My heart was bursting out at the seams with the wonder of it. I loved it! As a writer, this is what it's all about...bringing the right message to the right person at the right time, and being so bang on, that in a twinkling someone's life is changed and their spirits are lifted.

By the way, my friend is now established in her new position and LOVES it! She says she still reads my note and the book I sent....and is now even considering passing it along to someone else who is facing her own set of challenges.

To me, that's working with the Divine to bring about a little 'heaven on earth'. And you may be interested to know, the chocolates were celestially divine too!

How sweet it is!
Brenda






Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Day 93. Joy in Gratitude

 
"It is in the smallest details that the flavor of life is savored."

So wrote Sarah Ban Breathnach in her book Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy. And how, if we pay attention to the beauty around us, we will enrich our lives and become more content.

One way we can begin this habit of paying attention is to keep a daily gratitude journal, and at the end of each day, take a few minutes to write down five things for which you are grateful.

The first time I started a gratitude journal was many year ago now, but I still I remember waking up those mornings during that season. I woke with a sense of eager anticipation, wondering what new joys might be uncovered and what new things I might be able to jot down later that evening. That time at the end of each day soon became a cherished quiet time for me. The little exercise set in motion a pattern of looking for joyful moments and beauty in every corner of my life.

 "Gratitude is the heart's memory."
~ French proverb


I grew amazed at how many blessings liberally sprinkled my days, things I'd never really noticed before. I began to focus on the abundance all around me rather than the lack. That's not to say my life was a proverbial bed of roses; I had my challenges, some of them severe, but I was learning to look for, and find, the smallest of beauties in the midst of the larger trials. Like tiny bunches of violets suddenly springing up in most unfriendly places, there they were adding colour and beauty, not to mention the hope to carry on.


 Find A Pretty Journal

If you are finding that your own life could be sweeter, may I recommend that you find yourself the prettiest, most inviting notebook... and begin the delightful habit of jotting down those simple pleasures for which you are grateful. You will find yourself living your life more beautifully.

Living a life of gratitude has made me happier. Even though I don't jot something down every single day now, I've never forgotten the lesson.

Gratefully yours,
Brenda
xox




Monday, November 17, 2008

Day 92. New Snow Everywhere



Methinks someone was sprinkling powdered sugar over the doughnuts Upstairs last night for we woke to find the neighbourhood covered with powdery white stuff again.

Or... it could be craft sparkles and glitter. Maybe the instructors forgot to put the lids back on the glitter jars. You see, yesterday a friend and I went to a Stampin' Up Christmas card workshop. Above is a pic of one card we worked on. 'Twas a fun afternoon playing with paper, stamps, ribbon, and glitz.


Here's wishing you a lovely new day!
Brenda
xox




Sunday, November 16, 2008

Day 91. Lesson From Our Doggy Friends



When someone is having a bad day,
be silent, sit close by, and nuzzle them.
~ Daily Splashes of Joy, Barbara Johnson


 Sending you warm wishes and hugs,
Brenda
xox






Saturday, November 15, 2008

Day 90. On A Lighter Note...



Handle every stressful situation like a dog.
If you can't eat it or play with it,
just pee on it and walk away!

~ Original Author Unknown




Friday, November 14, 2008

Day 89. Books for Kids Young and Old


I love children's books and have been in love with them for as long as I can remember. To this day, it's still a shivery, delightful pleasure to browse the shelves in the children's section at a library or bookstore. I especially love the large picture books with their vibrant illustrations and artwork.

With it drawing near to the time of year when people start thinking more earnestly about holiday gift-shopping, I'm sharing a few other of my favourite storybooks in case you need to buy for little ones -- or as the case may be -- not so little ones, like elderly aunts or grandmothers who need tickling in their funny bones. And, of course, what fun to pass along some of our own favourites to our children, grandchildren, nephews, and nieces, sharing in the delight of stories that make us giggle or sigh with understanding.

The short list below is not of newly published books. These books have been around awhile now, but as they still remain some of my favourites not only for their stories but their wonderful illustrations, I'm sharing with you today.

