Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Peonies in Bloom

Arranging a bowl of flowers in the morning
can give a sense of quiet in a crowded day --
like writing a poem or saying a prayer.

~ Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Happy Day,

Friday, June 26, 2009

From My Study Window

A glance out the window early this morning afforded us an uncommon treat --- the sighting of a yellow-headed blackbird perched in our Hawthorne tree.

Crowds of red-winged blackbirds have been bringing their young to the feeders these days, and somehow this yellow-headed fellow found his way in the crowd. He boded his time for a spot at the busy feeders! Which gave me a chance to run for the camera. 

Had to share my glimpse of heaven today.

Thinking of you and wishing you a happy Friday.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

All Creatures Great and Small

"My profession is always to be alert to find God in nature, to know God's lurking places to attend to all the oratorios and the operas in nature." ~ Henry David Thoreau

It was early one fine summer morning. Rick and I were sitting on the patio sipping our first cup of coffee, enjoying the show of birds as they swooped in for a share of their favourite breakfast cereal, when one of our resident tree swallows flew by and perched on Rick's white garden hat which was on his head at the time.
Apparently tree swallows like white feathers with which to build their nests, so maybe Mr. Swallow thought Rick's hat was a big feather. Alas, we didn't have the camera handy, but what a treat to see him right there within arm's reach. How pretty his iridescent feathers as they glimmered in the sunlight.

Most of the birds who come to feed in our garden are getting used to us sitting nearby. Red-winged blackbirds will swoop in with a hearty chereep. And, as they fill their beaks to feed their hungry brood, they coyly peek around the side of the feeder as if to ensure we're not sneaking up on them.

Which reminds me, one morning last week I found a large bumblebee lumbering along on my living room floor. Although it had found its way in through the open back door, it obviously couldn't find its way out. It lay there as if stunned.
Scooping it up with a tumbler glass and piece of paper, I took it out into the garden, hoping it would recover. The tiny creature crawled off the paper onto my finger, his little body heaving as if to catch its breath. He sat a moment, I said a little prayer for him in case he was injured, and then suddenly he spread his tiny wings and was gone.

I love these encounters with nature's tiny creatures -- they are such an amazing and beautiful part of our world. Don't let their size fool you ... sometimes the best pleasures come in tiny packages.
So many wild places around us are being razed to the ground for 'development'..... and rather than going into a lament or a rant about it (which we are prone), we try to create a little haven in our corner of the world for a few of these, God's smallest creatures.

Wishing you glimpses of heaven in unexpected places,

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Lucy, Lucy, Lucy

Not that long ago, in a list of things for which I'm thankful I mentioned that I was very grateful I have not had to work for a living in a factory or assembly line. 

With variety placing a high priority in my value system, I cannot imagine standing in the same position doing the same type of piecework hour after hour, day after day, month after month.

Having said that, there may be one exception. Have you ever seen the famous chocolate scene from the old television series I Love Lucy where Lucy and her friend Ethel are hired to wrap candy in the candy factory assembly line?
If you need a dose of funny today, take two minutes to enjoy Lucy and Ethel at their hilarious best.

By the way, as I'm still chuckling and feeling grateful, I want to acknowledge and appreciate every person who has ever worked, or continues to work, in an assembly line type of job. I realize how much we owe to your contribution in our lives. Where would we be without you?

Still laughing,

Sunday, June 21, 2009

A Rose

Hansa Rose (Rugosa)

What a treat to find our very first rose of summer. A happy harbinger of many lovely things ready to burst forth as summer officially begins. Not only is it a lovely rose, but the hansa is very fragrant. When the bush is in full flush, our garden is filled with its heady scent.

* * *

Avoid being impatient.
Remember time brings roses.
~ Author Unknown

* * *

Won't you come into the garden?
I would like my roses to see you.
~ Richard B. Sheridan, 1791 - 1816

* * *

"Send two dozen roses to Room 424
and put 'Emily, I love you' on the back of the bill."
~ Groucho Marx

Wishing you a beautiful day,

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Pearls of Forgiveness

I was recently browsing through my copy of the 1988 edition of Francis Gay's The Friendship Book -- a little volume rich with interesting quotes and inspirational thoughts. 
One especially spoke to my heart and I felt drawn to share it with you today....

