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Bruce's Blog || Just sayin'. . .

Hearts Beating Together, Oyster Art, and Mom's Are So Wise

Posted on January 25, 2020 by Bruce MacNaughton
Good morning from Prince Edward Island,
Put the kettle on, get the cup, put the glasses on, and let’s chat.
Not too chilly today at -14C or 6.7F, no wind makes taking Millie out to do her business a little easier. If you missed last week’s blog, who is Millie, she is our new 9 week-old fur baby as of today, a beaut of an Australian Shepherd.
It has been a week of calling her Marvellous Millie and Mischief Millie, and Millie of course. She now knows her name and comes upon calling. We have had lots of laughs and lots of, “quick, get her out of there!” moments. There are times when the energy gap is evident. Poor Millie can’t keep up to me. NOT... LOL
Prince Edward Island News.
Near the end of December, a fire destroyed The Tyne Valley Community Sports Centre.
Hockey rinks in most small towns throughout Canada mean everything to the community. People come together to honour the beauty of life by participating in all things sport and community.
It didn’t take too long for locals to jump into high gear and begin the process of raising funds for the rebuild.
Their efforts to rebuild the rink will soon get help from some former NHLers. Summerside is hosting a celebrity hockey game on February 8 with NHL stars from the past.
Raymond Bourque, of Boston Bruin fame, will be headlining the game at Credit Union Place. All money raised will go toward rebuilding the rink in Tyne Valley. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for children, all proceeds go the fundraising efforts.
Another reason, I LOVE Prince Edward Island.
When the chips are down, everyone chips in. This is more than a village losing a rink. It is a story of Islanders, Maritimers and Canadian hearts beating together. Pumping new life into a knocked down but not out community.
A friend, Debbie Brady has started a unique business. It promotes a one-of-a-kind perspective on oysters, art and giving.
Debbie lives in Tyne Valley, home of the Oyster Festival held annually in the rink. It makes perfect sense to create a special piece of Oyster art to help raise funds in response to the #rallyforthevalley.
Debbie explains below the photo.
“Phoenix” uses the dark mark left by an oyster’s adductor muscle to signify dark times breaking through ice-like surroundings into the light of a new tomorrow. The shell used for this commemorate piece is from our local Valley Pearl Oysters.
Until February 29, proceeds from the sale of “Phoenix” will be donated toward rebuilding the Tyne Valley Sports Centre. To give your support by purchasing this unique piece click here.
If you appreciate the beauty in nature, as I do, click the link to see more of Debbie’s talents for capturing nature's beauty in a special way.
Speaking of community, I love this story out of England. Since 2014 Good Samaritans', have been leaving money to be discovered by strangers.
The money was always left in plain sight and often on pavements.
In a lot of cases, the money was returned to the police station. I love it. Honesty. After the waiting period, in most cases, the funds were returned to the person who found them.
The benefactors told police they had received unexpected windfalls and wanted to give something back.
One of the Good Samaritans - who both wish to remain anonymous - said she felt an "emotional connection" to the former pit village after being helped by a resident and wanted to "repay the kindness she received"Read more here.
For those who are new to reading my musings, I had shared in a previous blog to have challenged myself to read 20 books in 2020. To some, I realize that is nothing.
I was self-convinced by listening instead of ignoring. In an earlier life was told by a teacher that I was stupid. It left a scar and caused a procrastination gap between my desire and my doubt. And in most cases doubt won.
It took me a few years. I finally threw that nonsense in the trash. Moving on to 20 books and looking to 2021 and the challenge of 21 or perhaps 42.
This week, in reading Stillness is the Key by Ryan Holiday, I found many nuggets of wisdom. I share some here.
“Many of us carry wounds from our childhood. Maybe someone didn't treat us right. Or we experienced something terrible.
Or our parents were just a little too busy or a little too critical or a little too stuck dealing with their own issues to be what needed.
These raw spots shape decisions we make and actions we take-even if we're not always conscious of that fact.
This should be a relief: The source of our anxiety and worry, the frustrations that seem to suddenly pop out in inappropriate
situations, the reason we have trouble staying in relationships or ignoring criticism-it isn't us. Well, it is us, just not adult us.
It's the seven-year-old living inside us. The one who was hurt by Mom and Dad, the sweet, innocent kid who wasn't seen.”
Most people never learn that their accomplishments will ultimately fail to provide the relief and happiness we tell ourselves they will. Or they come to understand this only after so much time and money, so many relationships and moments of inner peace, were sacrificed on the altar of achievement. We get to the finish line only to think: This is it?
Now what?
What do we want more of in life? That's the question. It's not accomplishments. It's not popularity. It's moments when like we are enough. More presence. More clarity. More insight. More truth.
More stillness.
Three nuggets from Stillness is the Key, by Ryan Holiday. I have to say, I am wearing down the nib on my yellow highlighter reading this book.
Classical musicians around the world are celebrating the anniversary of Beethovens’ 250th birthday. So, I too celebrate today listening to a new recording by Fazil Say. Beethoven: Piano Sonatas Nos 4, 5, 6 & 7. A sample listen here.
Wishing you a wonderful weekend and thank you for taking your precious time to spend it with me.
Take care of each other.
With love from Prince Edward Island,
A Mom visits her son for dinner who lives with a girl roommate.
During the course of the meal, his mother couldn't help but notice how pretty his roommate was. She had long been suspicious of a relationship between the two, and this had only made her more curious. Over the course of the evening, while watching the two interact, she started to wonder if there was more between him and his roommate than met the eye.
Reading his mom's thoughts, the son volunteered, "I know what you must be thinking, but I assure you, we are just roommates."
About a week later, his roommate came to him saying, "Ever since your mother came to dinner, I've been unable to find the silver plate. You don't suppose she took it, do you?"
He said, "Well, I doubt it, but I'll email her, just to be sure."
He sat down and wrote :
Dear Mother:
I'm not saying that you 'did' take the silver plate from my house, I'm not saying that you 'did not' take the silver plate. But the fact remains that it has been missing ever since you were here for dinner.
Your son
Several days later, he received an email from his Mother which read:
Dear Son:
I'm not saying that you DO sleep with your roommate, and I'm not saying that you DO NOT sleep with her. But the fact remains that if she was sleeping in her OWN bed, she would have found the silver plate by now, under the pillow…

