Friday, March 25, 2022

What Delights Me This Week



" Nothing in the world is permanent,
and we're foolish when we ask anything to last,
but surely we're still more foolish not to take
delight in it while we have it. "
W. SOMERSET MAUGHAM


Life really is that paradox of light and dark, good and evil, joy and sorrow, bitter and sweet. In our upside down world, it's how life often comes to us, a mix of beautiful good and ugly bad. I found it interesting to read how Susan Branch lives with these opposites by creating 'compartments' in her mind—having spaces for the joys of life and other spaces where the sad things dwell. And if I remember aright, what she's found helpful is learning to keep each in its own compartment. So when she's in her happy place, that's what she focuses on. I don't think of it as compartments per se, but in my almost 65 years, I've come to the place where I can live and be okay with having both bad and good, hard and easy, pain and sorrow all living in my heart and mind at the same time. No, it's not perfect, but it's okay on those days when it's a muddle. Often I remind myself of that wonderful line from the Old Testament: "The joy of the Lord is my strength". I've learned that carrying joy in my heart really does help me get through the rough or terrible spots. While feeling dreadfully sad about the woes in the world—mine or someone else's—I have taught myself not to forget to delight in, say, the smell of freshly brewed coffee on a chilly morning, the full moon sailing across the sky on a clear night, or giggling over a silly dog's playful antics. For these are what keeps life worth it.

So...on such a gorgeous Friday morning coming to the end of March (if you can believe that already), I'm sharing my simple list of delights that, in spite of sad things going on, gave my spirits a boost and tickled my fancy this past week. First, a quick nod of thanks to Ross Gay's The Book of Delights, a great little volume of essays in which he reminds me to pay attention to what my soul delights in.  

☙ First of all, that gorgeous bouquet of white tulips from Pixabay at the top of this post. There's something innocent, so delicate in those white petals.

☙ For the bright bunch of tulips sitting on my desk in the study (no photo today). I left all the leaves on when I trimmed the stems, so it's a torrent of red blooms in a tumult of wild, bushy green.

☙ The merry bands of Canada geese slowly arriving, honking at they fly overhead towards the pond a street over from us. Oh, the joy as we watch their return.  

☙ Sitting down to lunch in the dining room where sunshine fills the corners with light and warmth. It almost feels like being on holidays when we sit there on a weekday.

☙ Waiting in our vehicle in a very long lineup that didn't move an inch for ages... all because people across our community were moved, as we were, to come and drop off items to fill a plane heading to Poland for the relief of Ukrainians on the run. What a delight, and an honour, to wait in this moment with people of like mind for such a cause. As I finish writing this morning, we have now heard not only has the cargo plane been filled to the brim with donations, there is an excess. What a good problem to find solutions for.   

☙ Feeling the delight of my muscles stretching as I exercise with the lovely online daughter-senior mom team, April and Aiko, who work out from home and share their videos at yes2next. I believe they started doing this through the pandemic. I love their gentle instruction as well as the sighting of pretty orange kitty Mochi, who does not join the exercises but entertains us nonetheless.

☙ Noticing the latest Cooking Illustrated magazine at the grocery store and thinking how my twenty-something nephew, who likes to cook, would enjoy finding this magazine in his mailbox.

☙ Making a fragrant and delicious chicken tagine with apricots for dinner the other evening. Using the American Test Kitchen's diabetic version of a North African dish, which includes chickpeas, carrots and onions along with spices like cinnamon, ginger, cumin, cayenne pepper, and paprika. The use of apricots in the dish is pure delight.

☙ Experiencing the pleasant satisfaction of sipping a cup of tea when it's not too hot, it's not too cold, but it's just right. A perfect Goldilocks moment.

☙ Reading J.R.R. Tolkien's wonderful tale The Hobbit and bumping into a passage that feels blissful: "They stayed long in that good house...and found it hard to leave. Bilbo would gladly have stopped there for ever and ever... (For Elrond's) house was perfect, whether you liked food, or sleep, or work, or story-telling, or singing, or just sitting and thinking best, or a pleasant mixture of them all. Evil things did not come into that valley."

☙ Waking in the morning and finding it's no longer pitch black first thing.

☙ Sitting on the couch in the afternoon with sunshine streaming in, reading a book or listening blissfully to flute snippets of classical music on the radio.

