Beauty in the Ordinary

This is not about being brilliant, or extraordinary, it's not about wanting to be famous, or making headlines, or trying to impress...this about sharing a 'gift' each day with the lift the spirit of people when they read this blog, to show them the beauty in the ordinary.
"And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don't believe in magic will never find it." Raold Dahl

Monday, May 31, 2010


V. It's June!
My favourite month! Why? I'm not sure.
There have been so many things that have laid dormant inside me for so long...perhaps it's because I'm a late bloomer! But June instills in me an energy to spring forward. It's time, it is telling me!
So as I shed my old skin, along with all the false worries of the past my step becomes lighter, my shoulders relax and and I am ready to breathe in all the new possibilities and opportunities that are out there waiting for me.
For the next while I've decided to stop looking at the latest magazine of the newest thing available, for I've noticed that it creates a stirring of uneasiness, of restlessness in myself when a look around my Little House. I've decided to recite the mantra...'All I have is all I need'.

To truly live the words...'See the Beauty in the Ordinary'.
To stop looking for the external distractions to satisfy the need for a creative expression.
All I have is all I need...I feel the rumblings of creativity rising within. I'm not sure what it will look like or where it will take me, but that's the excitement of 'giving birth'.

"All you need is deep within you waiting to unfold and reveal itself.
All you have to do is be still and take time to seek for what is within, and you will surely
find it". - Eileen Caddy

So as this month begins, within the stillness of the early morning I will create my day.
I will look within for what is waiting to reveal itself to me.
I will not rush through each glorious day.
I will co-create with unfailing belief that my every need will be met, as long as I ask for it in an unselfish way. Every answer to every problem I have will be found, and abundance will be provided to me with Divine protection on every level.
I have sowed my seeds and they have taken a very long while to push through all the layers of my false protection.

June is the month of miracles. This is it...this is why I love June for they give birth to miracles. Miracles are not imaginary longings, they are not happenings that manifest from nothing, they come from that deep place within us, a place that we so often neglect. But when the time is right those seeds that we have planted are ready to sprout and grow into the light, this is why they feel like miracles.

And in the stillness of this morning I hear you singing me on my way Peti...
"This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine...let it shine, let it shine, let it shine".

Happy June Everyone!

p.s. J. you would be proud of me...I took all those photos above
on a walk in park next to my home.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

V. As we end this week on travelling I'll leave you with a few hints of some places that I will be over the next 8 months...

It's Big!

It's educational

It's Reconnection!

It's family

It's Savasana!

To Be Continued......

Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Beauty of Returning

V. No matter where our passions take us, how far we travel, it is the returning,
the reconnecting of our hearts to our homes. As J. says "never lose sight of the here and now".
So as I look outside my bedroom window to the daily gathering of the local pigeons that are always there, feeding on bird seed that an elderly gentleman leaves there for them, they are a reminder to me of the love and security of home.
Mention pigeons to most people and they just say they are nuisance, a pest, yet how can these loving birds be so. Research pigeons and you will find their energies are linked to very gentle and loving archetype.
When I think of pigeons I think of their amazing ability to return home no matter how far they have travelled.
When I moved into this Little House I had a strong need to find my way back to the security of a home. To say I was lost is not far from the truth. I felt I had been running in all directions for over 13 years. Moving into this house helped me to remember the warmth and love that a home can give, something that I had forgotten I needed.
I watch the pigeons huddling together taking comfort in the here and now.
That is the gift of the pigeon, this humble, common, ground feeding bird. One that is in constant contact with Mother Earth, reminding me to keep my feet on the ground, my love of home in my heart, and to always return to ones who love me, and when the storms appear to take comfort in the belonging of the home and family that is always waiting there for me.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Here and now

J.  Sorry about the last post...couldn't help myself.

One last word (from me) about travel, before I take off for the weekend!
David, my new nephew, the bridegoom in our most recent family wedding, likes to say he's "Livin' the Dream'.
Sweet boy...okay his nickname is Pumpkin...really believes he is living his life's dream.  Married to the love of his life, working in a job he believes in, surrounded by family and friends who care for him, he is centered in his life-adventure.

