Saturday, February 28, 2009

Favourite Snoozle-Spots

Cats truly have one of life's great pleasures figured out... that there's nothing like taking a nap for restoring one's sense of balance and well-being.
 

"No day is so bad it can't be fixed with a  nap." ~ Carrie Snow
 
Miss Kitty certainly has learned the art of the nap. And she is well aware of her favourite snoozle-spots for her daily 'doze' of catnaps... the Victorian chair with its button tuck back being one of them.

She knowing where the sun beams will hit at certain times of the day, where the quieter out-of-the way corners are for one of those longer snoozes, or where naps on a lap along with gentle chin tickles are doubled pleasures.

In truth, I have a few of my own favourite snoozle moments.... 
Under the shade of a palm tree on a Maui beach -- so far, I've only done that once, but it remains a favourite memory even years later.

A sunny bedroom with gentle summer breezes blowing through the lacy curtains at the open window.

Nestled beneath a soft downy comforter on a rainy day.

Beside the fireplace on a wintry evening.

Arriving at our comfortable hotel room after a busy tourist-y day and taking a nap before going out for dinner.

Stretching out on a blanket under the trees after an alfresco lunch in the park.

After a soak in the hot springs when your body feels all mushy and mellow.

Kitties really do know best -- naps are so luxurious and restful for both body and soul. Ovid once said, "Take rest; a field that is rested gives a beautiful crop." He's right.
Restfully,
Brenda
xox



Friday, February 27, 2009

The Return of the Prodigal Son

Today I'm taking a page from Staci's book blog Quotes and Passages. When she reviews a book and shares it on her blog, she often selects a favourite excerpt or two as further 'bait' to pique the reader's interest to read further. 

In the same way, I'm hoping you'll be captivated by the passages I've chosen to highlight from the book I'm reading today by Henri Nouwen, an author I often turn to as his writings often hit a nerve or offer consolation and enlightenment just when I need it.

In The Return of the Prodigal Son, Henri Nouwen shares about his experience when he sees a poster of Rembrandt's painting Prodigal Son. Something in the painting captures his imagination and becomes the catalyst that draws him on a 'long spiritual adventure' toward something the felt like 'home'.

He searches his own life in the gentle light of the New Testament story this painting portrays -- exploring the themes of homecoming, affirmation, and reconciliation. Anyone who has ever felt the feelings of the 'lost' prodigal son, or the pining father, or the resentful elder brother will find this book a powerful and transforming read. And should you be interested in the painting itself, the author offers some interesting things on that line too.

A Story of Homecoming
by Henri J.M. Nouwen

Excerpt 1, p. 37... Home is the center of my being where I can hear the voice that says: "You are my Beloved, on you my favor rests" -- the same voice that gave life to the first Adam and spoke to Jesus, the second Adam; the same voice that speaks to all the children of God and sets them free to live in the midst of a dark world while remaining in the light.

Excerpt 2, p. 42... As long as I keep running about asking: "Do you love me? Do you really love me?" I give all power to the voices of the world and put myself in bondage because the world is filled with 'ifs'. The world says: "Yes, I love you if you are good-looking, intelligent, and wealthy. I love you if you have a good education, a good job, and good connections. I love you if you produce much, sell much, and buy much." There are endless 'ifs' hidden in the world's love. These 'ifs' enslave me....

Excerpt 3, p. 73... Joy and resentment cannot coexist.

Excerpt 4, p. 81... Each child of God has there his or her unique place, all of them places of God. I have to let go of all comparison, all rivalry and competition, and surrender to the Father's love... As long as I stay outside in the darkness, I can only remain in the resentful complaint that results from my comparisons. Outside of the light, my younger brother seems to be more loved by the Father than I. ... In the light of God I can finally see my neighbor as my brother, as the one who belongs as much to God as I do.

