Monday, September 28, 2009

Forever John 3:16

Have you ever quickly passed by or see something out of the corner of your eye, whether in your home or out and about and a second later thought, "is that really what I saw?" You quickly turn around for a double-take, and sure see it (or you happen to realize it was all in your imagination!). This happened to me a few days ago....

I was in my closet rummaging through my scarf drawer and when I had found my prize (the scarf I was looking for) and turned away, I saw a flash of yellow and what I thought said John 3:16. Could that have been my Forever 21 bag, I thought?

For those of you who don't know, Forever 21 is a clothing store in the mall for teens and twenties and is known for it's organization by color, stylish appeal, and best of all: inexpensive! Yes! I enjoy shopping their occasionally for accessories and fun clothing and it's nice that it doesn't break the bank, either.


So there I was in the closet and as I swung around for a double-take, sure bright yellow FOREVER XX1 bag had John 3:16 on the bottom...I hadn't even noticed it before. Very unexpected, but way nifty. :)

I haven't researched to see who puts it there....but whatever the reason, it made me think of that old, familiar verse that most of us know...

"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son; that whosoever believes in Him, shall not perish, but have EVERlasting (eternal) life."

FOREVER 21? New meaning. :)

Friday, September 25, 2009

Tea Time to Knowing...

For the past 3+ weeks, Matthew and I have striven to incorporate the English practice of sitting down to tea during the day. To take a break. To RELAX. We call it "The English Challenge"....and that couldn't be closer to the truth! It HAS been a challenge!

Although we have not been perfect at it...missing days here and there....I'm really proud of what we have been able to do. Matthew will come in the kitchen and say, "Is the tea ready?" I love that he is getting all into it. ;) He's even comfortable drinking out of my delicate china cups! I think he does it just to please me cause he knows it tickles me to see him drinking out of such a dainty, little thing. Given the choice he'd of course choose a "manly" mug any day. Awww...the sweet things guys do to keep their women smiling. :)

And for the days we have missed, it makes you realize just how busy you are when you don't have time to sit down for a few minutes in the day to have a cup of tea. I don't like that. I don't like it at all. Some may say "idleness is the devil's playground"...but I say SO IS BEING TOO BUSY.

Why are we so busy in America? The French have their long lunch breaks, the Spanish have their siestas, and the English have their tea. What do we have?

Hmmm.....good question.

We all need time to sit, relax, and listen. To regroup and rethink. To recharge our batteries.


Oh, what a lost art it is!

The Psalmist said it best when he wrote:

"Be still, and know that I am God."

I just love the comma between the "still" and the "and". It's as if it were saying,

"Be still (deep breath, relax, reflect, sit down, drink tea! ;)) ...and [then] know that I am God."

I don't know about you but I find it hard to sit still, much less BE still. I'm constantly thinking about what load of laundry needs to come out, what the menu for the evening will require, this person to call, that person to write, "don't forget this", "remember to schedule that"...and on and on and on it goes. Of course, this being still, is much more than a posture, but a frame of mind; a peace of mind. What a contrast to my commonly "un-peaceful" mind. Hmmm...

But with this peace comes a promise! And KNOW THAT I AM GOD!

Now that's something to "drink" to! Here's to tea time my friends!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Happy Fall, Y'all!

Fall is officially here! My sweet sister Greta's birthday on the 22nd marked the first day of Fall...which of course gives me the go-ahead to start preparing my home for this wonderful, chilly season. :)

This is by far one of my favorite times of the year. And for a girl who has a big imagination and LOVES the changing of the seasons, when I feel the sweet, cool breezes creep under my front door and into the house....I immediately see...

...pretty tudor-style houses dressed in
Autumn's beauty....

...I imagine golden colored leaved branches dripping
with a fresh, middle-of-the-day rain...

...bobbing for apples...

...and sticky, yummy caramel apples!

My head is filled with visions of delicious
pumpkin soup served in pie pumpkins....

