Saturday, November 27, 2021

Shades of Blue

Lilac Bouquet by Paul Gauguin, 1885, public domain, wikiart.org

"If you have been afraid that your love of beautiful flowers
and the flickering flame of the candle is somehow less
spiritual than living in starkness and ugliness, remember
that He who created you to be creative gave you the
things with which to make beauty and the sensitivity
to appreciate and respond to His creation."
EDITH SCHAEFFER


As you know, I rarely mention heartache topics here on my blog. From the beginning It's A Beautiful Life was meant to be a place of rest—a sanctuary where both writer and reader can escape the cares of the world, if only for a moment. Alas, my mind has been bombarded of late with things not so beautiful, not so peaceful: the devastating floods and mudslide disasters in British Columbia with their loss of life, homes, and livestock; chaos, crisis, and hatred leaving its ugly mark in so many places; health issues of people I love mixed with a few of my own health niggles.... well, you get the idea. 

I think that's why I haven't been able to write. Ideas were stuck. Words were scarce. I needed time to clear the path so light and goodness could once again bring clarity and hope. I whispered my prayers and plunked my cares into the lap of the Lord, the way a hurt child turns to her mother for comfort—asking the Good Lord to keep an eye over the things I have no control, asking Him to extend mercy to folks I don't know but their faces haunt me. Eventually an inward peace begins to settle.

I remind myself to write about the little things that bring me joy in the midst and to quit trying to be eloquent about it. Well, okay then.... I feel a freedom in that.  

Giving me great joy of late is that superb painting above by Paul Gauguin: Lilac Bouquet. I absolutely love it with that striking sprig of white against those gorgeous shades of blues. And wouldn't you look at that pretty shawl set beside the vase, as if the lady of the house has just walked in and lain it down to smell the fragrant bouquet. 

Speaking of lilacs, our lilac bush was laden with snow bouquets a week or so ago when the mild autumn turned overnight into snowy, blustery winter. I was quite happy about it—a winter wonderland that got many folks, including myself, into the coziness of the season. Kids were out making snowmen and, with evenings turning pitch dark by 4:30 in the afternoon, folks everywhere were switching on their Christmas lights. Tiny blazes of merry.

We haven't turned on our outdoor Christmas lights yet. Rick isn't the eager Christmas Elf that I am—although I do believe it's a faƧade šŸ˜‰when he mutters bah humbug. But my feeling is that once the first snow falls, it's open season on decorating for the holidays. I start small, adding a little touch here, a few twinkle lights there, and then around December 15th or so, depending if we use live or artificial, I'll decorate the tree. I've gathered my boxes of Christmas cards—yes, Virginia, I still like to write out paper cards alongside e-cards and e-mails. The tradition began years ago when my mom invited me one December to write out the envelopes for her Christmas cards, cautioning to do it carefully and neatly in my schoolgirl script. I was about nine or ten, I felt so grown up, so proud, and I have loved writing Christmas cards ever since.

On the home front, our own life thankfully remains pleasant and gently rhythmic, filled with quiet pursuits and routine activities. One day I got busy in the kitchen to make a large pot of Moroccan Chicken Vegetable Soup and a ham and scalloped potato dish to share with our dear friends (she's recovering from surgery). There was something enlivening about the act of cooking, imagining the comfort and joy it would bring to their supper table later that evening.

Life often mingles joy and sorrow, making it bittersweet sometimes. I'm keeping my heart in wonder at the daily miracles of my life (a line borrowed from Kahlil Gibran)—it offers much consolation in these troubling times. 

* * *

Wishing you a beautiful weekend.
Heart hugs,
Brenda

30 comments:

  1. This is a lovely post, Brenda. Gauguin's painting is so beautiful - I have never seen it before. The blues are so intense yet soft, and the light on the lilacs draws the eye. I am sorry for the concerns you have. My heart has been heavy these days, too, with so much sorrow and tragedy that has come near.
    Like you, I've gathered together my cards in a basket and have begun writing them out. Christmas decorating happens little by little here, too. But first we have a little party for a sweet one-year-old tomorrow afternoon.
    I pray that as sorrow and joy mingle, just as the dark and light combine in Gauguin's work, the result in your life will be equally as beautiful.

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  2. Ahhh Dear Lady, I am glad to read that your troubled soul is becoming a bit more light hearted. May the holidays with all its joy and companionship bring you true happiness.

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    1. Joy and sorrow often mingle - it's how it is in our upside down world. Thank you for caring, Lisa. xo

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  3. Thank you and Merry Christmas.

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  4. Such a beautiful calm painting, not what I would call a typical Gauguin. Thank you for showing it.
    It is often just the little things that provide a spark of joy in a day that has been overburdened with sad and horrific News. I have almost stopped watching the BBC daily news as one sad and horrible thing follows another.
    But to go out in the garden and find a tiny flower or berry, to receive a letter from a friend, to read a lovely Blog post....al these things make the day so much better.

