What’s In My Cup: Organic Kashmiri Chai


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David’s Tea Kashmiri Chai is inspired by the traditional tea originating most likely from the Kashmir Valley in India, which is made with green tea leaves rolled into small balls (aka gunpowder tea), milk and baking soda. It is also called “noon chai”, “shir chai”, “gulabi chai” or “pink tea”. Even though it is labelled “chai”, traditional Kashmiri tea has a delicate and floral bouquet, and may use only a small amount of spice, usually cinnamon and cardamom. The milk is whipped so it has a creamy texture, and it is usually served with shortbread or pastry. Once a drink to the royals, this treat is not an every day indulgence.

David’s version is more delicate than some of their other chai blends, it is still boldly spiced with  organic cinnamon, organic cardamom seeds, organic ginger, organic cardamom husk, and organic clove buds. The base is organic green tea, and it is enhanced by organic marigold flowers. The trace of florals is most notable in the smell of the tea, but I thought the spices, though an enjoyable combination, overpowered them. It is less peppery than other chai I have tried, but the clove, in particular, was quite pronounced. I also observed a bit of heat from the ginger. You could add milk, sugar or pistachios to enjoy it in a more traditional manner. But you have to hurry – I just noticed it’s on the “Last Chance” online, which means it’s going…and it may or may not come back!

Kashmiri Chai_ed

She was a blend of pink ‘Kashmiri chai’ and ‘black tea’ poured in the same cup. -Tanya Jamal

Happy Monday!

Resources: https://www.foodandwine.com

Friend of a Wounded Heart


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I listened to this song when I was a senior in public school. It made me feel less lonely. I  was (stupidly) desperate to have a boyfriend and be like the other girls in my class. I was a shy wallflower, so most of the guys didn’t notice me. And the smart ones who might of noticed me, were too afraid to say anything.

Smile, make them think you’re happy
Lie, and say that things are fine
And hide that empty longing that you feel
Don’t ever show it, just keep your heart concealed

Like most prepubescent girls, I had a warped sense of love and romance. There was pressure to conform and FOMO, the fear of missing out, something that’s existed long before the concept gained popularity! I suspect that even though girls are educated from a young age to dream big and pursue those dreams, from astronomy to zoology, from running marathons to running multi-million dollar corporations, the longing is still tucked away in there. We were built for relationship. Unfortunately, thirteen year olds aren’t built with the maturity to build serious relationships.

I don’t think the pressure to have someone really lessens with age. The ability to sidestep those awkward conversations get easier. And one learns to take joy in other types of relationships, including with one’s self. As we all should. After all, no one person can ever truly make us happy. Only Jesus.

Instead, it seems every television show promotes relationships as one-night stands or something that can be tossed aside when something better comes along. Not every relationship is healthy but the casualness is disconcerting. Not just because I’m an old fart! It’s just a style with which I couldn’t be comfortable if I were single.

I’m proud of my oldest son. It’s a sore point for him. I know he’d like settle down with someone special. I’ve watched him sidestep the awkward questions. I know he gets pressured by the guys at work. But I’m proud of him for waiting, for respecting himself and the girls out there enough not to run around. He’s looking for a lasting relationship, built on friendship and trust, not sex. I believe he’ll blessed one day, and though it’s painful in the waiting, he will share a love that runs deep and can weather any storm.

 We have all been wounded by love, in the lack of it, the distortion of it, or the loss of it. We were built for relationship. But what we don’t realize is the first and most important relationship were supposed to have, the One who should be our first and forever love, is Jesus.  I don’t think I got that at thirteen. I realized it much later in life, after a lot of wounding. And yes, sometimes I still have to be reminded Who loves me most. That all the longing to love and be loved can be satisfied in that one relationship. That when it is, I have love that overflows into the other relationships I hold dear – my family, my church family, even the stupid man in the grocery store who didn’t care that he was going the wrong way!

