Wednesday, December 13, 2017

A Touch of Warmth

A touch of warmth
"We brewed black tea in an old tin kettle over the fire
and settled there, letting our gaze fall on the lake as we sipped,
the steam from our drinks freezing into puffs of icy mist."

From the book, The Return of the Witch by Paula Brackston

I can imagine this scene.
Sublime, yes!
Cold, definitely!
But something draws me in
with my hands wrapped around warm cups of tea
and a view that most undoubtedly was beautiful.
Can you picture sitting by a bonfire on a cold night
sipping tea and warming your hands around a cup?
I really wanted to do it, but just didn't make it happen.
I am hoping soon to do it and will share when that happens.
Instead I am sitting this morning with my tea,
sipping and enjoying the Christmas decorations in my dining room.


 Linking to Bernideen at http://blog.bernideens.com/

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Meaning of Christmas

Each year at Christmas I enjoy searching out a book that centers
around the season.
This year I recently finished reading 
An Irish Country Christmas by Patrick Taylor.
The Christmas pageant by the children of the village just made me smile.
Young Colin was not happy that he didn't get the role of Joseph,
but instead was given the role of the innkeeper.
Mary and Joseph went to the inn to ask for a room for the night.
Yes, you know the story, I am sure.
Joseph asked, "Could we have a bed for the night? My wife's
having a baby, and she's very tired."
"Colin's voice was soft, welcoming. "Well, Mary"-he emphasized
the word "Mary"-"I've no room at the inn, but of course you are
welcome to go into the stable."
"Of course you can, Mary." Colin said. Then he turned to Joseph and
yelled, "But as far as I'm concerned, Joseph, you dirty wee
gurrier, you miserable little gobshite, you can just feck off."

Can you just image the local Christmas pageant going awry!
Maybe a bit sacrilegious, but so typical at times when
you are hoping for the best.

My grandson was given the role of the donkey two years ago. 
He refused to get up in front with the other kids
because he didn't want to be the donkey.

But in this time of celebration, let's remember
why we are celebrating.
Children are a big part of our celebration
no matter what, they can bring a smile to our face.

Merry Christmas, dear friends!
I pray your time of celebrating
with family and friends is extra special
and full of memories to come.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Walk with Me - Down Memory Lane

This is an old picture I took a few years ago, but I thought
it fit this walk.
It is a different kind of walking.
A walk down memory lane.
Last week my "live-in gardener" and I met old friends for lunch.
What I mean by "old friends" is the long history we have
with this couple.
I slightly knew the husband in high school;
so I was surprised when I ran into him the first week of college
several hundred miles from our homes.
Gradually a friendship was developed between he and his future wife.
I roomed with her one summer during our college years.
The next summer there were two weddings,
one was mine and the next week was theirs,
where I was a bridesmaid.
As years have gone along, we each had two children
born in the same years.
Sometimes we have lived close together and
most often not;
but the friendship has continued through ups and downs.
Shared family stories, shared sorrows, shared laughter.
These friendships are to be treasured and dear.
So for this week it is a walk down a memory lane
with treasured friends.

I highly recommend occasional walks down memory lanes.
Christmas time is the best time of all to do this.
Take care, dear friends, and treasure these moments.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Spinning - Colors of Love

 When I first moved to Oregon in 1975 I needed to find
a place for my creative spirit to soar.
This little historic school house in Damascus, Oregon
pulled at my heart strings.
I would pick up my spinning wheel once a week and
venture out to the country to sit by the wood stove on
a large round braided rug to spin the day away.
I loved it out there, but then life takes different twists
and turns; soon my children were old enough for me
to return to school and find a career.
 The spinning wheel became a decorative piece in the living room.
It sat idle for 40 years while I raised my two children,
got a degree in apparel design, and worked.
 Now with retirement and other life goals accomplished
I am returning to that creative spirit.
This spinning wheel was made just for me by a metal patternmaker
in Kansas many years ago.
It was made from aged cherry wood and I love it.
Though I just spun with no plan for the yarn, I just love the colors
all gathered together in this yarn.
I find my spinning wheel needs some tender loving care and repair,
but I can't believe I am spinning again.
Do you have something you had to give up
and your hearts desire is to resume?
Notice what you notice in your hearts desires.

