Sunday, August 31, 2014

Simply Sunday: Sunrise Glory

The Sky Painter, (c) Brenda Leyland 2014

 It was still dark outside when I got up and came into my office. Having had a good sleep, I was wide awake and wondering what to post this morning. Hubby's head was still buried deep in his pillow. Shhh...

As the minutes passed, I glanced out the window and caught a glimpse of something special happening in the clouds out west. Knowing it wasn't a sunset just yet, I realized Sky Painter was up to something special today. Pale pinkish hues stained the edges of the still dark clouds that stretched  across the skies from east to west.

Grabbing my camera, I ran out the front door. Oh my goodness........ Oh My God (in the most reverent and truest sense)..... Although this photo has caught some of the beauty, it barely does justice to what I saw Sky Painter creating right in front of my eyes. Talk about glimpses of heaven.

It says in the Psalms that the heavens declare the glory of God. I believe He is the True Originator of all the beauty that we see in our world and the universes beyond.... and this morning I feel so blessed to have eyes to see such exquisiteness first thing in the morning. I share it with you in the hopes you will find joy in it too.

Wishing you joy in your morning*´¨)
> ¸.·´¸.·*´¨) ¸.·*¨)
> (¸.·´ (¸.·´ * and a gentle kiss atop thy head! *
Brenda  xox

Friday, August 29, 2014

A New Look For Fall

Fresh new look for autumn, 2014

Today, suddenly, my hair was too long. And it looked like heck when I got up at 3 this morning to go to work at the local performing arts centre. Two days ago it was still okay, but this morning I knew it was time for an emergency phone call to my dear hairdresser. V-a-u-n, can you squeeze me in today? Vaun, being a true hair stylist from heaven, made room for me.

Never shall I forget the first time I walked into her shampoo shop many years ago. I'd seen her ad in the local paper -- been looking for a new stylist -- and I was drawn to her face instantly. I just had that knowing I would be easy and comfortable around her. That's important, isn't it, to feel peaceful with one's hairdresser. After all, you're both looking at your hair and face in the mirror when your hair is flat against your wet head, with that unflattering, silly dust cover around your shoulders, and you're sure hoping she's not saying in her head, not sure what we can do with this one, but we'll give it our best whirl.

Making an appointment with Vaun was one of those best decisions of my life. Lots of new, wonderful things came out of that little ad I saw. I had been off on sick leave at the time, my dear father had passed away a few weeks earlier, and my young nephew was battling his own cancer war at the time. So, you can imagine, I was battle-fatigued, missing my dad, spending time with my sister and her darling son at the hospital, worn to the core in my body and soul... I knew I looked it too.

Well, that dear woman gently folded me into her arms and heart when I walked in... just as if we were old friends. I don't know now for sure if she actually hugged me that first time, but I felt enveloped with a wide open welcome that was like a hug (and not oozy-smoozy).  She said, Come in, Beautiful, even though I knew I looked anything but. My torn heart lapped up her warmth and friendliness -- which by the way spills out on all her clients, I've seen it -- and I came away not only with a fresh new haircut, but with a new sense of  being alive and refreshed.

I've never forgotten it. We never know what kindnesses we bestow on people by walking in that royal law of love. And Vaun is one such woman. You can tell that all her clients love her. Because she makes us all feel beautiful... and special.  And she means it. I love her for that.

So there's the story... after my haircut, I stopped at the library for a coffee and a browse through the latest edition of Artful Blogging. I then pulled out the draft article that I was having trouble with at home on my computer, and sitting there surrounded by the atmosphere of creativity, the log jam broke... suddenly I knew how to finish it. I'd been tired earlier in the day, but I came away home and felt as if I'd had a nap. Even though I hadn't. It was a wonderful afternoon. And I'm grateful for these blessings that came my way today.

I hope you've had wonderful blessings come your way too. Sometimes they seem a little hard to find, but in my quest for living a beautiful life, I've come to realize they are everywhere, if I have the heart and eyes... and willingness... to see.

