Saturday, September 27, 2014

Still Swooning Over Autumn Loveliness

 "Fall is begging for us to dance and sing and write with just the same drama and blaze.”  ~ Shauna Niequist

I love autumn days. I love how the leaves -- now fallen -- nestle into garden nooks and spread across green lawns. I love the way these crinkly bits of nature blend with honey-hued rocks and give a delightful contrast against herbs and perennials still green.

And, isn't a splash of colour -- just like in the photo -- perfect for brightening up the whole thing?

It's a different kind of beauty we enjoy now than what we loved in full summer bloom. Rose bushes once flush with delicate pink blossoms look like sticks in the ground. The purple stalks of liatris now make me think of miniature bulrushes. And, our majestic sunflowers droop nearer the earth as they send their last bit of energy into forming seeds instead of standing tall.  

Personally, I don't see the fuss about getting the leaves off the lawn. I prefer an 'au naturale' look myself. Although, I admit, there is a certain romance to the whole thing of raking up the leaves into a great pile for kids or dogs to romp through (be sure to see too-cute video). If I were to rake, it would for that reason -- not because it looks unsightly. So one might ask if we just leave them on the lawn here in the city where we live. Alas, no, hubby takes that in hand and very un-romantically mows them up into the lawn mower bag for the compost. 

That's why I'm taking JOY in this leafy mess before said mower does its job and 'tidies up the place a bit'.

On that note, I'm leaf-ing you with this wonderful piece of autumn word artistry by Shauna Neiquiest, author of books like Bread and Wine, and Cold Tangerines....

“Fall: bright flame before winter’s deadness; harvest; orange, gold, amber; cool nights and the smell of fire. Our tree-lined streets are set ablaze, our kitchens filled with the smells of nostalgia: apples bubbling into sauce, roasting squash, cinnamon, nutmeg, cider, warmth itself ... and everything we see is celebrating one last violently hued hurrah before the black and white and silence of winter. Fall is begging for us to dance and sing and write with just the same drama and blaze.” ~ Shauna Neiquiest

Have a*´¨)
> ¸.·´¸.·*´¨) ¸.·*¨)
> (¸.·´ (¸.·´ * beautiful day! *


Photo:  Brenda Leyland, 2014
Graphic:  Glittergraphics.coms
Shauna's Quote: First read on post by Adrienne Westenfeld

Friday, September 26, 2014

They Are Singin' In The Rain

In the garden on a rainy fall day

It's raining today.... delightfully so. Which makes it a day perfect for chopping vegetables for homemade vegetable soup ... for lighting candles and turning on the twinkle lights in the living room ... for reading ... and for getting another few pages done on my story.

A few minutes ago I was standing at my window just enjoying the sound of the rain coming down. Soft and peaceful. And then it got crazy out in the garden. I ran for my phone video so I could capture what I was hearing. Couldn't see anything...
But listen... turn up your volume if needed

As suddenly as they started, they stopped. Guess choir practice is over. It's completely still again... except for the softly falling rain. Sure glad I didn't miss it.

Wishing you all a*´¨)
> ¸.·´¸.·*´¨) ¸.·*¨)
> (¸.·´ (¸.·´ * a singing kind of day! *


Photo & Video: Brenda Leyland, 2014

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Sunday Picnics

Oh the joy of going on a Sunday afternoon picnic when we were children.

It's hard to believe that we are all dressed in our Sunday best for a picnic in the park by the lake. True, it was a Sunday afternoon, but it was the norm in those days... my mom in her pretty dress and my dad in his suit and tie. If it got warm on a summer's day, then off would come the jacket and maybe his shirt sleeves would be rolled up.

That's Little Sis in blue and me in pink ... with our blonde, blonde hair ... posing on the front seat. The young fellow behind us is our older cousin, and maybe we were both just a little bit in love with him. He was so handsome.

Having no defined recollection of this particular picture, I'm not sure what we ate that day, maybe it was fried chicken and potato salad. Or, sandwiches with ham or sliced meat with pimento cheese -- I see the loaf of bread.

Sunday Picnic circa early 1960's
I loved those simpler times when our outings often included a leisurely drive down interesting, meandering country roads. Up hills and then the z-o-o-m down the other side, often on dirt or gravel roads where tiny rocks would pong and ping off the car sides and bottom, a whirl of dust in our wake.

