Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Happiest of New Years

Source: morguefile.com


"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

Of one thing I am certain, whatever unfolds in the coming year, I continue to have the confidence that the same God who brought me through the ups and downs of the past 12 months 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. No matter what lands on my doorstep.

Oh yes… my 'resolution' for this new year? To come back to that place I once knew more intimately of being so aware of walking out my days expressing the Royal law of love every single moment.  Not to worry about numbers, as Mother Teresa once expressed, but to truly love and honour the one who happens to be nearest me in the present moment. Which, of course, also means walking nearer the One who is called Love Himself.  I find it's not possible to love well otherwise.

That's my heart's yearning ... how about you, what do you yearn for this year?

Here's my deepest wish you and yours in 2012... May you experience His perfect ‘daily bread portions’ of love, peace, joy, health and wealth in every area. Not to forget, myriad glimpses of heaven on earth in unexpected places... 


So that your joy may be full!

Hugs,
Brenda
xox


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A List of A Different Kind



HERE'S A LIST you don't have to check twice, and you don't have to admit if you've been naughty or nice either.  Just a little fun as we count down four more sleeps!


1. Are your lists done or are you still working on them?
Some years I'm all done by this time, but have to admit I've still got a wee gift list as well as a food shopping list to finish by Friday.

2.  Hot Cocoa or mulled apple cider? Hot Cocoa... and don't spare the whipped cream and chocolate shavings either!

3. Turkey or Ham?
Turkey with Mom's recipe for stuffing, and lots of it.

4. Do you get a fake or real-you-cut-it-yourself Christmas tree?
I love a real tree, but for years we've set up a very pretty artificial one and put candle-like lights on it.  As a child I loved it when we'd come home from school one afternoon to discover that the tree had been chopped down and was now waiting for the okay to haul inside.  That meant Christmas was almost here.

5. Decorations on the outside of your house this year? Very simple this year -- lights on the house and a wreath with the long-tailed velvet bow on the door.

6. Snowball fights or sleddin’?
Sleddin' (although it's been a while since I've done that. Snowball fights were a menace to eyeglasses).

7. Favorite Christmas song?
That's too hard to narrow down; it depends what grabs my heart and fancy on a particular year. Sacred: Joy to the World; Secular: Sleigh Ride would be right up there.  When I'm not paying attention, I most often find myself humming Deck the Halls.

8. How do you feel about Christmas movies? I like them - love The Bishop's Wife, the old Bing Cosby ones (White Christmas, Going My Way, Bells of St. Mary), While You Were Sleeping, You've Got Mail...to name a few. I also enjoy movies that add to the ambiance, but aren't necessarily Christmas, e.g. Anne of Green Gables (there a scene with Christmas festivities going on).

9. When is it too early to start listening to Christmas music?
Is it ever too early? Some Christmas music I can listen to any time (usually the classical stuff by Bach or Handel).

10. Going to someone's house or they coming to you? This year we're off to my sister's where we get to christen her newly-built home; it's out in the country and overlooks the Rocky Mountains.

11. Do you read the Christmas Story? If so when?
I love the Christmas Story from Luke 1-2, King James Version (the one I grew up on and learned by heart without even trying, I'd heard it so many times). I love to read and ponder, like Mary, throughout December.

12. What do you do after presents and dinner? Sit around and visit, snooze, play games, nibble.  Laugh and tell stories.  Listen to the kids do their piano recital pieces, maybe sing carols.

13. What is your favorite holiday smell? The spicy smells of cinnamon and cloves; the turkey cooking on Christmas Day; evergreens as they warm when they are brought into the house.


14. Do you open a present or presents on Christmas Eve, or wait until Christmas day? Our family tradition until siblings started getting married (needing to go to in-laws) was to open our presents on Christmas Eve, but now we wait until Christmas Day.  Rick and I usually do our own exchange of gifts early Christmas morning, tucked up in bed with something steaming to sip on as we savor packages and giggle together at the fun.

15. Favorite Christmas memory?
As a young child, sitting in the darkened living room on a quiet evening watching the tree lights while my mom made supper in the kitchen. I felt cozy and safe.

