Sunday, April 27, 2014

Bring Your Own...





Wherever you go, no matter what the weather,

always bring your own sunshine.

~ Anthony J. D'Angelo


Sending you love and good wishes
for a great week ahead.




Thursday, April 24, 2014

Happiness is Finding Daphne's Diary Magazine

"All the sweet, beautiful and nice things in life."
Don't you love the gentle turning of pages as you make your way through a new magazine that's got lots of interesting things to read and beautiful pictures to pore over (especially when it's not brimming with advertising)?


 **Daphne's Diary**



What about a magazine that lifts your mood into something festive, inspirational and just plain, every day happy?

All because it's filled with pages that suddenly make you want to get up and do something creative and fun?

Like baking an orange and lemon cheesecake with raisin and walnuts... or painting bright, beautiful butterflies on canvas for your bedroom wall... or making your own series of whimsical postcards to send out to old friends and neighbours you haven't seen in ages and ages.

That's exactly what Daphne's Diary does. It's a brand new find for me... but according to the info I found at InPublishing, this delightful magazine was launched in October 2013 and is published every six weeks. 

I found it here in Canada at Chapters Bookstore. You can learn more on their Facebook page and website, where you can also order a subscription if you like.



"Daphne's Diary is for the woman who loves antiques, vintage, romance and nostalgia. She is creative and loves home decorating and gardening. For this reason she likes to experiment with paper and textiles. She cooks and bakes simple dishes and enjoys them in the company of her family and friends.With family or friends, she takes weekend trips to London, Paris, Brussels or Amsterdam, where they search for “brocante” items. She’s taking a moment for herself to enjoy all the sweet, beautiful and nice things in life." ~ excerpt from InPublishing




Sending you wishes for a beautiful day!


Hugs,
Brenda
xox

 



Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Our Beautiful Earth...


This morning I stop to give thanks and to say a little prayer for the beautiful blue planet we all call home. I wanted to join with many others who are commemorating Earth Day 2014.

With Spring unfolding with all its promise for new life, we certainly feel the wonder again of how lovely nature really is... all of it, I believe, created in its very beginnings by God Himself.  

But, for all the joy in that, there is a piercing of the heart as I look around right here in my own region of the world to find that there are far too many in our world who do not share this wonder, nor do they seem to have any care for wise development of resources, or conservation or finding how to keep the delicate balance of nature and progress in our cultures.

Instead they seem intent on 'raping and pillaging' our lands, our forests, our wildlife, oceans and lakes, polluting our air, making the land work overtime so that nutrients are depleted, treating our domestic animals with the cruelest of actions.

But I'm reminded even as I type this piece today that if I keep my eyes on these things, I will surely lose hope.  For it is only in keeping my eyes on the Creator that I can find wisdom on how to live and care for the little corner of my world, not to mention how to speak 'heaven on earth' so that healing, restoration and hope can come to our world and we can have a better tomorrow.

There are many people who are doing their part to make the world, our very planet, a better place to live. I am grateful for each one.  Too often these good news pieces don't get as much attention as the bad news stuff -- but yes they are out there too.

In the middle of this, I want to tell you a little story I heard years ago. As I recall, there was a man, a poor rice farmer who lived somewhere in Asia.  This man learned how to pray for and bless his little rice paddy. As the story goes, he began to see results -- his fields began to flourish and he got bumper crops.  He began to pray for his neighbourhood then. Apparently he would stand on a little hill and he would lift his arm and hold it out in front of him as he prayed, turning himself around so that whatever he could see from every direction he would bless.

If that is a true story, and I believe it is, I think it serves as an example that we, too, can use our voices, not to lament and wail that this world is going to 'you-know-where' in a hand basket, but to use our voices to bless that which needs healing, restoration and fruitfulness.

Do you have lakes that are polluted and fish dying in those lakes? Start to bless them and ask the Lord of this earth to give people ideas that can start to shift things to make a difference. 

If my people which are called by my name...will humble themselves and pray...I will hear and heal  their land.

This is how I want to bless my beautiful blue world today.  Will you join me? 




 "The Earth. . . is a sparkling blue and white jewel. . . laced with slowly swirling veils of white. . . like a small pearl in a thick sea of black mystery." ~ Edgar Mitchell, US Astronaut





 For a glimpse of that beauty, here is:


On that note, I'm sending my love to you and to all God's creatures,
O Happy Day!


Hugs,




Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter Meditation: The Song Breaks In

I woke early this morning, as is my usual wont. It was still dark out...all was quiet and peaceful.