Sometimes we'd stop for a visit at our newly married aunt and uncle's place. Sometimes we'd stop at a neighbours -- that's when we hoped the family would have kids our age to play with. Other times when the car faced west towards the nearby lake and summer village, that's when we knew ice cream or even spun sugar cones would be the treat at the end of the journey. Oh joy, oh bliss!

My, that's a long time ago. I'm so glad for family photos as they remind us of those happy moments we've nearly forgotten.

And so that's my little walk down memory lane today....

Wishing you a*´¨)
> ¸.·´¸.·*´¨) ¸.·*¨)
> (¸.·´ (¸.·´ * a happy walk down your own memory lane! *

Photo: Family Archives

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Playing with Picmonkey

Simply Version One


This morning we are learning how to create collages on picmonkey. Above is my first attempt.....

Much as we've admired the creativity so many of you share on your own blogs using collages for your photography, I've never felt I had the time to play with this. Plus, with so many technical learning curves as I venture into social media, a smart phone, some online writing classes... sometimes my brain says that's all for now, Girl, please don't add anything else into the mix right now!

But on this quiet, sublime morning of autumn, both me and my brain feel lively and ready to take a playful tour through all the buttons provided... to see what kind of monkey business we can get up to.
We're Getting Fancy Version Two
Here's My Favorite Version Three

Now this was FUN, FUN, FUN!  I'll be p-l-a-y-i-n-g with this some more.  But now, I see by the hands on my clock, I  best be off to accomplish some other projects... writing on my story, for one.

Oh yes... Which would be your favorite version?  Version Three is mine.

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

Photos: Brenda Leyland, 2014


Monday, September 22, 2014

List Ten Books That...

My brother recently challenged me and my sisters to 'list 10 books that have stayed with you or affected you in some way.'

Turns out my real challenge was not to find 10 books for the list, but to keep the list to 10. That was nigh impossible for this girl. In truth I probably have more like 100 books that I could list as having stayed or affected me in some way. But to follow the rules: 
  • List 10 books that have stayed with you or affected you in some way.
  • Don't take more than a few minutes and don't think too hard.
  • They don't have to be "right" books or great works of literature.
  • Challenge friends to do the same.

  Except for my bible, this list is in no particular order ...

1. My Bible. Heavily-underlined and starred, it’s my ‘go-to’. The Book of Psalms is a top favourite.

2. Rose in Bloom by Lousia May Alcott, Sequel in Little Women series. The loving, trusting relationship between young Rose and her guardian uncle gave me a beautiful picture of how love gives one the ability to trust… and then obey. My relationship with Jesus started to be became a love affair as a result.

3. First I loved the red-headed snippet Anne of Green Gables and later I fell in love with her creator, L.M. Montgomery.

4. His Gentle Voice, author’s name long forgotten. The true story of a young woman who, in her desire to meet her life partner and be a missionary, learned to listen for His gentle voice. It was the first time I’d ever felt God nudging me to a specific book to read.

5. Living a Beautiful Life by Alexandra Stoddard. She became my mentor for living life more beautifully in every way.

6. From the Father’s Heart by Charles Slagle. Written as short notes and letters from Father God to the author. The Father became a real Person to me, someone with whom I could share real conversation and my daily stuff. It changed my concept of God.

7. Heaven, The Heart’s Deepest Longing by Peter Kreeft. Years ago I didn’t know why I had this ever-present homesickness down deep inside. When I saw Kreeft’s book sitting on a library cart it was as if it was there waiting for me. It confirmed what my heart began to know -- I was homesick for Eden, for what we lost in the beginning... and for heaven, what we look forward to in the end. Interesting, once I recognized that was what I was pining for, the homesick feeling resolved, I think because I knew one day it would resolve for real. And so it was okay to feel this way.

8. Martin Luther – Reflections from His Writings. Especially the essay The Freedom of a Christian -- the divine exchange of the Bride’s brokenness for the Bridegroom’s glory. I fell more in love with Jesus, the Bridegroom.

9. Ordering Your Private World by Gordon MacDonald. I was happy to learn that I wasn’t the only one who struggled with feeling disorganized and over-busy on the wrong things. MacDonald shared some helpful things for me.

