Wednesday, November 18, 2020

A Wee Note On A Wednesday



Without my morning coffee,
I’m just like a dried-up piece of goat. 
J.S. BACH


I am chuckling as I try to imagine Johann Sebastian Bach, famous musician of gorgeous old music, quipping that line above to his wife one morning before he picked up his quill to compose one of his great fugues. Funny thing, there are days I totally relate!

Went searching for a coffee quote since the beverage was on my mind earlier than usual this morning—I woke in the wee hours and couldn't go back to sleep. I finally came into my study, spent time writing in my journal, made some notes for my writing project. And then around six o'clock, I decided to surprise Hubbs and baked a batch of blueberry muffins for our morning coffee. Do you know how loud a bowl and some measuring spoons and a muffin tray can clatter when you're trying to be as quiet as a mouse because someone is fast asleep?

Soon hubby was awake and the smell of freshly brewing coffee wafted through the house. It's the smell that separates night from day, asserts Japanese author Haruki Murakami. So true, although I would have to include toast and bacon as two other smells that markedly announce morning has broken.



“How you can sit there, calmly eating muffins when we are in this horrible trouble,
I can’t make out. You seem to me to be perfectly heartless."

"Well, I can’t eat muffins in an agitated manner. The butter would
probably get on my cuffs. One should always eat muffins quite calmly.
It is the only way to eat them."

"I say it’s perfectly heartless your eating muffins at all,
under the circumstances.”

OSCAR WILDE, The Importance of Being Earnest


Oscar Wilde reminds us that no matter what horrid troubles are going on around us, one should always eat muffins calmly. Good advice, and we calmly took it too.

After breakfast, I went out first thing to the post office to mail birthday cards and get a supply of holiday postage stamps. They are ready over there for the crowds of Christmas lineups, Covid social distance style. The line snakes around this corner and that one—just follow the footprints towards the service counter and keep your social distance. Being the only customer at the time, I was in and out of there in a flash.




A supply of Christmas stamps in hand, I popped over to HomeSense to scout their Christmas card selections. I used to LOVE shopping for Christmas cards early in the season. Nowadays it's not quite as much fun; they don't stock up on the variety of wonderful designs, at least not around these parts. I certainly miss the Hallmark shops in our region of the world. But I found three boxes I like and home they came with me. 

That quick errand done, I went for my wee walk around the block when just a few pleasant snowflakes were falling. The birds were in full chorus. Now, the weather outside has turned frightful. It's more serious, with intermittent tiny snow flurries, big fluffy ones, and ice pellets. And it's constant today, Sandra! It will be a pile by day's end if it keeps up, making the roads dicy with low visibility for drivers on their way home tonight. 😟

* * *

As far as I know, I have no Scottish ancestry, but you will have noted that I've adopted the use of the Scottish vernacular often using the word 'wee' which means 'little, small, minute, tiny'. With this post being a wee thing, you'll probably only need a sip or two of your favourite beverage and you'll be on your way to the rest of your day. As I wind up, the day has well begun, and for some of you, you'll be heading towards late afternoon. On that note...


Whatever you are up to,
here's wishing you a pleasant day.

And I hope you haven't minded my wee bit of blethering*!

*Definition of blethering:
"talk in a long-winded way without making very much sense"


Heart Hugs,
Brenda
xox


Photo credits:
(top) Image by Monika Robak from Pixabay
(middle) Image by RitaE from Pixabay
(bottom) Image by Brenda C Leyland


 

Friday, November 13, 2020

Friday: Life in My Unhurried But Not So Ho-Hum Lane



"...it is a serious thing

just to be alive
on this fresh morning
in the broken world.
I beg of you,

do not walk by
without pausing..."

MARY OLIVER



As the sun hit the snow on my neighbour's roof, thoughts of vanilla icing gliding down the sides of a layer cake spring to mind. It is a scene for a Christmas card even though it's only mid-November. Winter came with aplomb last weekend, and we're still kinda finding our way out from beneath the snow piles. Not to mention adjusting to the thermometer that has been as jumpy as any serious watcher of the recent US presidential election results—first, the temperature falls way below freezing and then surges back up into melting mode, then drops again. 

