Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas

I just wanted to stop by and wish everyone a Happy Christmas Eve!

 I love Christmas Eve because there's the wonderful anticipation of what's to come. It gives me fond memories of growing up back home :) 

And of course, the big day is tomorrow, so Merry Christmas!!! 

I hope that wherever you are that you have a wonderful Christmas tomorrow.

I'll be back very soon, with a regular blogging schedule and I'm looking forward to it very much. This break has been quite beneficial and I hope that you'll come back to visit me again.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Taking a Break

Hello. Happy Monday  :)

Starting today I'll be taking a blogging hiatus for a little while. I need to pause and gather my thoughts for a bit.

I've never really taken a blogging break of any length in all of my seven and a half years of blogging, so it'll be an interesting experience. I'm looking forward to coming back with a refreshed perspective.

I hope that you'll come back to visit me when I return and as always, thank you for taking the time to stop by!

I'll be back soon!

Friday, October 23, 2015

A Friday Photo and the Other View

Today's Friday photo was taken in Bath in November 2013. Each time we visit Bath, it's always a nice day out. It's not too far to travel to and the scenery along the way is beautiful, even before you get to the lovely city.

Usually when I take pictures along the river there, I take them in the other direction, mostly because of the architecture. However, the view down the river is equally as nice in the other direction. It's a quieter, calmer view and I love to watch the boats.

I look forward to returning to Bath again in the near future and when I do, hopefully I'll have another new view to share :)

Happy Friday and have a wonderful weekend wherever you are!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Writing and Pen Talk

Just like many recent weekends, this past weekend I worked on my book. I did the other customary things, like running errands, but I made time to get a bit of writing done. I haven't been able to work on my book as much as I would like lately because a lot is going on, but I'm trying my best to at least write a little bit each day whenever I can.

I'm still enjoying the process even though I wish that I could hurry up and finish. Lol. But this whole process is teaching me patience and persistence like I've never experienced before. So in the long run it's all good. It will get finished soon :)

By the way, even though the picture above shows a lovely quill pen, that's not what I'm using to write. I'd never finish my book at that rate. Lol. I just thought it would be something a bit different and I like quill pens even though I don't have one...yet ;-) If you've visited me before, you know that I love pens and I'd love a quill pen just for the heck of it. I'm visualizing what's to come. Lol.

Anyway, enough of my pen talk. Have a great day Monday! :)

Friday, October 16, 2015

A Friday Photo and Leaves Decorated By Nature

Today's Friday photo was taken in the fall of 2010. Beauty was all around :)

I took a lot of pictures of the leaves that were in their full glory, still attached to the various trees, but they were equally beautiful scattered across the grass. It was a misty day so there was a layer of moisture on things here and there. I love how the water droplets are decorating the underside of the big leaf in this little group.

The leaves still haven't turned a lot where I live so I haven't taken any new fall pictures. I'm glad that I have these older ones to share though :)

Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

A Quick Note

Just a quick note to say hello :)

I've been a bit under the weather so that's why I haven't posted in a week. I'm feeling much better now though. Thanks for continuing to visit me in my absence.

I'll be back on Friday with another photo post. I hope that all is well where you are. 

Have a wonderful day! :)

Monday, October 05, 2015

Words and Music

My weekend was good. As usual errands were done on Saturday, but they went rather quickly. We like to get up and out early to get ahead of some of the crowds and traffic. Everything in the grocery store is fully stocked at that time of the day so it's a pleasure to shop then.

We didn't do our weekend purging like we've been doing recently on Saturdays, but I did take some books and DVDs to the charity shop for donation. It was really busy in there, so while I waited for the shop assistant to come to the register, I had a look around. Instead of dropping stuff off I wanted to pick a few things up but I held myself back ;-) Mostly I was checking out the old books...that's my thing. Lol. The shop assistant is an older man with white hair and glasses and looks like he should be in a story book :) I think he remembers me now since I've been in there so much lately leaving donations. I don't get to say much when I'm in there, but he seems like a nice man.

Later on Saturday night I put my headphones on and did some scribbling on my various notepads. As I've mentioned before, my book is being typed into a computer ultimately, but I also work stuff out on paper by hand. It seems to work for me so I'm sticking with it :) I listened to a little bit of this and a little bit of that while I wrote things out and it was really great. The 70s, 80s, 90s, and more recent music all made an appearance as my mind filled in the lines of the paper with what I wanted to say. Sometimes I write with no music at all. It just depends on my mood.

The great thing about writing with music is that it can both inspire you and keep you focused on your work. It doesn’t matter what you’re writing, but it can work. Even if you’re more musically inclined yourself, you can pick up on some inspiration by listening to some of your favorite bands. It’s great when you’re working on other stuff as well, or just getting on with some busy work. Wrapping audio cables to make sure that you get the right sound? Learn more about how to get it right here, so you can stick on some great tunes and get on with it.

It was a good weekend...nothing too exciting, but I loved the low-key flow of it a whole lot :) I hope that your weekend was great too!

Have a great new week!

Friday, October 02, 2015

A Friday Photo and Time Slippy Things

Today's Friday photo was taken in the fall of 2010. Who knew it was that long ago? Wow. I know I sound cliche whenever I say it, but time flies for real! I guess that it's truly hitting me that I've been living here a long time. I've been here nine and a half years, but it seems like I've been in this huge time slippy thing where the years lengthen and shorten at will and I'm caught unaware over and over.

Anyway, this photo was taken on a walk through the woods. If you've visited me before, you know I love a walk in the woods. You can check out a recent walk that I took here. I especially love taking these walks during the fall. I'm hoping to get out soon once the leaves change here and get some new photos because these from five years ago make me realize that it's been too long :)

Have a great weekend wherever you are and even though I'm a day late...