Meet Millie MacNaughton ; Stillness is the Key, Auditor Doesn't Know the Difference

Posted on January 18, 2020 by Bruce MacNaughton
Good Morning from Prince Edward Island,
Brrrr….it is cold here today! Might very well be a five cupper!
I hope you had a great week and are safe and warm.
You may have noticed this week that the newsletter arrived at a funny time — not the usual Saturday morning. We made a change in who we use to send our newsletters.
Here is last week's blog, if you missed it.
If you are a subscriber to many newsletters, you will notice that most arrive in your email box through an ESP. (Email Service Provider) Mailchimp, Contact Contact, etc.
With anti-spam law sensitivities, ESP’s, do not like to see companies with “spam” complaints pass .01%. If they do, they kick the email sender off their system and register the sender as a “spammer.” And no ESP will allow you to use their system.
So a new ESP will only send a few emails out at a time to determine if there is an issue with their new client. Hence our 36,000 plus subscribers received their email newsletter from us at weird times of the week.
Everyone who receives a newsletter from us signed up and double confirmed. Nineteen people still reported us as spammers. Fortunately, we passed the test and can continue sending you our newsletter.
I thought it was worthy of sharing this info. I hope you don’t mind.
For a few months, now, we have been watching the local humane society looking for a new pet. Unable to find one, we adopted from a registered breeder.
Let me introduce you to “Millie” MacNaughton. A registered Australian Shepherd and the newest member of our family. She is eight weeks old today.
We are mindful of the tragedy Australia is experiencing, and our hearts go to all concerned. Having friends who have moved there in the last few years, are even more aware. Pray for Australia. 
Speaking of the news. I pretty well turned off the radio and television two years ago. The mindless chatter and advertising were getting to be too much.
Seth Godin states in a blog post this week called The Dominate Media Narrative of the Day.
“The thing the media is talking about, in heavy rotation.
The breaking news, the one you’re required to give an opinion on.
The thing is, if it’s not for you, about you, or something you need to engage in, then who put it on your agenda?
The media benefits from turning you into their product, once you give them your attention.
Feel free, but do it because you’ve chosen to.
Here’s something to consider: the world doesn’t get better when you spend more time engaging with mass media. That’s pretty clear.
But it does get better when you spend more time doing things that matter. Actions matter.”
I have started a new book this week, by Ryan Holiday, called Stillness is the Key.
From Amazon. To avoid distraction and discover great insights. To achieve happiness and do the right thing. Ryan Holiday calls it stillness--to be steady while the world spins around you.
In this book, he outlines a path for achieving this ancient, but urgently necessary way of living. Drawing on a wide range of history's greatest thinkers, he argues that stillness is not mere inactivity, but the doorway to self-mastery, discipline, and focus.
I am five chapters in. How the author reflects the obvious to the reader is unique. It is timely in light of all the distractions in our lives.
Here are a few quotes from the book.
"In our lives, we face seemingly equal problems and are pulled in countless directions by competing priorities and beliefs. In the way of everything we hope to accomplish, personally and professionally, sit obstacles and enemies." - Ryan Holiday
Even during a quiet evening at home, all we're thinking about is the list of improvements that need to be made. There may be a beautiful sunset, but instead of taking it in, we're taking a picture of it.
We are not present... and so we miss out. On life. On being our beat. On seeing what’s there. - Ryan Holiday
I finished reading Atomic Habits by James Clear. I highly recommend it. One of the best non-fiction books I have read in a long time. It is a book for everyone. 
My goal is to read 20 books in 2020. So I need to try and average two books a month. January is off to a good start. I finished For Whom the Bell Tolls, my first ever 500-page book. (started in December) Finished Atomic Habits, and will complete Stillness is the Key.
In keeping with the theme, "Stillness"; I have been listening to soft choral sounds from Voces8.

