Sunday, May 05, 2024

One Sunday in May: A Little This and That

"She could always be counted on
to notice and share small instances of beauty."
from Homecoming by Kate Morton, p. 118

Happy Sunday! It's grey and windy here today. I'm coming to you a little tired this morning as I start this post - it's been a busy week. Alas, I've no idea what to chat about today, but I'll let my mind wonder a bit and see if anything comes of it.

The garden is still abloom in spots with the earliest spring bulbs I wrote about last time. Even with cooler temperatures, those hardy souls in the garden continue to add colour to a still brownish landscape. Leaves on trees are, at last, beginning to hint of lavish greens to come. Tulips are, in turn, forming their buds, and in a couple of weeks they should start opening. I'm sad to say that a number of perennials and shrubs in our garden did not survive the winter. I lament them. But, looking at it on the bright side, this loss opens new doors, rather new spaces, to introduce something fresh in the garden.

Happily, we're off this afternoon to a Baroque concert that features Handel's Water Music. It's one of my favourite pieces of music—I'm reminded of summer days every time I listen to itIn case you aren't familiar with this music, you might find it interesting to know the piece was composed by Georg Frederick Handel for King George I of England. Written to be performed on the water, it was first performed on July 17, 1717 at 8:00 pm on a barge going up the River Thames. It was reported that the King enjoyed the music so much, he commanded the musicians to play it a couple more times that day. There won't be any meandering up the Thames for us today, although our imagination can take us there while we listen. Wouldn't that be a splendid way to spend a warm summer evening? It must have been quite something for the folks who heard it back then. 

This past week I worked on a large-ish proofreading project. It took up most of my week as I carefully read a 236-page anthology being published by the writing fellowship, InScribe, to which I belong and sometimes guest post on their blog. The book is titled Creativity & Chaos: Artistic Endeavours for Trying Times. As it turns out, I really enjoy the art of proofreading, and although it's a lot of effort and brain work, it fits my nature to do this kind of detailing and bringing order out of things not quite yet in order. There's a certain satisfaction in reading a document to ensure all the i's are dotted and t's are crossed, making sure formats and styles are consistent, authors' names are spelled right, ensuring the usual suspects of spelling, punctuation, grammar, etc., is in hand. 

I'm delighted to report that my own submission was accepted for publication in it. It's a Reflection about my own experiences creatively-speaking during the early days of the pandemic. My piece is titled A Kaleidoscope of Creativity. The anthology is scheduled to come out in September. I'll post more about it then and how you can get your own copy, if you wish one. (We'll have to have a giveaway, too!)

I must tell you quickly about two magazines that came home with me the other day. Yes, they beckoned from the shelf. One is the May/June issue of Victoria magazine, in which the current Writer-in-Residence, Jennifer L. Scott, shared about lessons she learned as a student living in France years ago. Her writing resonated with me as it reminded me of myself at that age when I, too, began to discover how I could live life more gracefully, more beautifully. Author Alexandra Stoddard had been my mentor then. In Jennifer's case, it was her French host mother who became her mentor. She described how, while learning to make a simple strawberry tart for a weeknight family dinner, she came to learn the value of details and aesthetics, "realizing that any task I undertook could be looked at as art." (p. 14). It was a transformational moment for her, and I delighted reading her account of it. I won't share more here since the magazine is out in stores now. I was also pleased to learn she writes books, and two caught my eye: one is the memoir in which she chronicled her adventures from that time in France: Lessons from Madam Chic: 20 Stylish Secrets I Learned While Living in Paris. And the other is At Home with Madame Chic: Becoming a Connoisseur of Daily Life. Both are now on my wish list.

The other magazine that I've been enjoying is called In Her Studio by Stampington & Company. It's a magazine filled with 'spaces and stories of creative women'. Lots of inspiring tales of how women create space in their lives for creative work, with pages of great photos of those spaces in which they work and play. What fun to see women creating 'rooms of their own'. The front cover beguiles me with pots and jugs of dried florals. You just know something wonderful is about to happen in that space.

