Friday, December 2, 2016

Friday thoughts...

In response to a recent comment
I wrote this from the heart
and thought it might be a focus for Friday
as we approach the festive season...
which for many,
can be fraught with emotion.

Gate of Harmonious Interest in Victoria's Chinatown

"it is sad to think that people want to inflict their gloom on others who embrace the good things in life and seek out beauty and prefer to be joyful. We all experience dark days and there are many who suffer from depression and chronic pain which I can understand as I have been there and have come out of the bouts with an invigorated and focused approach to embrace the little things in life that make me happy. My wish is that we work at finding solutions and tools that make our way through life a richer and more rewarding journey."

Juan de Fuca Strait
as viewed from King George Terrace
"after the storm"

The skies reminded me of a Tony Onley watercolour.

I love looking at the holiday lights as they transport me back to my childhood.
Mother and Father would let us stay up late, 
bundle us up in our pajamas and robes 
drive us around town looking at many of the homes with the twinkling lights.
Some had lawn ornaments and several had mechanized reindeer with Santa guiding the sleigh.

Our family fell into what we might consider as the middle class.
We had a home in a nice neighbourhood but we did not have a lot of money.
Gifts at Christmas were often second hand...

Mother was an excellent seamstress and she made our velvet Xmas dresses.
She sewed one for herself and with the leftover fabric she made my sister and I matching dresses.
Our pictures every year show 3 of us in matching coloured velvet frocks!

Father was very handy and he could fix things.
I remember getting a pink radio!
It was a vintage (even by1960's standard) radio that he refurbished and painted pink just for me...
I'd say that was a labour of love.

One year I got a bike...
a Raleigh, that he completely rebuilt with new tires and a fresh coat of paint.

We also got things that we "needed" like socks and underwear.
Books and a couple of small toys.

My Father was in the Fraternal Order of the Elks and they had a Christmas Party for the families every Christmas and that is where we got a super duper gift!
I remember getting a Barbie, a Midge and Skipper dolls.
The gifts were a real treat.

My Father grew up during the Depression and I think it had a huge impact on how he viewed money.
He scrimped and saved to put money away in the bank.
His family struggled to put food on the table and I heard a story once that they sold their claw foot tub in order to pay for something!
Can you imagine?

My thoughts are rather discombobulated 
but what I am trying to say is that life is a tapestry of events 
sewn together rather haphazardly
what we choose to do with these events 
has a huge impact on who we are
how we are seen by others
and what we bring to the table.

Life has struggles and challenges
after all is said and done...

We all have choices...
we can wallow
feel sorry for ourselves
take action
work hard to change things
adopt the attitude of gratitude

 I choose gratitude and when I do,
 happiness follows...

If you know of someone who could use a little cheer today
please take it upon yourself to lend a hand.

Carol Woodard the slow cooker cookbook is yours!
please email me your address at

~ Be Well and Be Kind ~


  1. Please do not let negative comments get to you! I sit here in northern Europe and enjoy your sweet voice from Canada, and find joy in the knowledge that this globe is full of nice people like you and so many of your commenting readers. Being mindful of both the planet, our fellow humans near and far, and our own health and economy, and finding joy in so many different things, both modest and luxurious, is a gift that you possess. As does many of your readers. We form a precious community and you are a generous provider of a meeting place for us. Lots of love!
    Helena in Sweden

    1. Hello Helena...thank you for sharing your thoughts all the way from Sweden!
      It is lovely to hear your voice here in The Humble Bungalow and I appreciate your sentiments. It is wonderful that we can feel that we are part of a bigger global community.
      Seasons greetings to you.

  2. Here, here, so well said. I think that all of us at a certain age had parents who went through the depression and this influenced enormously how they conducted their lives. I felt very sad after my mother died finding lovely things that she had stored away and never worn as well as grocery supplies that had been hoarded.

    1. Christy, your comments resonate with me...Sorting through your Mothers' things after her demise would be very emotional. I know that is something that I am not looking forward to doing. We had to do that job when Father left sister and I helped Mom as she was really not able to cope with it on her own.
      I read many blogs where the message emphasizes that we use our best everyday and not "save it for best"...I like to think that I do this whenever possible...because we never know what the future will bring.

  3. What a mindful post. One of those that will make me think. We are a gentle community and long may that last.

    1. Finding Peace within our selves and others is the ultimate goal.

  4. Love is so much easier than hate.
    And......It gives back so much more.
    My thoughts at this time of year
    are of my dearest, best and longest friendship.

    Diane died from breast cancer in 2008.
    What I remember most about her.........
    She could always share my joy and always
    made it greater.
    Your suggestion is wonderful, just go love someone.
    You never know when your opportunity will pass.

