Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Small Treats And Doing Something Normal In Covid



" One of the secrets of a happy life is continuous
small treats, and if some of these can be inexpensive
and quickly procured so much the better. "
IRIS MURDOCH, The Sea, The Sea



I haven't gone shopping 'just for fun' since March. It's been only for essentials and basics, so you can imagine what a real treat it was when, after picking up a book on hold at the library, I turned the car towards the Value Village before coming home. Although mainly interested in the book section, I followed the arrows up and down the other aisles along the way, browsing in case something else caught my eye. And there was! A lime green vase and a ceramic fruit bowl, plus I also found a small French-made frying pan in excellent condition, which for $5.99, plus a 30% discount, made it a bargain not to be left behind.




I came home and I was so excited, I had to phone my sister, who kindly indulged me by letting me chatter on about the books and other treats I found. The best treat, though, was to just be out doing something ordinary on a beautiful sunny day with a hint of crisp apple in the air.  It felt almost normal, even with the masks. 




" By small treats, I mean ordinary, minor indulgences that 
we don't give ourselves every single day. Small treats are a lovely
source of momentary pleasure in our everyday lives, of course,
and I think they also have a deeper role to play in happiness. "
GRETCHEN RUBIN
from GH online article 'Spoil Yourself', Aug 2012  


Well known author Gretchen Rubin once asked the question in an online article, why do small treats matter? She said when we feel depleted and drained, when we start to feel exhausted, resentful, even angry, indulging in a small treat helps refresh and energize us. I think we all find that to be true. My thirty minute snoop through the thrift store was such a treat. It boosted my creative energy just to be around other people, just to hear their chatter, just to share the small—or great—pleasure of snooping through a thrift store on the hunt for a treasure. Even if we had to social distance and wear masks, it gave me a sense of being wildly alive in my world again.  




Everything I bought was a bargain. I didn't notice until I got home that the amiable young lady at the checkout gave me a 30% seniors discount--woohoo--which truly made it bargain city indeed. Of course there is the downside, I mean, she didn't ask if I was a senior, she just gave it to me. It had to have been my eyebrows, which to my chagrin, are turning grey on me. I'd forgotten to give them a colouration before I went out. And, what with wearing my mask, all anyone sees of our faces now are the eyes and those grey straggles in my eye brows standing out. Yes, that must have been it (wink). On second thought, who cares, eh?

As the young woman cashed out my items, the pair of us had a lovely chat about the books, she looked at the Elie Wiesel book Night and remembered reading it in school and that it was a great book, even if it was a hard story about the author's experience being with his father in the Nazi German concentration camps at Auschwitz and Buchenwald. We both agreed we should read some of these hard stories, to be witnesses to them, even if they are hard; after all, we are only hearing the story, not living through it like they had.

That tiny exchange left its mark in my mind, on my day. It was all part of the treat of a spontaneous visit to the thrift store.




On that note,  I'm off to read some books, snip a fresh fistful of sweet peas for my new vase, maybe make an omelet in that new-to-me frying pan. I'm wishing you a beautiful day....and I hope you have at least one treat to mark the day.

* * *

Heart Hugs,
Brenda
xox 


Friday, August 21, 2020

The Garden In August And Our Giveaway Winners



" It isn't the big pleasures that count the most;
it's making a big deal out of the little ones. "
JEAN WEBSTER, 1876-1916


We have been taking Jean Webster's advice to heart, and we have been making a big deal out of creating little posies from the garden. Sprigs of sweet peas in tiny vases are scattered around the house, for instance, and this cool container with its three pink blooms sits on our outdoor table. I do love the pink against the lime green. The container reminds me of my newly-married niece, Chiante. You see, it really belongs to her; she had to leave it behind last Christmas as she couldn't stuff one more thing into her carry on bag when she flew home after the holiday. Posting a picture of it here, she'll see that I'm taking good care of it. 