Wishing you a bookish kind of day,
Brenda






The Day Jimmy's Boa Ate the Wash written by Trinka Hakes Noble and illustrated by Steven Kellogg. 1992. I was introduced to the book by a dear friend who made me realize it was quite fine to enjoy reading children's storybooks even if I was 25 or 26 or 27. For years now I count this charming story among my favourites.

It's an engaging tale about a school field trip gone delightfully awry. Responding to her mother's query about her day, one child says, 'Oh...it was boring...kind of dull...nothing much. Well, until the cow started crying." Why was the cow crying? "Oh because the... ." And the tale spins out from there.

Library Lion written by Michelle Knudsen and illustrated by Kevin Hawkes. 2006. "This story's appealing premise is clear in the first sentence: 'One day, a lion came to the library.' There's the expected uproar as the lion pads through the stacks, but librarian Miss Merriweather only asks: 'Is he breaking any rules?' The lion is not, and so he is allowed to stay." excerpt from Booklist

Cynthia Coppersmith's Violet Comes to Stay Story by Melanie Cecka, Pictures by Emily Arnold McCully. 2006. The first in a series of storybooks about a white cat inspired by Cynthia Coppersmith, Father Tim's wife from Jan Karon's bestselling Mitford Years series. In this story, Violet's search for 'home' leads her to a plant nursery, a bakery, and finally a bookstore—the one place where the gentle cat isn't expected to be a mouse hunter.

Jan Brett's Christmas Treasury Written and illustrated by Jan Brett. 2001. This gorgeous Christmas collection combines seven of Jan Brett's most famous, highly acclaimed, best-selling, beloved books: The Mitten, The Wild Christmas Reindeer, Trouble with Trolls, The Twelve Days of Christmas, The Hat, Christmas Trolls, and The Night Before Christmas. A book of stunning art and endearing characters, Jan Brett draws upon the cultures of the countries in which her stories are set and brings both original stories and classics as charming, lively, and timeless as her art. Info from Amazon.com
A Star for Christmas Written and illustrated by Trisha Romance. 2007. "A gentle old carpenter who has spent his whole life in the service of others has finally begun to build his own home in a quiet meadow, with nothing but a small reindeer to keep him company. Finishing by winter seems like an impossible task, but the carpenter reaps the years of kindness he has sown, and his neighbors return his love by helping complete his new home by Christmas. He has a wonderful surprise in store for them, making this Christmas one that everyone will cherish forever." Amazon excerpt

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Day 88. Booking Through Thursday Blog Tour

 
I get happy just thinking about books. You too? Although I have many interests and enjoy various creative ventures, the one thing that has stayed constant over the decades has been my love of books and reading. The past couple of days I've been browsing through some great reader/book blogs. I love the fact that we get to 'meet' so many interesting people who share kindred interests.
 
Today I'm joining Booking Through Thursday. Each week a book-related question is posed by our blog tour host for readers to ponder and provide comments, if they wish.
 
 
Here's today's question:
"I’ve asked, in the past, about whether you more often buy your books, or get them from libraries. What I want to know today, is, WHY BUY?

Even if you are a die-hard fan of the public library system, I’m betting you have at least ONE permanent resident of your bookshelves in your house. I’m betting that no real book-lover can go through life without owning at least one book.

So … why that one? What made you buy the books that you actually own, even though your usual preference is to borrow and return them?

If you usually buy your books, tell me why. Why buy instead of borrow? Why shell out your hard-earned dollars for something you could get for free?"

Here's my reply:

Once upon a time when I was trying to ’simplify’ my life, I thought I should stop buying so many books and just borrow them from the library whenever possible. (After all, the library is one of my favourite haunts).

Turns out…simplifying and streamlining my home in the area of books did NOT work for me. Because when I tried to keep notebooks and index cards of all the quotes and good ideas I wanted to remember from these borrowed books, it made a bigger pile (and mess) than if I’d just bought the book and put it on a shelf!
 
I most often buy non-fiction, because I want to be able to mark the thoughts and ideas that speak to me. I tend to remember where quotes are in a book once I’ve marked or underlined it, so it makes for easy reference.
 
I’m more apt to borrow fiction from the library as some novels I may only read once and be done with them. Unless, of course, I find an author I really like (like Jan Karon, Agatha Christie, or L.M. Montgomery, Rosamunde Pilcher, Alexander McCall Smith, Elizabeth Goudge, just to name just a few), then I'll buy those favourites to re-read over and over.
 