Dave, thanks for pointing this too!  Living with the love of my life, three great kids (two I gave birth to and one my daughter married), surrounded by an incredible extended family including my most amazing sister V., embraced by sincere friends (best of all my Amiches).  All of this taking place in a part of this fabulous world called Niagara on the Lake.

Dreams, adventures...all wonderful things, but bloody hell, give my head a shake,  never loose sight of the here and now.

J.  Okay...I have new, ENORMOUS  kitchen envy.  I don't care where this is.  I WANT IT!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Are Our Dreams Our Passions?

J.  If they list is long.  I dream of being in Italy in November...when it's cold and rainy and all the tourists have left...

and I can eat big bowls of steaming-hot, toothy pasta, slathered in rich, dark marinara sauce, redolent of sultry summer days and drink big bold barolos and brunellos.

I dream of discovering parts of Canada with my family...of playing golf by the ocean in PEI, while I learn about this far off place that lies within the borders of my adopted country...all the while eating mussels and scallops and lobster pulled from the frigid waters of the northern Atlantic ocean.

I dream of laying on the earth in the northern most islands of Scotland with my sister and watching Aurora Borealis dance above our heads.  Of rushing home, frozen, to sit by a roaring fire and eat haggis with neaps and sip peaty single malt scotch.

I dream of exploring South America with my daughter and son-in-law, especially Colombia, his learn about this amazingly beautiful country that survives in spite of man-induced travesty.  I want him to lead me through the story of this land, rich in history and culture and food, and to teach me to cook ajiaco and sancocho.

I dream of sitting inside a tiny Irish pub with my husband, letting the essence of my ancestors sink into my bones and wrap black velvet ribbons around my soul  To while away an evening listening to lilting irish ballads and anticipate a dinner of soft smoked salmon and dark bitter beer.

So people, stories, history, food, my passion, and I am so very, very lucky to experience something of it almost every day.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Follow Your Passion

V. Follow your passion! Isn't that what we are always being advised to do, and for most of us that seems impossible, not because we are tied to obligations, mortgages, children, aging, it's because most of us have no idea what are 'passion' is.
We haven't stopped long enough in our busy lives to ask ourselves 'What are we passionate about?".
Well here is one beautiful young woman who did...and she just happens to be my daughter!
Katie was employed by the Government working for the Attorney General's Office here on the island. She dutifully got up each morning and made her way to the office and dutifully applied herself for the day, then dutifully clocked out at four pm.
One day she said to herself, 'Enough'...not only had she had enough, but she knew that her work her wasn't enough... for her soul.
Kahil Gibran writes "Work is Love made visible".
So it isn't enough to just show up. We must ask what is the purpose of our work?
Someone once told me that we go to work so that we may keep pace with the earth
and the soul of the earth. I like that.

So in that moment she knew she had to follow her passion. Her passion to help others heal.

Without hesitation she enrolled at the Chinese School of Medicine and Acupuncture and is now in her third year.
This girl without knowing how to pay the rent, or find the money for tuition, walked into her passion.
And her passion is now taking her to Nepal.

She is interning as an acupuncturist in the school's clinic and already has repeated requests from patients to have her treat them. Quite a compliment.
She will travel to Nepal in February of 2011 to give acupuncture to the local people in remote regions who have no access to medical treatments. The temperature in Nepal dips to around the 3 Celsius mark for most of the time she is there...and oh, there is no heating in the centre where she will be staying.
No matter, when passion is your fire.
I am always inspired by this girl of mine. By her steadfastness, her unwavering strength
and her gentle and kind heart.
This girl of mine has the hands of a healer...the hands that a tired and frightened hummingbird found one day and stayed for a moment to rest must have known of their
gift for healing.

Here is Katie and her dog 'Mr. Murray',
a rescue pup from Alabama

Coming Home

J.  It's been a crazy, crazy couple of weeks.  But now I have landed home, back to my (hopefully) quiet lifestyle.  For me, if I am happy to be home, it means it's been a great trip...fully satisfying.  Returning to the familiarity of surroundings and routine is comforting.
Lots of things planned over the next few weeks, trips to town, house-guests, and I'm keeping fingers, toes and eyes crossed...a visit from V!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


J.  Here's my joy!

All four of them!