Excerpt 5, p. 115... Somehow I have become accustomed to living with sadness, and so have lost the eyes to see the joy and the ears to hear the gladness that belongs to God and which is to be found in the hidden corners of the world. I have a friend who is so deeply connected with God that he can see joy where I expect only sadness. ... When he shares his experiences, he tells about the hidden joys he has discovered.

Happy Reading!
Brenda



Thursday, February 26, 2009

Going Green

Recently, I was sorting through some old magazines when I came across the May 2008 issue of Hallmark magazine. Flipping through the pages to see if I wanted to keep anything, I found a question that made me chuckle:


Is being envious over a friend's new shoes
considered 'going green'?

Hahahahahahaha....
Brenda
xox
 




Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Are You Awake?

2009 by Brenda Colleen Leyland



"Our truest life
is when we are in our dreams
Awake."

~~Henry David Thoreau






Monday, February 23, 2009

Monday Meanderings



Graphic: TheGraphicsFairy.com

We woke to winter this morning. Oh, nothing serious, but the semi-melting days of the past week were suddenly put on hold as Momma Winter, with a firm grasp on the corners of her feather beds, shook them all over our neighbourhood.

It's been snowing all day -- soft, non-threatening flurries that don't seem like much, until you have to go out and shovel for the second time! Which made it a perfect day for writing, reading (and no way, Jose, definitely not 'rithmetic), and helping Rick make homemade bread -- it's baking as we speak.

Since I cannot send you a slice via cyberspace, I thought I'd send along a sampling of another sort....things I enjoyed so far today:

One. Reading an article about Madeleine L'Engle from the March 1999 issue of Victoria magazine. Here's a gold nugget from Madeleine for any aspiring writer: "Keep an honest, unpublishable journal; read; write for fifteen minutes every day."

Two. Finding a wonderful quote from the same magazine: "Come, let us have some tea and continue to talk about happy things." ~ Chaim Potok

Three. Spending the morning nestled inside Cafe Haven, enjoying a steaming latte and a cranberry orange muffin, while I mulled over details for the March issue of my newsletter.

Four. Reading a couple of chapters from The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister. Here's a quote I thought provided food for future pondering: "Sometimes, nina, our greatest gifts grow from what we are not given."

Five. Enjoying a short nap with hubby and Miss Kitty. She's taken to stretching out lengthwise in the 'trough' of our legs..... she reminds me of a baguette nestled in one of those special baguette pans. (Click here if you want to see what one looks like.) BTW, we were too busy resting to get up and snap a picture of Miss Baguette for the blog.

Six. Taking time out from our very busy schedule (ahem) to enjoy a fragrant cup of tea while we giggled our way through the humorous antics of an episode of Jeeves and Wooster.

Seven. By the look of the clock and the dark shadows outside, I see it's time to dish up the chicken stew and slice a loaf of that freshly baked bread.

Till next time,
Brenda



Sunday, February 22, 2009

Father's Love Letter

2009 by Brenda Colleen Leyland

Every time I encounter The Father's Love Letter, I am always moved by its hopeful and affirming message. Whether or not you've read it before, I hope that you will allow these words of love to wrap around your heart and mind today.

If you'd like to see the beautiful video of it instead, click here.

Resting in His Love,
Brenda


God loves you.
And He is the Father you have been looking for all your life.
This is His love letter to you....


My Child,

You may not know me,
but I know everything about you.

Psalm 139:1

I know when you sit down and when you rise up.
Psalm 139:2

I am familiar with all your ways.
Psalm 139:3

Even the very hairs on your head are numbered.
Matthew 10:29-31

For you were made in my image.
Genesis 1:27

In me you live and move and have your being.
Acts 17:28

For you are my offspring.
Acts 17:28

I knew you even before you were conceived.
Jeremiah 1:4-5

I chose you when I planned creation.
Ephesians 1:11-12

You were not a mistake,
for all your days are written in my book.

Psalm 139:15-16

I determined the exact time of your birth
and where you would live.