And then I heard it. The very welcome sleepy twittering of the first robin of the season. Yesterday there was no sign of him, and yet there he was now... singing in the dawn of a new morning.

For me it was my little joy gift from my heavenly father... and the perfect start to what many know as Resurrection Sunday.

The early morning skies were still shrouded in pre-dawn shades of gray, and I began to think about the story in the Gospels of how the women went early in the morning to the tomb to put spices around the body of their beloved Jesus.

Did the robin's song break the solemn silence of that morning?   

Did the song give those sorrowing women a lift in their heavy hearts? Was there a hint of the joy, still hidden, that was waiting just around the corner when they arrived in that garden?

Whether they had an inkling or not, I can well imagine the surprise and later the utter joy at finding out that He wasn't in that tomb anymore, but actually was walking around -- full of life and joy -- giving us the promise that one day we too can rise with Him into everlasting life.

Today I'm singing.... and if you desire to join in, I've shared two pieces that you might enjoy. The first is a modern piece In Christ Alone that I like very much, and the second is a more classical piece This Joyful Eastertide as sung by a choir at King's College Cambridge.



See the land, her Easter keeping,
Rises as her Maker rose.
Seeds, so long in darkness sleeping,
Burst at last from winter snows.
Earth with heaven above rejoices…”
~ Charles Kingsley
 

  
 On that note, I'm sending you sprigs of joy and peace
with a gentle kiss atop thy head,
Brenda
xox



Photo source:  Panoramio.com






Friday, April 18, 2014

A Good Friday Wrap



The week flew by, didn't it? I started two different posts I wanted to share with you. Somehow my writer and editor selves got all tangled up trying to create and edit all at the same time. Soon the postings were all tangled up too. And so neither got finished ... nor posted, as we have some untangling to do.

Does that ever happen to you? You start with a simple, but lovely idea that you want to post about and then somehow it turns complicated? You start adding too much, then it gets too heavy and now you've got more ideas creeping in that could wait for another posting. And you wonder how you got off track. Now it's too late in the day to really work on it and so you're feeling stressed.

So while I'm weeding out the extraneous on those other two pieces, I'm just popping in to wish you a beautiful Friday. And to say I have been thinking of you. And to give you some snippets from my week.




It was my birthday yesterday. Had a lovely day with hubby. Rick took me out for a very nice lunch and we strolled through our local conservatory to take in the spring displays. Plus, we visited our local art gallery for a joyful look at the work of two amazing glasswork artists, Susan Rankin and Manola Borrajo, both from Canada.

Although I'm inching a little too close to that new decade that doesn't seem quite right for my generation, I've decided not to be frettin' on it. So, instead, I'm looking forward to a new year to grow, learn, experience life, love and beauty. Will you have a slice with me?

 It's been snowing. I'm not joking. Seriously too. Not just a few flakes. Tell me, somebody please, did I tear off too many calendar pages too soon, and it really is only February? The birds migrating into town this past week seem a little disoriented.  The Canada Geese are sitting atop frozen ponds looking forlorn. The juncos, usually feeders on the ground, couldn't find any seeds as they were all covered with the white stuff. So we tromped out there to throw some seeds around for them to peck through.

The memoir story is coming along. We have almost finished Week 2 of the little 30-day challenge to write 750 words per day, every single day, no matter what. I happily report that the momentum has been building, and some days I've not only met the quota but nearly tripled the amount.

This is celebration time, my dear friends. Yes, even while we're in the middle of the challenge. Because it's been a hard haul to stay motivated and to just keep at it... not just this project, but many writing projects along the way (okay, confession time, just about any project that needs stamina and stick-with-it-ability. But I've found my stride now.

This is what I found works for She Who Tends To Get Easily Overwhelmed and Distracted:
1. Her goal is small enough not to feel pressured but big enough to stretch just a little.

2. Because it's small, she can do this every single day ... no matter what else is going on.

3. She is focusing on being a writer in this freefall first draft. The self-editor voice who felt it was her place to look over her shoulder as she typed to help 'fix' things... well, God bless her, the writer finally locked the door on her and kindly told her that her turn will come later and to just go relax with a coffee or something. Eat some cake, for pete's sake.

