WPC: Awakening

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If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant. – Anne Bradstreet

Winter Tulips - April (6) (800x506)

Tulips are one of the first flowers to start blooming in my garden in the Spring, but I still have several weeks to wait. This weekend, we were hit with an ice storm, but thanks to a friend, we still had a little Spring inside!

 

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Confessions of a Tea-aholic

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I like tea. That’s no surprise to anyone who knows me or who has been hanging around here for more than 5 minutes. I have 9 teapots and a large variety of teas to fill them. Also, not a surprise! The question I get asked all the time is – how much tea do you have?

In the Spring of 2017, when I hosted a dinner party for fabulous ladies, I prepared a Tea Menu. I thought that would be easier than trying to rattle it all off or drag it all out. There were only 36 on the list (but a few more I selfishly kept in the cupboard.)

Tea Menu 2017

This Spring I counted. At home, I now have 55 (there are 2 tea chests in that pile).

Home Tea

At work, there are 14.

Work TeaSo just how did I end up with SO much?

  • some were given to me as gifts – birthdays, Christmas, etc. Just two weeks ago, 9 were given to me by a friend whose daughter-in-law works for the company, Steeped Tea and was clearing out some of her inventory.  More tea parties for boss and me!
  • some were given to me when other tea-aholics cleaned out their cupboards. My hoarding instincts took over and I said “yes” to it all – No tea bag is left behind.
  • some flavours are a single tea bag. Every. bag. counts!
  • Quality vs. quantity. I have a lot…not all of it is high quality.
  • I went shopping and I needed wanted a little treat. Tea doesn’t have calories like chocolate eclairs.
  • It was on sale. A few weeks ago, I bought 3 cannisters of tea at David’s Tea because it was buy 2, get one free. (In case you’re interested, I bought Forever Nuts, Cinnamon Rooibos Chai, and Cardamom French Toast!)I confess, it’s an exorbitant number. None of my justifications are strong arguments.  They cut into my limited storage space, and many will go stale before I have a chance to consume them. Which means I should get busy and put the kettle on (because my birthday is coming). Happy Monday!

Shopping is actually very similar to farming a field. You can’t keep buying the same thing, you have to have a bit of variety. Otherwise you get bored and stop enjoying yourself. – Sophie Kinsella, Confessions of a Shopaholic

 

Wilderness Wednesday: Chloe

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It’s National Pet Day! Yesterday, our creative cavy, Chloe, was moved to her new home. Now our bunny-sized hairball has a little more room to “play” … sometime this afternoon she manipulated her igloo to the perfect position. Now she can reach her food and keep an eye on everyone without having to move. Truly a girl after my own heart!

Chloe

I’m having a snack here. Do you mind?

Bonus: It comes with a playpen for both of my kids!

Happy Wednesday!DSC_1353 (800x617)

What’s In My Cup: Day 17-24

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The adventure started in January, and continued through February. But like all good things, we’ve come to the end. 24 Days of Advent…24 Teas…one broken heart…

Here’s the final line up:

Day 17 – Caramel Shortbread is a caffeine-free German fruit infusion tea, It contains apples, raisins, brown sugar, elderberries, willow bark, almonds, hazelnuts, raspberries, sour cherries, stevia extract, and natural and artificial almond and hazelnut flavouring. True to it’s name. Nutty caramel. Buttery cookie. Mmmm….good….

Day 18 – Organic Cream of Earl Grey.  My first thought was “yuck”! Earl Grey tea is a blend of teas with the addition of the oil of bergamot, a variety of orange grown in France and Italy. The oil of bergamot gives it a distinctive perfumey flavour that you either love or hate. This Indian tea, however, was velvety and bereft of an overpowering  bouquet. It contains organic black tea, cornflower, and marigold. It is also kosher, with a medium caffeine level.

Day 19 – This zingy Organic ‘The Spice is Right’ went on my Wish List! This kosher Chinese tea is a green tea with cinnamon, orange peel, cloves, and chili peppers. It has a low caffeine level.