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    1. You are so right, Barbara, it is often the little things that provide the spark of joy. It's learning to not overlook them for something grander. You are a blessing to me.

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  5. The painting is beautiful. We decorated our tree today. It is an artificial one. I still write and send Christmas cards too. Have a wonderful holiday season.

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    1. All the little things that add to the festive spirit of the season. Happy Christmas, Penny!

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  6. I do believe that we need to look for the small joys, because, truthfully we have very few large joys in life. Every day holds some small joy and dwelling on that can change our life for the better.

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    1. So right, Ruth. Joy most often comes in the little packages, perhaps because life happens in moments not huge hunks. A little joy every day is much nicer than just experiencing it two or three times a year. :)

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  7. Oh, I hear you. Burdens are heavy and we’ve been carrying them for so long. The mudslides and flooding here in BC is awful and there are fears of even more floods. For me, paying attention to what’s in front of me helps. Visiting blogs and realizing I’m not alone does too, so thank you for your honesty.

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    1. It is so comforting to know we are not in this alone. Social media and visiting blogs really helps me see that as well. Thanks, Linda.

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  8. Oh good that you keep the traditions going and so good that you care for your friends in such tangible ways...homecooking is a great comfort indeed. Tossing everything into The Lord's lap is the best thing we mere mortals can do. The cares of this world are much too great for us.

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    1. What would we do, how would we manage if we couldn't cast all our cares upon Him. The weight would bury us. You bless me, Vee, thank you!

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  9. Such a lovely, timely post! I'm hearing a compelling echo in your posts these days, a call to arms in many ways. Creating beauty is a sort of revolutionary act, a defiance of darkness and evil, where a literal candle becomes a metaphor (better to light a single candle than to curse the darkness) and beautiful flowers whisper, Courage, dear heart! Perhaps best of all, beauty creates hope, and you've certainly created a well of hope here with your thoughtful writing about making a beautiful life! We'll carry on then, forward, onward, upward.

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    1. Kathy dearest, you share words that inspire.... we'll indeed pick up our courage, keep our candles trimmed, and carry onward, forward, upward. Light always dispels the darkness, always. xo

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  10. Good morning, Brenda. Your post today is beautiful and I am certain it will pull at the heart strings of everyone who reads it. Life does seem to happen to all. I have been so concerned for the folks in BC and praying for their safety and well being.

    A good snow does in its magical way seem to soften everything it touches and therefore is a comfort to all you can enjoy it.

    We haven't done much Christmas decorating as of yet. Today the wreaths will go up and the candles will find their way once again to the windows. Then on December 1 all will come to life.

    Wishing you a beautiful season, Brenda. And I will hold you close and pray life will take a sweet turn for you.

    Love Gauguin's painting - it is such a joyful piece.

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    1. Your heart is kind, Sandra, thank you. And yes, a good snow goes a long way to creating beauty and a feeling of softness. I first heard of this gorgeous Gauguin piece in one of your recent blog posts - I have been smitten ever since.

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  11. Thank you for sending me "Restoring the joy of Christmas" ! I read a page every day and it's a real pleasure for me ! AmitiƩs.

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    1. Annie, I was so pleased to learn you are still enjoying that old Advent calendar series. A Merry Christmas to you. xo

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  12. There are many cares in the world, and many close to home. Thankful for the Light that has come into the world to shine into the darkness, and give joy and hope! I'm glad we share that faith in common!

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    1. I'm grateful for that Light that shines in darkness and, yes, I too am glad we share that faith together.

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  13. My two cents . . .

    Of course, we acknowledge the hard things for they are real and very much bigger than you and I. It is silly to pretend that evil does not exist, because we need to know the bad news to fully appreciate the good news of the Gospel. That said, I believe that it does not deny the hard things to appreciate the beautiful gifts that He has given . . . the big gifts and the small. Like you, I love to look for beauty among the ashes.

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    1. "...it does not deny the hard things to appreciate the beautiful gifts that He has given." So true, Cheryl, so true. Thank you!

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  14. Lovely post, Brenda. One thing that makes me feel better when troubles are around is reading Christian fiction. And I've been rereading the Christmas magazine you made a few years ago. It always puts me in the Christmas spirit. ;)

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    1. Oh yes, Merry, I agree good fiction can really help chase troubles away! xo

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  15. I still write and send Christmas cards too! It's my favourite holiday tradition.

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    1. I'm glad we both can enjoy this long time tradition. Do you write and have cups of tea at the ready?

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To My Beautiful Readers,

Some people come into our lives, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never the same. ~ Franz Peter Schubert

Thank you so much for leaving your 'footprint' here in my comment box. I do appreciate you taking a moment to share your thoughts today.

Brenda xox

PS. I do not always comment here, but I do look forward to coming and visiting you....