Thursday, July 1, 2010

Clean Sweep

I find joy in getting rid of stuff! I advertised a bunch of stuff on Kijiji today, all of it for free and most of it is already gone and all of it is spoken for. I love to recycle. I think it's wonderful that people will drive to my house and take away my junk!

Getting rid of stuff is like losing weight. I think our possessions weigh us down and clutter our minds. I stood in my garage tonight looking at all the extra space and plotting what I could eliminate even further.

I read an interesting article recently about "buying green". The author suggested that instead of buying green, we just don't buy at all. What a concept! I wonder if sometimes we buy things just for the sake of buying things?

There is a certain joy in unencumbering ourselves.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Birdbath

I don't generally find joy in things, however, I do find a lot of pleasure in the thrill of the hunt and the bagging of the bargain.

I have wanted a bird bath for my entire adult life. Whenever I looked at them, they were beyond my budget. I didn't want a cheap plastic one - I wanted a cast concrete one that would last.






Today I found a used bird bath on Kijiji for about 30% of the cost of a new one.

What I love about it is its green verdigris colour with hints of copper showing through. It has some design detailing that I find pleasing to the eye.

Buying it has helped jump start my  creative juices on how I want to landscape my backyard. I needed it as the catalyst for my ideas.


Also, I daydream about birds actually using my birdbath, so there is anticipation of joy in the future.

Monday, June 21, 2010

First Iris of the Year

Today my irises bloomed. They are a delicate lavender shade. Once upon a time I actually collected irises. I had irises from many different gardens of friends and neighbours in a huge variety of colours. It was like a friendship garden. I knew where every iris came from and they brought me much pleasure.

One morning about 6 am, I sat on my front step and watch an iris open from a tightly wound bud to a full bloom. It took about an hour and was one of the most beautiful things I'd ever witnessed in nature.

I think it's time to start another iris collection. Time to increase my joy!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Flower Pots

I sat out on my deck today, the sun was shining, my flowers are beginning to bloom and I saw several delicate white butterflies flitting about. Flowers bring me such a sense of serenity and peace, I am so grateful to have a south facing backyard and to have the ability to fill it with beauty.

I found this piece of artwork and absolutely fell in love with it.


Self-taught artist Art Fronckowiak is dedicated to the traditional romantic landscape. His interplay of light and shadow, bright and dark colors bring a sense of peace to his floral architecture and scenic beauty that is temptingly bucolic. His use of acrylic oils lends a modern touch to his otherwise feel of Europe’s Barbizon master painters, as well as the American Hudson River period and an Old Florida style, reminiscent of Herzog, Inness and Bierstadt. Focused on the historic relevance and attention to detail, Fronckowiak conjures sentiment for times past.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Hand Made Love

When it rains I'm cleaning out my home office.  As I cleaned out a box from the bottom of the closet I found a stash of hand made mother's day cards from my children when they were younger. I always wondered why I should keep them, now I know. They brought tears of happiness and fond memories.

I'm so glad I kept them!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Horses

Today as I drove across the Bow river, I saw a field full of sorrel horses. Every year about a month before Stampede, the Shriners bring into the city their beautiful horses and pasture them just below where I live.

I don't know what it is about horses, but I love to look at them. Seeing them run through a field all together lifts my heart in a special way.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

mommy and daddy


I am enjoying having my parents visiting me. I am so grateful that they are here. My dad always fixes things around the house and helps me sort out technical stuff on my computer. My mom brings me books and interesting things to talk about.

It's a pleasure to have them here for this week. :)

Monday, June 7, 2010

Receive Service - Receive Joy

Today my daughter phoned me up and offered to come help me plant my sweet peas. I didn't know I needed help until we started stapling up the netting on the fence and realized it was a two-person job. I guess I've always had help in the past. She did all the stapling and planting while I supervised and separated plants.


She was feeling down and decided she would fill her week with service to others this week (and no she doesn't read my blog!) I recently wrote about giving service as a way to add joy to your life. Today I found out that receiving service and allowing others to help you also brings you joy.

I am so thankful for her help as it would have taken me hours and hours to do what we accomplished in two.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Hard Work for Lots of Joy

I spent the past two days preparing and planting flowers in my flower pots on my back deck. Today I sat out in the sun and read, surrounded by my flowers. My mother questioned why I do so much work with my flowers and my simple answer is: "because they bring me so much joy."

Yesterday I dug out a long flower bed against the south facing fence to plant sweet peas. I've had sweet peas at every house I've lived in for the past 20 years. This will be the first year I have them here as last year I stained the fence where they're going to go so that I could put up the netting and not have to take it down later.

Out of all the flowers I grow, Sweet Peas bring me the most joy. I love their vibrant colours, their delicate petals and most of all their blissful fragrance. I love that they grow in abundance and I can fill my home and office with bouquets, and give away bouquets and still have more and more.

Sweet Peas are like joy, the more you pick them, the more they grow.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Joy in Service

Over the years I've found that there is joy in giving service to others. So when Tim McPherson called me this evening to ask me if I would help serve at the Seminary graduation dinner, I said I'd be happy to help. He was shocked and stuttered and said I was the first person to say that.


“I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.”  Rabindranath Tagor
 Is this a secret that only a few select people know about?

Want to increase your joy? Give service to someone else. Simple as that.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Joy Seeker

Yesterday's little experiment of actually asking myself what I could do to increase my joy was a bit of an eye opener. I have been operating on the premise that you keep your eyes open for things that bring you joy and when you do, it's a lovely bit of serendipity.

So how about actually doing things to bring yourself more joy? Actually making a plan and following through? It's a whole new level for a joy seeker such as myself.

Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day. Henri Nouwen
Did you choose to feel joy today?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Just Sittin

This morning I asked myself "What is one thing I can do today to bring some joy into my life?" I found it a rather difficult question and pondered  for a while. Finally I wrote down: sit on my deck and enjoy the sunshine for 10 minutes.

I was looking for something simple. When I got home from work, I realized that the sun was almost past my deck and I better hustle my butt out there if I wanted 10 minutes of joy.

So I sat out in the sun. My mind was all over the place and it was really hard to pull it back and try to enjoy sitting there in the sun. I obviously have lots of work to do to learn to enjoy sitting still in the sun without making lists and planning and reviewing!

Isn't this deck lovely? Today I bought all the bedding out plants to turn my deck into my own private garden of eden. I'm excited to start planting, flowers always bring me joy.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Story Telling

We live our lives by telling ourselves stories about what is happening. It's our way of explaining events to ourselves, to gain understanding and make meaning of our lives. We rely on previous stories we've told ourselves to define our new experiences. We learn how to interpret events from our family, religion, culture, friends, media, I expect the list of influence is long.

