Friday, July 30, 2010

Skywatch Friday





"When I admire the wonders of a sunset or the beauty of the moon, 
my soul expands in the worship of the creator." 
 ~ Mohandas Gandhi
  

For some reason I've been intrigued by these sunset pictures I took last night.  The cloud formation is so interesting.  Almost I can envision what the writer of Hebrews calls the 'cloud of witnesses' sitting above us.  Perhaps they are closer than we imagine.

Although it's not one of those fiery displays, there are an amazing amount of colors when you look closely.

Today I'm joining Skywatch Friday, the place where, every Friday, sky watchers from around the world post their incredible sky photos. If your soul needs wow-ing today, this is a great place to get it!

Here's wishing you glimpses of heaven in unexpected places!

Hugs,
Brenda
xox
   



Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Fresh As A Daisy



Our shasta daisies are in full bloom. They make such a sprightly bunch off in the f-a-r corner of our garden. Far enough away from the patio and the deck, for as anyone who knows this plant will tell you, they are not grown for their sweet and pleasing fragrance.

I love to tell the story of a day one summer long ago, when I convinced my young nephew to go check out the pretty daisies growing along the side of the house, and to be sure to give them a good, deep sniff. He came back, nose all a-wrinkle. Ewwwww! Disgusting! He was so delightedly 'grossed out' by their pungent, odd smell that he went off to find his dad. Dad, you have to come smell these r-e-a-l-l-y nice flowers.

So, the joke around here right now is that Mr. Hubbs is trying to convince me that I should go and give them a good sniff as they are really nice. Sez she, Aha, we might have been born in the night, but it wasn't last night!

Do you remember that old sing-song young girls used to rattle off as they plucked the petals off one by one, secretly hoping that it would count off right? He loves me, he loves me not, he loves me, he loves me not, he loves me....
Mr. Hubbs and I both were single a long time before we met and married, and so it isn't that many years ago when the daisy petal song FINALLY counted out the right way for me ......... he loves me, he loves me not, he loves me, he loves me not, he loves me!

And, so there's the post.  I wish you a beautiful day... filled with something fresh and sprightly. And not too smelly.

Hugs,
Brenda
xox




Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Miss Kitty

2010 by Brenda Colleen Leyland

A Nap Between Two Pillows


In the proverbial list of 'a few of our favorite things', catching Miss Kitty asleep in a sunbeam has got to be right up there for me. 

I tried to figure out why exactly, and I'm not sure, except I know my heart gets a little thrill.  Perhaps it symbolizes that sense of well being and contentment we all long for. 

I realize again how glad she's a part of my life and I'm a part of hers.

 

"The smallest feline is a masterpiece."
- Leonardo da Vinci


Here's wishing you a purr-fect day!



Saturday, July 24, 2010

We're Off ..............

2010 by Brenda Colleen Leyland



....enjoying our summer.......
 


The days are beautiful...........



and so are the long twilights.



 At present, my study is too close for comfy computering and blogging
 ~ we'll catch up with you soon.


Wishing you beautiful days!




 

Thursday, July 22, 2010

She Said It Perfectly





Have you ever thought, why should I try and phrase this in my own words when someone else has discovered how to say it perfectly already?

That's exactly what I was thinking when I read a recent posting by Brenda at Coffee Tea Books and Me. In my view, On the Well Read Life will provide you with the most delightful reason to stop, make a cup of tea, and enjoy a little break on a busy afternoon.

Here's to kindred friends who share my own delight in books and reading!
 
Hugs,
Brenda
xox
 




Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Fiddling Your Time Away?




Have you ever fiddled away your time to work on a certain project, only to be suddenly faced with the deadline and now you aren't finished?

Oh yes, I've done that too many times to count. And, I hate how that makes me feel... rushed, overwhelmed, and mad at myself.

Today I've posted on my writers' group blog about that very thing trying to uncover why I do that and to share some Tips on how to change.

If you've got your own fiddling issues, I hope you'll take a moment to click and read Fiddler on the Post.

Wishing you a great day,
Brendaxox














Monday, July 19, 2010

Some Things Just Require...




"A great many things can be resolved with kindness,
even More with laughter,
but there are Some things
that just require cake."

found on a cocktail napkin



Do pull up a chair, grab a fork, and let's enjoy a delectable slice together! 

Hugs,
Brenda
xox 




Photo Source: glitter-graphics.com

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Watch For Him






Oswald Chambers
My Utmost for His Highest

"Our difficulties, our trials, and our worries
about tomorrow all vanish when we look to God.
No matter how many things seem to be pressing in on you,
be determined to push them aside and look to Him."


