Friday, April 30, 2021

Friday Sightings

" A single crocus blossom ought to be enough to convince
our heart that springtime, no matter how predictable,
is somehow a gift, gratuitous, gratis, a grace. "

The last day of April, another week gone, and a little more green emerges from beneath the brown landscape. Spring feels so slow to arrive this year, but the snow has been gone for so long, it seems that earth's show of new life should be farther ahead.

I woke early and heard the robins singing in the pre-dawn. That alone made me smile in the dark.

Yesterday I had the exquisite opportunity to see a female Canada Goose nesting in front of the local pharmacy on one of the still-empty concrete planters. A perfect perch. I was within a couple of feet before I realized she was there, settled on her nest lined with dry grasses and feather down. She didn't move, although she kept a beady eye on me. Not wanting to invade her privacy, no photos were taken. These unusual sightings are more normal these days what with more of their natural wetlands disappearing. They adapt to us - they have no choice. And for them I am sad, but it was a thrill for me to see this Momma so close up. Yes, Momma takes short breaks from her nest to feed, but she ensures her eggs are hidden beneath the down and grasses. I didn't spot the male but I'm sure he was somewhere around keeping his own beady eyes on me. 

I went out for my walk and found these in the garden. What a delight to see amongst the crinkled leaves and dried grasses. That old brown really is a wonderful backdrop for spring's new colours.

" The sun is hot on my neck as I observe
The spikes of the crocus.
The smell of the earth is good. "

I'm off for a short outdoor visit with my mom and sister. It's sunny and actually warm today. We all look forward to the day when we will once again sit on each other's couches and at each other's kitchen tables. But for now, we abide the protocols and take our wee pleasures when and where we can. If I'm to make my date on time, I best be off. I hope you have a wonderful weekend.  

* * *

Wishing you beauty and heart's ease.


Saturday, April 24, 2021

A Parade of Pansies

" The little purple pansy
brings thoughts of the sweetest things. "

If you're looking for a little heart's ease on a cool spring day, there is nothing like the cheerful pansy to do the work. Pansies are one of my favourite sightings at the garden centre right now. Trays and trays all laid out in colourful waves—from the lightest lavender to icy blue and plum violet, from orange and yellow to rose and maroon, all the way to the velvety deep purple and black ones (black not being a favourite, but still they have their own elegance).

I don't remember when my love affair with pansies began—it's been decades—and I don't recall exactly what it is about pansies that first captivated my imagination as a girl. Perhaps it was their cheery faces or their ruffled petals; perhaps it was their utterly sublime colours; or maybe it was the soft yet unforgettable fragrance that requires one to bend near to catch a whiff.

Word got out and over the years I became the happy recipient of all manner of pansy-themed cards and other objects and whimsical items from family and friends. I found myself drawing them in notebooks and dipping brushes into watercolours. And when I learned that a dear pen friend was an especial painter of pansies, I commissioned her to paint a bouquet for me. It is many years old now, but it's still a favourite acquisition. I would take a picture to show you, but it decorates the wall in my Mom's home so no photos of it today. Although I eventually stopped collecting all things pans-ied, my eyes still gravitate to this little flower with its divine pop of colour. I have never stopped loving it.


"... and there is pansies, that's for thoughts."

According to my research, the name pansy is derived from the French word pensée, which means 'thought'. Somewhere in the mid-15th century, it was imported into Late Middle English as a name of Viola. The flower came to be a symbol of remembrance. Pansies derived from violas, and as someone put it, technically all pansies are violas but not all violas are pansies. Somewhere in history, it was thought that the wild pansy, also known as Johnny Jump Up, had some medicinal properties and thus came the term 'heart's ease'. For me, the heart's ease is more for the soul than a physical remedy. Who among us hasn't found comfort and pleasure in their bright faces - I dare you to try and not smile when you look at them, either here or in your garden, should you be so lucky to have them growing there already.

And so, a little parade of pansies for us today: the top and bottom pictures are from Pixabay, the ones in between are mine, all taken at a local garden centre. Hope you enjoy.

" The best way to know God
is to love many things. "

Pansy so velvety, pansy so wide,
Pansy with heart of gold,
How I wish I could stay outside
Till I saw your petals unfold!

" Heart's ease of pansy, pleasure or thought,
Which would the picture give us of these?
Surely the heart that conceived it sought Heart's ease. "

" In a gentle way you can
shake the world. "

"A smile is a light in the window
of a face that signifies the heart
is at home and waiting. "

" Nobody can keep on being angry if she looks
into the heart of a pansy for a little while. "


* * *

Do you have a favourite today?

* * *

I hope your weekend is unfolding pleasantly.
Sending wishes for days graced with beauty and heart's ease.


Photo Credits:
(Top) Deb Nyman from Pixabay
(Middle Pics 2 - 7) Brenda C Leyland
(Bottom) ValeriaLu from Pixabay

Friday, April 16, 2021

Spring Almost Ready to Burst Out

" Spring work is going on
with joyful enthusiasm. "

We're on tenterhooks for Spring to green out around here. There is no sign of daffodils or tulips yet—that photo above is from last spring. The days and nights are thankfully warming up, and with it begins the much longed for transformation of brown lawns into shades of grass green.