Sending you hugs and a bouquet*´¨)
> ¸.·´¸.·*´¨) ¸.·*¨)
> (¸.·´ (¸.·´ * of loving thoughts! *


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

A Sea Change

Claude Monet, Fisherman's Cottage on the Cliffs at Varengeville, 1882

"I go to the sea to breathe"

~ Maryanne Rademacher Hershey

I live in a landlocked spot in Canada.... far, far from any seashore... west coast or east. But I've been longing for the smell of salty air and the feeling of wind blowing on my face and hearing the call of seagulls as they swoop and glide on warm air currents. So, lately, when looking for suitable photos for blog posts, I'm drawn to water and seascapes where shades of blues and grays and greens give a feast for my sea-hungry eyes. And isn't that painting by Claude Monet such a feast?

Then when Christine from Vista Woman sent me the quote above by Maryanne Hershey, I realized, yes, ever since I was a girl it has been the sea and sand in my mind's eye that I would go to in order to 'breathe' and find peace of mind. For the glimpses of the ocean I'd had as a child when our family visited aunts and uncles and cousins -- who were so lucky to live on the west coast -- gave me a lifelong love of the sea... and, yes, the seagulls too. What is it about being by the ocean that refreshes, restores and rejuvenates?

Now I want to go to Victoria and watch the boats on the Pacific Ocean. I want to take a ferry to Martha's Vineyard or Nantucket. I want to take a voyage across the Atlantic (on the Queen Mary 2) and visit places like Cornwall, England. 

And maybe what I really would love is a day (or two) to sit on a perch like Monet must have done for this painting... to just sit and watch. Listen. Feel. Be quiet with my thoughts. Or have no thoughts. And as my soul quieted down from the buzz of life, I might start to notice, like the artist, how the colours shift and dance as the light changes. And by sitting here I might feel my soul, even my body, begin to shift and dance back into divine order. Maybe I would feel whole again. Less scattered. More able to go back to the up-side-down world, refreshed and able to sing through the storms, bless others with kindness, and bring little touches of heaven to my corner of the world.

Apparently Monet could sit in one spot for hours -- while his fellow artists ran here and there for the next best spot to paint -- to study the way the sun glinted off the water, how the colours deepened and softened, how the light changed as the day lengthened. Perhaps that's what made him such a brilliant painter of colour and light. He once said that it was on the strength of observation and reflection that one finds a way.

"I know that to paint the sea really well, you need to look at it every hour of every day in the same place so that you can understand its way in that particular spot; and that is why I am working on the same motifs over and over again, four or six times even." ~ Claude Monet

Through observation and reflection.... yes, that's when we discover things. That's also when we hear the tender breathings of our heart. Just to be in that place of stillness so that Someone Dear and Divine finally gets a word in edgewise, because we've stopped long enough to listen. The light starts to shine in the darkness and dull waters turn bright with jade-green and aquamarine and deep Prussian blue.
As I watch the early morning light shift into full scale daylight, here on my perch that is far, far away from any seashore, somehow I am transported. I smell the salty air. I feel the wind on my face... and hear the seagulls calling.

I begin to experience the sea change.  I can breathe again.

 Here's wishing you a*´¨)
> ¸.·´¸.·*´¨) ¸.·*¨)
> (¸.·´ (¸.·´ * a beautiful day! *

Monday, August 25, 2014

Life's A Jar Of Cherries


Wondering what this is all about? Hubby is trying out a cherry liqueur recipe using sour cherries picked from Sister's tree. Although it's a simple recipe, it does takes several months for this recipe to 'cure'.



Cherry Liqueur

1 lb. (450 g) sour cherries
3 cups (710 ml) vodka
1 1/2 cup (350 g) sugar
Place cherries in a jar, add vodka, cap with tight lid and mix. Stir daily during the first days, later at least once a week for 3-4 weeks. Sugar gets added at this point. There's more to the recipe here. It takes about 9 or so months till it's ready.

Now... in anticipation of it being a success next winter/spring, I've been looking on the internet for some ways to use cherry liqueur. Of course cocktails and other drinks are one way. A cocktail might be nice (not that I imbibe in those too often).
Although, to my way of thinking, who would want to waste it on a cocktail when one could use it for this toothsome looking Chocolate Cherry Liqueur Cake found at Don't you just want to sink your teeth in this?


