Sunday, March 30, 2014

Something New...

Source: PenniwigsGraphics

NOTE:

Sorry, if you arrived at this post from poking around in my archives, you'll find it is totally out of date. When it first went up, I was talking about new colour themes, header, and sidebar formatting. As the look is constantly evolving, this post doesn't make sense anymore.

Why not delete the post, you ask?

The blog experts say if I delete and you click on some old link still in the system and then get a 404 error code, I will agitate the good will of possible readers.

So, if you're wondering what I'm talking about below, that's my old post. I'm just saying!




We've been playing ... as you can see for yourself, we're still tweeking. Although we loved our mauve ribbon flower motif on our previous header, with Spring coming (some day soon yes please) we are longing for a breath of fresh air. And the sighting of something more sprightly and lighthearted here on this blog.

Sometimes I take myself too seriously...especially when I'm trying to write something more 'formally'. I can be quite mischievous in 'real' life when the muse hits which has been known to show up at the most interesting -- and inopportune -- of moments. So I'm hoping to translate that more into my writing. Finding the humour adds a lovely layer of beauty to our lives.



So, that's why you see that playful bag of cats in my sidebar today. Just for fun. Aren't kitty cats lovely? I love 'em. And so oft miss my sweet Miss Kitty, rest her furry self.

Here's to something fresh and lovely..... and may you find that breath of new life blowing in through the open windows of your spring-longing soul. You've thrown open the sash, haven't you?
Wishing you a beautiful day with a generous dash o' fun.

Hugs,
Brenda
xox


Saturday, March 29, 2014

Bleak Mid-Winter...Spring?

Woke to find the world in which I live socked back into winter. Grey. Overcast. Snow on rooftops. No birds singing, except maybe the magpie who's crackling, What on earth is this again? How's a bird supposed to build a nest in this weather?

Lin left a message on my previous post saying that in her yard (southern Utah) the daffodils are finished and the rest of her spring blossoms are in full bloom. Hard to imagine it -- as no self-respecting daffodil would even dare poke out her little green tipped nose yet here in my part of the world.


And, since I refuse to let this or any weather dictate my frame of mind or mood, I might be facing winter on the outside on the last weekend of March... but I'm having Spring on the inside.

SO here's one more daffodil photo...it's the view I see sitting in my bed as I sip coffee and chat with hubby about future trips to Vienna and England and Florence.

If there's one thought I'd leave you with as I head into my day, I guess I'd say no matter what it looks like outside your window or what you feel like when you lift the bed covers from your body and throw your feet over the edge....
 
"Never give way to melancholy;
resist it steadily;
for the habit will encroach."
~ Sydney Smith

For He turns my waiting into triumphant rejoicing.




Wishing you glimpses of heaven in unexpected places.

Hugs,
Brenda
xox





Thursday, March 27, 2014

Daffy-down-Dilly Is Come Up To Town...

Source: morguefile.com

Daffy-down-dilly is come up to town,
In her yellow petticoat
And her green gown.
Earlier today I stopped at the grocery store to pick up a few items for lunch. And right inside the front door ... surely to entice shoppers like me who are l-o-n-g-i-n-g for Spring ... were buckets brimmed with bright yellow daffodils. Bundles of stems still in taut little buds and bundles of cheery faces wide open with welcome.
Oh joy, oh bliss..... Two bunches immediately found their way into my basket ... we were not leaving the shop without them. They sat on the dining room table this afternoon, but they've migrated to the bookshelf in our bedroom. For looking at before I go to sleep.
Daffodils surely bring me thoughts of Spring and warm weather. Not to mention Jeremy Irons reciting the famous Daffodils poem by William Wordsworth. Mmm...I'm of the opinion that the poet himself couldn't recite it better.

Source: morguefile.com


For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And d-a-n-c-e-s with the daffodils.


Now, here in northerly Alberta we don't get grand sightings of daffodils during Spring. There might be brave bunches planted neatly in gardens here and there (in May), but nothing so wild as the forest floor below.
Which is probably why I turn for my romance of this sprightly harbinger of Spring to scenes ever etched in my memory from old English movies...where one catches glimpses of daffodils on riverbanks and beneath trees, in country gardens, and nestled amongst old church headstones.

Source: morguefile.com
One such movie is a delightful Miss Marple mystery of Agatha Christie fame. Here's a link on youtube to Murder at the Vicarage... in which actress Joan Hickson plays the gentle but sharp-witted Miss Marple.

Years ago I'd heard that Miss Christie sent Miss Hickson a note "I hope one day you will play my dear Miss Marple." If you have time to watch the first few moments, you'll be catching glimpses of daffodils in that lovely English village, St. Mary Mead.