August has been just so beautiful this summer. We have enjoyed warm, sunny days with a sprinkling of cloudy, rainy ones. In my particular neck of the woods, we have not experienced any of the horrid weather some places have had, including those dog days of summer with that insane heat and dragging humidity.

Dog days are rare for us in our northerly climate, but this week we had what we call hot weather—yikes, it even climbed one day as high as 32°C, that's 89°F for you dear American friends. To us, that's hot, and I can't even imagine when people say they are experiencing 100°F and beyond. Fortunately for us, it rarely lasts more than a few days, and you can bet we sigh with relief when it drops back to our more comfortable mid-20° Celsius normal range (70° Fahrenheit). 

The garden continues to surprise us with fragrance and showy blossoms. And we are taking especial delight in our late bloomers, like the Echinacea, Rudbeckia, and Joe Pye Weed—I certainly would have given this spectacular plant a better name. These perennials first come into their own in mid-August around here, and they'll sweep us into the autumn season, blooming till freeze up, which we hope is a long way off.

I have pictures, but first, let's announce our three Giveaway Winners....
  


THREE WINNERS!

Thank you to everyone who took the time to enter our giveaway for three $20 Amazon online gift cards, celebrating It's A Beautiful Life's 12th blogging anniversary. Your kind and lovely comments here and on Facebook were a real treat to read—gifts to my heart—and I thank you for each one. And now, without further ado, I'm delighted to announce our winners:


FlowerLady Lorraine


Madame La-Bas


Diane at Lavender Dreamer



Congratulations, Ladies! Please contact me (my email link is in the blog sidebar) within the next 24 hours with your email, so that I can send along your e-gift card to you. Thank you for celebrating with me.
 


FROM THE GARDEN THIS WEEK

" A late summer garden has a tranquility found
no other time of the year. "
WILLIAM F. LONGGOOD



Hansa Rose


 

Peace Rose 



'Bella Anna' Hydrangea




" Everything on earth has its own time and its own season. "
ECCLESIASTES 3:1

We love to sit in this cozy nook in front of the bay window. The tall yellow Rudbeckia is one of my favourite late blooming perennials. Late bloomers in the garden have a special place in my heart, and you can read why in a guest post I wrote last September HERE.



Yarrow and Echinacea
 
I do like our little patch of Echinacea, especially those variegated ones. The bees are loving the pin cushion centres.



Pink Echinacea



Joe Pye Weed



Joe Pye Weed by the garage

The Joe Pye Weed perennial, after being buried in a mile of snow over winter, grows every spring from the ground up. Taking all season to mature, it then bursts into pink blooms in August. I'm amazed every single year when it gets 'as high as an elephant's eye' and grazes the overhang on the garage. It obviously likes where it lives. 



Sweet Peas make people happy

As you know, giving gifts from one's garden creates a special connection between friends and neighbours. We don't grow vegetables (well, we have a tomato plant), but we love to share roses and peonies and sweet peas with our neighbours and friends. The other day, there were enough sweet peas on the vines to cut two large jars of blossoms to give away. Our neighbour across the street was thrilled when I rang the doorbell, leaving the jar at the door. He said the scent reminded him of his childhood, when his dad used to grow sweet peas along the side of their house. 



Purple Monkshood


OTHER AUGUST GIFTS




A knock on the door and in walks my girlfriend, Jean, holding a huge bundle of pink and white roses. To celebrate your 12th blogging anniversary, she says. Awwww - my heart is tickled. There are roses everywhere. Like in the movies. WHAT A RED LETTER DAY! Or maybe it's a PINK AND WHITE letter day.




" A rose is a rose is a rose. "
GERTRUDE STEIN




" When the sun is setting, leave whatever
you are doing and watch it. "
MEHMET MURAT ILDAN


I almost missed this spectacular sunset the other evening. The sun was drawing its curtain on the day, and I was on the deck reading. A glance upward told me something was going on. I had the presence of mind to walk to the end of the deck to peek around our mountain ash, past the neighbour's roof. It was as if the sky was on fire. Oh my! Moments later, only dark clouds remained. Sunsets wait for no one—be in tune with its timing, or miss it altogether.
 