16. Favorite part about winter?
Snow; short days and early twilights; that Christmas is in the middle of it; looking for the birds come to the feeders on cold days; watching the joy of kids and dogs playing in newly-fallen-snowman-worthy snow!
17.  Write Christmas cards or send e-cards and Facebook greetings?  Both now.  But I still love looking for the perfect Christmas cards that become part of the message I want to share from my heart, which usually includes a letter or note (to go snail-mail and arrive in someone's letter box).



And now I'm off to tackle my other lists.  From the heart of my bottom bottom of my heart, I wish you a beautiful day --- as Mary Engelbreigt would say, Be warm inside and out!

Hugs,




   




Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Waiting For Christmas



I shall never forget the day last year, right around this time, when Miss Kitty came and asked me to move her pillow from her chair to the table sitting in front of the bay window. She was very clear about what she wished. Today, as I remember and miss this sweet kitty today, I'm posting those photos as a little comfort to myself. Hope you enjoy too.


Miss Kitty Waits For Christmas


Miss Kitty instructs her staff to please take
her chair cushion and lay it on the table --

That way she can look out and be more comfortable
while she waits for Christmas to arrive. 




Peering out on the frost-bitten day,
she finally finds the best spot and settles down.




So while Missy tends to her post,we happily tend to ours
as we work on our last day preparations...





before the arrival of Christmas Eve --
which to me is the most beautiful day of the year.


Wishing you lots of JOY,






Friday, December 09, 2011

Simple Woman's Daybook


FOR TODAY...


Outside my window... the sun has risen and the sky is that not-too-ambitious pale December blue. It promises seasonal temperatures minus the biting winds. 

I am thinking... about a quote I found recently by William Blake -- In seed time learn, in harvest teach, in winter enjoy.  I think that might be something to ponder a bit.

Question of the day... do I know what season my heart is in at present? I like to use the garden's seasons as a metaphor, e.g. new life in Spring, growth and bloom in Summer, harvest for labours in Autumn, rest and hibernation in Winter. 

I am thankful... for the box of Christmas cards I found with this particular painting in its collection (below).  I can easily imagine that I'm the one sitting so contentedly on the Shepherd's lap.
  


from Daymaker Inspirational Gifts, Barbour Publishing Inc.


From the learning rooms... I'm taking a night class right entitled 'transform your life, transform your city'. 

In the kitchen... we just had freshly brewed coffee (from Panama beans) and a toasted raisin-cinnamon bagel a-drip with melted peanut butter. Yum!

I am wearing... a black legging with a lacy spaghetti-strap top (still in my jammies). 

I am going... shopping with hubby for a new winter jacket. He wants to be sure I'll be warm when the temperatures plummet. I hope I can find both warm and pretty in the same jacket. And although I like the warmth of down, usually I feel too much like a Mrs. Waddle Downy Duck when I put on such a jacket.

I started reading... Jan Karon's Shepherds Abiding. Perfect for this season. Just cracked open the covers late last night to catch a few moments in Mitford before heading off into la-la land.

I am looking forward to... the weekend. We have a Christmas choral concert on Sunday afternoon. They usually give opportunity for the audience to join in a couple of rousing carols at the end. That is always one of my favorite things to do -- to sing the old familiar carols simply and sweetly. 

I am hearing... my computer humming. No birds around yet. No music on, Christmas or otherwise.


Around the house... I came in last night from my class. It was cold and dark outside (except for the shimmer of the moon way, way up). Hubby had already gone to bed, but he left the Christmas tree candle-lights on, and when I walked in I felt a rush of joy... for they offered such a warm welcome.


Wishing you a beautiful day and a wonderful weekend!
Brenda
xox



Monday, December 05, 2011

December Thoughts

 

Dear Beautiful Friends,

You probably wonder where I am.... I'm wondering where I am too. Because at present I have no concrete thoughts to share with you. The flow isn't there. It's not that I'm not thinking of you and it's not that I'm not taking moments for wee visits...but the desire to write about anything, even about my favourite time of year, pales at the present time.

For in the midst of my usual joy in Christmas activities I have been experiencing a great longing to draw near the fire within my heart and sit nearer the feet of Jesus... to wonder at His great gift... to just be quiet and soak in His presence. Which, as I've said, makes everything else pale in comparison.