10. If You Want to Write by Brenda Ueland. I turn to it whenever I need inspiration or encouragement in my writing life. Love that my last name and hers are similar.

Adding List Two:
  1. At Home From Mitford by Jan Karon
  2. The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister
  3. The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning
  4. Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
  5. Love the Way to Victory by Kenneth E. Hagin
  6. The Winged Life by Hannah Hurnard
  7. A Severe Mercy by Sheldon Vaunaken
  8. Heidi by Johanna Spry
  9. Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh
  10. Bobbsey Twins at the Seashore by Laura Lee Hope
Adding List Thee:
  1. Life of the Beloved by Henri J.M. Nouwen
  2. The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence
  3. Walden and Other Writings by Henry David Thoreau
  4. My Dream of Heaven by Rebecca Ruter Springer
  5. The Shack by William Young
  6. One Hundred Names for Love by Diane Ackerman
  7. Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
  8. Walking on Water by Madeleine L'Engle
  9. The Right to Write by Julia Cameron
  10. Keeping the Feast (memoir) by Paula Butterini
Adding List Four:
  1. Winter Solstice by Rosamunde Pilcher
  2. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
  3. The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery
  4. Man's Search for Meaning by Victor F. Frankl
  5. Surprised by Oxford by Carolyn Weber 
  6. Delighting God by Victoria Brooks
  7. Mr. Popper's Penguins (children's) by Richard and Florence Atwater
  8. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  9. Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh
  10. Not My Will (teen novel) by Francena H. Arnold   ...

What are the first ten books that come to your mind?
Wanna share here or on your blog?

Wishing you a*´¨)
> ¸.·´¸.·*´¨) ¸.·*¨)
> (¸.·´ (¸.·´ * bookish kind of day! *


Sunday, September 21, 2014

Putting On Her Sunday Best

Today we went out into the countryside. Early this morning we realized it was to be too fine a day to do anything even close to ordinary things.
As it turned out, the day was perfect in every way. Tiny flowers, nestled amongst fallen leaves, still bloomed. Bright autumn blue skies, wispy clouds, and breezes that rustled leaves like some instrument in the percussion section of an orchestra. Can there be anything more peaceful or soothing in nature than the sound of fallen leaves skittering in the wind?

It's been the kind of the day that makes one almost think that all the ugly stuff we know is going on around the world must really be the nightmare, for we've wakened to find ourselves in paradise.
Children playing and running and laughing. Dogs chasing after the kids and sniffing the underbrush alongside the trails. Muskrats swimming along the lake shore, near enough to see their tiny heads skimming just above the water with the tiny vee behind them. Walking along sun-dappled paths strewn with leaves, holding hands with Dear Hubby, letting the leaves fall like confetti on our heads... well, as I say, it was all perfect. Autumn surely put on her Sunday best today.

Our impromptu picnic of sandwiches and tea, along with a bit of fruit and ginger cookies, and best friends to share it with, tasted like food fit for royalty. On our way back into town at the end of the afternoon, a little stop at the DQ for cones of vanilla soft ice cream (mine chocolate dipped) completed the adventure like cherries on top....whipped cream not required.

Sigh.... with happy. A lovely way to celebrate the last days of official summer. My soul has been filled  and refreshed -- I feel well able to take on the world again for another week. Thank you, Father God....

“I cannot endure to waste anything so precious as autumnal sunshine by staying in the house." Nathaniel Hawthorne, The American Notebooks, 1842

Have a*´¨)
> ¸.·´¸.·*´¨) ¸.·*¨)
> (¸.·´ (¸.·´ * beautiful day! *


 Photos and video: Brenda Leyland 2014


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Autumn Book by Susan Branch

A much anticipated parcel arrived in the mail the other day. All the way from Susan Branch's Studio in California, USA. It was my pre-ordered copy of Susan's 10th anniversary edition of her AUTUMN book.

I must admit, I have wondered if I would love this book as much as I did A Fine Romance, Susan's wonderful story about the trip she and her husband, Joe, took to England. Yes, although a different kind of book -- it being filled with wonderful recipes for appetizers, side dishes, Thanksgiving, and more, as well as seasonal art-craft ideas -- Autumn has the same beautiful artwork and lovely quotes -- not to mention her heart and spirit stamped on every page.