" Don’t forget: Beautiful sunsets need cloudy skies…"
PAULO COELHO


* * *

Enough for one day. On that note, I'm wishing you a beautiful weekend.
Keep safe, dear friends.

Heart Hugs,
Brenda
xox



Monday, August 17, 2020

A Dozen Years Later And A Giveaway



" Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like
wrapping a present and not giving it. "
WILLIAM ARTHUR WARD 


Today is the twelve anniversary of It's A Beautiful Life. As I am wont to say, where as the time flown? Writing on this blog, I think, has been one of the longest ventures I've ever undertaken and stayed faithful to. And it's been one of the most joyful. Of course, it has had its ebb and flow over the past dozen years, times when I wrote more, times when I wrote less. But the longer I blog, the more I realize this is my place to write, whether regularly or irregularly. Here is where I am 'at home'. Although I may write a book one day (I have a couple on the go), writing posts and chatting with you right here every week is my sweet spot. It's so much like writing letters from home—something I loved doing long before e-mail and the internet—and watching for glimpses of heaven in unexpected places and then sharing those moments with you, well, that really makes my heart happy. It's like icing on the cake.

Two years ago, on the tenth anniversary, I had the dream to create an anniversary edition magazine, and I even had a giveaway for a copy of it. Susan, I'm sorry you're still waiting for that magazine. Going through an archive of over a thousand posts looking for my favourite or best posts became larger than I had heart for at the time. But who knows—optimist that I am—I might little by little still get an issue completed. I won't promise anything so ambitious for 'A Dozen Years' anniversary. But, since you're here, let me at least offer you a cup of tea and a slice of chocolate mousse layer cake with raspberry filling and chocolate Ganache over top. Sorry, you'll have to image that delectable wonder...




" Piglet noticed that even though he had a very small heart,
it could hold a rather large amount of gratitude. "
A. A. MILNE

It's been especially meaningful during these pandemic times to come here and find your 'footprints' in the comment box below. I have come to appreciate all over again, just what a beautiful online community we have in Blogland. Writing here has helped me to stay connected to people from around the world. It has made such a difference to feel a sense of community and not feel isolated 'within my four walls' these past months. So many of you have left kind and lovely comments just at a time—not only now but over the years—when I especially needed a boost to keep writing. So....thank you, thank you, thank you!


" If you really are thankful,
what do you do? You share. "
W. CLEMENT STONE

* * *

I think we should celebrate with a Giveaway. To make it easy and simple, let's do
Three $20-Amazon online gift cards.

Guidelines for Draw:

1. Leave a comment either on this post, or on the Facebook link to this post.
2. The draw for three winners will be this Friday, August 21st, at 9:00 am MDT.
3. I'll do the announcement right afterwards, right here.
3. If I don't hear from a chosen winner within 24 hours, I will do the draw again. 

--Draw is now closed--

* * *

If you are interested, HERE is the first post that started it all.


Wishing you a beautiful day.

Heart Hugs,
Brenda
xox



Photo credits:
Top: Image by congerdesign from Pixabay
Bottom: Image by Oberholster Venita from Pixabay





Wednesday, August 12, 2020

A Swish Of A Tale And Four Marmalades

Orange Kitten, 2009


" A kitten is, in the animal world,
what a rosebud is in the garden. "
ROBERT SOWTHEY


First, there was Orange Kitten back in 2009. She was our neighbour's kitty three doors down. We eventually learned her real name was Squirt, but she was always Orange Kitten to us. Orange Kitten loved to visit; she'd climb our trees, snooze on our deck chairs, and play in the flowers. She was so sweet and cute that we loved her instantly. Eventually she and her family moved away, but I have never forgotten her. I still love to see her playing in the liatris on the video below.