"Chocolate and cherries go hand in hand, and a festive tipple makes the occasion even merrier, so we've found a way to combine the two." ~ from

Here are two other delicious recipes you might want to try. Both are scrumptious...

Here's wishing you a 'chair of bowlies'!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Simply Sunday: Journey Home

"We live as those who are on a journey home: a home we know will have the lights on and the door open and our father waiting for us when we arrive.
That means in all adversity our worship of God is joyful, our life is hopeful, our future is secure.  There is nothing we can lose on earth that can rob us of the treasure God has given us and will give us."
Wishing you a*´¨)
> ¸.·´¸.·*´¨) ¸.·*¨)
> (¸.·´ (¸.·´ * peace-filled Sunday! *

 Photo source:

Saturday, August 23, 2014

A Nap Between Two Pillows

Miss Kitty Naps

It will always be tied together into one bittersweet memory. While the world watched and celebrated the Royal Wedding in April 2012 -- yes, we had our own little celebrations, but we did it with heavy hearts as we were feeling the very real pain of having to say good bye to our Miss Kitty the next day.

I still miss her purry self ... a lot sometimes ... because I remember just how much plain old-fashioned fun she was and how much joy she gave us. Just for being herself.

She loved to play hockey with her pipe-cleaner rings batting them all under the stove and then sitting there waiting for us to get the long ruler and haul them out so we could start the game all over again. And, she'd come and pat us on our hip if we were laying in bed on our sides, so that one of us could roll over so she could curl up on our legs. Of course we rolled over...don't you? How can you not when they go tap-tap-tap ever so gently albeit insistently.

On my list of 'a few of my favorite things', catching Miss Kitty asleep in a sunbeam used to be right up there for me. I tried to figure out why exactly; all I know is that my heart would feel a little pitter-patter thrill every time. Perhaps a kitty reposing in a warm sunbeam -- just enjoying those little things in life -- symbolizes that sense of well being and contentment we all yearn for too. 

How glad I am Miss Kitty was a part of my life and I was a part of hers. And I do believe that she'll be there waiting for me (as will my other kitty darlings...and my people darlines) when one day I, too, pass over the bridge when my journey is complete ... into a new life with our dear heavenly Father.  I'm so glad God gave us the gifts of our furry friends. A true treasure. 

The smallest feline is a masterpiece.
~ Leonardo da Vinci

Wishing you a*´¨)
> ¸.·´¸.·*´¨) ¸.·*¨)
> (¸.·´ (¸.·´ * purr-fect day! *

Friday, August 22, 2014

A Glimpse of the Sea

“Look at that sea, girls--all silver and shadow and vision of things not seen. We couldn't enjoy its loveliness any more if we had millions of dollars and ropes of diamonds.” ~ L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

Don't you just love the colours in this photo?  The blues and greens... some of my most favourite colours in the world.  And the water... I love glimpses of water and gates and pathways that look like they lead to somewhere interesting. Makes room for dreamin' and imaginin'  ....  won't you come for a walk with me and see where it leads?

Wishing you a*´¨)
> ¸.·´¸.·*´¨) ¸.·*¨)
> (¸.·´ (¸.·´ * beautiful weekend! *

Photo source:

Thursday, August 21, 2014

In Pizza Heaven

When my mom came to visit last weekend, we decided to try out a new restaurant called Branches. Already we'd heard reports that their pizza was excellent.
What better way to spend a warm summer afternoon than sitting on a patio that overlooks a beautiful garden centre, anticipating our exciting meal, and listening to the happy chatter and bursts of laughter of patrons also enjoying their good food and interesting conversations. Life was good.

Everything on the menu looked delicious, but we already had our appetites set for the pizza. And so we each ordered a different one with forks ready to sample each others. Oh yes...Y-U-M... they were all delicious. And though they were huge, we ate 'em all up -- every bite. No doggie bags for us.

So, my question of the day...