Acts 17:26

You are fearfully and wonderfully made.
Psalm 139:14

I knit you together in your mother's womb.
Psalm 139:13

And brought you forth on the day you were born.
Psalm 71:6

I have been misrepresented
by those who don't know me.

John 8:41-44

I am not distant and angry,
but am the complete expression of love.

1 John 4:16

And it is my desire to lavish my love on you.
1 John 3:1

Simply because you are my child
and I am your Father.

1 John 3:1

I offer you more than your earthly father ever could.
Matthew 7:11

For I am the perfect father.
Matthew 5:48

Every good gift that you receive comes from my hand.
James 1:17

For I am your provider and I meet all your needs.
Matthew 6:31-33

My plan for your future has always been filled with hope.
Jeremiah 29:11

Because I love you with an everlasting love.
Jeremiah 31:3

My thoughts toward you are countless
as the sand on the seashore.

Psalms 139:17-18

And I rejoice over you with singing.
Zephaniah 3:17

I will never stop doing good to you.
Jeremiah 32:40

For you are my treasured possession.
Exodus 19:5

I desire to establish you
with all my heart and all my soul.

Jeremiah 32:41

And I want to show you great and marvelous things.
Jeremiah 33:3

If you seek me with all your heart,
you will find me.

Deuteronomy 4:29

Delight in me and I will give you
the desires of your heart.

Psalm 37:4

For it is I who gave you those desires.
Philippians 2:13

I am able to do more for you
than you could possibly imagine.

Ephesians 3:20

For I am your greatest encourager.
2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

I am also the Father who comforts you
in all your troubles.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4

When you are brokenhearted,
I am close to you.

Psalm 34:18

As a shepherd carries a lamb,
I have carried you close to my heart.

Isaiah 40:11

One day I will wipe away
every tear from your eyes.

Revelation 21:3-4

And I'll take away all the pain
you have suffered on this earth.

Revelation 21:3-4

I am your Father, and I love you
even as I love my son, Jesus.

John 17:23

For in Jesus, my love for you is revealed.
John 17:26

He is the exact representation of my being.
Hebrews 1:3

He came to demonstrate that I am for you,
not against you.

Romans 8:31

And to tell you that I am not counting your sins.
2 Corinthians 5:18-19

Jesus died so that you and I could be reconciled.
2 Corinthians 5:18-19

His death was the ultimate expression
of my love for you.

1 John 4:10

I gave up everything I loved
that I might gain your love.

Romans 8:31-32

If you receive the gift of my son Jesus,
you receive me.

1 John 2:23

And nothing will ever separate you
from my love again.

Romans 8:38-39

Come home and I'll throw the biggest party
heaven has ever seen.

Luke 15:7

I have always been Father,
and will always be Father.

Ephesians 3:14-15

My question is…
Will you be my child?

John 1:12-13

I am waiting for you.
Luke 15:11-32

Love, Your Dad
Almighty God


Father's Love Letter
(c) 1999 - 2009, Father Heart Communications
www.FathersLoveLetter.com
(used with permission)



Saturday, February 21, 2009

I Love To Laugh

2009 by Brenda Colleen Leyland

Yes, it's one of my most favourite things to do. And there's nothing like a good joke to set the stage for good humour and silly fun.

One of my favourite scenes from Mary Poppins is when she takes Bert and the children to visit Uncle Albert, who, they are told, is not well. Young Michael anxiously asks if the gentleman has spots, but alas, it's worse than that! He's lost all decorum and is found to be bouncing around on the ceiling because he's laughing too much.

Oh to have such a malady! I don't care if I am way past 40...I think it would be amazing fun to have a tea party on the ceiling with your favourite friends. Can you imagine it? Sitting around drinking tea and eating cakes, while you're sharing your favourite jokes and funny stories (and maybe wearing a perfectly serious red clown nose, eh Caryn?)

We might be able to float on the ceiling only in our dreams, but laughing and giggling can break out any time and any place. Here's my chance at slipping in a joke:

What do you get when you cross an owl with a skunk?