Then, some years later, we met another orange cat, a marmalade, as they are sometimes known. It was a couple of summers before we finally learned where she lived and that her name was Ziggy. She tended to visit only in the summertime and used to come into the garden where she'd look for Rick, who was most often working in the yard.


Miss Ziggy comes to visit

" Cats leave paw prints in your heart,
forever and always. "
UNKNOWN


Ziggy is gentle and has the softest meow. She'll tap you on the arm when she wants to be petted. She is also highly entertained by the family of mice we know live under the neighbour's garden shed behind us. All that fallen bird seed, of course; they must think they live in paradise with all that free food. So with tail a-swishing, there's a chase under the shrubs and around through the plants. Miss Ziggy is one well fed cat so we don't think she bothers to actually catch them—thankfully, we've never seen telltale signs—but of course, there's the fun of the chase.

It all adds to our own amusement as we relax on the deck. She did give the resident squirrel a fright one year. We always tell him he's a silly lad to let his tail hang below the feeder, because in fact, one day, I think it was Ziggy who did a flying leap to try and catch that tail. Fortunately for Mr. Squirrel, he was fleet of foot and escaped by a hair. And now, Ziggy is too portly to do such acrobatics and flying leaps into the air. Still, we warn Mr. S to keep a tight rein on his tail if he knows what's good for him.


Jock VI, photo by Rick, 2016


"Only one thing lack these banks of green —
The Pussy Cat who is their Queen."
SIR WINSTON CHURCHILL


Then we took a trip to England in 2016 and that's where we met Jock VI when we visited Chartwell, the home of Sir Winston Churchill and his family. There's a whole story about Jock. For Sir Winston's 88th birthday in 1962, Sir John Colville gave him a ginger cat with a white chest and paws. Named Jock, the cat became a favourite, often found on Churchill's knee. Churchill even took Jock to his London home at Hyde Park Gate when he traveled there from Chartwell.


Jock VI, photo from Chartwell Facebook page

When the National Trust opened Chartwell to the public in 1966, Churchill's family requested that there always be in comfortable residence a marmalade cat named Jock, with a white bib and white socks—in honour of the first Jock, who outlived his master by nine years.

And so the day came when we arrived at Churchill's old residence to find Jock VI wandering like a free spirit around the gardens. He looked a lovely cat, but stayed well away from the many visitors and their feet, who were also wandering the grounds that day.

We recently learned on Twitter that Jock VI had been growing blind and was finding life at Chartwell difficult. He recently retired from his official post as the marmalade cat in residence and now lives out his life comfortably elsewhere. Which meant the search was on for a new Jock.


Jock VII, photo from Chartwell Facebook page


" It is impossible to keep a straight face in the
presence of one or more kittens. "
CYNTHIA E. VARNADO


A six month old rescue kitten is now being trained to take old Jock's place. Previously known as Sunshine, he is now officially Jock VII. Isn't he a darling? It is said that "Jock is settling into his residency and has developed a mischievous character. His favourite pastimes are investigating what the gardeners are up to and trying to persuade people to give him snacks. He also likes lots of cuddles on the sofa after an eventful day." I want to go visit him!


* * *

And so, that is my swish of a 'tale' of four marmalade kitties
who have wandered in and around our lives. Hope you enjoyed.

On that note, I'm wishing you a purr-fectly splendid day. Keep safe.

Heart Hugs,
Brenda
xox



Friday, August 07, 2020

What's In Bloom This Week

Daylily (Hemerocallis ‘Venetian Fringe’)

Each garden has its own surprise.
SUSAN ALLEN TOTH, My Love Affair With England


It is cool, wet, and windy this Friday morning. A day for tucking up indoors with a good book and maybe making a nice soup for lunch. I am feeling particularly unambitious today, and so I shall keep this post short and sweet. These are the flowers we are presently enjoying in the garden. If you were here, I would point them out to you and we could admire together. Of course, we'd invite the sun to shine for us while we were out.


