Monday, July 30, 2012

We're Off Catching Glimpses

“Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.” ~ Henry James

Summer's calling me to come out and play...
so we away for a few days.

See you soon!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Choosing A List of Twelve Books

It is evening here and I just finished brushing my teeth (hope that's not too much information), but there I was minding my own business, as it were, when a wild out-of-the-blue thought careens through...

Which actually sprang from an earlier thought of how I tend to read so many books that it's sometimes difficult to keep the details and facts straight in my mind about who said what and when -- especially when I'm trying to convey this great story to someone else. Rarely had such problem in the past, but maybe there is just too much information I'm trying to stuff in there without giving thoughts room to breathe or time to settle in and get comfy before I shift my eyes to the next book.

So here comes that out-of-the-blue thought... about reading less, and giving myself more time to really focus on one book or one author or one topic at a time. So that I could pay attention to what I'm reading and really think through the ideas, stories and themes presented. Either letting them become a part of my DNA with those 'aha' moments...or...recognizing that no, that's not for me and gently discarding it.

What if, for whatever reason, I was only allowed to take twelve books into the next year, which ones  would I carefully choose to pack for my journey? Knowing that these twelve books would have to carry me through 365 days -- and nights -- of entertaining, informing, teaching, encouraging and inspiring me. I can feel you shaking your head.... believe me, so am I.  Surely that isn't possible!  Only 12 books in a year?  That's one book every 30-31 days!

But just think about it -- it could be a perfect opportunity to slow down, to really take time to hear what the author is saying, to let it change our hearts or clarify our thinking. Maybe it would reveal something about ourselves we've never noticed before. Or maybe we'd start to hear the nightingale that lives in our heart and we'd realize we've been feeding it monkey food and we need to start feeding it proper nightingale food. 

With my toothbrush back on the holder (I must have put it back, I'm not holding it anymore), I flew to my desk, as I could feel a posting bubbling up.

So here it is... plus the faltering start to my list. Hmm... is the Bible considered one book, or would I have to choose a particular book within it?  Oh dear.  If I can't take the whole thing, then maybe the Books of Psalms for encouragement and comfort, the Book of Proverbs for wisdom, and the four Gospels (to set my eyes on the life and ministry of Jesus since He's the perfect image of how I want to live my life).

Definitely some pencil chewing, tap-tap-tap, screwing up my eyes to think better, gazing out the window where the sun has long since set.

So, as I think further on this and start to listen to what's in my heart, what would you begin adding to your list of twelve? That is, if you can imagine such a thing and if you'd be willing to ponder such a challenge.  How hard would that be for you to choose just twelve?

I look forward to hearing from you!

 Photo source:  Lilac and Lavender


Saturday, July 21, 2012

Press Restart and Begin The Day Again

Do you ever wish you could just start your day over? There are days when something gets off on the wrong foot and it doesn't seem to get better as the day progresses. There are days when you wish you could just start over ... in computer language, reboot and begin again.

I'm in the middle of reading The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party by Alexander McCall Smith. Mma Ramotswe finds herself thinking about a similar thing. She's bothered by they way a certain situation is unfolding in her day. She can't stopping thinking about it, but recognizes brooding over what's going wrong is not the way to make it better: One never gets anywhere with anything that way.

On this particular occasion, Mma Ramotswe decides the day would just have to be 'restarted'. She and her assistant in the detective agency, Mma Makutsi, get away from the office for awhile, each deciding what specific thing will 'restart' the day and make it a better one for them.

Mma Ramotswe knows a peaceful drive into the countryside will bring balm to her unsettled mind. And Mma Makutsi knows shoe shopping will be a great way to 'restart' the day and make her world right side up.
"...Each of us needed to find just the right way to take our mind off our problems, and it did not matter what that was---a drive in the country, an expedition to a shoe shop, a quiet cup of tea under a cloudless sky; each of us had something that made it easier to continue in a world that sometimes, just sometimes, was not as we might wish it to be."

I know a drive into the country would work for me, as would a quiet cup of tea. Shoe shopping? Not so much, but drop me off at a used bookstore and we can happily while away an hour or two, totally forgetting all that ails our thoughts. It would be the perfect 'restart' button for me.

Now I'm wondering, if you wanted to restart a day gone awry for you, what would turn your world right side up?

