Friday, December 04, 2020

Five on Friday: Hints of Christmas

Notice the gifts

" Reflect on your present blessings of which every (wo)man has many,
not on your past misfortunes, of which all (wo)men have some. "

December is already well on its way, and the decorating is coming along at a peaceful pace. We are not in any rush this year—simplicity is our key. As hints of Christmas appear in various corners around the house, I thought you might like a peek.


" Poinsettia all blooming on the table centre sit,
Now we are ready to share our delight... "
DAVE TIMPERLEY, Christmas 2016

It was early afternoon when I took this picture, but already the sun feels like
late afternoon. I love the shadows and slant of the winter light at this time of year.


Christmas—that magic blanket that wraps itself about us,
that something so intangible that it is like a fragrance.
It may weave a spell of nostalgia. Christmas may be a day of feasting,
or of prayer, but always it will be a day of remembrance—
a day in which we think of everything we have ever loved.


Take JOY in the world around you.
Scatter JOY with smiles and acts of kindness.
Sing to the world JOY.


Oops, that candle sat a little too close to the fireplace. Rick was going to take care of it
but I said, "No, wait, I have to take a photo—that'll be good fodder for the blog post."
It looks like jade and not wax. I know I need a new candle now, but
I'm loathe to discard this bit of melted marvel.


" The rooms were very still while the pages were softly turned
and the winter sunshine crept in to touch the bright heads
and serious faces with a Christmas greeting. "


Like the lilies,
bloom beauty to your last breath.

" May your walls know joy;
may every room hold laughter
and every window open to great possibility. "

* * *

I'll be back Monday with December's edition of The Simple
Woman's Daybook. Wishing you a beautiful weekend. Stay safe.

Heart Hugs,

Monday, November 30, 2020

Monday Notes and Giveaway Winners

" I love how the unexpected things come to us,
such 'insignificant' things in the grande scheme,
yet such a pure-in-spirit gift. "

Today, on this last day of November, we have the happy pleasure of announcing the winners of our Jacquie Lawson Advent Calendar Giveaway. I also want to share with you a post, brought to you by the letter "P", about how my quiet, ordinary week turned into something special. Read further to hear how a puppy, a painting, a perfumed bouquet of pink lilies, and an unexpected performance of Beethoven's Pathétique were like gifts from heaven for me. 

But first, our winners...


(The Marie who enjoys eating finger foods on Christmas Eve.
Please contact me today with your email as I don't have a way
to contact you. Here is my email link.)

I'll touch base with you on FB

The Advent Calendar of your choice (Nordic or Cotswold)
will be emailed to you. 
A big thank you to everyone who entered the draw. 

"P" is for one sweet puppy

" Happiness is a warm puppy. "

A phone call from Rick's niece in the province west of us came out of the blue a week ago Sunday evening. Could we pick up her new puppy from a local breeder and then connect with the individual who will transport the wee one on its way to BC? Of course! Times and places were arranged. And, the next morning for about an hour and a half, we had the happy delight to enjoy this sweet female poodle pup as we drove to the next leg of her journey to her forever family. She shook like a leaf as the cheerful, masked young man handed her into my arms. I think he was a little sad to see her go; he said he always saved his favourites in a litter until the last. As my husband drove off, she snuggled in and even snored a few seconds, obviously feeling safe enough to doze off. I just wanted to hug her.

I ask you, is it possible to fall in love in such a short space of time with a soft fur ball? For a half a second, I wanted to dog nap her and just take her home with us. She's now with her new family, and I'm sure she's settling into her new home and life. We were with her for such a short time and for a few days I couldn't stop thinking of her. Do you think maybe God is preparing my heart for such possibility? I would never have thought such a thing—I've always been a kitty person, but one never knows, that puppy could have come straight home with us and we'd have been filled with glee.  

"P" is for our new painting giving us joy in the pandemic

"Ten Hydrangeas"
by Canadian Artist Robert Lemay

One quiet morning, Rick mentioned he'd been thinking about us acquiring a piece of art to celebrate our upcoming wedding anniversary. He'd been looking online at one gallery with paintings by a favourite Canadian artist, Robert Lemay, whose work we've been admiring ever since we first came upon him.

Rick brought the gallery site up on his iPad for me to go through the paintings. I was to pick my favourite(s). It came as a surprise to me -- buying art in the midst of a pandemic certainly wasn't on my mind. As it turns out, unbeknownst to me at the time, I picked the very painting that Rick had already selected as his favourite. So we figured it was 'meant to be', and he contacted the gallery to arrange purchase and shipping. It was delivered last week, just days before our anniversary.

Although we haven't met the artist, I met his partner, Shawna Lemay, at a couple of book events a few years ago—she is a lovely author and photographer. I had to email and tell her our exciting news and that we couldn't wait to see the painting in person, that it would certainly be a thing of glorious beauty in this strangely weird year of 2020.