    1. Cherishing the memories of a beloved friend and honouring her in such a way will help keep her close. I too lost a good friend who left behind two young children and a husband. She died far too soon, we were all shocked and saddened...but she was a lot of fun to be with and there were jokes and laughter when we were all together, she would not expect us to be maudlin.

  5. Such an emotional story
    Your posts are always so kind,graceful and nice-You share with us your cozy,beautiful home,gracious garden and your stories are so interesting,full of peaceful joy,love for little and big things ,writing about different topics wise and harmonious. It is so rare.
    Please,don't take those nasty comments personal(people could have a lot of different problems in their lives) and continue to bring light and harmony

    1. Writing this blog has been a great experience and I have connected with so many people through this journey...I love your "voice" Dottoressa and I have enjoyed your guest posts on materfamilias' blog...I believe that you have a gift and writing a blog is something that you may enjoy. I would be honoured to be one of your regular readers.

  6. Lovely post and sentiment. I hope a theme that emerges from each and all of my holiday posts is that holidays are not 100% happy but that doesn't mean one must abstain from them all together. Love hearing about your childhood toys! What wonderful parents!

    1. I totally agree with you Stephen...
      Holidays often intensify our problems, memories, and disappointments.
      They can evoke powerful responses.
      No one I know has a "Hallmark family"

  7. What nice memories! Thank you for writing this post and the food for thought.
    Mary Lou

    1. Thank you marmielu...this season is an opportunity to bring out the best in us.
      We can volunteer to serve a dinner to the homeless, seniors, donate to the food banks and make good deeds our gifts to the community.

  8. I love your posts, they always make me smile with contentment . I am mad at those ugly commentators and have to restrain myself from lashing out in the same way...not very kind of me. Practice nice, Gayle

    1. Oh no need to be mad on my behalf Gayle.
      Moderation is an easy fix.
      Hope you have a lovely weekend.

  9. You express yourself so well - and what you speak of evokes so many memories. I will be taking myself downtown one evening next week to tour all the Christmas lights - and to see the Bay's windows! I too remember velvet dresses at Christmas for my sisters and me - I've always loved a deep blue velvet, wile one of my friends still loves to have a black velvet dress as it always reminds her of Christmas best!
    Thank you for suck a lovely post.

    1. Do you remember those festive mechanized windows that Eatons and The Bay had on display? My sister and I would press our noses to the glass and beg our Mom to let us stay for much longer than she had planned.
      Velvet was considered a special occasion fabric...
      would your favourite blue velvet be a Royal Blue?

  10. Yours sounds like a wonderful upbringing and family. I too was blessed in this way. It's interesting how even people raised together can emerge from their family of origin with totally different outlooks on life. To quote an old acquaintance, the late Dr. Richard Dobbins: None of us live with the facts of our lives. We live with the stories we tell ourselves about the facts of our lives.

    As one who suffered terribly from depression in my twenties, I have learned that happiness is my choice.


    1. Dawn,
      Thank you for sharing that quote...I have not heard of Dr. Dobbins.
      Congratulations on your positive outlook and you have my utmost respect for rising above a depressive time and embracing a positive attitude.

    2. Happiness is not a choice,depression is an illness and you can't choose it to go away or wish it away, it needs treatment
      It is insulting to people with depression to suggest that one can simply choose to be happy. I find contentment is a more realistic state of mind, no one can be happy all the time, it is a absurd notion

    3. Mary,
      I congratulated Dawn and complimented her on her recovery, it takes a lot of hard work and therapy to overcome this diagnosis.
      Depression is an illness and I am not focusing here with this post on clinical depression, that topic is best left to the professionals.
      I had a year of the blues and was diagnosed with depression. I was treated with medication and I had some counselling sessions and read many many self help books. Looking back I think I was in peri-menopause and it was hormonal.

      One can choose to be happy when one is not suffering from depression.

      Just for the record Mary, I would never intentionally insult people...
      you misunderstand me if you think I would not reach out to offer support, empathy and understanding to those afflicted.

  11. Thank you for reminding us to be kind!

    1. How is that amaryllis that you planted doing?
      Is it blooming?

    2. There are a few green shoots starting to show. So I am keeping my finger's crossed. I am so bad at posting on my blog, I must update it.

  12. Thank-you Hostess. I've always enjoyed your gentle and kind thoughts on making the best from what life offers. I've been following your posts for ages (without commenting) but wanted to let you know how grateful I am that you share your thoughts. They've often been a timely reminder of things I know to be true but forget when I'm struggling and the future looks bleak. You have a gift for appreciating the beauty in the everyday that really resonates with me. Sometimes all we need is a gentle reminder to choose wisely what we focus on and that everyday we get new chances and new choices. It's a lovely calming blog and I'm always so happy to see a post from you.
    Thank-you again for sharing your thoughts, and for all you do for all of us. It means a lot! x Janie x

    1. I need reminders too and so I intentionally seek out the beauty on my walks and in my garden...your comment is much appreciated.

