Friday, February 26, 2010

I'm Late, I'm Late

"I have noticed that people who are late
are often so much jollier than the
people who have to wait for them."
~ Lucas, Edward Verrell, 365 Days and One More

I don't know how many times I've felt like the White Rabbit, scurrying past because I was late getting somewhere again. I really hate being rushed and always in a hurry, but ever since I can remember, being late has been a bugbear for me. My family can attest to that... I was often the last one scooting into the family car when I was a kid.

Now it's my sweet and patient husband who's standing in the foyer as he waits for me. We used to have a little joke that we'd heard somewhere that he had to wait so long, he almost got the garage re-painted. Except one day when I commented about him having had to paint the garage, expecting his usual cheerful retort, I recognized the response was a lot less enthusiastic and cheerful.

That's when I realized I needed to do something about this. A few years earlier I had stopped to ask myself why I had such a habit, and I did make some small progress. I was interested to uncover two re-occurring patterns in my life. Here's what I discovered:

1. The syndrome of ‘just one more thing'. For as long as I can remember, I've always squeezed in extra errands or tasks to do at the last minute. It wasn't urgent before, but suddenly I think I need to sort that pile on the side of my desk as I'm preparing for a trip or getting ready for a meeting. And, the unscheduled stop at the post office on my way, which I thought would only take a minute, took 20, and suddenly I’m behind schedule.

2. My creative urges would pop out at the oddest times. I’m not sure why, but I'd often find myself trying my latest card-making idea or wrapping that neat gift I found (but don’t need until next week) in the midst of drying my hair, ironing the top I need, and gathering what I need to take along.

Knowing I tend to work this way, I now try to plan 15 to 30 minutes extra, especially on those days when I really do need to be somewhere at a specific time. So, if I need to leave the house by 9:30 (and I mean I need to be in the car driving out the garage), then I tell myself that I need to be ready by 9:00. That way I still have some leeway for the last minute drink of water and stop at the bathroom, or to grab the library book I just remembered is due today...

It's making a difference. As I say, I'm not perfect at it, but I'm getting there. And the happy result is that my days feel less stressful, less hurry-hurry, and best of all, more enjoyable because I don't experience that feeling behind.

Enjoy your weekend... 

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Simply Sunday: On Laughter

"Laughter is
the closest thing to the grace of God."
~ Karl Barth

"A day without laughter is a day wasted."
~ Charlie Chaplin

"A merry heart does good like medicine."
~ Proverb 17:22

Here's wishing you something wonderful at which to laugh today!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Blogging Tip: Does Your Blog Matter?

Have you ever wondered whether you should continue blogging? Whether it makes a difference to anyone else if you blog or not? Whether you should be spending all that effort creating your posts, not to mention the time visiting those wonderful bloggers you've met online?

A while back, in celebration of her first year anniversary, fellow blogger Sande Chase from A Gift Wrapped Life shared her thoughts about why blogging matters to her. She really touched a chord with me. If you are reading this, I have a feeling you might also be inspired by her encouraging post. Below I've included my favourite line from it....

"Continue blogging until your heart is content.
If you have words to say, say them and someone here will hear you."
~ Sande Chase

The first time I saw Sande's gorgeous blog, I was captivated. She shares a gift for creating beauty that my heart only dreams about. I used to lament over why my 'reality' never quite matched my 'dream' for expressing beauty. But over the years, I've learned that rather than focusing on what I didn't seem to have or couldn't do.

I'm learning to 'drink deeply' from these wellsprings of creativity deposited in other people, and am gaining confidence to rejoice in their gifts without feeling insecure.

We each have our gifts and our place to make a difference, and together we can be assured that a beautiful tapestry is being fashioned, if we each use those threads and colours we've been given. Our own contribution of threads and colours are needed to complete the work of making a difference here in cyberspace. 

So, dear beautiful readers, blog till your heart is content ... share your life in the way that bubbles up from your inner self. And, trust that it will give those of us who read your posts some amazing 'glimpses of heaven in unexpected places'.

Hope you are encouraged to carry on!


Thursday, February 18, 2010

It Will Come Out A Rose


"Take your needle, my child, and work at your pattern;
it will come out a rose by and by.
Life is like that -- one stitch at a time
taken patiently and the pattern will come out
all right like the embroidery."

