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

Kindness, Why, Why, Why?, Isn't it Obvious

Posted on August 17, 2019 by Bruce MacNaughton

Good Morning from Prince Edward Island, 

Another glorious day on the Island. (we do need the rain though)

Put the kettle on, hope you have time for tea. Just a quick visit today. 

“The spirit of the tea beverage is one of peace, comfort, and refinement.” – Arthur Gray

This summer has been a busy one. Every day I witness acts of kindness between total strangers and it does my heart good.

Habitat for Humanity is a well-known organization for their kindness. It is on display again with people coming from all around the world to help build a home for a complete stranger on Lennox Island, Prince Edward Island. Story here

Whether it is a child’s expression of delight when a butterfly lands on their little piece of orange. The donkey running up to them to say hi. The bunnies expressing their timid exuberance & joy in front of the families. Seeing parents being patient is an act of kindness that will do no harm.
"Kind words do not cost much. They never blister the tongue or lips. They make other people good-natured. They also produce their own image on men's souls, and a beautiful image it is." Blaise Pascal, Writer
Kindness starts with us being nice to ourselves. Sure, you screwed up, I screwed up. Everyone screws up at one time or another.
Perfection is unattainable, but excellence is. One thought and one action at a time.
Continuous improvement is better than delayed perfection. Mark Twain
If we get ourselves to a place where we forgive ourselves and others, we break the chains that bind to hurt and pain. Freedom is attainable.
To move forward accepting empathy as a tool in life’s toolbox goes a long way towards peace of mind.
Empathy—people’s ability to share and understand one another’s emotions—has declined sharply in the 21st century. If it dies out, technology will probably be charged with the murder. The clues are all there: People in countries with a greater Internet penetrance report lower empathy. Simply leaving a phone between two strangers as they talk lessens their resulting trust. The prosecution’s case writes itself: while apparently serving us, technology quietly poisoned the connections that keep us human. Jamil Zaki
Jamil Zaki is an associate professor of psychology at Stanford University and director of the Stanford Social Neuroscience Laboratory. He has written an interesting article in the Scientific Amerian journal. The Technology of Kindness - How social media can rebuild our empathy—and why it must.
At their request, tomorrow, I am to speak and share with 50 Buddhists why Shirley and I do what we do.
Why the Gardens of Hope? Why the Respite Cottage? Why and how deal with the stresses of running a hyper-active business?
Looking forward to sharing my Christian perspective with love & kindness. It is only through this worldview have I been able to personally feel the chains of hurt, guilt and shame removed. But it is not technical, it is not strategic it is relational.
We do not exist for ourselves alone, and it is only when we are fully convinced of this fact that we begin to love ourselves properly and thus also love others. Thomas Merton
I hope you enjoy this video. Nature. Beauty. Gratitude.
Nature’s beauty can be fleeting -- but not through Louie Schwartzberg’s lens. His stunning time-lapse photography, accompanied by powerful words from Benedictine monk Brother David Steindl-Rast, serves as a meditation on being grateful for every day.
Thank you for taking the time with me today.
Wishing you a wonderful weekend, one where you notice what is good.
With love from Prince Edward Island,
A friend was doing a crossword puzzle...
"What's a 7-letter word for 'easily perceived or understood' that starts with 'O'?"
"Isn't it obvious?"
"It should be, but I can't figure it out. That's why I'm asking."

Geese, Music and Skid Row

Posted on July 07, 2018 by Bruce MacNaughton

The summer has finally heated up here in Prince Edward Island.

This past week we had some heat warning issued by Environment Canada, as temperatures crept up into the 30-degree range.

I am sure some of our US cousins will be surprised to hear that we get warnings at 86 degrees Fahrenheit!

Cavendish made headlines this week, with these troublemakers holding up traffic, take a "gander here". 

A few kilometres from us are thousands of people enjoying the weekend-long Cavendish Beach Music Festival as it is celebrating a 10-year anniversary. This year’s headliner, Luke Bryan, is one of the biggest names in country music today!

I want to personally congratulate the organizers for ten years and for creating one of the premier country music festivals in Canada, if not North America.