Which is maybe why I don't really feel like posting these days. Even my own personal journal scribblings have slowed (something that doesn't happen often). I don't want to write about my usual little joys -- somehow the throbs of my heart have been listening for something else. I want to feel His love, hear His kind voice, listen to the beat of His heart for a world He loves so much... so writing about ordinary things (as wonderful as they are) just doesn't fit the season right now.

I wanted you to know I'm not far away, my heart is near, even if there aren't any words right now.

As you prepare for these special days, His heart is near, and I wish you your own true glimpses of heaven in unexpected places. I'll return.

With my heart,
Brenda
xox




Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Baking in the Air

Here's a question about Christmas baking. Thinking of Christmases past, what would you say is your ever-favorite holiday treat? And what would be your most poignant memory connected to baking or cooking this time of year?

For me, it's the whole idea of making Christmas fruitcake... the excitement that swirled around the kitchen table as Mom and Grandma would spend the day before measuring, chopping, and mixing all the fruit, peel, raisins and nuts. Little hands would sneak the odd cherry or almond.... usually to the mild chiding to get your hands out of there.

Then would come the measuring of brown paper to line the loaf pans (of course now I use parchment), greasing them down...

 


Pouring in the lovely batter, and then watching as the pans with their rich treasure slide into the oven. The anticipation built as we all seemed to be waiting for the spiced fragrance to begin wafting through the kitchen ... those exotic smells of cinnamon and cloves and ginger.




Nowadays fruitcake seems to get a bad rap around these parts, but both my hubby and I love fruitcake, and we always look forward to cutting generous slices to eat with steaming cups of black tea on a wintry afternoon.

The photos here are for a light fruitcake -- you can find the recipe here.


On that spicy note, I'm away,
Brenda
xox


Saturday, November 26, 2011

Was That A Glimpse?



Or was that a Flicker?

Yes, yes.... I do believe this handsome fellow who landed on the seed bag near our arbor is indeed a northern flicker.  A species that I don't think has ever visited our yard before. So what a treat to catch sight of this beauty the other day. Notice the heart-shaped red marking on his head...striking, isn't it?




 With a pose like that, I'm thinking he's asking,
"So, which pose do you think makes me look handsomer?
My right profile...



...or my left?



Mr. Flicker, no matter which angle, you were worth meeting!  Thanks for stopping by.  Hope you come again real soon!


Wishing you glimpses and flickers of your own fine feathered friends,
Brenda













Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Sleepy Farewells


  
Do you ever go into your garden after a frost has taken the bloom off everything in it?  Do you murmur a little thank you to all your flowers, trees and shrubs, not to mention the odd bumblebee who might be making its rounds one last time? 


To offer a grateful whisper to them for having made your little corner of the world a beautiful place...


I almost imagine that they offer sleepy nods in response as they nestle in for a well-deserved rest until Spring.



I took the above photos a couple of weeks ago...before the snow arrived...and forgot to post.




All things that are beautiful
~ think on these things ~
and give thanks!



Wishing you a beautiful day,
Brenda
xox

 







Friday, November 18, 2011

Sugar and Spice Cinnamon Buns




VOILA!  I did it.  Remember I mentioned yesterday that I just might have to make cinnamon buns as it was such a blustery shivery day outside.  (It didn't take much arm twisting either!)


So between finishing off a book and its companion book review for my evening class, I had fun rolling out a small batch of these toothsome morsels, much to the delight of everyone in the household.


The recipe is posted over on my food site should you have the urge for something warm and delicious.


Here's wishing you sugar and spice and everything nice,
Brenda
xox




 




Thursday, November 17, 2011

Decidedly Winter



Can you tell ... it's here in earnest now!

With temperatures well below freezing, bone-chilling winds from the northwest, and the skies heavy with snow (which the weatherman promises is sure to dump before day's end) it's a day for staying close to the home fires, if at all possible. And I'm very grateful that I can today.




The other day when the first real snow flurried around us like a tempest in the teapot -- creating a whiteout for a while and leaving its frosted signature on everything in sight -- I thought later it would been a fun time to take some kids and dogs for a tromp down some nature path.