Monday, September 28, 2015

An Eclipse and Everything

I had a good weekend. How was yours? Mine was a little bit of this and a little bit of that...just how I like it :)

On Saturday we did errands and then came back and did some more of our Saturday purging of stuff around here. I'm still rediscovering things and finding some good things to donate. I love the feeling of renewal that it brings. Also on Saturday, I worked on my book. It's coming along and I'm grateful.

Sunday was great. I watched Pope Francis on television in the evening my time as he held his final mass in the United States. I have really enjoyed watching him during his visit and seeing the love that he showed and received back from the people.

I was very aware all day that the Super Blood Moon Eclipse was happening later and I really wanted to see it, but I knew that it would be around 3am here. I decided to just let go of seeing it and I went to bed still with good thoughts that it was happening even though I would miss it. Well, lo and behold at a little after 3am I woke up out of the blue. I have a tendency to wake up at about 3 or 4 sometimes and go back to sleep, but I think my subconscious mind nudged me awake on purpose this time. I hadn't set an alarm and I just woke up. It was meant to be :) So I went downstairs and looked outside at the night sky and there it all of its beautiful glory! I didn't get a photo because my camera isn't really good at taking night pictures, but sometimes I just like being in the moment. In my mind's eye I can still see it.

If you haven't seen any photos of it yet, here are some fantastic ones courtesy of NASA.

It's been a good year to see eclipses. I saw the solar eclipse in March and now as the year winds down I got a chance to see the lunar eclipse. What a beautiful show in the sky! I hope that you were able to see it wherever you are in the world!

Have a great day and a great week!

Friday, September 25, 2015

A Friday Photo and the Bournemouth Balloon

Today's Friday photo was taken in March 2013 in Bournemouth. I took this as I was walking along the path away from the beach and through the park to the city center. This balloon is tethered, but it can take riders up high for a great view of the city and the beach. I've never gone up in it, but perhaps I will one day soon. I'm afraid of heights, so we shall see  :)

Bournemouth is a lovely seaside town with a wide and spacious beach. It takes a couple of hours to get there from where I live, but it's a nice drive. We pass through Salisbury on the way so I love getting a view of the cathedral spire as we pass through.

We didn't get a chance to get to Bournemouth this year. The last time that we went was the summer of 2014. I'm looking forward to getting back down there in 2016 and when I do I'll share pictures here.

Happy weekend! I hope that you have a wonderful weekend wherever you are! :)

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Welcome Fall

Welcome Fall 2015!!!

Fall/Autumn is my favorite season. Even though it's the gateway that leads us on to winter and the colder time of the year, the beautiful fall colors make up for it. It's like Mother Nature is preparing us for that winter weather smackdown that's coming by giving us all of this colorful beauty to behold during the fall season :) I love that!

So welcome, you beautiful season!

Have a great day everyone wherever you are!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Walking In The Woods - Part 3

Happy Sunday!

Here are the last photos from our walk in these lovely Wiltshire woods last weekend. If you missed the others, you can see them here and here. As I mentioned previously, there's nothing flashy here, it's simply the beauty of nature and for me that's my favorite kind of flashiness :) I'm a person who loves the quiet so I relish every chance that I can get away from the constant noise of the world. Don't get me wrong. Sound and excitement have their place and I like them too, but having quiet time for me is like healing for my ears and indeed my soul. Balance is the key :)

The trees were so tall and strong and beautiful. What a wonderful day it was!

I hope that you have a glorious Sunday! :)

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Walking In The Woods - Part 2

Happy Saturday!

Here are a few more of the photos that I took on our walk in the woods of Wiltshire last weekend. As I mentioned in my post yesterday, it was a wonderful time. Everything was still quite green, but here and there I could see signs of fall arriving, such as the yellow leaf below that I saw along the path.

The sun was glorious that day, much like it is today. I loved the way that the rays streamed through the trees.

I have a couple of other photos to share tomorrow so I hope that you'll come back to check them out.

Have a great weekend! :)

Friday, September 18, 2015

A Friday Photo and Walking In the Woods

Today's Friday photo was taken last weekend on our walk in the woods. It was a really glorious day. It was warm and things were still leafy and green which I loved. Every time I walk in the woods here it makes me think of walking in the woods on my family's land back home. It's as if each location on either side of the world is connected in that moment and I am in the middle with one foot in each place. It's always an amazing feeling for me!

I love looking up at the canopy made by the trees as they shelter what's below. As you can see in my photo, I'm checking out the view above, but I'm always keeping my eyes open for what's happening on the ground too ;-) There's so much to see.

I have a few more photos that I took that day and I'll share them over the next few days. They're simply pictures of trees, nothing flashy, but then trees are so wonderful they don't need flashiness do they? :)

I hope you have a wonderful weekend wherever you are!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Walking, Reading, and Writing

I had a good weekend. How was yours? :) Mine consisted of taking a walk in the woods, doing some errands, reading, and working on my book.

I took some pictures when we went for our walk in the woods, so I'll share them later this week. It was great to get one last look at the green leaves before fall changes them yellow, orange, and red. I love fall so I'm looking forward to seeing the leaves change, but it was good to see the last bit of summer.

As for reading, I've been re-reading Beloved by Toni Morrison. I'm really enjoying it this second time also. She's an amazing writer, but that's obvious...duh ;-) I'm stating the obvious here.

As for my own writing, my book is coming along. I'm still fighting the urge to go back and edit. I have to smack my own wrist :-) I'm enjoying the process more and more as I go further. I think that I'm finally learning to just let go and write and let the momentum take me forward. I'm learning a lot during this process about writing, but I'm also learning life lessons that I needed to learn. Who knew? Lol.