Perhaps that’s why this long-forgotten song has been playing in my head. I needed the reminder again. Maybe someone who persevered through this very long post needed it too.  😉


Youtube           Lyrics

Friend of a Wounded Heart © Claire Cloninger / Claire D. Cloninger / Wayne Watson
Warner Chappell Music, Inc.
Photo: Marko Blažević on unsplash.com

Dear Quarantine Diary #17


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Dear Diary -It’s that time of year again: the big stink. A storm blew through just before I came back to the city and knocked thousands of apples down. They are small, hard and rife with blemishes, and in the July heat, quickly turn to cider. Last year I cut and froze bags of apple slices and I made apple jelly. I nearly melted in the process. This year I picked and froze a bag of whole apples for jelly…when it’s much cooler! Saturday was among one of the hottest days. The three of us bundled up to protect ourselves from the wasps, and filled every garbage can, bin and box I could find. Tuesday night we dragged them to the curb for a yard waste truck to pick them. Little Guy kicked the first bin, sending a thick plume of fruit flies in my face. The trick is to hold your breath so you don’t inhale them. I wonder if they can lay eggs in your brain?

The squirrels, however, are in 7th Heaven. As was the young skunk I spied strolling in the yard one morning. I wonder if he’s the fellow who started burrowing under the front steps. I filled in his hole with dirt and orange peel. So far, no further excavation. The birds have visited too: robins, cardinals, blue jays, gold finches and even a woodpecker.

July 2020_ed

We’re pretty sure this is a squirrel…

The cutest visitor was a brown baby bunny (“bb”). A mean, black squirrel chased him into the bushes. I was just “awing” when bb scampered up behind the squirrel. The squirrel stared at bb, and they nuzzled noses. Then the squirrel started chasing bb around the lilac tree several times and I realized they were playing. It was like watching a Bugs Bunny cartoon. What’s up Doc?

Dear Diary – I really thought this headline had nailed it. I was browsing through my WordPress Reader, and I thought it said this:

Record Temperatures, Long Lines and Increasing Sarcacity Will Greatly Test the Patience of Americans This Summer.

Now, I know that Sarcacity isn’t a word, but it sounds like it could be. The actual word was scarcity. But you gotta admit, unlike my blog stats, sarcasm is on the rise. Just browse Facebook posts for 30 seconds and you’ll see I’m right.

Dear Diary – This week I sang at an outdoor worship service, all good old-timey songs. I endured grocery shopping with all the city folk who don’t know how to follow arrows. I went through the Tim Horton’s drive thru twice, and enjoyed a sticky doughnut to celebrate my late friend’s birthday! She would have approved.

I sold 6 face masks to 2 friends, and I enjoyed getting caught up. I pulled out some Fall fabric – might as well look fashionable!

Mom tells me my Dad bought some Christmas fabric. Stocking stuffers anyone!?!

I went looking for my 2019 tax documents, which I never found, and ended up cleaning out 2 boxes filled with tax forms starting in 1997! I earn the same salary! $0! I also did another drawing lesson. I’d better keep my day job.

We had to tidy our laundry room for the gas guy and I’m taking bets on how long it will take us to fill the space with useless junk. The odds are not in my favour.

 I’m heading back to my folks, with or without Little Guy, but my laptop is coming with me, so he might be too. We repurposed a Scrabble board for a game my Aunt made using another repurposed board that went missing. My Mom found the missing board the next day! Murphy’s Law.

Dear Diary –


Courtesy of Pinterest



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Shelley china is considered the best representative of the Staffordshire England potteries, with over 15,000 diverse patterns, many of which were designed by noted artists. Shelley china exceptionally thin, with a similar to Belleek china, and very strong. Some pieces are highly collectible.

The Wileman family, who owned a large pottery, Foley works, established a second pottery for the express purpose of producing fine china. Joseph Shelley became a partner some time after 1870.

Shelley inside_ed2

About 1910, a legal battle ensued over the use of the name “Foley”. Mr. Shelley lost the battle and officially renamed his pottery in 1925 to “Shelley”. It reached its peak in the 20’s & 30’s, and during the war, it was permitted to continue to produce fine china because they had a strong export business. Shelly’s reputation continued to grow throughout the war, and by the 1950’s its production was at its best.  The company was sold to Allied Potteries in 1966.