Do you also remember at the end of that scene when Mary Poppins announces it's time to go, and how sad everyone feels. There's Bert trying to cheer up old Uncle Albert with some jokes. He's laughing hilariously at one he finds particularly amusing, and he says, "Ahhhh, yes, there's nothing like a good joke!"

And dear Uncle Albert replies between sobs, "Yes, and that was nothing like a good joke!"

That has got to be my favourite line in the whole movie!

So, have you figured out what you get when you cross an owl with a skunk? ANSWER: It's a bird that smells but doesn't give a hoot!

Ahhhhh, yes, there's nothing like a good joke!

Laughingly,

Brenda


Uncle Albert, did you just say something...............











Friday, February 20, 2009

Friday Fill-In

2009 by Brenda Colleen Leyland








1. Give me daffodils and I'll dance.

2. Whenever Miss Kitty decides to nap on my computer chair, I'm the one that has to perch myself on the edge of it.

3. I wish everyone could experience a little beauty and joy every day.

4. A white chocolate macadamia nut cookie was the last thing I ate that was utterly delicious.

5. To live in this world it's important to know that the same God who cares about little sparrows cares about you.

6. Other than this one, sunnybrookfarmdesigns is the last blog I commented on.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to spending time with other God-minded friends, tomorrow my plans include going out for breakfast with two dear girlfriends and Sunday, I want to take time to relax and re-focus upward and inward as I rest from my week's labors!



Here's wishing you a pleasant evening!
Brenda



Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Trellis and the Seed

2009 by Brenda Colleen Leyland

I'm happy to recommend this delightful storybook, written by Jan Karon and illustrated by Robert Gantt Steele. J
an Karon gives her readers a little parable about 'the rewards that come from being a little bit different from everyone else.'

The Trellis and the Seed is a lovely story for children of all ages. As Amazon.com Review puts it.....

"Subtitled a "Story of Encouragement for All Ages, the Trellis and the Seed tells the story of how 'God has planned something beautiful' for even the tiniest, most unassuming little seed.

The tiny seed begins its mysterious journey in the hands of the...Nice Lady, who predicts--much to the seed's disbelief--that it will make a 'beautiful vine with sweet-smelling blossoms.' "

As the Earth said to the tiny seed, "Don't worry, God has planned something beautiful for you."

I believe it... you too?

Faithfully,
Brenda












Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Dare I Admit Such A Thing?

2009 by Brenda Colleen Leyland


80%How Addicted to Blogging Are You?


When I saw this button on my blogging friend Sherri's site, I decided to join her and take the quiz too. But I have to warn you, I'm sure there must be something wrong with this quiz. After all, it can't be true.... I'm not 80% addicted to blogging like it says I am!!

I even took the quiz twice, but the second time the results were higher than the first, so I'm not trying a third.

One question it poses is if I decide to take the quiz, would I actually blog about it on my site. Well, what do you think??

Perhaps, on that note, I should sign off and go find a life....(NOT!).....Blogging is just too much fun, and I'd miss all my wonderfully creative blogging friends.....and besides who else would understand?

Mmmmmmmm..... I wonder what I did before I started blogging?

Cheerio!
Brenda



Saturday, February 14, 2009

Get On With One's Loving

This is my all-time favourite movie. I've watched it so many times, I know the lines by heart. 


Enchanted April is the award-winning 1992 film that's based on the book with the same name by Elizabeth Von Arnim.  It tells the story of "four dissimilar women in post-war England who leave their damp and rainy environs to go on a holiday to a secluded coastal villa in Italy...They come together at the Villa and find rejuvenation in the tranquil beauty of their surroundings, rediscovering hope and love."

A lovely movie with beautiful scenery and wonderful music, there are many spots that 'enchant' me. A most favourite place in the movie comes when Lottie, who found her own heart suddenly well and overflowing with love, entreats Rose to remember that it's important to get on with one's loving.

