Sunday, January 31, 2010

Simply Sunday

"If all the people who went to sleep during sermons were laid end to end, they would be far more comfortable." ~ Anonymous

"An inscription over a church door in Cheshire: 'This is the House of God. This is the gate of heaven. (This door is locked in the winter months).' " ~ Peterborough, Daily Telegraph

"I regret the parson we sent to you has not proved acceptable, but having regard to the qualities you and your pcc require in your new rector, can only regret that the Archangel Gabriel is not available." ~ Anonymous, found in The Parson's Quotation Book

A Prayer

As I go walking through the world,
Lord, walk along with me,
And through the beauty of the world,
Lord, help me look and see,

As I go listening through the world,
Lord, let me hear Your voice,
And with the wind, the birds, the sea,
Lord, help me to rejoice.

As I go slower through the world,
Lord, give me quiet peace,
And show me, always, in my life,
Your love will never cease.

~ Iris Hesselden
The Friendship Book of Francis Gay, 1999

Wishing you peaceful, simple pleasures this day,

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Blogging Tip: Blogging Without Obligation

Some years ago now, I came across a post entitled Blogging without Obligation. At the time, I'd been blogging a couple of years already and was starting to lag and feel pressure as I tried to post something every day. It was exactly what I needed to read because I was beginning to also feel a wee bit guilty that I wasn't able to post every day.

The author, upon seeing apologies in so many posts, wrote a post to address this creeping sense of obligation for what was supposed to be an enjoyable and creative outlet. The author gave permission to share the post, and so here it is in full... I hope you will find it as freeing as I did that first time I read it.

AFTER COMING ACROSS what seemed to be the 4000th or so post on someone’s blog starting with “I’m sorry I haven’t posted in awhile,” I decided it is time to rethink what makes a good blog and the expectations that have come to be part of it. I am thinking that no one should utter those words again . . .and with that thought I give you Blogging Without Obligation.

If you feel the same way feel free to grab the logo, make a logo or whatever you would like to do!

I release all the logos, thoughts and words mentioned here about this concept into the public domain. Take the idea and run with it. . .or walk away. It is all good.
  • Because you shouldn’t have to look at your blog like it is a treadmill.

  • Because it's okay to just say what you have to say. If that makes for a long post, fine. Short post, fine. Frequent post, fine. Infrequent post, fine.

  • Because it's okay to not always be enthralled with the sound of your own typing.

  • Because sometimes less is more.

  • Because only blogging when you feel truly inspired keeps up the integrity of your blog.

  • Because they are probably not going to inscribe your stat, link and comment numbers on your tombstone.

  • Because for most of us blogging is just a hobby. A way to express yourself and connect with others. You should not have to apologize for lapses in posts. Just take a step back and enjoy life, not everything you do has to be “bloggable”.

  • Because if you blog without obligation you will naturally keep your blog around longer, because it won’t be a chore. Plus, just think you will be doing your part to eradicate post pollution. One post at a time. . .

Here's to restoring our joy in blogging!


Post updated January 2015

Friday, January 29, 2010

Making Way For Something New

2010 by Brenda Colleen Leyland

It took me a long time to finally recognize, and admit, that I get easily bored with routine. I crave variety, so I'm often looking for new ways to add sparkle to my regular stuff.

This week, what's working for me is taking the space of an hour and 15 minutes and breaking it into 15-minute segments, which means I have five 15-minute time slots. Then I write a list of 5 items on a small sheet. And, for the next hour and 15 minutes I focus my attention on this small list, one item at a time, allotting 15 minutes for each project. (At least, that's the general plan.)

I don't worry about whether I get the project completed in 15 minutes (some I do, if they're small enough; others are only a stab at a lar
ger task). Working on a few projects in this short timeframe gives me the variety I need, and it helps feel like I'm not neglecting some until I can completely finish others.

So.... on my list today, I decided to add the task of sorting a bookshelf or two to see if I could find 10 books that I'd cheerfully be willing to part with. I actually found eight books that I'm packing up to take to the second hand bookstore this afternoon.

