Thursday, January 29, 2009

Delight Centered

How often do you make a choice based purely on what delights you as opposed to what you or someone else thinks you should do?

What about the possibilities of make more delight-centered choices in other areas of our lives? Now I'm not talking about a selfish, self-indulgent sort of living, but making choices that will allow us to more cheerfully engage in our daily activities.

When I listen to people, there are many who have a world view that life should be 'nose to the grindstone', and many even anticipate that life should be hard. So they begin to expect that their work, relationships, and life experiences will be harder, rather than easier. (I've also noticed that these people's lives tend to be harder.)

On the other hand, I have also met individuals, including myself, who believe that life, even with its many hardships, still has an undercurrent of beauty and sweetness to it. And it's these people who tend to go through life expecting that good things will come out to meet them. They're the ones who have a gift of making delightful lemonade on hot summer days. (And I've noticed that often these people's lives tend to be less burdensome and lighter.)

What if we could come to believe, and expect, that our choices could lead to more enjoyment of life? What if we could find ways in which to make our decisions more delight-centered and less grinding? I think we'd be living life more beautifully.
Something to ponder,


Sunday, January 25, 2009

Simply Sunday: Let's Be Silly


Zig Ziglar shares an interesting saying in Zig Ziglar's Little Book of Big Quotes. He tells us that the word 'silly' originally meant something quite different to the way we use it today. So I had to share:
"Most of us would be upset if we were accused of being 'silly.' But the word 'silly' comes from the old English word 'selig,' and its literal definition is 'to be blessed, happy, healthy and prosperous."

In light of that definition, may I take the liberty of wishing a wonderfully silly Sunday!

Peace and joy,

Friday, January 23, 2009

Friday Skywatch: From My Deck at Sunset

Such glorious colours splashed this morning over this vast canvas called sky!

Photo taken from my back deck, January 2009

These sunset photos remind me today of that old song from Fiddler on the Roof -- I always find the lyrics from Sunrise, Sunset sweetly poignant.

Sunrise, sunset
Sunrise, sunset
Swiftly flow the days
Seedlings turn overnight to sunflowers
Blossoming even as we gaze

Sunrise, sunset
Sunrise, sunset
Swiftly fly the years
One season following another
Laden with happiness and tears

To hear the pieced played on a harp, click here.

For more great sky photos, please visit Friday Skywatch!

Enjoy your Friday,

Monday, January 19, 2009

Rumpole of the Bailey

 Actor Leo McKern as Horace Rumpole (L) and
Author John Mortimer, creator of Rumpole (R)

Sad News! Yesterday I heard that Sir John Mortimer, creator of one of my favourite fictional characters, Horace Rumpole, died on Friday at age 85. John Mortimer, who was working on a new Rumpole of the Bailey story, has 'left his most famous literary creation, Horace Rumpole, stranded part-way through a final adventure'.

I always had a soft spot for grizzled old Rumpole... maybe it was the Wordsworth he'd quote as he pondered the world generally, and his life particularly, between defense cases at the Old Bailey and his nightly encounters with She Who Must Be Obeyed, aka Mrs. Hilda Rumpole, wife to Horace.

So, a glass of 'Pomeroy's Finest' in honour of dear old Rumpole and his wonderful creator, Sr. John Mortimer.

Bless you!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Simply Sunday -- Passages to Something New

During December, I had the happy pleasure to read an Advent booklet gleaned from the writings of Henri Nouwen. Uplifted by his reflections, his soul-search expressions of longing for God have often echoed in my own heart. I really felt drawn to include this particular reflection today, and I send it out with the cherished hope it will encourage a heavy heart today.
"We don't like to dwell on our losses, but our whole lives are filled with losses, endless losses. And every time there are losses there are choices to be made. You choose to live your losses as passages to anger, blame, hatred, depression, and resentment, or you choose to let these losses be passages to something new, something wider, and deeper. The question is not how to avoid loss and make it not happen, but how to choose it as a passage, as an exodus to greater life and freedom.
"O God, may your redemptive love showered upon us in Jesus lead us to live holy and happy lives despite our losses."
(excerpt from Advent Meditations from the writings of Henri Nouwen: Living in Hope, 2007, by Creative Communications for the Parish, Fenton, MO)

Wishing you peace,

Friday, January 09, 2009

Friday Skywatch: Before and After


I'm sitting at my computer and the clock says it's close to 9:00 a.m. The above is what I see when I look out my study window -- the sunrise lighting up the neighbour's house and backyard.

...and After

Two minutes I look up again and that sunny moment has completely passed. I'm thinking Mr. Sun said, "Ah, it's Friday" and went back to bed. With my head bent over my desk, I could have completely missed that moment of glorious gold. So glad I did not.


Linking today with Friday Skywatch

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

How To Cut Clutter


Don't ask me how it happens, everything is fine for a long time, and then suddenly, there's a mess. It might be mounds of paper growing on the side of my desk; unfinished projects longing for me to get back to them; extra platters, books, and utensils sitting on the spare bed; and a pantry that looks like wolverines have been looking for lunch.

