Friday, August 17, 2018

The Simple Woman's Daybook: My Blog's 10th Anniversary


Today we're celebrating our blog's 10th anniversary!
We're having an anniversary Giveaway.
We're joining with The Simple Woman's Daybook.


Looking out my window...

From my desk, I can see into my backyard. It's the same view I had a decade ago when I sent my first blog post off into cyberspace. It's familiar, yet different. Our neighbours' trees, including our Hawthornes and Mountain Ash, are now full grown and stately, with branches giving shade to human and feathered friend alike. One sunflower, a volunteer from scattered birdseed, towers like a sentinel against the back fence, bright yellow petals framing its ripening brown center. Although the fence is looking in need of a fresh coat of paint, the roses and lilies are blooming and serve to remind me that beauty reigns.

I am thinking...

About that first post, written with trepidation and excitement, and how it all came about. For years, I'd been wanting to write, but I didn't really have a focus or a platform. I'd been writing newsletters for people in the beauty/skincare industry, and loved it, but I wanted to branch out, write more inspirational pieces. Many people were blogging by then, and I saw that a blog might be just the thing for me. Not only did I want to improve my writing skills, I also wanted to develop a strong writer's habit of writing regularly.

I asked myself, what would I write about day after day? I already knew that this blog's theme would be what has turned out to be a theme for my own life: learning how to live more beautifully, with grace and wisdom and love, and then sharing it. Here's an excerpt from my first post:
"Hello and welcome ... I've created this blog to explore and share inspirational thoughts about making our lives more beautiful in our every day living. We encounter ugly things every day and some people say, well, that's the reality. But I always remember someone once saying that roses are as real as pigpens. Beauty can be just as real in our lives as any ugly or sad thing. Why should ugly have the upper hand?
Years ago, when I first read Alexandra Stoddard's book Living a Beautiful Life, I realized that I, too, was eager to live a beautiful life. I wanted to be able to create a little 'heaven on earth' in my own corner of the world and to inspire others to find the beauty and joy that's hidden in every crevice of life -- yes, even inside our refrigerators, as Alexandra pointed out in her book."
Now I sit here ten years later and I'm about to hit 'publish' on what will be my 1112th post. I can still remember how, like a new mother, I held my breath as I sent off that first post, wondering what, if anything, would come of it. Now I look back with awe and wonder. So many words have spilled out onto these blank digital pages. So much of my heart and soul. From the first day, it's been about watching for those glimpses of heaven that show up, sometimes in the most unexpected places and ways. Always on the lookout for the beauty -- occasionally in the spectacular and extraordinary, but usually in the simple, ordinary, everyday.  Which is where we live most of the time.

I am thankful...

In ten years, my blog has been shaped and reshaped, as has my life, not to mention the world we live in. But one constant remains: Catching glimpses of heaven in unexpected places and writing about them here on my blog has been a joy ride in a blog post. Even when I start to wonder if readers really want to hear more about the squirrel and the birds and the flowers.

No matter what is going on in the world around me or in my personal life, with God's grace I still aim to carry on making my corner of the world a better, more beautiful place. That includes my corner of cyberspace, both here and on social media. Which also means, sometimes, I totally can put away my soapbox and not add my two cents' worth to the rousing world-wide conversations when we hear the latest set-to on the news. You can be assured I will never use my blog for ranting or raving on any topic. This is my oasis -- a refreshing stream in the desert -- and I wish it to be yours too. As a dear writing friend recently said, "I used to have opinions but then I stated them, and now I don’t have to." Indeed. Wise words from this friend of mine whose name is Joy.

One of my favorite things...

"There is nothing like that exquisite moment when you first
discover the beauty of connecting with others
in celebration of larger ideals and shared wisdom."
~ Gordon Gee

A glass raised to all the friends I've made here on my blog over the years. I'm so grateful. I'd love to mention you by name, but that risks leaving out someone whose name slips my mind in the moment, and that wouldn't be right. So, instead, if you are reading this post, consider yourself on the list of special and wonderful people who have added so much beauty, grace, and kindness to my life this past decade. May this tribe of kindred spirits from around the world continue to share this blogging journey with each other.

I am creating...

A new magazine to mark this anniversary and I'm so excited! The idea just came to me as I'm working on this post. What I'd like to know is why do these wonderful inspirational moments have to always come along at the last minute? I could have been working on this already and had it done for the occasion. Anyways, I'm thinking about calling it Celebration! Anniversary Edition. It will be similar to the Christmas! magazine I published last December. In this edition, I want to gather a collection of my top favourite and most popular posts of the past ten years. It won't be an exact duplication of my posts in design or wording, but they will be laid out in a format that I hope will make it feel familiar, yet new again.