Well that's all for now. As I mentioned, I'll be sharing some of my photos from the woods later this week. Have a great new week wherever you are!

Friday, September 11, 2015

A Friday Photo and the Last Bits of Summer

Today's Friday photo is one that I took just yesterday. We were heading back from the store and I wasn't driving so I took this picture from the passenger side. Yesterday was a beautiful sunny day, sort of like the summer days that we didn't get in June ;-) So I really relished having this lovely sunny weather while we have it. It's blurry because we were moving, but I liked the feeling of movement so I thought that I'd share it :-)

Have a great Friday and a wonderful weekend wherever you are!

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Queen Elizabeth's Milestone

Today is the day that Queen Elizabeth II reaches a milestone and becomes the longest reigning monarch in British history. She has exceeded the record set by her great-great grandmother Queen Victoria, who reigned for 63 years, 7 months and 2 days. That's a long time! There have been only four other British queens or kings who have reigned 50 years or more.

Monday, September 07, 2015

Life Lessons and Writing

It's been a writerly time for me over the past few days. I've been working on my book a lot more and that's what I'll be doing today also. I'm having to resist the urge to go back and edit at this point. Every bit of advice that I see always says that it's best to just write through, get the story down, and keep the momentum going. Then you can go back and edit with fresh eyes.

I have a bit of a perfectionist streak so it's like pulling teeth to not keep going back. Lol. This is proving to be a good life lesson for me about overthinking things. Yay for that ;-)

I hope that you're having a wonderful day wherever you are!

Happy Labor Day to everyone back in the USA also :-)

Friday, September 04, 2015

A Friday Photo and Summer Memories

Today's Friday photo was taken in July 2012 and all that I can think of is how time flies. I know it's cliche, but sometimes when I look back at these various photos I really can't believe that it's been that long because many of them feel like just yesterday. I remember very vividly taking this walk and coming to this path that led to the bridge.

In a way I guess that within yourself, inside your own memory, anything is accessible as if it were yesterday and that's the beauty of memory :)

This photo also makes me think of summer especially as we're heading towards fall now. Summer's green will soon give way to fall's yellows, oranges, and reds and I look forward to it because fall is my favorite season.

So long summer...see you again soon!

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Friday, August 28, 2015

A Friday Photo and Natural Beauty

Today's Friday photo was taken a few days ago here in Wiltshire. This was the view as we drove home. It was a gloriously beautiful day! I love the wide open fields and the curvy roads.

It was a wonderful day :-)

Have a great weekend wherever you are!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Book Spotlight: Being In Oneness

We live in a world that seems to get louder and more frantic daily. That's why it's really wonderful to find ways to calm our minds and find peace within. We can find that peace in a variety of ways such as through music, prayer, meditation, reading, or even taking a walk in nature, just to name a few.

In the new book Being In Oneness by Suresh Purushothaman, readers can find a wonderful motivational source that contains uplifting short phrases that can inspire readers in their day-to-day lives. The book focuses on varied themes such as happiness, fear, success, achievement, and much more. Being in Oneness is filled with positive affirmations that gently encourage readers to reflect upon their own lives and open their minds to new ways of thinking.

Suresh Purushothaman was born in Pondicherry, a Union Territory of India that was once a French colony. His childhood and most of his life was spent there. For the last sixteen years, he has been living with his wife and son in London. He has always wanted to put his thoughts on life and happiness in a book to share with others. Two years ago a potentially life changing illness inspired Suresh to finally put pen to paper and complete this little book to share with others.

He has definitely done a wonderful job of offering his sincere insights on a variety of subjects with the ultimate goal of inspiring readers to find inner peace. After reading this lovely book, I came away with the feeling that these short phrases and reflections shared by the author come from a place of real truth. There is a simplicity that is refreshing and I found great comfort from Suresh's words. As a reader, I could sense that this author has been on a journey in his life and these are the lessons that he has learned along the way.

“I have seen success and failures in my life. I have experienced many emotional and financial challenges and I have come out unscathed. I have written this little book to share my thoughts with people seeking happiness in the truest sense”.
  - Suresh Purushothaman

A couple of my favourite passages from the book are:

"Believe in your oneness. That's the roadway to your happiness."
(From Being In Oneness - p. 40)

"Trust yourself and follow what comes naturally to you. It's the key to your happiness and a fulfilling life."
 (From Being In Oneness - p. 66)

Being In Oneness comes in a handy pocket-sized paperback form so it's very easy to carry around with you every day. It is also available on Kindle with beautiful photography that enhances the experience of enjoying the wisdom in these pages.

I thoroughly enjoyed this wonderful book and I would recommend it to anyone who is seeking out something inspirational or calming. I certainly found myself fully engaged. One thing that stood out very much for me about this book was how it made me think and to think in a way that I had not done before. I will definitely be revisiting this little book again and again. This was a wonderful read!

Being In Oneness can be purchased here.

*Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book for review. All opinions are mine.

Monday, August 24, 2015

A Tale of Two Notebooks

My weekend was good. We went into town to run a few errands and then we headed home and did a bit of our ongoing decluttering. As I've mentioned in earlier posts, I'm really enjoying this purging of things and rediscovery of things that had become lost in the shuffle. You can read about that here and here if you'd like to. I'm still enthralled by the rediscovered pink hand. Lol. I'm easily amused.

The photo above is emblematic of my weekend. The grey and white notebook on the left is my new beautifully inexpensive notebook that's just the right size...on the medium side of things. As you know if you've visited me before, I love to jot things down, so having a fresh place to do that is everything. I'm going to try to be a bit more organized with my jotting down with this notebook and not have little pieces of paper scattered everywhere. Fingers crossed ;-)

The other half of this photo is the date book on the right from 2013. It's in that category of rediscovered things. I love the happy cover first of all, but looking inside was a treat too. I love the time capsule nature of date books or journals because you can see what you were up to day-to-day. Often it's just some little thing that jumps out at me, not the big things in life. However, in the end, I've found that those little things are the real stuff of life. Who knew that decluttering and rearranging things would be so rewarding.