Wishing you a beautiful day,

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Simply Sunday: Celebrate Every Little Hint

"I don't have to wait until all is well, but I can celebrate every little hint of the Kingdom that is at hand." ~ Henri J.M. Nouwen, The Return of the Prodigal Son

How interesting to discover one of my favourite authors, Henri Nouwen, basically describing the overall theme focus of this blog. Would you agree that 'celebrating every little hint of the Kingdom' sounds very similar to 'catching glimpses of heaven in unexpected places'?

No, we do not deny the fact that there are days when we wonder whether life really is beautiful... especially when one keeps hearing news of disasters and seeing people doing their darnedest to destroy what is beautiful, good, and true in their own lives, not to mention the world around them.

Nouwen attests to that as well when he notes, "Yes, I know... that there is not peace everywhere, that all pain has not yet been taken away, but still, I see people turning and returning home; I hear voices that pray; I notice moments of forgiveness, and I witness many signs of hope."

The Good Book says in the beginning it was good....the Book also says it will be good again in the end.

It's this middle bit that sometimes sets our teeth on edge... and that's why I find it such a comfort and a joy to know that I do not have to wait until all is well before I can celebrate. I desire to rejoice in even the smallest hints of God's goodness and the refracted beauty of the Kingdom of Love that so many others express and share.

No matter what, in order to keep our joy and to not grow discouraged, we must keep celebrating the teeniest hints of that Kingdom; we must keep our eyes fixed on the One who said we could pray on earth for what is in heaven.  Because one day it will be well.

In the meantime we keep looking for the Beauty in unexpected places.  Evidence that the One who is Beautiful is still at work.

Wishing you grace for your journey this week!

 Photo source:  graphicsfairy


Saturday, July 14, 2012

Blogging Tips: Artful Blogging Magazine

It was a happy day for me when I discovered that our library carries the delightful magazine Artful Blogging, Visually Inspiring Online Journals. It's hard to find it in this area.

For these magazines are filled with gorgeous photography, stimulating postings from creative bloggers, not to mention a list of blogs that have been highlighted in the magazine.

Which means links galore and dozens of generous and beautiful bloggers to 'meet' and connect with...

...for those times you're stuck for a new idea and you feel a little dry in the inspiration department,

...or maybe you just need to know you're not along and that bloggers everywhere--no matter how amazing we think they are--will sometimes have their own misgivings about the value of sharing online.

And so they encourage us, inspire us and motivate us to keep doing what we love and to keep sharing generously from our hearts with others. In one issue I read, I found these five short tips in an article written by Alice Wingerden. They really spoke to me, so I'm sharing with you.....

  1. "Share what matters to you."  Not what you think someone else wants to see or hear.

  2. "Make it fun."  If you're not having fun with it, what's the point?

  3. "No one is perfect." Even if her blog looks like she has a perfect life. Bloggers don't always share the hard times on-line, as many like to use their sites to focus on what is of a good report, beautiful and uplifting. I know I do -- I'm always on the lookout for that glimpse of 'heaven'.

  4. "Reconnect with life."  That's a good one to remember. Sometimes we just need to step back from writing about life and spending more time living it. Reconnect back to your own heart and you'll dip into new inspiration to write about again.

  5. "Enjoy being you."  Everyone does it differently, so do your blog your way. Without fear. With courage. And without any anxiety that it might not measure up to someone else's. It is not supposed to. It's your voice, your take on life, the way you see things and dream about them that we want. We want your blog -- we already have one of hers.

Here's wishing you inspiration for your blogging journey....


Monday, July 09, 2012

Hot Weather Tip

Here in Alberta, Canada, we are experiencing some hot summer days. Lovely. But as we don't usually get long, long stretches of that really hot weather, people often opt not to have air conditioning. Not so lovely when it comes to sleeping on such warm nights.

Imagine my delight then when long ago -- on one of those hot, sultry nights where the fan blew hot air around and we wished for a breezy reprieve, we had a flash of inspiration to fill the hot water bottle with icy cold water.  Now that was heaven!

So, if you're experiencing your own dog days of summer,
we hope this tip adds another way to keep cool.



Sunday, July 08, 2012

Simply Sunday: Floral Wonder


"Dear Lord, grant me the grace of wonder.

Surprise me, amaze me, awe me in every crevice of Your universe.
Each day enrapture me with Your marvelous things without number.

I do not ask to see the reason for it all;
I ask only to share the wonder of it all."
~ Abraham Joshua Heschel

Wishing you Wonder and Awe and Amazement as you celebrate the gift of today!


Sunday, July 01, 2012