Words on Love

V...When love beckons to you, follow him, though his ways
are hard and steep.
And when his wings enfold you yield to him,
Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.
When he speaks to you believe in him,
...Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest
branches that quiver in the sun,
So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their
clinging to the earth.
...To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day
of loving:
To rest at the noon hour and meditate love's ecstasy;
To return home at eventide with gratitude,
And to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart
and a song of praise upon your lips.
- Kahil Gibran

Even after all this time the sun
never says to the earth,
"You owe Me."
Look what happens with a love like that,
It lights the Whole Sky.
- Hafiz

Monday, May 24, 2010

J.  An important leg of the journey of my niece's life has just begun with her wedding this past weekend.  A day this young woman has dreamed about most of her young life.  She was a fairy-tale princess who drove to marry prince-charming in a horse-drawn carriage.
May their life together be filled with even more precious moments.

A reassuring mother's hand on the bride's knee before the ceremony.

All veil and pearls, peonies and crystal.

Swept away with the joy of it all

The bridesmaids wore silver shoes, and so did the pony!

Riding off...away to their new life.

But this was what it was all about.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

J.  Sometimes we travel the world, and sometimes we just travel through the day.  Both are a journey.  I've been in Florida for the past five days in a whirlwind of activity with this new business venture my husband is spearheading.
I've traveled back and forth between Fort Myers and Tampa and I've traveled further in my journey of attaining knowledge about this product.

Life is so incredibly interesting!

On Monday's return journey, Rudy treated me to a wonderful late afternoon lunch at Crab and Fin in St. Armand's circle, Sarasota.
Before the heavens opened and the rains came, big fat Florida rain-drops with the accompanying orchestra of thunder and lightening, we shared  crisp, batter-crusted calamari and then moved on to a heavenly, icy-cold Cobb Salad with sweet gulf shrimp...accompanied by a fresh, summer-only Rose.

So there is traveling to be done within the traveling.

Monday, May 17, 2010


J.  Here is somewhere I go when I want to travel but can't leave home.

Kissinger says "Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac."
I think travel is.
Travel helps you remember who you forgot to be.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

V. Our story this week begins in Hawaii, with a song of Waikiki and Diamond Head, written and sung by our most gracious family friend - Helen Hodges.
Helen also wrote of another place...Salisbury, England, and of an Old Inn there...The Rose and the Crown.
This 13 century Inn holds a special place in our hearts. Our dear sister Lynne and her husband Nigel were proprietors there for many years. I also had my wedding reception there, celebrating in its gardens, with the River Avon running through, it did have swans, and not far on the banks on the other side you could see Salisbury Cathedral in all its ancient glory.
It was breathtaking.
Let Helen's song take you on a journey to this old English village, with all the charm of a Jane Austen's novel.

In Salisbury England, on a bank of a river...
There is an Inn called the Rose and the Crown.
With swans on the river,
and an old fashioned garden, stay there in beauty
though centuries have gone
I'll always remember if my life be long, the ghost of Victoria
once maid of the inn.
She bade me to listen to these words she did say...
All that's not good will soon pass away.
But kindness and patience, mercy and love,
these are the good things we're all too little of.
Kindness and patience, mercy and love these are the
truths that will live for aye.
Prove to yourself what I say is true
by having these virtues become a part of you.
Do this, I pray thee, and you'll sow the seed,
for a harvest of peace that this world sorely needs.
Do this, I pray thee, and as you do -
Peace for the World begins with you!
Music and Lyrics
by Helen Hodges

The south of England is our birthplace and was our home for many years. I still call England home although I have lived in Canada for more years than I did there. But it is my sense of belonging, my roots that call me back to reconnect with our England, the smell of the countryside, the colour of green in its landscape that is not like any other green.
My last visit was a few years ago, it took J. and I to the Isle of Wight, a very small island off the south coast to see our sister Lynne.
After a long flight, we then had to take a train to a bus that took us to another train, that took us to a hovercraft that bumped and skimmed across the solent to the Isle.
Traveling can be exhausting especially when you have so many connections to make. But that is the beauty of England, no matter where we were, waiting for the train, or on the train, or at the bus terminal, there was always, and I mean always, a cup of tea to be found. And this was no ordinary tea, but real hot, sweet, English Tea...made with fresh boiling water, and served in a tea pot.
There were times when we both were ready to cry, trying to figure it all out, lugging our suitcases here and there, in those moments we would just look at each other and say at the exact same time...'Right, let's have some tea !".
So in the British tradition, no matter what, we shall keep clam and carry on...just as long as there is tea!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Diamond Head Straight Ahead...Waikiki below.....