Wishing you an untroubled heart today!

Hugs,
Brenda
xox

Friday, July 16, 2010

The Joy of Visiting New Bloggers


It's fun to visit new bloggers -- you never know when you meet a kindred spirit. And even if you don't, there are so many interesting people doing such creative things. My sister sent me a blog link to check out earlier, which led me to another... and another... and another. Don't you love how that happens? It's like going on a treasure hunt -- every time you click on a new clue link, you get treasure. Here's who I 'met' today:

I could relate to Delia Lloyd, a writer/journalist based in London, when she writes on her blog RealDelia that she is 'devoted to the idea that adulthood is not a destination. Growing up, (she) always thought adulthood was the final frontier -- a place you arrived and suddenly everything made sense....Turns out it doesn't work that way...'

Barbara Swafford has created a fun place for bloggers to hang out at Blogging Without A Blog. She says the 'greatest value of this blog lies in the comment section where bloggers in all phases of the blogging journey open up and share their thoughts.' Lots a great postings about our craft. Here's on posting of Barbara's I really enjoyed A Mantra For Bloggers-Writers.

Vered Deleeuw of momgrind.com started blogging just for fun and realized she loved it so much she turned it into a business. As a 'blogger for hire', she actually writes blogs for other businesses. In one of her posts, she says she never really connected to the 'personal' kind of blogging, but it looks like she found a niche that works for her. Guess that's good advice for each of us. Find what works.
Happy Blogging!
Brenda





Thursday, July 15, 2010

Get Out Of My Bed, Cat!




How the week has flown. I am in the midst of cleaning out all my computer files because this weekend my computer is being updated and re-sized. Happily, two of my very techie nephews are doing the renovations for me... as I say, happy me!

As we sorted files and links, I came across a cute pet video on my 'keep' file. Titled Get Out Of My Bed!, I just love how the dog looks up at his 'dad' wondering when he's going to get that ole cat outta there. Hope you enjoy.




Here's wishing you a pleasant weekend ahead...
Brenda



Friday, July 09, 2010

Journal Jottings

2010 by Brenda Colleen Leyland




I'VE CHUCKLED MORE than once at one of Oscar Wilde's quips about traveling on long train trips.  Apparently he once said he always took his journals along so that he'd have something sensational to read.

Well, I haven't been on any train trips lately, and I don't know how 'sensational' my jottings would be, yet it's still fun to randomly pull one of my old journals from the cupboard.  Not only does it house the record of The Life And Times of Brenda Leyland, but along side my own mutterings and musings, I often jot down quotes and interesting ideas from many of  my favorite magazines, books, and movies. Whether they provide inspiration, encouragement, laughter or creative imaginings, these sayings tend to settle in and become an integral part of my soul's fabric.

This morning, a pretty creamsicle-hued journal from 2007 beckoned me.  Accepting the invitation, I open it to see what voices might re-whisper words I need to hear today. This is what caught my attention:


On Keeping A Diary.  "...keeping a diary...is a gesture of faith in the importance of your own voice,  your own opinion.  This is worth considering, worth recording, worth cherishing."  (from Perri Klass, September '94 Victoria Magazine)
On Solitude.  "Solitude is a beautiful word.  It sounds like sunlight through trees, or a walk on the beach, or a soprano voice that soars... I'd run out of sleep before the night lost its darkness.... This is the sort of time that begs for a marathon baking project, a cake with lots of layers demanding the kind of persnickety perseverance that pays off in sugar roses and "ooohs" from the children.....We gather beauty for gray days..."  (from Catherine Calvert, A Day of Solitude, September '97 Victoria Magazine)
The Test for a Well-Decorated Room.  According to Charlotte Moss, the test for a well-decorated room is simple:  Does it invite you to settle in with a book and a cup of tea, even if no one is home?  So, how does she choose colors for a room?  Charlotte assesses how they would look on a rainy day when she's curled up with a book. And, what makes a comfy sofa?  A solid back but never a solid seat -- you need to be able to sink into a pillow to read.
On Planning Ahead.  "To the ancient Hebrews, each new day began in the evening.  Each evening was devoted to rest, to family, to fellowship -- as well as to study and meditation in God's Word.  Try devoting some of your time in the evening to quiet reflection and some inner planning.  In other words, prepare yourself in the evening for the coming day."  (from Emilie Barnes, Keep It Simple, p. 228



Hope my journal gleanings add something enjoyable to your day!  Have a wonderful weekend!





Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Elephant, Wait For Me!



Have you ever been in a quandary about some situation and you've said, Oh, I don't know what to do, I'm of two minds on this? You know the place where your rational mind says this is the best thing to do, but your heart says, Yes, but I don't really want to, it doesn't feel right.