With her lovely autograph on the inside, no less!

This book, a longtime favourite of many Susan Branch fans, is now a treasure in my own library. I feel a little sad that it took 10 years for me to realize this book existed. But we shall make up for lost time and I'm eager to share it with friends I know will love it. Extra copies are already waiting in my study for giving away.

Family. Home. Love. Food around a table.
Creating Story. Memories. Life.
Susan's book makes me feel wrapped up in hope and love when I read, as it reminds me of a simpler, more innocent life. Susan reminds us that it is still possible to live in beauty and kindness from the hearts of our own homes, no matter what strange things go on out where the dragons breathe fire. Yes, we can carry on because, in truth, that is what God intended in the first place.

Me with my new book ... woohoo!

Since getting the book, I've been trying to stretch out the treat of reading it, much the way one savors a favorite ice cream cone. Ever. So. Slowly. One page at a time. To make it last longer. Every evening, I nestle up against the squishy pillows on my bed, turn on the lamp that now casts its own autumnal golden circle of light, and reach for my new book.

Susan often reminds us on her blog one of the secrets of a happy life is continuous small treats. Yes, I am happy with these little reading treats. I feel comforted. Nourished. Encouraged. By the time I lay my head down a smile lurks on my face. A blissful sigh as sleep weighs in around my shoulders and eyelids. Ah, and so to bed, says she... and turns out the light.

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


Sunday, September 14, 2014

Simply Sunday: Take Courage

Each of us will have things to face this week... whether they are mild inconveniences, news of a startling even crippling nature, or perhaps the arrival at some crossroads where a choice must be made that change our life in some way. Maybe we need to begin a new job or start a new project that takes us out of our comfort zone.

You might ask what that could be for me this new week. It's not a new thing, it's there every single morning when I wake up. It's deciding what my attitude will be as I wake up and get ready for the new day.

Yes, even at 3 a.m. when it's dark out and we're not quite awake as we head off to work. To invite the Lord Jesus to walk with me into the new day. To  anticipate the small gifts of mercy that He's mindfully gathered for my encouragement, benefit, and delight. To let a sense of wonder rise up and watch for glimpses of heaven in unexpected places... amazing how many I find even at that time of day, if I let it.

For just as surely, there comes the opportunity to allow resentment, self-pity, and grumpiness to travel with me...believe me, they show up with amazing promptness every morning loudly urging me to take them to work).

In light of that, I've gathered some quotes that speak to me and bring light to my mind. I take refuge, courage and joy in these words from people who've faced their own giants...and I pray that you, too, will find something that you can carry forth as your beacon for this new week.

"The ideas that have lighted my way and, time after time, have given me new courage to face life cheerfully have been Kindness, Beauty, and Truth." ~ Albert Einstein, Scientist

"Facing it, always facing it, that's the way to get through. Face it." ~ Joseph Conrad, British novelist

"The most glorious moments in your life are not the so-called days of success, but rather those days when out of dejection and despair you feel rise in you a challenge to life, and the promise of future accomplishments." ~ Gustave Flaubert, French novelist

"It takes courage to push yourself to places that you have never been before... to test your limits... to break through barriers. And the day came when the risk it took to remain tight inside the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. ~ Ana├»s Nin, French author

"What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?" ~ Vincent van Gogh, Dutch painter

"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm." ~ Sir Winston Churchill, British politician

"A (wo)man of courage is also full of faith. ~ Marcus Tulius Cicero, Roman orator

"Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” ~ from Joshua 1:9

I ask you now, what would be your 'take courage' thought be for today?

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


Friday, September 12, 2014

Dutch Apple Cake Dee-licious

Dutch Apple cake just out of the oven. The house smells wonderful.

This should perk the lord and lady of the manor right up on this grey, somewhat gloomy day! They were feeling a little un-perked earlier as they both were in serious need of an afternoon nap, which they had. Now for a piece of this yummy cake and a cup of decaf coffee.