Perhaps I'm drawn to the phrase because, in our busyness, it's so easy to lose sight of what our lives are really about. If all our 'doings' do not enhance the beauty, joy and meaning of our lives -- and those we love and those our lives touch in some way -- then how important is it, in the end?

A perfect reminder as we celebrate Valentine's Day -- the day we give special attention to love. But like Lottie, I'm also eager to grace the other 364 days with ways to surprise, encourage, and just get on with our loving. Not just romantic love, but love in all its forms. After all, what can be more important?


With loving thoughts,
Brenda
xox

PS. Here is a newly-remastered Trailer of the movie.
I hope that means the whole movie will be remastered soon.






Friday, February 13, 2009

Heart Day Starts Early

2009 by Brenda Colleen Leyland

Rick brought flowers home yesterday. G
uess who thought they were for her.......


Nice flowers, but where's the baby's breath?


Sure's hard to pose when it's so crowded on here!


Anyways, Kitty and I are both enjoying our gift of colour and beauty from our favourite person in the whole world!

Heart joy to you all!
Brenda




Thursday, February 12, 2009

Thursday Evening

2009 by Brenda Colleen Leyland

I'm around here somewhere, but busy with stuff. Squeezed in some moments throughout the day to browse and leave comments on a few new sites today, but I just remembered a meeting I have scheduled for tonight, so I guess blogging in earnest is out of the question.

Ah well..... there's always tomorrow.......

Cheers!
Brenda


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Serendipity At Its Best

2009 by Brenda Colleen Leyland

"The only difference between an extraordinary life and an ordinary one is the extraordinary pleasures you find in ordinary things." ~~ Veronique Vienne


Can you believe it! I totally forgot I had jotted down this quote by Veronique Vienne, until I stumbled across it a few minutes ago looking for something else. Which was right after I had read a delightfully humorous and mouth-watering account of the splendid day Caryn enjoyed with her daughter. Talk about serendipity finding a perfect example of this quote in living colour, in exactly the right moment!
Caryn, once again you've warmed the cockles of my heart (I've always wondered what cockles look like). You truly have a gift that inspires us with your exuberant and colourful joie de vivre!
You've inspired me all over again to look for the extraordinary pleasures in ordinary things. And...if anyone else needs a pick-me-up, you must pop over to Caryn's site and let her joy and fun bubble over into your own life.

So Caryn....I'm sending you a trunkful of happy hugs and hearts all bursting with joy that our blogging paths have crossed! And if anyone else needs a hug, consider these yours as well!



Still smiling!
Brenda



PS. I saw this adorable heart button over at Staci's Life in the Thumb.




Monday, February 09, 2009

All the Beautiful Shells

 
One of my favourite places in Anne Morrow Lindbergh's Gift from the Sea is the chapter entitled, A Few Shells. In it, she chats about how greedily she collected sea shells upon her arrival to her island hideaway all those years ago. She couldn't let one go by unnoticed; she couldn't even walk with her head up looking out to the sea, for fear of missing another gift from the sea.

Yet, as her tale continues, once her bookcase and window ledges were overflowing with her abundant collection, she began to be more selective in her choices. She realized,
 
 "...one cannot collect all the beautiful shells on the beach. One can collect only a few, and they are more beautiful if they are few. ... For it is only framed in space that beauty blooms. Only in space are events and objects and people unique and significant -- and therefore beautiful. A tree has significance if one sees it against the empty face of sky. A note in music gains significance from the silences on either side."

I live where I can enjoy abundance in just about everything. I'm truly grateful, yet there are those moments when I long for the simplicity -- and beauty -- of less. Where there are more silences between the notes and lots of white spaces where eye and soul can rest.

Perhaps this is a perfect time for me to begin clearing out some of that excess.... perhaps this longing of my soul for space to breathe more deeply will make it easier to be more selective and release what is no longer needed.