Maybe we're all a little jumpy these days, what with so many things going on that threaten to pull our minds off kilter. I woke up the other morning with a dream still fresh in my mind—I worry when current world events end up in my dreams. In the dream I found myself in a crowd of people. It all felt quite normal and fine, people going about their business. I suddenly remembered it's Covid and I don't have my mask on! What! How could I have left the house without it, and I knew there wasn't an extra one in my bag. On top of that, what I found most unsettling was that no one was wearing a mask and no one else didn't seem to notice or care. Thankfully, I woke up. 

To settle my rattled nerves (wink), in the afternoon I pulled out a recipe from my old Purity recipe book, the cookbook my mom gave me to tuck into my hope chest decades ago. I went straight to the easy one-bowl chocolate cake recipe. After gathering the ingredients and beating them together for the requisite minutes, I poured the smooth chocolate batter into my shiny new cake pan, sorely tempted to lick the wire beaters and drag my finger to catch the drips along the edge of the bowl. I tend not to do that anymore, wondering if it's safe to ingest raw eggs. Setting the timer, the minutes couldn't tick fast enough as I anticipated serving still-warm slices (with vanilla ice cream) for our afternoon tea. It fit the bill, steadied my nerves, satisfied my taste buds, and made an ordinary afternoon feel silky smooth and carefree. Although delicious, we opted not to have seconds.

* * *

A dear friend asked the other day how I was doing these days, noting I'd been quiet here online. Yes, it's true and replied that I didn't have much to say at present, not publicly anyway. Even as I keep one eye on the world events going on around us, one thing that occupies my time and imagination is a writing project—that slow as molasses memoir I started some years ago and work away at it when I get inspired. I took it out to work on during November.

Sad to say that something like wolverines must have gotten into my files when I wasn't looking, for what had been, I was certain, well organized notes and proper first drafts back when I stopped working on it were now in some unholy mess. Surely I hadn't left it in that condition back then! It took me days to sort everything out again, getting familiar with the working table of contents, deleting all the duplicate material found in various documents—oi vey—how many times did I start that same chapter? Eventually I got it all sorted and organized..... and now we're down to some actual writing. Progress is slow but moving onward. Sometimes I'm inspired and other times, well I carry on, for my writing buddy reminds me of something author Nora Roberts is attributed to saying, "I can fix a bad page. I can't fix a blank page."

* * *

In the midst of that, with the garden now wrapped in its winter thermals, Rick has turned his attention indoors and has been painting our living/dining room. We've had a cheerful yellow for years and have always loved the colour. But we've purchased a gorgeous new painting to celebrate our upcoming wedding anniversary, and it requires a fresh new background. Moss green was our choice for this wall in our dining room area. The painting is by Edmonton artist Robert Lemay. We love his work and are excited for the day our painting is delivered and hanging in its new home. We'll be sure to share pictures. In the meantime, here is a peek at what we are working on:





Feature wall in Moss Green with Queen Anne's Lace White
for the rest of the walls



Hydrangeas by Robert Lemay (4' x 6')
photo from gallery website


* * *

I pulled out my Mary Oliver poetry this week because someone I follow on Twitter, John Blase, suggested reading her work and to do so "while listening to Ava Maria as the sun also rises slowly and ever so surely". His words felt like a breath of fresh air, and so I took him up on his recommendation. Here are links to the Bach/Gounod Ava Maria version (voice) and the Schubert Ava Maria (violin), should you wish to take your own moment of slowly b.r.e.a.t.h.i.n.g in something fresh and lovely on a Friday morning. And if you don't have any Mary Oliver, read what makes you come alive. 