...the soft glow of birch wood candles...

...and beautiful amber-colored
Depression glass.

And of course....

da da da dummmmm...


What do you see when you think of Fall? Let your imagination run wild and write me a comment about it!

Here's to a Happy Fall, Y'all!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

My times are in Thy hand

I've always known I'm an all or nothing gal. Once I jump into something, I put everything I have into it until it is...well...perfect. If it is a project I'm working on I'll give it my all until I'm at last satisfied with the result. This is sometimes a bad thing because I can be known to completely start over if I don't like where something is going. And even if I'm not 100% content with the outcome, I tend to convince myself that "that flaw makes the piece unique" or "that crease, crack or defect just adds character" thus making it perfect.

It's all or nothing. No exceptions.

Naturally this all-or-nothing approach to life flows into the way I love and relate to others. And like my projects, I find myself putting my all into those I love and when I've passed the point of no return (know that I truly love someone(s)), I want everything to stay the same. Because you see, if everything stays the same, then it'll be perfect. It's scary when life changes. It means growing, hurting, learning, and depending on the Lord when things aren't "perfect". But you know what I found?

Life doesn't stay the same.

The last couple of weeks I have been confronted with a family member in the hospital, a friend's death, siblings getting sick, a sweet lady I cared for passed away, and another dear old lady I care for being terribly sick and in the hospital. So let me just tell has not been perfect. I've dealt with an array of emotions including fear, grief, and sadness. I've been asking the Lord to arrange my thoughts in a way I could understand how He might want me to grow from all this....and you know what He did? He led me to a project!

I've had a bunch of old postcards for about a year now dating from the early 1900's. I bought them on eBay intending to use them for craft projects and also to frame some, but just hadn't gotten around to it until this week. What perfect timing, eh? After rummaging through the stack (I had over 100) I decided on six for my wall display. I didn't really pay attention to the words that much at the time. I went to the dollar store and bought 6 4X6 antique-looking gold frames. Hurray for the dollar store! After getting them in the frames and arranging them pleasantly on the wall, I stood back to gaze at my work and as if God himself said it, the middle frame's quote popped out at me with these words:

My times are in Thy hand.

A ha! That's what I needed to hear. At once I felt a calmness and a deep sense of satisfaction knowing that when my world was going awry, the Lord is in control, and me and all of my loved ones are in His hand.

And THAT, my friend, is perfect.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Tea Green with Envy

Yummy, delicious, green tea. You can drink it plain and enjoy it's flavorful, pungent taste, or you can add a little honey or lemon if you wish. But whatever way you fancy to drink it, this fact remains true: green tea is goooood.

Matthew and I were out running errands all afternoon, so we didn't get a chance to have our afternoon tea...but that wasn't going to stop us from enjoying a fresh brew of our new favorite tea in the evening! After putting groceries away, I set the kettle to singin' and prepared the teacups, each one holding a tea bag of green goodness.

Minutes later I had the cups filled and stirred a little honey in...just the right amount- not too little, not too much. This time Matt and I were able to relax and enjoy our tea time together while we sat and chatted. Day 2: delightful.

And as for the tea? was really, very good. :)

Some tidbits about green tea:

Green teas are teas which are not fermented. These leaves are steamed in large vats rather than exposed to hot air (like that of the black teas). Green teas have the most delicate flavor of all the teas and, when brewed, are very light in color. Naturally low in caffeine, these teas can be very soothing. Best enjoyed plain, without additives such as lemon or sugar, green teas are said to be able to settle upset stomachs.

Tea Time, M. Dalton King

Friday, September 4, 2009

The English Challenge, Day 1

There is no trouble so great or grave that cannot be much diminished by a nice cup of tea. ~Bernard-Paul Heroux

Day 1 of the challenge got off to a rough start. I had been gone most of the morning and early afternoon because of work and Bible study, so by the time I got home it was nearly 4 o'clock! As soon as I walked in the front door Matt was asking me about the tea. Our conversation went something like this:

M: "Shouldn't we have already had tea?"