During this little exercise, I happened to open one book that I thought I might be ready to part with, but nope, this one still had new thoughts and images popping off pages when I flipped it open. I was amazed at the one page it flipped to.... a section on clearing the clutter..... and if it didn't have advice on dealing with your books. This idea made sense to me:

"Step by step, begin to rid yourself of the weight. Start with your books. They have helped you develop your views on life. They have inspired you and been there to comfort you.... when you have too many books on your bookshelves, you become set in your ways. Are you becoming set in your ways? ...

Give some of your favorite books to your friends. Share your wisdom. Keep some of those books that truly reflect who you are now, but make space for who you will become."
How To Do Everything and Still Have Time For Yourself, by Dawna Walter, 2001

And then........... get this............... the funny thing is that earlier I'd e-mailed a friend and happened to mention I was sorting a few books today, lamenting that I always seem to be caught between the desire to keep the books that have had meaning for me (perhaps as a record of my journey) versus the longing to clear out the old so I make room for the new.

I happened to mention that I have no desire to keep going round the same 'mulberry bush' because I keep reading the same ole books with the same ole ideas. The idea being, if nothing new goes in, nothing new comes out. I guess I am tired of being set in my old ways -- I long for something new.

So my question to myself.......... and to you............ are the books on your shelves keeping you set in your way
s? Do they reflect who you are today? Where you might want to go next?

Mmmmmm.... I think I found the answer to my dilemma of whether to keep or get rid of a book. If it's keeping me set in my old pattern of thinking, then maybe it's time to pass it along to someone else.

With that in mind, I'm off with my bundle to the second hand bookstore. Good day!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Pondering These...

2010 by Brenda Colleen Leyland

Some thoughts I'm pondering these days:

"You are never too old to set another goal or dream a new dream." ~ C.S. Lewis

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." ~ Mark Twain

"You will never change your life until you change something you do daily." ~ John C. Maxwell

Happy Day!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Kitty Stuff

2010 by Brenda Colleen Leyland

Cats' hearing apparatus is built to allow the human voice to easily go in one ear and out the other. ~ Stephen Baker

THIS QUOTE REMINDS ME of a time years ago when I first met Rick. It was the first time I'd been to his house. It was a warm autumn day, and we were sitting in his sunny living room, when he decided to call his tabby, Roxy, back into the house; she'd been out exploring in the front yard, and Rick was concerned that she'd been after some songbirds earlier.

At the sound of Rick's voice, she turned and meandered up the sidewalk toward the front door. Wow, I thought! She's pretty obedient (for a cat). So we stood at the front entrance waiting for her to come.... just as she reached the front door... without missing a beat, if she didn't waltz right past, tail in the air, and quite deliberately flop and roll in the warm dirt of the flower bed on the other side of the door. Aha.... so much for that..... cats do have a mind of their own and they certainly use it!


My cousin sent me a link to a kitty youtube video. Of course that led to watching a few other ones. Since I couldn't decide which one was my favourite, here are three I enjoyed and thought you might too. (The first two are about a minute and a half each, the third is about 6 minutes, but lots of fun scenes throughout).

Now, here's wishing you a purr-fectly fine day.............

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Too Busy?

2010 by Brenda Colleen Leyland

I was delighted to 'meet' a new blogging acquaintance the other day over at Lin's. Lin, and other contributors, like Jerusha, share their recipes and interesting food ideas in a blog called Sweet and Savory Secrets.

What caught my eye during my visit was Jerusha's comment in her profile where she says she's 'busy by choice, otherwise life gets too boring.'

Her comment pulled me in, because interestingly enough, just recently I'd experienced a little epiphany about myself. I've always thought I disliked being busy, but when Jerusha said 'busy by choice' I realized I, too, am busy by choice. And, not only is it a choice, but that place of busy is often good for me -- first, because, I agree, it can be boring otherwise -- but,I've come to recognize that I've been blessed with gifts in the area of organization and getting things squared away.

So, when I have just a little more than is comfy on my plate, these God-given gifts automatically shift into gear and I get motivated to organize and get it all done. It comes naturally. When I don't have as much
on the go, it's so easy to putz and dawdle with the little I have. It's true, when they say, you can make a little bit fill a whole day then.