Something else I'm very much enjoying for my bedtime reading is Patrick Taylor's novel An Irish Country Christmas. It's still some weeks before Christmas in the wonderful, slightly looney community of Ballybucklebo, so the novel's timing fits rather well in our real time as our own build up begins. I can't help thinking of James Herriot's crowd on All Creatures Great and Small. And for some reason actor Christopher Timothy, who played Herriot in the original series, springs to mind when young Doctor Barry Laverty, family doctor not veterinarian, tends his patients alongside his flamboyant senior partner, Doctor Fingal Flahertie O'Reilly. Together, the two good doctors encounter country folk who entertain, irritate, and cause them, and us the readers, to appreciate them for their quirky, beautiful humanness. It's one of my favourite stories, among several, to read at this time of year. 


" Maybe the desire to make
something beautiful
is the piece of God that is inside each of us. "
MARY OLIVER, Devotions
  

* * *

Wishing you a beautiful weekend. Stay safe.

Heart Hugs,
Brenda
xox





Tuesday, November 03, 2020

The Simple Woman's Daybook: November Edition



"...let there be light, let there be beauty..."
AS SEEN ON FACEBOOK


American naturalist and author Hal Borland once said, "People seldom think of November in terms of beauty or any other specially satisfying tribute. November is simply that interval between colorful (October) and dark December." And yes, compared to September and October's riotous beauty, November certainly appears dull in her muted grey and brown wardrobe. But then we get weather like we are having this week—warm as late summer with sunrises so rich and vibrant it rivals any autumn flurry. Grey, cold days will come, of that we can be certain, but for today I'm reveling in this reprieve. And marveling at the play of light with shadow. Watching the sunset come earlier in the evening. No matter what else is going on in the world around us this week—and there's a lot—I'm letting these moments dance and play in my mind's eye.

It's been a delight to weave a few thoughts together for the November edition of The Simple Woman's Daybook. I hope they create a pleasant interlude before you get on with your day.





FOR TODAY



In November, the trees are standing all sticks and bones.
Without their leaves, how lovely they are, spreading their arms
like dancers. They know it is time to be still.
CYNTHIA RYLANT


Outside my window...
The snow melted and we're back to autumn this week. With mild, sunny
temperatures, it is such a joy to go for my walks. The sunrises have been spectacular.


I am thinking...
about the name of this blog "It's A Beautiful Life".... because the truth is, we all know
life is not always beautiful. Sometimes there is downright ugly, horrible stuff
that assaults our minds and bodies on every front. Yet, in the midst, there is still so much in
life that remains beautiful. And that is what I try to focus on. Not only do I look for
the beauty in the world around me, but I look for what's good and beautiful in people.
One day I might update (or not) the name of my blog, because for all the ugly that happens,
"It's Still A Beautiful Life". 


I am thankful...
For these lines I recently found by Eric Liddell, a Scottish man
made famous through the 1981 movie Chariots of Fire.
"Circumstances may appear to wreck our lives and God's plans,
but God is not helpless among the ruins."
These words give me courage today. 


One of my favourite (happy) things...
is watching the Twitter feed of a dapper doggie named Bertie.
His human dad tells us that Bertie is a very happy Lakeland Terrier
who lives in Cheltenham (UK). He loves everybody and he tries everyday
to be a good boy but it doesn't always quite work out. 
He loves to run and lives life to the full.
He charms his followers with his exuberance.
Bertie always makes my day, and now Rick always asks,
so what's Bertie up to today?
His Twitter tag is @bertie_lakeland 


I am wearing...
black pants, long-sleeved tee-shirt, warm socks, and a dab of lipstick.
Yes, I still wear lipstick even when I wear a mask to do errands and shopping.


I am creating...
space in my day to write, read, listen to music, go for a walk, be quiet, listen, pray.


 I am watching...



I am reading...
One of my recent Value Village book finds
Words I Wish I Wrote by Robert Fulghum. He writes:

"In traditional Japanese houses, the walls are not cluttered with
bric-a-brac or paintings, because the Japanese think the art becomes
wallpaper after a while—unseen except as background. There is a
single place set aside on a single wall for a single work of art that is changed
from time to time according to the seasons. It's called a tokonoma. By placing
something of beauty in the tokonoma, the art gets noticed and
appreciated—purposely attended to. ..."

What a lovely way to keep the treasures in our home fresh and alive to our senses.