Notes by Apple

VOCES8 looks toward home for a breathtaking journey around the British Isles with music that crosses boundaries of both geography and musical genre. The breadth on offer is staggering: Radiohead’s anthemic “Pyramid Song” emerges as a new choral classic and Clannad’s “Theme from Harry’s Game” is haunting in its newly crafted harmonic richness. But the ensemble reaches back, too—a once-lost folk song from the abandoned island of St Kilda (“Soay”) adds mystery, while Tavener’s “Song for Athene,” perhaps best-known from the funeral service of Diana, Princess of Wales, is a throwback to 1997 and a nation in grief. And the original works by British and American composers are simply ravishing. There are passion and conviction here, and a choral blend that carries each note skyward.

Sample listen to their latest album here.
"In solitude, we see more clearly. Alone—in moments of prayer or meditation, or simply in stillness—we breathe more deeply, see more fully, hear more keenly. We notice more, and in the process, we return to what is sacred." ~ Katrina Kenison
Now for a little visual musical interlude from Simon and Garfunkel. Sounds of Silence. I love the beautiful music these two created.
Wishing you a great weekend. Please don't hit the spam button! LOL
With love from Prince Edward Island,
Once upon a time, there was a shepherd looking after his sheep on the side of a deserted road.
Suddenly a brand new Porsche screeches to a halt.
The driver, a man dressed in an Armani suit, Cerutti shoes, Ray-Ban sunglasses, TAG-Heuer wrist-watch, and a Pierre Cardin tie gets out and asks the shepherd, "If I can tell you how many sheep you have, will you give me one of them?"
The shepherd looks at the young man, then looks at the large flock of grazing sheep and replies, "Okay."
The young man parks the car, connects his laptop to the mobile-fax, enters a NASA Website, scans the ground using his GPS, opens a database and 60 Excel tables filled with algorithms and pivot tables.
He then prints out a 150-page report on his high-tech mini-printer, turns to the shepherd and says, ‘'You have exactly 1,586 sheep." The shepherd cheers, "That's correct, you can have your choicest sheep from the herd."
The young man takes one of the animals which he likes most and cute from the flock and puts it in the back of his Porsche.
The shepherd looks at him and asks, "If I guess your profession, will you return my animal to me?" The young man laughed and answers, "Yes, why not?"
The shepherd says, "You are an auditor." "How did you know?" asks the young man. "Very simple," answers the shepherd. "
First, you came here without being wanted.
Secondly, you charged me a fee to tell me something I already knew.
Thirdly, you don't understand anything about my business... now can I have my DOG back?"