"It's easy to harbour a grudge, to store up resentment against someone who has treated you badly. Not so easy to forgive and forget.

Forgiveness, however, brings its own precious reward, as the German novelist and humorist Jean-Paul Richter knew. He once wrote, "The heart that forgives an injury is like the perforated shell of a mussel, which closes its wound with a pearl."
I just love that last phrase... closes its wound with a pearl. It's a beautiful thought to ponder, wouldn't you agree? 


Friday, June 19, 2009

Beauty in Sweet Posies

"Never lose an opportunity of seeing
anything beautiful,
for beauty is God's handwriting."

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Skywatch Friday

I'm pleased to share these interesting cloud formations for Skywatch Friday. If you are a skywatcher, click here to see other amazing photographs. And, if you have your own pics, you are welcome to join the parade!


Spotted in the Garden

Miss Kitty on garden patrol

Miss Kitty loves to go out in the garden, and even though we have a lot of birds coming to the feeders and some that nest in our birdhouses, Kitty's pretty mellow about their presence.

The magpies shriek whenever they see her outside, but the other birds tend to ignore her. She will crouch and swish her tail once in a while, but mostly she minds her own business (that is to say, she's much more interested in the mouse family she's spotted near the compost bins.

There's my little glimpse of purry 'heaven' ... wishing you your own divine glimpses in unexpected places today.


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Floral Offerings From The Garden

Moss phlox

Dwarf Korean Lilac

Pink Seed Geranium and White Anemone

Mother-of-Thyme (Thymus serpyllum)

"Let the walls of your mind be filled
with beautiful pictures."
William Lyon Phelps


Wishing you a beautiful day,

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Snippet From An Old Song

One day I was browsing through my own collection of quotes. Here's a snippet from a song I once heard. I know not its name or originator, but I thought this one line really pictures the steadfast faithfulness of true love...

"I didn't build a home in your heart to move away."

Thought you might enjoy it too. And, I'll have you know, you dear blogging friends, rooms are being built in my heart for you too! Have a wonderful Tuesday. It's balmy and wondrous here this morning.


Monday, June 15, 2009

One Lovely Blog Award

I have been honoured to receive this lovely award from Anne at Strawberry Jam Anne.

Wow -- thank you! Just like your name, you know how to sweeten my day! I understand this award is given to 'lovely' blogs you've recently discovered. Anne, thank you for discovering It's A Beautiful Life.

I'm excited to pass this award to three lovely bloggers that I'm glad to have met....

Sandy at 4 Reluctant Entertainers. Sandy shares her passion for gracious living and connection through her writing and photography. She inspires the most timid among us to see that entertaining can be a beautiful way to touch the lives of others without the fear and pressure of having to have it all perfect first. Keep inspiring us, Sandy!

Christine at Vista Woman. I've been enjoying my visits to Christine's site. As with any new friend, it's always nice to learn about who we are, where we come from, and what we like to do. The more I read of Christine's past postings, the more I'm glad our paths crossed. She shares tips, inspirational quotes, and great photographs that give her readers lovely opportunities to peek into her world.

Judy at Just A Little Something For You has a delightful blog. It's true, she always has a little something wonderful for us when we come to visit. There's loveliness spilling out everywhere!
Henry Ward Beecher once said that "every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his nature into his pictures." When it comes to bloggers, they also know how to dip in their brushes and paint something of their lives and heart into their sites.

I'm thrilled to meet so many kindred spirits who share their love of beauty and connection and creativity. So here's to each one of you! You make my life more beautiful. Please note the award guidelines below.


Blog Award Guidelines

Accept the award and be sure to post it on your own blog, along with the name and blog link of the blogger who presented it to you.
Share a comment about who gave you the award and invite your readers to stop by their blog.