And if you decide to sit and watch the whole thing, there is a bit later on when the Vicar's wife brings in a large bouquet and happily dumps them into a water-filled vase.  I just want to be there picking my own daffodils and bringing them into the house.
  
So... it's definitely on my 'wanna experience this one day' list.  My longed-for trip (and now we are in the midst of seriously planning one) to England must include visiting an English village and walking along a riverbank in the Springtime so that I join this lovely one and...



...dance with daffodils!



There.... we're off.  Wishing you the best kind of day
and the most restful sleep!

Hugs,

Brenda



 




Monday, March 24, 2014

Spring Projects....

Source: Brenda Leyland

Good Morning!  It's a beautiful sunny day here ... still cold. But I've noticed the resident chickadees are going ahead with Spring in spite of the cool temperatures. Some things just can't be postponed; they know it's time to get housekeeping set up. They've been very active and there seems to be an air of determined 'no nonsense' about their demeanor.

They inspire me to get busy with my own Spring projects. Indeed, it's time. So, what's on my project list this week?  

One.  To write one or more draft chapters for the memoir of my love story.

Two. A couple of years ago, I signed up for Jeff Goins' Tribe Writers Writing Course which I didn't actually take at the time (but the price was definitely right then). Once a person signs up, she is considered a lifetime member and has access to the course and all future updates. As Jeff is offering the course again to newcomers, I thought it might be the right time ... and fun to join the tribe of other writers and just get it done. So this week, I want to work on the first lesson or two. (It's an 8-week course but a person can take it at their own pace too.)

Three. I've got another creative project simmering on the back burner. It includes gathering old photos as well as memories of the season before my love story. This is more to do with the home I lived in and all the little adventures of creating a place that was comfortable and hospitable. How in these years I learned that it was possible, as a single woman, to create a life that was beautiful and happy. It might be part scrapbook, memoir, diary, photo album.... still dreamin' on it.

Four. Something to do with Spring Cleaning. In small segments. So we won't get overwhelmed (we wouldn't want that to happen). Did I mention it will be in small segments... it may be a cupboard, a closet, a drawer, a carpet, a wall, a shelf, a box.  I'm keepin' in mind Susan Branch's rule of thumb on this....Start slow & taper off... good advice!



On that note, I'm away to get started before my ooph up and leaves.
After all, you'll recall from past posts here and here,
I've been up since three this morning and working since four.

What are you up to this week?

Hugs,






Sunday, March 23, 2014

Sunday Meditation...Keep Choosing God

Source:  Little Birdie Blessings

Have I ever mentioned that Henri J.M. Nouwen is one of my favourite spiritual writers? His words often speak wisdom and counsel, not to mention comfort, into my heart on days when I feel my ship is blown off course... or worse yet, caught on a sandbar or reef.

He is expert at knowing how to get to the nub of issues ... and often I find myself nodding, Yes, you must be reading my mail. I understand....and thank you for bringing your own struggles out in the open so that I know I'm not alone in this.

This morning, I was dipping into his book The Inner Voice of Love: A Journey Through Anguish to Freedom. A folded piece of paper already marked the spot that had obviously been meaningful in a previous reading. As I read the piece again, I felt drawn to share a wee except here with you:

Keep Choosing God

"You are constantly facing choices. The question is whether you choose for God or for your own doubting self. You know what the right choice is, but your emotions, passions, and feelings keep suggesting you choose the self-rejecting way.

The root choice is to trust at all time that God is with you and will give you what you most need. Your self-rejecting emotions might say, 'It isn't going to work. I'm still suffering the same anguish I did six months ago. I will probably fall back into the old depressive patterns of acting and reacting. I haven't really changed.' And on and on. It is hard not to listen to these voices.
Still, you know that these are not God's voice. God says to you, 'I love you, I am with you, I want to see you come closer to me and experience the joy and peace of my presence. I want to give you a new heart and a new spirit. I want you to speak with my mouth, see with my eyes, hear with my ears, touch with my hands. All that is mine is yours. Just trust me and let me be your God.'

This is the voice to listen to. And that listening requires a real choice, not just once in a while but every moment of each day and night.  It is you who decides what you think, say, and do. You can think yourself into a depression, you can talk yourself into low self-esteem, you can act in a self-rejecting way. But you always have a choice.... so move toward the Light, the Truth, and the Life."

This is what came to mind as I was typing the words above... that often we fear the old ways will come back, that it isn't going to work this time, that because we're still suffering the same anguish, we'll probably fall back into our old patterns.

But the perfect love of Jesus casts out fear. We do not have to be afraid of these things.  The way I see it, it's the fear that causes us to stumble or fall.