Desire verus Doubt, 200 Years Later, The Dog Lies

Posted on July 19, 2019 by Bruce MacNaughton

Good Morning from Prince Edward Island,

Put the kettle on, let’s have a cup of tea and talk about happy things.

Rejoice in everything, even in small things. If you start rejoicing, even a cup of tea starts having a sacred significance.” – Osho

I have to fess up, today is Friday. I usually write on Saturday mornings, but unable to tomorrow. In any event, happy Saturday.

When I awoke Friday morning, the first sound I heard was of a Canada Warbler.

I gave thanks for the beautiful call to start my day. I started to think about the gift of sound or “listening.”

It most cases the word, listening associates with a conversation.

Intentional listening is a habit I would like to improve on. Having an overactive mind at times leads me to not being the best listener.  Too often I assume what is being said and form the bias or answer before truly listening. 

To listen, we need not only our ears, but we also need our eyes and heart open to the other.

For one thing, it allows the other person to receive the gift of feeling heard. The second thing, when we give wholeheartedly, we receive much more than we give.

Those who practice listening find it to be one of the most powerful and influential factors in human relations. It is a magnetic and creative force. In fact, those who listen to us are the very ones toward who we move. Listening to us creates us, unfolds and expands us. Ideas begin to grow and come to life within us. The same happens when we listen to others with an attentive, uncritical ear. Listening recharges us so that we never get tired of each other. We are recreated. ~ Kelly Bennet

Listening to our heart's desire can be a challenge as well. Divine or not, it is usually met with resistance, so begins, “the great wrestling match.”

Life experience is like sport, always desire vs doubt.

The team or player with the most desire wins. Even in most cases, their talent may not be in their favour.

This week, I was reading a great story in a BBC Music Magazine of desire versus doubt.

Composer, Clara Schumann was born in 1819 in Leipzig, Germany. Her mom was a fine pianist and singer and her Dad was a piano teacher.

Her husband, Robert Schumann was a renowned composer as well. His fame and folly of attempted suicide masked over her story. 

As Europe’s ‘Queen of Piano’, composer, professor, and editor, she experienced the times of gender prejudice. Another cause of professional neglect.

200 years later her legacy is being celebrated. She helped evolve the direction of classical music. Now, she is now receiving the attention she deserves. 

I have been listening to her beautiful music all week. The emotion of all that she was dealing with comes through each note. 

While courting she and Robert Schumann composed music to have it played for each other. Her father was dead set against their courtship. The notes from the compositions were converted into words. Sharing music was their way of sending “coded” love letters to each other.

Unthought of at the time, she took her father to court to win the right to marry the man she wanted to. 

Clara was a force. She won, they went on to have 8 children together.

Desire versus Doubt.
Desire: Clara shared these words with her father. “Composing gives me great pleasure. There is nothing that surpasses the joy of creation if only because through it one wins hours of self-forgetfulness when one lives in a world of sound.”
Doubt: She once wrote, “I once believed that I possessed creative talent but I have given up this idea; women must not desire to compose-there has never yet been one able to do it. Should I expect to be the one?”
After her husband's hospitalization, Clara shared a message with a friend. “My old friend, my piano, must help me in this. I thought what a splendid thing it is to be an artist, but I only realize it for the first time now that I can turn all my suffering and joy into divine music so that I often feel quite happy.”
When she was 12 years old, Goethe notes: “the girl has more power than six boys put together.”
After hearing her play, Louis Sphor comments, “her playing is distinguished from that of the ordinary prodigy in that is not only the result of rigorous classical training but also spring from the heart, as is testified by her compositions which belong, as does the young artist herself, among the remarkable phenomena of art.”
What is your heart's desire? What is the doubt? Love versus fear. Love always wins. Might you take some time this weekend and listen to your heart?
Get outside into nature. Lay in the grass, rest and listen. I know am going to this very day.
"Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass on a summer day listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is hardly a waste of time." - John Lubbock
Wishing you and yours a wonderful weekend and a great week ahead.
With love from Prince Edward Island.

A guy spots a sign outside a house that reads, "Talking Dog for Sale."

Intrigued, he walks in. "So what have you done with your life?" he asks the dog. 

"I've led a very full life," says the dog. 