J.  Since we are in Honolulu...let's stay there for a while.  This photo, taken in 1971, is of V & me with a dear, dear friend Jim Hodges.  In the background, you can see his lovely wife Helen.   Jim ran the Hilton Hawaiian Village Hotel in Honolulu and that's how our Dad and he became friends.  
We began visiting Hawaii when we were little, when Elvis Presley shot Blue Hawaii, when flying was dressing in your very best clothes and being served carved roast beef in-flight.
This picture was taken on my 18th birthday...celebrated in Hawaii...and when V. met the love of her life at just 16.  No wonder Hawaii holds a special place in her heart.
We spent days at our darling little hotel (Jim had retired by this time, so no special rates at the Hilton any more!) and then evenings with Jim and Helen at their home, listening to Helen sing and watching the magical sun set over Diamond Head.  These two darling people did everything in their power to make us feel loved and special.  
I returned to Hawaii with my husband and girls when Rudy and I started living overseas.  It was our first break out of Tokyo.  I went with a heart full of memories, thrilled that Rudy understood my desire to share this experience with him and our children.
Of course, our trip bore no resemblance to my childhood visits, but that was can't go home again, nor should you want to. Travel is about moving forward, making new memories.  Aloha!

Can't Believe It!

J.  Yikes...I've just realized I have come to Florida without my camera!  Me...who goes everywhere with it!  It must have been a consequence of getting up at 3.00 a.m. to catch the flight here.
So this week I am taking pictures with my eyes and storing them in my heart.  I'll try to describe in words what I can't show you in a photo.
I'm sitting at my computer which is in the bedroom of our home here.  The designers of this house thoughtfully made the window in this room almost wall to wall and ceiling to floor, so I sit looking at the aqua-blue of the water glimmering in the pool, the inky-blue of the lake and the soft baby-blue of the sky peppered by translucent white baby clouds.
I choose to type without my (one) contact lens (that I wear for distance) makes looking at the screen less taxing, so as a consequence my distance vision is softened around the edges.  I can see the early-morning golfers in their pretty shades of summer on the green, but can't make out faces.
It's too hot for blooming flowers at this time of year, but the leaves on all the shrubs are thick and shiny and deep shades of luscious green.
What a photo cannot capture are the sounds and smells of a scene.  The gentle hum of the pool equipment, the screech of the local cat-birds, the shushing of the wind in the palm fronds and the slapping of the waves on the water.  The deep vanilla-scented air of some plant or other than I have yet to track down.
And then there is the sensuousness of the scene...coming from the damp, cold climate of England, warm, humid air has seemed exotic to me my entire life.  I remember stepping off the plane for the very first time as a child in Hawaii, then Honolulu International Airport was a grass-topped hut and you had to leave the plane directly onto the hot squishy tarmac.  There was a beautiful Hawaiian girl waiting at the bottom of the gangplank with a lei of frangiapane that she placed around our necks and freshly-squeezed icy-cold pineapple juice waited for us in the 'terminal'.
So with this first non-visual photo from Florida V. , let's begin next week, speaking about Travel...something you and I have done since we were little...and one thing I think we both can do without ever leaving home.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Well if J. thinks she has been a blog hog.
Then I have been a blog slug.
I know that doesn't rhyme, but that is me,
a blog slug!

Anyway, it's Friday J. is in Florida and I'm relaxing at home and before this week was over
I did want to talk about books. Like J., I too have a strong passion for books and reading, and I am never without a pile of books by my bed, in my kitchen or piled on the coffee table in the living room. But what has been the most curious of things is that for the past three years I have not been able to finish a novel, other than the one's chosen for our book club monthly gathering. Before starting this post I took a look in my bookcase and shocked myself to see that almost all of the novels in there were half finished! Now that is not to say that I am not reading...oh no...that would never's just the novels that I can't seem to get myself lost in and finish. The list of books that I have been reading is too long and probably too boring for most, so I will not tell of them...I will just say that I have been on a journey of self discovery that keeps me reading books filled with words that have transformed my life. I also have this funny little belief that when you are ready for information that will change your life, the book will appear, it won't be forced upon you and will sometimes turn up in the most unusual places. So I will share one precious book...probably the book that started this whole journey of mine over ten years ago.