Pass along the award to other lovely bloggers -- how many is up to you. Contact them to let them know you have this award for them.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Simply Sunday

Every morning lean thine arm awhile
Upon the window sill of heaven,

And gaze upon thy God,

Then with the vision in thy heart,
Turn strong to meet the day.

~ James Russell Low

Saturday, June 13, 2009

My Favourite Weather

"My favourite weather is bird-chirping weather."
~Loire Hartwould

* * *

Have a wonderful weekend.
I'm out in the garden! Where are you?


Friday, June 12, 2009

Inspired Entertaining

As you know, I'm all for living our lives more beautifully in every area of life, so when I saw Melissa's latest posting title come up in my sidebar Living Life Beautifully: Summer Entertaining for Real People, I had to go and check it out. And, I was so inspired, I had to share her link with you at The Inspired Room.

And I'm also pleased to introduce you to a brand new site for me -- Sandy over at Reluctant Entertainer. Sandy is a guest blogger at Melissa's and today she reminds us about the true focus when we entertain guests -- we want to connect with people rather than focus on impressing them with trying to have everything magazine perfect.

Although we desire our guests to feel special by fixing up a nice meal and having our homes comfortable and inviting, that's not the chief focus. It's the connecting to people that matters. We will enjoy the wonderful food and the beautiful ambience, but we will treasure them because they remind us of the times spent with our friends, old and new. So thanks, Melissa and Sandy for the beautiful and timely reminder.

Now, here's wishing you all a beautiful weekend!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Live More Beautifully At The Office

Over the years I've been learning to let the creative and beautiful things be our life and the mundane kind of work to fill in around it. I know, you say, but I have to be at the office from 9 to 5, five days a week... it's set in stone. And the work I'm doing doesn't allow any dancing or singing or painting or being creative.

But that's where I remind myself, and I want to encourage you to see that it is possible if we learn how to carry a song in our hearts. It's looking for opportunities to be creative in the midst of what seems mundane and boring. We can dance a jig in our office when a nasty project gets completed. We can create a small oasis of beauty in our work space by bringing in that piece of artwork we've created.

Many years ago, my job included hours and hours of photocopying each week. I'd stand in front of that machine, turning out page after page after page. How tedious, how wearisome, so far away from any sense of creativity and fun.

But I found a way to let joy overshadow the day. As that old machine cranked out reams of paper copies, I'd sing to myself. I was amazed at how much that helped me with the work. Those seven dwarfs in that old fairytale, Snow White, figured out the secret of making the time fly by whistling while they worked.

Author of Living A Beautiful Life Alexandra Stoddard once shared how she made it a lovely ritual to bring fresh flowers every Monday morning for her desk at the office. It brought a certain charm and gentility to her corner of the world. So I decided to bring fresh flowers to my office too. Sometimes I'd go to my favourite florist over lunch hour and bring back bunches of posies, leaving them on the desks of my coworkers. I was ever mindful they also had their own hours of photocopying to tend -- it made all our lives more beautiful.

Sometimes it's easy to get in a slump, especially if things are a bit dull around us. But that's the challenge, isn't it? Always looking for ways to enliven and enrich the most tedious tasks... always looking for ways to stamp our sense of beauty into the dull surfaces of our days.

I'm hoping that you'll be inspired to look for ways you can sing and dance even if you're heading off to the office for another day in the 'swamp'.

Joyfully yours,

Monday, June 08, 2009

Spritely Spring Green

There's nothing like the sprightly spring greens to cheer any dark corner. We took these photos on a nature walk a couple of weeks ago. All manner of wild blossoms were poking fragile heads from under wintry debris that day. Here are a few:

And in green underwood and cover
Blossom by blossom the spring begins.
~ Algernon Charles Swinburne

* * *

Here's wishing you a pleasant weeks,

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Grateful For These Five Things

Quick... without thinking, list five things you are grateful for today...