Early on my support waned as public intoxication relating to the festival was an issue in the Cavendish area. I was in fear that all the years of hard work fellow tourism operators had put into making Cavendish an inviting and safe community was in danger of being wasted.  

Kudos to all involved for turning those negatives into an opportunity to learn and grow what it is today. 

I hope everyone at the event has a safe and fun experience in this beautiful part of Canada.

It is impressive when people step up, listen, take responsibility, learn from it and proceed to make better decisions every day.

We never really know what it is like to walk in another person's shoes and sit back and judging others is wrong.

I am as guilty of it as the next person, but my heart often reminds me to be more empathetic.

Seeking to move up in life takes grit, perseverance, and courage. Courage grows when en'courage'ment is given.  The human spirit requires it, yet not everyone receives it or gives it. 

After love, I think empathy and forgiveness are some of the most powerful words in the English dictionary, add to those, Thank You, Help, and Ask.

This story from the Island this week reminds me of Love Your Neighbour. Read here. 

Earlier this week I was reading about a mission in Skid Row Los Angeles and having recently visited that city, I was intrigued to dig a little deeper into the story. What I found was a beautiful piece of humanity. I hope you enjoy the video, it may hit you on many levels, just remember love always wins. Be kind to yourself and to others. 

"Too often we underestimate the power of touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around." ~ Leo Busgaglia

Wishing everyone a nice weekend and all the best to you and yours.

With love from Prince Edward Island,


John Lennon, Olympics and the Power of One

Posted on February 10, 2018 by Bruce MacNaughton

Another week is closing, and it is hard to believe that it near the middle of February. 

The Winter Olympic Games have started. I watched the opening ceremonies with young children exploring a world where everyone lives in peace, then to see South and North Korea entering the stadium together, it certainly brings hope to heart. A historic moment. (we will leave politics out of this blog)  The vocalists singing John Lennon's Imagine within the lit framework of a dove was so poignant as well. 

"Imagine if the world could see what a mom sees," ads get me every time. #LoveOverBias

After watching the athletes proudly parading in their nations’ colours, including the 225 Canadian athletes and 87 coaches, I couldn't help conjure up wishful thinking. No borders, no flags and no boundaries as to what we humans can achieve with our commonality versus false pride and racial judgement. Ok, ok, a fella can dream can't he? The music, the lighting, the Olympic events, are quite a testament to leadership, organization and sacrifice.

Speaking of leadership, I read a story this week about a young man who overcame a number of setbacks in his life. If anyone deserves a gold medal this week, it would be him. It reflects the power we all have as individuals. The power of one. Read the story here.

“As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world – that is the myth of the atomic age – as in being able to remake ourselves.” M. Gandhi

I was given tears of joy this week by those of you who took the time to answer our question, "Please list three adjectives that describe The Preserve Company for you".  A great big THANK YOU and HUGS to all. It was such a reward and gave me such elation to read such words as those shared. (For anyone who missed this, we are in the process of building a new website specifically for our blogging, hoping to create a community of like-minded to share and converse with each other around items we share. (Read last weeks comments here)

I never tire of reading sentiments and stories from our treasured customers. I appreciate you all. If any wish to leave three adjectives that describe what our little company means to you, please do. 

Have a wonderful weekend and Happy Valentines Day week! 

With love and kindness from Prince Edward Island! 



Groundhogs, sweethearts, and postcards from the past!

Posted on February 04, 2018 by Bruce MacNaughton

The regional favourite weather predicting groundhog, Shubenacadie Sam, did not see his shadow this week, which means early spring! I’m not sure about the accuracy of this form of predicting the weather (and spring is technically only a few weeks away, shadow or not) but it is a fun tradition.

Speaking of spring, Shirley and I have already started making our plans for the Gardens of Hope; it is the time of year to look at gardening magazines and dream of green and colourful scapes and of course, warmer days.

At present we are drawing up plans to add a sunroom to the Respite Cottage. A big thank you to all you that donated the funds to make this possible. Many individuals and families were able to take time for respite at the cottage, some coming as far away as Vancouver and Illinois.

Staff have been busy packing up lots of sweet treats from the store for our customers over the past few days, a sure sign that Valentine’s Day is on the way!

