Tuesday, November 22, 2011

25 Cups of Tea

I've often thought that there are few things more soothing than the first sip of tea. One of the only ways to make it better is to share it with a friend. Here are some, not all, of my favorite cups of tea. If I forgot to put you on the list, add your name in the comments. Or if we haven't shared tea together, let's do.

  1. Lipton with Brenda in the dorm, water heated in the hot pot. She taught me to take my tea with milk and sugar.
  2. PG Tips with Sara over long conversations on the phone.
  3. Earl Gray with Kirsten, sharing memories and making new ones.
  4. Yellow Zinger with Dad, heated 14 times in the microwave.
  5. Market Spice with Mom, the cinnamon oil strong enough to eat through tupperware, warm enough to warm me from the inside out on cold Alaskan mornings.
  6. Sweet iced tea with Jenna, cool refreshment for a hot Togo day.
  7. African chai with ginger with Walt and Kay at Afrika Bite.
  8. Kenyan chai with Gena, Beth and Monte, David Bushine and his wife.
  9. Empress high tea with Georgia, my other Momma, and my beautiful daughters.
  10. Herbal tea with Angel (Jurgen will take peach with sugar)
  11. Blueberry sage, ceylon, or chai with Barb. She heats the cup before she fills it with tea.
  12. Chai tea latte at Starbucks with David over long conversations.
  13. The same at Heritage Coffee with Geoffrey and Dana
  14. And again at the new coffee place with Kevin and Janet
  15. And once more on my own, a quiet morning at River Maiden Coffee.
  16. Morning tea with my daughters.
  17. Strong black tea with Shelli.
  18. English Breakfast Tea at church with more people than I can name.
  19. Rooibos with Laurie K. We should do it again some time.
  20. Tall Autumn Harvest around a table at Barnes & Noble with Randy, John, Camille, Larry and the rest.
  21. Anything decaf with Lori D.
  22. Morning tea and Bible study with a croissant at Andre's with Marie-Claire.
  23. Tisane with Mme.Weille in France.
  24. Tea and crumpets with Edwin on our one morning in England.
  25. Bubble tea with Lori F. She didn't love it, but it was fun to watch!

Monday, November 21, 2011

An Open Letter to Two Women in the Grocery Store

Dear Woman in the Cereal Aisle,

For the record, I didn't sneeze on purpose. I didn't sneeze on your food or on you or even in your direction. I sneezed into my sleeve just like I was taught. I'm not even sick, just something tickled my nose and I needed to sneeze.

I'm sure it startled you and I'm sorry. I'm sure you heard me apologize, but you didn't care.

Did you think I couldn't hear your rude complaint or see the sneer on your face? Do you think you live inside a bubble where you can see out but we can't see in? Did you know I could feel your angry eyes boring into me as we passed in the baking goods aisle, the soup aisle, the juice aisle? You must not have known that your hatred--for that's what it felt like--ruined my shopping trip. Or maybe you did and you didn't care.

I pray people you meet today grant you more grace than you granted me.


Dear Woman Behind Me in the Checkout Line,

For the record, I'm not always a basket case. You just caught me at a bad moment.

You could have been annoyed that my order was confusing. You could have huffed and sighed and tapped your foot when the checker clogged up both conveyor belts with my order, making you wait even longer. You could have done what someone else had already done just minutes before and announced to the world what was wrong with me.

But you didn't. You waited your turn. You walked around me to the second conveyor belt. You bagged my groceries for me. And then you did something that made my day.

You smiled and thanked me for letting you help me. I should be thanking you...and I do.


Saturday, November 12, 2011

Akin to Anne

Driving under the maples in Harmony Ridge, I feel the spirit of Anne Shirley rise up through me. The light, grayed by thick November clouds, filters golden through the trees. Under the canopy, it's as if you live in a rose colored world, a world where nothing can harm you.

Anne would have named these trees. She would have called this the Amber Way of Enchantment, or something even more fanciful and silly. She would have walked the long way home, just to dance in the falling leaves. The hem of her dress would be soaked with mud from last night's rain storm, but she wouldn't care, at least until Marilla reminded her she should.