 
I am listening to...
my doctor's advice to get in at least 150 minutes of
exercise a week. I like to walk but injured my knee some time ago. I'm
slowly getting back to it. For now it's once around the block twice a day.
It's been lovely to watch how the season has been changing day by day.
And my knee is getting better.


I was hoping...
there would be left over Hallowe'en treats after the kids came on the weekend.
I was especially hoping to find extra Cheetos Crunchy Cheesies. Alas,
they were popular amongst the kiddies, so there weren't any left. No matter,
I admit I had sampled them earlier in the week (wink). They were my little
treat as I watched Poirot movies in the afternoon.
 

I have been learning...
to barber my husband's hair in these Covid days. He didn't want to go
to the barber, so I invested in a hair clipper and shears, and watched 
dozens of YouTube videos on cutting men's hair. He hasn't fired
me yet. But I have begun to wonder why he wears his hat so often.
 


In the kitchen...
Rick made a gorgeous Greek Salad for supper last evening,
using the Joy of Cooking recipes for the salad and dressing.

Greek Salad
1. Rub a salad bowl with garlic.
2. Add lettuce or spinach leaves,
chopped, pitted ripe olives,
sliced radishes,
sliced hard-cooked eggs,
shredded Swiss cheese,
bits of sautéed bacon.
3. Add sliced cucumbers,
cubes of feta cheese, and
a sprinkling of oregano
4. Toss salad with....

French Dressing
In a jar, add:
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup red wine vinegar or lemon juice
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Put lid on, shake until ingredients are blended.
Then, gradually add
3/4 cup olive oil
shaking between additions.
Shake well before using.

 


In the garden...
The peony leaves turned purple after the frost. I have never noticed
that happening before—perhaps I never paid proper attention. I'm loving
this unexpected glimpse of nature's fading beauty.


A favourite link...
To visit is Lorrie's beautiful blog Fabric Paper Thread. It took a long
time for the two of us to discover when we met online, that years earlier our paths
had crossed in real life. She recognized the college dorm when I posted a photo once.
It turned out we both attended the same college at the same time—we were
in different years—our rooms were located on the same floor in Whittaker Hall.
We both dug out our yearbooks and racked our brains to see if we remembered each other.
How's that for that old saying "what a small world!"
I'm so glad our paths crossed again.



A moment from my day... (photo of dailyness)
Photos from my walk at sunset around 4:45 yesterday afternoon.
I hardly minded such an early dusk when I could watch the sun playing
in the treetops and reflecting in the empty lake. 
It caught my breath!

 

Closing notes...
"...the full November twilight had fallen around Green Gables,
and the only light in the kitchen came from the dancing
red flames in the stove. Anne was...gazing into that joyous
flow where the sunshine of a hundred summers was being 
distilled from the maple cordwood."
L.M. MONTGOMERY

* * *

Yes, Virginia, it's still a beautiful life...
From the deep region of my heart, I am wishing you a safe and cozy November.

Heart Hugs,
Brenda
💓



Photo credits for:
(Top) Image by pasja1000 from Pixabay
(Olive jar) Image by ArtTower from Pixabay




Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Celebrating Small Moments



" Some moments are nice, some are nicer,
some are even worth writing about. "
CHARLES BUKOWSKI, War All the Time


Hot buttered raisin toast with a freshly brewed cup of coffee—it is one of my favourite things to eat. We don't have raisin bread very often, so it's a real treat. Maybe that's why it stays such a perfect flavour combo in my mind's eye, or rather, in the memory of my tastebuds.

The memory of raisins in our bread goes back to my childhood when my mom used to make raisin bread and raisin buns. Oh my! Leavened white bread with raisins mixed into the dough, sometimes cinnamon and sugar swirled in before baking. And how I loved to pull the odd plump raisin from the freshly baked bun and savour its sweetness. 