Happy weekend, dear friends!

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Shining Tinsel

LIKE STRANDS OF SHINING TINSEL
 
"Like strands of shining tinsel,
Hope will ever weave
Through his sorrow, who remembers
Candles Christmas Eve.
 His tongue will not grow bitter
Who learns in youth the glory
Of the old sweet Christmas carols
And the manger story.
 Nor love and faith quite vanish
For one with memories
Of dreams come true on laden,
Star-tipped Christmas trees.
 So fill the house with fragrance
Of cedar boughs, with laughter-
These are gifts a child heart
Will keep forever after."
Poem from Kitchen Sonnets by Ethel Romig Fuller
It is that time of year where tinsel, songs, and boughs of evergreen
make an appearance.
Have you hung your sparkles?
Do you have a song in your heart?
Put on your party dress, dance, sing, and savor each moment.

Photos taken at Bella Flora, my favorite go to shop when 
I need my spirits to soar. 

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Sit Awhile

There is something that draws me in when I see a chair.
It is a place of comfort, a place to rest for awhile.
If I could I would have a house full of chairs
to comfort you and draw you in.
To sit awhile with a hand holding a warm cup of tea
or maybe a good book.
You would be wrapped in a cozy quilt
to keep the warmth at bay.
Can you imagine sitting in this chair.
Tuck away for moments of quiet.
Soft music playing in the background.
Imagine with me what a chair can do,
then find one nearby and sit awhile.

Chairs found at the Monticello Antique Mall,
but you can find chairs just about anywhere.
Happy searching out chair day!

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

A Breathe and Sip - A Moment to Play

  Does this time of year find you a bit frantic and rushed?
The past few days have been quite busy for me.
Did you notice I didn't get my walk in this past week.
Very sad to miss that, but my walk will be back next week.
Only three more Monday walks this year!
 I did manage a break for a cup of yummy latte.
Now this wasn't just any latte.
It was hot chocolate with spicy tea at Alma's Chocolate shop.
Yes, there was tea involved.
It was time to put my feet up for a few moments and sip.
Don't you love that orange couch?
It is there just for this, photo shoots.
You can find the orange couch shots on Instagram
at #orangecouchsessions
How I would love winning their $100 worth of chocolate.
It is one of the top chocolate shops in the country.
There are several chocolates which incorporate
tea from Smith Teamakers, another local special company
here in Portland, Oregon.

Hope you can find a moment for something in your cup
and a time to just breathe and play.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Celebrate with Fruit Shrub



I had read that vinegar can be good for you in many ways;
so when my market had samples of this recipe I had to try it.
Also one of our local restaurants serves drinking vinegar,
which I liked; so two reasons to try the recipe.
As you can see it makes a pretty drink,
which would be lovely as a non-alcoholic drink for a holiday gathering.
I am quite enjoying it.

Recipe for Fruit Shrub:
1 cup berries or chopped fruit
1 cup superfine sugar
3/4 - 1 cup apple cider vinegar
Bubbly water to serve

Place berries or fruit in bowl.
My first fruit I tried pomegranate, which was quite good but messy.
The second time I tried raspberries. Oh my! delicious!
Cover fruit with sugar and stir.
Cover with plastic wrap and store in refrigerator until juice exudes from fruit and starts to combine with sugar to form syrup.
This may take only 5 or 6 hours, or it may need a couple of days.
A longer maceration won't harm anything, so feel free to leave it
in fridge longer that it might need. Strain syrup from fruit.
Press lightly on solids to express any remaining juice/syrup.
Scrape remaining sugar into syrup.
Add vinegar and whisk to combine.
Pour through funnel into clean bottle.
Cap and shake vigorously, and mark date on bottle.
Store in refrigerator. Check periodically.
Some sugar may remain undissolved for up to a few days.
Shake to combine.
After about a week, acids in juice and vinegar should dissolve
sugar entirely. Stir a few tablespoons into chilled
bubbly water for a refreshing beverage!
I have tried it with ginger ale and club soda,
both are delicious.
It would be a good mixer for many different drinks.
Enjoy! 
Happy weekend, dear friends!
Now I am off to find a Christmas tree.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

