Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Keep Eating The Apple


"I taught my children to treat life like a big apple. Bite it, chew it, suck it, let the juice dribble down your chin. If you bite a worm, spit it out. But don't stop eating that apple." ~ Arabella Ark, Ceramics Artist, Maui

I like Arabella Ark's take on how we should view life. Sometimes life isn't fair; sometimes it has worms in it. Yet, think about all the moments when it's just wonderful -- juicy, sweet, and delicious.

If we were to stop eating apples just because we found a wormy one, we'd also miss out on those experiences that were beautiful and joyful and fun. Not to mention, miss out on such mouthwatering dishes like apple pie, apple sauce, apple butter, apple crisp, apple strudel, apple cider, toffee apples, to name a few.

So, here's to the apples of life...let's keep eating!

Brenda
xox





Monday, March 30, 2009

The School of Essential Ingredients



Now I know why I fell in love with Erica Bauermeister's first novel, The School of Essential Ingredients. Ms. Bauermeister, in her own biographical sketch, said that she always wanted to write and when she read Tillie Olsen's I Stand Here Ironing, she finally knew she wanted to...

"write books that took what many considered to be unimportant bits of life and gave them beauty, shone light upon their meaning."

That phrase really grabbed my imagination. Here was kindred spirit -- someone who loves to find the beauty in life, even in ordinary rituals, like cooking.

The first time I read it, I savoured it over several sittings. I didn't want to finish too quickly, kind of like slowly nibbling on the last chocolate in the box. And, when I finally read the last page, I went back to page one and started it all over again ... this time I read it aloud to my hubby. It was so evocative and sensual to read it out loud -- to hear the words seemed to create a deeper, richer flavour. Somehow you could feel and taste and smell, almost even touch.

If you are interested in finding out more about the book or reading any reviews, check out these two: Staci at Life in the Thumb, who first got me intrigued, and Bonnie at Redlady's Reading Room, who just posted a guest posting by Erica herself.

As well, if you'd like to learn more about the author, Erica Bauermeister, click here for her website.

Wishing you a beautiful day,
Brenda
xox




Sunday, March 29, 2009

Simply Sunday -- Celebrating Spring



It's a beautiful day in the neighbourhood. The weatherman promises temperatures that will keep the snow melting, slowly and gently. There are happy puddles and rivulets everywhere, and although I wouldn't like for you to see the state of my car from all the slushy roads, my heart sings. For it looks as if Spring is here to stay this time.

In that light, I'm happy to post a little poem that my dear friend, Rosalie, once penned to celebrate the season.


Spring by Rosalie

The heavens were shining in azure blue
The grass and flowers covered with dew
From the forest came the wobbling fawn
From the horizon came the glorious dawn

A crystal stream was gurgling
Cutting a route through the snow
Little tufts of green are beginning to show
All over the fields life is beginning to grow

From the forest to hills they do sing
This is Spring, this is Spring
The bees and birds and butterflies
Awaken and begin to fly

The leaves begin to take on size
And fluffy clouds float across the sky
Life God gives to everything for
This is Spring, for this is the Spring!


* * * * *

Have a wonderful day!
Brenda















Saturday, March 28, 2009

Advice for a Happy and Contented Life



 As overheard from a mother cat instructing her kittens...
  • Learn the difference between idleness and repose--one wastes time, the other one luxuriates in it.
  • Never, ever let anyone floss your teeth--unless you're unconscious or dead.
  • No matter what you've done wrong, always try to make it look like the dog did it.
  • Never go to bed with a resentful heart or a dirty face.
  • Inspire whimsy in everyone you meet.
  • Help with making the bed.
  • Help with redecorating, even when no one asks you.
  • Don't be fooled by cat furniture -- tiny beds, cramped baskets, etc -- sold in pet stores. Human furniture is always more plush and comfortable.
  • Treat yourself to a nap in the sock drawer once in awhile.
  • Help with jigsaw puzzles.

The above quotes are found in a wonderful little book written by Leigh W. Rutledge A Cat's Little Instruction Book. Seems to be good advice for anyone -- feline or otherwise.