Why am I talking about raisin bread... perhaps because I don't know what else to chat about this morning. And, maybe because in a world where turmoil seems to be everywhere around us, I want to celebrate those small moments that, to use the words of Canadian author Douglas Coupland, "have just a bit more resonance than other moments". I want to express gratitude for these gentle gifts that "stick in our mind" and "pull us out of ourselves", if only to remind us life is still amazingly filled with sweet and good things, even in the midst of the weird stuff.

So, here's to raisin toast and our favourite hot beverage on a Wednesday morning.
From my happy place to yours, I'm wishing you a beautiful day!

* * *

Heart hugs,
Brenda
xox


 Top: Image by Congerdesign from Pixabay




Friday, October 23, 2020

Five on Friday: Cozy Up Dark Corners



" In the right light, at the right time,
everything is extraordinary. "
AARON ROSE


We have had a taste of winter here this week. Not only have we had the killing frosts that render any plant into compost fodder, but we have had snow. Although nothing to speak of, it did not melt away as it sometimes does this early in the season. So while some folks are still happily chasing autumn colours, we're staring through leafless branches into sullen skies of grey and powdery rooftops.

I don't mind at all. It means that we can turn on cozy lamps that peek through windows, scatter twinkle lights, and light some cheery candles to brighten shadowy corners. As we in the Northern Hemisphere begin the ritual of switching on our lights earlier and earlier, I hope you will enjoy this wee collection of candle and light sayings. I especially got a giggle from the one directly below....


 


" I wanted to buy a candle holder, but the store
didn't have one. So I got a cake. "
MITCH HEDBERG




" People are like stained-glass windows.
They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when
the darkness sets in their true beauty is revealed
only if there is light from within. "
ELISABETH KÜBLER-ROSS




" There’s a sorrow and pain in everyone’s life,
but every now and then there’s a ray of light that melts
the loneliness in your heart and brings comfort
like hot soup and a soft bed. "
HUBERT SELBY JR.




" Know that when you live joyfully,
you radiate your light into the world. "
JONATHAN LOCKWOOD HUIE




" As we let our light shine, we unconsciously give
other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated
from our own fear, our presence actually liberates others. "
MARIANNE WILLIAMSON
 
    
* * *

Wishing you a pleasant weekend. Keep safe.

Heart Hugs,
Brenda
xox


All photos are courtesy of Pixabay




Sunday, October 18, 2020

Sunday Afternoon Reveries....



" O autumn! O teakettle! O grace! ”
RAINBOW ROWELL, Attachments


Although I started this post yesterday morning, it's late Sunday afternoon as I finish up. The weather has turned cold, and we have seen frost and a touch of snow on the pumpkins as the weekend winds up. I know I'm a bit of an oddball, but for me as soon as the weather turns cool, that's the time I really enjoy going out for my walks. Summertime is lovely, of course, but I have come to realize that autumn being my favourite time of year in so many ways, this also includes taking walks out in it. And it's not just for the vivid colours and earthy smells, but for the cold, crisp air itself. I am elated to feel that briskness brushing against my face, giving me a reason to hunker into my jacket with hands jammed into pockets, pulling my hat a little closer to my ears. I love it!

Out for my walk in the crisp morning air, a single pair of ducks paddled on the storm pond—they seemed a little forlorn, the only water birds still around that I could see. Or maybe they thought, Look, Henry, we finally have the place to ourselves. And, as I came up our driveway, it didn't take more than a glance to see that the garden had, indeed, succumbed to Jack Frost's chilling work. The geraniums, still bright pink, stood in freeze-dried state and a frost-brittle branch snapped off when I touched one blossom.

Returning to the warmth of the house, eyeglasses all steamed, I thought to myself, what a splendid day to settle in with my words and storybooks, not to mention cups of tea and little biscuits layered in dark chocolate. Today my thoughts are languid—unhurried—much like the rambly unfolding of this simple post. A bit of this and that, musings wandering in and out.....

I'm slowly working my way through A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. I tend to read two or three chapters at a time and then balance its dark times by revisiting one of Jan Karon's gentle novels in her Mitford series. I poke around in Strunk and White's The Elements of Style, trying to fill in the blank spots that still trouble me on the grammar/punctuations front. You'd think after all these years, things would finally sink in. Like so many other thoughts, they, too, meander in and out.