A grateful thanks goes to Sandi over at Rose Chintz Cottage who shared this toothsome recipe on her blog yesterday.
As I was finishing up this post, the phone rang. Friends in need of a little supper -- they were out and about all afternoon -- are coming over for a bite of sustenance, some dutch apple cake with coffee, a sit in front of the big screen to watch a movie with us, and to just catch their breath after their very busy day. I love how serendipity happens!
On that note, I'm wishing you all a pleasant evening... ah, the sun just slipped out from behind the clouds. The sunflowers are smiling... lovely!

Wishing you glimpses of heaven*´¨)
> ¸.·´¸.·*´¨) ¸.·*¨)
> (¸.·´ (¸.·´ * in unexpected places ! *

Photo: © Brenda Leyland, 2014

Thursday, September 11, 2014

A Thursday Chat

The golden sun peeks into our backyard where the phlox is still blooming

Well... I'm happy to report that whatever that was with the white stuff these last couple of days... is over, for the time being at least. The weatherman promises us some sunny, warmer days ahead. We'll take that with a glad heart!

This morning I've been feasting my eyes as I gaze out the window at the harvest blue skies and the golden sunshine peering into a corner of the garden. Not to mention the bright red berries that stand out against the fading green of the mountain ash leaves.

I feel almost mesmerized as I watch the chickadees flitting back and forth from the tree to the sunflowers -- they are busy poking out seeds -- even though I wasn't sure if the heads were ripe enough; the birds seem quite taken with their buffet in the breeze.

This morning I came home from my stint at the local performing arts centre feeling a tad weary. In mind and body. It was busy. And, now as I sit here with my fingers poised over the keys, contemplating what I might share with you, I feel a little like a child who's fighting to keep her eyes open but doesn't want to take a nap, lest she miss something important.

And, of course, I would miss something important if I didn't stop to say hello to you, my beautiful blogging girlfriends. First, I wanted to tell you that the weatherman is back on track... which I've now mentioned again... and we are once again enjoying and celebrating autumn's gifts.


We're planning a trip to the library early this afternoon. Not to browse for some good September reading -- because I'm currently re-reading the delightful story entitled September by Rosamunde Pilcher ...

No, I'm going to the library because I need to use one of their large library tables on which to spread out some of my memoir notes. I'm beginning the next step in earnest, now that summer's over. 

In the springtime I gathered the memories and stories...they tumbled out by the dozens. Everybody wanted to have their moment in the light of day -- you see, they all wanted to be in the story. I kept telling them, not everyone belongs in this story. But they insisted. So I let 'em talk. And I wrote down all the memories the tumbled out. I thought I was done and I kept remembering more and more. In chatting with my memoir tutor, she said if that's what's happening, obviously they need to come out, so let 'em out.

But now we are ready for the next step... to begin choosing what, of all those memories and stories, will actually become part of the story... the 100 tiny tales that string together a journey that unfolded between two key events and over two decades.

Just a hint: It all started when a young woman, just graduating from college and about to embark on her life's journey, breathed a prayer as she paused before closing her dorm door for the last time. An unexpected prayer that came from somewhere deep inside... God, please don't let me marry the wrong man.

And so I'm away.  The time has flown -- I feel refreshed and ready for the day.

Hugs to you all....


September Poetry

by John Updike

The breezes taste
of apple peel.
The air is full
of smells to feel--

Ripe fruit, old footballs,
burning brush,
new books, erasers,
chalk, and such.

The bee, his hive,
well-honeyed hums,
While Mother cuts

Like plates washed clean
with suds, the days
are polished with
a morning haze.

* * * * *

Photo source:

* * * * *

PS. A new post in the works.
See you soon,

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Comfort Food

Here's a peek at yesterday's comfort food when that white stuff was falling around our place.

We're calling it Making Up For The Weather Soup aka Meatball Minestrone Soup. We didn't follow a recipe and we just used ingredients that were near to hand.

Aside. The Urban Peasant used to say on his television program years ago, if you don't have the ingredients he's using for a recipe, use your imagination and do the best you can with what you got. It's one of those bits of advice I never forgot.

So, here's what I did:

Started by sauteing 1/2 large onion in olive oil (with a dab of butter too) till soft in my blue le creuset pot. Chopped 1 large meaty tomato (Italian), a bit of diced celery, a couple fresh sprigs of thyme and Greek oregano. Added these to the pot.

