A Good Home, Canadian Homes, Home, Keeping House

Housekeeping Wisdom and Foolishness

Lately, I’ve been going through my journals. As you can imagine, it’s not all pleasant reading. But some of it is funny, and even wise. Sharing:

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I’m known for my cooking. How I wish that were not so. My cooking skills are legendary for all the wrong reasons. 

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Of course I believe in miracles! I say that every time something I bake turns out well.

Blog Photo - Cake 2

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If I could, I’d have all-white furniture in my living room, and admire it from afar. I’d have to. There’d be no real living going on in that room, I tell you.

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How do they do it, those people in the magazines?  Their sofas and chairs are spotless, their kitchens – their entire homes and gardens — are immaculate. There are no books or magazines left behind on a comfy chair, no cushions fallen from the sofa to the floor, no threadbare old carpets, no signs of daily catastrophes in any of their rooms.

How do they do it?

“They don’t,” says my friend. “It’s just for the photos.”

“Then I wish they’d stop,” I replied. “They’ve given me an inferiority complex.”

Blog Photo - Verandah - dogs on old rug

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A house can be a showplace, I suppose. But my home – now that’s something else. Though I am all for making a comfortable nest for my family and self, mine is a dwelling that shows the marks of living. By that I mean that items are often out of place, forgotten in one room on the way to another, left there till they become fixtures in their new location.

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Blog Photo - Kitchen Pies on Table

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I’ve assigned a virtue to my brand of housekeeping. I call it the “lived in” look.  Well, that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it. My home looks and feels lived in, with books, blankets and cushions comfortably misplaced and eyeglasses and notebooks in any room but the one where I most need them.

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An interior decorator told me there’s a big difference between “storage” and “display”. My dining room cupboard was meant for display purposes, he said.

Oh dear.

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Blog Photo - Journals

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One thing the catastrophes of recent years have done for me: I have shed most of my false pride and pretense. And I’m trying to stamp out the rest.

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I don’t worry about impressing anyone. As long as the house is clean, as long as there are fresh sheets and flowers from my garden in the guest room, and people have enough to eat, I’m content. But this attitude of mine didn’t happen overnight. It took years. 

Blog Photo - flowers white daisies in vase

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The wisdom that age brings is knowing that we don’t always have to accept what others think, or what they do…especially when we have experience of our own and some commonsense too.

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I hope your new year is off to a  good start!

 

 

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A Good Home, Adopted HOme, Canadian life, Home

Living One’s Beliefs

It’s such an anxious time in the world right now. To help calm my nerves, I’ve been reading about the teachings of Buddha and Jesus.

I’m not sure this was a good move.

Self-sacrifice was a key tenet of their teachings– they demanded it of themselves and of those who wanted to follow them.

 

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So far, I’ve concluded that if most of us today did exactly what the Buddha directed, we’d be laughed out of town. And if we behaved as Jesus did, we’d be crucified.  

Metaphorically speaking, of course.  

Jesus was a revolutionary. The person whose birth we mark at Christmas didn’t give a hoot about people’s social standing or how much money they had. He valued their faith and actions, not their status.

He called out the rich, powerful and comfortable, lambasted the uncaring and the corrupt. He looked out for children, the sick and disabled.  He welcomed outsiders. 

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We Canadians have welcomed roughly 40, 000 homeless refugees in the last year. Some worry that in our zeal to provide a home to these vulnerable outsiders, Canadians risk our own safety or finances.  Do I understand that fear? Yes, indeed.

A friend of mine spoke passionately about his fears of Syrian refugees one week – and found himself sponsoring a refugee family the next.  He’d reflected on his fears and decided to live up to his own Christian values instead.

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Canada is a mostly Christian country, but I’m no expert on Christianity. Nor, judging by the New Testament gospel, am I even close to being a true Christian.  But I keep thinking about what Jesus might have said about welcoming refugees.

Perhaps he’d say something about acting on faith, not fear. About reflecting on our own privileges and comforts. And about helping the vulnerable by making room at the inn.

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Dedicated to people of all nations who are welcoming refugees to their homes and communities.

A Good Home, Canadian life, Home, Humour - Kinda

Witless Wednesday

I’m being driven witless.

Witless, I tell you.

By the multitude of articles telling me I need to live more simply by getting rid of stuff. Warning me that I’ll expire of unhappiness because my closets and cupboards are cluttered.

Honestly, at least twice a day in the last week, I’ve read these admonitions and how-to’s. Oprah’s online magazine, O. Better Homes and Gardens. The daily newspapers. Blog posts. 

Why is it driving me witless, otherwise known as bonkers and even bouleversee?

Maybe it’s because I know there is at least a grain of truth in most of these articles. In the last year, I’ve given things away and still suspect that I could do with less. (I hold on to old towels because they can be reused to dust, clean floors, etc., etc. My daughter says that’s crazy.)

But mostly it’s because all of these advice articles demand too much of me. To throw things out, it seems, one must first be very well organized.

Bah humbug, say I. Organized schmorganized!

There have been a few really neat posts that I like.

My friend Mandy posts photos on Facebook of the small bundles of similar things that she gathers up and gives away.

Liz turned her sorting and giving into a game.

And Sally Cronin shared something I can ‘clip out’ and post on my kitchen bulletin board: Tips for avoiding food waste. Specific and doable. (Yay Sally!) 

Otherwise, I ‘m resting in the arms of the first two lines of this wise quote. And you’re only allowed to read the last 2 lines if you understand it in the metaphorical way:

Besides the noble art of getting things done,
there is a nobler art of leaving things undone.
The wisdom of life consists in the
elimination of nonessentials. ~ Lin Yutang ~

Witlessly Yours,

Cynthia.

 

A Good Home, An Honest House, Animals, Canadian life, Family Moments, Home, Pets

Not Yet, Not Yet

Blog Photo - Julius and Dawson Sleeping

The mind knows it’s full time

But the heart beats to a different rhythm

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It’s time, the mind says, knowing

Not yet, the heart says, hoping

He’s shaky and blind, says the mind

But such strong spirit, says the heart

Blog Photo - Dawson runs

His hind legs are weak, says the mind

But watch him gallop, says the heart

His mind’s diminished, says the mind

But he has such heart, says the heart.

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Blog Photo - Mister D
Photo by Hamlin Grange

The two of them, the mind and heart

Together in the vet’s office

In sad reconciliation.

The fight over.

A life over.

Goodbye.

Goodbye dear friend.

Fare thee well, loved one.

Thanks for being our faithful companion.

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Dawson listened quietly as my daughter, then my husband, thanked him for being in our family, and bade him a loving farewell. Then I read to him: from An Honest House, the chapter I had lovingly written about him.

Would you believe it? He lay perfectly still on my lap the whole time I read, attentive, as if taking in every word. I shall miss him.