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. I have been often uplifted by his reflections. So many times, his 'soul-search expressions of longing for God' have echoed in my own heart. Somehow he was able to put into words the thoughts and feelings for which I hadn't yet found words.

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."
(Taken from Advent Meditations from the writings of Henri Nouwen: Living in Hope, (2) 2007 by Creative Communications for the Parish, Fenton, MO)

Wishing you peace,

Monday, January 12, 2009

I Can't Come Out And Play Today!

2009 by Brenda Colleen Leyland

Yes, it's true, and it isn't because I've been naughty. In fact, I've been very, very good, but I have a large project I need to finish today.

I'll still be around at my computer.... but I have to think of you all from afar.

This is kind of what my desk looks like when I'm in the middle of something. I really hope it's true that the signs of a messy desk are the signs of a creative mind....

BTW, I received two new awards yesterday that I'm just thrilled about. I'll post them and also acknowledge my kind benefactors tomorrow. Till later then!

Joyful thoughts winging your way,

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

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Lemonade Award

2009 by Brenda Colleen Leyland

Wow! Earlier today I received my first Blogger Award. I've been given the Lemonade Award by Bonnie from RedLady's Reading Room. This award is for blogs with great attitude and/or gratitude. Thanks, Bonnie, you made my day!

I understand I'm supposed to pass along this award to other bloggers. Although it's hard to decide, today I would like to acknowledge the following bloggers.

I think they truly
demonstrate the gift of knowing how to turn lemons into lemonade, and exude a spirit of grace and gratitude that makes visiting their sites a very positive experience. Stop by their blogs and see for yourself!

1. Caryn at Hollow Thoughts
2. Sarah at Pink of Perfection
3. Rebekah at Rebekah's Beautiful Day
4. Lin at Letters from Lin
5. Cindy at Rosehaven Cottage

Thanks again, Bonnie, for the delightful surprise!
With a happy heart,

PS. I did a Google after I posted this to see if I could find anyone with the actual 'rules' for this award. This is what I found. The blogger who had it listed said she couldn't do the "10 bloggers" to pass on the award, so she was absolving her recipients. That's ditto for me too!

So the rules for the Lemonade Award are:

Put the logo on your blog or post. Nominate at least (or up to) 10 blogs which show great attitude and/or gratitude! Be sure to link to your nominees within your post. Let them know that they have received this award by commenting on their blog. Share the love and link to this post and to the person from whom you received your award.

Same Frosty Morning...

2009 by Brenda Colleen Leyland

Taken the same frosty morning as the one in the banner

Woke up to skies burdened with snow this morning. These days the temperatures around here must be fastened to a musician's trombone -- sliding up and down all which-away. It can't seem to decide if it should be wildly frigid or mildly frosty. From the hoar frosted Russian olive tree in the neighbour's backyard, clues indicate we're on the upslide today.

While humming and hawing about what to write (maybe I'm attached to the same trombone), I've decided to take the easy road today and let someone else do the 'thin'ning around here'. The list below arrived in my e-mail box from a friend.... hope they add a touch of fun to your day.

* Accept that some days you're the pigeon, and some days you're the statue.

* Always read stuff that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it.

* Drive carefully. It's not only cars that can be recalled by their maker.

* If you can't be kind, at least have the decency to be vague.

* It may be that your sole purpose in life is simply be kind to others.

* Never put both feet in your mouth at the same time, because then you won't have a leg to stand on.

* Nobody cares if you can't dance well. Just get up and dance.

* Since it's the early worm that gets eaten by the bird, sleep late.

* The second mouse gets the cheese.

* Some mistakes are too much fun to only make once.

* We could learn a lot from crayons... Some are sharp, some are pretty and some are dull. Some have weird names, and all are different colors, but they all have to live in the same box.

*A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour.

Stay warm and cozy!

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Interesting Shot!

2009 by Brenda Colleen Leyland

I woke up to a really, really cold morning the other day. The sky was that beautiful pre-dawn midnight blue. So I grabbed my camera and gingerly opened the back door. Swirls of frost whisked past my ankles with a whoosh. I aimed into the sky, clicked, and dashed back into my warm kitchen, slamming the door with a bang. B-r-r-r-r!

I was amazed to find this photo on my camera. It almost looks like a double-exposure, but could it have been so cold that frost covered the lens that quickly? Or wouldn't it be wonderful to imagine that I'd caught angels unaware, guarding over our sleeping neighbourhood? Whatever it is, it's pretty cool (literally and figuratively), so I had to share.

As I'm still busy finishing up my newsletter, it's ta-ta for now!

Joy and more joy to you!