  13. Bonjour! My family Christmas was a lot like yours. My mum used to work at Eaton's as a personal shopper at Christmas to make extra money. We drove around looking at lights and store windows at Christmas. Housecoats and hankies seemed to have been the preferred gifts and we were happy. People who write nasty comments are unhappy people. We all have different life circumstances. My mum, at 85, is volunteering at the Food Bank and encountering a sector of society that is completely new to her. Gratitude and generosity
    are important. Life is not perfect or always happy but we do our best. My daughter is having surgery next week. Christmas will be different this year. When I asked about her favourite part; she said "the lights." Each of us should do our best to be a "light" in the world. Enjoy the week-end!

    1. Oh I love the idea that your mom was a personal shopper! That sounds like fun!
      We lived in simpler times back then...people lived with less "stuff" and seemed to be more content. The competition to acquire was not as fierce either...
      I was listening to the CBC this afternoon while they had their annual food drive program live from downtown Vancouver...volunteers like your mom are making a huge difference.
      I hope your daughters' surgery goes well Madame, I know what it is like to worry about our children, even now that they are adults!

    2. Oh! Mum said that my friend was at CBC today. She's on the Food Bank board. Now it makes sense.

    3. Oh I probably heard her speak...the head of The Food Bank board spoke very passionately and eloquently and shared the statistics of how many people use the service and mentioned that the demographics are changing...many families have had to move away and more seniors are relying on it because rent and housing in the Vancouver area is so expensive. There were some good ideas too about using school yards to cultivate and grow food for the banks and to get the students involved... that would be fabulous because students would learn to give back and volunteer at an early age.

  14. A very lovely post, and quite timely for me. Thank you for being a gracious lady. xo

    1. Hope that you have some fun things planned for your weekend....
      BTW your knitting group dinner party looked fabulous! Our group should do something similar!!

  15. I have just sent my email to you.

    Oh my. Barbie, Midge, and Skipper. I remember them well. My grandmother sewed an entire wardrobe of men's clothes for my Ken on her treadle sewing machine. I inherited the sewing machine and I still have the wardrobe but I don't remember if I still have the Ken!

    Two of my most cherished memories are of the time when I woke up to find a wardrobe of tiny doll clothes for a new doll that couldn't have been more than 3 inches tall. I lamented out loud that she only had one outfit and the next morning 4 or 5 outfits, including pajamas and little pink felt slippers were laid out on my nightstand. They were all hand sewn and since The Elves and the Shoemaker was my favorite story at the time, I pondered for days whether we had elves or my mother was responsible for the treasure.

    My other favorite memory were the times my mother made fried bread for supper. My brother and I would jump for joy when that happened and it was only when I was an adult that I understood that the grocery money had been exhausted and fried bread was the only meal she could scrounge together for us. Money was tight in the days before my father received his professor's tenure but I never, ever felt poor.

    Thank you for your statement about life being a "tapestry of events sewn haphazardly..." We raised our children to know that bad things happen and that what you do as a result of the bad thing is what matters. Happily that is one of the lessons that is embedded in their marrow and it is serving them well as they navigate the trials and pitfalls of young adulthood.

    How lovely that you have a community of faithful and thoughtful readers. Wishing you all peace in the light of a single candle flame.

  16. Choosing gratitude is the best way. Lovely post, Leslie.

    1. It is a powerful life altering attitude and one that I discovered and adopted after I lived through a dark patch.

  17. Oh thank you...I will package up your parcel and pop it in the post over the weekend.
    I hop it will arrive in a timely fashion but it is a busy time for the postal service.
    Your sweet story about those wee clothes is delightful...and your Mother (or the elves) must have stayed up half the night sewing them!
    My father made fried bread and he would cut a hole in the middle and crack an egg in it...
    He referred to it as "a sailor on a raft"...or something like that...I forget!
    I hope you enjoy the book.

  18. Thank you for the lovely post, hostess! Always a bright spot in my day to visit your blog.

  19. I enjoy your blog and philosophy. Reminders to choose gratitude are always welcome. I agree with the thoughtful comments above. I am sorry that you have received such harsh, undeserving comments lately.

  20. I loved this and couldn't agree more! I try to practice gratitude each day. Wishing you the happiest of holiday seasons!

  21. Beautifully written Leslie ...I agree entirely. My childhood was similar to yours in many ways.
    Thank you for sharing this and for the gorgeous photographs.
    Take care ....and stay happy.