When I see such a beauty as this Daylily (Hemerocallis ‘Venetian Fringe’), I kind of lament that they are true to their name—each blossom lasts only a day and then shrivels away. So, I try not to miss the opportunity to drink in her frilly details.

If you've followed this blog for any length of time, no doubt you have picked up the clue that I love close up shots of flowers. I certainly feel a kinship to American artist Georgia O'Keeffe when she said, "I decided if I could paint that flower in a huge scale, you could not ignore its beauty." My close ups are so I don't ignore them.  


" When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it,
it's your world for the moment. I want to give that world to
someone else. Most people in the city rush around so, they
have no time to look at a flower. I want them to see it..."
GEORGIA O'KEEFFE


This thistle-like perennial is Eryngium, known to us as Sea Holly. Rick selected her for the front bed along the west of our driveway. Low-lying alongside the more flamboyant Coneflowers, she is easily overlooked. You have to bend near to see her delicate beauty.
 



In the beginning, I was not drawn to Sea Holly -- she seemed aloof with her prickly centres, but I have since come to appreciate the wonderment of these spiky, mauve-hinted flowers. I understand they make long-lasting cut flowers and dry well for winter arrangements. I may have to try drying some this year.
  


These duo-tinted Echinaceas are just coming into bloom now and certainly lend their charm to our Coneflower corner of the garden. In my estimation, along with our busily buzzing winged friends, they are the bee's knees.


There were bright white Daisies and yellow Buttercups,
sweet Black-Eyed Susan and tall, tall blue Coneflowers;
and in and out and drinking came buzzing fat bees. 
CONSTANCE LA FRANCE, A Summer Field


We were sitting on our deck one balmy evening when the neighbourhood rabbit nonchalantly hopped into our yard. Soon as he spotted us, he froze and stayed quiet for a long time. Keeping an eye on us even as we watched him out of the corner of our eyes. Once he felt safe, he took to munching on the lawn by the hydrangeas. How perfect a spot for a photo. I was reminded of those old-fashioned greeting cards with the Easter bunnies in a spring garden.

Then he hopped off and the magical moment was over.


* * *

On that note, I'm wishing you a beautiful weekend.
Stay safe.

Heart Hugs,
Brenda
xox




Monday, August 03, 2020

The Simple Woman's Daybook: August Edition



" O the green things growing the green things growing,
The faint sweet smell of the green things growing. "
DINAH MULOCK CRAIK


Happy August! It does not seem possible that we've flipped the calendar to a new month, but here we are. Summer is slipping away. For those of us who have been at home isolating for months now, this whole business has seriously messed with our sense of time—days feel like weeks and months feel like seconds. Maybe it doesn't matter, but on second thought, yes, it does. As humans, we need to know when things happen and what day of the week it is. We need those rituals and signals to help us peg our memories to life events. We certainly recognize the devastation people experience when they lose track of time when dementia sets in. So yes, it matters.

I didn't write a July Edition of The Simple Woman's Daybook, so I didn't want to miss August. I've been joining with Peggy our host off and on for more than a decade now. I'm glad she continues to carry on the tradition she started many years ago. It is one of those old familiar rituals that ground me in these unsettling times. Writing, blogging, and gardening certainly does that for me. Making pancakes on a Saturday morning for brunch does too—it sets the weekend apart from the weekday. It all helps to keep our feet on the ground when the world feels upside down.



FOR TODAY

'A daybook is where you share snapshots
of what your days look and feel like'


Outside my window...
The morning is bright with blue skies, sunshine, and refreshing winds. With most nesting over, fewer birds are around the feeders these days. A lone American goldfinch has been visiting over the weekend. The chickadees were yukking it up yesterday afternoon, now that raising families are done for another year, they are being their cheery, chatty selves.