Have a great week! :)

Friday, August 21, 2015

A Friday Photo and Pre-Blue Moon Quiet

Today's Friday photo is a continuation from the last couple of Fridays. I guess that it's turned into a series :) Anyway, this is the last of the group taken on July 31, 2015. 

As I mentioned in my previous posts here and here, we went to watch the full blue moon rise on that evening and saw a fantastic sunset and the beautiful blue moon. It was a glorious evening and one that I won't forget for a long time. The awe-inspiring beauty has definitely stayed with me. 

The photo above is the midpoint of the whole experience. I had just cast my eyes upon the wondrous power of the setting sun in the west and then I turned my attention the other way to the east and saw this haunting lull between the stars of the show...the sun and the moon. 

When I see this photo, I can "hear" what I heard that evening...the quiet, as a slight wind blew across that Wiltshire hill as we waited.

As with the sunset and the full blue moon, I'm grateful to have witnessed nature's grandeur in this quiet moment. And I'm glad that I can share it :)

Have a great weekend wherever you are!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Delicious Bacony Rice

This is my first food post for a while. I used to post photos of my culinary creations a lot, but I must admit, I don't cook as much from scratch as I used to. I'm trying to get back to it as much as I can. I just don't have the time like I used to. But I'm trying :)

Anyway, as we take a trip down blogging memory lane, let's stop here and gaze at the photo above. All I have to say first is BACON! Mmmmmm!!! I love bacon. It's probably my favorite food...I think. Lol.

Let me stop veering off the topic at hand. Okay, this photo above was taken on Sunday right before I dived in like I had no good sense ;-)

This is something that I came up with in trying to use the foods that I had on hand. Let me tell you, it was DELICIOUS! I'm no great cook, but I cook well enough that I won't starve or anything. Here's the thing, I'm not really good at cooking from recipes for some reason. When I cook from recipes my food turns out weird. Lol. So I guess that I'm a non-recipe type cook. Works for me :)

This rice dish has bacon, onions, peas and various spices that I just kind of threw in here and there. The strength of this dish is the slight sweetness of the peas contrasting beautifully with the saltiness of the bacon. The onions and spices give it that zing. Yum! I thought about this bacony rice for hours after we finished eating. In fact, I'm salivating thinking about it now. Lol.

Next time I'm gonna have to make a bigger batch so I'll have some leftovers now that I know what I'm making. I hope I can remember everything I put into it :)

Monday, August 17, 2015

Television Spotlight: The Unshakable Hagia Sophia

There are many fascinating places on our planet. Some are created through nature and some have been created by the imagination and skill of human beings. One subject that intrigues me is architecture and how that expression of creativity and function is all around us. I'm always enthralled by wondering how different structures came to be, from the idea through to the completion.

I was recently was given the opportunity to see the documentary, The Unshakable Hagia Sophia by Gary Glassman, which looks at one of the world's most magnificent structures, the Hagia Sophia. I was fully absorbed by the film as experts investigated how it has remained standing for 1,500 years.

The Hagia Sophia is located in Istanbul and is one of the most visited sites there. It was originally commissioned by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I in 532 AD. The building remained a Christian basilica until 1453, when it was converted into a mosque after the city fell to the Ottomans in 1453. Since 1935, it has been a secular museum. It is open for all to experience its remarkable dome and glorious art.

Photo courtesy of PBS America

Istanbul sits precariously close to a major fault line and has withstood many earthquakes over the centuries. One question for experts and visitors has has the building survived so many threats from various earthquakes?

A team of architects, engineers, and scientists have been studying the structure in order to uncover its secrets of longevity. They have used radar, laser, computer technology and various other techniques to discover what is continuing to hold up the walls of this massive building. I found it very interesting to watch the team build a model from bricks and mortar and then place it on a hydraulic platform in order to put the structure through various tests. The painstaking detail was fascinating because they had to get the dimensions just right after scaling down the model to a workable size. Their challenges were a lesson in trial and error.

Istanbul may very well face more earthquakes in the future and scientists are doing their best to understand how they can help the Hagia Sophia last for another 1,500 years. Nothing is immune to the destruction of natural disasters, but this team's research can hopefully shed some light on the future of this magnificent structure.

Photo courtesy of PBS America

This documentary has certainly made me very interested in learning more about the Hagia Sophia. The architecture is truly extraordinary to behold.

The Unshakable Hagia Sophia will be shown on Tuesday, August 18th on PBS America in the UK at 7:50pm and 11:40pm. It will also be repeated on Wednesday, August 19th at 12:25pm and 5:30pm. PBS America can be viewed on Sky channel 534 and Virgin Media channel 276.

*Disclaimer: I was sent a copy of this film for review. I received no compensation. All opinions are mine.

Friday, August 14, 2015

A Friday Photo and Blue Moon Beauty

Today's Friday photo is part of a matching set from my experience of seeing a glorious sunset and the beautiful blue moon on the same evening. This photo was taken on July 31, 2015. You can look back at last week's photo here if you'd like to see the sunset that I saw.

As I mentioned in that post, the sunset photo turned out fantastic, but the full blue moon photos didn't turn out as well. They were a bit fuzzy for the most part. Lol. This one is probably the best of the lot. It was definitely a case of the real view and the real experience being better than anything that I could capture :-) Still, I like this photo because it reminds me of the serenity that came over me as I saw that beautiful moon inch its way up into the eastern horizon. I love blue as you know if you've visited me here before, so I loved the blue tinge of the sky. The whole evening was a gorgeous display of colors with the fiery oranges, purples, and golds of the sunset in contrast with the cool blues surrounding that pearlescent moon. I love how the moon's light is seeping through the grass along the edge of the field.