The month of January, with its sense of bright, new beginnings, is often a good time to clear clutter that's accumulated over the past few weeks or months. Traditionally, January is the time of year when hardware stores focus on selling storage and organizing tools; shelving units, plastic tubs, totes and baskets are now front and center where singing Santa Clauses stood just days earlier. How often have I joined the masses, also filled with resolution and optimism, to go and stock up on these 'saviors', determined that this is the year we will get and stay organized!

I have learned something over the years -- we don't always need to get more shelving or organizing units. It's more about knowing what it is that is actually filling up our spaces, and then determining whether we really want or need it still. I ask myself the question: Does it enhance my lifestyle or is it getting in the way of what I aim for in my life: simplicity, peace of mind, order?

Four Main Areas of Clutter

Years ago I found an article in which the author identified four areas that created clutter in her own life. What she said resonated with me. I adopted her short list as a guide to help me to identify what's causing my own clutter.

1. Unfinished projects. These not only clutter our desk tops, drawers, and closets, but our minds and emotions for they seem to cling to those thoughts just on the edge of our consciousness. We feel something bugging us and we know something is undone. It saps valuable energy.
TIP: Make a list of every project, large or small, and think about what you can do to complete it. Until you do finish it, find a suitable 'home' in your house where it can be stored -- maybe a drawer or a file box. Somewhere out of sight, but not out of mind. Somewhere away from your current project, so your mind can relax that you will take care of it.
2. Stuff out of place. Example in hand. My husband and I recently came home from a family birthday weekend celebration and a holiday trek away in the mountains. Our clothes and foodstuffs got unpacked right away, but a few other items were piled into the spare room to be dealt with later. My guest room looked like warehouse. And then we had some minor repairs done to the ceiling of our family room, so ornaments, paintings, tables were added to that room. It was quite a pile in there.
TIP: Take time to put it all back where it belongs. Put the ribbons and scissors back in the drawer. Take that turkey platter and put in where it goes till the next time you need it. It's amazing how little time is sometimes takes to just put it back. And, of course the trick is to aim for putting it all away as soon as you finished with it.
3. Too much stuff in too small a space. Oh boy, oh boy... there you are on your hands and knees trying to dig out that large lasagna pan from the back of the cupboard, but there's so much sitting in front of it that you have to take everything out to retrieve it. Then you're in a hurry to get back to your cooking, and now everything's in a mess.
TIP:Keep what you use every day close at hand and put occasional-use things elsewhere so it doesn't cause a 'traffic jam'. If you don't make lasagna often, then put that pan in a seldom use cupboard and remember that's where it lives. Also, learn to recognize just how many of one thing you actually use, eg. do you truly need a dozen pie plates? And, a key thing for me has been to recognize is that I don't need -- and I'll never use -- all the cool gadgets out there, no matter which well-known kitchen diva says they can't live without it.
4. Stuff that you've out-lived, out-grown and out-loved. This is the hard part of things in my estimation. Just because I've out-lived something doesn't mean I've out-loved it too. Sometimes I'm emotionally attached to things that I no longer use, but I hate to give it away or throw it out. My sister calls that the weight of sentimentality.
TIP: Think of it as making room for the new. If you keep holding on to things that are no longer beautiful or useful, it will lock you in the past. Any items you do want to keep for posterity or for sentimental reasons, then make a home for them in a proper box somewhere where they can live peacefully until you want to look at them again. They don't need to live in your every day space.
I bless my old things that are going out the door. I say thank you and 'goodbye' from my heart as it goes out the door. I have done that with previous cars, my frig, stove, with books, clothes or ornaments I'm passing along. It sets me free in my mind and heart. I think that's what Joshua Becker Clutterfree with Kids means when he says, "Don't just declutter, de-own."

I hope these tips will help to bring about a sense of peace, order out of chaos, and turn your cluttered corners into something more beautiful!


Friday, January 02, 2009

Heaven In A Bowl: Moroccan Chicken-Vegetable Soup


God is great, God is good...
Let us thank Him for our food soup.

That was the simple grace we would chant over our food when we were kids. As a girl I was always grateful for the brevity of this little prayer, since it meant starting lunch almost as soon as we gathered at the table.

Today we are grateful for this soup that enchants us with its exotic fragrance as it bubbles away. The stock, rich and flavourful, is full of good things to eat. Grated carrots, onions, chicken pieces, spices, and couscous simmer in a savoury chicken stock, and is later garnished with green onion tops. 

It goes nicely with tea biscuits or fresh crusty country bread. Doesn't your mouth water at the idea?

Here's wishing you a beautiful day,

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy 2009...

"And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year: Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown. And he replied: Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God. That shall be to you better than light, and safer than a known way." ~Minnie L. Haskins

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