Friday, April 26, 2024

Out Pops Spring in the Garden

"It is spring again. The earth is like a
child that knows poems by heart."

Spring feels slow this year. It's not that long ago since snow fell... again. And some night temperatures still drop below freezing. Yet the earliest spring bulbs push through the warming brown earth and offer us a palette of Crocus, Squill, Grape hyacinth, and other lovelies. It's a godsend for colour starved eyes. The tulips will be next—green leafy clumps are already forming and every day they grow taller.

Here's a peek at what's making news in our corner of the world this week.

"The smallest of things can make you feel like
something is special about today."
SUSAN BRANCH, from her blog

"That is one good thing about this world...there
are always sure to be more springs."
L.M. MONTGOMERY, Anne of Avonlea

"Spring work is going on
with joyful enthusiasm."
JOHN MUIR, The Wilderness World of John Muir

“Can words describe the fragrance
of the very breath of spring?"

"If people did not love one another, I really don't
see what use there would be in having any spring."
VICTOR HUGO, Les Misérables

"Spring drew on...and a greenness grew over those
brown beds, which, freshening daily, suggested
the thought that Hope traversed them at night,
and left each morning brighter traces of her steps."

"He smelled cold water and cold intrepid green.
Those early flowers smelled like cold water. Their fragrance
was not the still perfume of high summer;
it was the smell of cold, raw green."

"It was such a spring day as breathes into a (wo)man
an ineffable yearning, a painful sweetness,
a longing that makes (her) stand motionless,
looking at the leaves or grass, and fling out (her)
arms to embrace (s)he knows not what."

Wishing you a beautiful weekend,

Photo credits:
Brenda @ It's A Beautiful Life

Friday, April 19, 2024

Progress Report From the "The Reading List"

"She didn't remember the story, she was terrible with details,
but she remembered the way it made her feel."
SARA NISHA ADAMS, The Reading List

As you may recall from an earlier post (HERE), I mentioned that I'd been reading the novel The Reading List by Sara Nisha Adams. A heartwarming story of a troubled young woman, Aleisha, who works in a library and an older, lonely widower, Mukesh, who visits the library looking for something to help him through his grief. Somewhere in there, a reading list with eight titles mysteriously shows up in different places. Aleisha sees it one day and decides to try the first title - to see how it goes - and thus the tale really begins. Soon she's suggesting to Mukesh that he should try reading the first one; she enjoyed it, maybe he would too.

Ever eager for a new reading list with new titles someone has recommended, I gathered the books and started with the first one on the list. If you need a reminder, below are the titles linked to the GoodReads book blurbs, if you want to know a little more about each one:

by Harper Lee, 1960
(Read this one for the first time and loved it)

by Daphne du Maurier, 1938
(Longtime favourite - loved reading it again)

by Khaled Hosseini, 2003
(Haunting, heartbreaking, good story)

by Yann Martel, 2001
 (Have never read this one)

by Jane Austen, 1813
(Longtime favourite - haven't read it in a while)

by Louise May Alcott, 2 vols. 1868, 1869
 (Longtime favourite - haven't reread for this list) 

by Toni Morrison, 1987
(Have never read this one)

by Vikram Seth, 1993
(Have never read this one. It's 1474 pages - even
longer than War and Peace at 1352 pages;
definitely not an undertaking for the faint of heart. 
I've seen this one on various suggested reading lists.)

I have now finished the third book, The Kite Runner. This is one of those books where I won't remember all the details, but I will not forget how it haunts me, even days after I finished it. In my view, this is not a book for the fragile of soul. It's too heart-rending in many places. However, if you feel courageous, and you feel able to bear the pain of others - even for those in a story - then carry on. I found it an enlarging story. It made my heart squeeze in compassion for the plight and pain of others, many in situations I'll never encounter in real life but now have a glimpse of what some do face in this world. The book is one I probably won't read again, but I'm glad I did once.