4. She remembers something she read on one  blogger's site... to write your first draft as quickly as possible. The whole thing. He also shared an inside secret on how one can separate the newbies from the veterans.
"The latter race through the first draft while the first timers belabor every word, parse thrice every phrase, and start again and again and again." ~ Gordon Burgett

5. She found a copy of Steven Pressfield's book The War of Art in which the author talks about pushing through the resistance we all face and to start acting like a professional about her writing -- which means showing up every day and getting her goal done, no matter what.



That's a little of what's been going on with me... And now I take a moment to wish those of you who are commemorating and celebrating the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, a truly blessed and meaningful weekend of reflection and celebration.

Sending you sprigs of joy and peace,
Brenda
xox








Monday, April 14, 2014

To Add Some Beauty




"I'd like to add some beauty to life," said Anne dreamily. "I don't exactly want to make people KNOW more... though I know that IS the noblest ambition... but I'd love to make them have a pleasanter time because of me... to have some little joy or happy thought that would never have existed if I hadn't been born.”  ~ L.M. Montgomery, Anne's House of Dreams




 Ditto and Amen!

Wishing you little joys and happy thoughts,
Brenda
xox





Saturday, April 12, 2014

Sending A Quick Note...

Inside the heart of a tulip, Brenda Leyland 2014
I am NOT telling you that we woke to snow this morning.... 

...because I just read on Vee's blog that she is enjoying summery temps already in the 70's F. Enough on that, as she would say. It's pink tulips and apple blossom thoughts we're having today... in site of said snow outside!

Besides, family is arriving any moment so who cares what's going on outside.

The ham baking in the oven makes the whole house smell welcoming (ham on a bun for brunch with homemade mustard sauce).

And, for dinner later this evening there's turkey ready to go in the oven, with all the trimmings. No doubt it will be tempting and jostling our nostrils all the live long day with its savory smells wafting from the kitchen. How blessed I feel with such bounty today.

On a different note I'm wishing Susan Branch the HAPPIEST of birthdays today!  Hugs to you, dear lady! May all that you do to make our world more beautiful come back to you 100-fold.



Cherish your human connections--your relationships with friends and family.  ~ Barbara Bush




Here's wishing you a beautiful day....

Hugs,
Brenda
xox
 





Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Introducing My Dust Bunnies...



Dust bunnies are quite shy, did you know that? They tend not to come out into the wide open spaces but prefer nice quiet, undisturbed corners of one's house. Under beds and behind book cases seem to be particular favourites.

Which is why I was quite surprised to find a pair of them right out in the open yesterday. Perhaps they thought they could get away with not being seen, what with all manner of Easter bunnies showing up this time of year. But we spotted them right away. Cute though, aren't they, with those big brown eyes. Amiable too.

Judy mentioned the other day that she enjoys the way I share my dust bunnies stories. I smiled. Oh my, I didn't realize just how often they do figure into the conversation around here. And, as we all know in blogland, just about anything works for blogging material, doesn't it!

Neither hubby or I put dusting near the top of any to-do list. We seem quite able to live happily ever after with our little dusty friends. It's only when the sunlight makes their presence too well known along the piano top or bookshelf that we take feather dusters and skitter them all away...for the time being at least. It isn't long before one sees evidence of their quiet return.



Please don't feed the dust bunnies. ~Author Unknown




If dust bunny conversations really stir up your sense of fun and imagination, then you might enjoy some of my past posts on the topic.  Soon I'll be able to make them their own category!



On that note... I'm away.  The dusting is done. The carpets are cleaned. And today we're gathering up the silver for polishing (believe me I don't do that very often, but I'm in the mood), and then tomorrow I'm going to shop for favours and little plants or spring things for our family celebration on the weekend.


Wishing you a beautiful, dust-free day
Brenda









Tuesday, April 08, 2014

We Got Mail!




Oh, the delight of lovely surprises coming from out of the blue. Not to mention the unexpected pleasure of a letter -- real mail -- arriving in one's mailbox. Yesterday such a treat arrived with my name on it.
Tucked inside a hand addressed envelope from Lorrie was this exquisite tiny watercolor 'wafting with spring cheer'. Artistic in so many ways, Lorrie tells me that she's been enjoying her attempts at watercolor -- it's fun and something she does with pleasure and with no pressure. That's the key isn't it? To find the pleasure with no pressure. 
I'm just tickled to be the recipient of one of this little treasures. It will have a special place in my study. And yes, Lorrie, its waft of spring turned our Alberta day into something that really was spring!

 

Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul. ~ John Muir





Wishing you glimpses of heaven in unexpected places....

Hugs,





Monday, April 07, 2014

Monday Musings...

What shall I tell you on this bright new Monday morning?