An interesting technique I learned in college while taking my professional writing program was to take an existing story, for example Little Red Riding Hood and rewrite it from a different perspective, perhaps the wolf's or grandma's.

This can be applied to our own stories. Perhaps we've told ourselves the same story over and over again about something that happened in our past. We know it off by heart and it never varies. It explains why things happened from one perspective - ours.

I'm finding it fascinating to rewrite my stories with new perspectives. To look for the good things and the joyful things in my sad stories. It is possible to find joy in any situation, sometimes it takes a lot of digging, but it's there to be found if we choose to look.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Da Big Apple

I don't take enough vacations! I came back late last night  feeling so much joy and happiness from spending a lovely holiday with good people. I have renewed motivation to move forward with a new direction in my life.

I realize even more today that we either create our lives or live passively and let circumstances and other people direct our lives. I might as well create the life I really want, rather than wallow around waiting for something to happen.

I love New York, what an amazing city! The people are so friendly and I felt safe. It's a city that never sleeps. We were out late every night, and so, it seemed, were everyone else. The subways are full at midnight. I enjoyed people watching, there are so many to watch!

I will definitely be going back.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Grand Adventure Begins

I'm off on a grand adventure to see Washington DC and New York City. I've never been before. My bags are packed and I'm ready to go.

 Don't know if or when I can post to my blog but if I get a chance I will as  there are many beautiful moments out there to enjoy.

Joy is all around us, we just have to open our eyes and our hearts to see it.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Poetry in Reality

I am reading a book called "The Joy of Appreciative Living" by Jacqueline Kelm. I am only two chapters in but I am fascinated by her topic. This morning on page 23 I read this:
We can find whatever we want in any situation, and whatever we choose to notice is fateful. All is present in every moment, from love to fear, good to bad, beautiful to ugly, joy to sorrow. Whatever we focus on from the unbounded possibilities defines our experience. In this sense reality is like poetry; it can be written in any manner conceivable and is open to infinite interpretations.
I've been learning this for a while, but I still find it to be profound. To think that two or more people can experience the same event and perceive it in totally different manners, yet each person believes that their reality is the only correct one. It's a wonder we can communicate with anyone!

The more I focus on and look for the beautiful moments in my everyday life, the more I find them. I'm beginning to find it challenging to select just one thing to write about each night as my days are full of joyful little simple moments that lift my heart and carry me through the mundane and crappy things of life.

For today, I will select the scallops I ate for dinner at The Blue House Cafe. They were cooked in a coconut and caper sauce that had Deb and I swooning.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Tea and Toast

I dropped by a friend's home unannounced this evening. I was in the neighbourhood and took a chance that she might be home. She was and was happy to see me.

I don't remember ever dropping by unannounced to anyone. We have to plan everything it seems.

She made me toast from her fresh loaf of homemade bread and smeared it with creamy honey. She also brewed me some vanilla and hazelnut tea.

It was simple and unplanned yet wonderful. My heart is warmed by the tea and more by the friendship.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Make Me Happy

It's interesting to figure out that you cannot make anyone else feel happy. Each person chooses their own interpretation of your actions and decides to be happy or not. Happiness is always a personal choice.

Understanding this allows you to do your best for others, and then let go and not be emotionally invested in whether or not they choose to be happy.

It also makes you realize that no one can make you happy or unhappy. No one can get inside your heart and push the happy button or the miserable button. It's pretty shocking to realize that if you are unhappy that you have chosen to feel that way.

There are bad things that happen to us and pretending they're not or ignoring them is called denial. I'm not advocating denial. I'm suggestion that we can accept that a situation is bad but also look for possibilities for change and growth, strengths to be gained and opportunities to reach out.

Our personal lives are created by our attitudes and choices. Change your thoughts and change your life.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Mayflower Blooms

The Mayflower bloomed today. I was sitting on the deck at lunch time reading and finally the beautiful perfume registered in my brain. It's thick and heady and so fragrant.

It's so amazing how quickly it happens. Yesterday when I was out in the yard working, there was no perfume, no flowers blooming. Then poof, today they all open up and gift the world with their unique blessing.

It's amazing how each living thing is designed to fulfill the measure of its creation. It just goes about doing what its supposed to do. It doesn't get hung up about whether its perfect enough, or whether its big enough or beautiful enough. It blooms where its planted.

Oh to be like the Mayflower tree, content to bloom where I'm planted and to fulfill the measure of my creation.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Thoreau

I found an interesting quote today:

I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by a conscious endeavor.                                                       Henry David Thoreau.

I think about that a lot. That our conscious endeavors can actually change our life. Or perhaps our perception of life. Every single day stuff happens. It's not the great stuff I'm talking about, it's the annoying, frustrating stuff that everyone gets to deal with. I expect we all get about the same amount, equivalent to whatever our tolerance level is. Everyone's ability to cope is different. Things that you can handle easily might slay me, and vice versa.

However, it is our own attitude towards things that creates the life that we lead. Focus on the bad stuff and it becomes bigger and more important, until it takes over and becomes the center of our existence.

Focus on the good things and the same thing happens. Our perception of life becomes centered on what's good and lovely and right, and our ability to deal with the bad stuff increases. It becomes less important and less central to our everyday existence.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Springtime


Today I drove to Golden, BC. It's a small mountain town about a 2 1/2 hour drive away on the western side of the Rocky Mountains. Of course, I had to drive through the majestic Rockies, they were as beautiful as always.

Golden's spring seems to be about a week ahead of ours. The tulips and daffodils were all blooming, the cherry trees in full blossom. As I returned to my own neighbourhood, it was as if spring had arrived while I was away for the day. I saw a pink blossomed bush in full bloom just around the corner from my home. There were clumps of pale yellow daffodils in the yard by the mailbox. The lilac bushes in my yard are covered in tiny green buds that will soon be fragrant bouquets by my bedside.

Oh, how I love springtime.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Butterfly

I was eating breakfast, the sun shining brilliantly, when suddenly an orange butterfly flitted past my window. It wove an erratic path across the yard and lit on the cedar fence, almost blending into it.

I sat there crunching my cereal in a bit of a morning stupor but suddenly realized that I wanted to see the butterfly up close. I jumped up and ran outside, but I ran too fast and scared it away. It was beautiful and looked very similar to this one.

I stopped under my Mayflower tree and saw that the blossoms are almost open. Just a few more days until my yard is filled with heavenly perfume.

I'm trying to capture joyous moments whenever I can. It means living right in the moment and being here and not daydreaming the day away. It means jumping up and embracing beauty, even the fleeting beauty of a butterfly.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A Mother's Voice

Last night my daughter had to write a difficult 3-hour exam for her certification. As she left the exam she phoned me to chat. We talked for about 20 minutes then she was on her way.


