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 world...to 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

Friday, April 29, 2011

Bishop of London

Dr Richard Chartres
Archbishop of London

What a beautiful address...joyful, hopeful, tender..
for me a highlight of the entire ceremony.

That and "Jerusalem"  simply cannot listen to that hymn without crying!



Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire."  So said St Catherine of Siena whose festival day this is. 
Marriage is intended to be a way in which man and woman help each other to become what God meant each one to be, their deepest and truest selves.

Many people are fearful for the future of today’s world but the message of the celebrations in this country and far beyond its shores is the right one – this is a joyful day! It is good that people in every continent are able to share in these celebrations because this is, as every wedding day should be, a day of hope.

In a sense every wedding is a royal wedding with the bride and groom as king and queen of creation, making a new life together so that life can flow through them into the future.

William and Catherine, you have chosen to be married in the sight of a generous God who so loved the world that he gave himself to us in the person of Jesus Christ.

In the Spirit of this generous God, husband and wife are to give themselves to each other.

The spiritual life grows as love finds its centre beyond ourselves. Faithful and committed relationships offer a door into the mystery of spiritual life in which we discover this: the more we give of self, the richer we become in soul; the more we go beyond ourselves in love, the more we become our true selves and our spiritual beauty is more fully revealed. In marriage we are seeking to bring one another into fuller life.

It is of course very hard to wean ourselves away from self-centredness. People can dream of such a thing but that hope should not be fulfilled without a solemn decision that, whatever the difficulties, we are committed to the way of generous love.

You have both made your decision today – “I will” – and by making this new relationship, you have aligned yourselves with what we believe is the way in which life is spiritually evolving, and which will lead to a creative future for the human race.

We stand looking forward to a century which is full of promise and full of peril. Human beings are confronting the question of how to use wisely the power that has been given to us through the discoveries of the last century. We shall not be converted to the promise of the future by more knowledge, but rather by an increase of loving wisdom and reverence, for life, for the earth and for one another.

Marriage should transform, as husband and wife make one another their work of art. It is possible to transform so long as we do not harbour ambitions to reform our partner. There must be no coercion if the Spirit is to flow; each must give the other space and freedom. Chaucer, the London poet, sums it up in a pithy phrase:
"Whan maistrie [mastery] comth, the God of Love anon,
Beteth his wynges, and farewell, he is gon."
As the reality of God has faded from so many lives in the West, there has been a corresponding inflation of expectations that personal relations alone will supply meaning and happiness in life. This is to load our partner with too great a burden. We are all incomplete: we all need the love which is secure, rather than oppressive. We need mutual forgiveness in order to thrive.

As we move towards our partner in love, following the example of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit is quickened within us and can increasingly fill our lives with light. This leads on to a family life which offers the best conditions in which the next generation can receive and exchange those gifts which can overcome fear and division and incubate the coming world of the Spirit, whose fruits are love and joy and peace.

I pray that all of us present and the many millions watching this ceremony and sharing in your joy today will do everything in their power to support and uphold you in your new life. I pray that God will bless you in the way of life you have chosen. That way which is expressed in the prayer that you have composed together in preparation for this day:
God our Father, we thank you for our families; for the love that we share and for the joy of our marriage.
In the busyness of each day keep our eyes fixed on what is real and important in life and help us to be generous with our time and love and energy.
Strengthened by our union help us to serve and comfort those who suffer.
We ask this in the Spirit of Jesus Christ. Amen

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Royal Wedding

On the eve of the Royal Nuptials


I've been thinking....




...in 1973, just after I had emigrated to Canada
Princess Anne married Captain Mark Phillips


and up I got and watched the ceremony in the wee small hours with Rudy's Oma.



Fast forward 8 years to July 29, 1981
and I dutifully dragged myself out of bed, at 3.30 in the morning
to watch Charles and Diana tie the knot.


Now, given the sucess of these marriages perhaps, tomorrow morning, I should 
turn off the alarm and pull the blankets over my head
...maybe that way this young couple just may have 
half a chance of making it to their 10th wedding anniversary still together!
But no...today I am baking scones, chilling champagne
and there I will be, in front of the telly, teary-eyed, singing
Rule Britannia at the top of my lungs at 5 am all by my lonesome,
while hubby snores softly upstairs!



God Bless'em I say and Good Luck!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

New Beginnings...

Darling V.

Happy Easter to You, to Us...




To new beginnings...




Here we are, emerging, after a year of
enormous change for both of us.


You see, the stronger the wind blows...


the stronger the tree grows...



Full of joyfulness born from infinite gratitude...





Focused...ready to embrace this beautiful world...




What a gloriously wonderful time of the year!
Happy Easter Everyone!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Sugar...

With the Easter Chocolate Egg Fest
about to hit,
it was with some interest that I read this
article in last Sunday's New York Times Magazine:



Please read this
or watch the video



I couldn't begin to relate to you the science explained by Dr. Lustig here,
but I'm convinced.

It's been a puzzle to me for sometime now that when I
spend time in the US I always, without fail, gain weight.
We eat the same things as we do here in Canada, 
(okay, maybe we eat out a little more often),
my activity level remains the same, but even as short a stay as a few weeks
means I come home with a couple of extra pounds.
This information for me goes a long way in explaining this mystery.

Earl "Rusty" Butz and Richard Nixon have a lot to answer for.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Hot Cross Buns...

At this time of year,
I am reminded of something...



just how much I love 
HOT CROSS BUNS!



"one-a-penny
two-a-penny,
Hot Cross Buns!"



toasty warm, slathered in good butter, with a piping hot cup of tea,
mmmm.....delicious.

I was going to bake some.
Even looked at Jeanne's
fabulous recipes.

But then, I was walking passed the bakery...

and something smelled so good...



okay, Nigella wasn't really there,

but it could have been one of her recipes!