This morning my friend Carrie who lives in Wales remarked, as she posted a glorious photo of her roses from last summer: "I’ve been prodding our garden along all this very chilly & sometimes snowy spring... It’s that point in the gardening year right now, when you wonder if it will ever look like this again."

Oh yes, for that is exactly how it feels around here. Looking at my own garden photos from last year, I too wonder if it will ever look like that again. We hold hope in our hearts and, of course, experience reminds us that the miracle of transformation will happen. The garden will blossom out, trees will bud, and with it our hearts burst open to receive the glorious promise of new life, beauty, and colour.

" And frosts are slain and flowers begotten,
And in green underwood and cover,
Blossom by blossom the spring begins. "

These blue pretties just opened in the back garden where sunshine melts the snow first. Let the tiny celebrations of Spring begin in earnest.

* * *

Wishing you a beautiful weekend.

Heart Hugs,

Monday, April 12, 2021

Guest Blogging Elsewhere

"A name is the blueprint of the thing we call character.
You ask, What's in a name?
I answer, Just about everything you do." 

Today I am guest posting on InScribe Writers Online. Our assignment this month has been to write to the theme "What's in Your Name?", exploring our relationship with our names: what our names mean, how our parents came to choose them, and any implications they have had in our growth of faith and writing.

This has been a fun post to write. So I hope you'll come for a visit....the link is HERE.

* * *

Now for something completely unrelated. I thought you should have at least something to take along with you from this post when you click on the LINK to my guest post. It's a quote I found yesterday in an old journal from my youthful days.

"I've learned that if you leave clothes in the ironing pile long enough
you'll outgrow them and you can sell them in a yard sale."

Ha! That obviously tickled me for I didn't much like ironing clothes as a young person. There was often a basket with items waiting for their date with a hot iron. However, I got immense pleasure from pressing out tea towels and pillow slips. I loved their simplicity—no shoulder corners to twist around or pant leg creases to mess line up. I found it both relaxing and satisfying to see cotton wrinkles disappear with a swish and neatly folded piles in their place.  

* * *

Wishing you a beautiful day!

Heart Hugs,

Friday, April 09, 2021

Five on Friday: Craving Colour

" The craving for colour is a natural necessity
just as for water and fire. Colour is a raw material
indispensable to life. At every era of (her) existence and
(her) history, the human being has associated colour
with (her) joys, (her) actions and (her) pleasures. "

I am craving colour these days. My corner of the world is still achingly dull brown. Although Spring is officially here, the nights are still cold. It is normal for these parts, but the wait seems interminable. The grass sports its coat of old winter sepia and barely hints new growth along the south-facing fence line. Crocuses are beginning to poke up from beneath dead leaves. That's hopeful.

So I needs must take my colour fix where I can find it.... today I'm sharing some eye drinking photos with quotes I either found entertaining or thought-provoking this week. Enjoy!


"All things are difficult before they are easy."

* * *


As seen on Twitter...

" If life feels diminished right now,
as it does for so many, please stay
open to the gift of new life. It may
take time, but it will come. "

* * *


As seen on my sister's Facebook page...

Things that can be equally true:

You are resilient -and- need a break.
You gave your all -and- need to back out.
You are independent -and- still need others.
You were sure -and- things changed.
You are kind -and- have boundaries.
Others have it worse -and- your pain is valid.
You did your best -and- now you know more.


* * *

'Great Wheat Fields, Auvers'


" Listen in silence because
if your heart is full of other
things you cannot hear 
the voice of God. "

* * *


" I prefer living in colour. "

* * *

There! That feels better. Colour always lifts my spirits.
Do you find it so for yourself?

* * *

Wishing you a beautiful weekend.

Heart Hugs,

Top: Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay
One: Image by Capri23auto from Pixabay 
Two: Image by Urszula Mazurkiewicz from Pixabay
Three: Image by Sarajuggernaut from Pixabay
Four: National Gallery of Art, with permission
Five: Photo by Siora Photography on Unsplash 

Monday, April 05, 2021

Simple Woman's Daybook: Spring Edition

" One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song,
read a good poem, see a fine picture, and, if it were possible,
to speak a few reasonable words. "

It has been a while since I've written a Simple Woman's Daybook post. On this sunny first Monday of April, it seems a good time to pick up the thread again. Yesterday Easter Sunday was cold and blustery on the outside, but on the inside, my spray of pink double tulips (above) made my heart lurch every time I caught sight of them on the kitchen table. 

Today I join Peggy at The Simple Woman's Daybook, I hope to share 'a few reasonable words' in this post and make you glad you stopped in for a wee visit. Please know I'm always glad for your company.


" Documenting little details of your everyday life
becomes a celebration of who you are. "

Outside my window... The sun makes me feel like Spring, even though the temperature lags too near the freezing mark most nights. The birds remain the most hopeful of creatures, as they continue to sing and now search for nest material in spite of the teaser weather. Migrating birds are still coming in, we watch eagerly for them.