This morning I read in the Calgary Herald this article:

"Mom's voice almost as soothing as a hug"
Getting a call from mom can be nearly as effective as a maternal hug for calming down after a tough event, according to a probe into the chemistry of human relationships.
Researchers measured levels of a stress hormone, cortisol, and also a comforter hormone, oxytocin, among 61 young girls who had to make a presentation in public.
The volunteers, aged seven to 12, were asked to do public speaking and then carry out an oral arithmetic test in front of an audience, according to the unusual experiment, reported on Wednesday by the British journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
Immediately after the event, a third of the girls were physically comforted by their mother; another third received a phone call from mom but did not see or touch her; and the remaining third received no support but watched a neutral film for 75 minutes.
As expected, cortisol levels, measured in saliva, soared as the youngsters became stressed by having to address the public.
But within 30 minutes of the event, cortisol concentrations returned to normal among the children who experienced direct physical contact with their mothers.
Among the speech-only group, it took somewhat longer -- about an hour -- for cortisol levels to subside to normal. But among the no-contact group, levels were still more than a third above normal at the one-hour mark.
Similarly, oxytocin concentrations peaked highest among girls who were hugged, followed by girls who were given vocal support but no physical comfort. The surge was still prominent an hour afterwards.
But oxytocin levels remained very low and flat among the "no contact" group of girls who received neither physical nor vocal support.
The findings raise intriguing questions about human evolution, say the researchers led by Leslie Seltzer of the University of Wisconsin at Madison.
Oxytocin is famous as the "cuddle" hormone, a feel-good, trust-making biochemical found only in mammals.
Past research has found that the hormone is released on physical contact, helping to cement attachment between parents and offspring and between couples.
The new experiment confirms for the first time that this powerful hormone can also be triggered by words.


Isn't that amazing? Even just hearing a mother's voice can soothe a child. I guess that explains why I still phone my mother when I need a virtual hug.




This is a photo of my daughter and me at least 12 years ago. She posted it to her Facebook account on mother's day. 


We're still hugging after all these years, but isn't it amazing that I can give her a hug over the phone with just my voice?

What a beautiful thing.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Coincidence?

Today I found out that my brother and his wife will be in Washington, DC on the same day that I'm there. Considering that neither of us have ever been there before and that we didn't plan on being there at the same time, the coincidence is mind boggling.

Considering we didn't even know each other was going there and considering that I don't believe in coincidence, my mind has been spinning things all day long. There must be meaning and reason and purpose I tell myself. After all, we live in different countries and rarely see each other, once a year is frequent for us.

If wild leaps of imagination and jumping to conclusions were actual exercises I would be in extremely good shape.

However, after much pondering, I can see no cosmic reason why the universe wants me to have dinner with my brother except that it will be nice to see him and his lovely wife and catch up.

I still don't believe in coincidence, so I will take it as a sweet blessing and revel in the joy of being reunited with my family.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Green Exercising

Well! Today I heard on the evening news about a revolutionary new way to feel good about yourself and experience more joy. It's called....Green Exercising!


Guess what Green Exercising is?  It's exercising outdoors!  Who'da thunk? Something so simple, and yet mankind has only JUST discovered it.

I exercised this evening but not outdoors, I wonder if I should feel guilty for not being green???

I like to joke and make fun of silly and ridiculous things. Looking for the humour in life is what brings laughter to our lips and joy into our hearts.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day

I realize that not everyone enjoys or celebrates Mother's Day, but I love it. I think it's a great opportunity to acknowledge all the wonderful women in our lives. Every single one of us has a mother, that is the one thing that unites us all. You can't get to planet earth without a mother.

I spent the day surrounded by great women. This morning my son and his wife made a special effort to drive across the city and attend church with me at 9am. They brought me beautiful flowers, and it was lovely to have my family sitting with me in church.

This afternoon my daughter made a fabulous dinner and had her mother-in-law and sister-in-law and me as her honoured guests.

This evening I was able to talk to my own mother on the telephone. I am so blessed to have a good relationship with my mother.

And I'm very blessed to be a mother. Of all the things in my life, being a mother is the very best.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

In the Moment

Joy is something that can only experienced in the present. There are, of course,  joys remembered, but when you first experienced them you were totally there at that joyous moment.

The more you focus on recognizing joy the more you find it in everyday moments. The key though is not to be dwelling on the past or looking towards the future, but simply being in the moment.

I am constantly surprised by things that bring me joy. I'm washing my hands under clear, warm water and smelling the fragrant soap and suddenly a feeling of joy and gratitude washes over for me for instant access to clean water.

How many thousands of times have I washed my hands and felt nothing? Busy moving from one task to the next, and there it was, something to feel joyous about and totally missing the moment.

A beautiful life is made up of many joyous moments, they are just waiting for us to recognize them and embrace them for our own benefit and joy.

What is your beautiful moment today?

Friday, May 7, 2010

Happy Re-birthday

Today it's my happy re-birthday.  A new friend sent me belated birthday wishes and an old friend took me out for lunch, we hadn't seen each other since March.

She chose Milestones, and told everyone in the restaurant that it was my milestone birthday. She even had gifts for me: beautiful place mats and a lilac candle, things that she knows I love.

The waiter brought me a complimentary birthday gelato and three double chocolate chip cookies with a sparkler. Luckily he didn't sing any silly songs.

I was totally surprised, it was a lovely thing to do and very unexpected. Some people have the gift of friendship. They know how to nuture friendships and make life just that much better.

I feel abundantly blessed by the gift of friendship with so many good people. I want to be a better friend and spread joy and happiness. I have many good role models. Life is good.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Taste Bud Heaven

This evening I sipped from the goblet of the nectar of the gods. My daughter made me a fresh fruit smoothie in her Magic Bullet. It had 5 raspberries, 1 strawberry, an apple and an orange. I have never tasted anything so divinely delicious.

It was pure heaven and my beautiful moment of the day! And, I can still taste it an hour later, I have happy taste buds.

I believe joy can be found in eating food. But it has to be the right food. I don't think junk food brings anyone joy.

My new mission in life is to identify foods that bring pure joy and start incorporating them into my life. I am tired of dull, tasteless, boring food.

Bring on the beautiful, joyful food!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Choosing

More about lists tonight. Along with yesterday's list from the nineties I also found lists of foods I like, things that bring me pleasure, things that nurture my soul and even things I dislike.

I think these lists are very important because you can identify things that bring you joy and then go about incorporating more of those things into your life.

The same thing goes for things you don't like. If you have a clear concept of what you don't like and what's not acceptable you can work to minimize the occurrences in your life or change your attitude about them if they can't be removed, or learn to adapt.