What a beautiful sight!

Have a great weekend wherever you are!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Rediscovering Forgotten Things

As I mentioned in my previous post, we've been doing our spring cleaning a little late and have been doing a bit of summer cleaning around here. It's been very cleansing in a physical and spiritual way and I have to admit I've enjoyed it quite a bit. The energy is definitely changing because we are getting rid of things that we no longer need and it's freeing. We're donating whatever we can.

Another side of this little project of ours is the finding of things that we've forgotten. It's truly like opening a time capsule to my first years of living here in England, which began in March 2006. Rediscovering these various pieces of my recent past has most certainly put me in a reflective mood.

Last weekend when I went through some things that were in storage, I came across this beautifully quirky pink hand thing shown in the photo above. It's funny...I don't remember when I got every single thing, but I remember this hand vividly. I bought it in 2006 for about £5 (roughly $8). It's supposed to be used as a place to hang jewelry, but I remember just thinking it was so weird-looking and I had to have it. I love me some weird. Lol!

It got put in storage with the intention of making a special place for it, but the days and years flew by and it got lost in the shuffle. Well now that I've found it again, I'm gonna have to find a place for it. It's not my customary blue, but the deep pink works for me too. They didn't have a blue one ;-) In case this is your first time visiting, you can read about my love for the color blue here if you'd like.

I'm intrigued to see what I rediscover next! :-)

Until next time...

Monday, August 10, 2015

Spring Cleaning in the Summertime

How was your weekend?

Mine was pretty good. I didn't work on my book, but I got some reading in which was good. The only other thing of note is the ongoing cleaning that me and my other half have been doing around the house. It's spring cleaning in the summertime. Lol.

I do my best to stay on top of day-to-day ongoing cleaning, but we decided a few weekends ago to do a bit of deep cleaning. We've been purging things that we no longer need and I must say it's felt good. We're doing things in sections so it hasn't been overwhelming and it hasn't taken up the whole weekend...just a couple of hours on Saturdays. There's definitely something to be said for the energy in a space changing once you rearrange things or get rid of clutter. I never thought I'd say this about cleaning, but it's been quite fun. Who knew? ;-) Hey...we know how to have a good time. Lol!

I hope that your weekend was great and that you have a great Monday!

P.S. This picture above is hilarious to me...her mouth is open like she's either sighing from exhaustion or cussing somebody out who isn't coming to help her carry all of that stuff. Lol!

Until next time...

Friday, August 07, 2015

A Friday Photo and Glorious Shows in the Sky

Today's Friday photo was actually taken last Friday on the very last day of July 2015. My other half and I went out further into the Wiltshire countryside because I wanted to see the blue moon unobstructed. I love seeing the full moon as often as I can when it first peeks above the horizon. It's always a beautifully moving moment for me to see it like that. It looks so much larger at that point and it looks so much more tangible. Also, seeing the beginning of its rise just strikes something within me that makes me feel so connected to nature and to our universe.

So we were out waiting for the blue moon to rise in the east...minding our own business, when the sun decided to show out! Lol. Isn't this a beautiful sunset? The colors were just breathtaking and my camera didn't do it justice, but I hope you like taking a look.

Seeing this sunset reminded me of how lucky we are to live on this beautiful planet. With all of the turmoil that we hear about daily, it was so glorious to be reminded that no matter what...some things, like the sun and the moon, are just timeless, constant, and amazing! They remind me to continue onward always.

I was so grateful that we were there to witness the day ending with the golden light of the magnificent sun in the west, as the cool and luminous beauty of the gorgeous full moon came up in the east. What a beautiful experience!

My moon photos didn't turn out as great, but I'll share a couple of those next Friday, so I hope you'll visit me again.

Have a great weekend wherever you are! :-)

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Book Spotlight: Butterflies Dance in the Rain

I love reading poetry and I often think that those who are gifted with the heart and soul of a poet are blessed indeed. I'm always enthralled by the way that poets weave words into something beautiful that can touch us so deeply.

In her new poetry collection, Butterflies Dance in the Rain, poet Colette V. Paul gives readers a moving testimony which covers the subjects of love, tragedy, self-discovery, racism, the environment, and a variety of universal themes. Ms. Paul definitely has a way with words. She offers readers an opportunity to see the world through her eyes, while still striking a chord of recognition in us, as we relate to what she is saying. This is a very personal collection that unflinchingly explores the poet's innermost thoughts and as a reader I came away very appreciative of her candor and realness.

This collection begins with "Dear God Letter", which is a very personal plea that many of us can relate to in our own lives. Ms. Paul asks for more guidance and clarity in her life in this simple and honest poem.


Dear God Letter

God, speak to my spirit
Show me how to reach my purpose
Help me to be an open channel to filter stories and poetic words
God, show me how to balance my life 
I need to hear you clearly
Turn my restlessness into focused energies 
Help me to excel as a successful, prolific writer
And give me the courage to walk the path and make it happen.

(excerpt from Butterflies Dance in the Rain by Colette V. Paul)

In "Music is the Life" the poet takes us on a journey with her through her love of music and lets us feel how it has elevated her life. Ms. Paul's writing skills are on full display in this lyrical poem as her words have a musicality to them. There is of course no musical accompaniment, but the music is still there laced within her words.

"Mystical Nights" is another atmospheric poem that recalls the romance associated with trains and the unknown destinations to which they travel. Ms. Paul beautifully describes the sights and sounds and ponders these mystical trains as vehicles to her own destiny.