☙ Remembering an old story told years ago by a fellow coworker. Our office howled at her tale about a funny experience her aunty once had in her own youth. Here's how I remember it:
It Happened One Morning on the Trolley

Years ago when women still donned hats and wore white gloves while going out in public, Rhonda's aunt was riding the trolley one morning on her way to work. No seats were available, so she held onto the strap above, swaying in the aisle as it lurched and bumped along. She must have taken her glove off to hang onto the strap, because it suddenly fell from her hand and landed neatly on the lap of a seated, slightly derelict old fellow, who had dozed off. Horrified to see her glove sitting primly on this old guy's lap—how would she retrieve it? Plucking it up was not an option, what with the trolley swaying back and forth.

While she pondered, the old fellow woke, reached for the bell pull, glanced down, and with nary a thought, or a chance for the aunty to mention the glove was hers, he grabbed and tucked it safely into his trousers; probably thought it was his shirt tail sticking out.

We wondered what the fellow must have thought when he got home that night and pulled off his trousers. What on earth! We wondered, too, what his wife thought when that glove fell out!

 

* * *


"Blossom by blossom the spring begins."
ALGERNON CHARLES SWINBURNE


So fingers crossed and heart prayers whispered for safe passage through these soul traumatizing times—for you, for me, for others, as we go forth today. Take gentle care with yourself.


* * *

Here's wishing you beauty and delight this weekend.
Warm hugs,

Brenda

Top Photo by Olenka Sergienko from Pexels




20 comments:

  1. Many years ago I read a French quote which translates as "Life is a mixed drink of joy and anguish," and so it is. I very much enjoyed reading your list of delights, and pondered my own while tidying up the kitchen, before commenting here. It is such a joy to see spring's return, and to remember God's promises of seasons and of his presence. Thank you for another delightful post, Brenda.

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    1. Oh, thanks for sharing that French quote. It really says it, doesn't it? Yes, I'm so glad for His promise of the seasons, and for His presence in these days. Thanks for your visit, Lorrie!

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  2. I enjoyed your list of delights. I hopped on over to check out the exercise video. Love the mother!

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  3. Loved the yes2next video and did it right then! Have now subscribed to their channel. Thanks so much for sharing this and the lovely flowers and cute bus story, too! Weekend blessings . . .

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    1. 'm so glad you are also enjoying April and her mom at yes2next. They are a treat! Happy day to you! :)

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  4. What a lovely mixture of delights, when there is so much ugly in the world. It's good to take time to appreciate the simple things. Your tulips are very comforting.

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    1. Sending heart hugs over the pond to you, dear Barbara! xo

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  5. I so enjoyed reading about your delights this evening, Brenda! Oh, that verse of Scripture rings true . . . the joy of the Lord is our strength. And he provides unnumbered joys to His children!

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    1. 'he provides unnumbered joys' ... so true! So grateful for his everlasting kindness.

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  6. Your list of delights is delightful. Such a lot we have to be grateful for, even on the bad/sad days!

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    1. So true, no end of things for which to be grateful on any given day!

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  7. love your sunny springy thoughts...we are heading into summer temps here as spring tries to slip away but all the leaves are popping out on the trees. It will be 89 today!!!

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    1. Our days are definitely spring like in temperature around here. Stay cool, Lin.

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  8. Good afternoon, Brenda. I enjoyed everything about this post from the white tulips forward. It was a joy to read, watching it snow. Have a lovely Sunday and a great week ahead.

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    1. I'm so glad for your presence here, Sandra. Wishing you a lovely weekend ahead.

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  9. It’s has snowed again. And though it is March, my soul delights in the freshness. ♥️

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    1. I don't usually mind a March snowfall - as you say it adds a freshness to worn look of winter.

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  10. Dear Brenda, Just discovered your blog! Your thoughts just seem to reflect so many of mine. I will SO be enjoying this “ conversation” with you, I feel as if I have found a “kindred spirit.” Your thoughts are going to be a true blessing to me! Thank you!!! (. One of my favorite movies is also “Chariots of Fire!” Think I’ll have to go see if I can find it! Easter is certainly this time of light and dark. This Easter with the Ukrainian people in my heart I am trying hard to see “light; shards of hope and of beauty , I SO appreciate all of your beautiful reminders!!!!

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    1. How wonderful to 'meet' you, Ann Elizabeth! Thank you so much for stopping by. Oh yes, Chariots of Fire is one of my forever favourite movies, nice to know you love it also. Look forward to seeing you again and getting to know you better.

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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....