Our shortbread cookies are baked in the shape of hearts if you’re still looking for something to send someone you love, include yourself, by the way!

Warning: these cookies are tastefully addictive. You should probably order two boxes. Click here to take a peek.  Another favourite is the "Chocolate Covered Potato Chips," oh my, there is an addictive treat if ever there was one. We have some items representing a little piece of heaven for chocolate lovers. Click here to taste, whoops not possible to taste sorry! LOL. Ok, I taste another one for you. good. Thank you. 

As much as I enjoy the tradition of Valentine’s Day, I try not limiting my love to just one day per year. Every day is a gift but sometimes forget to treat it that way!

I love this quote by Thomas Merton, "The beginning of love is the will to let those we love to be perfectly themselves, the resolution not to twist them to fit our own image". 

I heard a wonderful news story on the radio, about an Ontario man with a collection of roughly 1,750 Prince Edward Island postcards, many of which are more than 100 years old. I think you’ll find the story quite interesting; I know I did. Click here to read.  

This makes me think about how the mail delivery system in Prince Edward Island was years ago. It is such a small place, which at one time (not that long ago!) if you were mailing something, you could get away with simply addressing the item to the recipient, with just their name and their community name. No need for street addresses, post office boxes, or postal codes! “They’ll get it to them!” 

I remember when we first started the business, Barb MacAndrew wrote an article for Atlantic Insight about us. It wasn't too long after that we received our first piece of mail, and the only thing written on the envelope was Bruce's Jam Kitchen, Charlottetown, PEI and I got it! 

I love our Island!

Over the next few months, we will be moving our blogs to a different format, and we are considering some areas to include. Bruce's Blog will probably transition to "Steeped Thoughts," where I will share thoughts about topics that intrigue me, encourage me and hopefully others as well. 

For example, I love these words by Henri Nouwen.

Kindness is a beautiful human attribute. When we say, "She is a kind person" or "He surely was kind to me," we express a very warm feeling. In our competitive and often violent world, kindness is not the most frequent response. But when we encounter it we know that we are blessed. Is it possible to grow in kindness, to become a kind person? Yes, but it requires discipline. To be kind means to treat another person as your "kin," your intimate relative. We say, "We are kin" or "He is next of kin." To be kind is to reach out to someone as being of "kindred" spirit.

Here is the great challenge: All people, whatever their colour, religion, or sex, belong to humankind and are called to be kind to one another, treating one another as brothers and sisters. There is hardly a day in our lives in which we are not called to this.

Thank you for reading, I am curious if you have any funny or interesting stories about the mail? Memorable letters you’ve received, or comical mix-ups that occurred? Or items you would like to see included in the blogs going forward. 

I do have a favour to ask as well. I need your help in finding our blog voice. 

Can you list for me, three adjectives that best describe our business from your perspective? 

Thank you in advance for your time and consideration. Don't be shy. 

Have a great week! 

With love from Prince Edward Island, 


Fall Reflections and Tea Time

Posted on September 30, 2017 by Bruce MacNaughton

This photo was taken September in our Gardens of Hope by Janice, a respite cottage guest in the fall of 2017

For every thing, there is a time, and this is the time for reflection and tea.

Fall has officially arrived. Here in Prince Edward Island, the temperature has taken a dip, leaves are changing from green to orange and red, and pumpkins are appearing in fall displays around homes and businesses.

Many of you love hearing about things here on the island, so you might be interested to know that we broke a weather record earlier this week, when the temperature hit 30 degrees Celsius, that is 86 degrees Fahrenheit for our American friends!  We are known for our beautiful Septembers, but that sort of temperature is very unusual for us at this time of year. It’s rare that we are out raking leaves in shorts and t-shirts!

We also had some thundershowers rumbling across the province this week. An old weather adage states, “Thunder in fall, no winter at all.” We will have to wait to see about that!

This time of year signals us here in the Maritimes to start preparing for winter and ensuring our tea cupboards are stocked with our favourite tea blends and accessories. One of my favourite tea accessories is the Paris Tea strainer, I just place on my Dunoon mug first thing in the morning, put a teaspoon of tea, add water, set the timer and voila...the day begins. 

