Friday, January 25, 2013

A Spring Bunch

As soon as I saw them, I knew these were coming home with me. What a dash of colour amidst all the winter white. Can you imagine the delight of my heart as I popped them into a vase and set them in front of me? 

And, then can you imagine the completely unplanned moment when having stopped at the library to pick up a book I had on hold, to find that it was Deborah Moggach's Tulip Fever?  Of all the books I have in my 'reserve it' file, they had that one waiting for me.  Too splendid for words!
Now that's what I call a little glimpse of heaven tucked in an unexpected place!

Here's wishing you your own sprightly bunches of heaven!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Beauty of Grey

I would never have thought that I'd include grey in a list of favourite colours. I mean, grey? Of all colours, it's so, well, grey.

But then, not that long ago, I began to see the colour in a whole new light. And yes, I like days with overcast, grey skies... and I feel cozy when grey fog wraps itself over some early mornings. There is something calming...almost protective...about them.

I'm beginning to see that our world would be a lot 'greyer' if we didn't have this particular colour in the palette to add depth, richness, and yes, beauty, to the mosaic of our life's events. You see, you need some dark, some shadow, to show off light.

Grey may be one of those colours that on its own isn't so exciting, but perhaps it's like the added pinch of a secret ingredient that turns an okay dish into something marvelous... in a paint box kind of way.

Do you notice how, in the photo below, the overall grayish tones of the whole tapestry offsets the brighter colours? They pop out right out... and suddenly the whole painting comes alive.  Don't you just love the contrast?

Guess that turns out to be a very unexpected glimpse of heaven!

Beautiful in its own way ~
I give you the colour GREY.

(And if you live in America, then will be spelled GRAY)

Hugs and blisses,

 Tree photo source:  Microsoft
Tapestry photo source: Carnegie Museum of Art

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Irish Tea Bread

We are in the kitchen trying out a new recipe. I made this yummy loaf and discovered it makes a delightful addition to our afternoon 'Tea at Three' ritual with hubby. It's a new favourite in this household.

As I browsed through the recipe book, I was captured by the word quick and by the list of ingredients which make me think of fragrant fruitcake filled with raisins, cinnamon, cloves, and ginger.

The original recipe was found in Great Breads by Martha Rose Shulman -- below is my adaptation.
Here's wishing you a fistful of raisins!


Saturday, January 12, 2013

Where Is This Blogger?

So... where is she?

She's been in the kitchen baking homemade bread with her new Christmas present, a Bosch kitchen set. Sorry there are no pictures.

What else?

She's been longing to go for a winter walk in the woods (she'll have to drive to get there first). There have been beautiful calm and mild days since Christmas. But now it's back to frosty, crisp and breathtakingly beautiful, despite the plummet of temperature. Perfect!

And, she's also been longing to have a beautiful dog with a plummy, waggy tail for that winter walk. Must have been reading those lovely British novels like Winter Solstice where people take dogs on happy walks in the countryside.

She's also been enjoying Tea At Three many afternoons with hubby as they gobble down leftover Christmas cake and watch the entertaining and delightful detective-cum-chef Henry Crabbe in the enjoyable series Pie in the Sky

She's happy these days (for the most part). Yes, and she even sings along with Miss Molly the Vacuum Cleaner (sometimes) at four in morning.  She's finally adjusted to this new time schedule in her life.  And though it's not perfect, her life is still good.  With lots of glimpses of heaven.  Even at four in the morning.

She delights in watching her feathered friends at the feeders.  Oh my, such a flurry! The joy these little ones take in finding a bit of water in the heated birdbath gives her such a warmness around the cockles of her heart. (Anyone know what a cockle is? Maybe she shouldn't ask?)

After that walk in the woods, she longs to have a winter picnic for herself and hubby, and take good friends along. The scene described below leaped from the page straight into her imagination as she savored the last few pages of Winter Solstice.  Oh my.  Sigh.  It's been a long time since she was on a winter picnic. Wouldn't you bundle up for a taste of these delectables?
'The Christmas Eve picnic at Corrydale, the first one they ever had there, was something of a movable feast. It started with a glass of wine by the fireside, in the warmth of the blazing logs, but slowly progressed out of doors, because the day was so beautiful that it seemed almost sacrilegious to be inside... The air was cold, but the sun beamed down upon them, and in the shelter of the house there was no breath of wind.
...They had brought hot soup laced with sherry, drunk from mugs; fresh rolls filled with thick slices of ham and English mustard; a bacon-and-egg quiche; chicken drumsticks; tomato salad; crisp green apples; and chunks of cheddar cheese.  Finally a flask of fresh, boiling-hot coffee."

And so, a little glimpse of what's she's up to while she's not here.
On that note, she wishes you a beautiful day...


Saturday, January 05, 2013

Do You Sing?

Sometimes we find ourselves in a work situation or project where the song in our heart has died. Or, it's been replaced by a weary sighing or, even worse, a growl-y grumbling. We don't feel like whistling or singing anymore.

Maybe that's the time when we need to stop and think about what we do every day; maybe we need to re-consider the current path we're traveling on.

Lady Bird Johnson once gave the sage advice that we should work on projects that make our hearts sing.
Ever since I read those words, I have tried to let them shape my decisions. I do not believe that life is meant to be a drudgery. I believe that life is meant to be lived beautifully. Oh sure, we go through hard experiences, but we don't stay there.We grow, change, learn the lesson.

The projects we sign up for -- voluntarily or as a career -- should not dampen our spirits, but rather they should provide a venue for contentment, abiding joy, and a sense of bubbling adventure. They should energize and fuel us, not drizzle on us till there's only a damp smoldering pile where passion once burned bright.

A number of years ago, my song almost died, because I was afraid to move out from a workplace that no longer gave me joy and fulfillment. Life no longer felt beautiful.

To me, a clear signpost of whether or not we are still doing what we should be doing, is whether or not the song is still in our heart and life still seems beautiful and sweet.

If there's no song your heart, maybe it's time to re-think what will make life beautiful again for you. I'm happy to report the nightingale sings again for me.

With loving wishes for that new song in your own heart,

Friday, January 04, 2013

Trouble Loading?

Over the last two days I've noticed that my blog is taking ages to load the sidebar.  Do you find that too when you visit It's A Beautiful Life?  I'm not sure why, as I haven't loaded anything new to it.

Is anyone else finding their own blog taking ages?  I ask in case it's a Blogger thing. I already did a Google search and basically already follow their suggestions on speeding up the load time.

Wishing you a lovely day,



Tuesday, January 01, 2013