Here's wishing you all a purr-fectly lovely weekend!
Brenda
xox









Thursday, March 26, 2009

Culinaria Greece



A friend lent us her copy of Culinaria Greece, a wonderful book about Greek cuisine and culture. It's been quite the culinary voyage as we sigh and, oops, drool over richly coloured photos and tempting recipes.

One recipe that captured my appetite is a potato dish. Along with the recipe, here's an interesting -- and amusing -- bit of historical information about the introduction of potatoes to the area.

The editor, Marianthi Milona, says that potatoes are now "an essential part of Greek cuisine and are just as popular an appetizer as they are a main dish, whether fried, baked, or boiled.

However, when this 'new-fangled' food was first introduced about 150 years ago, it caused such controversy that...the first government chef of the young Greek state allegedly had to resort to a cunning ploy to get his extremely suspicious countrymen to accept this unknown food. Thus, instead of handing potatoes out freely, as he had intended, he ordered his soldiers to appear to guard them. This immediately aroused the curiosity of the farmers, who promptly stole them!"

So guess what? We're having Patates Lemonates, or otherwise known as Lemon Potatoes, for dinner tonight. They are a version of oven-baked fries and scalloped -- two pounds of potatoes cut into fingers, seasoned with salt and oregano, sprinkled with Greek extra virgin olive oil and the juice of two lemons, plus enough water to just cover them -- all baked in an oven-proof dish at 400 F until all golden brown, at which point you turn off the oven and leave in for a few extra minutes.

On this sort of spring, sort of wintry day in Alberta, here's to thoughts of warm summer evenings, the sounds of gentle lapping waves, and the seductive aromas of Greek cooking.


Pou ine i paralia?

Not up on your Greek?
Translated, it apparently means "Where is the beach?"


Happy Day,
Brenda







Sunday, March 22, 2009

Simply Sunday: Guest Blogger Pam



It's the time of week when I like to focus my thoughts more inward and heaven-ward. And today I'm delighted to introduce a new blogging friend -- Pam from On the Road.

In a world that feels so up-side-down and muddled sometimes, Pam's site is one of those places that invites you to come away from the mainstream and rest a while. An oasis in the middle of the desert, Pam's insights, poetry and photography -- so graciously offered like a cup of cold water -- refreshes and encourages world weary hearts.

Pam has given me permission to share her beautiful poem and photo today -- we both hope that you will be encouraged and refreshed as you read it. Be sure to visit her blog for more of her lovely things to read.

Meditatively,
Brenda



Poem and photo by Pam, On The Road blog

on my walk, i said a prayer for you today.
i prayed for your heart,
your pain, your not knowing.
and as i prayed,
God showed me a cactus
blooming late, unexpected....
there in the midst of many thorns
lay a beautiful, white
solitary blossom,
like a promise of hope
in the midst of pain.

on my walk, i said a prayer for you.
and as i prayed God sent
a majestic monarch butterfly,
like a promise of hope,
richly robed in orange and black.
as this regal creature flew by
he dipped his wings my way,
and lifted my prayer from off my lips
before soaring up and away.

i said a prayer for you today,
and God listened, and answered
with a blossom and a butterfly.




Saturday, March 21, 2009

Somma Saturday

Photo from morguefile.com
 
 
There's a smell of Spring in the air this morning even though the skies droop with the promise of snow later on. But who minds what's going on outside when there are freshly baked muffins with wild blueberries waiting to be savoured along with my cup of freshly-brewed coffee.

It's a meandering 'somma' kind of morning -- where you can do 'somma dis and somma dat'. And whatever unfolds feels good, in a restful sort of way.

I'm off to meet a friend for lunch. We share a love of books and reading, so conversations often meander through pages we've been devouring, swapping insights and 'aha' moments with each other. We also share a similar sense of humour and have been known to get struck with giggly fits over the craziest things. Ruth and I will never forget the day, many years ago, when I nearly drove us into the ditch; we started laughing over some hilarious incident that I could hardly see the road for the tears in my eyes.

