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!

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!

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!



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

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


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,

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!

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,

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.


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!


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Joy, Dishes, Dessert

I found a new-to-me quote that gives another thought on how we can live our lives more beautifully. It's all about doing dishes and dessert:

"If I am incapable of washing dishes joyfully, if I want to finish them quickly so I can go and have dessert, I will be equally incapable of enjoying my dessert.
With the fork in my hand, I will be thinking about what to do next, and the texture and flavor of the dessert, together with the pleasure of eating it, will be lost.  I will always be dragged into the future, never able to live in the present moment." ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

Wishing you a pleasant day,

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Do It With Joy!

Do it with J-O-Y!

That's the word I heard early this morning
as I was quietly getting my heart ready for the day.

Do it with joy.

Whether it's a perfectly ordinary day or a day that's up-side-down...

Whether it's a day filled with bad news or the need to make a hard decision...

Whether it's facing the same old, same old,
the dentist's chair,
or some new situation that makes you feel uncomfortable...

Making the choice to do it with joy will shift things
in your heart and in the atmosphere around you!

For as I have discovered
wherever Joy shows up she brings her strong companion of Strength.
 And with that strength comes hope and a growing confidence that
  'this too shall pass'.

I choose joy over anxiety, I choose joy over feeling down,
I choose joy when I'd rather disappear and not face the situation.
I choose joy when I'm tired or weary of heart.

So today, I invite you to join me and do it with joy!

 Wishing you a BEAUTIFUL day as a result.....