Monday, March 29, 2010

A New Conversation Starter

Originally posted in 2009

I have never really cared for the conversational opening line, "So, what's new with you?"

I realize it's a reasonable way to begin a conversation, but I tend to feel put on the spot, as if the question is loaded with an expectancy for something out of the ordinary and requires an equally out-of-the-ordinary response.

Now, I have to admit, although my life has its ups and downs, and its lion's share of beautiful moments and seasons, it is also quite ordinary much of the time. No, we haven't been away on an exotic holidays recently; nothing untoward has happened to me or anyone I know; and the little joys and pleasures -- or the minor trials I may experience in my every day routines and rituals, alone or with others, don't seem to be the fodder for casual conversations.

Of course, I could tell the person how I enjoyed playing with my kitty cat as she chased the string around the room. But, first of all, it's not new information, and second, the person, unless a tried and true cat friend, probably isn't going to be as eager to know whether Miss Kitty played with her toys today or not.

What's the Best Thing That Happened?

So, what what other question could we ask? Author, speaker and life coach, Valorie Burton of Rich Minds, Rich Rewards shares a wonderful question in her recent e-newsletter....

"What's the best thing that happened to you today? This is one of my favorite questions to ask people in lieu of the overused and often insincere, "How are you?" It's a simple, thought-provoking question. Ask it of others -- and once a day, ask it of yourself.

In my seminars and workshops, I often have participants ask each other, "What's the best thing that's happened to you today (or this week or this month ...)?" Most people have to think for a moment, but the response is always one that lifts spirits and puts life in a whole new perspective."

Now, doesn't that question create more opportunity for interesting conversation? To share more heart stuff?

Now let's see, the best thing that happened to me today was when I went for a little walk in the neighbourhood. I enjoyed that it was lovely out and that I could smell all those earthy Spring smells and listen for the bird songs of the newest arrivals. I even chatted with a chirpy sparrow when I passed the tree he was perched in, imagining that we actually shared a magical moment together.

So, what's the best thing that happened to you today?

Hope there was something magical about it for you,

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Simply Sunday - A Living Expression

Let no one ever come to you
without leaving better and happier.

Be the living expression of God's kindness:
kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes,
kindness in your smile.

~ Mother Teresa


Saturday, March 27, 2010

Daffodil Happy

I'm daffodil happy today. I bought a couple of tightly furled bunches yesterday, and I expected them to open over the next couple of days. To my utter delight they wasted no time, and when I came into the living room this morning, they were waiting for me, in full bloom! I can only imagine what Mr. Wordsworth must have felt that day he saw a host of golden daffodils dancing in the breeze. 

I've been cleaning my bookshelves this morning. I keep telling myself that I've got to start culling out; there's no more room on the shelves. But that girl must be tone deaf when it comes to books. And besides, every book on those shelves has treasure in it; the ones I didn't find any treasures, well, they are already out the door.

So, I'm squishing and squeezing. Hope this treatment doesn't make their spines hurt.

And now, I see by my clock, it's time to leave books and daffodils; in a while I'm setting forth on an afternoon outing with a special friend to the Home and Garden Show.

Here's wishing you a pleasant day,

Friday, March 26, 2010

Spring Makeover

It's happened ... my spring clearing out bug has now hit my blog. We started giving the place an updated look a couple of weeks ago by adding one of my new photos and changing the background. But who of us doesn't know that a 'lick of paint' won't fix all our ailments.

I took a good look around my site and realized that, just as our clutter around the house starts to appear 'normal' because we get used to it, I did not notice when the long lists and whatnot on my sidebar had begun to look a lot like the former teeter-y pile on the side of my desk (where there often was a stack of paper I was either working on, not sure what to do with, or it was in transit).

I say former, because I'm pleased to report that pile no longer exists on my desk (though I'm not admitting that some of it still sits in limbo on the floor next to me, as Miss Kitty and I figure out what to do with the remains. She's for tossing it out with the litter.)

Now that I've seen it's high time to tidy up online, and make things easier for visitors to browse, I've taken a lesson from Brenda over at Coffee Tea Books and Me and started adding stand-alone pages of various categories at the top of my site. I like the way it looks on Brenda's site, and I'm hoping it will add a helpful feature, not only to clean up the sidebar, but organize postings so readers can find what they're interested in.