If you were sitting out on a lovely patio on a warm summer afternoon or evening, which pizza would you be choosing... the Margherita, the Chicken, or the Capicolla Ham?

And, dear blogging girlfriends, just in case you feel a wee bit guilty about eating pizza, you must see this great conversation with Elizabeth (Julia Roberts) from the movie Eat, Pray, Love. Then go have a love affair with your favourite pizza!!

Here's wishing you moments of your own taste bud 'heaven'...


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

A Rainy Kind of Day

It's raining this morning as I type here... and I'm lovin' it! I was standing by my office window watching the drops create circle patterns in the bird bath earlier. It was almost meditative to stop a few seconds and just watch the artistry of the Rain Maker.

I have been so enjoying all the h-o-t days of deep summer, but there is something I like about the 'shock' of contrast as the temperature drops and the smell of fresh rain wafts through open windows. Whenever possible, I like to leave windows and doors ajar on a rainy day. So refreshing...

The now very tall Rudbeckia -- with their bright yellow ball gowned petals peer into the living room bay window. A telltale sign that summer days are numbered. Just like when I was a girl -- my family could always mark the nearing of summer's end when the hollyhocks grew tall enough to peer into the east-facing kitchen window on the farm.

It's a good day for reading, writing a letter or blog post, baking cinnamon buns, simmering soup... or singing in the rain. Napping. Sharing coffee with a friend. Listening to music. Painting. Sewing. Doing something. Doing nothing. And whichever one you choose, including the last one, do it with all your heart. And enjoy.

  Thoughts from Maya Angelou

I've learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow.
I've learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.
I've learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance. I've learned that you shouldn't go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw some things back.

I've learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision.
I've learned that even when I have pains, I don't have to be one. I've learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back. I've learned that I still have a lot to learn. 

This is what's playing on my computer right now...
a very pretty piece called Kiss the Rain.

Here's wishing you ... rain or shine ... a beautiful day!


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Carry Something Beautiful

Sitting on the deck in my backyard...

In difficult times you should always carry something
beautiful in your mind.
~ Blaise Pascal

The book Beauty, Rediscovering the True Sources of Compassion, Serenity, and Hope, is written by Irish poet, philosopher and author, John O'Donohue. Having only begun to read the opening lines, already I am reaching for my pencil to star-mark phrases and spots to ponder further. In truth, here seems to be another kindred spirit, and as I made mention earlier to my sister, this book, if it continues as it has begun, could almost be my own manifesto. 

Here is one quote on p. 15...

"We feel beautiful when we are loved, and to evoke an awareness of beauty in another is to give them a precious gift they will never lose. When we say from our heart to someone: 'You are beautiful', it is more than a statement of platitude, it is a recognition and invocation of the dignity, grandeur and grace of their spirit. ... When we affirm another's beauty, we affirm something that cannot be owned or drawn into the grid of small-mindedness or emotional need. There is profound nobility in beauty that can elevate a life, bring it into harmony with the artistry of its eternal source and destination. ..."   Y-e-s! 
"When the soul is alive to beauty, we begin to see life in a fresh and vital way. The old habits of seeing are broken. The coating of dead dust falls from the windows. Freed from their dead forms the elements of one's life reveal new urgency and possibility." from p. 19

Do you recall the usual sub-title of my blog... "catching glimpses of heaven in unexpected places"?  Imagine my delight when I found John O'Donohue saying something similar, even on more than one occasion:

"We will be surprised to discover beauty in unexpected places where the ungraceful eye would never linger. The graced eye can glimpse beauty anywhere, for beauty does not reserve itself for special elite moments or instances; it does not wait for perfection but is present already secretly in everything.  When we beautify our gaze, the grace of hidden beauty becomes our joy and our sanctuary."  

See... we must be kindred spirits. Which makes me feel sad to think that this beautiful soul has already passed away from this earth's journey. Thankfully, he was faithful to his God-graced gift to write and so we still have his books to read.  

Which makes me see yet again how important it is to write those beautiful things down (or whatever creative venue it might be) when the good Lord gives them to us. They refresh and re-inspire and give courage to not only ourselves, but our readers and could very well do so to for generations to come.  We just never know, do we?

