Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Celebrating Small Moments

" Some moments are nice, some are nicer,
some are even worth writing about. "

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,

 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. "

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. "

" 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. "

" 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. "

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

" 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. "
* * *

Wishing you a pleasant weekend. Keep safe.

Heart Hugs,

All photos are courtesy of Pixabay

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Sunday Afternoon Reveries....

" O autumn! O teakettle! O grace! ”

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. "

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. "

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!

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'. "

“ 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. ”

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,

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. "

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,

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. "

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 ... "

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. "

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."

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. "

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.

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,

Friday, October 02, 2020

Five on Friday: Stepping Into October

“October is the opal month of the year. It is
the month of glory, of ripeness. It is the picture-month.”

My heart is full this early morning as I sit down to write. I woke just before five with writing going on inside my head. There was no use trying to go back to sleep, for sleep was gone. The moon was still high in the west sky, and I was delighted at how it lighted up the backyard with its ghostly pale beam. 

Hubby and I have scheduled a drive in the countryside to a town that is somewhat near where I grew up. I haven't been there in years and Rick's never been. With autumn in full tilt here, the colours and scenery should keep my finger ever ready to press the camera button.

Which means this post shall be 'quick like a bunny'.

I went for a short walk right at sunset last night after supper. Oh my, the evening was pleasant and warm enough not to need a jacket. It was an interesting feeling to walk out into the waning light—I don't usually go walking when it's getting dark. Met up with one neighbour who was working in his garage; we chatted a moment before I carried on. Stomping in piles of crunchy leaves, watching neighbourly lamps being turned on inside windows, and then when I turned the corner, seeing a blazing sunset forming. I was elated by the time I arrived home. I love Autumn! Especially when October arrives just as perfect as it is in fairytale books.  

I plucked the last rose in bloom from the Peace Rose. She bloomed her heart out this summer, but I think she's about done now. She gave so much joy to so many. This last blossom had such an intense fragrance, as did the sweet peas which are also done now. I wanted to bury my nose and keep sniffing. I want the perfume to last, but perhaps it is the elusiveness of fragrance that makes flowers so magical in the first place. We keep bending our heads forward for more—heart to heart.

one rose

‘Tis the last rose of Summer,
Left blooming alone;
All her lovely companions
Are faded and gone;
No flower of her kindred,
No rose-bud is nigh,
To reflect back her blushes
Or give sigh for sigh!

THOMAS MOORE (1779-1852)
lines from the poem The Last Rose of Summer

* * *
two leaves

“In the entire circle of the year there are no days
so delightful as those of a fine October.”

* * *

three lamps at dusk

Rick turned on our lamp to welcome
me home from my sunset walk. How sweet! 

* * *

four clouds at sunset

“Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry
rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.”

* * *
not five, just one video

Louise Penny, now well known to many as the author of her splendid Inspector Gamache novels, recently invited her fans to post selfies with her newest novel. I joined in the fun. You’ll find my happy face at approximately the 3:57 minute point, and you’ll definitely recognize the much posted yellow Rudbeckia in the background. The video music has a Parisian feel, so pop in.

On that note, I'm away to my outing in the countryside. Here's wishing you a beautiful weekend. May it be filled with glimpses of heaven in unexpected places. Keep safe. Keep your eyes fixed on Him.

“ ‘Only today,’ he said, ‘today, in October sun, it’s all gold—
sky and tree and water. Everything just before it changes
looks to be made of gold.’ ”
EUDORA WELTY, The Wide Net and Other Stories

* * *

Heart Hugs,