In a World of Imagination

Recently on Netflix I watch Barbra, a new concert, where she 
sang "In a World of Imagination".
Just that phrase captured my thoughts and I took a look at
my child's heart.
What captures your child's heart with imagination?
Is it the twinkle lights of Christmas?
 Or fish flying by?
 Maybe it is a little monkey sitting there with you?
 Or being so small you can sit under one of these
to protect you from the sun and sip your tea?
 Or we could have a tea party with our teddy?
This teddy bear picnic shows up in my book, Tea with Lily.
 Or run, laugh, and share secrets with a friend?
I have even imagined dancing here with the fairies.

What does your child's heart tell you?

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

A Gift to You

I recently came across the following and thought the words were too good not to share.  Enjoy and take this gift from me to you.
The Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh teaches this wisdom through the ceremony and meditation of tea (a Buddhist parallel to the Christian Eucharist):

You must be completely awake in the present to enjoy the tea.
Only in the awareness of the present, can your hands feel the pleasant warmth of the cup.
Only in the present, can you savor the aroma, taste the sweetness, appreciate the delicacy.
If you are ruminating about the past, or worrying about the future, you will completely miss the experience of enjoying the cup of tea.
You will look down at the cup, and the tea will be gone.
Life is like that.
If you are not fully present, you will look around and it will be gone.
You will have missed the feel, the aroma, the delicacy and beauty of life.
It will seem to be speeding past you. The past is finished.
Learn from it and let it go.
The future is not even here yet. Plan for it, but do not waste your time worrying about it.
Worrying is worthless.
When you stop ruminating about what has already happened, when you stop worrying about what might never happen, then you will be in the present moment.
Then you will begin to experience joy in life.  
The picture above shows gifts from friends:  A teacup, tray, and 2 teapots.
Have a very special day, dear friends. 

Today I am linking to Bernideen: http://blog.bernideens.com/

Monday, November 27, 2017

Walk with Me - Chrysanthemums

November is Chrysanthemum month at the Lan Su Chinese Gardens
here in Portland, Oregon.
So a walk among the flowers was called for.
I almost missed it, whew!
So glad I made it for a walk in the gardens.

They were sooooo beautiful!

Though you don't see many people in my pictures
you can see their shadows here.
There was an abundance of flowers and people
enjoying a rare sunny day in November.
Oh the colors!
There were colors to dance in my heart and eyes.
Then in this building there was a flower arranging
class happening. I was in love with the arrangement below.
Do you love chrysanthemums?
It is like the last fling of color before
we settle in to Winter.
Even my garden is shining with "mums".
Happy Mumday!
Thanks for walking with me!

Friday, November 24, 2017

Glitter and Shine!

I
It's time, I say!
Put your pretty dancing dress on and celebrate.
Thanksgiving marks the beginning for me.
Let's dance, twirl, and tap our toes.
Let the sparkly glitter enchant us.
Lift our voices in happy songs.
Prepare for the season of Christmas and the New Year.
Take it all in, fill your hearts with JOY.

Let your reflection smile on each other.
Celebrate with JOY.
Put that top hat on and dance.
Glitter and Shine abound.
Flowers steal the show.
For it is Christmas delights at the 
Monticello Antique Mall here in Portland, OR.
A time when my camera almost hops from my hands
and feels the happiness and delight of the season.
Sparkles tucked in boxes
and hanging from the trees.
Bottle brush trees glitter everywhere.
And of course Santa would bring a large box of tea.
So hang an ornament, dance with delight,
and sing to your hearts for full JOY.
Savor each day of the holidays.
Today my sparkles will make an appearance
and my heart will be full of the season of JOY.

I hope your Thanksgiving was a Delight
and preparations for the celebration of Christmas are filling your hearts.
Happy Weekend, dear friends!