That will be quite the undertaking. As you know, I have well over a thousand posts to sort through, so it might be well into the fall before I'm ready to publish.

I am hoping...

That you will lend your thoughts. If you've been reading and following this blog over the years, I would love to know if you have a personal favourite post, or even two or three. I'd love to know. This would help me decide some of the posts to include in this upcoming Celebration! Anniversary Edition.

I am wearing...

A sleeveless summer dress with swirly skirt, in blue and white floral pattern,
along with silver bracelets.

I am reading...

The Vintage Book of American Women Writers. Edited by Elaine Showalter, 2011. An anthology featuring the "best work of writers ranging from Puritan poet Anne Bradstreet to contemporary stars like Annie Proulx and Jhumpa Lahiri". I can't believe how many of these authors I've not heard of before. Must to be time to get introduced. Really enjoying what I'm reading so far.

Another book I'm reading slowly this summer is the collection of essays, written originally for the Victoria magazine, Sharing the Journey, Women Reflecting on Life's Passages. I talked about this lovely book in a previous post HERE.

A Museum of Their Own, National Museum of Women in the Arts. By Wilhelmina Cole Holladay, who is not only the author of this book, but the founder of the National Museum of Women in the Arts. Years ago I read an article in the Victoria magazine about the author and her work, and I thought what a lovely book that would be to have. You can imagine my delight when I found a discarded hardcover copy at the local library book sale last week, all for the humble price of $1.00. When I mentioned my happy find on Facebook, two friends told me they both visited the museum as a result of seeing that very same article in the Victoria magazine. In that moment, it felt like such a small, beautiful world, and I felt happy to share in their joyful memory.   

I am learning...

To roll with the punches. If we can just hold things more loosely, and not worry if we're not 'happy-happy' all the time and not worry when those we love are facing their own rough patches. I've gone around the sun a few times, and I've noticed many things that happen to us come and then they go. In between the rough spots, if we can keep our hearts in a state of peace ... for me, it's keeping my focus on Jesus who knows how to calm troubled minds ... and keep our hearts in tune with Love, then I believe we shall come out okay. How many people have we heard about on news stories who've lost limbs, health, homes, and loved ones? Yet they live to tell the story, grateful for their lives and the ability to put one foot in front of the other -- even with all that loss. I am so grateful for their testimonies. It's encouragement for us all to carry on.

Which brings me to something I've been wanting to share for a few weeks now. It's a quote that I read on my lovely friend Sandra's blog.

"In difficult times carry something beautiful in your heart."
~ Blaise Pascal

Isn't that lovely? Sandra wrote a recent post Visions of Pink as an encouragement of hope for her friend who had been struck with disaster when torrential rains and winds passed through her hometown. Sandra went in search of inspiring quotes and photos that she hoped would help her friend find something beautiful to carry in her heart during those troubled days. I found her gesture moving and gracious.

In my kitchen...

We made blueberry muffins with the loveliest fresh blueberries.
Can hardly wait to have one for breakfast.

In my garden...

Of the many splendid garden and flower pictures I've taken in the past few weeks, I'm drawn to share this one with you. It's one tiny spot in our front garden, yet the way the photo was taken, to me it feels like a vast meadow of wildflowers and bushes. It's yellow potentilla and purple liatris, and I'm awestruck.

thomas ae |

We Promised You Cake...will this do?

"Cakes are special. Every birthday, every celebration ends
with something sweet, a cake, and
people remember. It's all about the memories."
~ Buddy Valastro

Yes, it's about the memories. They are what we cherish as the years pass. And if we can create lovely memories in the little and big things, that's what makes up our history, our story. I have many wonderful memories from working on this blog and from reading so many other delightful blogs by creative and lovely people.

I'm very happy that you popped in for a visit -- I hope you'll stay for cake. I'm looking forward to blogging with you for a long time to come. Let's see what the next decade has for us.  

And Now, Two Three Giveaways...
Contest Now Closed

1. One copy of my new magazine Celebrate! as soon as it's done and published.
 (the above is a mock up -- it may not look like this)

2. One $20 Amazon gift card so you can order the next beautiful book on your own list.

To enter the giveaway contest, leave a comment.
Your name will then go into the draws.

Added Giveaway:
3. One copy of "The flower can always be changing"
by Shawna Lemay, local author/poet

* * * 

Thank you for celebrating with me! Don't forget, if you have a favourite post that you'd like to see in the upcoming anniversary magazine, I'd love to hear about it.

Here's wishing you a beautiful weekend.



