Friday, June 22, 2018

A Single Peony Blossom

A flowerless room is a soulless room, to my way of thinking;
but even a solitary little vase of a living flower may redeem it.
~ Vita Sackville-West

* * *

I must have flowers, always, and always.” 
~ Claude Monet

* * *

“A flower blossoms for its own joy.”
~ Oscar Wilde

* * *

Wishing you glimpses of heaven in unexpected places
and a wonderful weekend ahead!

From my garden to your heart,

Monday, June 18, 2018

A Little Something On Monday

**A little something from the garden**

I had a little lesson about finding treasure in the muddy and broken. A couple of these tiny sprigs were salvaged from their mother plants when they broke off and got muddied during a heavy rainstorm a couple days ago. I plucked them up and rinsed them off. The purple salvia (which looks so much like lavender, doesn't it?) took a hit during transport from the garden centre, so I had to regretfully clip off one of the spiky blossoms.

The tiny green bottle a friend once gave me creates a very nice home for these reclaimed beauties. They now sit on top of a stack of books on my desk, with my copy of Oxford Sketchbook as their backdrop.

**A little something for dessert**

The other day I found six of these tiny glass dessert cups at the thrift store. Just what I didn't know I needed until I saw them. We currently have suitcase size ice cream bowls which really are too big for those of us trying to be a little more careful with the sugars and sweets. They take three scoops to fill. A single scoop looks lost in the bottom, which often means 'we'll just top that up, shall we'?

No, we really don't want to top it up, thank you, so these smaller bowls will do nicely. Although you can't really gauge from the photo, there's just enough room for a single scoop of ice cream or a small fruit salad. The bowl's even too small for an ordinary teaspoon to properly sit on the side--it just tips out. Which means I might need to search out some of those shorter spoons too.

What's in the bowl, you ask? Frozen vanilla yogurt topped with the last-in-the-house tiny morsel of delicious Celebration Lemon Creme cookie on a dark chocolate biscuit base. Breaking it into bits, I sprinkled it over top. A spoonful of frozen yogurt, a lemon zest bit, and a bite of chocolate -- let's just say we were content!

**A little side dish for dinner**

This is a simple summer salad using radishes fresh from the garden, or the grocery store if you don't have a garden. The twist is the delightful mix of radish, caraway, and oregano in a white wine vinaigrette. Not sure where I found this recipe, but I'm glad I did. Yum. 

Radish Salad

10 - 15 radishes, thinly sliced

2 tsp. white wine vinegar
2 tsp. canola or olive oil
1 tsp. caraway seed
2 tsp. fresh Greek oregano
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 tsp. sugar
Sprinkle of salt
Dash of pepper

Serves 2

**A little something to ponder with your morning coffee**

"Great opportunities come to all, but many do not know
they have met them. The only preparations to take advantage
of them is simple fidelity to watch what each day brings."
~ Albert E. Dunning

* * *

"Creative work is not a selfish act or a bid for attention on the
part of the actor. It's a gift to the world and every being in it.
Don't cheat us of your contribution. Give us what you've got."
~ Steven Pressfield

* * *

"For one moment quit being sad.
Hear blessings dropping their blossoms all around you."
~ Rumi

* * *

"Do for one what you wish
you could do for everyone."
~ Andy Stanley

* * *

On that note, I'm wishing you a pleasant week ahead. I truly hope there is something scheduled in it that makes you look forward to it with delight and confidence.


Monday, June 11, 2018

How I Found My Beautiful Life: Somewhere Near the Beginning

Unknown |

"Every life is braided with luminous moments."
~ John O'Donohue, from The Invisible Embrace of Beauty

This post goes back in time to the start of my life's journey. No, not as far back as my birth date--I was thinking a little more recent than that, but still over forty years ago. It was 1977 and I was about to graduate from college. I had just turned twenty, and although turning eighteen two years earlier meant I was legally an adult, for me it was my twentieth birthday and graduation that really marked the end of my youth and childhood and ushered in my life as an adult. It was a monumental moment as I gazed into my future.

Though the future was expectedly misty in detail, I felt alive with youthful hope for all the possibilities spread out before me. Naturally I was curious about what my life would be like, but one thing I had absolutely no doubt about. It was something I'd been dreaming about since I was a little girl -- that my life would definitely include one very nice Prince Charming. And by my estimation he had already run a little late for a very important date. You see, I had secretly hoped to meet this handsome young man during my college years, to be one of the couples who studied together in the library, mooning over their books and secretly holding hands under the table. (Lorrie, was that you?) 

Alas, it was not to be. Slightly disappointed but completely confident he would appear around the next corner, I worried not. There were just so many other interesting things to fill my thoughts--like getting ready for the four-month working trip to Venezuela I would embark on shortly after grad. Life was good.

Memories are like antiques,
the older they are the more valuable they became.
~ Marinela Reka

There is something that I have to tell you about before I go any further. It was just a tiny moment in time, but it ended up playing a key role in my overall life story. It was just before graduation and everyone was clearing out their dorm rooms. My roommate, Darlene, had already moved her things out. I, too, was packed and ready to go hand in the key. The room, empty and bereft of all our college paraphernalia, echoed with memories of laughter and homesick tears, silly and fun hall parties, late night whispered confidences, life-time friendships being forged, remembrances of those crazy all-nighter stints to finish term papers, including my room detention once for skipping breakfast too many times. So many wonderful memories had been created in that room. Now it was time to go.

In that moment before the door closed for the last time, I stopped to whisper a little prayer. It was me marking the threshold moment. God, as I begin my new life, I want You to know I am willing to do whatever You have for me, and when I'm not willing, I'm willing to be made willing ... and please don't let me marry the wrong man.

Little did I know that little cry that I seemingly tacked on at the end in all earnestness was to impact my life for years to come.