" In this dark period, it is as if the works of art and its
protagonists remind us not to forget about beauty. "
FRANCISCO RIBEIRO, as seen on Twitter

"P" is for perfumed petals of a pink lily bouquet

" The only Commandment I ever
obeyed — 'Consider the Lilies'. "

I went out early one afternoon during the week. With our anniversary and hubby's birthday around the corner, I still needed to get cards for the occasions. Distracted, I left the house without my floral fabric mask. No worries, I'll use a disposal one in the car. Arriving at the store, I went to put on the mask and the elastic fell off. How unusual. Rats. I had to turn around and go back home—I couldn't go in without a mask. With a fresh one safely on my face, I headed back to the store, picked up the few items I had on my list including the greetings cards, got in the very long line up of socially distanced customers, when I suddenly realized I didn't have my wallet in my bag. You've got to be kidding me. I'd been shopping online at my desk earlier and guess where I'd left my wallet...on my desk. Thankfully I hadn't rung my purchases through yet. Quickly dropping off my basket at customer service explaining I'd be back, I tootled home...again.

Now masked and wallet safely in my bag, back at the store I picked up my basket and zoomed towards the checkout. Except the fragrance and deep colour of the gorgeous pink lilies at the floral display called out to me, I had to bring them home with me. Fortunately the long lineup was gone, there was a lull, and so I was in and out with my purchases and home again for the third time. It all turned out in the end, and instead of getting agitated, I just decided to giggle about the back and forth (and replenish the mask supply in the car). All week I have considered the gift of the lilies—every time I pass them on the dining table, I stop to inhale and admire.

"P" is for Beethoven's Pathétique
Op. 13 - Adagio cantabile
As played by Igor Levit

We had just watched an online concert from Wigmore Hall in the UK. That is one gift that comes out of this pandemic, so many concerts and other events are made available online now. I was about to turn off the television when another concert began to play. I was stopped in my tracks; although I've heard and enjoyed this piece by Beethoven in the past, it was like I was hearing it for the first time. With the remote still in my hand, my soul soared as I listened to and watched as this wonderful pianist "performed it like he was giving his best gift". If you watch the five minute video, you'll notice that he is Schroeder in living colour—and one can tell he loves Beethoven. 

The music still going through my mind, I sat down in the living room a moment before turning out the tall pencil evergreen with its white lights, letting the melody play in my mind while gazing at our new painting. In the quiet peacefulness, my heart grew still and in that moment of joy, peace, and contentment, I felt as if my Covid-riven soul had been knit together in wholeness. I went to bed grateful to the core.

* * *

" A man should hear a little music, read a little poetry,
and see a fine picture every day of his life, in order that
worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful
which God has implanted in the human soul. "

* * *

Tomorrow, the first of December, we earnestly turn our thoughts towards Christmas.

Congratulations again to Marie and Linda!

Wishing you a beautiful week ahead. Stay safe.

Heart Hugs,

(Top) Photo credit: Image by Ylanite Koppens from Pixabay

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Advent Calendar Giveaway

" If today gets difficult,
remember the smell of coffee,
the way sunlight bounces off a window,
the sound of your favorite person's laugh,
the feeling when a song you love comes on,
the color of the sky at dusk, and that
we are here to take care of each other. "

Suddenly it's a month 'til Christmas and with less than a week before December 1st, I had better post my Jacquie Lawson Advent Calendar **Giveaway** before it's too late! A dear blogging friend sent me the 2020 Scandinavian calendar several days ago—such a lovely surprise—and ever since I have been enjoying the games and puzzles already available for those of us who can't wait. 

Now it's my turn to pay it forward, and I'm delighted to give away TWO e-Advent Calendars. There are two choices available this year: (1) the Nordic version with the Scandinavian-style Christmas celebrations and (2) the Cotswold version with an English Christmas in the pretty hills of southern England. The winners can choose which version they prefer. To learn more about the calendars, check out Jacquie's website HERE, but don't forget to come back and leave your comment to enter the DRAW.

As we come into the darkest days of the year, I hope this daily 'light'hearted and fun activity will help to dispel the darkness and keep your spirits mirthful as you wait for Christmas.

To Enter the Giveaway:

1. Leave us a comment on this post (or on Facebook
if you are reading the post there).
Share a favourite holiday treat, song, tradition, or
how you are feeling about Christmas this year.

Draw will be at 8:00 am MST on Monday, Nov 30th.
--Draw is now closed--

If you are the lucky winner, do get in touch with me as soon as possible,
so I can email the calendar link to you before the first of December.
You'll find my email HERE.

Fingers and heart crossed for you—here's wishin' ! 

* * *
Heart Hugs,