" Pumpkin Pie is golden brown and rich as an old gold coin.
Its smell is autumn made manifest. "
HAL BORLAND


A few days ago, we invited our dear friends J & V in to celebrate V's birthday with pumpkin pie and Monk's Blend tea. No, I didn't make the pie; we popped into the local French-style Duchess Bakery for something special. I set place settings on either end of the dining table, Covid-style. In spite of the physical distance, our visit was sweet, and the pie, oh my! was delicious.




" Arranging a bowl of flowers in the morning can give a sense
of quiet in a crowded day - like writing a poem or saying a prayer. "
ANNE MORROW LINDBERGH, Gift from the Sea




The day before temperatures dropped below freezing overnight, I went round the garden to gather a few last blossoms. It was my time to say au revoir and offer a heart-felt thank you for all the joy and delight we had been given this past summer.




"Open afresh your round of starry folds,
Ye ardent marigolds!
JOHN KEATS




I gather meaningful sayings the same way I gather flowers from a garden. Soon one quote and then another creates a cluster around a certain theme that often complement each other. Three came to me recently and I find that they mingle nicely together. The one below is from Louisa May Alcott's Hospital Sketches from the Civil War. In this slim volume, Miss Alcott describes her experiences, including the conditions that were appalling for both staff and patients. Although her volunteer nursing days were cut short when she got quite ill with typhoid pneumonia, she  never regretted signing up. I think these lines from the book sum up her thoughts and certainly her outlook. I felt certain you would appreciate their sentiment just as I have done—her words certainly have given me food for thought on several aspects.


" As no two persons see the same thing with the same eyes,
my view of hospital life must be taken through my glass, and held
for what it is worth. Certainly, nothing was set down in malice, and to the
serious-minded party who objected to a tone of levity in some portions
of the Sketches, I can only say that it is a part of my religion to look well
after the cheerfulnesses of life, and let the dismals shift for themselves,
believing, with good Sir Thomas More, that it is wise to 'be merrie in God'. "
LOUISA MAY ALCOTT




“ Don't wish me happiness
I don't expect to be happy all the time...
It's gotten beyond that somehow.
Wish me courage and strength and a sense of humor.
I will need them all. ”
ANNE MORROW LINDBERGH, Gift from the Sea


This quotation by Anne Morrow Lindbergh also seems appropriate advice for these times. Even though my own days are quiet, pleasant and simple, and I am reasonably happy and content, yet still, there are days when I'm so reminded that the world is under such great strain generally, how can one be blissfully happy when so many others are in pain and distress. So maybe Ms. Lindbergh's words are helpful in reminding us that we don't need to jolly ourselves to be happy all the time. But in these times we can wish for courage and strength and a sense of humour, for indeed we need them all. For me, if I can keep my humour and always look for the beauty in the midst, that goes a long way to lifting my soul when it flags and grows weary.




"I wish it need not have happened in my time," said Frodo.
"So do I," said Galdalf, "and so do all who live to see such
times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide
is what to do with the time that is given us."
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

 
Oh yes, I have certainly wished for things to not have happened to me or in my time. Maybe you have as well. At least we're not alone in that feeling. That is a comfort at least. But we do have to decide what to do with the time that is given us. Dear Lord, help us to love You, to love each another, to be kind and gracious even on days when it's not easy, to speak truth in love always.... To decide to look for the cheerfulnesses of life as Louisa May Alcott did in her generation, to face our world with courage and fight to keep our humour 'in the midst' as Anne Morrow Lindbergh did in hers. Let us not be found wanting. Maybe one day someone will read about us and how we faced our challenges with courage and cheerfulness and grace.... it makes me lift my head and pull my shoulders back. Yes, we can do this.


* * *

Wishing you a beautiful week ahead.