Kiss it hello.
Let joy flow through your arteries today,
mindful that the essence of life is Love and Joy.
  
Let's see...birds are singing. Sun is shining. Skies have wispy clouds.  Grass is not getting green just yet, but there's hope as the mounds of snow are fast disappearing.

Oh, and we're getting ready for company this coming weekend, so we're stepping up on the Spring Cleaning event. I mentioned a few posts back that I was doing my cleaning this year in little bits... a drawer here, a closet there, a shelf, a cupboard, a window...

But with family coming this upcoming weekend I want it all sparkling and fresh for an early Easter Dinner and a happy celebration of Spring birthdays. So what's still to be done is getting its 'going over' the next few days.

I was sitting with Hubby after we got home from a very busy morning cleaning at the local performing arts centre.  We usually relax for a few minutes as we have a wee snack -- he usually has a hot milk, today I had a small tub of coconut flavored Greek style yogurt.

I was mulling what I should do first today. And Dear One pipes up why don't I work on my writing  first thing. Put it first. Ohhhh.... yes, good idea.

I'm sorry to say that in my mind, writing still always seems to come 'after' the chores of the manor.  But he's helping me to recognize that my writing should get a seat of honour further up the to-do list. And, I do agree mentally, but my training as a young girl (my mom was a good housekeeper) says that housework comes first. And even after all these years, it's hard to rearrange that easily.

So...my blog and my love story memoir aka as The Story are wending their way to the top of my daily to-do  list. Instead of being squeezed into space when there's time. It's a shift for me. The happy note of all that is you'll also be finding me here on It's A Beautiful Life more, which means I'll be seeing more of you lovely people... I AM looking forward to that big time.

BTW, I have made progress on The Story. Yahhhh! My goal for the next 30 days is to write 2 1/2 pages (or roughly 750 words) every single day. No matter what. I figured I could do that. And with that small quota....I'm really learning not to bite off too big an aspiration, because often the momentum expires like a slow leaking balloon if it feels too big... small bites, steadily, as many of you already know, work best. My efforts should produce the first draft of a 30,000 word memoir.



My artist performs best when the stakes are lower.

~ Julia Cameron




Well... it's been fun sitting and having a wee chat with you. I see by the clock I best be off.  I've got dust bunnies to attend to.

I'm wishing you a beautiful day and sending you Divine Love...

Hugs,


 
PS. I love notebooks of all sizes and colours, but I'm especially drawn to little ones (about 4 1/2 x 6 1/2 inches), like the one in the above photo I took. These treasures are put out by Peter Pauper Press and I'm happy to report that they have a great website that showcases lots of their beautiful product.  Be sure and check it out.



   


Saturday, April 05, 2014

Saturday Survey Sez...

This morning Vee at A Haven for Vee poses a list of questions---her sister is in dire want of feedback to a particularly pressing question. 

Adding my own answers to her comment box, I thought it would be fun to share them here too. That way I don't have to think up a brand new post on this overcast, relaxed Saturday morning. Do visit Vee... join the survey and 'help' a friend out.

So...here's wishing you a lovely Saturday. In keeping with Susan Branch's rule of thumb, I shall be starting slow and then tapering off. Sure hope you can do the same.

Hugs,

Brenda



My Answers to Vee's  Survey....


1. In a pinch for supper (and unable to have take-out) would it be cereal or scrambled eggs? I've made both but I prefer scrambled eggs.

2. Would you prefer to swim or hike? Hike, I don't swim well.

3. Do you prefer coffee or tea? The preference depends on the time of day and what I might be eating with it.
 
4. Do you ever remove labels from clothing, towels, mattresses, pillows? Well, now...years ago I used to think that that little warning tag ' do not remove' on items like pillows meant I couldn't take them off. And then one day my lightening quick mind realized they weren't talking to me!!! So YES, I now bravely remove labels when they get in the way.

5. Would you like to live somewhere else? Yes, in a more temperate climate with milder winters and Springs that come at the right time, like Victoria BC.

6. Have you ever vacationed out of the country you live in? Yes, to USA (I'm from Canada), Trinidad, Hawaii (oh yes, that's USA too), England and mainland Europe.

7. If you had to watch a movie this afternoon would it be Saving Private Ryan or Saving Mr. Banks? Saving Mr. Banks, since we love Emma Thompson and Mary Poppins.

