And climb the stairs to the beach...

Friday, July 22, 2011

Feel Good Friday July 22, 2011

You know, there really is something to this Feel Good Friday idea. There are certain things in this world, simple things, little laws of nature that I find helpful from time to time. For example, I have heard that it's impossible to feel two different pains at the same time. I think that's true. It's not possible to feel a sore knuckle if you've got a splinter in your finger. So, we should be grateful for either the sore knuckle or the splinter, I guess. But that's not quite what I meant.

A better example is that I know for certain that it's impossible to be angry if you have a purring cat on your lap. And it's impossible to keep from smiling when a baby smiles at you first.

Gratitude is exactly like that. If I concentrate on things for which I am grateful, if only for that second, I am not thinking of those things that I wish might never have happened.

About 15 years ago I picked up a book called Simple Abundance by Sara Ban Breathnach. It was a day book of quotes and simple little tasks to do that made me appreciate what I had and led me to discover things in the world that I was never aware of. Some things were silly and some were really fascinating. Her quotes were inspiring. My favorite quote came from her book and anybody who knows me really well knows it is this: "All shall be well. And all shall be well. And all manner of things shall be well." Dame Julian of Norwich wrote that in the 14th century. I use it as sort of my own serenity prayer, and if I say it enough, it works for me.

The reason I bring up this book is because it taught me a practice that, although forgotten about from time to time, whenever I do go back to it I am reminded how effective it is. Every night before you retire, Ban Breathnach instructs that we must write down five things for which we are grateful in our Gratitude Journal. It can be anything at all, even if it's being grateful that the day is finally over. It really does work. Try it. She suggests a whole ritual of selecting just the right journal before you start, but any old scrap of paper will do in a pinch. Keep this gratitude journal, making your entries every night and see if things don't change for you along the way. I am here to tell you, it's impossible to end the day on a bad note if the last things you think about before you go to sleep are that for which you are grateful.

And so, this week when buying and selling a home hit the height of frustration, panic and disappointment for me, I am here to tell you I do have something to write about on Feel Good Friday and as an act that is sort of like "In your face, blankety-blank real estate deal!", I am posting this blog today. And I know All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well!

This week my sister Becky and gal pal Melinda sponsored a tea, put on at my friend Alexandra's home, a home I hadn't been in since I was 3 when we lived there. That was a fascinating experience in itself. (you can read more about it in a more serious vein at my other blog (

And so I went to a British tea, purchased by Becky and Melinda at the church service auction. Alexandra would put on the spread for 6-8 people, tea sandwiches and teacakes and tea, for all. So they invited some other gal pals from church and we decided in addition to the tea, it would be fun to make our own Fascinators, Ala Kate Middleton.

We all arrived and had a tour of the house and Alexandra opened the champagne, although it ended up on the floor. I don't think she has a lot of experience opening champagne.

We caught up a little on what was happening with each other. Some of these gals I hadn't seen in quite a while.

Oohing and Aahing over our Dollar Store purchases of flowers, ribbon, etc., we went to work. Some of us are more craftitudinally challenged than others, but it was really fun. Although I must say that more than once I thought of my Grandmother and her gatherings with her church ladies to make some craft or another. But we really don't look like our grandmothers did. Well, we don't feel like it anyway.

Maggie the Milliner, as she should be called, found it hard to get hers completed because we were all looking to her for advice on the proper use of the feathers, tulle and various silk flowers that were available. Especially Sue P.

Sue P took her project way to seriously for me. She was very particular and kind of monopolized design star Maggie's time, making it difficult for the rest of us to get much help.
Melinda, affectionately known as Melonhead, didn't really need any help. She had a sort of proper ladies-at-tea thing going...

...until  you looked closely and saw that the purple cur lie-q chenille stems (pipe cleaners), bumble bee and bird of paradise she had stuck up in there among the flowers revealed the real kooky Melonhead I know and love.

 Alexandra, our hostess with the mostess, declared she was totally out of her element with these creative crafty projects. But, I think she did a smashing job in shades of gold and yellow, sticking a bumble bee here and a yellow orchid there, all atop a zebra striped base, not to mention the "monarch" butterfly. How appropriately royal!

I decided Hydrangeas were my thing, spending these weeks on the Cape where they grow in abundance. Besides, Becky had brought me a gorgeous magenta one, that she knew I'd love.And it matched my glasses. A piece of ribbon, a bird and a poofy green thing Maggie fashioned from fabric all wired to a headband and I was done. Keep it simple is my motto.

But, Sue P wouldn't keep it simple and stitched and sewed and kept Maggie busy helping so that neither of them were finished with their Fascinators before the tea and they had to return to the workshop after refreshments.

So we adjourned to the dining room for tea, where Alexandra poured tea, pink lemonade and a little more champagne without spilling a drop this time.

We had little open faced sandwiches. And I even ate a cucumber sandwich, which is some sort of accomplishment for me. But they were itty bitty cucumbers. Turkish or something and quite good, actually. The dessert cart was lovely and I wish I had a picture of it. Lots of yummy things.

After we ate, some of us went for a tour of the gardens and Sue P and Maggie the Milliner went back to work on their Fascinators. Sue P was very particular and very slow. But when she was done, she had a rather Scottish Lass look about her, don't you think?

Maggie the Milliner, on the other hand,  had a sort of Dr. Seuss thing going. Sort of a Cindy Lou Who idea. I think it's brilliant!

Becky's was inspired with a tea cup perched just so and long leaves that looked like green onions poking up in the air with the finishing touch a purple bird, it was perfect. All sitting at the appropriate jaunty angle, for what I think was the best of them all.

I think we did a fabulous job and by far our Fascinators were much prettier than some of those we saw at Kate and Will's wedding. 
Now that's what I call some weird Chenille stems.

Melonhead and Becky purchased the tea for us. Thanks Gals!
But, clearly, it was a perfect way to forget all my cares and woes, in the company of such good friends and Fascinating Women!
And, THAT, ladies and gentlemen is one of the reasons why I am Feeling Good this Friday! Hope you have something to feel good about. Have a great week!
Pinkies Up!


  1. you and melinda have the perfect "ladies at tea" pursed lips!

  2. It was a quite marvelous affair. It is unfortunate that some of us (well, ok, just me) haven't yet developed a talent for the creative, yet speedy, design and creation of fascinators. I'll just have to work on developing this skill. Practice makes ... well ... practice might help!

    Cheers, pinkies up, and thanks to organizers, sponsors, and hostess.

    Sue P.

  3. Dear Suzie, What a wonderful piece of writing and dellightful sharing. I so regret that by the time I had met you, your life took you in the direction of Florida and I had already lost the possibility of playing with you and sharing some silly and serious little adventures with you.

    I enjoy your blog and website so much and will keep up with your unfolding family research and story. You are so productive in it all.

    I am going to start a gratitude journal like you have to go along with my wish box. I think they would go together very nicely.

    A wish box is a place where I deposit a scrap of paper with my wishes on it and the names of people I would bless or pray for (if I were going to be disciplined enough to actually do that). It saves time and lasts longer.

    Good luck, good fortune and good fun in your Flordia adventure. Thanks for your sharings.



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