From my heart,
Brenda
xox



Top Photo (teapot): Image by Sergey Norkov from Unsplash
Bottom Photo (candles): Image by RD LH from Pixabay
All other photos are mine

 

Saturday, October 10, 2020

Garden Goodbyes and Frost Warnings



" The human soul is slow to discover the real excellence
of things given to us by a bountiful Creator, and not until the
shadows of death begin to gather around the object that we love,
do we see its worth and beauty. Autumn is the dim shadow that clusters
about the sweet, precious things that God has created in the realm
of nature. While it robs them of life, it tears away the veil and reveals
the golden gem of beauty and sweetness. Beauty lurks in all the dim
old aisles of nature, and we discover it at last. "
NORTHERN ADVOCATE



With tenterhooks we watch as October relentlessly heads towards shorter and colder days. You see, we haven't had any frost to speak of and we are always grateful for one more frost-free day in the autumn. But the day of reckoning eventually comes—the weatherman forewarns that night temperatures will go below freezing next week. 

My guy and I plan to spend the day getting the storage area in the garage ready to haul in the pots, bring in the Peace Rose, and tidy up a few things. I tried putting one pot away yesterday (photo directly below), but its flowers were still blooming. I ask you, how is a person to look at them in the eye and unceremoniously dump into the compost before their time is done? So we wait another day.

With a last look 'round the garden before it succumbs to Jack Frost's dubious ministrations, I offer my farewell and thanks—it's been so beautiful this summer.🧡





Hydrangea photo taken yesterday


Same hydrangea today - must have been a bit cool in the night




Polish Spirit Clematis on trellis



" In the entire circle of the year there are no days so delightful
as those of a fine October, when the trees are bare to the mild
heavens, and the red leaves bestrew the road, and you can
feel the breath of winter morning and evening—no days so calm,
so tenderly solemn, and with such a reverent meekness in the air.
ALEXANDER SMITH, "An Essay on an Old Subject"
 
























" The time of the falling leaves has come again. Once more in our morning
walk we tread upon carpets of gold and crimson, of brown and bronze, woven
by the winds or the rains out of these delicate textures while we slept.

How beautifully the leaves grow old! How full of light and color are their last days!
There are exceptions, of course. The leaves of most of the fruit-trees fade and wither
and fall ingloriously. They bequeath their heritage of color to their fruit. Upon it they
lavish the hues which other trees lavish upon their leaves....

But in October what a feast to the eye our woods and groves present!
The whole body of the air seems enriched by their calm, slow radiance.
They are giving back the light they have been absorbing from the sun all summer. "
JOHN BURROUGHS, "The Falling Leaves", Under the Maples


* * *

Wishing you a beautiful weekend.
Happy Thanksgiving, fellow Canadians. Stay safe.

Heart Hugs,
Brenda
xox




Monday, October 05, 2020

The Simple Woman's Daybook: October Edition



" Even if something is left undone, everyone must
take time to sit still and watch the leaves turn. "
ELIZABETH LAWRENCE


Autumn is a time of year that 'fills my well' and gives me so much to muse about. Activities that feed my soul are usually simple and soothing as well as nourishing. Going for a walk at dusk, kicking my feet in the fallen leaves, and watching the ducks fly overhead into the sunset.... it's moments like these that make me oh so glad! to be alive.

I find working on the prompts set out by Peggy from The Simple Woman's Daybook puts me in touch with the simple things going on around me. Usually nothing fancy or newsworthy, in the grand sense, but these are the things that become daily bread for the soul. I find myself on the lookout for these ordinary glimpses when I read the writings of other bloggers. I hunger to know the details—the little life secrets—of what makes life meaningful and beautiful for you. It is what I look for when I happen to re-read old journals of mine too. Sharing my little findings with you gives me joy. And it is always my sincere wish that something I offer will have made your visit here worth while.

So.... it's the first Monday of the month and time for October's edition of The Simple Woman's Daybook. I hope October will be good to you. We have Canadian Thanksgiving coming up this weekend. Alas, no big family events planned, but hopefully a bit of turkey and stuffing and pumpkin pie will add some festive feeling to mark the occasion. For, indeed, we are thankful for all blessings and gifts that come our way.