  1. What a lovely lovely post. I could comment on so many things you mention here but I will just choose one: "Every birthday celebration ... ends with cake ... and people remember." This past weekend we celebrated my Dad's 80th birthday. As we all sat on the deck of a lovely cabin among pine trees and fresh northern Saskatchewan air, we enjoyed birthday cake. And as we did, Dad shared stories from his life. Almost all 30 of us (the babies had been put to bed), from his oldest child (me) to his oldest great grand child, listened in rapt attention as he spoke. It's a memory I will take with me for a long long time to come.
    Thank you for making my life a little more beautiful, Brenda.

  2. Happy blog-a-versary Brenda! I've always enjoyed your writing but don't visit or comment enough. You've always been a beautiful light in what's become an increasingly ugly world. Thank you for sharing your heart.

  3. A beautiful post Brenda, I’m so happy I met you through blogging and that we have kept in touch. Sharing your eloquent style of writing has been a blessing to those reading and offered food for thought many times.
    As you celebrate your 10th anniversary, savour the positive effect on those whom you’ve touched through your musings.

  4. Happy Bloggaversary! I've been so happy to visit you and read your wonderful blog. I remember a post a few years ago about Autumn treasures or blessings. You mentioned those that have memories and struggle during holidays and different seasons. It was good for me to read because Fall is hard for me. I love your idea for the magazine! Sweet hugs, Diane

  5. Congratulations on this milestone, Brenda. I'm a newer reader of your blog (the last couple of years or so) and have always enjoyed the beauty of your heart and your musings. Thank you for sharing with us. Keep writing -- you are gifted.

  6. Happy the day I found you!!! Congratulations!!!

  7. 10 years already! It's been an amazing time for you. That first baby step into cyberspace--what a ride it's been.
    You have so much to celebrate. Here's to the next 10 years, and to new horizons to conquer!

  8. Brenda, you inspire me! Visiting you always helps me to relax like I'm wrapped in a cozy blanket by the fire, enjoying a mug of hot chocolate or tea. This time of year of course, it's more like sitting under a shady tree and sipping lemonade while listening to the songbirds and crickets. I loved your previous post as it brought back so many wonderful memories. It's a great pleasure to "know" you and even though I don't visit as much as I'd like, it's good to know you're planning to stick around. Congratulations on your ten years of blogging! You are a kindred spirit! Blessings ...Sandi

  9. Brenda, what an enjoyable always. I think there are quite a few of us who have reached the 10 year mark, it seems a long time ago now that I put the first words to mine. It has opened up a quiet enjoyment of meeting people, sometimes in reality! and sometimes just over the miles.
    Congratulations on your anniversary. I think your ideas of a 'celebration' are wonderful.

  10. I love coming to your blog.It is like a visit with a dear friend and the sweet scent of roses in the air.I have not been a follower for very long, but so very much appreciate your writings.Thank you from a simple soul in Manitoba.

  11. I do read every blog post, I just never comment! I have this dreadful habit of truly appreciating someones words, but forgetting to tell them so! I try to be more active in that regard on Twitter! ♥ I am glad that is how we stumbled onto each other!
    Anyways, what a joy it was to sit down with some watermelon lemonade & read your latest! Congratulations on your anniversary! That is no tiny feat~ surely something to be proud of. :)
    I see someone above put that they were from Manitoba~, well I am from the next province over, Saskatchewan!
    Hope you are having a wonderful day! ♥
    Bekah, aka Miss Mouse Middleton (from Twitter)

  12. I think I've been with you from the beginning as I started blogging 11years ago and have enjoyed all your posts...

  13. My heart is always gladdened when I see a post from you pop up in my feed. I read this quickly, and will be returning to savour the words again after the weekend. I read every post, sometimes more than once. I love your magazine idea.

    1. Congratulations on 10 years of beautiful writing.

  14. ten years!! that is amazing: congratulations xx

  15. Your writing is lovely--thanks for sharing with us!

  16. Congratulations on your 10th blogaversary, Brenda! What an amazing milestone to celebrate! You should be proud that your blog has reached the double digit age and continue to go on strong. I'm so glad that we met and have enjoyed your beautiful and insightful posts. I'm hard-pressed to pick a favourite post.

  17. Congratulations and Happy 10th Bloggiversary! Reading your posts give me a peaceful, easy feeling. I especially was inspired by your daily Christmas countdown posts from last December...I looked forward to them everyday. I'm glad we "met" through blogging and will be looking forward to what's coming next! Blessings!