Ponderingly,
Brenda
xox


Sunday, February 08, 2009

Simply Sunday... Here's Why

2009 by Brenda Colleen Leyland

I like to keep Sundays as a quieter and simpler day. It doesn't always work out that way, but an ideal week for me includes a day where I can shrug off the cares of the business at hand, to take time to pause and reflect, to look inward and upward.

Peter Marshall, (1902 - 1949), a Scottish-born minister who became Chaplain of the US Senate, gave us a similar thought shaped in a prayer:


"In the name of Jesus Christ, who was never in a hurry, we pray, O God, that You will slow us down, for we know that we live too fast. With all of eternity before us, make us take time to live---time to get acquainted with You, time to enjoy Your blessings, and time to know each other."

I used to think the harried hurriedness of our society was just a malady of the 21st century, but after reading various books and accounts of people living in other decades and centuries, it seems each generation faces the temptation to 'live too fast'.....

I've been learning that it takes deliberate planning to make space in my week to rest. But I'm also learning the value of taking that time, as Peter Marshall says, to become better acquainted with God, to relish the myriad blessings that have come my way, and to savour the friendships I share with family and friends.

I wish you a gentle rhythm of peace and rest today... may you have time to pause and enjoy!

Peacefully,
Brenda





Friday, February 06, 2009

Friday Fill-In





Questions courtesy of Life in the Thumb (who got them from YellowRose) this week!



1. Please don’t tell... me that I've got too many books.

2. Can you... look in the mirror with merriment first thing... in the morning?

3. The color... yellow... makes me want to... dance with daffodils and sit in sunny nooks!

4. I have a craving for... hot buttered toast, scrambled eggs and freshly brewed coffee.

5. If my life had a pause button, I’d pause it... for a while on a perfect summer morning.

6. Eyes are the... best doorway we can use to let someone know we notice them.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to attending an... afrocentric Nathaniel Dett Chorale concert. Tomorrow my plans include... reading, watching a movie, and maybe going out for breakfast,... and Sunday, I want to... enjoy quiet times with my loved ones.


Here's wishing you a happy start to your weekend!
Brenda

Thursday, February 05, 2009

The Happy List

2009 by Brenda Colleen Leyland

I met a new blogging friend the other day. Staci over at Life in the Thumb sent me an e-mail in response to a comment I'd left her.

In her e-mail she shared a few rules on being happy. I so enjoyed her short list I had to share it with you all. Thanks, Staci!

On that note, be happy!
Brenda

Five simple rules to be happy:

1. Free your heart from hatred.
2. Free your mind from worries.
3. Live simply.
4. Give more.
5. Expect less.







Quotes Worth Remembering



I've been browsing through some of my quote books.
It's like eating treats -- you munch and savour and reach for more. For me, reading quotes is much like eating peanuts, you just can't stop at one. These were too good to keep to myself...here's a handful to enjoy as well.

Happy Day!
Brenda
 
 
 

"It is a good plan to have a book with you in all places and at all times. If you are presently without, hurry without delay to the nearest shop and buy one of mine." ~~ Oliver Wendell Holmes, 1809 - 1894

"The difference between the right word and the almost right word is like the difference between lightning and the lightning bug." ~~ Mark Twain, 1835 - 1910
"That which is striking and beautiful is not always good, but that which is good is always beautiful." ~~ Ninon de l'Eenclos, 1620 - 1705

"It is very well worthwhile to be tormented for two or three years of one's life, for the sake of being able to read all the rest of it." ~~ Jane Austen, 1775 - 1817

"Lay hold of something that will help you, and then use it to help somebody else." ~~ Booker T. Washington, 1856 - 1915

"He is your friend who pushes you nearer to God." ~~Abraham Kuyper, 1837 - 1920

"Be careful to preserve your health. It is a trick of the devil, which he employs to deceive good souls, to incite them to do more than they are able, in order that they may no longer be able to do anything." ~~ Fr. Vincent de Paul, 1581 - 1660

"When I get a little money I buy books, and if any is left I buy food and clothes." ~~ Erasmus, d. 1536

* * * * *