I recently read the new book Switch, How to Change When Change is Hard by Chip Heath and Dan Heath. They deal with this double-minded tendency in a way that really makes sense. They use the imagery of an elephant and his rider, the elephant being your emotional side and the rider your rational side. We all know that the rider and the elephant both need to have the same destination in mind; otherwise the rider will want to head off in one direction and the elephant somewhere else.

Although they don't talk about it, this book really illustrates what James says in the New Testament about a double-minded person being unstable in all her ways, and not to think she will get anything (or anywhere) if she can't become of one mind about it.

If you have an area where you wish you could just make a decision that both your rider and elephant are happy with, but don't know how, you might find this book helpful in clarifying some inner issues.

Here's to learning new ways to live life more beautifully...

Brenda
xox



Monday, July 05, 2010

Accountability Sure Helps

My friend and I have been using Facebook to encourage each other to get our writing projects 'out of our heads and onto paper'.

At a certain time each day, we log in to discuss our goal for that session, set the timer, and begin. When time's up, we message each other 'Done' and email what we've worked on.

Lean in close... because I don't want to say this out loud, but we both attended the same writing conference last July, and being gals who are swift of heart and foot... ahem... we finally put action to the goals we set out that weekend. And we're not telling the conference presenters that it took us that long to get started either! Of course, you wouldn't recognize what we're talking about, would you?

There's something to the advice that successful people often share -- if you want to get something done, be accountable to someone. It's so motivating when you know someone is waiting at the other end of the session to hear that your e-mail has been sent and 'go look for what I've just written'!

With the gift of 'real' time online communication -- even though we live a couple hours apart from each other -- thanks to Betty for initiating our daily rendezvous, we've actually completed a few writing goals these past couple of weeks. Can you see the big grin?

Hope you're encouraged to dust off a goal or two and find someone to share the journey as you work on it. Even if you both live hundreds of miles apart, online connection makes it so easy now.

Wishing you a beautiful day whatever you're up to!
Brenda
xox




Saturday, July 03, 2010

If You Pray...How You Can Pray For BP Oil Spill

2010 by Brenda Colleen Leyland

I recently received the following information from Derek Prince Ministries, in which they shared a prayer to find a solution regarding the BP Oil Spill. My heart connected to this prayer, and the authors have invited us to share it with our own networks.

There's an old quote by Tennyson Morte D'Arther, "More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of..."

Together, let's humble ourselves and believe that God will change this situation on our world's behalf.

With you in this,







Email masthead

Intercession Concerning the BP Oil Spill

The crisis brought on by the oil spill in the Gulf has been a matter of continuing concern and prayer. Four Gulf Coast governors recently called upon the citizens of their states (Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas) to pray for a solution to the oil spill and for all citizens of the states directly impacted by the disaster.

We invite you to join in those prayers. To help in that prayer effort, we are offering some specific tools for you to utilize.

The following remarks and pattern prayer concerning the BP oil spill crisis have come to us from Jim Croft, one of the Board members of Derek Prince Ministries. In addition to this pattern prayer, we have included a link to helpful teaching resources by Derek Prince that will guide you as you intercede regarding the situation. The link is to two messages on prayer by Derek titled, “How to Pray and get What You Pray For.”

We recommend the prayer Jim has offered and the material by Derek Prince for your own use and also for distribution to other friends in your network who may wish to intercede concerning this crisis as well.

Introductory Remarks Regarding the Crisis

“It is my conviction that churches and Christians throughout America are obligated to intercede about the situation. Without God’s miraculous intervention, this crisis has the potential to escalate even more and our way of life could be greatly altered for the next hundred years. With that in mind, I offer the following prayer as a pattern for you and others with whom you might share it.” - Jim Croft

Pattern Prayer for Intercession

Father God, we humbly come before You asking for mercy. Your gracious intervention is the only solution for the sea life, inland wildlife estuaries and citizens residing in the Gulf regions of the USA and beyond.

As we come to You in prayer and intercession, we begin by reminding You of Your nature and Your ways. Lord, You are the greatest of environmentalists. You take note of the deaths of seemingly insignificant sparrows (Matt. 10:29). It was You, O God, who wanted to withhold judgment against wicked Nineveh in the days of Jonah, the prophet. You expressed concern not only for Nineveh’s 120,000 inhabitants, but for its livestock as well (Jonah 4:11).