We're hoping for progress, as I don't wish to waste my time being the caretaker of the wrong details. For me, that's what spring cleaning is all about. It's clearing out the junk, bringing order to my corners of chaos, and clearing the way for me to focus on the right details, those details that matter to my life's journey.

On that note, here's to making way for the right details... it's a beautiful way to live.


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Uncovering Nuggets

There's always something quite satisfying about taking a few moments to clean off the junk pile that accumulates on the side of my desk.

For one thing, there's the joyful pleasure of putting things to rights -- bringing order out of chaos in one's corner of the world, even if it's just the corner of my desk. Then, there is the delight that comes when one uncovers a hidden treasure... a 'nugget of gold' in a pile of junk.

I can't say that I ever found any loose cash in those piles. Rats. So my tiny treasures are not of the monetary kind.  But I do appreciate uncovering some favourite saying and quote that's been scribbled down on a scrap of paper or index card, patiently waiting to be added to my quote box or journal.

Here are a few little treasures I enjoyed finding again -- I'm offering them to you with the hope they shall add a little inspiration to your day too...

On Variety...
The best way to know life is to love many things.
~ Vincent Van Gogh

On Forgiveness...
Always forgive your enemies--
nothing annoys them so much.
~ Oscar Wilde

On Hope...
Though no one can go back and make a brand new start,
anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.
~ Carl Bard

On Sharing...
To get a full value of a joy
you must have someone to divide it with.
~ Mark Twain

On Homemaking...
Take responsibility for the way your home feels.
~ Alexandra Stoddard

On Writing...
Just pay attention,
then patch a few words together,
and don't try to make them elaborate.
This isn't a contest but a doorway.
~ Mary Oliver

Three Rules of Work...
Out of clutter find simplicity;
From discord find harmony;
In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.
~ Albert Einstein

On Clearing Clutter...
If I was moving away, would I take it with me?
~ Kathy, my sister

On Discarding Paper...
If I've learned the lesson (written on this paper),
why do I need to keep it?

If I have not learned the lesson
from this piece of paper yet, I'm not going to learn it.
(Maybe I need) to get a new piece of paper.
~ Kathy, my sister

Wishing you a fine day!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

This and That

I'm still out for the count on my busier than usual days. I'm thankful I didn't say I'd be holding my breath till I got things back in order and I'd able to join the warm circle of bloggers on a more regular basis. Not only have we been clearing the deck, I mean the desk, the drawers, and the paper piles. While we puttered, we've been doing a wee bit of soul searching too.

DOING some attitude adjustments (these adjustments sometimes crack like those old chiropractic treatments used to sound -- haven't been for one in years, I hear they don't do those yanks anymore -- a good thing). Sometimes I get a little lax about keeping my gratitude tank topped up. It's not that I go out of my way to think ungrateful things, I just don't always remember to attune to the new mercies of beauty and grace that show up fresh every morning.

THINKING about what's important in this particular season of my life. New seasons are good, don't you think? Although I enjoy new beginnings any time of the year, Spring really is a perfect time to start fresh -- after all, we're joining with all creation in bursting with new life.

PONDERING that wonderful quote by Mary Oliver... "Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" After all, I'd hate to arrive at the end of my life and have God ask me what I did with his gift to me and not be able to answer well. I would want to be able to admit I loved  others even when it wasn't easy, that I gave my life to help others even when it was a sacrifice, that I encouraged others when words seemed so little ... that I believed Him even when faith sometimes seemed so mustard-seed minuscule.

LAUGHING at the silly shenanigans of my gracefully getting older car. On a very spring-like day a couple of weeks, Miss Black Beauty and I decided to stop for Dilly Bars at the DQ for myself and two friends, when suddenly we heard a clattering clunk on the pavement. Something did something, I knew that. But not sure what, I did have a passing giggle thought that maybe the engine had fallen out.

Looking in my rear-view mirror, no, there was nothing on the road. However, upon my arrival at the DQ parking lot, that's when I noticed the car's front left signal light was a-bobbling out of its socket, like an eyeball springing out in a cartoon. For all my effort, it wouldn't stay in place, so as I drove to my friends' office (I mean, after all, I had ice cream to deliver) I was laughing all the way, wondering what other drivers were thinking (if they were thinking) when they saw the signal light blinking from 'way down there'. I still chortle at that craziness of it -- and we managed to pop the 'eye' back in place.