  18. Congratulations on your blog anniversary! It’s a joy to create a beautiful life!

  19. Good Morning, Brenda. Yes, it is me the one who is always late. But, my tardiness is because I will never give your post a quick breeze through. I have to absorb your every word.

    Brenda, first let me congratulate you on your Anniversary! Truly a significant accomplishment - 10 years is amazing. I am so grateful I found you - your words are so inspiring and my life is enriched with your every post. Alexandra would be so pleased with your work, this is when I wish she was connected with all of us.

    I immediately knew we were kindred spirits when I first read one of your post. It was after one of the horrific tragedies we have seen in our world and I think I was numb from it all and I was led to find you. I have been with you since.

    How exciting about your magazine, I treasure my copy of "Christmas," and am so looking forward to "Celebrate." I know it will be outstanding.

    I want to sincerely thank you for mentioning my blog in your post today. I am truly honored. It was such a surprise and so very kind of you to do. Also, thank you for adding me to your blog list, again I am honored.

    Brenda, I wish you many, many more years of blogging. Our world desperately needs your voice. I am such a believer in what I call 'the ripple effect.' Just maybe, if each of us adds a little joy, beauty and encouragement to others we can somehow right or world. You, my dear friend, are magnificent inspiration and I treasure our friendship. I am in hopes we will meet one day. Love, hugs and blessings ~ Sandra

  20. Congrats Brenda. And Happy Anniversary. A beautiful post full of sweet memories but also words of hopeful beginnings as you move forward into the next 10 years! Way to press on for Jesus--and may you be blessed the same way you bless others.

  21. I got so excited about the beautiful cake display yesterday that I forgot to read and compliment you on your blog--another in your long list of blogs. I suspect many people start out blogging, but find it difficult to keep it going week after week, month after month and year after year. Congratulations on your good staying power, Brenda.

    I also appreciate the simplicity of your theme and I quote: "I already knew that this blog's theme would be what has turned out to be a theme for my own life: learning how to live more beautifully, with grace and wisdom and love, and then sharing it." You have done a beautiful job of living this mantra and encouraging others, by your example, to do the same. This is not as simple as it seems, but I thank you for your good example in writing and in living "the good life." You are a blessing, my friend.

  22. Congratulations on your ten year anniversary. That is quite an achievement. I always find your posts both soothing and uplifting, so you are definitely spreading the Beautiful Life to others.

  23. Wow, 10 Years of blogging. Congratulations. That is awesome. I remember that first challenge to yourself of 100 posts in 100 days, and I remember thinking that is a lot of posts in a short time, but you did it! And now you have been blogging consistently for 10 year. That is a job well done.

  24. Congratulations on your tenth blogging anniversary Brenda. It speaks to the beauty of your blog that so many friends have stopped by to comment and I can't imagine the dedication that it's taken to write over the years. Blessings to you for many more lovely blog posts to come. I can't wait to read them!

  25. Ah Brenda - congratulations on your anniversary of 10 years. Your posts always make me so glad I visited. It is such a treat to see your garden, read your lovely words...sit at your kitchen table and have you share your great thoughts as well as what you are reading. I am sure your magazine will be wonderful. Thanks for all the hard work you put into each post. They never fail to be uplifting. God bless.

  26. Congratulations, Brenda. Ten years! Wonderful. Love reading your posts and your insights. You are a light in the world. Hope I'm not too late for the giveaway. But if I am, that's okay. Just visiting you is a prize! Susan ps. Thanks for all your visits to my posts, too. Love it when you stop by. (And I LOVE Alexandra Stoddard...and Susan Branch....and Gladys Taber....and Mary Engelbreit. ha!)

  27. Sharon L Goemaere27 August 2018 at 11:15

    Happy Anniversary Brenda !!! I have so enjoyed getting to know you on social media as well as here on your blog !!! Please enter me in your drawing I Thanks my friend ! ~Sharon Goemaere

  28. Hey, 10 years is awesome! Happy Blog-Anniversary. And I would love to be entered into your giveaway. I still remember that 100 posts in 100 days blog post. That was quite a challenge to yourself but you did it. And now 10 years later you still have a wonderful blog.

  29. I'm in awe at everyone's lovely, lovely comments. Thank you SO much for each one... I hold them dear. You are dear!

    Brenda xoxox

  30. You are altogether beautiful,Brenda.....

  31. Great article..I am looking so forward to your blogcomment and
    I love your page on your post.. That is so pretty..


To My Beautiful Readers,

Some people come into our lives, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never the same. ~ Franz Peter Schubert

Thank you so much for leaving your 'footprint' here in my comment box. I do appreciate you taking a moment to share your thoughts today.

Brenda xo