Well then, I began to ponder why I so often felt I should 'complain' about being too busy. The moment of discovery for me came when I identified the fact that what I do not like is being busy with things that are not important to me. For instance, perhaps I've said yes to something that I didn't really want to participate in, but I agreed from obligation or guilt (I am getting over those finally)....THAT'S when I don't like feeling busy and overextended. That's when I resent my day feeling too full.

Of course, I love the rhythm of busy and rest times, and when I make sure I have those quiet, pondering times often throughout my week, then I find I can really enjoy when I'm going full tilt.

Fortunately, over the years, I've been learning to say no to things that don't belong in my life. And so now, I'm more often busy with activities, projects and endeavours that matter and have value to me. So, I feel like I've sorted out one of those tug-a-war emotions ...that love it/hate it feeling about being busy.

For me, it comes down to knowing what is the peak of fulfillment in my daily living, and what is excess and clutter, not only with my stuff, but in all the I do and participate in.

Still pondering,

Monday, January 25, 2010

Happy Monday!

2010 by Brenda Colleen Leyland

Good morning! I've got so many writing ideas swirling in my mind this morning that I can hardly contain myself with excitement. And so I'm chomping at the bit to get them down on 'paper' and start sharing here, there and everywhere.

But as this is my exercise class morning, I'll have to wait until I get back. Just wanted to pop by to wish you all a wonderful start to the week.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Simply Sunday - Peace

2010 by Brenda Colleen Leyland

Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows,
it empties today of its strength.

~ Corrie Ten Boom

Wishing you a peace-full day!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Snowing, Singing, Reading

2010 by Brenda Colleen Leyland

It's so snowy and gray out today that it's difficult to distinguish where the snowy housetops end and the laden skies begin.

I was delighted for all the overcast skies to welcome the local bird chorus earlier this morning as they selected my backyard for their daily choir practice. They must have been tucked inside bushes and shrubs, for when I peered out my kitchen window, there was hardly a flicker of fe
athered wing about the place. Yet the air was sweet with joyful song.


I've been postponing something. It's a project that I'd agreed to do some time ago and it's been on m
y 'unfinished business' list. Beginning to feel the weight of it, I decided that on this snowy, indoor-kind-of-day I would finally get it done.

The project? To read a new writer's completed non-fiction manuscript and share my comments with the writer. I found the task more daunting than I'd first imagined when I so glibly agreed to read the book in the first place.

For I found things in it that, as a reader, I wanted to comment on, and yet felt the pressure of how to say
it kindly and without prejudice, and yet indicate to the writer that some things really need more work. After all, I'm not a 'professional' editor; I have a certain amount of experience and skill from my previous career, and as a reader, I know what I'd be looking for if I wanted to read this certain genre.

So... I breathe deeply, whisper a prayer for guidance, and set my face 'like a flint' to finish the task. Today's the day.

Until next time,

Friday, January 22, 2010

Something Wonderful In The Works

I read Lorrie's posting yesterday in which she shared how her friend recently came back from Haiti with art work from local artists. And, how these pieces are being sold and all the proceeds are being sent back to the Haitian people.

I was so inspired and moved, I wanted to share the link to Haiti By Hand, in case there are those of you are moved to participate in this particular way. The Etsy shop is being stocked with wonderful items donated by many other artists.

What I love in all this is seeing the myriad of creative ways people joining hands and hearts to wrap love around hurting people... the beauty of artwork showing the beauty of kindness. Wonderful!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY... Linking to The Simple Woman's Daybook

Outside my window... no sunshine, foggy and overcast with hoar frost on the trees.

I am thinking... how good it feels to have cleaned out some of the messy corners happening in my basement. The Christmas stuff is back in place, and now a newly-filled box waits in the car to go to Goodwill, along with a bagful of no-longer-watched videos to the library for their annual fundraiser.

I am thankful for... the fun I've had reading the latest edition of Artful Blogging; there's been inspiring and encouraging words from some amazing bloggers. The most fun part is going to visit their sites after and actually 'meeting' them.

I am wearing... black jeans, a patterned aqua blue and green beaded top, and dangling glass blown earbobs.