~ Oliver Wendell Holmes

* * * * *

Here's wishing you a wonderful day,


Victoria Magazine Fans

I'm very excited to pass along the news that Christi over at Charm and Grace Cottage has created a brand new blog for those of us who share an ongoing love for the original Victoria magazine.

Entitled Remembering Victoria, Christi's intent for her new blog is to 'offer all those who loved the original Victoria magazine the chance to share a story about their Victoria experience' with other readers.

It amazes me at how many people I've met on-line who continue to love and cherish these old copies that were filled with such lovely images of beauty and grace. (I still own every issue, and love to read them over and over.)

Victoria changed my life -- and I'll be forever grateful.


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Smitten by Mma Ramotswe

I first watched the DVD series The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency and fell in love with its main character Mma Ramotswe, Chief Detective, and her world in Gaborone, Botswana. Then I went in search of the novels by author Alexander McCall Smith, on which the series was based.

In case you have not had the delightful pleasure to read these gently touching and humorous stories, I have provided a couple of excerpts from the two novels I just finished reading. I hope you, too, will be drawn into Mma Ramotswe's simpler and picturesque world. 

The Full Cupboard of Life

"As always in Alexander McCall Smith's gentle celebrations of life in this arid patch of southern Africa (Botswana), the best moments are the smallest." ~The New York Times

"But there was a great deal that people did not understand and would only learn through bitter experience. In her view, one of these things was the truth of the old African saying that it takes an entire village to raise a child. Of course it does; of course it does.
Everybody in a village had a role to play in bringing up a child--and cherishing it--and in return that child would in due course feel responsible for everybody in that village. That is what makes life in society possible. We must love one another and help one another in our daily lives. That is the traditional African way and there was no substitute for it. None." ~ Mme Ramotswe, pg. 126

* * * * *

In the Company of Cheerful Ladies

"It was time for Mma Ramotswe to visit Mma Silvia Potokwane, the redoubtable matron of the orphan farm. There was no particular reason for Mma Ramotswe to pay a visit.... This was purely a social visit, of the sort that Mma Ramotswe liked to make when she felt that it was time to sit and talk. People did not spend enough time sitting and talking, she thought, and it was important that sitting and talking time be preserved."

"Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni was always prepared to listen to stories... although he had heard them all from Mma Ramotswe many times over. ...There were many such stories, and he understood just how important they were, and listened with patience and with respect. A life without stories would be no life at all. And stories bound us, did they not, one to another, the living to the dead, people to animals, people to the land?"

* * * * *

I hope you have a great day with a few moments to read something wonderful.


Friday, February 12, 2010

Love In Action




Not envious

Not boastful or proud

Not rude

It's not self-seeking

Nor easily angered


Doesn't keep records of wrong doing

It doesn't delight in evil

But rejoices in truth

Love always protects, trusts, hopes, perseveres.

 Based on words from 1 Corinthians 13 also known as the Love Chapter

Wishing you much love this Valentine's Day weekend!

Monday, February 08, 2010

Writing and Beads

"I learned that you should feel when writing, not like Lord Byron on a mountain top, but like a child stringing beads in kindergarten -- happy, absorbed, and quietly putting one bead on after another." ~ Brenda Ueland, If You Want to Write, 1938

Now that puts writing on a whole different level. I remember playing with my mother's button jar and what an absorbing activity it was to find the prettiest, biggest, or shiniest buttons for my stringing project.

Note to Self: Find pretty jar. Get coloured beads. Put on desk as reminder of how writing should make me feel!

Must dash ... Happy Monday,

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Random Dozen

Here's my go at 2nd Cup's Random Dozen.

1. Do you use the labels various charities send you as “free gifts"? Yes, I do. Sometimes I send a contribution back, but not always. I've wondered about the 'rightness' of using them if I don't support them with my cash, but I got over it. My using them indicates my support, and it's free publicity for the organization when I use them on my envelopes.

2. What is your favorite time of day (or night) for skywatching? I love the long summer evenings in northerly Alberta, where twilight lasts a long time. I enjoy watching the sky and clouds change as the sun drops lower and lower into the horizon.