Maybe this is where Mary Engelbreit's quote fits: "She who laughs, lasts".

Here's wishing you something to laugh about today,

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Simply Sunday - A Thought to Ponder

"Tell God all that is in your heart, as one unloads one's heart to a dear friend.
People who have no secrets from each other never want for subjects of conversation; they do not weigh their words, because there is nothing to be kept back. Neither do they seek for something to say; they talk out of the abundance of their hearts, just what they think.
Blessed are they who attain such familiar, unreserved communication with God."
~ Francois FĂ©nelon

Wishing you a day of peace and joy today,

Friday, March 19, 2010

Clearing The Deck

We've been pulling apart the study/computer room.

What's that old saying about needing to make a mess before you can clean.
Well, we've done a good job on that step.

Paper and boxes and whatnot have perched on just about every square inch of space.
Including Miss Kitty's chair(s).

We're not finished yet...

but order is starting to emerge from the chaos.

And, that makes me feel quite giddy!

Oh, and lest anyone worry that I'm working too hard without any little pleasures tucked in, we had some 'stolen' moments for savoring squares of that silky dark chocolate. We started reading that 'delicious confection', as Daily Telegraph describes the book 'The Enchanted April' by Elizabeth Von Arnim. Pure delight.

So, all is well. When my study is finished and in order, I've decided I'm treating myself to visiting all my blogging friends.... now that's motivation! 

Happy Day,

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Dare I Say............S-n-o-w

The snowy weather didn't stop Orange Kitten from dropping by for a wee visit and a kitty snack.
I took the picture below a few weeks ago, when she was after the birds in the tree. Naughty, naughty. Today, she was not interested in the birds or tree-climbing -- she was only interested in treats.

Hope you have a purr-fectly fine day, no matter what the weather is in your part of the world.


Monday, March 15, 2010

Spring Promises

Spring is nature's way of saying,
"Let's party!"
~ Robin Williams

Haven't been around much. Lots on my plate these days, so a quick note to say I miss you and I'll be round to visit as soon as I can.  In the meantime, sending happy thoughts your way!


Photo: © Brenda Leyland

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Tiny Stitching Treasures

Talk about making a square inch count.

If you're wondering what I'm talking about, it's what 39 Squares is doing to celebrate her 39th birthday. An amazing needle woman, this blogger decided to create a grid-style sampler with a square for each of her 39 years. A square a day.

It's amazing how much beauty and delight can fit into one tiny inch of fabric. It's one of those 'good things in small packages' deal! I've taken the liberty of sharing a tiny sample of her work to make you want go and see the rest for yourself.

And no, as much as we'd love to, I'm not actually stitching along... just 'hitching' a ride to watch creativity threaded at its best. However, it might send you flurrying for your own box of coloured yarn, beads, and needles.

May threads of beauty and grace be woven into the fabric of your day!


Monday, March 08, 2010

Follow Your Bliss

"The first step is to find out what you love -- and don't be practical about it. The second step is to start doing what you love immediately, in any small way possible. I've seen what happens to people when they get to do what they love. They light up. They glow. They have a kind of energy that's wonderful." ~ Barbara Sher

My favourite Five this week:

ONE. Our local birds have begun dusting off their spring song repertoire. To my great joy, they've been practicing in my backyard.

TWO. I'm currently reading French Women Don't Get Fat by Mireille Guiliano. I've marked two lines (among others) with a pencil for further pondering. Mireille talks about needing to learn how to be the master of our pleasures as well as our restraint. I can see being master of our restraints (being disciplined in things), but I don't think I've ever thought about being in charge of my pleasures. Perhaps she means we ought not let them be so happenstance but be more mindful of what we like and enjoy, not just what we say no to.

The other line I've marked says, "If you can't name your pleasures, chances are you've surrendered too many of them. It's time to start cultivating." 

THREE. I'm enjoying -- ever soooooo slowly -- the dark chocolate someone gave me the other day. Smooth. Silky. Rich.

FOUR. I was very happy to get back to my exercise class this morning. I had to skip a couple of classes last week, and my body and I missed it. I can hardly believe I'm saying that, but I did! So, yes, exercise is one of my favourite five this week.