I am going... to exercise class tomorrow morning and to my mom's on Saturday. I think I heard my friend's voice on the answering machine (it's in the other room) which means I may be going for coffee with her this evening.

I am currently reading... a wonderful new find from the library. Yes, a new book by L.M. Montgomery (for you Anne of Green Gables fans). Apparently, the author had the manuscript ready to go for publication before she died in 1942, and for various reasons it was never published in its entirety. The book The Blythes Are Quoted (edited by Benjamin Lefebvre, 2009) is a sequel to Rilla of Ingleside.

A quote I just found... "Worry gives a small thing a big shadow." (author unknown)

From the kitchen... Just finished a snack version of lunch (I was so busy in the basement, I forgot to eat)..... stonewheat crackers, aged cheddar cheese, and a juicy navel orange cut into wedges.

Around the house... Hubby and Miss Kitty are having a nap. Late afternoon shadows are shrouding the corners and I need to turn on the lights. When I took the Christmas tree down in the living room, I set the fig tree festooned with tiny white lights in its place, so it still feels cozy on these dark days.

The photo in my banner... Someone recently asked me where I get my pictures. The johnny-jump-ups are from my own garden. Many photos in this blog are my own, however, I will use free-to-use photos from places like Glitter Graphics, Penniwigs,or

Something that made me smile... I went to the library this afternoon and discovered hardcover copies of two books that I enjoy by Debbie Macomber -- Back on Blossom Street and Susannah's Garden. The part that really made me smile? They were only $1.00 each -- how's that for being blessed!

One of my favorite things... the happy chatter of flocks of birds feeding or jostling in the shrubs in the backyard.

From my picture journal...

Wishing you a happy day!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Simply Sunday

2010 by Brenda Colleen Leyland

Wishing you a day of rest and rejuvenation!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Need A Blogging Challenge?


The days zip by and I find myself still without a plan for my blog this year. The last few months seemed to have so many things that required attention that my blog has been less than....

Which makes me wonder if I need a blogging challenge again.When I first started I challenged myself to do 100 postings in 100 days. So maybe I should do something similar, only this time, include a goal to update and add interest, as well as fashion a list with a new range of topics and ideas to ponder and write about.

In the meantime, thanks to those of you who stay in touch. It's always such a pleasure to find your 'footprints' in my comments garden.

Wishing you a great day,

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


2010 by Brenda Colleen Leyland

It seems a little strange to think about blogging when a country in our world has been so devastated just a few short hours ago. It's hard to wrap one's thoughts and feelings around the numbers that are being reported back to us. How can we even imagine it.

In the midst of this intense darkness, the good news is that people's hearts are already reaching out
in all manner of ways to help and encourage and save.

We bless and send our thoughts and prayers heavenward for all those who are in the midst of this, that those victimized and those coming to wrap arms of kindness will be strengthened and encouraged.

My 2010 Reading Challenges

I had so much fun keeping up with my 2009 reading challenges that I decided to continue the tradition in 2010. So far, my reading challenges for the new year include:

My Goal: To read 26 books from the library

My Goal: To read 99 bo
oks from my own shelves,
ones that are not re-reads from last year (for the most part)

My Goal: To read 10 books in genres or by authors
I would not normally choose.

I'm all warmed up for the challenge. Of course, the real challenge is to decide which three or four or five I'm going to start next. What..... you don't have several books on the go at the same time?
Happy Reading, Everyone!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Monday Morning

2010 by Brenda Colleen Leyland

It's a good thing I don't usually let the weather dictate my frame of mind, because when I look out my study window this morning, it's dreary, dreary, dreary. There's not a flash of a sunbeam, not a flicker of a bird wing fluttering towards my feeders.

I'm heading out the door to my drop-in exercise class in a few minutes. It's supposed to be quite mild out
side, so perhaps in this case, Tom Lehrer's comment that 'bad weather always looks worse through a window' fits.

Have a wonderful day. We'll be back later.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Simply Sunday: Being Neighbourly

Love your neighbor as you love yourself.
Love is patient, love is kind.

Wishing you a beautiful day!

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Perfectly Delightful!