3. What is the most adventurous you've ever been with trying a new food? Probably it was the time many years ago when I ate octopus at a Greek restaurant. That seemed pretty adventuresome for me.

4. Have you ever heard a rock sing? (Trust me, there's a reason for this one!) No, I can't say I have.... and I hope I never do..... 'cause I'm reminded of that verse from the Bible that says if we don't praise God, the rocks will cry out praise in our stead. I'd sooner do my own praising, thank you very much!

5. If you could learn a language you don't presently speak, what would it be? Ever since I lived in Venezuela for several months after I graduated from college, I have had a hankering to learn Spanish and be truly fluent in it. As well, I'd like to learn French, since I do live in a country (Canada) where we have two official languages. 

6. Al Capone's tombstone read, “My Jesus, Mercy.” If you could write your own epitaph, what would it say?  I hope that someday it could say "She walked in love."

7. If you were a famous musician who was known by one name, like “Cher,” “Sting,” or “Jewel,” what would it be? It doesn’t have to be your first name, but it can be, if you’d like.  Drew a blank on this one... maybe 'Bren'. 

8. Have you ever been inordinately “into” a television show? Don't watch much television these days. I used to enjoy the nighttime soaps like Dallas or Falcon Crest (waaaay back when). 

9. When you sneeze, do you go big, or do you do that weird “heenh!” sound that makes people think you’re going to blow your brains out? Oh dear.... nothing genteel about my sneezes.... they're usually quite eruptive.

10. Do you still read an actual newspaper that you hold in your hands, or do you get your news elsewhere? I like the feel of paper in my hands, so yes, I prefer my newspaper in paper format. Hubby likes to get the news on TV and internet, so I get caught up that way too. ... Oh yes, it's much more comfortable for Kitty if the news comes on something she can lay on (although she doesn't do that as much as Mr. Sullivan (my grey lad) used to do. That was his favourite. 

11. Are you a good speller? I've always been a good speller, and LOVED spelling bees in elementary school. Seems my proof-reading eyes are always on duty; a bit disconcerting to find what seems like more typos than there used to be... sometimes even in my own postings.

12. At what time each day do you start thinking about lunch? Depends on how early breakfast was.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

A Furry Nap Before Lunch

2010 by Brenda Colleen Leyland

There are so many great graphics and cute pictures over at glittergraphics. When I saw this one, I had to download and share it with you. I mean, it must have been a very hard morning for this little fellow.

"You cannot look at a
sleeping cat and feel tense."

~ Jane Pauley

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Around A New Corner

"I thought about what my husband had said, and realized I had fallen into the same trap so many aspiring writers do; I was spending too much time aspiring to write and very little time actually writing. Even though I finally had time to pursue my dream, I was still making it a low priority in my life. I was talking the talk, but wasn't writing the write." ~ Brenda Kezar, A Cup of Comfort for Writers (Cindy Sell, Editor)

My, my, my ... this is like looking in a mirror when I read this quote. Find it interesting that it's written by another Brenda. (Maybe the name in an earlier era meant 'procrastinator' or something...)

Ever since I resigned from my full-time office job a few years ago, I've been aspiring to write more. Ask anyone in my circle, including my patient husband, or come look at the files of draft articles and rough drafts for a book or two, teaching materials, brochures, and newsletter ideas. They all tell the tale that something in me needs and yearns to write, yet I've never really gotten things off the ground and out there.

Why not? I've asked myself that question a ga-zillion times. I think Brenda Kezer uncovered something --- like her, I've never really taken my aspiration from the bottom of the 'to do' pile and made it a higher priority, to place value on my writing and allowing it the right to my time and energy. Somehow I've always let housework and outings and volunteer projects.... just about anything else in my world take precedence.

It really came up close and in my face when I popped over to Lin's to see what she was up today. There, she had shared her Ta Dah list of things she'd accomplished this past month, and I was amazed at how many related to writing. Lin, you inspire me!

This new year is still young at heart, and I feel quite determined that 2010 shall be the year of 'narrowing the gap'... where my aspirations take on perspiration. I'm reminded of that wonderful proverb that says if I roll my works over on God, He will cause them to have success. With a promise like that, what are we waiting for?

Anyone else looking at new aspirations this year?