Mystical Nights

On a crisp February night I’m in a foreign land of mystical trains inviting me to step into my destiny
The new moon and stars shine as they witness
The sounds of the engines stir my spirit as busy streets sleep

Some trains are colorful as a Ferris wheel while others shine like spinning kaleidoscopes
Others are red as the Georgia clay baked by the sun
Men stick their heads out from time to time
As they work on the great machinery as they carry their lanterns
The trains will take me to my dreams on a world-class ride.

(excerpt from Butterflies Dance in the Rain by Colette V. Paul)

A very compelling selection is the aptly-titled "For What?". This is a poem that is haunting in its narrative about the injustices suffered in America throughout our history and it's timely because of the continued injustices that we witness in the news each day. It is an account of a mother who wants to protect her son from the noose by sacrificing herself to no avail. She calls her tormenters out strongly and drops some truth on them that echoes through the ages. This is a powerful poem.

I thoroughly enjoyed the whole collection. There are so many high points within these pages that it is hard to pick a favorite. This is a beautifully written collection that will be a pleasure to revisit over and over again for years to come.

Colette V. Paul will be signing copies of her debut poetry book on Saturday, August 22nd from 3pm to 5pm at the Shrine of the Black Madonna Culture Center in Atlanta's Historic West End. Please go by and pick up your very own autographed copy!

If you're not able to attend the signing, Butterfiles Dance in the Rain is available on Amazon here.

You can find out more about Colette V. Paul at her website
She can also be found on Facebook , Twitter , and YouTube

And here's a special treat...Ms. Paul performs selections from her book. Enjoy!

Friday, July 31, 2015

A Friday Photo and A Pile That Waits For Me

Today's Friday photo is a very current one that I took about an hour ago ;-) As I've mentioned in previous Friday photo posts, I'm going to make an effort to share more of a mix of photos...some from the past and some that are more recent.

This is my pile of "stuff" that's been sitting here for weeks. I'm currently planning on going through it this weekend. That won't be all that I'm doing of course...gotta enjoy the weekend too, but this will be one thing on my to-do list. I need to stop putting it off. It won't take long and I'll be glad to be able to see the dang table again ;-)

This pile is kind of like an inbox for me so I need to go through it and put things in their proper place. When something comes in the mail or I make a note about my book or something, it often ends up in this pile. Looking at the pile now I'm amazed that it hasn't fallen over since it looks a little bit top-heavy. I think that a good start will be to rescue my book and notebook from the bottom because I really don't want to have to pick up everything all scattered across the floor...nope! Lol.

I'm actually quite an organized person but it seems that since I've been working on my book, a few other things stay waiting for me in piles. Actually clutter makes me kinda crazy even though this pile looks like I'm a pack rat. Lol. Anyway, no excuses...gotta clean up!

I hope that you have a great weekend and have fun with whatever you're doing! :-)

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Catching Up Days

I'm in catching up mode today, so my various notebooks are out in force. I've been kind of out of the swing of things so I'm trying to get back on track. I'm so behind with everything...Help! Lol.

I'll get it together soon :-)

Happy Wednesday!

Friday, July 24, 2015

A Friday Photo and An Iron Rooster

Today's Friday photo is from November 2012 and as you can see it's a rooster. I was playing with the evening shadow on the wall when I snapped the photo :-) This is my iron rooster that I've had for a few years now. I saw it at an outlet store and it was very inexpensive so I had to have it.

I think that I liked it so much because it reminded me of the vintage irons that we had around the house when I was growing up. They were made of solid iron and had been my grandmother and great grandmother's. By the time that I came along they weren't used for ironing clothes anymore, but they were held onto because they were a part of the family history. They had been used way way back in the day of course to iron and were heated instead of being plugged in like irons nowadays.

Whenever I would see the old irons they would remind me of my relatives who came before me. The vintage irons were grounding to me and connected me to my history. So I guess that when I picked up my iron rooster in the store and felt the weight of it, it instantly brought the vintage irons to mind. It's something found in the now that through memory connects me to the past :-)

Have a great weekend wherever you are!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Bushes That Bring Butterflies

Hello :-)

Today I thought that I'd share this photo that I took a few years ago. As you can see, it's a colorful butterfly and I'm thinking of butterflies because of what's happening in the backyard.

Over the last week and a half, the butterfly bushes in the backyard have been blooming out.

Here's a photo below that I just snapped. The sky's kinda gloomy off and on, but the flowers are still showing up in all their glory!

The butterfly bushes have white flowers and purple flowers and they're ever expanding. I love that they've kind of taken over along the back. A few weeks ago I wrote here about not having much color out there and I mentioned how much I missed it. Well I guess that this was a case of ask and you shall receive ;-) They came out with an extra bit of oomph this year and I love them!  The butterflies are loving every minute too!

Happy Tuesday! :-)

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Saturday's Little Nerd Goodies

Happy Saturday!

This is one of my not-so-regularly-scheduled Saturday posts ;-) My most recent one was this one here. As I mentioned in that previous post, I find that I like to ramble a little bit on Saturday and it spills over here. Lol. I don't know what it is, but on Saturdays it's like all the words for the week have been stored up and decide to tumble out. As I've also mentioned before, I LOVE SATURDAYS! I guess that many of us do, huh? :-)

Since I get kind of wordy on Saturdays, I often take the time to work on my book or write something else and today I'll be doing just that. As you can see from the photo above, I have all of my little nerd goodies ready to go ;-) I write on my laptop, but often I write bits and pieces out by hand. I like the feel of the pen in my hand while I scribble across the page. I'm a little bit old school and a teeny little bit techy. I have various pens because each has a certain feel and I'm a bit of a pen nerd too so...Lol.