I am thinking...
It has been months since I've been in a shop to browse for anything. I've been going out for essentials, that's all. Funny, I thought I'd miss it, but it turns out I've grown used to not going out and about. My needs and certainly my wants have simplified even as my social circle has grown smaller. I do not feel lack but rather I realize just how much I have and am taking greater pleasure in what is near to hand. My garden and the flowers give me especial delight this summer. And we ensure there's a supply of small continuous treats (like books and flower posies and favourite snacks for tea at three), so life is good, sweet, and beautiful. In the midst, my heart pangs to think not everyone has it so good in their own lives, and I whisper a little prayer for them.


I am thankful...
I finally learned to stay in the present in my thoughts as much as possible as I go through my days. Not to cast my thoughts down the road about what needs to be done in upcoming tomorrows (unless there is something specific I need to plan in advance). Looking too far ahead often brings a sense of niggling unease and slight anxiety. I'm not sure why—perhaps I tend to forget that 'sufficient for the day' is our grace. I have been given grace for today's projects. God promises new mercies and strength every morning. So I conclude that even the slightest fretting about tomorrow's business will surely usurp the energy I so need for today's tasks. ~ found this thought in an old blog post



One of my favourite things...
This rich pinkish purple Rugasa Rosa 'Hansa'. I love how this photo turned out when I took it with my iPhone after the rain. It's so fresh and vibrant I can almost smell it.




I am wearing...
A sleeveless summer dress with a swishy skirt in floral leafy pattern
of shades of light to deep blue and chartreuse. My eyes feast on this colour combo.


I am remembering...
Audrey Hepburn's character, Holly Golightly, from the 1960s movie Breakfast at Tiffany's when she says, "Hand me my purse, darling; a girl can't read something like this without her lipstick."

It's true, I too feel much better prepared for whatever and whoever crosses my path when my lipstick's on. Big question, do you wear lipstick when you go out in public and wear a mask? I do, I still put it on even if no one else can see it, because lipstick always makes me feel dressed and ready to face the world. Just like Holly.


Photo from Susan's website

I am watching...
That is to say, I will be watching a Zoom Party with Susan Branch later this month. Susan was scheduled to do a presentation and slide-show with the Duxbury Senior Center about the English Countryside. Due to Covid-19, it became an online event and was opened to the general public to take part. Susan invited her girlfriends to come, so I registered—oh yippee!—my chance to participate in one of Susan's book events, something I've wanted to do for a long time now. She's going to be introducing her brand new book Home for Christmas, which she wrote and illustrated during the Covid lockdown. How is that for making great use of this pandemic business.

I went to get the link for you and found they are not taking any more registrations 😢. I'm sorry if you missed it. However, Susan's new Christmas book can be ordered HERE


I've been reading...
by Sarah McCoy

And thoroughly enjoying this 'prequel' story about Marilla Cuthbert. The author shares how she came to write this story. She recalls a passage from the original Anne of Green Gables, Chapter XXXVII:
"What a nice-looking fellow he is," said Marilla absently. "I saw him in church last Sunday and he seemed so tall and manly. He looks a lot like his father did at the same age. John Blythe was a nice boy. We used to be real good friends, he and I. People called him my beau."

Anne looked up with swift interest. "Oh, Marilla—and what happened?" 
Sarah McCoy said Anne's question echoed in her own heart her whole life, and so this novel is her "invention of Marilla Cuthbert and the foundation of Green Gables before Anne Shirley ever arrived with her whimsical free spirit". If you are an Anne fan, you'll like it. McCoy isn't trying to imitate L.M. Montgomery and yet to me the story is seamless, so when the last chapter is done, you will want to continue the tale and reach for the Anne books. It will be interesting when I read the Anne books again if I will see Marilla differently now that I've read her own story.


