Thursday, June 13, 2019

June's Joyful Moments

"Then followed that beautiful season... Summer....
Filled was the air with a dreamy and magical light; and the landscape
Lay as if new created in all the freshness of childhood."

There's a joy on the breeze this morning that makes my heart feel alive with possibility. As I consider what to share here today, my mind goes in a few directions. I could talk about gardens and gardening in this wonderful season of the year. I could talk about the books I've been reading or the handful of books I hope to read this summer. I might want to show you pics of the new living room drapes I recently bought on a whim. I could show you brand new photos of Peace Rose who survived another winter in our garage -- when we brought her outside she set several buds as soon as she felt the warm sun on her branches.

I'll let my thoughts ramble as though on a walk through a woodsy copse or meadow and allow myself to stop at whatever catches my eye along the way. With such serendipity, we never knows where it ends up but we hope it's in a good place and that you'll be glad you stopped for a little visit.

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Something new... When you arrived, you'll have noticed another new blog header. Think I'll leave this one in place all summer -- really love the colours of those wonderful geraniums. Saw them at the greenhouse a couple of weeks ago.

Outside my window... 'Tis a glorious morning here. After a few days of much needed soaking rains -- it was cold too -- the blue skies and sunshine returned. It's so lovely to gaze through the window and not see the grey haze from northern wildfires (they are in hand, I believe) but to once again see that summer blue with great puffs of clouds sailing by. The garden is taking shape after a slow start to Spring earlier on. Every year I'm gob smacked -- startled, stunned, astonished -- at how the garden that appeared forlorn, dead, and dull for so long suddenly bursts into green. Perennials waste no time in growing tall and lush. Life pulses from deep within the still-cold soil and shoots determinedly poke through in search of warmth and light. I think that's what surprises me every Spring - it's bare, brown, lifeless and then suddenly it's green and leafy. It makes me breathless with happiness. I find myself going to the front door and opening it often just to stare out at the bewitching greenery.  

"To sit in the shade on a fine day and look
upon verdure is the most perfect refreshment."

The other evening I stood for a few moments on the back deck as the sun was ready to set around 10:00 pm. The air was heavy with the wild fragrance of the deep purple-red lilac bush over the fence in our neighbour's yard. The scent wafted on the breeze coming from the west-north-west. Oh my. I was only outside a couple of minutes, but in that time it created a moment I wished I could bottle up or at least write a line of poetry. To save it for a rainy snowy day to remember that exact moment when my heart wanted to burst out with the lilacs. Alive with joy and hope and calmness of mind. In that moment it seemed impossible that the world could be so out of order and so many folks in distress when there are moments so perfectly sublime and peaceful and all right.

I am Summer, come to lure you away from your computer...
come dance on my fresh grass, dig your toes into my beaches.

'Raindrops on Roses'

"There is a calmness to a life lived
in gratitude, a quiet joy."

On the window sill... Plucked this rose from the rain the other day and tried to get a decent picture showing off the raindrops on its petals -- but the rainy day made for poor lighting. Because Peace Rose winters over in our garage, it always has a good start to the growing season in the Springtime. It doesn't die back and have to start from the ground up like the rest of our poor roses in the garden. So it can start greening up and setting those treasured buds as soon as it warms up.

Last week we were startled to see the first bloom open. What a joyful quickening in the heart. I sent home a couple of stems with Mom (it's her rose after all) when she was here last week. And, last night I clipped a blossom for my neighbour down the street.

"Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass
under the trees on a summer's day, listening to the
murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across
the blue sky, is by no means waste of time."
"Recreation," The Use of Life, 1894

Cultivating moments of restfulness... On her Twitter page, Joy Clarkson (daughter of author Sally Clarkson) recently shared a few thoughts about cultivating moments of restfulness in the midst of life's busyness, chaos, worry. She offered three ideas that help cultivate such moments: 1) write someone a handwritten note; 2) do something you loved to do as a child; 3) walk away your worries - at least twenty minutes. She recommended choosing one and reporting back.

I am always up for cultivating a little restfulness in my day and did two: 1) I wrote out a card and note to a nephew and his wife who just had a baby girl. How happy a moment thinking about that little one joining our family. To write something out by hand really arrests the hurriedness. You have to stop to find paper and pen, to think about what you will say, and then write it out, forming each letter and word with care. It takes a lot longer to write by hand than to type something. I've heard that writing it by hand uses a different part of the brain than typing it out. Makes for a good exercise all around as well as providing a calm moment in the midst.

2) As a girl, I used to love going with my mom to the greenhouses in spring. It was always an outing filled with happy anticipation. We'd come home with the trunk brimming with floral possibilities. This past Sunday afternoon Rick and I drove out to one of the countryside greenhouses. It truly was restful to meander up and down the aisles, savouring the colours, shapes, and scents. Deciding what to choose. We came home -- trunk full -- with trays of purple and pink asters, scented stock, pink begonias, white begonias, bronze marigolds, purple painted tongue, two pots of gazania daisies for the deck, and three new 'Blizzard' mock orange bushes for the revamped area in the backyard.