For Today
" October gave a party:
The leaves by hundreds came
The Chestnuts, Oaks, and Maples,
And leaves of every name.
The Sunshine spread a carpet
And everything was grand,
Miss Weather led the dancing
Professor Wind, the band ... "
GEORGE COOPER




Outside my window...
Although Autumn still dazzles in spots with brilliant colour,
in our corner it is already on the waning side—many trees stand
 barren as gullies and lawns deepen in curling leaves. 

My window is open a crack and autumn's peculiar scent wafts in—
that mix of wood smoke, cool air, earth, and dead leaves.


I am thinking... 
When I was a girl, I disliked the forlorn, barren look of late autumn.
Trees void of leaves left me feeling unsettled. I did not like the emptiness,
the starkness. It was a far cry from the snug, cozy, homey feeling I loved.
'Twould be many a year before I'd come to truly appreciate the
clean open space of empty branches stretched against a grey sky. 


I am thankful...
for deep breaths and the ability to delight in the natural world around me.
Like Anne of Green Gables, I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers. 




One of my favourite things... 
Going out with my guy for a drive in the countryside
and then stopping somewhere for a picnic lunch.

" A picnic is a state of mind
and can be made anywhere. "
SUSAN BRANCH




I am wearing...
black jeans, black long-sleeved tee-shirt, a red and black plaid vest.
In this photo, I'm posing along the main street of the village that was
central to our family life growing up on the farm.


I am creating...
I'm itching to write and ideas dance inside my head, much like
fluttering leaves dance down the street on a breeze. I mutter to myself
thinking about this word and that one, as sentences take shape on paper on
my computer screen. As the daylight hours shorten and time in the
garden draws to a close, I find myself drawing nearer to my desk,
my books, and pen keyboard.


I am watching...
the sparrows having a grand splish-splash bath in the luncheon plate size
clay pot tray on our deck. Had to fill it up three or four times
because they were so exuberant in their ablutions.




I am reading...
Bella Grace,  a 160-page magazine deliciously filled with
lovely articles, quotables, photography.

" An ordinary life can be extraordinary;
there is beauty in imperfection and that magic
can be found in the every day."
THE EDITORS 


I am listening to...
Harvest Moon (Neil Young) as sung by Lord Huron,
since we enjoyed a harvest moon earlier this week. The song is a favourite. 



I am hoping...
to finish reading the insightful little volume I recently found by
Louisa May Alcott Hospital Sketches from the Civil War. She volunteered
as a nurse around 1862 and recorded her experiences in letters
she wrote home. I appreciate hearing more about this well-known author's
personal encounters during this tumultuous time. Little Women
was published eight years later.


I am learning...
restraint in offering my vociferous opinion on every topic at hand,
especially the ones that make me hopping mad or upset.

Using my tongue to speak generous words of comfort,
praise, and affirmation is a much better way. I don't have to ask
God for forgiveness so often (wink).    



In the kitchen...
Our next door neighbour dropped off fresh plums
from their tree. They are so sweet and juicy.
Don't you just love that plummy colour? 




In the garden...
We've had no killing frost yet (fingers crossed) so many plants are still blooming,
including this climbing rose. 


A favourite link... 
is the blog handmade by amalia. She's creative
with fabric and yarn as well as words in poetry. And
she always knows how to tickle the fancy of the child within.


A favourite quote...
Like the trees that are dropping leaves, this is a time
for each of us to gently release anything that has become
a burden…trusting that it is this letting go that
will eventually lead to the new growth we seek. "
ANNETTE CHILDS, Ph.D.



A moment from my day...
When out for my walk last night just as the sun was doing its theatrics,
I caught glimpse of its reflection in the neighbour's window.
That's some artist!


Closing notes...
Take no thought for tomorrow: for tomorrow shall
take care of itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
GOSPEL OF MATTHEW

Grace and mercy are freshly minted every morning for us— 
I plan not to waste today's energy on tomorrow's business.
As they say, sufficient for the day.

* * *


Wishing you a beautiful day. Stay safe. 

Heart Hugs,
Brenda
xox