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On… hot cross buns, stillness, and the Banff Springs

Every week I am going to speak to three topics: anecdotes, books, ideas, products, or innovations that I believe are peace-building, heart-opening, community-celebrating, love-spreading vehicles. Complaining and criticizing are easy traps to fall into, but I am convinced that building up holds far more power and transformative energy.

So, my sweet friends, here goes…Our world is a beautiful village and peace does begin at home.

What I am thinking about / loving this week….

1)Hot Cross Buns

Tuesday mornings, right after I drop off Olivia at school, I turn up the radio because for the rest of my drive I know that Julie Van Rosendaal will be talking about food on the Calgary Eyeopener and I will be hanging on to her every delicious word.

This is a woman who knows how to talk about food.

Julie honours food and celebrates the idea of preparing and enjoying real food together as families and friends,

she naturally finds evocative language to celebrate whatever succulence she is describing,

and she seems delighted to share her passion with her listeners.

Inspired by Julie, I decided to make the hot cross buns I found on her blog over the Easter weekend. We were at our cottage in Waterton and we had all day to play.

Rarely do I devote this kind of time to cooking or baking because there typically aren’t whole days to devote to a whim,

but on that lazy Saturday I was reminded that there is such pure joy in engaging in a project that is multi-stepped,

and that takes time.

There is such joy to be found in not rushing and in simply giving in to the beauty of  a process.

So, while the sun streamed through the windows in our little cottage kitchen Olivia and I found and mixed ingredients

kneaded and punched new dough,

added brightly colored candied fruit,

watched the soft ball of dough rise,

then pulled and formed it into buns,

added sugar topping,

and watched our magnificent creations bake through the warmth of the oven door.

Happiness.

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(Don’t be turned away from Julie’s wonderful blog by my featured recipe choice. Julie’s fantastic recipes are geared towards busy households and weekday cooking.)

2) Standing Still

I may look like a patient woman from the outside,

but, for me, patience does not always come easily.

I want to find the answers, brainstorm, understand, know, decide, act, and fix.

Lately, though, I have been inundated with messages to be still.

It is a theme that keeps finding me, chasing me down, calling at me,

relentlessly and gently.

Be still. Breathe. Stop.

Mostly, I don’t want to stop. I get bored. I want to burst forth with another idea, buy another book, join another class. Of course I resent everything the minute it feels like too much,

but then,

when I clear up space and time I yearn to quickly fill it up again,

often flitting

from book to idea to banking

new project to text message to forms

emails to lists to writing to errands to registering in a new course

and back round again.

Checking and re-checking too many things too many times to admit.

All of this is ok and part of who I am,

but I know there’s something more. That, I have always known.

So.

Now,

I pause for a minute and listen to the birds sing their spring songs.

I wake up a little earlier than everybody else and sit in quiet for 10 minutes.

I lay in the tub and look up through the skylight at the blue, at the clouds,

and don’t pick up my book at all.

I turn off the radio at the red light and just sit.

And today, at the bank, I noticed myself, stopped myself, from checking my phone

again.

Instead, I stood and waited for the teller while she printed my new cheques.

I looked out the window, took a few deep breaths,

and just waited,

patiently.

The hidden treasures of stillness will find me yet.

Special thanks to Cheryl Dyck and Vickie MacArthur for your beautiful stillness mentoring. When the student is ready, the teachers appear.

3) the Banff Springs

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A perk of being married to an architect is that their conferences are always located in beautiful buildings.

Context and environment, of course, can never be compromised within a profession whose entire reason for being is to create beautiful spaces,

so 13 years of marriage to an architect have taught me.

This is why I am fortunate enough to be presently sitting in the Banff Springs hotel finishing up this week’s blog,

thinking,

now,

this is a place where a person can really feel inspired to not only design but to write,

especially if you are a person like me that is drawn to old world beauty

and loves the magical idea of castles,

and rooms thick with deep reds, purples, and golds in fabrics and paint,

plush furniture, dark woods, dramatic sweeping views,

ghosts dancing in the ballroom at the edge of sight,

and old glamorous adventures and stories retold.

It has been pouring rain today which will likely turn to snow, and peace has found me as I sit and write in these cozy rooms and sip my tea,

taking breaks to walk through the spacious corridors and letting this magnificent castle nestled in the Canadian wilderness be my muse.

Today is a peaceful and treasured break from my daily realities and I am so grateful.

Happy May to you all!

Do you have long and lovely projects that call out to you?

Where and how do you find stillness?

What sorts of environments inspire you?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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