Kind of like the bad weather we've been having. I don't like it but I can't change it. So my options are:

  • move to a more temperate climate
  • rejoice that the moisture will help the farmers
  • accept that this kind of weather is normal for these parts and deal with it
  • grumble and complain and be miserable
This is a picture taken today of icicles hanging off the newly budding lilac bush.

There are other things on my dislike list that I can totally control. Things like heavy metal music, horror and violent movies, and reality TV shows. I can choose not to have any of these things in my life. 

What a wonderful gift we have: free agency. I can choose joy or I can choose misery.

I choose JOY.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Lists

I'm a list person. I make lists for everything. Today I was looking through an old file and found a list of things I wanted to do in the early nineties. It was from a different lifetime when I was a full time mom with young children at home. I looked at the things I accomplished:

  • create a ribbon box for gift wrapping
  • upholster Crystal's mirror
  • decorate topiaries
  • put ribbons on hearts
And the things I never ever did get done:
  • sew a slip cover for the exercise mat
  • decorate journal
  • make a wreath out of dried flowers
  • paint mail box
 It was my season  to be a homemaker back then and I was very happy. 

There are no crafts waiting to be done on any of my lists now. I don't even like doing crafts anymore. The thought makes me shudder. It's interesting to see how some of my interests change over the years.

Now is my season to grow spiritually and emotionally. I'm happy right where I am.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Brilliant Descendants

My 24 year old son took the time today to figure out the dividends on my investments and sent me an email explaining them. It gave me a thrill of pleasure that my son is so knowledgeable and can help me figure things out.

My daughter came over this evening to help me with my fitness training. I am so out of shape and she was very encouraging and positive.

It is interesting to be on the receiving end of help from my children. This is new.

Then I was discussing plans with my four year old grandson. I explained that his dad would be dropping him off at my house on Wednesday so that I could take him to soccer. "But you need a car seat!" he exclaimed. Another brilliant and smart descendant of mine, clearly analyzing the situation and identifying a problem. It was fun to discuss how to solve it with him and come up with a solution.

I am smiling.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Connecting Joy

I like pondering on joy. I believe that joy comes from inside us. Happiness and pleasure are outside stimulus whereas, joy, is something you carry with you. I realize you can't feel joy every moment of your life. There needs to be opposites in order to experience anything. Yet, once we learn what joy feels like and how to experience it, we can draw upon it when we need it, even in trying times.

I see joy as a very simple emotion. It is different from ecstasy. Ecstasy is perhaps more unpredictable and short lived. Joy is more attainable and more sustainable. We can find joy in very simple things, like the colour of a flower or the song of a bird. The smile of a stranger or the aroma of something delightful.

Joy is connecting with people you love and valuing their part in your life. Joy feels....good.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Wedding Fun

Young love. I attended a wedding reception this evening for one of my son's friends. It's fun to see these little boys grow up and get married. Tim and Elise, such a lovely couple.

Cody & Sophie came over to my place afterwards to visit. It's interesting to look back on my blog and see that most of the beautiful moments in my life revolve around the people I love. I am so blessed to have a loving family.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Snow and Shine

Yesterday blizzarding snow and power outages, today brilliant sunshine. I wonder if the farmers got all the moisture they needed from that huge dump of snow?

Spring weather in Calgary is so unpredictable, it's almost predictable. Pick a type of weather and you're sure to be 100% right sooner or later.

I do love it here, and I'm glad I live where I do. Life is good.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Lovely

Spent a wonderful evening with good friends and good food. It was Birthday club night at Karyn's home. The RS presidency make a gourmet dinner for all the ladies who's birthdays are that month.

Right now, my angels down the hall are singing softly and sweetly.

Such a lovely end to such a snowy wintry spring day.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Designing

Spent the afternoon immersed in designing a large and beautiful custom home. I can lose track of time when I'm designing, it certainly makes the day go faster.

It's like putting a puzzle together. All the pieces form a beautiful picture, but they have to fit just right.

I need to always remember how much I love to design and how it feeds my soul. Creativity is soul food.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

VTs & HTs

Had my visiting teachers and my home teachers come by this evening. I really like both programs and am glad that I have them in my life.

People caring about people. It makes the world just a little bit nicer place to live. I'm so glad that I live right here, right now.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Keys

This morning I couldn't find my keys. Like really couldn't find them. I never lose my keys. Finally I called my daughter who reminded me that I had given them to my son last night to unlock the door as we all returned from our family photo session. "oh yeah". It took me about an hour to track him down as I didn't even have his work number. Sure enough he had them in his coat pocket. Then he asked me the obvious question: "Don't you have a spare key to your car???"  "oh yeah"

Why didn't I think of that?

I guess that's why you give birth to children. So they can take care of you in your old age. Sheesh.

I love having children, even adult children who take my keys home with them. I'm thankful to have my kids living here in the same city. I'm thankful that we are so close and love each other. Families. I'm so glad I have my own. Hopefully they will choose a nice home for me to live in when I've lost all my marbles!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Finally Getting It

I spoke in Church today. My talk was on the topic of repentance. Repentance is something I never really understood clearly until I was in my forties. I thought that repentance was something that was painful and hard to do. I didn't understand that repentance is a gift from God, a blessing to help us feel happier and better, a way to overcome our shame and embarrassment of the mistakes we always make.

There is no down side to repentance,  only good things come from it. It helps us reach higher and do better and become the kind of person we'd really like to be. I have come to a point in my life where I am thankful for the blessings of repentance.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Happy Birthday to Me

Today is my birthday. I'm one of those people who makes a big deal about people's birthdays. I always baked and decorated crazy and imaginative cakes for my kids. I love to honour my loved ones on their birthdays. I think everyone should get a special day to celebrate the day they arrived here on earth.

I spent the day exactly how I pleased. In the morning I attended Women's Conference and sat beside my dear friend Dawn. The luncheon was delicious, it's always great to get a good home cooked meal. Thick chowder, spinach/strawberry salad, homemade buns. mmMMmmMMmm.

In the afternoon I had an hour long massage and then an hour long pedicure. - French, you know. I wrapped up the evening with my daughter. We ate pizza at Mitillini's and then saw a movie The Last Song. A bit of a tear jerker, and definitely not my style - teen romance. But it was fun to be with my daughter and we had some good laughs at the expense of the movie.

I have received many salutations from my friends and family, they make me feel special and remembered. Tomorrow my family will come over to celebrate the big day. We are going to have a family portrait done. I want to remember this day with a picture of how we all looked. I even want my dogs in it. It's supposed to be taken outside, but it's snowing like crazy out there right now. I guess we will all bundle up.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Mountain Girl


I took this picture today in the Kananaskis outside of a home that I designed last year and is now under construction. 