FIVE. I was just sitting here, thinking about what else to write down in this quick list. Of course! I just remembered. I've been invited to present a workshop this coming fall at our Writers Conference here is Alberta. And guess what they've asked me to speak about --- blogging and having a web presence as writers.

I have to admit, I'm pretty excited about it. I'd been wanting to teach some workshops on something and here comes the opportunity right to my door (well, actually to my e-mail box). Funny thing, having this real live goal to works towards now has given me the incentive to dust off a few other writing aspirations and start making them a reality.

On that note, I best be off.
I hope your face lights up today with things you love to do!


Saturday, March 06, 2010

Oh What A Beautiful Morning

"Flowers are happy things."
P.G. Wodehouse

We're out for breakfast this morning. And, in case I don't get back to my computer on this lovely Saturday, for it really feels like spring today...

Here's wishing you a happy weekend!

Friday, March 05, 2010

Friday Fill-In

I am joining Janet at Friday Fill-ins and follow her prompts for today's posting. That way I don't have to totally start from scratch (especially when you see what time I'm doing this). So, here we go:

1. Why are you making... life so difficult by trying to do it all yourself?

2. I want you to take... $10.00 and look for one person as you go about your day and bless them in some way with it. Either slip the bill into their hand, buy them a meal, or a small posy of flowers. Something. It doesn't have to be a street person, just someone who catches your heart in some way. Maybe a grandmother, a young child. Maybe a single mom. Maybe someone who reminds you of your favorite person. (don't ask me where that came from)

3. If you don't have any good ideas to share... then it will be on my terms.

4. Seize the day and... really look for opportunities to spread joy and see what happens.

5. I could use a... cup of coffee right now. Either that, or my bed. Because it's 3:42 am, Friday morning. Yes, I'm still up. I've been pretty 'good' lately at getting to bed at a decent hour, but every once in a while my 'night owl' pops up. Which seems to be quite amazing that I should still be up on this particular night, for I just found the perfect quote to go with this event. Listen....
"Nighttime is really the best time to work. All the ideas are there to be yours because everyone else is asleep." ~ Catherine O'Hara

6. When I finish this... post, I will shut down my computer and be off to my pillow.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to... reading some of my library loot book pile, tomorrow my plans include ...going out for breakfast with hubby (hoping) and Sunday, I want to ...enjoy the company of others in God's presence!

Happy Friday!

Here's wishing you glimpses of heaven in unexpected places.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Some Things Are Worth Repeating...

As you may have noticed near the bottom of recent posts, I found the way to link my current posts to older ones. I enjoyed this feature on other blogs, and wondered how they did it. Click here if you want to find out too.

This is how I re-discovered the following post from Aug 2009. I so enjoyed reading these quotes I decided to share them all over again.

Wishing you a happy day!

* * * * *

A Treasury of Heart Quotes
"Remember to be gentle with yourself and others. We are all children of chance, and none can say why some fields will blossom while others lay brown beneath the August sun. Care for those around you. Look past your differences. Their dreams are no less than yours, their choices in life no more easily made. And give. Give in any way you can, of whatever you possess. To give is to love. To withhold is to wither. Care less for your harvest than for how it is shared, and your life will having meaning and your heart will have peace." ~ Kent Nerburn

For my blogging friends:

"A part of you has grown in me.
And so you see, it's you and me together
forever and never apart,
maybe in distance, but never in heart."
~ Brooke Zuroweste

"Sometimes someone says something really small,
and it just fits right into this empty place in your heart."
~ My So-Called Life

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Quick Hello and Purr-y Quotes

We're away busy these days -- a totally unexpected family funeral yesterday, and I'm still trying to get my client newsletters finished before the end of the week. Which means my blogging joys will have to wait.

For those of you who asked recently after Orange Kitten, since the weather warmed up, she's been out making the rounds in the neighbourhood. I was thankful she didn't think it necessary to 'keep in touch' during those coldest days of winter, but she sure is a little adventurer. I found her up one of our trees recently trying to get closer to the magpies gathering nearby. 

"AND thou shall have dominion over all the beasts. . .
except, of course, for cats."
Felines: 12 - 15

"MANY are chosen,
but few come when you call them."
Canines: 3 - 5

Salesman to customer:
"This can opener is extra-silent. . .
ideal for the cat owner."

Now I best be off -- thinking of you all,