Hydrangea blossom reposes on my table

According to John O'Donohue, Rainer Maria Rilke said that during such times (those difficult times) "we should endeavour to stay close to one simple thing in nature. When the mind is festering with trouble or the heart torn, we can find healing among the silence of mountains or fields, or listen to the simple, steadying rhythm of waves. The slowness and the stillness gradually take us over. Our breathing deepens and our hearts calm and our hungers relent. ..."

Do you see why I'm smitten with this book? With that last thought, I'm wishing you a beautiful day, filled with glimpses of heaven in unexpected places. Don't forget to carry something beautiful in your mind today.
Hugs and a gentle kiss atop thy heads,

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Mom Comes for A Visit

I've got the happy delight of having Mom come to stay for a few days.

We've got plans to go out for a lunch to a new restaurant that has a lovely garden patio. We're going to visit a small public garden, check out the inspirational bookstore and our library's annual book sale.
We're also going to laugh about anything and everything that tickles our fancy, share heart stories, and just enjoy the leisure of being together for longer than just a few hours at a time. Looking forward to it!

Some of the most rewarding and beautiful moments of a friendship happen in the unforeseen open spaces between planned activities. It is important that you allow these spaces to exist. ~ Christine Leefeldt

On that note, I'm away. Wishing you a beautiful day...


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

What's With The Red Socks?

Had a little insight about my old photos recently -- especially those particular ones of myself where I can still cringe a little -- where the camera caught me just between my best moments and snapped the least flattering poses of all. Hey, that's not the way I look. There are extenuating circumstances why my hair looks like that today. I don't normally wear these pants but....
I've been realizing that a good way to let go of any vestiges of embarrassment or shame -- even the tiniest remaining crumbs of it -- is to just bless her with love and release that moment or event in my memory and accept her just as she was in that frozen frame. After all she is me, warts, bad haircuts,  fashion slip-ups, and all.

So which one in the class photo is a former self of mine? No doubt the post title gives it away, but if you peer closely, you will see a slip of a girl who went to school on Photo Day in Grade Seven to find herself perched on the front row (not her idea!) dressed in a pale green top, light blue pants and bright geranium red socks b-l-a-z-i-n-g out for God and ever'body to see forevermore in schoolmates' dusty old photo albums.

You see, she'd forgotten it was photo day. Her less boldly coloured socks were in the wash and it was wear them or go sock-less. Now, the question that begs an answer is who would ever buy red socks in the first place unless one had something red to match. Obviously this girl didn't or she would have worn it that day, wouldn't you think?

The comforting thought in all this memorabilia... or maybe it isn't all that comforting... at least she's not the only one to wear red socks in odd combinations. She's in famous company, for in Ken Burns's recent PBS documentary on Mark Twain, we learned that the famous author would don red socks to go with his white tuxedo, and author Garrison Keillor says he owns so many pairs of red socks now (sent by people who read somewhere that he wore red socks) that it's a shame to waste them so he wears red socks to this day.

Changing the subject, do you notice that she was just a slip of thing in those days? It's too bad she 'slipped' off somewhere, never to be seen in that svelte size ever again. Thankfully, at least, the geranium red socks disappeared forever.

That, dear blogging girlfriends, is my story and I'm socking sticking to it.

"I think there is beauty in everything. What ‘normal’ people would perceive as ugly, I can usually see something of beauty in it." ~ Alexander McQueen

Here's to finding the 'beauty' even in red socks,

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Simply Sunday

"Just living is not enough,"

said the butterfly.

"One must have sunshine, freedom,

and little flowers!"

  ~ Hans Christian Anderson


Go and be free as the butterfly,


Saturday, August 09, 2014

Table For Four

Hubby Rick has been working his way through this great grilling cookbook this summer... you shall imagine my happy delight. With the great hot weather we've been having, nobody around here wants to be in the kitchen cooking and certainly no one ventures to turn on any ovens.

