Sharing randomness on Saturday morning — something I’ve created or found as I cruised the internet. . .
Something to ponder: Is love a verb or a noun?
Sharing randomness on Saturday morning — something I’ve created or found as I cruised the internet. . .
Something to ponder: Is love a verb or a noun?
Wheels’ work schedule includes 12 hours each on Saturday and Sunday, the days people normally get together with friends and family, go to movies and church, and relax. If we aren’t careful our lives become nothing but work – work at work, work at home, all day every day and half the night. We have to be intentional about building in time for rest and renewal, reflection and rejuvenation. Usually we get a few hours here and half a day there, our daily half hour walk. When I saw a story in the local newspaper about an unusual garden tour, we decided to set aside that entire day for us – no phone, no computer, just leisurely taking in whatever the day would bring.
A big breakfast started the day. Yes, that is dessert! Who said you can’t have dessert for breakfast on a special day?
We drove an hour and a half to our destination, through quiet country side dotted by small towns. A beautiful day of sunshine and rare blue sky! The GPS didn’t lead us through the town near our destination but surprisingly wound us through beautiful hills the “back way’. And then, we were there. Seventy-five acres of rare conifers, glorious art and beautiful landscaping tucked in amongst the rolling hills. Mr and Mrs. Schnormeier, owners of the Jeld Wenn Company, open their private gardens near Gambier, Ohio to the public once a year, free. The gardens are beautifully planned, meticulously executed and well worth the trip – even if you live further than an hour and a half!
It was truly a day of renewal . . . a sabbath. Sabbath is often thought of as a religious tradition, but it actually is much more. It is a time set aside for rest and relaxation, yes. Everyone needs down time of some sort. There are sound psychological reasons to stop our busyness, to slow down and change our activity. We stop what we are doing to read a magazine, talk with a friend, check out our favorite blog, pin a few on pinterest (anybody ever actually do a few?). If we work in solitude, we seek out other people; if we are talking to people all day, we seek solitude. Weekends are often just a longer time frame allowing us to pursue different activities than we do otherwise, but we are never far from from being scheduled and “busy” and productive. Still those kind of breaks are great. They help us avoid burnout from daily life.
Less spoken of, is the fact that we also need a time in which we stop producing and just enjoy that which has been created. We all have a long to-do list on paper or scrolling in our heads. Lay down the list, stop the scroll! Savor what has been accomplished. Admire your handiwork – the pile of laundry folded, the bills paid, the sleeping children, the weeded garden. Give yourself credit for what you have done. Give credit to others in the family for what they have done. Does wonders for everyone’s morale!
If we can check out of our own world completely for a while and celebrate life, the benefits are deeper. Some do this with daily meditation, others with weekly worship. We can also do this with a relaxation break – a cup of coffee and just staring into the garden, beautiful music that brings us pause. Sometimes people plan entire vacations, to “just be alive” somewhere different. We may not have that luxury, but a bit here and there is entirely doable! I hope you can find something near you this summer, that gives you the gift of renewal! In the meantime, here is a mini break – four minutes of music and beautiful gardens to explore! Take time for yourself, to renew your spirit and rejoice in beauty. May it remind you to search for these moments, no matter how small, in your life!
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I was so surprised recently to find a comment from Kathy at Cornerstone Confessions telling me she was bestowing the Sunshine Award on A Pinch of Joy! I’m excited and delighted – anything that involves sunshine is a good thing!!! Coming from a fellow blogger makes it all the better!
Kathy wrote: A few weeks ago I received a sweet comment and personal invitation from Charlene to participate in her first ever Busy Monday Link Party. Her sincere comments and enjoyable blog are definite pluses in my book.
Kathy has a great blog – fun to visit and fun to read. She says: “I’m just an amateur blogger who is trying to share a little of what she’s learning along the way, both to save others the time it took for me to search for the “how to” as well as so I don’t forget it later!” Good reason to blog about any topic! She deserves positive comments! Visit and leave her one!
As a recipient of this delightful award, I have a few rules to follow:
Ten Sunshine Award Questions (and Answers):
1. Favorite Color: I love color! My favorite job was designer for a metropolitan parks and recreation department where I got to choose color schemes for park and recreation buildings. I got paid to play with the color pack all day! Right now turquoise is my very favorite – on my blog, in my wardrobe and in my house!
2. Favorite Animal: I have to say cat or the resident feline will ignore me all day! Which she pretty much does anyway, unless the food bowl is empty.