8. Egg salad sandwiches or chicken salad sandwiches? It's too hard to choose, I love 'em both.

9. Cats or dogs? Kitty cats absolutely...although we like dogs if they live at someone else's house.

10. Do you enjoy a thunderstorm?  Couldn't say 'enjoy' but some are amazing to listen to and watch. Especially on TV when the thunder isn't directly shaking my own house and the lightening isn't threatening my own roof top.





Thursday, April 03, 2014

Lesson of the Lipstick. Part 2

morguefile.com
 Previous>

Buying a new tube of my current favourite lipstick was not on my shopping list that day.

I was out doing errands, not being in any great rush, just minding my own business one sunny afternoon. 

And then I felt a gentle urging on the inside to go into Shoppers Drug Mart and buy myself a new lipstick. It came like a little feather thought, not urgent, not commanding. Just flitted in and out. I didn't pay attention. But then it came a day or two later when I was out again.

This time I stopped. It's you, Lord, talking to me. All right. I don't need it right now, but since you're urging me to go, I will pop in right now and get it.

I made my selection, went to the checkout and, to my surprise and delight, it was on SALE! There were no signs indicating that L'Oreal was having a sale that day.

You can imagine I was tickled pink! What fun!

The best part for me was that my heart had caught His voice on the breeze, and as a result I now had a new lipstick in my favourite shade of pink and it was even on sale (which at the time was also special as I didn't have a lot for extras right then).
 
I've often thought about this little lipstick story. And, I'm sharing it with you this particular week because, you see, I heard that same small voice telling me to write about it now.  I pray it blesses you in the tender places of your heart.....

Because He Cares For Us!

God pays attention to what matters to us. He notices the details of our lives. That's what Love does. It looks for ways to delight the heart of the Beloved. Sometimes it's for no special reason...it's one of those 'just because' moments.

Because He Wants Us To Hear His Voice!


If we are in relationship with someone, we need to be able to communicate. To hear and listen to one another. It's the same with our relationship with God.
The Lord and I have this little 'game' we play. We're not playing games, if you know what I mean. But in my desire to have a heart that is tuned to hear His Voice always, I've asked Him to give me practice runs on things that don't really matter, that is to say, they are not life or death. But so that I learn to recognize when it's Him speaking.  Sometimes we hear clearly, other times we're not sure.
Because, you see, there will probably come a time in my life...in each of our lives...when something will come up that will be more urgent, more life defining. And I'd like to be prepared so that I can KNOW it's Him speaking and not just my own thoughts. I believe it will be imperative that each of us learns to recognize His voice in these perilous times.

To learn to be in the right place at the right time.  To jump when He says jump, or don't go down that little alley right now. That sort of thing.
And of course, for simple joys such as buying a new lipstick and finding it on sale.

So that's the lesson of the lipstick.


And now...with a gentle kiss atop thy head,



By the way, if you are interested in know more about how to hear his voice clearly, I can recommend teaching by Mark Virkler, a speaker, author, teacher, a man who, once he learned to hear God's voice, began teaching it around the world.  Here's an article he wrote for Charisma magazine on how to recognize God's still, small voice.




Wednesday, April 02, 2014

The Lesson of the Lipstick. Part 1

L'Oreal Intense No. 285
<Part 2

I am a girl. And although I'm not a high glamour girl, I do like wearing my lipstick.

On days when I'm in a hurry (or I don't feel like dressin' up) the lipstick is still a required accessory for all outfits and every occasion, even when I'm just pulling on comfort clothes at three o'clock in the morning for work at the local performing arts centre.

I find it interesting that one of my close neighbors has commented on more than one occasion that whenever she sees me out and about, I always look so 'put together'. Although I'm pleased for the compliment, I have wondered what exactly causes her to see me that way...especially when we often meet while I'm out gardening, putting compost into the bins or getting the mail. I mean, some days I am not 'put together' at all.

Then one day, I twigged onto it... it's because I always wear lipstick. It's that one little simple thing that I have found rounds out any outfit and adds a touch of glamour... even to my old gardenin' clothes.

And here's a little tip I've learned: if you learn to use a lip-liner (as close to your natural lip colour as possible) to outline the lip line before applying lipstick, this seems to truly give it a more finished look.

So... lipstick has its important place in my life and because it's one of those little things that helps make my life feel more beautiful, I thought it deserved its very own blog posting.

Tomorrow I want to share Part 2 to this topic. Because there is another neat story connected to my lipstick that is of a more heavenly nature.

On that note,

I'm blowing you kisses
and wishing you glimpses of heaven in unexpected places.....