So  I bought 6...one for each of the next 6 days,
as long as I don't have to share.

Then I can forget how much I love them,
until next Easter.

Happy Easter Everyone

Monday, April 18, 2011

Lucky little me...

(leaving Florida)..."ladies and gentlemen,
90 degrees, sun is shining, fasten your seatbelts, settle back, relax,
enjoy the flight"

a mere 2 and a-half hours later...
sky is grey, plane is being bounced around like a ping-pong ball...
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN:   "WELCOME TO BUFFALO (yes the Captain is now speaking in capitals)
I HAVE TO INFORM YOU...TEMPERATURE IS -2 DEGREES, SNOW IS IN THE FORECAST." 

What the h*** just happened!

However...look what I arrived home to...


a package from Chiana


a postcard from Jeanne



pretty things


sweet words...

How could they know?

Women taking care of women,
I am so blessed.
You girls are special...love you tons!




Sunday, April 17, 2011

Good Taste

I read in the paper today that
Britain's new darling,

Kate Middleton


is going to spend her last night
as a single woman with her family at 



This hotel is my absolute favourite in London.

I've never actually stayed there, but I have been most fortunate to have dined there many times.


It's everything an elegant English hotel should be...


beautifully decorated and steeped in history


1910
Grand Opening of The Goring by founder Otto Richard Goring – the last hotel built in the reign of King Emperor Edward VII. Each bedroom has ‘en-suite’ bathrooms – the first in the World.  
Price of a room – 7s 6d (37p)


WAR

1914
Outbreak of 1st World War. Hotel becomes command centre for Chief of Allied Forces. Direct telephone link between General Pershing and President Wilson. The Allied War Effort is being run from The Goring Kitchen.Goring staff from France and Germany are evacuated, famously walking arm in arm to Victoria station singing each other’s national anthems.

1919
Lady Randolph Churchill comes to live at The Goring and is visited frequently by her son, Mr Winston Churchill.

PEACE

1921
“Air-conditioning invented!” O.R. Goring installs enormous fan on roof, piped to every room. Vacuum cleaners are attached via outlets in skirting board – underwear sucked out into the air, blowing across London.
Price of a room – 25s (£1.25 )

1920-25
The Hon.Violet d’Arcy comes to live at The Goring while she is Lady in Waiting to Queen Mary. The Queen often comes to tea with her at The Goring.

1926
The General Strike. Opening of the new wing and Restaurant

1930
Novelist Anthony Powell is inspired to invent his heroine The Hon. Angela Goring for his epic series of novels ‘A Dance to the Music of Time’ over tea at the hotel.

1937
Coronation of King George Vl. Visit of the Norwegian Crown Prince, who explains his fondness for the hotel by saying ‘at Buckingham Palace I have to share a bath with five people! Here I have one to myself’.

1938
Leslie Nicol, switchboard operator, witnesses Churchill lifting the French Prime Minister Daladier off the floor by his lapels, with Chamberlain looking on.
Price of a room - £1.37 

WAR AGAIN

1939
Outbreak of the 2nd World War. Occupancy down to 6%. 150 Polish Officers accommodated.

1944
The first ever colour footage of WWII is made. The Fox film crew stay at The Goring on their way to board landing craft for the D-Day Invasion.

Mrs Goring’s salad invented. To beat rationing, Edna Goring invents a special dish from “whatever we can find”, including, hare, whale, and on one occasion, an antelope shot by an officer in the Western Desert campaign. No rabbit is safe in the Goring garden.

1945
Peace declared. Election of Labour Government and the austerity years. The King and Queen come to The Goring for sausages and scrambled eggs with the Princesses.

LASTING PEACE

1948
Christening of Prince Charles, with Christening Cake supplied by the Escoffier-trained Goring pastry chefs.

1952
Death of King George VI.

1953
Coronation of Queen Elizabeth lI Vast influx of foreign royalty come to stay at the Goring, which becomes an annexe to Buckingham Palace.

1960
50th Birthday. The Swinging Sixties. Jean Shrimpton causes consternation at The Goring by appearing in one of the first mini skirts.
Price of a room - £4 

‘70’s, ‘80’s
Annual visits from Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother as Patron of the Injured Jockeys Fund.
Price of a room in 1970 - £4.50

1990
George Goring accepts an O.B.E. from Her Majesty The Queen at Buckingham Palace for “services to the hotel industry”.

2005
Acquisition of the gardens from the Duke of Westminster.

Retirement of Mr George Goring on March 22nd after 43 years at the helm. 
Appointment of 4th generation Jeremy Goring.

Opening of the new Dining Room, designed by David Linley. 


My favourite thing (besides everything)
about this hotel...


are the wooden sheep dotted about the place.

If this is an example of Ms. Middleton's taste...
I like the girl already.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Friday Photo Challenge

this week is
"The Top of My Dresser"

Lord, love-a-duck...how to make that even vaguely interesting!

You see, the top of my dresser looks like this...


...truly...all the time.

It has some interesting heart pieces, in glass and leather and metal,




(why hearts? as a reminder that the bedroom should
always be about romance)

But...as pictures go...boring!



What I think is much more interesting,
are two paintings I have just above my dresser top
by the artist 





I have four other pieces by this artist in the house






this is one of my favourites.  I always think if they
opened the top of my husband's head, all
this stuff would come bursting out!




I love the vibrancy of the colours, but more than that,
the tenderness of each of the expressions of his subjects.

So there you have it Chania...
hope I haven't bent the rules of the game too far!

Holiday Agenda

Laze by the pool...


check.

play some golf...


check.

Catch up with the gang...


check.

Read a book or two...


check, and...



check.

Catch a head-cold?



I'm pretty sure that was NOT on my list!
but...check!





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