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Aug 18, 2007

The Perfect Picnic


I'm hearing numerous groans as summer temperatures turn up the furnace. Some of those groans are mine. There are also mild pleadings in the air for autumnal relief. Sign me up!

My secret weapon to beat the heat is a picnic! Even in its simplest forms, a picnic is satisfying and replete with delicious details. It can be as basic as Kentucky Fried Chicken at a crowded open air concert, and it still refreshes the soul and spirit.

I tend to love picnics with embellishment. I suppose it's my theater background, but I think of it as staging a scene and I'm the leading lady. The set is romantic and rich with musical scores that easily play in my imagination and...

Okay, I'm already there, so let's look at some easy steps toward the perfect picnic. You can always elaborate on this theme. And to really inspire you, I'm concluding with a poem called Picnic Boat, by Carl Sandberg.

THE PERFECT PICNIC
  • One picnic blanket no smaller than 6 square feet. Choose the traditional red and white gingham checks or something vintage or playful.
  • Picnic basket or hamper. It's worth investing in something that is beautifully handcrafted.
  • Two wine glasses– not antiques or plastic.
  • Two linen napkins either in white or something to match the blanket or picnic setting.
  • Optional: a mini vase of fresh flowers and a votive candle.
  • Assess whether you need matches or a corkscrew.
  • A chilled bottle of your favorite beverage and ice to keep it cold. I personally don't drink wine and spirits, but I've found that sparkling mineral waters with a hint of fruit juice make a nice pairing with cheese.
  • Three fine cheeses: one sharp, one creamy and one blue.
  • A fresh-baked baguette.
  • Luscious grapes that look like you picked them yourself.
  • A cutting board and implements to slice the cheese and baguette. A quality cheese slicer is bliss!
  • Someone special to share your picnic with!

Picnic Boat - By Carl Sandburg

Sunday night and the park policemen tell each other it is dark as a stack of black cats on Lake Michigan.

A big picnic boat comes home to Chicago from the peach
farms of Saugatuck.

Hundreds of electric bulbs break the night’s darkness, a
flock of red and yellow birds with wings at a standstill.

Running along the deck railings are festoons and leaping
in curves are loops of light from prow and stern to the tall smokestacks.

Over the hoarse crunch of waves at my pier comes a
hoarse answer in the rhythmic oompa of the brasses.

Aug 16, 2007

More galumphing...

Is it possible to have cabin fever in the summer? I've checked outside– just to be sure– and I'm definitely not snowed in! Let me see, the definition of cabin fever is: extreme irritability and restlessness from living in isolation or a confined indoor area for a prolonged time. There's nothing mentioned about snow.

I should take into account that I have two sons ages 7 and 12.5 (the eldest on perpetual restriction which ultimately restricts me) and I'm going through some stage of mental-pause. Add to this the fact that we have one vehicle and my husband is using it to rebuild our empire after a $6000.00 move. Did I mention that I won't be taking a vacation this summer? Translated; I'm stranded and I'm ready to do creative things with duct tape!

I tried to grab a therapeutic walk on two occasions. The first walk was by myself and I was no sooner into my journey when a neighbor offered me a ride. Justifying my acceptance by assuring myself that I would still be walking home, I ran into another friend at the shopping center. Yes, I could have said "no" both times, but the word got stuck. The second time I actually walked quite a distance to a donut shop with my sons. I optimistically tried to walk the apple fritter off on the return trip. So much for walking...

Today, during California's peak afternoon commute, I seized control of the car keys and headed for Costa Mesa. My destination was a fanciful shop called Paris to the Moon– something I had just discovered through Tales from a Little FrenchGardenHouse. I was so stark-raving-don't-mess-with-me determined to go that I didn't bother to check the traffic report or call for shop hours. Miraculously, I soared to my destination! Once there, I pressed my face against the entrance window and peered longingly into a semi-dark store.

Admittedly, a bicycle chained near the back door had given me hope. However, I was impressed with how calmly I returned to my vehicle. With a backwards glance, I took quick inventory of the treasures that had filled my eye-gates, observing that this detached building was not much bigger than a 2-car garage.

Now, with my eyes off the prize, I surveyed the neighborhood. I was in familiar turf. I galumphed over to Mother's Market, a huge health food store, and purchased most of dinner. I then went to Greek Town Grill and ordered some moussaka to go. Food soothes the soul...