The views of the snow covered mountains today were spectacular. It was a beautiful day to drive into the mountains. At the lower elevations the deciduous trees were just barely leafing out. They looked like they had a green mist just settling on their bare branches. Up higher, there was about 4 inches of freshly fallen snow that glistened in the brilliant spring sunshine. 

I don't know what it is about mountains but they are part of me, a part that greets me like a long lost friend whenever I take the time to visit them. I feel joy just looking at their splendid majesty.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Answered Prayers

I received Gerber daisies and a birthday card from the sister missionaries, thanking me for letting them stay in my home and telling me that I was an answer to their prayers.

That really humbled me and made me all teary eyed. You don't very often get to be an instrument in God's hands to answer someone's prayers.

When I was asked to have them stay with me for two months my instant answer was yes. I live in this beautiful home all by myself and I wanted to be like my friend Brenda who also lives in a beautiful home with a spare bedroom. She said that she consecrated her home to whoever needed a place to stay. Even I stayed with her for an entire month when I was in need.

They are beautiful young women and it is a total honour and privilege to have them in my home, I feel so blessed to have them here. They add to the serenity and peace of my home.

I guess, in reality, they also are an answer to my prayer that I be an instrument in God's hands for His good.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Bats

One of my clients introduced me to the world of bats last summer when I visited their site out in the Cranbrook area. I unlearned a bunch of wrong information such as bats are not blind, they are not flying mice, and they won't get tangled into your hair. Today they gave me a book all about bats with the inscription:

Thanks for all the help you've given us as we work on building our "bat house"!


 What is it with books this month? In my 10 years in this job I have never been given books as thank you gifts and this is the second one this month!



On top of that, with my new found knowledge, I encouraged some friends who live by a slough to set up a bat house to attract bats to eat all the mosquitoes.  Here is the picture they sent me yesterday.  Apparently they have named this lovely edifice after me! Oh the honour!

Life is so much fun!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Mayflower

Today suddenly my Mayflower tree burst into full leaf. Every leaf has the beginnings of the blossoms that will bloom in a couple of weeks filling my backyard with the most heavenly perfume.

I am so blessed to have an established yard with mature trees!

I puttered around my yard getting out all my chairs and moving flower pots and setting up my deck for summer. I love the warmth of the sun, my spirits were so high today, it was a lovely day.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Firsts

Life is good. I took my dogs for a walk to the park and watched my grandson play his very first soccer game ever. He was so adorable in his little soccer uniform,shin pads and cleats. I thought his father was going to burst, he was so excited watching his son playing.

It's the circle of life, not so long ago I was standing on the sidelines watching my own kids play soccer.  I can never decide whether time is flying by or standing still.

Beautiful spring weather today. I saw a purple crocus blooming in my neighbour's garden. It's the little things in life that make every day a jewel.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Blowing Kisses

I was surrounded by my family all evening as we celebrated my daughter's birthday. I have been blessed with such good people in my life. Tonight's touching moment was when my granddaughter Julianna was saying goodbye. She must hug and kiss everyone.  As she walked down the sidewalk to their car she kept turning and blowing me kisses.

She spreads so much love and joy in my heart.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Birds in my Tree

Last night I opened my bedroom window before I went to sleep. I love sleeping with the window open but up until now it's been too chilly at night. This morning about 5am I was awakened by birds singing in the tree outside my window. It's been a long time since I've heard those pretty notes.

It feels like spring might really be here if the birds are singing!

Birds singing in my tree brings a smile to my face.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Women for Women

The worst thing you can do is nothing!
I heard this statement at lunch today and it struck me profoundly. I was listening to Janice Eisenhauer give a presentation on Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan to a bunch of Rotarians. I was a guest along with Iris and Carol, invited by Carolyn Christensen, Iris's management partner at Remax.

Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan is an organization Eisenhauer started in 1996 to help women and children in Afghanistan obtain education and human rights. It sounds like they are doing exactly what Greg Mortensen of "Stones into Schools" is doing, only Canadianized.

I felt uplifted and enriched listening to the successes they've had in helping so many women.

I know I attended this luncheon for a reason, it has a bigger purpose in my life than just feeding my belly. I can just feel it in my belly. Now to figure it all out.

Check out their website: Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Good Hair Day

One should always be grateful for a good hair stylist. I've had mine for at least 15 years. I am blessed to have such a good relationship with her and to trust her with my curly hair. I always have a good hair day when she does my hair.

We truly are blessed by people who are talented and use their talents to help others get what they want. I want to look good and Anita does her best! Thank you Anita and all the people out there doing their jobs to the best of their ability. It's a great world when you think about it.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Clients to Friends

I received a lovely, HUGE, book from some happy clients today along with a heartfelt thank you inscribed on the inside cover. It's over 900 pages long and features over 5000 plants.

I've been working with them for four years and finally their home is going to begin construction next month.

I sure do meet wonderful people in my line of work and some of them become friends instead of just clients.

What a thoughtful gift for someone who loves to garden! I wonder how they knew?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Birthday Thoughts

Another sleepover with my grandkids last night and all day today. They are such interesting and entertaining little people.  I spent the day reflecting on the last 26 years and the circle of life, as today was their mother's birthday. We made her birthday cards and I think they understood the concept of her special day.

It's a special day for mothers too, to remember a lifetime of raising a child and having the happiness of seeing them successful in love and life and moving forward in a productive and meaningful life.

Happy Birthday Crystal.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Singing

I sang in the choir today. Music is always a beautiful thing in my life.

There was a quartet at church today that sang "Be Still and Know That He is God". It was so beautiful. I need to find that music to listen to for myself.

Tuned In

I am really learning to tune into joy. I feel it all the time. I think it's available round the clock, but maybe I get busy or forget, but every time I go looking for it, and even when I'm not looking, there it is, just waiting to be experienced.

I'm walking around with a silly grin on my face.

Joy is a gift from God. We just have to open ourselves up to it, to recognize it and then tap into it. I have felt joy even in the darkest moments of my life, when I've taken the time to pray and be still and know that God is.

Friday, April 9, 2010

On Cloud Nine

I had such an amazing day. I taught my first seminar out in the big world at the Log & Cottage Show. This has been a goal of mine for so many years and to finally achieve it has left me flying high on cloud nine.

There were technical difficulties: the mic squealed and filled the entire building with that horrible, ear piercing screech that leaves people twitching.  The organizers had to find another mic and half undress me to get it out from the back of my pants and up inside my jacket, all in the middle of my presentation in front of the audience.

But it was all cool. My training at Toastmasters has paid off and I was totally unfazed. And I get to do it all over again tomorrow!