"I lived in the Alps rescuing avalanche victims. Then I served my country in Iraq. And now I spend my days reading to the residents of a retirement home."

The guy is flabbergasted.

He asks the dog's owner, "Why on earth would you want to get rid of an incredible dog like that?"

The owner says, "Because he's a liar! He never did any of that!"

Celtic Circle of Life, Wellness and Old Growth Forests

Posted on February 01, 2019 by Bruce MacNaughton

Good Morning, Friends

I hope you are safe and somewhere warm, it is brrrrrr cold here today.

-13C or 5F for our US cousins.

It is a bit too cold to go for a walk this morning but did get me thinking about health and wellness. It seems to be top of mind for us and a number of friends.

Based on the articles written to fill the swath of monthly magazines, blog articles and news reports, it naturally will be on the minds of everyone.

But what do we do when we read something we know we should/could/want to do? 

Wellness starts with peace of mind.

Our minds are incredibly powerful—we can use our thoughts to improve our overall intellect, cognitive performance, and mental and physical well-being. Harnessing these natural resources will give you power over your present, depth and context to your past, and anticipation for the future. ~ Dr. Caroline Leaf

To overcome procrastination, I just decided to do one thing a day to improve my overall health. There were a lot of internal voices saying, “you can’t, don’t bother, you missed the opportunity, you are too old”, etc.

What peace can we hope to find elsewhere if we have none within us? Teresa of Avila

So, I decided to shut down the voices by doing the opposite of what they say and live by the fact that positive thoughts always overpower negative. Light over dark.

John O’Donohue is his beautiful book, Anam Cara states that the Celtic imagination loves the circle. It recognizes how the rhythm of experience, nature and divinity follow a circular fashion.  Connecting the dots I feel to experience wellness one must be connected not only to the physical and the natural but also the spiritual.

Augustine said, “Hope has two beautiful daughters: their names are Anger and Courage. Anger at the way things are, and Courage to see that they do not remain as they are.”

So to improve, I could not accept the status quo, even if it meant starting with one push up, one jumping jack, and one walk down the driveway, every day, I promised myself to add more on daily.

“Little strokes fell great oaks.” - Ben Franklin

No need to list my stats here but my physical health, mental health and general well-being has improved one thousand percent since April of 2018. Thanks to exercise.

It has been a lesson on creating peace of mind, joy and happiness.  Exercise can boost the mood by triggering the release of feel-good hormones and chemicals, like endorphins which can improve brain health.

When one becomes happier the affection for yourself as well as for others is ignited. The world opens to all possibilities and you take on a new perspective, compassion for others and desire to know more and be more.

Health and wellness for oneself is paramount, but so is the health of our planet. 

David Milarch is an arborist from central Michigan. In 1991, Milarch had a near-death experience that inspired a personal quest – to archive the genetics of the world's largest trees before they're gone and to replant global forests to fight climate change. This is the story of David and his efforts to save the redwood champions of Northern California from the ravages of climate change.

The best asset we have for making a contribution to the world is ourselves. If we underinvest in ourselves, and by that, I mean our minds, our bodies, and our spirits, we ignore the very tool we need to make our highest contribution.

But….a reminder to myself is a quote by Salvador Dali, "have no fear of perfection - you'll never reach it."

I am curious, is there one thing a day you could do to increase your affection for you?

I hope some of the ideas from the blog over the past month and the sharings resonate with you. Thanks for being here.

If you choose to write in the comment section, thank you, it encourages. You can always reach out to me by hitting reply to this email.

Hope you have a wonderful weekend and a great week ahead.

Listening to a beautiful album, Haydn, Ravel & Stravinsky: Works for String Quartet performed by the Tesla Quartet- Listen Here

With love from Prince Edward Island, 




A police officer pulls over a carload of nuns.

Officer: "Sister, this is a 65 MPH highway -- why are you going so slow?"

Sister: "Sir, I saw a lot of signs that said 22, not 65."

Officer: "Oh sister, that's not the speed limit, that's the name of the highway you're on Highway 22

Sister: "Oh! Silly me! Thanks for letting me know. I'll be more careful."

At this point, the officer looks in the backseat where the other nuns are shaking and trembling.

Officer: "Excuse me, Sister, what's wrong with your friends back there? They're shaking something terrible."