3. Favorite Number: Three is perfection.
4. Favorite Non-alcoholic Drink: Tea – Chai Latte or Rosy tea are usually in my desk mug.
5. Prefer Facebook or Twitter: Facebook
6. My Passion: To make a difference in my world
7. Prefer getting or giving presents: It used to be “giving”. But, thanks to some wonderfully kind and thoughtful women in my life, I am learning to accept gifts and to feel that I am worthy
8. Favorite pattern: Pattern is like color – I love it all, in its own time and place.
9. Favorite Day of the Week: Wheel’s days off – subject to change from year to year.
10. Favorite Flower: My father grew roses so I am a little partial to them, but anything that blooms will find a place in my garden. The neighbors just removed a line of trees along our mutual fence. I am looking forward to planting something beside shade lovers!
Ten Favorite Bloggers:
Miz Helen’s County Cottage Miz Helen has a serene Country Cottage with recipes, garden tips, reflections and Full Plate Thursday, one of the first link ups to which I posted. Miz Helen is the most gracious hostess and is so kind and appreciative of each link that I look forward to seeing her name in the comment box.
Kristen’s Creations Kristen strikes the designer in me. I love the clean look of the blog, her designs for her etsy shop, the ideas she’s used in her lovely home. Always feel refreshed after a visit there!
Kitchen Fun with My 3 Sons Jill has three adorable helpers in her kitchen and the things they come up with are so creative and so fun! Cute blog, too!
My 1929 Charmer refers to Cathy’s “charmer” house built in 1929 from plans and materials sold through Sears catalog. She blogs about their adventures in making the charmer into the home of their dreams. with recipes and other fun along the way. (Cathy doesn’t know it but our first house was also a Sears kit and I can soooo relate to the “joys” of updating.)
Miss Janice writes about the social graces – southern style. When I want a total change of pace, I find myself clicking over to Miss Janice’s. It’s always enjoyable and I frequently learn something new!
Preschool Powol Packets. Carla is homeschooling mom who also has a small home daycare. She says “I love to teach, create fun and exciting resources, and share the educational journey that we get to live!” Her passion comes through and I love to see the great ideas she posts.
Homeschool Creations Jolanathe is homeschooling mom with great enthusiasm and great ideas adaptable to volunteer teacher or mentor or learning time for you own little ones outside school, for quiet time or just for fun!
Tea Rose Home I found Sachiko through a link party and have come to appreciate her gentle, serene blog about life, quilting and sewing, crafting and creative endeavors.
Easy Digital Scrapbooking and Crafts I love scrapbooking. And the design of this cheery blog always lifts my spirits, not to mention the fun ideas and resources shared here!
10. It was so hard to narrow this down to just ten. My list could go on and on. So this last one goes to all the bloggers who share their heart, their passion and unique knowledge with the rest of us!
And to all my wonderful readers — thank you for taking time to stop by, read my tidbits, offer comments and share the journey. You are truly wonderful sunshine in my life. Thank you, Kathy.
Wheels is a rock star when it comes to choosing cards! We became officially engaged on June 10 – my parent’s wedding anniversary. We were apart for much of our engagement, but on the tenth of the month without fail I would receive a “monthiversary” card from him. And after we were married, the sweet, heartfelt cards continued four times a year. My birthday, our anniversary, Christmas and Valentine’s Day. I treasure every one — but I never go back to reread them and they are usually in a box in the closet. And this year, I decided the Valentine cards deserved to be showcased!
I went through the box and chose nine cards about the same size and with a white, gold or red color theme. Then I punched a hole in the corner and tied each card onto a Christmas string of red beads. I dove into the stash and came up with ten hearts, and a pile of scrapbook embellishments. I spelled out V-A-L-E-N-T-I-N-E on the hearts and embellished them with glitter, buttons and other pretties. Then I fastened them to the beads between each of the nine cards. Needed a little fluff –curlies, and silk posies. Some more cards on the mantel, the pink rose wreath on top of the silver mirror, and a little more fluff.
You can find a little fluff at your house to make February 14 — or any day — a special day and celebrate relationships with the special people in your life, too!
This post was featured at Kristen’s Creations. Thank you!
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I am so grateful for each and every one of you that stops by to read this little piece of blogland. I wish you great and overflowing joy this Christmas morning!