So happy. So joyful.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Other gardens

...the garden of the Lord. Joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving and the voice of melody.                  2 Nephi 8:3
When I read this verse this morning it caught at my heart and I thought about my garden from the nineties. The nineties is when I fell in love with gardening, well, flower gardening, not vegetables. I had a lovely garden of roses and irises and many colourful perennials. I found much joy and gladness in my garden. I have never had another garden like it. But someday I will.

....there will be other gardens...

....there will be other gardens...I truly believe this.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

People of Paradise

People amaze me. I spent the evening at the annual general meeting of my community and then a couple of hours afterwards socializing with the board members. I am impressed by the people who volunteer to make our neighbourhood a better place to be. It's nice to be around others who are contributing to society.

I really enjoy my volunteer position as the community newsletter editor. It feels good to be offering my services and I feel like I'm making a positive difference. I like the people I work with on the newsletter, they are good people.

It's a great place to live: my own little piece of paradise.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Yoga

Went to my first ever yoga class this evening. OUCH. That was not the beautiful moment of my day! However, my friend Karyn took me to her club and was so kind and understanding when after about 10 minutes I pooped out. I watched for another 20 minutes and then she suggested we leave. I was happy to do so and thankful for her thoughtfulness. It's going to take a lot of work before yoga becomes a beautiful thing in my life. Luckily our friendship is a beautiful thing.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Joy School

Today I learned a new word: it's Joyologist.  A joyologist is someone who teaches other people how to have joy. They are obviously an expert in identifying joy and experiencing its every facet.

I have been a student of joyology (another new word today, I kid you not, I did not make up these words) for several months now.

I believe that joy is a gift from God and that it is available to anyone who seeks it. Like any of God's blessings, joy is given to those who understand what it is and recognize it and give thanks for it. Recognizing joyous moments leads to more joy. Being open to receiving joy and cherishing it and valuing it will only increase its abundance in your life.

I am enjoying living in joy.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Precious Jewels

It's been 48 hours since I last blogged. I missed last night, not because I didn't have something to write about, but the jewels of my life, my beautiful grandchildren spent the night with me. None of grandma's tricks could get them to go to sleep so finally at 10pm I gave up and turned out the light and went to sleep with them.

I spent 24 hours with these precious little ones, they are so sweet and happy. I am so blessed to have this time with them.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Opportunity Knocks

I am always open to listen to any opportunity that comes my way. Interestingly enough, this morning, the fellow I get to do all the flooring for my projects hooked me up with a window covering manufacturer and his factory rep. In the process, he offered me a deal to use his showroom and order any window coverings for my clients at his cost.

It seems to be out of the generosity of his heart as he won't make a dime off my business. He even offered to give me a key to his showroom. I asked him why, and he really didn't say why. I do send him some business, not a huge volume, but some. He is my exclusive flooring supplier and we have a friendly and respectful business relationship.

My assistant thinks there is a deal behind the scene that I don't know about, but I will take him at his word and feel very blessed for this contact which may open some interesting doors for me.

This is the second time this week that someone has offered to help me above and beyond their call of duty.
Wouldn't it be a beautiful world if we all treated each other this way?

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Encircled

I like to write down inspirational scriptures in my journal, so that I can look back over them and feel uplifted again. This morning this is what I recorded:

...I am encircled about eternally in the arms of His love.            2 Nephi 1:15
What a beautiful and comforting thought. I am a beloved daughter of God and worthy of many blessings. I choose to keep His commandments and to love him because it brings me joy.

Today I reflected on all the people who love me and have chosen me to be part of their lives. My parents and siblings. My children, their wonderful spouses and my grandchildren.

I realize that initially your family doesn't choose you, but eventually they can choose to be part of your life or not and I am profoundly grateful to know that all my family chooses to be part of my life.

My friends...I have the most beautiful and gracious friends. These are people who also choose to be part of my life. . I am encircled about by people who love me.

I am richly and abundantly blessed

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Nice

People are basically good. I have been talking with a variety of people today, gathering information for how I want to handle my finances, and everyone has been helpful and cheerful and kind. Manners and common courtesies smooth our daily interactions. It's good to meet good people. Oh! That reminds me of my favourite Frank Burns (M*A*S*H) quote:

It's nice to be nice to the nice.
You have to imagine Frank wringing his hands and Hot Lips rolling her eyes. It always makes me giggle.

Overall most people are doing the best they can and I appreciate that. I will not let a few deadbeats ruin my experience with the many who are good. I am very blessed.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Compliments

Today I received a genuine compliment. It made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside, and the feeling lasted for several hours, keeping a smile on my face. I wish I could bottle this feeling and keep it for a rainy day!

Note to self: Give out more genuine compliments to others.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Making Music

I attended choir practice today. I love singing with a group of people, I particularly like to sit in front of the men, because I enjoy hearing their parts right up close. We are singing "Oh My Father" and it sounds lovely with the harmony. Making music is a beautiful thing.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Faux Spring

The sun shone brilliantly today and temperatures were in the mid teens, I want to believe it's spring but I have lived here 32 years and I know there are at least two if not three more large dumps of snow before spring really arrives.

As I drove home this evening from visiting friends who live east of the city, my heart was so happy. Everything feels right. My cup runneth over with blessings.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Just Say Yes to Blessings

I walked over a manhole cover today that was completely decorative, it had vines and flowers in raised relief on it. It quite caught my fancy and I was thinking that it might be my weird and wacky but beautiful moment HOWEVER of course it was blown out of the water when I got home from Toastmasters and there was a phone message from the Stake President. Upon calling him back he asked me if I'd be willing to host the sister missionaries for the next two months. I, of course, leaped at the chance. One does not say no to big blessings like that.

I am exceptionally excited. They move in tomorrow! My home is completely ready for them, it's been just sitting here waiting to be used.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Faith

I am learning to be happy and content in the place where I am planted. When I'm fully here, engaged in living my life to the best of my ability, there comes a sense of sweetness and peace. A feeling of joy to just be here.

I have absolutely no idea what the future holds for me. However, I have faith that my life is in God's hands and that whatever comes I will be able to handle it and learn from it and continue to move forward. So until notified of a change of plans, I will continue to do what I do best and pray for direction each day.

This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Challenging Flowers

Tonight was the last class of my level one floral design program where we learned how to make a spiral hand tied bouquet. It was extremely challenging. It is so amazing to be doing something that I love but is difficult to learn.

Therein lies the secret to enjoying life. Taking on challenges that stimulate you and stretch you and allow you to learn and grow. While I was struggling to create my spiral I was totally engrossed in the task at hand and all other thoughts and worries disappeared.