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 mound of paper growing on the side of my desk; unfinished projects are longing for me to get back to them; there are platters, books, and utensils out of place; and a-once-tidy pantry looks like wolverines have been in there looking for lunch.
After the holidays, when I take down all the Christmas decorations, there is something satisfying about following through with straightening and freshening up the place overall. The month of January, with its sense of bright, new beginnings, seems a good time to clear the clutter that's accumulated over the past few weeks or months. It's like starting again with a clean slate: you toss out the old, make room for the new, put everything back in its right place, all the while sorting what you still want or need for the new year ahead.
January is the traditional time of year for hardware stores to focus on selling storage and organizing tools: shelving units, plastic tubs, totes and baskets are now front and center where singing Santa's and lit up Christmas trees once stood. How often have I joined the masses, also filled with resolution and optimism, to go and stock up on these 'saviors' for we are all determined that this is the year we will get and stay organized!
But I have learned something over the years -- we don't always need to get more organizing tools and shelf space and build more cupboards in the basement. It's about knowing what it is that's actually filling up our spaces. And determining if we really need it all. Asking the question, Does it enhance our lifestyle or just get in the way of what we want from our lives?
Four Main Areas of Clutter 
A long time ago I came across an article where the author identified four areas that created clutter in her life. It resonated with me and I adopted her short list as a guide to help me identify what's causing the clutter around me and make some headway in clearing it up.

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. To 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 help cut the clutter, bring order out of chaos, and make your corner of the world more beautiful!

Monday, January 05, 2009

Perfectly Pink!

2009 by Brenda Colleen Leyland

I'll always remember the day last August, when I finally decided to 'just jump in' and create a blog for the very first time. I didn't have a clue how to begin -- it was such a learning curve, but, my, what a joyful climb it's been!

As the New Year started unfolding a few days ago, I had another one of those 'just jump in' moments. This time for a venture called Perfectly Pink! and if you link on it, you'll notice it's a brand new blog.

When a friend, who is a Director with Mary Kay Inc, first asked me to write her newsletter in 2004, I didn't realize the joy ride I would begin. For I found a niche, a spot, that seemed to fit perfectly with my interests in creativity and writing, and my love for beauty.

With the added sparkle and fun of blogging these past months, I began to dream of embroidering the two joys into something that will motivate, inspire and equip women to live their lives, not only more successfully, but more beautifully (whether they are in Mary Kay or not).

So, that's what I've been working on these past few days. It's in earliest bud stages, but I like to think we're onto something perfectly pink!

I'm off to work on my newsletter. Enjoy your day!

Pinkly perfect,

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Sunny Saturday...

2009 by Brenda Colleen Leyland

On such a bright and sunny Saturday, and temperatures hovering at -30C, this is a very good day to stay close to home and computer. I have a real hankering to blog today; however, as I do feel the clock ticking and my January Mary Kay newsletter must get out, I really do have to set aside my blogging longings and wrestle with pink thoughts today.

Since the day is so cheerful out, Rick and I plan to brave the frost and head to the library later in the day for a wee
snoop around. Of course, as we all know, it's not that I don't have any books at home, but you never know what will entice and allure. And.. I do have the 'support my local library' challenge to begin. (smile)

Oh... if you're looking for something new and interesting, you might
want to check out a book I came across recently, A Year of Mornings.

Although the blog site with the same name is no longer available, A Year of Mornings, which began as 'an almost daily photo conversation, in blog form, between two friends that live 3191 miles apart', is now available in book form. An amazing journey!

I best be off..... enjoy your day...... enjoy your blogging. I'll join you soon!

Pinkly yours,

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?

Now here's wishing you a beautiful day,

Friday Skywatch...

A wintry sky in Alberta, Canada

On this second day of the New Year, we're experiencing a typical wintry one -- bright, sunny, and really, really cold.

Today I'm linking to Friday Skywatch, a blog tour where fellow bloggers post some of the most amazing sky shots.


Thursday, January 01, 2009

Even Kitties Blog

Sullivan in the clover patch

Once upon a time I followed a blog called Gandalf and Grayson. First, because I love kitties--both Gandalf and Grayson were two handsome cats--they both knew how to blog (such clever lads). Second, because Grayson was the spitting image of my own kitty, Sullivan (above).

Though he lives bright and beautifully in my heart, he is waiting by the Rainbow Bridge, and because I miss him so, I find great delight in seeing daily snaps of Grayson on his blog ... as it's a happy reminder of my own dear, sweet Sullivan!

I posted this when their blog was still active; however, I now learn it is no longer available, otherwise I would share the link. The funny thing is that Grayson had a similar photo sitting in the clover in the same pose.  Deja vu ... uncanny too, seeing as they live worlds and miles apart!

So, here's to two special kitties...this one's for you, Grayson and Sullivan!

It's all purr-fectly a-mews-ing!

Post updated in January 2014


Happy 2009...

"In the New Year, may your right hand always be stretched out in friendship, never in want." ~ Irish Toast

"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

"One thing I am certain, whatever unfolds, I continue to have the confidence that the same God who brought me through the ups and downs of 2008 has not gone into retirement, so I choose to place my trust in His Faithful Ability to help me walk joyfully and with peace of heart into this brand New Year." ~ Brenda Leyland

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