I let these saute on very low heat for about 20 minutes. Stirred occasionally until everything began to caramelize and come together. For me, that's a key to making soup taste richer; don't be in a hurry at this stage. Oh... and I like to sprinkle a wee bit of salt and pepper on everything as I cook it.

Then I added 5 cups of hot beef broth and a generous handful of orzo pasta. Added salt and pepper to taste. Stirred. Then I found a few cooked meatballs in the freezer... y-e-s... must have made 'em for such a time as this.  If I would have remembered, I'd have included a wee bit of hot pepper sauce...

I let it simmer about an hour on really low heat. At the very end, I added a dollop of sour cream, stirred it in, and sprinkled with a bit of parsley. We paired the thick soup with thinly sliced dark rye bread. Yum.

Somehow the snow didn't matter after that.  

“Some foods are so comforting, so nourishing of body and soul, that to eat them is to be home again after a long journey. To eat such a meal is to remember that, though the world is full of knives and storms, the body is built for kindness. The angels, who know no hunger, have never been as satisfied.” ~ Eli Brown, author of Cinnamon and Gunpowder

BTW, our weather is coolish today, but so far no insistent signs of the white stuff...... a good day for writing blog posts, working on a new chapter of my memoir story, and coming to visit you.  Thanks for stopping by.  Now, here's wishing you......

Glimpses of heaven*´¨)
> ¸.·´¸.·*´¨) ¸.·*¨)
> (¸.·´ (¸.·´ * in unexpected places ! *



Photo: © Brenda Leyland, 2014

Monday, September 08, 2014

We're Not Talking About the Weather. Nope.

Outside my front winter window this morning...

Hey -- wait a minute ... we haven't even had autumn yet. What's with the white stuff? You are w-a-a-a-a-a-y too early. And what about my poor flowers... and my sweet birdies. Sigh.... thankfully we dear hubby picked all the tomatoes last night.

What's a person to do in such circumstances? We could wring our hands and lament ...  or we could chop onions and celery and meaty tomatoes, let them saute until soft, shake the snow off some thyme and greek oregano, and chop into the mix, add hot stock, a few ready-made-from-the-freezer meatballs, and a handful of orzo ... and watch hubby's face light up when he comes home from the gym to find a pot of homemade soup impromptu.
Aren't we lucky then to have some movies we want to watch, books to read (I'm finally getting around to reading Eat, Pray, Love... and enjoying it very much), and tea's set out to brew later with some ginger cookies.  For this afternoon.
Guess we can handle it ... if we have to, I guess !

Wishing you happiness*´¨)
> ¸.·´¸.·*´¨) ¸.·*¨)
> (¸.·´ (¸.·´ * in spite of the weather ! *


(The post title first spotted on a friend's facebook page)

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Simply Sunday: Carrying His Presence


Dear Lord...

Help me to spread thy fragrance everywhere I go. Flood my soul with thy spirit and life. Penetrate and possess my whole being so utterly that all my life may only be a radiance of thine. Shine through me, and be so in me that every soul I come into contact with may feel thy presence in my soul.

Adopted by Mother Teresa from the Prayer by Cardinal Newman (from Life in the Spirit)

Wishing you grace*´¨)
> ¸.·´¸.·*´¨) ¸.·*¨)
> (¸.·´ (¸.·´ * for the journey ! *

Photo source:

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Don't Wait for Others To Reach Out


"I'm convinced that one mustn't wait for people to reach out
~ we must reach in."
Jan Karon, author of the Mitford series

"You can't stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you.
You have to go to them sometimes."
A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

Sometimes we wait for someone else to invite us out for coffee, to notice we're having a down day, or to remember it's our birthday. At a party or small gathering, we stand around hoping someone will come over and say hi because we feel too shy.

I used to do that, and I realized that, ofttimes, my supposed 'shyness' had a lot to do with my fear of rejection. I used to worry about being snubbed, so I was reluctant to risk going over and introducing myself.

As I say, that's how I used to be, until I started paying attention to those wise ancient words that perfect love casts out fear. I overcame my fear when I chose to forget about my own self for a while, and start focusing on someone else.