The Preserve Company has been blending and selling loose leaf tea for many, many years since 1988 to be exact. As many of you know, we have a wide range of wonderful tea products for you to enjoy.

This being the fall season, I’ll draw my attention to some of my favourites:

Morning Tea Favourites are China Black Keemun,  Darjeeling and Organic PEI Breakfast  

Afternoon Tea Favourites are  China JasmineSencha Peach

Evening Tea Favourites are Organic Mint, Evening Calm and Rooibos Sunspot Orange

What is your favourite type of tea? Are there any you would like to learn more about?

While writing this blog this morning, I had a cup of Keemun and was taking time to reflect a bit of 2017 so I went back and looked at a blog post I wrote at the beginning of the year. I can honestly say that I achieved most of what I set out to do and happiness fills my heart. Read that blog here

Quote of the Week

"Deep within us—no matter who we are—there lives a feeling of wanting to be lovable, of wanting to be the kind of person that others like to be with. And the greatest thing we can do is to let people know that they are loved and capable of loving." ~ Mister Rogers.

Hope all is well with you and yours! 




Thank you Mr. Chaplin!

Posted on February 03, 2017 by Bruce MacNaughton


As I Began to Love Myself...

As I began to love myself, I found that anguish and emotional suffering
are only warning signs that I was living against my truth.
Today, I know, this is “AUTHENTICITY.”

As I began to love myself, I understood how much it could offend somebody
As I try to force my desires on this person, even though I knew the time
was not right and the person was not ready for it, and even though this
the person was me. Today I call it “RESPECT.”

As I began to love myself, I stopped craving for a different life,
and I could see that everything that surrounded me was inviting me to grow.
Today I call it “MATURITY.”

As I began to love myself, I understood that at any circumstance,
I am in the right place at the right time, and everything happens
at the exactly right moment. So I could be calm.
Today I call it “SELF-CONFIDENCE.”

As I began to love myself, I quit steeling my own time,
and I stopped designing huge projects for the future.
Today, I only do what brings me joy and happiness, things I love to do,
and that make my heart cheer, and I do them in my own way and in
my own rhythm. Today I call it “SIMPLICITY”.

As I began to love myself I freed myself of anything that is no good for
my health – food, people, things, situations, and everything that drew
me down and away from myself. At first I called this attitude
a healthy egoism. Today I know it is “LOVE OF ONESELF”.

As I began to love myself I quit trying to always be right, and ever since
I was wrong less of the time. Today I discovered that is “MODESTY”.

As I began to love myself I refused to go on living in the past and worry
about the future. Now, I only live for the moment, where EVERYTHING
is happening. Today I live each day, day by day, and I call it “FULFILLMENT”.

As I began to love myself I recognized that my mind can disturb me
and it can make me sick. But As I connected it to my heart, my
mind became a valuable ally. Today I call this
connection “WISDOM OF THE HEART”.

We no longer need to fear arguments, confrontations or any kind of problems
with ourselves or others. Even stars collide, and out of their crashing
new worlds are born.Today I know THAT IS “LIFE”!

-Charlie Chaplin

2017 Note to Self...

Posted on December 30, 2016 by Bruce MacNaughton

Dear Bruce, 

Before you charge off into 2017, I want to remind you of your age. You have been driving it hard for 30 plus years so, in light of this fact, might I remind you to work smarter, not harder.

There are many areas of your life that I wish to speak to, so I have made a list for you to consider. I want to be gentle but firm in my recommendations. 

1. If you don't prioritize your life, someone else will. Think about it and set them!

2. You know what you want for your health...just do it. Stop procrastinating. 

3. Love more, give your time and consideration to others in need. 

4. Breathe...smell the roses, take in more of what nature offers. You know you love it!!

5. Fill your heart with gratitude; it fills your body with happiness.

6. Forgive yourself and forgive others.

7. Remember you can't be a friend to others if you are not a friend to yourself. 

Bruce, I want you to have a great year, and at the end of 2017, I hope that you have honoured the list above by having lived it fully and intentionally. 

Take care, 


ps. The beginning and end of everything is love. Guard your heart, out of it flows your thoughts words and actions.