The main reason I buy books is that the good ones become dear friends, and I like to have my chums nearby. A person never knows when the whim to read an old friend shows up, and it's lovely to them close to hand.

There’s something quite invigorating about taking a newly purchased book home (or a pile of them on a good browsing day). It’s the perfect perk if I need new inspiration. It makes me feel like Scrooge when he’s gleefully rubbing his hands and counting his money — treasures, treasures, treasures!

Happily engaged with a book,
Brenda
xox


PS. If you're interested in participating in this book tour, you can copy the question from Booking Through Thursday and find out how you can post it on your own blog.
 
PSS. I've been re-reading some of my old Christie favourites. Right now I'm in the middle of The Caribbean Mystery.






Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Day 87. Wintery Wednesday


Yesterday morning we woke to a winter wonderland. It was totally unexpected to find our whole neighbourhood frosted over like wedding cake, when even the weatherman didn't warn us.

But what a treat for the eyes! Every tree and shrub was festooned with heavy snow, branches laid low. And as the morning dawned and temperatures rose, there was that magical moment in the day when plops of snow melted from branches like candle wax.

The current issue of Victoria came with a sampler CD of Christmas music performed by Editor-in-Chief, Phyllis Hoffman. What with the snowy day outside and an appetizer of holiday melodies inside, my appetite is whet for more. Maybe it's time to bring out the seasonal music and movies in earnest. Anyone else out there starting to feel it?

Happily yours,
Brenda
xox




Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Day 86. The Flower That Remembers



Today we stop, we remember, and we wear a red poppy to honour the many men and women who sacrificed their lives for their country and for freedom.

Many of us will remember the moving poem In Flanders Fields. I first memorized it with my classmates when I was in Grade 5, and ever since its solemn message continues to move me.

The poem was written by a Canadian -- John McCrae, a doctor and teacher, who served in both the South African War and the First World War. It was first published in England's Punch magazine in December, 1915. Within months, this poem came to symbolize the sacrifices of all who were fighting in the First World War. Today, the poem continues to be a part of Remembrance Day ceremonies in Canada and other countries. Information from Veterans Affairs Canada website

May God help us to remember and never forget the sacrifices made ... may they not be in vain.

Gratefully yours,
Brenda



In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders Fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders Fields.






Monday, November 10, 2008

Day 85. About Kitties


I quickly popped over to see my feline friends Gandalf and Grayson -- Grayson being the spittin' image of my own gray puddypuss who's posing here in the clover.
 
It was deja vu watching Grayson wandering around in a little video. Not only does he look like my cat, Sullivan, he even has similar mannerisms. It was comforting to catch sight of this other kitty who lives thousands of miles away in another country, who reminds me of my own furry beast, who unfortunately got ill and moved to kitty heaven. I sure do miss him and I miss putting my face into all that soft, sweet smelling fur. He'd purr and purr when I did that.
 
I am grateful today for this little glimpse of 'puddytat' heaven, and I'm grateful to Gandalf and Grayson's mom for sharing her videos with us here in blogland. They have been a real treat.
 
Sending purry hugs,
Brenda
xox




Sunday, November 09, 2008

Day 84. The Promise of Rest



"Come to Me,
all you who labor and are heavy laden,
and I will give you rest."
~ Jesus


When I let go and let Him take the weight of care I'm carrying, it isn't long before I begin to feel more peaceful in my mind. Sometimes I actually feel the peace draping around me like a soft, soft blanket. I feel less burdened as the weight of the world lifts from my shoulders and heart. I'm so grateful that Jesus invites us to come and receive his rest.

With a gentle kiss atop thy head,
Brenda
xox




Saturday, November 08, 2008

Day 83. Day's End

 
 
What an amazing and freeing day. At a conference all day where the sessions revolved around the theme 'Reclaiming Your Identity'. It was about exposing the areas where people have picked up lies about themselves (often from the words of other people or what we believe about ourselves) and replacing those distorted images with the truth of who we are. So that we can be free to blossom into the glorious individuals God originally fashioned us to be.

It was liberating and hopeful to be in a roomful of other people who shared the same longing to be free from any baggage that stunts our growth and our ability to bloom into our God-given destiny.