I am thinking... about our simple Easter celebration yesterday with just the two of us. Our day was quiet and without fanfare—no family gatherings for us yet—but it was pleasant and our hearts bubbled with joy because "He is alive".

I am thankful... for the Covid vaccine and that it's almost my turn for the jab. I was awake before the crack of dawn because it opened up today online for my age group to book our first appointments. Woohoo! Who would have thought a vaccine would be such cause for celebration, but I do feel liking hooping it up. And I know so many of you feel that way as well.

One of my favourite things... is the colour seashell pink. Next to the French style manicure (white tips), I love shell pink nail polish. For some reason, the colour immediately makes me think of old fashioned weddings. So soft and feminine.

I am wearing... a new tulip-pink tee-shirt, black skinny jeans, fragrance, and lipstick. I'm slowly switching my wardrobe out to a smaller size as my weight drops ounce by ounce. Yes, I do notice the ounces as it seems to take forever for even one of them to melt away. I celebrate them too. I find myself doing the hands on hip model's twist and turn in front of the mirror to marvel that I am at last seeing a less bulgy and more svelte self. I might show a pic one day when I reach a certain goal.  

I once created... An Autocorrect moment. You've no doubt experienced such moments yourself,  because sometimes Autocorrect can be so irritating. But there are occasions when it outdoes itself in creativity, even hilarity. Like the time a couple of years ago, I texted my sister and happened to mention that I was eating a fudgesicle. Autocorrect was certain I didn't want to say 'fudgesicle' and replaced it with the phrase 'fudges uncle'. Seriously? It thinks that's a word? My sister and I laughed to see such nonsense. The phrase stuck, however, and is now part of our family lingo. 

I watched... a beautiful reading of the Gospel of John yesterday which was presented by Sir David Suchet (Poirot) for yesterday's Easter Sunday celebration at Westminster Abbey in London, England. Suchet made those ancient words come alive, and I felt so enriched to celebrate Easter in this way. The nearly two and a half hour video is presently available on Youtube; you can find the link HERE

I am reading... one of my thrift store book gems Cobwebs and Cream Teas. It's a lovely anecdotal tale about the life and work that goes on behind the scenes of the National Trust estate, Felbrigg Hall in Norfolk, England. Author Mary Mackie's husband was the Administrator at the time, so her tales are first-hand.

This book, and its sequel Dry Rot and Daffodils, are both entertaining—and informing—reads. They are perfect for this time of year when so many of us are eager for our own gardens to get underway. If you are interested in knowing more about the house and its national treasures, you can visit the website HERE

Although we didn't get to see this particular place during our trip to England a few years ago, we had the lovely opportunity to visit other National Trust spots, including Chartwell and Sissinghurst Castle Garden. Our tours to both places were most enjoyable. I truly never imagined just how much work goes on off-season and behind the scenes to maintain and preserve these places for the benefit of their many visitors. And how important it is to keep your hands to yourself and not touch fragile objects. 

I am listening to... the finches singing in the trees. How they lift my heart in that sweet squeeze. I am still waiting to hear my first robin of the season. Should be any day now.  

I am hoping... for some gentle spring rains to green up our grass. I am hoping for nights that don't go below freezing. I am hoping for weather that gives me a warm reason to stop wearing my winter jacket.

I am learning... that wee afternoon naps really help make us more brilliant while playing Scrabble.

In the kitchen...  I noticed the oddly placed finger marks as I wiped down the refrigerator door yet again. They were nowhere near the handles, which can be expected, but alongside the hinges on the other side. How do we get fingermarks over there, I pondered aloud to Rick one day. He said that's because you touch the frig whenever you go into the pantry. Surely not, I wanted to deny, but decided to watch for myself. Sure enough, the next time I had to search the pantry cupboard for cereal or crackers, there was my left hand resting on the frig. Jeepers. I wonder how many other things I do that I am utterly oblivious to in my life.

In the garden... Nothing is really stirring as yet in the garden, except for the master gardener who is slowly beginning the task of shaking off the winter debris, trimming shrubs, gathering up leaves and dead grass.

A favourite quote... Comes courtesy of an excerpt I just read from Mary Oliver's poem The Sunflowers. You can read the complete poem HERE. I love the last lines. For, yes, it is a long work, that of coming to see that our very lives and breath are worth celebrating every single day. Have you found it so?

"... Come with me
                         to visit the sunflowers,
                they are shy

                   but want to be friends;  . . .

                        each of them, though it stands
                 in a crowd of many,
                                like a separate universe,

               is lonely, the long work
                   of turning their lives
                       into a celebration
                              is not easy.  . . .  " 

A moment from my weekend... Easter Brunch for two - French Toast with maple syrup, fruit, and breakfast sausages. Yum!

Closing notes... As I sit here typing, I think of Carol Burnett: "I'm so glad we've had this time together. Just to have a laugh, or sing a song. Seems we just get started and before you know it comes the time we have to say so long." 

* * *

I hope you have a great week.
Wishing you beauty and heart's ease,