Now, don't let the word 'healthy' make you think boring about these recipes. Boring they are not! We've been feasting and yum-yumming our way through the recipes from this 2009 Cooking Light magazine. All of them prepared by Chef Ric. He's getting really good on the BBQ. I'm reminded of the movie Julie and Julia where Julie cooks her way through the Julia Child's French cookbook.

Which brings me to yesterday.

We came home from our cleaning stint at the local performing arts center shortly after 8:00 am (we start at 4:00 am). After a wee sit down in the kitchen, hubby started musing about what he would make for dinner in the evening. Planned in his mind he then suggested we invite friends to join us. Sounded good to me, especially the part where he was going to do the prep and cooking. Because I was really feeling the need of a real nap yesterday, those early mornings do me in sometimes by Friday.

Needless to say, I was feeling quite the queen when I woke up, as he still confirmed that he wouldn't need any help in the cooking department. I set about getting the dinner table ready and went into the garden to pick a posy of flowers for the table, made sure bathroom was in guest order. That was it, that's all I did. Oh yes, I put fresh lipstick on.

It turned out to be a relaxing, ambly evening, where Chef Ric would prepare one course at a time. We'd eat it and then he'd go prepare the next. We sat around the kitchen table first, which is where we ate our crab cakes, which were amazing. Now he didn't make those but he got them from the local fish store. I'm sorry I don't have any photos of that... we gobbled them all up before I thought about a picture. So you just get a glimpse of the table in the kitchen (haha)

Next came "Grilled Eggplant with caramelized onion and fennel, tomato and goat cheese." I'm not normally that excited about eggplant, but the flavours in this were amazing.

A little wine, a little conversation with funny stories, and little waiting... and then the entree course was served. Orange and bourbon grilled salmon, rice pilaf, and fresh green beans. We were all enthralled with the salmon. Must have been the orange juice (wink).

We started to wonder after this if we'd have room for the dessert that was still being created in the kitchen. But we miraculously found that we had space in our dessert stomach for grilled stoned fruit with sauce, which was made with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, a dab of hot sauce, salt and pepper.... 

Someone on Facebook already asked for the recipe for the sauce, so here it is:
3 Tbsp white balsamic vinegar (Chef Ric used dark)
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1 Tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp hot sauce (yes, really)
Mix together. Drizzle over the grilled fruit (eg peaches, plums, apricots, nectarines). We added frozen vanilla yogurt... an ambrosial ending to an amazing meal.

"You never forget a beautiful thing that you have made,' [Chef Bugnard] said. 'Even after you eat it, it stays with you - always.” ~ Julia Child, My Life in France

On that note, I'm away to the kitchen to prepare supper. My turn. Simple fare it will be in comparison, but we love pasta and marinara sauce with fresh hot Italian sausages and newly baked Italian buns.

Here's wishing you a pleasant rest of your day, 

Photos:  Brenda Leyland, 2014


Friday, August 08, 2014

Unveiling A Me Photo

As you may recall, this past May I attended my very first writer's retreat. It was an awesome experience, which included, among others, the special treat by our retreat sponsors to have a professional photographer come one day to take official 'author' pics.

Saturday morning dawned beautifully. So we chose the lovely outdoors as our place of pose in front of an earthy stone wall.

As the photographer got me settled with the right tilt of the chin and the behind on the cushion just so, I could feel myself trying to smile 'naturally'. Except I must not have been, as he finally said, after several snaps that obviously weren't cutting it, R-e-l-a-x! So I shook my shoulders, took a deep breath and let my breath out slowly. It helped. Sort of.

And then he snapped the one you see above. It was supposed to be just a head and shoulders (so if I'd have known my hands were going to be in it I would have had a mani done ahead of time...  oh well... vanity,'s the real me!)

At first I was a little shy to share, but I decided that if when the day comes for my pic to be on the back cover of a book with my author name on the front, I should get 'used to' it being out there for God and everyone to see.

After all, I love looking at author photos when I'm reading, as I want to see the face of the person who's given me the experience of his or her world of imagination and wonder.

So there it is.... the official unveiling of my first official author pic. And, yes, I'm happy with it.