A blanket of leaves covers the ground, each leaf a little different, each one more beautiful than the last. The beauty to me lies in the temporary nature of the garish display. If the ridge was emblazoned all the time, I'd scarcely notice. But since it shows off for only a few days before undressing down to bare brown and gray, I allow it a moment of overindulgence.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Breath of Air

This is the time of year when I resign my self to the long, dark, cold, wet days to come. So when a surprise "sunstorm" came along, it was a good chance to get out and breathe deeply, move my legs a little, and enjoy some of the spectacular colors. Some of the trees are so brilliant, colors you'd never think would occur in nature. But God's palette is varied and his brushstrokes are accurate. Some of the trees were so brilliant, in fact, that their glowing red shocked my camera into overexposure.

Mom's been doing well lately. Medications have been regulated well so she's not experiencing much pain or nausea any more. This translates into her having better days, more energy, and a mind that's constantly on the move. For a while, we were doing everything for her, but she's able now to check in on the laundry, the dishes, or organizing her bookshelf. I still spend time over there most days, but am relieved that she feels well enough to visit.

The twins are less than a month away from completing their first quarter at the community college. They've done well, but the whole family has learned a lot about scheduling, keeping up with assignments, and the importance of researching which professors get good and bad reviews. The youngest has been in school 2 days a week for a couple of months. She's funny and delightful and has brought home lice 2 times in the past month. We're dealing with it, but please don't share hats with my daughter unless you want to go through this lovely interlude too.

The hubby has been working from home but is starting to look for steadier work.

If you get a chance, watch for a sun break and go outside to breathe deeply. It did me good. I bet it will you too.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Help Wanted

HELP WANTED: older man,
low self-esteem. Speech
impediment a must. 
Experience as a prince 
and/or shepherd desirable.
Murderers welcome.

If we learn anything from reading through the Bible, from studying history, from experiencing how things work out in our own lives and the lives of people around us, it's that things are not always as they seem. And we're not the first ones to notice it. Thousands of years ago, people knew the same thing--that God cannot be explained.

"My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the Lord. (Isaiah 55:8)

No kidding.

Over and over, we read of the people he chose to do great things. He often chose the weak, the ugly, the unwanted, the unlikely, to accomplish his purposes. For one thing, he doesn't look for experience and qualifications, but for the potential of the heart. For another, no matter what raw materials he starts out with, God is able to mold, shape, and transform anybody into anything.

Join me on my other blog, pattyslack.com, over the next few weeks. We'll be delving into the lives of people who, though totally unsuited for the tasks God had in store for them, were actually the perfect person for the job.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Today's Vocab Word - Murmuration

Murmuration from Sophie Windsor Clive on Vimeo.


And the winner is...
(Who also wins the prize for checking in from the furthest away, this year from Sweden!)
If you send me your address by email or on Facebook, I'll send you something special.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Plan B

And the winner is...

I don't know. A random visitor dropped in from the East Coast to look at one of my older posts. I'm sure she (don't ask me why I assume it's a woman) didn't even see that there's a contest going on.

So, no winner.

On to Plan B.

In honor of my 40,000th visitor, if you visit this blog during the next 24 hours, leave your name and the counter number of your visit. Tomorrow evening, I'll draw one of your numbers and send one of you a fabulous prize. Don't ask me what, probably something cheap and bizarre.

You have until 5:12 Pacific time on November 3, 2011 to leave your comment.

And now, back to your regularly scheduled blog in progress...


Forked again.

Last year, we woke up one Sunday to find hundreds of forks planted in neat rows throughout our front yard. Scattered amongst the forks was a small flock of flamingos.

We thought it was a mistake. Someone must have decorated the wrong house. Or maybe so-and-so did it...

So-and-so was out of town this year when we awoke to a yard full of Christmas decorations, so it couldn't have been him...

The tiny flamingo amid the sticks tells us it was the same culprit as last year. Who do we know that has enough money to "invest" so much money in a prank? Or is energetic enough to come out in the cold in the middle of the night? Or did they get the wrong house again?

Head scratching and a little grin...

**Today's the day, I think, that my count will blog hit count will hit 40,000. The counter is hiding at the bottom of the bloglist, just above the list of family blogs in the left column. If you are # 40,000, leave me a comment!