Lord, it was You who commanded the people of ancient Israel to leave the edges of their fields uncultivated in order to provide safe cover and foraging areas for birds and animals. Similarly, you commanded Israel not to make second gleanings of their crops so that food might be available for the poor (Ex. 23:11; Lev. 19:9, 23; Deut. 22:6).

Lord, You have said of Yourself that You do not change. We beseech You now to demonstrate your unchangeable character. O God, have mercy and intervene. Exhibit Your love for the creatures and plant life of the sea by stopping the oil leak. Please protect our shores and inland marshes from further damage. Lord, have mercy on the masses of our citizens who are dependent on the waters and shores of the Gulf for their livelihoods. Please keep them from slipping into the grip of poverty.

Lord God, please prevent the oil spillage from progressing by way of the Gulf Stream around Florida and then north to affect the waters and shores of the Atlantic Coast.

Father, we know that terrible storms have been predicted for this season, storms which could intensify the perils of the oil spill in the Gulf. Father God, You inspired Your Son to still storms. You have not changed, and Jesus is ever the same. Please nullify the effects of those storms and divert any hurricanes so that they do not make landfall in any inhabited locales.

Lord, You are the God of creativity; and You inspire the same in men. Let Your revelations about how to stop the leak, how to purify the waters, and how to cleanse the inland estuaries come to those whom You inspire.

O Lord, You are the loving God who miraculously purifies bitter and poisoned waters on behalf of mankind and animals. You did it for Moses and the children of Israel in the wilderness at Marah (Ex. 15:23-26). You did it for Elisha and the inhabitants of Jericho (2 Kings 2:19-22). You directed Moses to cast in a branch of a tree to heal the waters. And You directed Elisha to throw salt into the spring at Jericho. Those instances were under the Old Covenant, and we have a better Covenant, established on better promises (Heb. 8:6).

Through the atoning death of Jesus on a wooden cross, You brought us into Your covenant of grace. Our responses to others are to be seasoned with the salt of graciousness (Col. 4:6). Let it be so with Your response to our intercessions.

Lord, nothing is too difficult for You. Changing water into blood and back again into water was one of Your first signs to the Egyptians that You are the God of all. You empowered Your Son, Jesus, to transform water into wine to satisfy the needs of a family wedding. The livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of families and the lives of innumerable millions of water creatures, animals and plants are at stake in this matter of polluted waters that need to be purified.

O God, we beseech You to intervene with Your mercy. Please transform the waters of the Gulf into a purified state for the glory of Your name. Do it by giving nautical engineers and scientists clever insights. Do it through a miraculous intervention, so that all will know that the solution to this crisis came from You.

But please do it, Lord. And we will give You all honor and praise for doing so. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Click here to listen to two messages on prayer by Derek titled, “How to Pray and get What You Pray For.”

*******

(NOTE: If you are in agreement with this prayer, please use it personally; and also pass it along to those on your email lists.)

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Friday, July 02, 2010

More Opportunity Musings


Do you recall that quote of John Lennon's -- life happens when you're busy making plans?

I've noticed opportunities work that way too. In fact, they often show up at highly irregular times... hardly when it's convenient. They come when there is suffering to be alleviated, when our heads are aching, when life is twirling in fast forward, when the grocery line is at a standstill. They arrive - blam - in the middle of it all, totally oblivious to what we consider ill-timed arrivals.




I've noticed that opportunities (however small) usually bring us to a cross-roads..................... that place where we must make a choice. Shall we stay or go? Shall we turn here or there? Shall we do it or not?

I wonder how often I've let circumstances stand in the way of what I said I wanted because it didn't look exactly the way I thought it should.

I have been learning that sometimes in order to reach my destination of that 'perfect' whatever, I need to go through the open door that's available right now. And because we trust that God promises to direct our steps, even if I can't possibly see the 'why' of doing this, I know He knows the steps to get to the next door.

I guess in all this musing, the message I'm getting for myself is to have the boldness and courage to just do something -
- anything -- rather than waiting for everything to line up perfectly. An opportunity is just that...an opportunity. I can take it or leave it.

I love what Star Wars Jedi Master, Yoda, tells Luke Skywalker when he says he'll give it a try. "No. Try not. Do.. or do not. There is no try".

Sometimes
it's that simple. Do or do not. Be bold, be clear, and take a leap of faith....use the opportunity... or not.... but step up and make the choice. One way or the other.  It clears the mind of confusion and lifts the fog from our path.

Brenda
 



Thursday, July 01, 2010

O Canada





Happy Birthday, Canada!

"And He shall have dominion from sea to shining sea"







On the Lighter Side...

"A perfect summer day is when the sun is shining,
the breeze is blowing, the birds are singing,
and the lawn mower is broken."
~ James Dent