2010 by Brenda Colleen Leyland
The other day I found a quote on a sticker inside an old notebook: "Live one day at a time, and make it a masterpiece." Ever since I've been kinda pondering what a masterpiece day looks like, and I think I got close to one today.......

It started last night when dear friends phoned to invite us to join them for a visit to the Farmers' Market in a nearby city this morning. Yes, an adventure to look forward splendid. Although I haven't been in ages, I remembered the place is always abuzz with excitement and tantalizing food smells and wonderful craft displays.

I had fun stopping at various booths, exchanging a few words with the artisans and produce sellers. Although I didn't really have any idea of what would capture my attention when I got there, it wasn't long before my bag was filling up with.............

Beautiful Pink Lady apples that just begged you to bite into them, tender homemade perogies that later filled our tummies at supper, a bag of baby carrots that promised -- and delivered -- a sweet experience, and lastly, the treat of finding freshly made, fluffy Mediterranean pita bread made loca
lly by a family who, at one time, lived in Israel.

When I got home with my purchases, I dropped them off and headed out into our mild and sunny day towards two other favourites spots: the library and Cafe Haven.

Stopping at the library first, I found DVD's for movie-watching this weekend and a couple of Writer's magazines (looking for writing prompt ideas, particularly), and a book by Bill Gates' dad, Bill Gates Sr. (his thoughts about life -- looked interesting). Oh yes, the book I came for, Write It Down, Make It Happen, by Henriette Klauser.... it's a book I check out every couple of years or so, as it reminds me to write things down if I want to make things happen.

Then laden
with reading possibilities, I stopped at my favourite coffee place where people were enjoying their visits with friends. I found a cozy corner with my own steaming latte and, as I say, my reading pile. What a treat!

Ahhh........ I hear a sound that indicates I must sign off quickly...... my buzzer for the apple crisp in the oven just rang. Yum yum.

So, yes it's been a delightful day. I'm happy and sated. Now for a wee bit of apple crisp and a movie from the series, The Ladies No. 1 Detective Agency, snuggled alongside hubby and kitty. What more could a person ask for.

Here's wishing you a peaceful evening!

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

New Year Food Goal

I just finished posting an article about one of my food goals for 2010. Rather than write it again on this blog, I invite you to pop over to It Tastes Good for a proper read.

For any avid readers, I share a new book over there that I just purchased. It includes great secrets, recipes and pleasures for eating (and still stay slim). No, it's not a diet book!

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

No, I Didn't Freeze Up

2010 by Brenda Colleen Leyland
Well, I see that 2010 is not going to be a meandering kind of year.... it's begun with a brisk trot with me in the midst of finishing up a few projects hitherto left undone, as well as finding myself in the midst of monthly newsletter production.

All that to say, that's why I haven't come out to play just yet! And no, the weather has been quite cooperative -- cold but not intolerable -- so I'm not frozen like a popsicle.

However, I have been staying up later than usual as I got my nose stuck in my first book of the New Year. I could barely put it down until I finished it.

Here are a couple of quotes to whet your appetite for The Mistress of Nothing, by Kate Pullinger, 2009.

'Absorbing, intimate, Pullinger's story of a loyal English maidservant's awakening during a journey to an 1860's Egypt in turmoil is also a subtle observation of the play of power and love'. Lisa Appignanesi, back cover

'I've been coming here for a long time. I don't know why. The other maids ask me -- they think it's very odd, why go all the way up to town to sit in the Museum? Most of them have never been, will end their days having never been -- I can't think how to reply. I tried once, with Cook; I said, 'Because I like the mystery.' She looked at me as though I'd forgotten how to speak English. And it's a coincidence, my visits to this room over the years, and the fact that we are now going to Egypt. A wonderful coincidence that has, for once, gone in my favour.' A random quote from inside, p. 11

Why did I like the book? Perhaps because it's based on a true story; perhaps because it was so emotiv
e and sensual -- you could feel and smell and hear and taste the sights and sounds and flavours Lady Duff Gordon and her maid, Sally Naldress, experienced during their travels down the Nile to their new home.


And, now I must be off............ sweet dreams and happy day tomorrow!