The inside of the cup and the saucer are green, while the outside of the cup is white, and the handle is pink. Flowers adorn the outside as well as inside the bottom of the cup. The cups’ shape, “chester”. has indented edges. It’s pattern is similar to this mint green and pale pink Shelley tea cup was made between 1945-1966.

Tea to the English is really a picnic indoors. -Alice Walker

Happy Monday!

References: http://www.shelleychinaclub.com

Dear Quarantine Diary #16


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Dear Diary – I went shopping with Mom at Wal-Mart. It mostly went well, but at least twice, a very nice employee noticed my dazed eyes and confused stance, as I stood on my toes, peeking around boxes and swiveling from side-to-side. “Can I help you find something?” they politely asked. Embarrassed, I replied, “Sorry, no. I’m actually looking for my mother”. Perhaps I didn’t lose her in the first place. Perhaps she lost me. Seeing an opportunity to ditch the kid, she ran away when I stopped to peruse the shelf or dash down a different lane to grab an item. Whatever the reason, I’m thankful she didn’t leave me there. It would have been a hot walk home.

Dear Diary – We packed up after “online” church to head back to the city. We had to make one quick stop to deliver a large mask order. We were to meet in the Denny’s parking lot. Leave it to me to end up in the wrong spot. After 10 minutes of driving around, and multiple telephone calls, I finally made the connection. Even though we’d be on the road less than an hour, I needed to pee. I texted Hubby to let him know where we were and he texted that I might want to go back to my parents. A large thunderstorm had just come through the city and knocked out the hydro.  I don’t need a good excuse to “hang” at my folks for another day.

Thunder started to rumble in the distance less than 2 hours later. The sky grew very black. It tried hard to rain…and then it cleared, the sun came out. Disappointingly anticlimactic!

The trip home on Monday was strange. I had been on the road less than 10 minutes when my father called. A friend from the city had called to try to warn me that the highway near the city was closed…due to a shooting investigation! Yikes! I decided that I would head north before the shutdown area, which would add about 20-30 minutes to our drive.

Well, it would have only added 20-30 minutes to our drive had I not completely missed our exit! In my defence, the exit was not marked. Hubby and I exchanged several phone calls and text messages (Little Guy mans the phone since I’m driving), and I spent a significant portion of the trip completely unsure of where I was. We went quite a bit father north than I had realized, before we headed west. At one point, I no longer knew what direction I was facing. With only the sun to guide me, and Hubby’s thinning patience, we finally got our bearings and arrived home. My “detour” added closer to 1.5 hours!

Boy, did I need to pee!

Next time, I will bring the hated GPS, Gloria.

Dear Diary – Hubby picked up treats to celebrate my homecoming: Covid-19 Kit-Kat Chunky bars…now 20% chunkier. Just like me!

kit kat

Wilderness Wednesday: Mud Between the Toes


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Growing up, I liked to look at my Mom had a Golden Book of Poetry. My favourite poem was this one:

Mud is very nice to feel
All squishy squashy between the toes.
I’d rather wade in wiggly mud
Than smell a yellow rose.

Nobody else but the rosebush knows
How nice mud feels
Between the toes.

– Polly Chase Boyden

While this little guy doesn’t resemble a blond pig-tailed girl with rosy cheeks in a pink sundress, I think he shares her sentiment. Cool, sticky mud between the toes.

Frog 2020

Dad noticed him and knocked on the window. I had to creep into my Mom’s garden, barefoot and still wearing my nightshirt, to take pics, so I got to enjoy the mud too! 🙂

It’s supposed to rain today. I wonder if anyone else will play in the mud?

Happy Wednesday!