If at first you don't succeed... Yes, I will be trying again tomorrow. I have duct tape you know...

Aug 15, 2007

To Blog or Not to Blog...

We could all remain obscure, privately penning our hearts into charming journals and then tucking them into safety. Why do we choose this format– the web log? Most of us would never retrieve and offer our palpable journals to a visiting stranger. What is it that gives us the moxie to publish our lives for the entire world to peruse? I believe it’s central to an inbuilt need for expression and the desire to be known and accepted.

I’ve done a web search using my blog’s name, Eye-dyllic. The search results are at once fascinating and sobering. It's as if a film crew has been following me to make a documentary. My steps are easily traced. It itemizes my blog travels and where I’ve left my calling card, including a list of visitors to my own site. I can even somewhat pinpoint my position in the blogosphere. My blog is less than 2 months old and it’s already a globetrotter!

It’s not as if an online journal is a one-size-fits-all. Some will come and find a cozy niche, while others will exit without so much as a wave. Nonetheless, we’re posting dreams and personal pieces of ourselves– trusting that it falls into kind hands.

The Reality Series genre illustrates how vulnerable we become when dreams are exposed. The judges are somewhat deified as they decide who is, who isn’t, who can, who can’t; and ultimately who will. And yet there is an unending flow of contestants willing to risk humiliation for a stab at their dreams– for a chance to be known.

God isn’t sitting on a heavenly panel tossing out glib quips and critiques. Considering that God gave each of us a unique set of fingerprints on 2 hands that don’t even match exactly, I’d say He’s into one-of-a-kinds. Regardless of whether man places a value on who we are or what we do, God hasn’t changed His mind about us. His opinion is the “reigning” opinion! We were each given a role to play and there’s no understudy or replacement.

By having a blog, we do risk rejection. However, we’re on the road to nowhere when our critics are allowed to navigate for us.

Hebrews 13:6 NKV

So we may boldly say: “ The LORD is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?”


and in The Message Bible…

God is there, ready to help;
I'm fearless no matter what.
Who or what can get to me?

Extra! Extra! Read all about it!

I've purchased some whimsy from Dear Mrs. Kwitty,
Some frolicsome coasters, so charming and witty;
When not playing hostess, each Kwitty Pretty
Will be lovingly stored in this sweet drawstring ditty.

[Visit Mrs. Kwitty's blog, Whatever Strikes Mrs. Kwitty's Fancy, and her online boutique, Mrs. Kwitty's Cottage, for further delights!]

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ATTENTION: SOUTHERN CALIFORNIANS
Stampington & Company Parking Lot Sale
August 18, 2007


THE EXCERPT BELOW WAS TAKEN FROM AN EMAIL THEY SENT ME...

We hope to see everyone who attended our sale last year. We have heard your comments and have made exciting changes to make this year's sale even better! This special sale is not first-come, first-served – all items will be on open tables that will be open to all shoppers at noon. There is no need to arrive early. Shoppers will be able to take a number when they are ready to check out, and can take a seat in our refreshment tent or continue shopping instead of waiting in line. We have more tent space this year, which means more shade and more room to shop! In addition to our regular sale items, we are also offering Serendipity Packages featuring a little bit of everything.


22992 Mill Creek, Suite B
Laguna Hills, CA 92653
(877) STAMPER

Aug 13, 2007

Our Deepest Fear

OUR DEEPEST FEAR
By Marianne Williamson

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness
That most frightens us.

We ask ourselves
Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.

Your playing small
Does not serve the world.
There's nothing enlightened about shrinking
So that other people won't feel insecure around you.

We are all meant to shine,
As children do.
We were born to make manifest
The glory of God that is within us.

It's not just in some of us;
It's in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine,
We unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we're liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others.

Note: This inspiring quote is taken from Marianne Williamson's book A Return to Love.

Aug 12, 2007

Today's Bouquets


Observations & Gratitude...
  1. My 20-year old daughter is in Colorado and her absence has magnified, in every aspect, how much she contributes to our home...
  2. Yesterday, I was hanging up my 7 year old son's shirts and was suddenly overwhelmed with how very soon his clothing won't be small and cute...
  3. I was up before dawn this morning and discovered that we have a rooster in our new neighborhood–- a bit uncommon for Southern California suburbs.
  4. Congested freeways, grocery store lines, and Sunday slowpokes are small inconveniences compared to the price soldiers pay for me to be “freely” inconvenienced.