Well today... not so much.  It's decidedly nippy out there.  I know, as I just got back from topping up bird feeders. Rather, it's a morning for staying inside, keeping the twinkle lights on all day, and putting on a bit of seasonal music, something like Vivaldi's Winter from Four Seasons, and then enjoying that second cup of coffee, as blogging friend Sandy always loves to say.

Here's wishing you joy for the journey... 
and everything you need pertaining to life and goodness!

Brenda
xox





Monday, November 14, 2011

Blogging Tip: How To Change Photo Sizes


This tip is for Blogger users

Ever notice bloggers who display their beautiful photos in big, bold, eye-catching sizes? Yet when you load a photo and you want to make it x-large, it's too big and it spills over into the sidebar... which certainly isn't attractive. But when you click on medium, it's too small?

How can you change the size to fit your blog column?

With a little poking, prodding, and praying for wisdom, I figured out that I could 'safely' change the size of the photo in the HTML code. Believe me, when I figured this out, I knew next to nothing about html code. So we tread carefully here.

If you're asking the same question, here's how to do it:

1.  Load your photo into your post.
 
2.  Click on the photo and select X-Large.

3.  Look for the tabs COMPOSE and HTML at the top of your post toolbar.

4. Click on HTML tab. Don't be afraid at what you see... I know it can look a little scary with all those symbols, but if you scroll through that mess until you see a code that has the words 'height' and 'width' in it... that's the code for your photo. It will look something like this:
<a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-mywltWUzCJE/Try3YmmKKpI/AAAAAAAAGHg/60JNP6oKBao/s1600/342945mr2z51864q.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="398" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-mywltWUzCJE/Try3YmmKKpI/AAAAAAAAGHg/60JNP6oKBao/s320/342945mr2z51864q.jpg" width="640" /></a></div>

Notice the numbers in red -- 398 and 640. These indicate the height and width of your photo. The numbers are what you can safely change to make it fit the space in your posting column, and still look stunning and luxurious.

For my blog post column size, I usually need to change the width from 640 to 590. You might need to experiment a little. I don't usually change the height, but you can experiment if you want to make it longer as well. Just be careful not to change the proportions so much that it changes the perception.

Remember, you only change those numbers, nothing else, unless you know your way around HTML.  If something does go weird, click on the 'undo' button (backwards arrow) to bring it back to the original.

5.  Once you've discovered the magic size that works for you, that's all you need to do. Now click back on COMPOSE tab and make sure it's the size you want. Carry on with your posting, preview, and hit Publish.

NB.  You can also do this with video or YouTube uploads. Just always watch for the words 'height' and 'width' and change the size to fit your column.

Another Option. One blogger said she actually changed the size of her column so the photos would fit properly. Either way would work. You would change in your template settings. 

Hope this simple tip helps!
Brenda






Friday, November 11, 2011

God Knows How To Find You


In those times I can't seem to find God,
I rest in the assurance He knows how to find me.
~ Neva Coyle


I went through my greeting card collection the other day in search of a card I could send to a friend who'd been on my mind. I didn't find anything suitable for her but I did find a note card with the above quote.

I went to put the cards away, but felt drawn to first share the quote here. Perhaps there is someone who is reading this who needs to see these comforting words. If that's you, I pray you peace for your mind and heart for He is closer to you than even the mention of His name. Whisper it right now... Jesus.
Hugs,
Brenda
xox


Remembering...



Lest we forget....


 As we commemorate sacrifices past and present,
I am pleased to share these two Remembrance Day poems
written by my beautiful nieces...


It’s Not Fair, But…

It’s not fair, my country was invaded.
It’s not fair, my freedom was faded.
It’s not fair, soldiers had to sacrifice.
It’s not fair, parents had to pay the price.
It’s not fair, when families have to say goodbye.
It’s not fair, when people die!

But, I’m glad that it is done!
I’m glad, that I don’t have to worry about anybody’s gun.
I’m glad, my freedom is restored.
I’m glad, for this reward.
I’m glad, that I am free.
I’m glad my father came home to me!

by Chiante, age 12




A Sacrifice

They march in single file to the battlefield.
Their family hopes that at least they would come home alive.
The weapons come out, the tanks start roaring, the battle has begun.