You'll be happy to know that today we'll be safely off the roads, seated demurely inside a restaurant!

My.... after having such a hectic morning (eating blueberry muffins, checking my blogs, and going out for lunch), I think I'll have to take the rest of the day off, and maybe join Miss Kitty for an afternoon nap.
 
Till next time.... may there be a sense of fun and beauty wrapped up in your Saturday!
 
Happily,
Brenda



Saturday, March 14, 2009

If You Can See It, You Can Have It


"The very moment you realize
you are unhappy or frustrated with a situation,
is your 'point of power' for now you have
a clear picture of how you don't want things to be.

Imagine the exact opposite of the frustrating situation,
and there you have the makings of your vision."

~ Robert Fritz



Friday, March 13, 2009

One Thing At A Time

Aranxa Esteve / unsplash.com


Sometimes my task seems so overwhelming that I'm tempted to give up before I even begin. It can happen with housework, studying, planting and gardening, writing, praying, paper piling on the desk, spending time with people.

It also happens when I look at the world around me... the overwhelming needs of people in dire straits. Millions starving... it all seems too big to comprehend, never mind find a way to make a difference.

But Mother Teresa, bless her soul, found a way. As an ardent admirer of this beautiful woman, I often wondered how she could deal with what must have looked like an overwhelming, never-ending sea of people in need. How did she cope? How did she keep from laying down one day and saying, this is too big, there's too many, I can't do this anymore?

Then one day many years ago, I learned her secret. It was revealed in such a simple thought: "Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time, and always start with the person nearest you."

WOW! When you think about it, how perfect these wise words fit for every circumstance of life. No matter how great or small, that is the secret to accomplishing anything.

Mother Teresa's words have become a guiding star for me. How many times have I reminded myself to stop worrying about numbers, just do one thing, and start with the one nearest me. And, it works wonders every time. My world rights itself; I can see the trees for the forest, and all is in focus again.

One little woman, one little phrase, one awesome impact! It's beautiful!

Gratefully re-focused,
Brenda
xox




Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Anguished English



The evening shadows have long drawn their curtains. Right now, I feel like my mind has drawn her own curtains too. Which makes me wonder what I'm still doing at my computer. It's been a busy, but productive day on several fronts... that is, except on my blog. And I regret that you, my dear blogging friends, are the recipients of the last crumbs of my store of energy for this particular day.

Fortunately, my eyes lighted upon my copy of an entertaining book by Richard Lederer, who has published many articles and books about language and literature. His book Anguished English: An Anthology of Accidental Assaults Upon Our Language provides some hilarious examples of language bloopers.

Hopefully I've chosen a few that you haven't seen a million times before! Apparently, the following were found in the classified ads:

For sale:
Antique desk suitable for lady with thick legs and large drawers.
 
For sale:
A quilted high chair that can be made
into a table, potty chair, rocking horse, refrigerator, spring coat,
size 8 and fur collar. (I say, that's quite versatile!) 

Four-poster bed:
101 years old. Perfect for antique lover. 

Note at Factory:
We do not tear your clothing with machinery.
We do it carefully by hand. 

For sale:
Eight puppies from a German Shepherd and an Alaskan Hussy. 

Dog for sale:
Eats anything and is fond of children.
 
Wanted:
Man to take care of cow that does not smoke or drink.
 
Wanted:
Widower with school-age children requires person to
assume general housekeeping duties.
Must be capable of contributing to growth of family. 




On that note, in the words of Samuel Pepys himself.....

Ah, and so to bed!
Brenda

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Simply Sunday

2009 by Brenda Colleen Leyland




"People don't care how much you know,
until they know how much you care -- about them."

(Attributed to John C. Maxwell
)



If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. ~~ 1 Corinthians 13:2


Saturday, March 07, 2009

A Little List Of Favourites


Why do we love creating lists of our favourite things? 

Perhaps it was Maria von Trapp cum Julie Andrews who got us started when she first sang that catchy little melody about loving brown paper packages wrapped up with string. And how remembering favourite things can help take little minds off bee stings and dog bites. We certainly know the pleasure in remembering favoured objects and experiences. And, we now know just how beneficial good thoughts are towards creating an overall sense of well being.