Summertime reading... In the summertime, many of us like books and stories that are easy to read, easy to pick up or put away when something else catches our eye on the beach, under the shady tree or sitting on cool porch. Children's stories -- favourites from our own childhood might fit the bill.

A post popped into my inbox the other day from Literary Ladies Guide. They gave their list of 10 classic children's books written by women that people should read before they die. I thought maybe it would be great fun to chase down some of my girlhood favourites. The Literary Ladies kindly reminded us that it's never too late to read the books we missed in our childhoods -- there are a few on the list I have never read. And it's never amiss to reread old favourites for the child that's in all of us. They include a secondary list with a dozen titles. I've given you the book titles and authors below. You can also get all the other lovely info they share about the books HERE.


Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (1868)
Black Beauty by Anne Sewell (1877)
Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery (1905)
A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett (1905)
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett (1911)
Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder (1932)
The Yearling by Margorie Kinnan Rawlings (1938)
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith (1943)
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle (1962)
Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh (1964)


National Velvet by Enid Bagnold
Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers
Hans Brinker by Mary Mapes Dodge
The Borrowers by Mary Norton
Tuck Everlasting by Natalia Babbitt
My Friend Flicka by Mary O'Hara
Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren
Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm by Kate Douglas Wiggin
Emily of New Moon series by L.M. Montgomery
Pollyanna by Eleanor Porter
The 101 Dalmatians by Dotie Smith
The Rescuers series by Margery Sharp

They asked to hear from readers if we saw any glaring omissions in their lists. I immediately thought of Heidi by Johanna Spyri and The Railway Children by Edith Nesbit. Any other books you think should be on their lists (remembering it's women authors they are highlighting)?

A heritage question... a special blogging friend Susan @ Writing Straight From The Heart always has interesting photos and things to think about. She usually ends her posts with a question for her readers, and I have come to eagerly anticipate these questions. The other day, Susan shared how she found a festively dressed Polish doll at the thrift store. She snapped it up as it reminded her of her mother's Polish heritage. Her question that day was, Do you have objects in your home or apartment that reflect your ethnicity?

I had to think a minute about it because, upon reflection, I don't have anything on display in my house that represents my heritage. I have Polish/German roots from my dad's side, and German/Russian roots from my mother's side. Our ethnicity was never really emphasized by either side of my family when I was growing up. My grandparents and dad came to Canada from Poland when he was little (just before WWII) and the family strived to fit into Canadian society. They didn't bring over much in the way of cultural costume or traditions.

But there is one thing. The kinds of foods we cook to this day in our kitchens gives a clue of our heritage. As a girl visiting my grandmothers or aunties, I remember eating the delicious tortes and kuchens, poppy seed cake, cabbage rolls with rice and beef, sauerkraut, dill pickles, beef stew and dumplings with fresh dill, sour cream and dill dressing on lettuce, to name a few.

When my dad's family had a huge reunion years ago, a family recipe book was created as a commemorative keepsake. Every family shared their family favourites, which included many old recipes that reminded us all of our German/Polish heritage. So yes, Susan, I do have something in my home that represents my heritage -- my cookbook with its many family recipes reminiscent of the flavours from the 'old country'.

"Twilight drops her curtain down
and pins it with a star."

Around the house... new curtains. A fellow Twitterer mentioned she'd purchased new curtains (Waverly) for her living room. I saw her photo and was smitten. I went online to see if I could find something similar for my own living/dining room. I've only had lace at the windows for years. Which I loved, but the walls always seemed a touch bare. It didn't take long to find something I really liked. No matter what else I looked at, I came back to that first set that caught my eye.

I hit 'Order' and two days later they I was putting them up. I didn't have the right rods so I just temporarily* pinned them in place and was pleased with the look. Waverley provided a quality product for a most reasonable price. The pattern "Imperial Dress, Antique" and colours fit the room perfectly. I love how the sunlight makes them appear luminescent and sunset-like in the room. It'll feel cozy in winter especially. They gives the room a touch of formality yet because the fabric is 100% cotton they will be easy to maintain -- no dry cleaning needed. Talk about a spur of the moment purchase. One I don't regret for a moment.

*About it being temporary, well, you know how that goes sometimes. What's meant to be temporary ends up being the way it is, forever. Haha...I'll see how long it takes for me to get new rods up. Or not. 

Image by Jill Wellington from

"Summer afternoon—summer afternoon;
to me those have always been the two most beautiful words
in the English language."

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After all that, I think it's time we break for cake and lemonade. I'll meet you in the garden. On that note, I'm wishing you glimpses of heaven in unexpected places -- June is bursting out all over the place. Happy day -- let's enjoy!