Maybe we have missed it...again. But we don't have to stay there. As Henri Nouwen so beautifully puts it, we have choices. And today, I choose God. I choose to believe him... that even this area of current failure will one day be a radiant testimony that his grace is always enough ... always!



With a gentle kiss atop thy heads,






Friday, March 21, 2014

Fresh Cinnamon Buns and A Movie



Happy first day of Spring, even though it feels and looks more like winter today. In celebration, I pulled out my sis-in-law's recipe for quick and easy cinnamon buns to have as a treat with coffee in the afternoon.




I won't tell you that Rick and I each had two of these buttery, crispy morsels with our freshly brewed coffee. Neither of us batted an eye when the suggestion went forth 'shall we have seconds'? And there wasn't even a hint of guilt around either, for which we were most grateful!



Almost as soon as they came out of the oven -- we don't like to waste time letting them cool -- we sat down with our treats and whiled away a cold-ish afternoon watching the graceful Joan Plowright in that lovely English movie Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont. It was delightful.

I didn't realize the movie was a novel turned into screenplay. Which I feel excited about, as now I look forward to exploring the other writings by the English author, Elizabeth Taylor (1912 - 1975) ... (no, she's not the actress-of-the-violet-eyes fame). If the rest of her novels and short stories are as thoughtful and appealing as the story of Mrs. Palfrey, then I look forward to reading more.

According to one write-up, Miss Taylor's work is mainly concerned with the nuances of "everyday" life and situations, something I'm most interested in exploring myself.

On that note.... I'm wishing you a pleasant rest of the day.
Hugs,
Brenda
xox


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Musicians of the Air

Photo source:  National Geographic.com


The one thing I'm very grateful for at the end of this lovely day is that 'those little nimble musicians of the air' -- the purple finches -- are returning to our backyard.
Their little songs fill the air again ... and make my heart pulse with gladness for their sweetness. For a wee sighting and listen, click here or here.

Wishing you gladness for your own heart...








A leaf fluttered in through the window this morning, as if supported by the rays of the sun, a bird settled on the fire escape, joy in the task of coffee, joy accompanied me as I walked.

Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/a/anaisnin159052.html#1p6fojdcvMEvL4fB.99
A leaf fluttered in through the window this morning, as if supported by the rays of the sun, a bird settled on the fire escape, joy in the task of coffee, joy accompanied me as I walked.

Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/a/anaisnin159052.html#1p6fojdcvMEvL4fB.99
A leaf fluttered in through the window this morning, as if supported by the rays of the sun, a bird settled on the fire escape, joy in the task of coffee, joy accompanied me as I walked.

Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/a/anaisnin159052.html#1p6fojdcvMEvL4fB.99

Monday, March 17, 2014

Green-Themed Day


Well, I spent a good part of this green-themed day being aware of how my day was unfolding, knowing full well I had bound myself to come here and muse 'aloud' as to what one thing had really come alive for me in some way.

Oh my...I had all sorts of goodness happening around me.

But I knew I was set for the day when I popped over to Susan Branch's new posting this morning. All edged in green in honour of St. Patrick's Day, it was filled with all manner of whimsy and lovely things to read and listen to.

For me, the most fun was catching glimpses of her kitty cat, Jack.

She wanted to take pics of him and his green eyes for the post, but he had his own ideas about that. Then later, he came back and plopped his furry self right atop the papers Susan wanted to show her readers. And then suddenly he's tearing 'out of the room and up the back stairs. Like a nut.' Too funny. You might want to read for yourself here.

Of course, what made it dear to me was that his antics reminded me so much of my own Mr. Furry Sullivan (he was part of my life before blogging).  He used do the same thing, lay right where you were reading and then look up at you and say in a loud purr, you weren't reading that, were you?

You aren't going to believe how many other posts I started before I settled on this one. You see, there were so many possibilities. But at the end of the day, it was Susan and Jack who gave me beauty, mirth, and furry fun. For that I'm grateful.

So, to end this green-themed day, I've provided a video that plays a lovely bit of music in keeping with Irish thoughts. I think it's a lovely way to wind down at the end of another day. You can let it play as you brush your teeth or put your feet up for a nice read.







Happy Green Day!

Brenda
xox





Sunday, March 09, 2014

Dreamin' Stage...

Photo Source:  morguefile.com


Every dream begins with a dreamer ~ Susan Branch


It's like Spring around here today. And my heart is so happy about it. Blue skies with frilly clouds floating past my study window. Sunshine making the snow melt to beat the band. And the neighbour's black and white Sylvester kitty cat enjoying his leisurely sniff and stroll atop the fence behind our house. (That reminds me, Christine, you once asked about Orange Kitten; her family moved away and I assume she moved with them. She was such a little sweetheart, that kitty). 