I like what Jan Karon said -- we shouldn't wait for someone else to reach out to us. If we want to be a part of the group, then why not look for someone else who looks even more nervous than ourselves. Focus on making her feel more comfortable, and you'll be delighted to find you're forgetting about your own discomfort.

We'll never be on the outside looking in when we are the ones opening the circle to welcome someone new into our lives. A circle that does not exclude, but is ever widening to enfold a new acquaintance, neighbour, co-worker, or fellow conference attender.

All those years ago, when I started taking the initiative to reach out, I was amazed at how easy it got to walk into a room without fear. I love it. Talk about it changing my life for the better....and the more beautiful. The best part, really, is the joy that comes when making someone else feel more at ease and comfortable. 

So... here's to ever widening circles of friends ... loving gestures ... and kind hearts!

Wishing you glimpses*´¨)
> ¸.·´¸.·*´¨) ¸.·*¨)
> (¸.·´ (¸.·´ * of heaven in unexpected places! *


PS. This post was originally published at PerfectlyPink, 2009. I thought these beautiful thoughts shared by Jan and Winnie warranted another go 'round.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

One Beribboned Corner

I love the feeling I get when I look at this little jumbled corner of one of my bookshelves. Maybe it's the sense of possibility or anticipation that comes when one sees ribbons and wrapping paper. I took the photo earlier this summer when I was painting my office. I just stuck things in corners every-which-a-way but I was struck at the way it jumbled together in a nice kind of way.

I like the way the sun light from the window creates a bit of contrast of light and shadow. And I do know that I absolutely enjoy the grosgrain ribbons in these delightful colours. Notice the tissue paper underneath. And there's the longish box in soft green which holds the tiniest cards for adding atop a gift.

Now... for those of you wondering about the titles under the tissue paper (I know you're squinting to see what they are). Both are gifts for my mom on Mother's Day... a delightful little book called A Celebration of the Simple Life by Wanda Brunstetter and the DVD of the wonderful old movie The Shell Seekers, a favourite for us both.

Giving gifts is one of my favourite love languages. I love receiving packages tied up with ribbon. But in truth I love giving them more. There is something tantalizing about the simplicity of a little tissue and some pretty ribbon wrapped around the package and then tied in a simple bow. Just like this...

And so here's my little post that celebrates ribbon, jumbly corners, and the joy of giving packages wrapped up in tissue and ribbon.

If you think this might be a little too frivolous for these troubled times, remember C.S. Lewis once said that joy is the serious business of heaven. And I decided a long time ago that I would live a little 'heaven on earth' right here, right now in the midst of the ugly... to recognize beauty in all its forms and celebrate them.  Maybe it's a small way ... a small wave ... that changes the atmosphere. Refusing to let the ugly have the upper hand. Even with ribbons.

Sending you a heart wish
 *´¨) > ¸.·´¸.·*´¨) ¸.·*¨)
 > (¸.·´ (¸.·´ * for a wonderful day! *


Monday, September 01, 2014

September Rose...

There's something hauntingly sweet about watching a tea rosebush set out new buds even as summer's breath begins to hint at crisp days and frosty nights. These buds blossomed over the weekend (she probably felt it in the air that September was near). And, yet still she pours her energy into forming another new bud...and another...and another. All with no guarantee that these will ever get the chance to fully blossom.

She worries not that she's blooming so late in the season -- she just carries on fulfilling her destiny to share beauty and fragrance in her corner of the garden. As long as she is able and the weather permits.

Perhaps she teaches us a little carry on pouring our lives out for the pleasure and goodness of others, even when frosty days threaten to 'nip' us in the bud.
Tis the last rose of summer,
Left blooming alone;
All her lovely companions
Are faded and gone ....

You are probably well aware of a poem cum song entitled The Last Rose of Summer. Penned in the early 1800's by Irish poet, Thomas Moore, and then set to an old Irish folk tune, it became an immediate success. It still remains one of those favourite pieces that vocal artists, new and old, enjoy singing and to which audiences love listening.

Here is English Soprano Laura Wright sharing her rendition of it -- this has to be my personal favourite.....

Wishing you a beautiful first day of September*´¨)
> ¸.·´¸.·*´¨) ¸.·*¨)
> (¸.·´ (¸.·´ * and a wonderful week ahead! *


Photo source:  (c) Brenda Leyland, 2014