Speaking of photos, someone once made the comment that if God had a refrigerator in his kitchen in heaven, your photo would be on it. In light of that, here's to enjoying with him those photos of ourselves that he has on his frig door.

Wishing you a photo-beautiful day,

Note from the author:   'Nice' comments in response to this post and photo are not obligatory, but will be joyfully received if given.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

A Little Salt, A Little Laugh

Okay, blogging girlfriends... I've got a wee bit of a story to share with you today. It's one that had me and my sister laughing the other day. It's my hope that, at the very least, it makes you chuckle. Because I do know sometimes you just gotta be there for it to be as funny.

My youngest sister and her husband went on a short, but lovely winter holiday to Turks & Caicos Islands some months ago. She'd brought back little souvenirs for the family -- including these little glass tubes with hand-raked sea salt from Salt Cay.

Truth be told, I thought they were bath salts and so I tucked the package into my basket by the tub to use in a future soak.

Then one day some weeks later my other sister -- who also got a set -- asked me if I knew what to do with the salt we got from Sis Janny. I replied, I think they're bath salts. Ah, she replies. And proceeded put her unopened package by her tub for a future soak.

We thought it was all solved, but her question raised a little flag in my mind. I have been known to ignore little flags, to my chagrin, but this time I thought I'm going to check for sure. Are they really bath salts? So I read all the labels, including the back of the blue label, looking for clues as to their suggested use.

There was nothing. Interesting tidbits about it providing a cottage industry on the islands and the promotion of organic products. And, that they were hand-raked, but, alas, no indication as to use. Nada.

And then that's when I saw it...... the hardly noticeable black ink label printed on the glass tube where it blended in with the mottled marks on the cork top.  It was a little hard to photograph the whole thing, but can you see what it says?

Vinegar Sea Salt

Oi oi.... they're not bath salts, but salt mixed with balsamic vinegar... for cooking!

When I took out the cork, there was a lovely salt and vinegar fragrance that wafted past my nose. I reached for the phone because I knew Sister and I would have a great laugh imaging the possibilities of our responses if we had, indeed, poured those salts into our bath water. Nether regions would have been pickled, brined, and we'd have come out smelling like salad.

 Got any funny little stories of your own to share?


Quote graphic source:  unknown



Tuesday, August 05, 2014

One Small Thought

"I have come to realize, that the radiance of the rose and the whiteness of the lily do not take away the fragrance of the little violet or the delightful simplicity of the daisy.  Perfection consists in being what God wants us to be." ~ Therese

Every flower in the Garden of Life is loved by the Master Gardener. One is not better than the other, nor more radiant or useful. Each has her unique shape and colour ... each her own signature fragrance.

Each has her best place in which to flourish in the garden... some in full sun, some in shady nooks, some in clusters, others on vines. Some bloom in soft Spring, others in the height of summer, and others still wait...some may call her a late bloomer, but no, no, she's just in time to fill autumn with brilliant scarlet and burgundy.
It's so easy to compare ourselves to others, whether personally or as bloggers. Too often I have done that, but this little thought by Therese gives me cause to pause... and wonder... and to see how foolish, really, it is to compare our own kind of beauty to the beauty of others. Each one special. Each one loved for her own special features... all without taking away anything from the gloriousness of the other. How delightfully liberating.

Celebrating you... me... us...
with hugs and a gentle kiss atop thy heads,  

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Monday, August 04, 2014

Outside My Window Today

"God made a beauteous garden
With lovely flowers strewn,
But one straight, narrow pathway
That was not overgrown.

And to this beauteous garden
He brought mankind to live,
And said "To you, my children,
These lovely flowers I give.

Prune ye my vines and fig trees,
With care my flowers tend,
But keep the pathway open
Your home is at the end."

God's Garden by Robert Frost

The fun of seeing Mr. Bluejay stop by for refreshment...

and a quick splish...


and a flighty dash....

According to Rumi, Beauty surrounds us, and we need to be walking in a garden to know it.... or... at the very least, hanging around our windows once in a while.

Sharing a little of the beauty... and joy... from my corner of the world
with the hope it will add a little something extra to yours.