I have now finished reading...
by Penelope Lively

A blogging friend asked me some weeks ago how I was enjoying Penelope Lively's memoir. It was a full book with so many lovely garden things to read and think about. I underscored many lines and starred new-to-me people, authors, books that I would like to find. I was especially interested to learn about Czech gardener/writer Karel Čapek and his 1929 book The Gardener's Year. He sounds a most entertaining writer, and I laughed so hard at his account of wrestling with the common garden hose.

Here's what Peggy noted: "The garden, for Čapek, is an adversary, a cherished adversary perhaps, but nevertheless the awkward place where the gardener is forever on the back foot. ... Take the simple matter of watering: '... until it has been tamed a hose is an extraordinarily evasive and dangerous beast, for it contorts itself, it jumps, it wriggles, it makes puddles of water, and dives with delight into the mess (mud) it has made, then it goes for the man who is going to use it and coils itself round his legs.' " Can you relate? I surely can. 


I am listening to...
the wind in the trees—the rustle and swish of leaves aflutter—it is a sound so summery, is it not? 




In the kitchen...
This salad is so delicious on a hot summer day.


Peach and Tomato Salad (Yum!)
Serves 4

1. In a large bowl, combine:
1/4 cup thinly sliced onion
4 ripe peaches, pitted, cut into wedges
4 ripe tomatoes, cut into thick wedges
(yellow plums would also work)

2. In a small bowl, whisk ingredients to make a dressing:
1 tablespoon white balsamic or sherry vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons light olive oil
1 teaspoon honey
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper

3. Drizzle the dressing over peach mixture; toss to coat.

4. Sprinkle over salad:
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
4 - 6 fresh basil leaves, torn into smaller pieces




In the garden...
Here's a photo taken in the cool of the evening. Our hydrangeas are doing well this summer. The backyard is a work in progress. There are still things that need reworking and, well, 'tis a project for next year now. Two summers ago, it looked like a war zone, but it's coming along. The lawns keeper seeded our bit of grass last year—we quite like the rectangle. He ordered himself a hand push mower this summer and enjoys using it. Maybe he likes that it's old-fashioned, or maybe it means there is no roaring of a gas motor or the whining of an electric one, only the gentle whirring of blades being pushed by hand.

 

The garden has been really special this summer. It's special every summer, but the main reason I pay closer attention to the beauty and solace of our garden this summer is because we are in it every single day. It's our work, our entertainment, our solace, our holiday resort, our dining spot al fresco....


A favourite quote...
I felt an energy when I read this short list of advice I found on Twitter from Irish novelist Maeve Binchy. Wondering if you also feel that same motivating energy pulsing through these words.  
Learn to type. Learn to drive. Have fun. Write postcards. (Letters take too long and you won't do it, a postcard takes two minutes.) Be punctual. Don't worry about what other people are thinking. They are not thinking about you. Write quickly. (Taking longer doesn't usually make it better.) Get  up early. See the world. Call everybody by their first name, from doctors to presidents. Have parties. Don't agonize. Don't regret. Don't fuss. Never brood. Move on. Don't wait for permission to be happy. Don't wait for permission to do anything. Make your own life.



A moment from my day... 
For you - a posy of sweet peas picked from the garden.   


Closing thought...
There always seems to be bittersweet in life—the good and beautiful mingling with the hard and painful. My own life is sweet and good these days, and I never want to take for granted the beauty and pleasure I have in this season when the world is upside down and some things twisted past recognition. My heart pangs for those whose lives are so changed due to pandemic related issues. And I whisper a little prayer that folks will have the grace to face their situations, that they will catch sight of something that fills them with courage, comfort, and the hope to push forward to better days ahead.


* * *

On that note,
I'm wishing you a beautiful August.

Heart Hugs,
Brenda
xox


Photo Credit for Feature Image (Top):
'The Artist's Garden at Eragny', Camille Pissarro,
Courtesy National Gallery of Art, Washington