Then at the end there is the satisfaction of learning a new skill. I will certainly need more practice at spiral bouquets, but they are lovely to look at and great as hostess gifts.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Long Distance Relationship

I called my friend Lucy who lives in Newfoundland this evening, just to chat. She's been gone 2 1/2 years, yet we can pick up a conversation like she lives around the corner. That's what good friends are all about. Talking to her was my sweet moment for the day.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Triple the Blessings

We had a family dinner at my son's home this evening.  It's all about the family. I am so grateful for a wonderful family and it's so lovely to be together and share a meal. We are so blessed that we all love each other and get along and actually want to spend time together. I'm amazed that I've gone from two descendants to six, I've tripled my blessings!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Ponder Moment Epiphany

Today is the third month anniversary of my blog. For the past 90 days I have looked for and found something beautiful, something to savour, or the hand of God manifest in my life in some small way.

Some nights I sit down to write my blog and my mind is empty. I say to myself that nothing blog-worthy happened today and I might as well go to bed and skip it. However, I truly believe that something good happens every day, something to be grateful for, to be thankful for, to savour. That's when I go and brush my teeth while I review the day moment by moment. If nothing has arisen by the time my pearly whites are gleaming, I wash my face and get ready for bed. Always! by the time I'm ready for bed I have found something worth remembering about my day.

Which brings me to that ponder-moment...every single day I have found something, and I wonder if every day of my life has been this way and I never noticed or if because I'm noticing and recording that I'm attracting more goodness into my life. I feel like I've had more serendipity in the past 90 days than I have had in my entire life, all added up.

Take today for example. No plans of any kind except to be by myself, then my friend Karyn calls and invites me out to dinner with her and her husband. We had a marvelous evening of talking and sharing and eating Thai food. We stopped for gelato on the way home and then they came in and visited for a few moments. I have that warm happy feeling that comes from spending quality time with people I really like.

This is my epiphany: That focusing on the beautiful moments in life changes your heart. I believe it changes the very core of who you are and you begin to attract the things you focus on. Whatever you focus your attention on is what you get.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Happiness...It's a Great Thing

I had an hour long phone conversation with my daughter this evening as she locked up her work and drove home. Although we chat often, we don't often get to talk for long as either I'm working or her kids need something. Just like last week when I got to talk to my son, I feel equally joyful for the time that I spent talking to my daughter.

She has a wonderful husband, she's one of the luckiest girls on the planet. And her happiness brings me happiness.

When your children are happy, even when they're adults, it's a great thing.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Feeling Good

I have such an abundance of interesting activities to occupy my time. This evening I was the Toastmaster for the International Speech Competition at my club. I had set a goal or objective to not read from my notes while speaking. I didn't even take my notes up to the front with me, which was risky because I was introducing speakers and their speech titles and interviewing contestants. I really enjoyed myself and didn't particularly mess up any portion of the evening so that was fun. I left feeling good.

I am so blessed to be surrounded by good people. I have great friends, interesting clients and fun people to interact with. I feel very happy.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Stones into Schools

I just finished reading the book by Greg Mortenson "Stones into Schools." It is the story of his efforts to build schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan for girls. What an amazing feat!

I was moved by the efforts of the many people who risked their lives and dedicated all their time to helping educate the poorest people in these countries. They go where no other agency, government or not, goes and empower the locals to help build and run their schools.

I am overwhelmed and boggled and in wonderment of one man's efforts and where they have taken him today. His philosophy is that to gain lasting peace you must educate the girls. He has a saying:

Educate a boy and you educate an individual, educate a girl and you educate an entire community.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Angel Friend

Good friends are the angels in my life. I am blessed with a multitude of dear friends. I am surrounded by outstanding women who love me and care about me and lift my spirits.

My friend Karyn drives me to our floral design class every week. She says that I must be tired from working all day and that she's happy to do it. All my offers to drive are gracefully turned down. Truthfully, I am tired and it's lovely to be chauffeured. And I am enjoying our class together, it is so fun to learn something new with a friend!

Good friends are a blessing from God, and I have been blessed abundantly.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Lilies and Tulips

These white lilies have been perfuming my bathroom and bedroom for almost two weeks. This is the second set of tulips I've combined with the lilies.

To make the bouquet seem bigger, I've placed it against the mirror so that I have double the blooms!

I am so blessed to have flowers in my life. They truly lift my spirit and touch my heart.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Sweet Kids

Today I had the unexpected pleasure of teaching the eight year olds in Primary. I had the beautiful Kiddle twins, Emily and Elora, Riley Turner and Megan Sherwood. Such bright children with beautiful testimonies of Jesus Christ. It was a sweet blessing to be with these kids and they touched my heart and brightened my day.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Just Plain Blessed

I feel blessed today. I had the day off work. I dawdled over lunch with Brenda at the tea house as we talked and talked and talked. She has such deep insights into my life, it's wonderful to have a friend who knows me so well.

I thought I would be spending a quiet evening alone, but my son called to invite himself over while his wife attended a bridal shower. He brought dinner and we talked and talked and talked. It's so wonderful to have children who are bright and strong and leading extraordinary lives.

I feel blessed today.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Good Day

I need to savour the days when I experience a lot of success to buoy me up on the days that don't have high points. This was a bit of a crazy day. I sold a home package in the early afternoon. A big package, one I've been working on for months. It was unexpected for today. The clients just called me up and asked if I was free to see them. I fit them in and they pulled out their cheque book and voila! the sale was closed. Sweet serendipity.

In the late afternoon I brought a guest to Toastmasters where I was the Toastmaster. I enjoy running the meeting and felt good about the job I did. My guest loved the meeting and wants to join. How fun!

Then in the evening I went to the home of a client of one of the Realtors in our club to do a Home Staging Consultation. I felt like I did another good job, the clients seemed to be very happy with the advice I gave them.

I've been designing homes for 27 years now. I feel confident in my skills. I'm in a good place. It was a good day.

Basket of Fun


Another floral creation, this time a basket of flowers. It has lilies and carnations, daisies and other flowers. Flowers make me happy. This one is sittin on my desk at work and bringing pleasure to me every minute.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Son Shine

I had just sat down to write in my blog. It was going to be about the lovely basket of flowers I created at my floral design course tonight. Then the phone rang and it was my son calling. I so rarely get to talk to him these days that I savoured every minute of our half hour conversation while he caught me up on his life with his bride of six months.

As much as I love being an empty nester, I miss the daily contact I had with him when he lived at home and it's been a bit of an adjustment. So my heart is all happy that I am up to date on his job, schooling and life in general.

You never stop being a mother. Thank Heavens!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Creating Beauty

Another home cooked meal tonight, this time at Deb's home. Homemade French onion soup thick with cheese and a lovely chicken salad. I have truly been fed well this past week.