Wise women know that reflection is part of every well-lived life. We need time to just be. To give ourselves permission to do nothing. That was a very difficult lesson for me. My mother was very insistent that Sunday afternoon was for anything we wanted to do except work. My father agreed but he was also admanant about “work or you don’t eat”. Guess which one stuck in my head! You’d think I be perfectly balanced with that background, but naaah —-.
Back to the wise women. It is in time of reflection that we can celebrate our successes but more importantly let go of our failures, whatever those may be. We can lock in the lessons learned so we don’t have to repeat them. We begin to love ourselves again and in doing that, the love that we can offer to our spouse, our children and the rest of the world grows and expands. With self understanding comes the insights that keep us from settling for second best. We begin to think about what we need and what we want for ourselves and for our loved ones. From this place of caring, we are then free to move forward for the next leg of our journey called life.
Our versions of “doing nothing” will vary because we all still have basic responsibilities to be met. Perhaps like my mother you can declare one afternoon or evening free time with a clear beginning and ending. On Sunday, free time began when mid day meal cleanup was over. Mom would put out a light supper at 6pm for us to help ourselves. We all knew that when supper went back in the refrigerator that we were back in the routine. Plan what fits you and your lifestyle. Wise women plan for time to reflect and renew, whether it is in bits each week or a longer time every few months or once a year.
Because I believe that – and because I need to practice that! – I am taking time for the next week to read that pile of magazines, cruise the ‘net, and be with my family. And in between I will create time to think and dream, reflect and renew– and just be. In the meantime, thanks to some other wise women, there will be a couple of amazing recipes to grace your New Year’s Eve, so do stop back. And maybe check out some earlier posts if you are new here.
Wishing you joy today and everyday …….
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This Saturday Share is just for fun! I can relate to the Swedish Chef after preparing Thanksgiving Dinner — all planned and moving along like a symphony and then . . . .
It is a joy to visit with each and everyone of you and I am so grateful that you stop by here frequently. You are what makes this blog journey worthwhile. Blessings. . . Charlene
What do the month of October, John Chapman and Steve Jobs have in common?
Give up? October is Apple month. John Chapman is better known as Johnny Appleseed. Steve Jobs founded a company named Apple. The answer is that they have apples in common. But there’s more . . .
John Chapman was a nurseryman with a vision. Settlers were moving westward into the Ohio Valley. Apples were essential to life in the frontier and in some places having an orchard was a prerequisite to land ownership. John made it his life’s mission to provide this essential fruit to pioneers. He planted nurseries, fenced them off from livestock, left a neighbor to sell them after a season or two while moving on to plant another nursery. He moved ahead of pioneers into areas where he thought they would settle. His life was simple wilderness survival. He owned little, not even the apple seeds he obtained from cider mills in Pennsylvania. The prices he charged for his saplings were small and it was well known that he gave away seeds and saplings to those who could not pay. He became more eccentric as he grew older and we have the stories of his cooking pan hat and wild appearance. He remained a gentle man, concerned for all creatures. It was his vision and his focus that allowed him to provide the means for thousands of people to have better lives.
Steve Jobs didn’t have much focus or direction in his life until he met Steve Wozniak at a computer club meeting and the two began experimenting together. Jobs saw the potential in the results of their work and began to develop a vision and then to focus on that vision. He insisted that the end product must be accessible by anyone, not just an elite few. Keeping to that vision, the machines eventually produced were smaller, cheaper, intuitively easy to use and could be purchased at a local store. The company went on to introduce revolutionary products and in doing so, dictated the evolution of modern technology. No one knew the potential, or even the need, for the idea behind such things as the iPod, iPhone and other things, but it is difficult to imagine life without them. The computer is the first thing to come on in the morning and the last thing off at our house. Actually with six of them and people coming and going at all hours for work schedules, there is usually always one or two running. Because of Steve Jobs’ vision and focus, people all over the world have had their lives changed for the better.
This essay grew from an appreciation of apples in honor of apple month to a connection with the two gentlemen after hearing the news of Jobs death. As I researched, turns out I was not the only one to connect them. Apple played off the Johnny Appleseed connection in their early ads. And Jobs made one of the points I was aiming for when I started this when he said “Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… the ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things… they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.” – Think Different, narrated by Steve Jobs
And what does this have to do with A Pinch of Joy? It brings joy into our own lives when we think outside the box in order to see the potential. Standing true to our vision may bring hardships, but it can be wildly rewarding. And most importantly, keeping the welfare of others in view, not only brings joy, it changes the world as we know it.