With this story fresh in my thoughts, I read CaitlynneGrace's new post on her blog that felt so timely. She mentions a quote from St. Teresa of Avila, "He who truly loves his neighbor and cannot efficaciously assist him, should strive at least to relieve and help him by his prayers." I was pricked by these words. Although I do often whisper a little prayer for people as I'm going about my days—maybe it's someone being driven off in an ambulance or the teen looking so despondent at the crosswalk or the young mom looking harried as she runs errands with toddlers in tow. I want to be even more aware of others around me and not be so absorbed in my own things. Of course, there are many times we cannot help someone in a tangible way, but as Teresa of Avila noted, at least we could say a pray for them as we each go our own way. Who knows, it might be enough grace in that little space of time, when empathy beats in our heart, that helps a person live through another day, maybe a little more hopefully. CaitlynneGrace says it more eloquently, so I hope you'll pop over and read her post yourself, link HERE.

I'll wait a few days before I pick up the next book in the list. In the meanwhile, I'll find something softer and easier on the heart. I look up from my screen and glance out the window, my goodness, the sun is shining and the skies are spring blue. Earlier I heard my first robin of the season - I'm ecstatic. So, on that note, I'll be off to feast on this new day. I'm wishing you a beautiful day...

Heart hugs,

Photo credit:
Top Image by Catkin from Pixabay

Friday, April 12, 2024

Memories: My Wedding Dress

"This is more than just a wedding dress.
It is the embodiment of a dream come true."

No great clouds of tulle, no long train, crinoline, or trailing veil. Marrying at age 41, I no longer desired the kind of dress I dreamed about as a girl. I wanted something simple with just a hint of twirl and flounce. Trying on several gowns, I knew when I saw it in the mirror. This was the one, it felt just right. A dress in off-white cream, an ankle-length full skirt, the bodice and sleeves in lace—a silhouette of soft romance.

Somewhere I read that classic wedding dresses are designed to stand the test of time, meaning you'll never cringe when looking back at your wedding portraits. I'm glad to say that I still love the simplicity of my wedding dress, and I smile when I see the photos.

Months before there was a thought of a wedding, I saw a photo in the February 1998 issue of Victoria magazine (see below). If I was ever going to be a bride, this was the bouquet I wanted to carry. At that time, there was not even a hint in the air of a wedding—I wasn't even going out with the fellow. But nevertheless at the mature age of 41, a girl will have her dreams, and I dreamed of carrying this bouquet down the aisle to my waiting heart mate, whoever he might be (we had our fingers crossed).

"Love is the flower
you've got to let grow."

"Once in a while, in the middle of an ordinary life,
love gives us a fairy tale."

Since that day more than 25 years ago, the dress has been hanging in the closet. And every so often when I'll be looking for something else, I'll see it and take it out. A rush of emotion-filled memories flood in.

There has been the long tradition of keeping one's wedding dress with the idea of handing it down to someone in the next generation. Hopefully a daughter or even a granddaughter. For me, there is no one to pass it down to—my nieces have their own moms' things, if anything is to be passed down. So I wonder why I keep it tucked up in the cupboard when perhaps someone else out there could wear it on her special day and enjoy its loveliness.

That day when I was in the clearing out mood, I slipped the shoulder ribbons from the fabric hanger with the intention to fold the dress into a nice box and take it to a second hand shop. I couldn't. I could fold away some of my old formal dresses I once wore as I knew I'd never wear them again. But this gown? I'll never wear it again either. Neither Rick or I are the truly 'romantic' types where we'd renew our vows or dress up in our wedding clothes for a milestone anniversary photo. I think he might gently roll his eyes if I suggested it. But then again he might not.

There is one little memory of my dress on our wedding day that still sparkles like diamonds in a ring. It was the end of the day. The party was over, the guests were gone. Rick and I were getting into the car to drive to our hotel. He opened the door for me, and as I got in, he took my swirly skirt and gently tucked it around my feet, making sure the hem was safely in. The glint of his new wedding band against the creamy skirt made my heart skip a beat. I was the bride, he was my bridegroom. And I was about to go away into my new life with this man I loved. It's a moment I have never forgotten.

Back in the closet I hung my wedding dress. It doesn't take up much room. Maybe I'll be ready to pass it along another time. But not today.

Wishing you a beautiful Spring weekend,