I'm posting this at the end of the day. My heart is full tonight and I'd love to chat more. However, my body longs for its bed and so I'm away to mine. May you find sweet sleep in your bed tonight!

Sending hugs,
Brenda
xox



Friday, November 07, 2008

Day 82. Friday Fill-Ins Prompt

I just bumped into an interesting site called Friday Fill-ins. The prompts looked interesting, so I decided to join the fun. My fill-ins are underlined.

1. My blueprint for success includes doing everything from a heart of passion and love, and including God in all I do.

2. A jube-jube was the last candy I ate.

3. The best facial moisturizer I've ever used is Mary Kay's TimeWise(R) Age Fighting Moisturizer. I love it!

4. Reading with a purring kitty cat on your lap can be good therapy.

5. I'd like to tell you about the joy I feel in knowing that God loves me (and all of us) with His whole heart.

6. Being mercy-motivated is my strongest characteristic.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to attending a conference on healing the heart, tomorrow my plans include the rest of the conference and Sunday, I want to attend a Baroque music concert in the afternoon with my favourite Honey-Bunny!


Enjoy your Friday,
Brenda

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Day 81. A Year In Provence


We've been watching one of our favourite movie sets A Year In Provence with John Thaw and Lindsay Duncan. We're watching the 3rd set this evening -- July, August, September -- so the mayhem really begins.
 
This series is based on Peter Mayle's bestselling book by the same name. As someone on Amazon already posted, this book is "part memoir, part homeowner's manual, part travelogue, and all charming fun." Exactly how I'd have said it if I would have thought of it first!
 
With lots of great scenery and food stories, entertaining encounters with new neighbours and unexpected visitors, it almost makes a person want to go and find a piece of Provencal paradise for themselves. And if you can't do that, this DVD series makes you feel like you are there.

Wishing you a beautiful rest of the day,
Brenda



Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Day 80. What Motivates You?



I readily agree with former race car driver Mario Andretti when he said that desire is the key to motivation. I rarely have trouble to start on a project when I am excited about it. Do you? It's easier to stay consistent with a goal when we're motivated, and we stay motivated when we have a real desire to accomplish something. But my question is, how do we get -- and stay -- motivated when we don't have the heart's desire in the first place?

For instance, I know I should go to the gym with my husband to exercise. I went for a season, then I got busy (and bored). I haven't been for ages (and I'm not telling you how long either). In my head, I know that exercise is good; research confirms it. Yet still, that doesn't motivate me to regularly put on my walking shoes and get moving.

***

So how can we increase our desire to complete a task or project, when it doesn't excite us in the first place?

Here are a couple of thoughts in seed form -- see what you think. For me, it's not so much about having the right information, but somehow my heart and imagination needs to be involved. I need to be able to connect to it emotionally. When we feel something at the emotional heart level, we generally act on it. We could be motivated to exercise by fear, such as fear of heart disease. But that hardly makes for living a more beautiful life.  Fear is not a good motivator.

Be motivated by beauty, love, and creativity

This blog, for example. I love working and writing on it. Why? Because beauty, love, and creativity are involved. Beauty motivates me, loving others motivates me, and creativity motivates me. When I'm writing, I have my heart's desire because I'm writing about things that matter to me, and because I'm focusing on what makes life more beautiful for myself and others. So I don't need anyone telling me I should do this.

Which makes me wonder if I could incorporate these motivators into the goal of exercising. How could I make exercising more beautiful? Going for a brisk walk in the great outdoors where I feel the sunshine and smell the earth would be much more satisfying than walking round and round where you fight for space with everyone else on a gym track.

Could love or loving be included? Well, I could think more long term here -- as my husband gets stronger and more fit, it's not appealing to think of offering him a weaker, flabbier partner. That would hardly be fair now would it? And second, it's not very loving towards me. I want to be healthy, strong and able to enjoy the life we have...together. So that desire could motivate me.

Now, how about something creative? What's creative in exercising, you ask? Have a variety of choices of activities that I already enjoy -- walking, dancing, biking. But what if I did some research to find activities that I would actually enjoy? Like dance lessons. Participate in more than one activity so there's a variety of focus, pace, and place.