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My desk faces the window overlooking the back yard. Late one rainy afternoon this past week, I caught motion out of the corner of my eye and looked up just in time to see this big guy land on the roof of our garden shed. He glided in for a smooth landing and then turned around to look at me through the window. Wheels quickly joined me and Bytes grabbed the camera, managing to catch several photos of our visitor across the yard. In the fading and rainy light, photos do not do justice to the subject in spite of the cameraman’s skill.
It was a Great Blue Heron and it was magnificent! You can tell it was tall, probably about 4 feet. The height and the white cap are what distinguish great blue herons from their cousins, the Little Blue Herons. They look more gray than blue when standing around, stabbing fish or resting on one leg. We’ve seen one around for the last few years, but never this close and quiet long enough for photos. If this is the same one, its main home is a drainage pond 4 or 5 blocks away shared with ducks and many geese. The rather large pond has been stocked with fish and walkers on the path circling it often see the bird feeding in early morning or evening. “Blue” (or his relatives) keeps a wary eye, leaving when the area is deemed too busy for comfort, but likes it well enough to spend winters there. The neighbors behind us have a much smaller pond, maybe 4×8 feet, that they keep stocked with koi and other decorative fish. Blue has visited numerous times and probably planned some fine dining before we played papparazi and changed his mind.
After a few moments, during which he never took his eyes off us, Blue turned in a slow dance on the peak of the roof. He bent his knees, leveled his beak parallel with the roof and shoved off. His wing span was enormous, close to six feet, and revealed his namesake color. He glided between trees in the adjoining yard and climbed sharply to clear a roof before disappearing. Was it our neighbor Blue or a migrant just passing through? No matter. It was a joy to behold!
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Once upon a time, a long, long time ago . . . . Whenever I wanted to hang some pictures or fasten down a piece of renegade trim it took forever! Rummaging around in the garage for nails, tape measure, hammer. Shoving stuff around on a crowded shelf, unseen little boxes of little nails would shoot out on to the garage floor. Clean up the mess – of course, they were not what I needed for my project – and continue the search. Then one day I saw a little red toolbox Wheels cast aside – not big enough for him, but just right for me. I thought. I gathered up all the little nail packages and then as I found them or acquired new nails, hooks, fasteners and other miscellanea I threw them in the little red box. And congratulated myself on being “organized”. After all, we had a little red box called Picture Hanging Box setting on the shelf.
Nope, not the happy ending for this tale.
You see, we (umm, that would be me )—– I am on a redoing and redecorating kick. So I pulled the little red box out and began to rummage through searching out hardware for the current project. Little boxes of white nails dropped out all over the floor. I picked them up and stirred some more. A package of gold nails fell out, followed by a package of big picture sawtooth hanger thingys and a package of cup hooks that were stuck to a baggie full of 2 inch finish nails. Whaddaya mean – necessary??? Of course, they are all necessary – or at least were once! It occurred to me that I was still rummaging and cleaning up disorganized messes and taking twice as long to do something as it really needed. The first thing I did was get rid of mismatched items and things I am sure will never be used. I had in mind a better container, one where things were not all jumbled in a box with a lid that didn’t latch more than it did. I’d seen organizers with multiple compartments in craft stores, but I spotted one the right size at the right price in a discount store. I grabbed it quick because it so looked lonely and forlorn up there on the shelf all by itself. Translation: I knew it would be gone if I didn’t get it then.
Not only did I empty the red box into the new compartments, I was able to add other items. Some nails and screws in different sizes from the supply in the garage so I didn’t have to scrounge for different lengths when I needed just one. A place to keep the pushpins, that although seldom used, are necessary and taking up space in a drawer. A place to sort the mollies by size – I didn’t realize how many different kinds and sizes were in that package! And to put the shelf hangers that seem to vanish whenever shelf height is changed or a new one added. Things that consume time when needed, but never cross your mind otherwise. It brought me joy to really organize things so I could quickly accomplish a given task.
Then I realized there was meaning underneath the surface. With the Red Box I only solved the problem of getting things together. While that saved some time from the old way of stacking things helter skelter on multiple shelves, it did not tackle the real issue. What I really sought was a way to keep things together so they could be retrieved easily and used quickly. Now if I need a nail, I remove the one drawer I need, leaving the screws and mollies, hooks and hangers untouched. I open the individual drawer lid and reach for the nail in its own little divider. No stress, no hassle – that’s joy! How many times have we subtracted joy from our lives by solving the wrong problem?
Here’s to problems solved and other joys for the coming week!
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