I could do with a little sense of well being on this blustery morning, so I'm offering this latest list in the order in which it came to mind....

1. The delight of reading in bed before I get up to face the day

2. Laughing and being around people who make me laugh

3. Miss Kitty, especially when she's curled up on my lap, loudly purring

4. Collecting quotes and sayings in notebooks

5. The beautiful Victoria Magazine

6. Bold, colourful flowers

7. Getting an aha moment out of the blue

8. Receiving compliments from people who read the newsletter I love to write

9. Blogging

10. Jesus, Rick, my mom, my family, you....


Blow, Wind, blow -- we're happy now.

Hugs,
Brenda
xox


Friday, March 06, 2009

Gloves and Shirt Tales

Brooke Cagle / unsplash.com


It's Friday and it's a good day for a a little fun and frivolity. I'm reminded me of a little story which a former co-worker told us happened to her aunt.

Years ago when women still donned hats and gloves while going out in public, Rhonda's aunt was riding the trolley on her way to work one morning. No seats were available, so she held onto the strap above, swaying in the aisle as the trolley lumped and lurched.
Suddenly one of her gloves (apparently she'd taken them off) fell into the lap of a seated, slightly derelict old fellow, who was snoozing at the time. Horrified, she could seeing her glove sitting primly on this old guy's lap. How would she retrieve it -- to just pluck it up off his lap was not an option, what with the trolley swaying at any moment.
As she's pondering, the old fellow wakes up and reaches for the bell pull. He glances down at his lap, looks at the glove sitting there, and with nary a thought grabs the glove and tucks it safely into his trousers. Probably thought it was his shirt tail sticking out.
We often wondered what the fellow thought when he got home that night. Something interesting had happened during the day, and he'd missed it! We often wondered what his wife thought too!

Still chuckling,
Brenda




Thursday, March 05, 2009

TO DO or TA DAH?



For many of us, spring time usually includes the yearly ritual of spring cleaning. As much as I look forward to my home being freshly swept out and every nook in order again, the whole idea can weigh around my shoulders like a heavy winter coat. One more thing to add to the TO DO List ... I think I feel my shoulders hurting already!

So how are we to to keep from feeling so overwhelmed before we even begin? Well, I'm going to make a TA DAH List! For my intents and purposes, it's a list that replaces the TO DO and it lists what has been--or will be--accomplished on a given day or week.

You can write the list out at the beginning of the day, as in -- "TA DAH! Look what I'll get done today!" (a list of intent)

Or, you can write it at the end of the day -- "TA DAH! Look what I got done today!" (a list of accomplishment)

The phrase TO DO seems so negatively embedded in my emotional bank, just thinking about the phrase makes me feel weighted and less eager. Calling it a TA DAH list makes me feel lighter, more cheerful, and energetic.

I'm all for making my life feel lighter and more beautiful, so here's to spring cleaning with our TA DAH Lists!

Now where is that feather duster?
Brenda


PS. Yesterday Lin, a fellow blogger, posted a great example of a TA DAH list. For her, it was a list of accomplishments. You might want to pop over and take a peek!







Monday, March 02, 2009

Mellow Yellow Monday

Mellow Yellow Poppies


One cold wintry day not so long ago, I happened upon these bright silk poppies in a local shop. Even if I had to go without bread that day (which I didn't) I knew I had to take this cheery bunch home with me.

Then, I stumbled upon a blogger who designed a meme called Mellow Yellow Mondays. The author says she chose yellow because "it's my favourite colour and I think the world is always better with a splash of yellow....whether it's in your home or in nature."

How's that for perfect timing? I couldn't agree more! So on this beautifully sunny -- but very wintry -- Monday, I'm happy to share my yellow contribution to Mellow Yellow Monday #8.

To participate or to visit other bloggers posting for Mellow Yellow Mondays, click on the butterfly badge below.

MellowYellowMondayBadge


Cheerfully,
Brenda