I'm going to be doing a little bit of reading along with writing today and I'm calling on Stephen King's expertise for some inspiration. I've had this book for years and I refer back to it again and again. It's part memoir and part writing guide. I highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in writing or for anyone who enjoys Stephen King's work. It's a great read.

So that's what I'll be up to today. What are you doing today or this weekend? Whatever you're doing, I hope you have fun! :-)

Friday, July 17, 2015

A Friday Photo and Lakeside Views

Today's Friday photo is from August 2011 and as you can see it's a view of a lake. It's here in Wiltshire. Even though it's going on four years since the visit there, this picture is taking my mind back. It was a fun and tranquil day. It was a great opportunity to get away from all of the noise and just unplug.

I think that we need to revisit this spot again soon :-)

Happy Friday and have a great weekend wherever you are!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Weekend Thoughts

I had a good weekend. How was yours? :-)

Mine was a combination of things and I came away from it with some observations about things. I was either reminded of something or I got confirmation of something. So I count that as a pretty great weekend!

As is customary for me these days, I worked on my book. I didn't get to write as much as I wanted, but the important thing is that I showed up and stayed committed to my goal. When I think back on it, this reminds me to simply JUST KEEP GOING! :-)

This past weekend I also put a bit of reading time in and it was helpful. I often hear the advice from authors that reading is essential to feed the writerly mind and I'm finding that to be very true. I must admit, when I first started writing my book I found it hard to get going and I felt kind of stuck. I've loved reading and writing for as long as I can remember so it was tough for me to feel so out of it. I realized that I hadn't been feeding my mind like I used to and therefore I couldn't hear the rhythms anymore if that makes any sense. Now that I've picked back up with my love for reading again, it's making a world of difference.

The other thing that I did this weekend was watch Serena Williams win Wimbledon again. She is phenomenal and she continues to RISE! It is incredibly ridiculous to see the venom that is thrown around on social media and from 'supposedly' professional media outlets about Serena every time that she...(gasp)....has the 'nerve' to win once again. Here's the thing...I'm like...forget those venomous ridiculous little people who feel the need to belittle her for reasons that have not a THING to do with her. Their bull is all about them. Serena Williams is an amazing athlete and an amazing woman who has to put up with a lot of crap and still win like a true champion. And I'm glad that she just keeps on going and stays true to herself no matter what :-) Thankfully everyone isn't such a hater and I'm glad because all that Serena and her sister Venus have achieved in their careers and the journey that they've traveled on is a testament to what true dedication and hard work can do.

As I watched Serena Williams once more win her title at Wimbledon, I had a bit of a reminder and a confirmation from her example. Even when we're up against tremendous pressure or outside forces may be trying to wear us down, we must stay the course and just keep on keeping on. Also, we should take a page from Serena's book and just keep on winning! ;-) When we don't give up, we win!

Two poems by Dr. Maya Angelou came to mind on Saturday as I watched Serena on television as she lifted her trophy. The poems are "Phenomenal Woman" and "Still I Rise".

Keep on keeping on Serena! :-)

Have a great week everyone!

Friday, July 10, 2015

A Friday Photo and Paris Memories

Today's Friday photo is one that makes me remember a particular time very vividly. In April 2007, my other half and I visited Paris and it was lovely. I remember it being very warm and I adored the warmer temperatures. I had gone through my first fall and winter in England by that time so I was overjoyed to be hot for the first time in well over a year :-) It was good for my bones.

These are a few of the souvenirs that I brought back home and they're in storage now sadly. One day in the near future we'll have enough room so that I can unfurl my posters and put out our keepsakes more :-) That simple pleasure will be an absolute joy for me. I know in the scheme of things it's just "stuff", but having your things around you, especially when you've lived in a temporary state of being for too long, can indeed be a comfort. For simplicity's sake I'll just say...rediscovering this photo made me smile.

This photo is sort of like the photos that I've shared of past flowers over the last couple of weeks. The pictures of the flowers help me keep the memory of those gorgeous flowers alive and this picture helps me remember the fun times that we've had and helps me to look forward to other adventures. Don't get me wrong. I'm not living in the past by any stretch of the imagination. I'm definitely in the now, but it sure doesn't hurt to remember too :-)

Have a great weekend wherever you are and I hope that you make some great memories!

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Book Spotlight: The Ladies of Grace Adieu

Recently I've been mentioning quite a bit that I'm working on taking the time to finally read through my piles of books that have been sitting around the house for a few years unread. Wow...I just typed YEARS, but it's true. Eek! Lol. I love books as you'll know if you've visited me before and I have put my hand up to admit that I have tsundoku, but I'm recovering very nicely ;-)

I've mentioned in one of my recent posts that I've been reading this interesting book and I promised to share the title and a bit about it. Well, I'm finally following through :-)

The book in the photo above is what I've been reading. It's called as you can see, The Ladies of Grace Adieu and it's by Susanna Clarke. I picked up this book at a bookstore in Bath quite a few years ago and I've finally gotten around to reading it. I really enjoyed it. It's a beautifully quirky collection of short stories about a fantasy world that the author has created filled with those practicing magic.

Each story offers a fun way to escape as a reader and I loved going on this interesting journey. The various characters have different experiences with magic and yet the stories all tie together so beautifully around the theme. This is not usually something that I would read, but it was great to experience a world that I wouldn't usually get to know much about. I'm glad that something made me pick this book up all those years ago as I browsed around that bookstore in Bath.

Another thing that I absolutely loved about this book were the illustrations. They are whimsical and beautiful and add so much to the aesthetic feel of the book. The illustrations are done by Charles Vess, an artist from Virginia.

If you're interested in reading something different and beautifully creative then this just might be the book for you.