However, I had to earn my supper! I had Deb look through decorating magazines and a webpage of interior designs and just pick out ones she liked. She was flabbergasted to discover that she loves white wood and grey and silver accents. Her home has blue walls, oak cabinets and trim and red furniture and dark wood. No wonder why she doesn't like her home.

I enjoyed helping her discover what her tastes and style are. I wrote out two pages of things she could do to redecorate her home as time and means become available. It felt good to help her. I like doing things like that. I enjoy creating beautiful spaces that uplift the soul. I am blessed to have this talent.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Books

I went over to visit my daughter and her family this afternoon. Two year old Julianna was tired and ready for a nap. She was clinging to her mother and crying and giving me dirty looks. Every time I looked at her she'd turn her head away and say "no!"  Then suddenly she slid off her mom's lap went to the book shelf and got a book and climbed up onto my lap, happy as could be. That last maybe two minutes.

I'm very happy to be known to my grandchildren as the grandma who reads them books. If I can give them the gift of loving to read, it will be one of my greatest accomplishments.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Goodbye Old Friend

Today I said good-bye to an old friend. I bought this couch brand new 10 years ago to start off my new life as a single mom. Last fall it was relegated to the garage and finally today I put an ad up on Kijiji to re-home it. I gave it away for free, it was time for it to move on.

A young couple driven by their dad came by and loaded it into his truck. They said they were living in a basement and sitting on the floor.

The sun was shining and I opened up the garage and swept it clean. Spring fever has gripped me. What a beautiful day!

Friday, March 5, 2010

More Serendipity

This evening on my way home Maxine called and invited me over for dinner. I didn't have a chance to eat dinner last night between Toastmasters and the symphony so it was another sweet serendipity.

Two home made dinners in one week, that's gotta be a record for this year. And really, come to think of it, I'm going to a potluck dinner on Sunday and dinner over at Deb's on Monday...I'm on a roll! Free Food!

Tchaikovsky

Another day of sweet serendipity. I got home too late last night to record my beautiful moment, but I went to the Jack Singer Concert Hall to hear the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra play Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto and Symphony No. 6. My friend Deb had an extra ticket and I was her guest for the evening.

A lovely young Japanese woman, Mayuko Kamio, played the Violin Concerto. She was extremely talented and I was entranced by her playing.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Good Eats

It's always sweet serendipity when you get invited to dinner on the spur of the moment. Iris invited me to stay for dinner after my singing lesson. I am still savouring such an enjoyable homemade meal: steak and potatoes, steamed asparagus, corn & peas, garden salad and then fresh fruit salad and gingerbread cookies. MMmmMMmmMMmm. A good meal that someone else cooks can wipe away all the cares of the day. Life is good.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Fun Flowers

Another delightful evening learning how to design with flowers and daydreaming about filling my life with flowers.

 Karyn and I are going to take the whole certificate program together. We're planning to teach a flower arranging class for Relief Society together.

I'm so grateful for this opportunity to learn something new and to expand my horizons and to bring home beautiful floral arrangements! Life is fun.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Rapt

I'm reading a book called RAPT - Attention and the Focused Life  by Winnifred Gallagher.  The material is fascinating even if the writing is dull. The book reads more like a scientific report.  However, it confirms my little project here. She writes on page 49:

Even in very difficult situations, if's often possible to find something to be grateful for, such as others' loving support, good medical care, or even your own values, thoughts, and feelings.  Focusing on such a benign emotion isn't just a "nice thing to do," but a proven way to expand your view of reality and lift your spirits, thus improving your ability to cope.
The premise of the book is that what you focus your attention on helps create your reality. Therefore, if you tend to focus on the negative things in life, you experience life in a negative way. Certainly, my experiment with looking for the beautiful moment each day has enriched my life and lifted my spirits. By recording something every day I am creating a pattern of joy and happiness that carries into all aspects of my life.

I'm quite fascinated with the whole concept. Imagine four people hiking up a gentle mountain slope. One person has a bird book and binoculars and is focusing on locating and identifying birds. Another carries a wild flower book and is busily identifying flowers. Another stops repeatedly to take in the panoramic vista that presents itself from such lofty heights. The last person has a blister on their heel and is limping the whole way.

Each person has walked the same trail and arrived at the same destination at the same time, however, each person has had a vastly different experience based on what they focused their attention upon. It's amazing to realize that the person right beside you is experiencing life in a totally different way from you. That no two people experience life in exactly the same way. We truly create our own realities by what we focus on and equally by what we tune out.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Pick Me Up

Some days I just need a little pick-me-up.  Josh Groban - You Are Loved  this oughta do it.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

I Believe

I am surprised that I have enjoyed watching the Olympics this time. I really haven't watched them since 1988 when they were in Calgary.

Today after working the home show, I watched the men's gold medal curling match. Ok. I have absolutely and completely no idea what the rules are or how to score, even after watching them play 10 ends. Even the language was completely foreign - it sounded like they were speaking English but the words made no sense!

I cleaned the kitchen, clipped Rocco's nails, did the laundry and read a book while I watched...come on....some people say curling is exciting...yawn...men playing with brooms....even the Prime Minister was there watching...am I missing something....?

Oh well, in the last end, the audience spontaneously started singing our national anthem. I loved that. And incredibly, our country has won 13 gold medals, that's most any country has ever won at a winter Olympics. We might even break the record tomorrow with the men's hockey team.

I really like the Olympic theme song, it's uplifting and inspiring.  I Believe - The Olympic Theme Song

Friday, February 26, 2010

A Small Kindness

Home show season is exhausting. I didn't get out of the show home until 4pm, and I needed to be down at the home show by 4:30 and I still had to feed my dogs. There was no time left to eat. My day had been stressful to the max and so my assistant Peggy pulled together a "lunch" of stuff out of the office fridge and packed it up for me so I'd have something to eat. It was a kind gesture, and some days that's all you need is someone to go the extra mile to help you out.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Happy 200th Chopin

This evening, after a long hard day at the home show, I attended a piano concert given by Jan Lisiecki. He is a 14 year old prodigy who plays the piano like he was born in a piano. The entire concert was devoted to Chopin, it's his 200th birthday in a few days. As well, he accompanied a string quartet for part of the concert. The music was divine and so uplifting.

It was a benefit concert for Unicef, and Jan was presented with the Youth Volunteer of the Year Award for 2009.

My dad and I watched a documentary about him at Christmas, so when I had the chance to buy tickets for his concert I jumped at it. Even though I was dead tired, I went anyway, and was touched and soothed by the music. It was truly a beautiful concert.

Here's a little taste of his playing: Jan Lisiecki - Chopin Andante Spianato and Grande Polonaise 2