* * *

When I think about my twenties and my thirties, I think of them this way: my twenties were all about finding my life as an adult, and my thirties were all about discovering how to have a beautiful life when I found myself a career girl and still single, not the wife, mother, and homemaker I once dreamed of being.

Right after grad, I traveled to Venezuela and lived there for four months. I loved, loved living there but that's a story for another time. When I came back home to Canada, I stayed with my family on the farm until Christmas, after which my mom and I went into the big city to hunt for an apartment, so that I could start looking for a job. What fun I had setting up housekeeping for myself, paying rent each month like a grownup, finding new friends, going shopping, and participating in a new church and young adult group. I was involved in volunteering and loved teaching Sunday School to grade five kids, singing in the choir and the annual Singing Christmas Tree, creating workshops for church education conferences, going on holidays, entertaining friends, taking community courses such as flower arranging and sewing.

In the middle of it all, over the years I kept my eyes peeled for that nice Prince Charming who was sure to be stepping out of the shadows any moment and who would be the one to help make my dreams come true. But, as life would have it, in all those years that nice young man never materialized. There were some possibilities, but promising starts always ended in disappointment. One young man told my roommate he thought I was beautiful, but that he wasn't ready to get married (he was engaged six months later, so much for not being ready to marry, just not to me).

Another one was perfect (in my eyes) but when he found I was older than he was, he figured I wasn't perfect for him and was outta there. So, so disappointed. It's good to learn to trust God in those times, but oh the tears and wails along the way. One time I cried out to Him asking for something from Him that would sustain me in my heartbreak. He replied (to my astonishment). I actually heard His voice somewhere near my ear, and I knew it was Jesus speaking. I told Him that I had so much love to give and nobody wanted it. And He said, yes, he knew how that felt too. Talk about an intersecting of my heart with the Divine One. That was an experience I held dear to my heart for a very long time. I felt cherished and honoured that he would speak to me so clearly. To think that we shared this similar 'rejection'. He knew my heart and now I knew something of His heart. I was truly comforted by it.

* * *

The decade and my twenties flew by and soon I found myself turning thirty. I was established in my job working for the Premier of Alberta--a career girl just like Mary Tyler Moore--something I had not planned for at all. But I liked my job. I loved working at my own desk, and I loved the beautiful Legislature Building in which I worked. I had good friends and enjoyed fun times together. I went to Europe with my best friend-sister-housemate, Jean. I joined the calligraphy guild and took water colour classes, even took a Victorian lampshade making class. I adored our two sweet kitties, Gilbert and Sullivan--they filled my life with so much joy. I was involved with a church I loved. And I was a proud auntie to three little nephews. Did I say that life was good, it was just not what I expected.

I'll have you know I did not have a melt down when I turned thirty upon coming home from yet another wedding still single in a world where everybody else seemed to be finding partners. I had meltdowns in my twenties, but I was growing up. I'd already had some inklings as I neared my new decade that I needed to shift my thinking. I had to think about what I wanted ... and after much heart searching, I knew I wanted to live a beautiful life ... show the world it was more than okay to be single. That there was life and happiness in this state of being. Oh, and though I still hoped for love and marriage, I wasn't going to wait around for it anymore.

We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned,
so as to have the life that is waiting for us.
~ E.M. Forster 

For the life of me, I don't know why I didn't ever clue in that I had prayed a prayer years earlier about not marrying the wrong man. Maybe I never thought God would take notice or that He would actually answer it. Yet, all along He was very faithfully closing the door on unsuitable mates, until years later, when meeting the man I would marry, that door never closed. Through it all, I was learning to trust Him.

* * *

And so... you now have a little idea of where I started and how things unfolded in my life as a young woman. I had to learn to embrace the life I had, not the one I yearned for. I also had to learn that a beautiful life doesn't just happen, but it's something that flourishes and grows choice by choice by choice. And, by listening to the One who longed to share His wisdom and His beautiful love with me.

There's so much more to tell. It will come little by little ... I have to go through the memory archives much like going into an old cedar chest. Only instead of storing away treasured items, I'll be taking things out -- kind of like a hope chest in reverse. But that's all for another day. It's time to wrap this up for today. So, on that note...

I'm wishing you glimpses
of heaven in unexpected places,


Wednesday, June 06, 2018

Mostly Wordless Wednesday: A Tiny Peek in the Garden

When the world wearies and society fails to satisfy,
there is always the garden.
~ Minnie Aumonier

Earth laughs in flowers.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

We can complain because rose bushes have thorns,
or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.
~ Abraham Lincoln

The lesson I have thoroughly learnt, and wish to pass on to others,
is to know the enduring happiness that the love of a garden gives.
~ Gertrude Jekyll

The kiss of the sun for pardon. Song of the birds for mirth.
You’re closer to God’s heart in a garden than any place else on earth.
~ Dorothy Frances Gurney

The garden is starting to look lovely. The peonies are in full bud--a few more days and they will burst out (no pics here yet). The patterned pink petunias are happy in a big display pot. Just bought the pink geranium in a hanging basket for our back deck. Hmm...I see there seems to be a pink theme this Spring.

Mom's Peace Rose (the one we take care of for her at our house) has been sharing the love these past few days with several gorgeous blossoms. I never get tired of watching this rose send out her amazing blooms.

Can't wait to plant out the red dahlias--I bought two pots last night. And the lovely purple tulips are done for this year but they gave such a show a week or two ago, I had to show you too. I've been been tucking in annuals to fill in empty spaces around our new perennials--marigolds, alyssums, and snapdragons, to name a few. Once they get started, I'll share pictures.

Here's wishing you a beautiful day,


PS. Busy working on my first 'how I found my beautiful life' post;
hope to get it up this weekend.