I was in one of my favourite shops here on the island and looking through the selection of their books. It was the end of November and I picked up this beautiful book, its light blue cover with the soft white feather drew my attention. I held it gently in my hands for some reason and then looked around to see if the bench nearby was free so I could sit and take my time to look through it. Of course, the bench was free and probably waiting for me, so I sat and practically read the whole book right there. I knew I had to have this book, but Christmas was close and I thought it a great idea to tell the kids that this would make a perfect gift for me for Christmas morning. So I placed the book back on the shelf and started to walk away. Within a few seconds I heard a thud and turned around to see the book had fallen from the shelf to the floor. I walked back to pick it up to place it carefully this time back on the shelf. It took a few minutes to find the right spot, it seemed the book just didn't want to go back.

So Christmas morning came and I was so excited to open my gift and to finally have this book in my hands. Gifts book. I was puzzled. Not that my gifts were unappreciated, it was just that I really thought I was going to get my book.

Now it's the week between Christmas and New Year, shoppers are out in huge numbers, sales are in full swing and I head directly to the shop, it was clear that I had to purchase this book for myself. All the way there I am convincing myself that I will be too late, someone else just had to have bought it by now. But, I was wrong, so wonderfully wrong. There it was waiting for me. I was so happy.
We walked home together...the romance had begun.

At this time I was attending the Humanities program at the University and my class was scheduled for that evening, so I had to rush home grab my books and leave right away. Driving home at 10:00 pm that night, I was so tired all I could think about was my soft white bed waiting for me. A quick wash, pj's on and into precious book would have to wait until tomorrow.
Well it seemed as if as soon as my head hit the pillow I was out like a light. But it didn't last long my eyes popped open at around 2:00am, I tossed and turned but just could not seem to go back to sleep. The only thing to do was to get up put the kettle on, make a hot cup of camomile tea and go back to bed, pillows propped up , snuggle back under the covers, sip my tea and read my book. For some reason I started to read this book from the back , and there on the inside flap of the back page was a photo of this beautiful dark haired woman. It said that she and her husband lived in Seattle where she held workshops and training seminars.
The next morning without any hesitation I phoned the number listed in the book. I was told that the author and her husband had now moved to California and that a week long workshop was coming up to be taught at Esalen, in Big Sur, California. Right there I gave my information and booked myself to attend. I didn't hesitate for one second.
The week at Esalen was the beginning of my journey to self discovery.

The book is Space Clearing by Denise Linn.

After Esalen I went on to attend Denise's International School of Interior Alignment, where I graduated as a Practitioner and Master Teacher of Interior Alignment, Instinctive Feng Shui.

Please visit Denise at her blog

J.  Just arrived in deliciously sunny Florida...Rudy and I have already hit the pool.  There is nothing like the feeling of warm sun on your skin.
Florida always makes me think of Hemmingway, and he takes me to The Old Man And The Sea...great story, if you haven't read it, you should.  Gotta go...I think nine-holes this afternoon!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

V. Sorry for being so silent, but it has been a Hi Ho, Hi Ho,
off to work I go week.
Then staff meetings one night, and staff get togethers other nights...
...glory be!
No time to get to the computer, but now it's Thursday and I'm back, although the sunshine outside my window is pulling at me to come out and play...what to do? about some fabulous pictures of some rooms with books?

I've found these courtesy of - Design Inspiration from Coast to Coast.

I wanted to begin with this beautiful bedroom...just a few treasured novels on the
bedside tables...perfect!

These photos are my dream for my dining room...books lining the walls...enjoy a perfect meal
with friends and loved ones...then reach for a book for after dinner conversation!
J. I'm sure you would love all of these too.

Love 'the colour purple' here and the stacks of books...
could it be that the novel is in there too?

A drink trolley for your books - brilliant!

This built in so carefully arranged with books and treasures and it
makes a wonderful transitional space from one room to another so warm and welcoming
And finally, this bookcase behind a curtain panel adds such
a clever burst of colour to the room, I doubt that it ever gets pulled though.
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