Add to that, a large teacup of lemon ginger tea with two homemade gingersnaps waiting on the little tray beside me... and you'll understand that Life. Feels. Pretty. Wonderful. Today.

We fervently hope that those long cold days of 'no sign of spring' will soon be a distant memory of Winter 2014. And we can start colouring in the calendar with different scenes. Like opening windows wide and letting in those fresh spring breezes. Bouquets of tulips on the table. The sounds of robins whistling from chimney stacks. And, yes, even the roar of the first lawn mower starting off the season of getting that grass cut. It's. All. Welcome.

We're writing.  Yes, we are.  But as you will note, it's not here on my blog at present. Which I am sorry about. But I'll get the rhythm back for that one day soon.

You see, I've been mulling and mooning over a book I've started. It began when I took that memoir class back in the fall. As I struggled to get it out on e-paper (with much pencil chewing and erasing), I realized that having a good seed idea is a long way from having it ready to blossom out onto the paper screen.

There's a whole lot of dreamin' and growing needed between times. And that, my beautiful friends, is a lot of what I've been doing these past weeks. (And, yes we still haul ourselves out of bed in the wee small hours to clean at our local performing arts center). So in truth, the cold days of winter were 'hardly' noticed as I mooned around wondering where to start, what memories to select, deciding the focus and pinning down that one teeny tiny slice of life upon which everything else will hinge and unfold......

Oh yes, and another thing that kept turning up to stall things is that defiant regiment I call 'The French Resistance' .... every sort and type of resistance of limiting beliefs and fears that could ever grow inside one's head and heart to stop one from moving forward. It all started showing up. So you'll understand that we've had to begin a fierce weeding regime to work through all that ole nonsense too.

The story I'm writing... did I hear someone asking about it?  It's a love story... my love story.

I don't know if I ever told you that I was single a long time before I ever met and married my wonderful husband. And it's been stirring in my heart for a while now to share that story... of a young woman's longing for love and marriage, the journey of discovery that one can live a beautiful and fulfilling life as a single person. Dealing with the angst of marrying the wrong person. And, discovering that loving the Lord Jesus truly opens the way to love one's self as He loves her.

Which then makes having a relationship with that Very Special Someone begin to look, feel and taste so much more like 'heaven on earth' (than that other place).

It's also about waiting for God's timing and trusting for the right ending, believing that no good thing will he withhold from those who trust him. As my dear sister once mentioned to me in the beginning stages of this love story, the rose that gets picked too soon won't bloom. Meaning, of course, if you push for a relationship...plucking its tender petals too early will cause it to die and wither rather than come into its full and fragrant bloom.

Of late, I'm being inspired by Susan Branch. She is a delight. She's creative, generous, funny...and has a gift for encouraging her readers to follow their dreams.  The ones, I believe, God places within our hearts. You may recall that Rick gave me Susan's book A Fine Romance for Valentine's Day and I've been exploring her blog ever since.

One of those sayings that keeps coming up in Susan's book and writings is....

If you can dream it, you can make it so.  



Photo source:  morguefile.com


Because nothing happens unless first we dream.

~ Carl Sandburg




So that's where I'm at right now.  And I'm happy to report that I'm physically feeling much more rested and ready to enjoy this new season.

On that note, I'm wishing you a beautiful day. And may you catch multitude glimpses of heaven in unexpected places all week long......

Hugs and blessings,


 




   

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Peace Within

Earlier this week, I came across a lovely collection of poetry during a visit to the local library. It's entitled She Walks in Beauty: A Woman's Journey Through Poetry, as selected by Caroline Kennedy.

"Inspired by (Caroline Kennedy's) own reflections on more than fifty years of life as a young girl, a woman, a wife, and a mother, She Walks in Beauty draws on poetry's eloquent wisdom to ponder the many joys and challenges of being a woman." ~ Amazon Book Description

I probably don't have to tell you, but I'm already yearning to have this beautiful book as part of my own collection of bedside reading. (Mmm.... that might have to go on my wish list for an upcoming birthday.)

Especially drawn to one poem written by St. Teresa of Avila (which I also found online here), I wanted to share it with you as a little gift from my heart to yours as we start a new month and a new week.




“May today there be peace within.


May you trust God
that you are exactly where you are meant to be.

May you not forget
the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.

May you use those gifts that you have received,
and pass on the love that has been given to you.

May you be content
knowing you are a child of God.

Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom
to sing, dance, praise and love.

It is there for each and every one of us.” 


With a gentle kiss atop thy head,
Brenda
xox