Got any ideas? I'd be interested in learning what positively motivates you?

Wishing you a beautiful day,
Brenda






Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Day 79. But That's Just The Way I Am!





Have you ever thought about how you see yourself? Anna Johnson, author of Three Black Skirts says if we see ourselves as messy, disorganized, not good with paper, then we will have plenty of excuses to fall back on, and we'll keep affirming the current habit or situation.

Sometimes we don't see that we're the ones reinforcing our beliefs about ourselves by the words we keep saying over and over. When our mind and heart, consciously and sub-unconsciously, keep hearing things like, "I'm messy, I'm not good with grammar, I'm terrible at technical things", our inner self then strives to fulfill that message.
 
***


My Personal Experience. I used to say I was always tired. Every time I'd say I was tired, I'd feel even more tired. So I'd complain again about how weary I was, and every time I spoke the words, the more exhausted I felt.

One day it clicked that the more I confessed I was tired, the more exhausted I felt. I was actually perpetuating my tiredness by repeatedly telling myself that I felt that way. In essence, I was reaping the harvest of my words. So I stopped saying it. Believe me, it wasn't easy at first, I was so used to saying it all the time. But then gradually I began to notice a shift and my body started to actually feel less tired all the time.

Which is why it's important to watch our vocabulary, as well as to be aware of any thinking that we can't change things because we think that's just the way we are. But there's so much evidence out there these days that indicates we can shift our thinking, so there's no reason why we have continue that way, unless we truly prefer it.

If you're like me and ready to throw out the old excuses about why you are a certain way, look at what you're telling yourself and begin to change that unwanted message, and see if you don't begin to experience a shift. We don't have to be a victim of past habits -- we can change our minds for something better, something more beautiful.


Wishing you a beautiful day,
Brenda









Monday, November 03, 2008

Day 78. What Colour is Your Monday?





I have not always liked Mondays. When I worked full-time, it was wonderful to have the weekend off, but how hard to get back into the swing of getting up early, facing traffic, and settling down to the routine at a desk on Monday morning. I found myself, along with a whole bunch of other people, feeling the blues... on Blue Monday.

Then I heard someone years ago say when we decide to have a Blue Monday, it translates into the fact that we're in actuality spending one seventh of our lives in a state of depression or unhappiness or moodiness.

Oh my, what an eye opener for me. Looking at it from that perspective, I knew that's not how I wanted to spend any part of my life. I changed my attitude and began to look for ways to celebrate my Mondays. I started living my life more beautifully.

Wishing you happy Mondays,
Brenda
xox




Sunday, November 02, 2008

Day 77. Simply Sunday: Live It


The work that God told us to do must be
clearly evident and unmistakably authenticated.
If we believe in healing, we need to get healed.
If we believe in blessing, we ought to be blessed.
If we believe in love, we ought to be loving people.
~ Jesse Duplantis


 Pondering this thought today
as I wish you a beautiful day,
Brenda
xox








Saturday, November 01, 2008

Day 76. First of November and Seasonal Dreamings



With the start of this new month my thoughts turn early towards the coming winter, holidays and what I think of as the cozy time of year. I've often lamented out loud at how 'soon' the shops and malls start decorating for Christmas (right after Hallowe'en). I guess what I'm really protesting is the commercialism that tries to make this season only about buying and spending.

Because, in my secret heart o' hearts, as the days get cooler and the nights close in around our windows sooner, I don't mind  thinking ahead to my favourite time of year. I love winter and I love Christmas and, in my imagination, the two are always intertwined.

I love wondering what how to slowly start bringing in touches of winter around the house, how I might want to decorate for the holidays. One important project is deciding what theme my Christmas cards will be, and whether I buy them or craft them myself. Oh, and what fun it is to scout out neat presents for the people I love, trying to capture a little box of joy bubbles that will pop out on the recipient when the wrapping paper hits the floor.

So, as this new month begins to take shape, I want to wish you, my graceful readers, a pleasant day. Even when there is so much going on in the world around us that causes pain and sadness, I hope you will take heart from a little thought by Fra Giovanni (1513 A.D.)...


"The gloom of the world is but a shadow.
Behind it, yet within our reach, is joy. Take joy!"

Happy First of November,
Brenda
xox