They come home from the war, never the same as they were before.
Their families are thankful they came home, some with wounds, some without.
Their lives forever changed.
We are thankful for the sacrifice they have made.

by Sierra, age 9




Thursday, November 10, 2011

Beagle Bailey The Best



THIS YOU'VE GOT TO SEE...

Not your usual 'play dead' trick --  Bailey takes it to a new level.

If you've seen it already, hey, it's worth a second laugh.
Note -- watch her front paw when her human buddy lifts it.



BTW,  I heard it told (based on neurological reseach now out there), YES, it's totally possible to teach an 'old' dog new tricks. Because our brain can always form new furrows to accommodate new ideas and new habits. So no more excuses.
Enjoy your day... here's to learning something new today!

Brenda
xox










Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Figuring Life Out




Today I offer you this little gift of a short video I found on YouTube. Although Figuring Life Out is the trailer for Ann Voskamp's recently-released book One Thousand Gifts, I think it's really too beautiful to be called a 'trailer'. Ann's poignant words and accompanying photos are sure to lift your spirit as she shares the marvels and joy found in a thousand gifts... or as I like to put it  'catching glimpses of heaven in unexpected places'. I was so moved I had to watch it more than once.


I hope you enjoy,
Brenda





For other links you might like to check out:







Saturday, October 29, 2011

On Being First




I don't know about you, but there are times when I wish I could be the first at something. As a child, I loved to run and I remember the exhilaration I felt those times when it was me who crossed the finish line first.

There is something energizing about coming in first -- I guess it stems from the desire to be good at something, to be so good in fact that, even if it's just for the moment, you are the best at it.

Now, I haven't been running any races lately, but after finding this thoughtful quote, I realize again there are lots of places and times when I can still experience the exhilaration of coming in first:

Strive to be first:
First to nod,
First to smile,
First to compliment,
And first to forgive.
~ Unknown

  

 Wishing you grace for first place!
Brenda




Photo source:  Microsoft Images

Friday, October 28, 2011

Saying Grace



"You say grace before meals. All right. But I say grace before the concert and the opera, and grace before the play and pantomime, and grace before I open a book, and grace before sketching, painting, swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing and grace before I dip the pen in the ink.” ~ G.K. Chesterton

Most mornings I do ask for grace, mercy and wisdom to be my companions throughout my day. However, I do wonder how it would affect my activity... focus... thoughts... not to mention results, if I took those few seconds to speak grace, not just at meal times, but every time I move from one task or activity to the next.

What if saying grace actually shifts our experience from one level to another where grace swirls around us all day -- intercepting, under-girding, increasing, changing, deepening, enriching? Wouldn't it be a lovely exercise to undertake to help us center our thoughts back on the One who promises to walk with us.

(Hours Later).... I wrote the above earlier in the day -- and I just arrived back from an evening class where I was scribbling down notes as fast as I could, trying to catch the speaker's key thoughts and my particular favorite turns of phrases, when I suddenly recalled those words of Mr. Chesterton's. So for the scantest of moments I stopped trying to jostle words into the tiny space in the notebook provided... and I did say grace. First, it was a little joy bubble, then I felt a grin spreading. And I knew I had, indeed, been Graced (see my definition below)!
  

 
Want to Join Me This Weekend?

Sometimes it's good to test these things out. Does it truly make a difference to say grace? In what way? I believe it does, but let's experiment and find out for ourselves. So, I'm thinking about setting my thoughts and focus on saying grace whenever I begin something new this weekend. Today, Saturday, Sunday.

If you'd like to join me, leave a comment today -- then come back Monday and share with us (in this same comment box) about if and how saying grace worked for you. I'll be here!