❥ ❦ ❥

It's now evening and, for not having had anything to say earlier, surprisingly I found a few paragraphs to jot down. By the way, the concert was sublime - it was quite enchanting to hear Handel's Water Music in real time played by musicians you can see in real life. Tomorrow beckons with plans for a luncheon gathering with family to fete a beloved niece and nephew who have traveled from afar to spend time with family here in the west.

Did I mention that I've been reading Anne of Green Gables? It's spring, and I wanted to immerse myself in those delightful descriptions where young Anne is surrounded by the bowers of springtime's apple and cherry blossoms.

The evening sun is streaming in through my study window... clouds have parted long enough to see the sun at day's end. And the robins are singing...oh my! On that note...

I'm wishing you a beautiful week ahead,

Photo credit:
Brenda @ It's A Beautiful Life


  1. Hi Brenda - it is always delightful to visit you. Sounds like spring is unfolding and your garden is giving gifts of joy. A few months back I finished "Homecoming" by Kate Morton. She is a lovely author and have enjoyed several of her books...want to read "The Clockmaker's Daughter". Not sure I will tackle this one until autumn when the days grow short and the nights appear early. Hope you enjoy the Merry Month of May. Hugs!

    1. Debbie, I'm hoping to also read "The Clockmaker's Daughter" down the road. We've had some decent rain in the past few days, so we are enjoying the earth at last greening up in this merry month of May. Wishing you a beautiful day!

  2. Have you seen the Anne of Green Gables devotional, by Rachel Dodge. It's a delightful accompaniment to the book. Ms. Dodge has also done devotionals for Little Women and The Secret Garden. I just got myself The Secret Garden one and plan to get started on both the book (my all-time favorite!) and the devotional in a week or so.)

    1. Patti, I have not seen, or heard, of Rachel Dodge's devotionals based on these beloved novels. Thank you for the heads up.

  3. I occasionally do some proofreading at work. Fixing formatting and typos scratches an itch in my brain!

    1. You captured it perfectly when you said that fixing formatting and typos 'scratches an itch in my brain'. Exactly. :) Thanks for stopping by, Margie.

  4. Hello Brenda,
    That anthology sounds right up my alley. I'll look forward to its publication. I do love Handel's Water Music but haven't listened to it for some time. I'll remedy that soon. I lost a few plants to the extreme cold weather (not like yours, but extreme for here) that we had during winter.
    Wishing you a lovely late spring evening - or morning!

    1. The anthology will come out in September during InScribe's Fall Conference. // With the nice rain we've had over the last few days--so happy about that--things are starting to green up. I was still hoping, fingers crossed, that a few things that looked dead were only still dormant. But looking out my window, I think they're goners - no signs of 'wick' as Dickon Sowerby phrased it in The Secret Garden.

  5. I wish you a most beautiful weekend, Brenda. Loved your post. Everything sounded great, including the concert. I love music that squeezes my soul. Love reading about what is happening in your life. Thanks so much for your visits to Writing Straight from the Heart and your comments, too. They are sooooo appreciated. Take care,dear Brenda. Hugs. Susan

    1. "Music that squeezes my soul" - that's a lovely way to describe the feeling, Susan. Thanks so much for your sweet comments! xo

  6. Good Morning Brenda!🌝🌸
    CONGRATULATIONS on the acceptance of your piece that will be published in this new publication about “Creativity!”👏👏👏👏👏👏🤸‍♂️🤸‍♂️🤸‍♂️💗
    Very happy for you!!!!!
    I have to scoot out this morning but wanted to say how happy I am! You have been writing and appreciating “beauty” for a longggg time!!! You said that “Stottard?”( sorry, blanking on her name.) was your “model or “hero” of “all things beautiful.” Well Brenda, YOU are mine!!!! I cannot tell you how much YOUR voice has meant to me since I first began following you. I would buy any book of yours, with your musings, photographs, etc.
    I’m delighted also that your piece was chosen for this new publication!!!!!
    Take good care today!!! 💗🌸~ Ann from Ohio

    1. Your delightful comments made me hop right out of bed this morning with happiness. Thank you, dear Ann, for your beautiful way with words. You made my heart light today. xo


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 xo