1. I don't have to work in an assembly line factory. Today I thank those who do.

2. I don't have to live where I need to hunt for cow paddies before I can cook breakfast. How did I come up with this one? We went bird-watching yesterday and happened upon a field of cattle grazing in a meadow. Well, you know what you find then, right?

3. I can make memories with loved ones today because we're celebrating several birthdays. Plus, with celebrations, come birthday cake and delicious meals to savour and enjoy.

4. For library books to read and browse through. Aren't libraries great?

5. For sunshine after the beautiful rain yesterday and that it wasn't snow because it snowed elsewhere around these parts yesterday.
What do you find yourself grateful for today?


Thursday, June 04, 2009

Make A New Ending


 "Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending." ~ Maria Robinson

Don't be discouraged

♥ Take heart ♥

It is what it is

Start fresh today

A little every day


Follow the hunch
Begin today

Sending heart wishes your way,

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Nature's Comfort

As the beauty of the season deepens with each passing day, I'm gaining a new appreciation of the important role Nature plays in bringing comfort and joy to our sometimes fretful nerves and heart.

Have you ever found that during those times when you've grown weary with well-doing, or become anxious over a troubled relationship, or when you're reeling from news that hit you totally out of the blue, there's nothing like going for a walk in nature or experiencing the beauty and tranquility of your garden. Somehow it restores peace to your anxious thoughts.

This Spring I've been watching a pair of tree swallows set up housekeeping in one of our nest boxes. As I sat on the deck one day watching their comings and goings, I noticed a soft, comforting peace settle on my shoulders like a cozy quilt.

I had been struggling with some areas that threatened my peace and joy, and those little tree swallows were God's gift to me that day. For as I listen to their lilting songs and watched their seeming delight in finding a suitable home in my garden, my spirits lifted. The joy and serenity replaces that fretful moment and order is restored. I am comforted.

Perhaps that's why I like this Ralph Emerson Waldo quote:
"Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything that is beautiful, for beauty is God's handwriting -- a wayside sacrament. Welcome it in every fair face, in every fair sky, in every flower, and thank God for it as a cup of blessing."
I wish you grace and peace today. May your troubled thoughts fly away on wings of peace. May rest abide in your hearts all the day long.


Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Small Courtesies: Leaving Comments

Further to yesterday's post about small courtesies, I thought about another delightful courtesy in our community -- to leave comments on blogs when you go visiting. I am always delighted to come to my site and find that someone left a comment however large or small.

Since I started blogging last year and started leaving comments, I've 'met' so many wonderful people. The purpose of blogging, from my perspective, is to connect with other people. It's hard to make a connection if I don't know you've come to visit. Whether or not you found something to your liking, or even if you don't plan on being a regular, it's still really nice to know you stopped by.

So please don't feel shy about leaving a comment if you've never done it before. Someone in a how-to blogging book I read when I first started blogging used the term 'lurkers' for people who visited blogs but didn't leave a comment. Ooooo, I didn't feel comfy with the sound of that, so that's when I realized it maybe it matters to leave a note when you go visiting.

You don't know what to say? Just a 'hello, I was here' works for me. If you are a blogger and you leave your comment, it gives me an opportunity to link back to your site and see what you are up to. If you're not a blogger and you leave a comment, it gives me an opportunity to respond to you on my own site, which you can then come by and see at your convenience. 

By the way, if you still decide not to leave your 'calling card' when you pay a visit, no worries.  We're still glad you stoppped by and we send our happy wishes for a great day.


Monday, June 01, 2009

Small Courtesies

Sometimes in our rush to get things done, the small courtesies can get lost.

As we go about our day, it's good to remember that these niceties help cushion our lives, making the journey softer and more pleasant, not only for ourselves, but for others as well. Courtesies like returning phone calls promptly, acknowledging e-mails, arriving on time for meetings, putting your grocer cart back in the right place, or smiling at people instead of staring past them.

As Nancy Lindemeyer, former editor of Victoria magazine once said, "Nice matters." It all adds up to living our lives more beautifully. And sometimes I need a reminder. You too?

Gracefully yours,