Friday’s Tune: All The Way


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The sun was shining this morning. It had rained through the night and broken the oppressive heat. A gentle breeze was blowing, and the birds were all singing their glorious songs. But I was sitting there in a bit of a funk. I felt guilty because I knew I shouldn’t be feeling this way. My unwelcome and long-time companion, insecurity, was hanging around too.

I had participated in an exciting venture this week, but it felt like no one noticed. Of course, they did! I had worked hard to make sure other players were acknowledged. But wasn’t I also part of the team? Like a person on fire, when a pity-party threatens, I need to stop, drop and roll before the Lord. I need to remind myself why I did what I did, why we all did. It was to honour Him with our gifts and talents, with the creativity and the opportunity He gave us. It was an honour, and each of us had an important part to play.

As I confessed my insecure heart and my ungrateful, selfish attitude, a song started to play in my heart. A hymn I have I loved for a very long time. There is nothing more that I need.

all the way

Lyrics       Youtube 
All the Way My Savior Leads Me  (c) Fanny Crosby / Richard Mullins Universal Music Publishing Group, BMG Rights Management


Dear Quarantine Diary #15


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Dear Diary – Every morning this week I’ve been getting up and tuning in to our church’s online Vacation Bible Camp. I was involved in writing and acting in the skit portion. I have to see the humiliation firsthand.  I had a great time and I’m thankful for the great team of volunteers who each brought their “A game” to make this happen! PTL!


See the whole show – all 5 days – google Wilderness Escape Markham Missionary on Youtube. Tell me what you thought!

Dear Diary – I haven’t written much this week. I haven’t done much this week. Mostly gentle sobbing at the sewing machine.

I have never been an adept sewer, particularly with the sewing machine. I can hand stitch tiny seams like nobody’s business, but I always fought with the machine. I feared I was failing Home Ec in Grade 8 because I couldn’t put a pillow together. My Dad had to help me. I sewed a few dresses in college, with discreetly tacked puckers around the edges, and I made pillowcase dolls for a few craft shows!

Pillowcase dolls_ed

Mom’s friend ordered 6 medium masks (which was the recommended size for women) with ties: 2 pink, 2 purple, 2 green. Easy peasy! So easy, that I made 14 in an assortment of colours.

When she came to pick them up on Saturday, she tried one on and started to hem and haw. Which print looked better on her? Was a medium too large? Were the ties removable? Did I have elastic and how stiff was it?  I tried to patiently navigate every question. Mom even grabbed a hand mirror so she could see herself. By the time my last nerve was frayed, she decided she’d rather have 6 extra small masks with elastic…in different prints!

While she dined on the deck, I sewed like a psycho.  Threads were flying, the table piled with swatches and pins. The sewing machine itself, rumbled and revved like a car at the starting line in a drag race. I even roped my long-suffering father into cutting out the pieces to save me some time!

By the time I pressed the final one, I was slick with sweat. She was happy. She picked out 3 from the pile and I traded ties for elastic. I was done.

Then she pawed through my pile of fabric and selected 5 so I could make masks for her granddaughters. “Now”, she said, and I inwardly cringed…

Mini masks

Granddaughters get bling!

Could I make her 10 extra-small masks using the fabric and elastic she purchased on her way over, but instead of a double layer, could they be a single layer? Could I whip one up so she could see how heavy it would be? I whipped one up while she watched, modifying the pattern on the fly.

She called 2 days later, concerned that all the seams were rolled to prevent fraying, except the center seam. Could I fix that?

This simple request, and it should be simple, has literally cost me hours. I’m cranky. My family moves away from me when they see me coming, mostly likely muttering under my breath. More than once I’ve nearly had a complete meltdown. I’m talking ugly, snot-producing crying like a 2 year old. One such occasion was because I was overheated, frustrated, and my humidity-infused frizzy hair was hanging in my face. Every time I had to rip my glasses off to see what I was doing (or what I was ripping out), I was ripping out hair too. I desperately wanted to put it in a ponytail, a bun, anything off my face and neck, but my frozen shoulder is not cooperating (or keeping me cool)!

At this rate, I’m earning $1.67 an hour.

But at least I’m still earning something…