Day 20 – Carrot Cupcake. Who wouldn’t like a tea that smells like carrot cake and cream cheese icing? It tasted like cinnamon-apple pie, with just a hint of walnut. This American caffeine-free rooibos tea contains carrots, cocoa shells, cinnamon, apple, ginger, licorice root, and natural whipped cream and apple flavour. It’s also kosher.

Day 21 – Hot Chocolate Pu’erh combines pu’erh and black tea, along with cocoa nibs, chocolate chips, chocolate curls, and stevia extract. It contains milk and soy, and boasts a medium caffeine level. Anyone looking for an alternative to hot chocolate might be surprised by this one. Although the texture is like thin hot chocolate, the subtle chocolate flavour is yummy! Go ahead – add a marshmallow or two. You know you want to…

Hot Chocoate (3) (800x538).jpg

Day 22 – Candy Cane Crush is a black tea from China,  with white chocolate chips, peppermint candy, snowflake candy, candy sugar, peppermint, and vanilla flavouring. contains milk and soy.  It was pretty…but I can’t eat peppermint. It does “unpretty” things to me.

Day 23 – White Cranberry Bark is a Germany fruit infusion tea. It contains apple, papaya, raisins, cranberries, elderberries, hibiscus blossom, white chocolate, stevia extract, and chocolate flavouring. It contains milk but is caffeine free.

Day 24 – Santa’s Secret is a Chinese black tea, with peppermint, sprinkles, and vanilla flavouring. It has a medium caffeine level and contains soy.  I didn’t sample it, but I imagine it would be the perfect cuppa on Christmas Eve.

Christmas Tea

 

I will honour Christmas in my heart and try to keep it all the year… – Charles Dickens

Happy Monday!

 

 

WPC: Sunrise/Sunset

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This Japanese Chikaramachi tea cup belonged to my Grandmother.

Chikaramachi Sunset tea cup (800x475)

Chikaramachi has been part of Noritake’s history since 1896, but early records were destroyed in the home office after a bombing attack on March 19, 1945. The names, Chikaramachi and shumokucho came from the intersection of 5 buildings built by the Morimura brothers, the co-founders of what became Noritake, in 1896.

The first Chikaramachi back stamp was registered in 1912. This tea cup has the second series of backstamp (1928), a crown within a laurel wreath, in green.

The quality of the porcelain of many Chikaramachi pieces can have imperfections, rough edges, and inconsistent brushwork. All production and exports ceased in 1942.

Click to see more Rise/Set photos.

To One Who Holds the Stars

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I read a story once about a little boy born with no ears. He was tormented by the other kids because he was disfigured. When he was old enough, surgeons were able to give him ears from an anonymous donor, and he grew confidently, out from under the shadow that had plagued him in his younger years. It wasn’t until he was standing with his father at the open casket of his mom, that his Dad asked him if he ever wondered who gave him his ears. Of course the boy, a man now, had always assumed it was someone who had died. His father reached forward, and gently smoothed the strands of Mom’s hair away from her face. All these years, she had hidden the scars left from where her ears had been removed. Amazing Love!

We live in a world that scrutinizes everything for imperfections. We vigilantly conceal and seek to erase our flaws and scars because we view them as ugly and shameful.  But when Jesus appeared before His bewildered and weary disciples after the resurrection, He openly showed them His scars. Rather than concealing them, He who was perfect, retained these marks on His flesh to bear witness to the depths of His humiliation and suffering, and the depths of His love. Jesus withheld nothing, choosing to subject Himself to trauma and pain on our behalf. Jesus withholds nothing now. Amazing Love!

He is the Wounded One. He is the Resurrected One. He is the Living One.

* * *

For the last 6 weeks, I have observed Lent, not because it was required but because I wanted to. Just like last year, I gave up sugar in all its forms, no easy task for someone who loves her sweets! 🙂 Last year, I became aware of how often I run to sweets when I’m disappointed, sad, bored, or angry, instead of running to the Lord. This year, I have had no grand revelations or deep thoughts, until this final week. Jesus’ scars.