G: "Yes. I know it's late...but we'll make it work."

M: "How about we boil the water in the coffee'll be faster."

G: "Well, okay, you go ahead. I'll do mine in the tea kettle."

(2 minutes later)

M: "Mine's done! (walking away proudly with tea mug in hand.)

G: "Still waiting on the tea kettle"

G: "Oh, no! Water's boiling over!!!"

G: "Okay...finally it's done."

(Made some quick toast with butter and blackberry jam)

G: Gulp. Gulp. Aw...tea time done! Check!

After re-evaluating with Matthew our intentions of doing this in the first place, we decided that if we're going to make this work, we'd skip lunch (or go very light) and make "tea" the time we get to chat. And sip. And sit. Not all this rush rush rush just to say we did it. Argh! That's what I'm trying to get away from!

We'll see how Day 2 goes...

Earl Grey tea with a teaspoon of honey alongside crunchy toast slathered in homemade blackberry jam, courtesy of Katie Ellwood. Yummy!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

It Started with a Little Blue Book...

Traditions. I love 'em! I eat them up, look forward to holidays and special occasions where I can incorporate them, plan for them, and finally "do" them! Awe...but that means the rest of the year is left to boring schedules and daily routines. Where's the fun in that? The dictionary describes a routine as follows: "A prescribed, detailed course of action to be followed regularly; a standard procedure. A set of customary and often mechanically performed procedures or activities." Wow! Mechanically performed? Who's getting goosebumps? Ahem, not me!

I've been feeling like the jazz in my pizazz was lacking, my daily routine was becoming too normal, and not exciting enough for me. I like excitement, people! So, in keeping with the celebratory personality that is me, I meant to put a stop to it (the day in and day out rituals, that is). But what to do, what to do?

Then along came my birthday...

I was given a little blue book by my sweet mother-in-law, Ruthanne, called "Tea Time." A ha! An idea was born! Wouldn't it be fun to start making afternoon tea a daily tradition for Matthew and I? It's perfect, you see. ;) I only work in the mornings, and Matthew works from home, which would allow us the time to be able to do this! I at once started getting excited just thinking about it! After mentioning my idea to Matthew, he was immediately on board. Anything having to do with beverage or food consumption is a go for him. Yay!

So here's my plan of action: for the next 30 days Matthew and I are going to adapt to an English afternoon lifestyle. We're calling it "The English Challenge". We'll be drinking tea in between the hours of 2 & 5, and you can bet your bottom dollar I'll be making some delicious tag-alongs to go with. If you'd like to join us in the challenge, come on! Post me a comment and we'll track together. :)

Here's me raising a glass (or teacup, ha!) to new daily traditions! Drink up!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Key Lime Pie & Brooke

Ever had one of those days that just begged a mini vacation after it was over? Today was one of those days.

It had been a particularly hard and unusual morning at the assisted living community where I work, so when I finally got home in the late afternoon, I sought two things that I knew would be an instant recipe for relaxation: a thick slice of key lime pie and some of my favorite music by an artist by the name of Brooke Waggoner. Matthew had introduced me to this new artist last fall, and ever since then she has been one of my favorites. Her music is a mix of instrumental and contemporary folk. It's peppy and fun, while at the same time being soothing and sweet. If you like that kind of music, check her out....she's awesome.

And that was all it took. After plopping myself down on the sofa, cranking up Brooke and taking a yummy bite of the key lime pie, I was good to go. Ahhh...the recipe had worked. :)(Anything having to do with comfort food + music usually does it for me! Ha!)

What's your recipe for relaxation after a hard day of work? Write me a comment, I'd love to hear your story!

P.S. Key Lime Pie, courtesy of Ruthanne Gaffin. Thanks, Ruthanne! It's delicious!