 * * *


*Graced = when a person is given the strength and ability to do it easily,
without toil, yet with efficiency, effectiveness and beauty.
(my own definition)

"My yoke is easy and my burden is light." ~ Jesus


Wishing you a grace-filled day!
Brenda
xox




Photo sources:





Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Few Lights

 

As the daylight fades sooner these days, my little fig tree, festooned with tiny white lights, is now called into service each day as soon as evening shadows lengthen.  Her express purpose?  To create a cozy glimmer in the corner of my dining room.
Already the room feels cozier, softer, more inviting. A few lights... just a simple thing... but, oh, the pleasure I get every time I pass by.
Laura Ingalls Wilder once said, "I am beginning to learn that it is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all."  We're discovering she's right, isn't she?
So here's wishing you cozy pleasures... whatever time of day it is when you read this and in whatever way they make you happy!

Hugs,
Brenda




 

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Glorious Apple

"I taught my children to treat life like a big apple. Bite it, chew it, suck it, let the juice dribble down your chin. If you bite a worm, spit it out. But don't stop eating that apple." ~ Arabella Ark, Ceramics Artist, Maui

Sometimes life isn't fair and sometimes, yes, it has worms in it. But think about all the other times when it's just plain wonderful -- juicy, sweet and delicious. If we stopped eating apples because we might happen upon a wormy one, imagine what we'd miss by doing so. Not to mention the simple joy of biting into a crisp, juicy apple, what about....

...apple pie with cheddar cheese
...apple dumplings in maple syrup
...apple tart
...pork chops with apple sauce
...hot buttered toast and apple butter
...apple crisp with vanilla ice cream
...flaky apple strudel
...hot apple cider
...toffee apples on a stick
...Waldorf salad
...apple fritters
...fried apple rings


Oh, my mouth doth water. Yours? Here's to the apples of life. Let's keep eating.

Hugs,
Brenda




Friday, October 21, 2011

A Little Grace Note



If there would be pumpkins in my garden they would have had frost on them last night.  That's why I was so pleased to discover this dainty one untouched by icy fingers when I looked out this morning. Neatly tucked under our lilac tree, her pink petals were sheltered... this time.

I felt her mild chiding when I brought her inside. Against the odds at this time of year -- we often have frost weeks earlier -- I took a chance by leaving her out all night. But now she sits here on my desk... sharing her gift of beauty with me one last time.

Little gifts... a tiny grace note of beauty... sometimes we're too hurried or harried to notice.

So I invite you to s.t.o.p. right now in this moment and look around. Listen. Breathe in and smell.  There's a little grace note waiting for you to notice.... it's your gift from Him.


Wishing you glimpses of heaven in unexpected places,
Brenda
xox












Thursday, October 20, 2011

You Are My Fans!





Y o u . . .

my blogging friends, are a wonderful reminder
that life is beautiful!

You've been a gift to me and I thank God
upon every remembrance of you!

Whoever thought up the idea of 'blogging'
I salute you... and thank you.
How else would I have met so many creative and amazing people!

To each of you, I'm just joying today
that our paths have crossed!




"Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others
cannot keep it from themselves.
~ Sir James M. Barrie.


Here's wishing you that same sunshine that you've brought into my life!
Brenda
xox



graphic source: Graphics Fairy

Monday, October 17, 2011

Parasols, Prompts, and Postage Stamps



"P" is for Parasols, Prompts, and Postage Stamps


Occasionally I enjoy using sentence prompts to prime the writing pump. I like how 'you just never know' what hidden thoughts bubble up unexpectedly -- surprising me as much as anyone! So, here we go:

I never thought... I'd live to hear myself say, I don't think I'll put up a Christmas tree this year. But I did, just a few days ago. (Quick, take my temperature!) It's not a baa-humbug feeling, but I do feel a shift in my thoughts this year. For some reason it doesn't seem so important. Perhaps it's because we do have a little fig tree with twinkly white lights up all year round -- I tend to turn them on as the autumn evenings wrap their dark shawls around our homes earlier -- and so there's no fear of not having a cozy ambiance around me.

I don't really enjoy... the time of day where afternoon wanes into late afternoon-early evening. To me, it feels a little sad. Coffee shops are deserted and spoons clatter into silent heaps as customers suddenly realize they need to get home to supper and evening events. I don't feel that way during the shift from morning to afternoon, but I do at this time of day. I wonder if babies feel it too, because they often seem more out of sorts.