Friday, July 03, 2015

A Friday Photo and More Flowers That Last

Today's Friday photo is very similar to last Friday's post. This is true, but I promise it's not a cop out post because I can't think of anything to share. Not at all. I'm actually having a good time looking through some photos that I haven't seen in a while in order to have more to share. I'm realizing that I've taken pictures of a lot of things from the mundane to the interesting over the years. I hope that you'll keep coming back to see what I find :-) Forgive me if I bore you sometimes. Lol. Still, I hope you'll come back each week.

Anyway, as I've been looking through my old photos I've come across quite a few pictures of flowers that I've received or just had around the house over the years. As I mentioned earlier, last week's Friday post here featured some lovely flowers and I talked about how photographing flowers can make them last a long time after they're gone. I love that idea. You can't touch the flowers or smell them anymore, but you can see them and the memories come flooding back if you're lucky :-)

These particular flowers are from four summers ago according to the date stamp. What a lovely sunny summer bouquet and their beauty is still here to enjoy!

Have a great weekend! 

To everyone back home in the USA or to those who are abroad like me...

Happy July 4th!!!

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Product Review: Uncommon Goods

Recently I was given the opportunity to try out some lovely things from Uncommon Goods. They have a truly unique selection of items and I was thrilled to get this chance. First of all, I'd like to tell you a bit about Uncommon Goods.

Founded in 1999 and headquartered in Brooklyn, New York, Uncommon Goods is a privately-owned retailer that endeavors to feature unique designs and handcrafted gifts created in harmony with the environment and without harm to animals or people.

As an independently-owned business, they have the freedom to support causes they believe in and positively impact the world. With every purchase, Uncommon Goods is proud to donate $1 to your choice of their not-for-profit partner organizations. Since they started their Better to Give program 15 years ago, they have donated over $1,000,000 dollars to charities around the world! Their commitment to helping others is truly wonderful.

The items that I chose are the Flavor Infuser Water Bottle, the Ticket Stub Diary, and the Live Well Earrings. It was great to sample items of different types as it has given me a varied view of the many things that they have to offer. It's wedding season and I must say that Uncommon Goods is a great place to find some wonderful gifts for weddings or any occasion.

Flavor Infuser Water Bottle

The Flavor Infuser Water Bottle is really great. I'm always trying to get my water intake up each day and this handy bottle has been helpful for me. It has made drinking water a bit more interesting because I'm able to add my favorite fruits to my drink. It's a refreshing treat. The bottle is a great size and has a 16 oz. capacity. It's great to carry around.

Ticket Stub Diary

The Ticket Stub Diary is really cool. I love to go to concerts and different events. For years I've just been shoving my various ticket stubs onto what I call the "important shelf". It's nothing grand...just an open space on my bookshelf that I'm always meaning to organize. Well now I have! Thanks to my new ticket stub diary, I can slide my various memories into the sleeves and preserve them forever. The diary has clear sleeves that fit a variety of ticket sizes and there is space in the margin to write down memories. The pages are acid-free so your tickets will be preserved for a long time. The Ticket Stub Diary is great if you're like me and finally ready to get more organized. Uncommon Goods has something for basically everyone and if you want to add a personal touch they have personalized gifts like the ones found here.

Live Well Earrings

And lastly, I got the Live Well Earrings which are just beautiful. These lovely earrings are designed by artist Mary Steratore. First of all, I love the name because it makes me think about having a zest for life and living fully. I was also drawn to them because the garnet is my birthstone. These pretty earrings have a dangling, sterling silver bar that is a Maori symbol called a roimata, which means "teardrop". However, it's used to represent comfort, healing, and strength. The sterling silver bar is set off by a pendant of square-cut garnet. As I mentioned, my birthstone is the garnet, but I wasn't aware of the properties associated with them. Apparently garnets are believed to promote vitality, courage, passion, and love. Who knew? These beautiful earrings are exquisitely made and are so delicate and lightweight when worn. I adore them! Uncommon Goods has so much lovely jewelry for anniversaries or unique gifts for friends and family too, so check out some of their wonderful items here.

I thoroughly enjoyed getting a chance to review these three products. They are all well-made and will be enjoyed for a long while to come. I absolutely love the eclectic range of products that they offer. It's a wonderful site to visit if you want to get something just that extra bit special for someone in your life.

*Disclosure: I was sent these products free of charge for review. All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Hello July

Happy July!!!!

I can't believe that we're halfway through the year already.

I like July 1st because I've always seen it as a reset button if I need it or a progress milestone in my life. I often will mark the day as one to regroup and recommit to whatever I'm doing. January 1st is the beginning of the year of course and it's the start of a whole new year, but I like July 1st also. Any day of the year can be a new start if we want, this is true. However, I love this midpoint day too as a day of renewal if that's what we want :-)

So I hope that everyone has a wonderful July 1st whether you use it as a new beginning or  if you just like July. Lol.

Have a wonderful day and a wonderful new month wherever you are!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Flower Memories

It's a beautiful sunny day today and it's even warm...YAY!!!! It actually feels like summer and that's a wonderful thing since it's felt perpetually like October for weeks and weeks and weeks before this latest bit of warmth. I'm a happy woman :-)

This sunny summer weather has me thinking about being outside a lot more and it has me taking a good look at our yard. What I've noticed is the lack of plants and things this year. There were beautiful pink azaleas a couple of months ago, but that's it. When I look out at the back yard there isn't any color. This plant in the picture above was from a couple of years ago. It hadn't bloomed to its full potential at this point, but later it was so vibrant.

Looking back at this old photo and having all of this warmth has me thinking that I may need to get a plant or two for the back yard to liven up the place a bit. I'm sure that in an overall roundabout way it'll help with my ongoing healing too. I'll be able to see the vibrance of some beautiful flowers every day :-)

Have a wonderful day wherever you are!