I have many scars, not just on my body, but on my heart. Some wounds have faded, some have been healed completely; others are still keenly felt. Jesus touches every one.

Most of my scars are the result of my own making, in the choices I’ve made and the situations I have put myself in. Not all, of course. People are cruel, self-centered creatures by nature and we can easily become hapless victims in their games.

“Jesus’ wounds take in my hurt. My scars reveal His glory.”
– Sharon Garlough Brown

Whether by choice or the choice of another, each nick and knock has had a part in shaping me.  They may not have been part of God’s original plan for my life, but they are glorious marks because of His power to heal and restore. All of my wounds and scars are part of my story, but God is the Author and Perfecter of my faith. He is the One who has redeemed all my mistakes. Amazing Love! So my prayer this Easter is this:

If You can hold the stars in place
You can hold my heart the same
Whenever I fall away, whenever I start to break
So here I am lifting up my heart
To the One who holds the stars*

To the one with nail-scarred hands. Lord, help me to say to others “this is where I hurt…this is where God has healed”.  Let my marks bear witness to the depths of Your love. Amen.

greg-rakozy-38802-unsplash_small
unsplash-logoGreg Rakozy

*Jason Ingram | John L. Cooper | Korey Cooper | Seth Mosley © 2016 Darkonikor (Admin. by BMG Chrysalis US) Landrum Publishing (Admin. by BMG Chrysalis US) CentricSongs (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing) Open Hands Music (Admin. by Essential Music Publishing LLC) So Essential Tunes (Admin. by Essential Music Publishing LLC)

Bubble Tea

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A fabulous friend decided one Friday that I needed to expand my “horizons” by offering to bring me bubble tea. I have taken a look them before and thought, “nope”! But I appreciated her thoughtfulness, and she’s right! I do need to expand my horizons! 🙂

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blogspot.com – Worst 80s Fashion Trends

Bubble tea is a Taiwanese tea-based drink mixed with fruit or milk, and chewy tapioca balls, known as bubbles, pearls or boba). This bizarre drink was invented in the 1980’s, when a lot of colours, prints and geometric shapes clashed. 

Look left – need I say more?

 

 

 

 

But I went for it – Green Apple with Tapioca.

Bubble Tea

I am not a fan of tapioca, and I did not expect these to be the size and colour of small blueberries. The texture was as I remembered it – reminiscent of something evil that forms in your sinus cavity when you have an infection, and I will stop with the word picture right there. The drink itself, however, was pretty tasty. Though it had a strong hint of flowery perfume (like the kind I imagine an old lady named Mildred would wear), it was a refreshing iced tea drink.

And I really appreciated my friend’s sweet intentions and tasty treat to help me unwind on a Friday afternoon at work. Next time – no tapioca!

Old Lady

 

Bottom’s Up, Mildred!

Happy Monday!

 

 

The Gift of Presence

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I was reminded last week that when life delivers news that pulls the rug from under our feet, words matter…but our presence matters more.

We live in a culture that is driven by what we can do or say, and usually our lack of response, despite our good intentions, is selfish. We feel helpless. We know there is little that can be done or said to make it any better. We forget that our lack of response only deepen wounds. Often we fail to recognize the value of companionship even in silence. In our mourning, we offer quiet comfort. In our tears, we offer consolation.

A friend loves at all times. – Prov. 17:17a

Our presence can be as important as grand gestures, perhaps more so because it requires sacrifice. It means giving of your time, a precious commodity we believe we can’t afford to waste as we rush to meet the incessant demands of others, and our own pleas for self-fulfillment and pleasure. It means giving of yourself. When you really love someone, you have to set aside how you feel for the sake of the other.  It means being open to unguarded moments that can be awkward or intense. It may mean listening deeply to hear beyond the spoken words to a heart that is aching for compassion or affirmation.

It’s ok be honest, to admit both to ourselves and the other person, that we sometimes don’t know how to answer or we feel ill-equipped to provide answers. But we love them. We are here. And when you are truly present with them in that moment, you are giving them a gift of great value.

Wherever you are – be all there. – Jim Elliot