I have...
been missing my little purr-y Miss Kitty. At hubby's request we did not get another kitty to fill our lives; we want to do a little more travelling and so we can without fretting how Kitty will get on. Yet still, having kitties in my life has been one of the truest joys of my life. And so sometimes I feel bereft. The upside is that I get great comfort from my furry friends in bloggy-land. I ADORE my kitty bloggers as they fill a place in my heart; even through cyberspace, I feel their feline purr-fectness when I visit them! (Oh.. and the doggies I've met through my blogging friends they've add lots of fun too)

I do not like... feeling obligated. It puts me on the defensive when I think I need to oblige someone when my heart is not in it. So I try not to do that to others. I like people to have the freedom to choose based on what they consider important or necessary. And I appreciate it when people do not push me into things in return. To my way of thinking, trying to 'twist someone's arm' is neither beautiful nor loving.

I'm going to...
tell you a little story that helped me see something in a new light. A woman from North America (not sure if Canada or USA) went on a missions trip a few years ago to help orphan children in another country. One day, as she stood in the line-up for her share of the rice and beans, a local woman entreated her to leave the line and come with her - she had something to show her.

The woman replied that she's in the supper line-up and if she left then she won't get her meal. The local woman says, Come, come, you can eat tomorrow.

This response totally astounded the woman in the line -- and it gave her a view on food that she'd never seen before. In front of her was standing a woman who probably had experienced hungry days herself and yet she held her need for a meal so loosely that she could say 'you can eat tomorrow' because something else was more important right then.

I never forgot that story. There was something freeing -- as I realized how much value here in North America we place on eating our 'three squares' and can feel quite put out if we miss one of them. Makes me think of that word -- Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. Just something to ponder... or is that chew, I guess!

I haven't figured out... quite how to work smarter not harder in every area in my life. But I'm delighted to remember that every failure is an opportunity to try again with experience.




A classic book I'm enjoying these days is... My Book of Flowers by Princess Grace with Gwen Robyns (1980). A delightful read as the Princess shares her joy in creating pressed flower art and shares her love of flowers, not to mention the place they have in art, literature, poetry, ballet, etc. Two of her pressed flower designs were used as postage stamps. Wouldn't they have made pretty additions to any envelope?


Wishing you a beautiful day,
Brenda
xox





Friday, October 14, 2011

Postcard....Don't Miss It!



I have no idea who said the quote below, but it's just too good not to pass along. I think it's a wonderful way to end a week, and maybe because we've all  messed up on something and we need a fresh look at things. So here it is in all its short sweet goodness...

"Failure doesn't mean the game is over; it means try again with experience."

So, thanks to whoever said it. It's so gorgeous here today and my mountain ash is on fire with autumnal glory in the morning light. Makes me glad to be alive. Have a great weekend.


Hugs,
Brenda
xox





Thursday, October 13, 2011

Out Of The Blue






Have you ever received a telephone call 'out of the blue' and it's an old friend phoning with hopes that you're free for lunch today? Perhaps you find a note card or a small wrapped package on your desk at work, and it's not even your birthday. Suddenly your quite ordinary day takes a delightful turn for the blissful!

One day I looked up the words whim, whimsical, whimsey -- these words all refer to an action or decision that is spontaneous, imaginative or playful.  I don't know about you, but it's easy to get into a rut and sometimes be quite militant about getting our 'to-do' lists checked off.  But, oh, isn't it fun to discover or experience something playful and spontaneous right in the middle of it all?

'Out of the blue' ideas can be a simple as a postcard arriving all the way from Brittany, France. Just like this delightful one I received the other day from Elizabethd over at French Village Life. (What a treat that was!)



It can be a spur-of-the-moment tea party with your 5-year-old niece or a humorous note dashed off to a friend who loves to laugh. It can be a single fragrant blossom, a branch of autumn leaves in a jar, or a single chocolate-y truffle laid on a loved one's pillow.

It's the surprise -- the sense of whimsy -- that makes it special. Remember that wise old word about giving and it shall be given? Why not do something spontaneous for someone today and watch it come back into your own life... right out of the blue!

Here's wishing you something bright,
something blue, something beautiful today!

Hugs,
Brenda
xox