Sister: "Oh, we just got off of highway 119."

Dutch Bulbs, Mona Lisa and Matchstick Fries

Posted on May 05, 2018 by Bruce MacNaughton

Greetings from Prince Edward Island. At least, that’s where I think I am! Shirley and I have just returned home following 24 hours of straight travel from overseas, feeling a bit wiped out. We spent 17 days travelling the beautiful country of Israel, and the cities of Paris and Amsterdam.

There were many highlights on this trip but one that stands out was going to the Keukenhof in the Netherlands. What is the Keukenhof? Take a quick look at this video below.

We went early, and the place had signs of busyness already, by the time we left, I counted over 100 motorcoaches and I couldn’t possibly count all the cars.

Below are three phone photos I took on Wednesday this week. 



Paris, we didn’t have the best weather, but what a city. We certainly got a small taste of what it is famous for, the architecture, the restaurants, small coffee shops, tea shops, bakeries, small specialty shops, I absolutely loved it. Definitely going back.

The language was not a barrier at all, most people understood English and were helpful even if they didn’t. We had lots of laughter and good humour with each other and those we met along the way.

We found by happenstance an amazing 80 seat bistro near where we were staying. The very busy Relais de l'Entrecôte owes its reputation to a unique formula: a green salad with walnuts, followed by an extra-tender beef tenderloin and its famous secret sauce accompanied by delicious homemade matchstick potatoes. Crazy to think that they have been doing only one menu item for lunch and dinner for 60 years. They have four locations. and is like a neighbourhood restaurant where everyone goes, young and old, families. 

Our server, Isabelle, told us that their fries were the best in Paris and continued to share one the secrets to their delicious fries. The potatoes are peeled, sliced, and stored in water overnight to remove the starch. I must admit they were some of the best fries I have ever tasted. We shared that Prince Edward Island is Canada’s leading potato growing area and becoming the country’s Food Island and should consider visiting and tasting some wonderful potato products as well. She took my card. Who knows, Isabelle and family might stop in and try our Potato Pie!

We managed to visit the Louvre and see Mona Lisa, that was an experience. You enter the huge hall, gather with an unorderly group of good people pushing each other to the front of the line to have 30 seconds of face time with Mona before being ushered quickly to move on. I managed to get this photo.


We had a wonderful time, but it sure is nice to be home.

There are buds on the trees which weren’t here when we left! Tulips and crocuses are popping up everywhere, and lobsters are being sold from the backs of trucks in parking lots across the Island. Spring is here!  

Our loyal readers know that I love to share unique bits of news from our fair Island, and so that’s why I wish to tell you about an event happening on Saturday, May 12th. It’s the 45th annual Women’s Institute Roadside Cleanup. 

The Women’s Institute provides bags and encourages Islanders to do their part by picking up litter from the ditches surrounding our homes. It really is a wonderful initiative and one of the events that help make our Island so special.

Do you have anything similar in your community?

Mother’s Day is May 13, we will be open from 11:30 till 4 that day. Our season starts officially May 18th this year a week earlier than usual. If you wish and are able to join us, we are taking reservations. Contact us or call us 9029644300 next week. The shop is closed this weekend, but opening 7 days a week starting next week.

Today, I wrote this while listening to: Alkan 12 Etudes Op. 35 by Mark Viner Listen here:

One last comment regarding our trip. 

One of the many wonderful things I will remember about Israel is the humour shared with us by our guides. Totally self-deprecating and very quick witted. I never laughed so hard. Susan, our tour guide wished us to refer to her as our Jewish mother, and over the course of the week told us many Jewish mother jokes, that I still laugh out loud when I think of them. I will try and share one her as told to us by her but it is hard to replicate without the vocal Jewish mother inflections, but here it goes. Try and imagine. 

Haven’t Eaten in 38 Days

After not speaking to his Mom for some time, Herschel called his mother.

Son: Hi, Mom how are you?

Mom: I feel very weak son.

Son: What is going on, Mom?

Mom: Well, I haven’t eaten in 38 days.

Son: Why Mom, what’s going on?

Mom: Sounding very weak states, I am sorry Herschel I hadn’t heard from you for 38 days and I didn’t want my mouth filled with food in case you called.

Wishing you and yours a wonderful weekend and a great week ahead.