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My Favorite Mug(s) or Why Tea Time is the Best

Last fall my in-laws were visiting.
I consented to allow my mother-in-law to use my favorite mug for her tea: it was cute green Starbucks mug with ribbing around it. One that I had for years.

Unfortunately she broke it.

MIL: “Oh sorry I broke your mug.”
Me: “THAT WAS MY FAVORITE MUG EVER!!!!”
My Husband: (rolling his eyes) “all her mugs are her favorite ever.
Me: “Actually, he’s right. Don’t worry about it.”

Thankfully my mother in law has a great sense of humor.

I love mugs.
90% of my mugs are my favorite because they were given to me as gifts from people I love.
5% I bought because ‘it was love at first sight.’
3% were my husbands before we were married.
2% are not my favorite.*

Here is a few pictures of my mugs
Darling Starbucks mug from dear friend (I used the mug so much she finally gave it to me).

Starbucks mug

Starbucks mug

Creative green mug my husband (who at the time was just a friend) had hand crafted for me by the highly acclaimed Georgian artist A.E. Goff.

Artistic green mug

Artistic green mug

Ryan’s nondescript Blue mug

Blue mug

Blue mug

My aspirations in life (besides teaching Shakespeare) is to own a tea and cupcake shop and sell adorable mugs. I’ll call it Cups with Cakes.

What’s Wrong with Me?
So you may ask, why are you so attached to your mugs?
I am addicted to tea.
Haha, just kidding, not addicted, well maybe…

Not just the tea, but the relaxation it brings with it. Years back, when I was a teacher, I developed the habit of taking time for tea every afternoon. Going through the ritual of brewing and drinking the tea, helped my brain to relax and refocus. Now that I am a mom, life still gets so crazy and busy a little time to relax and recharge is vital to my sanity.

Every day in the afternoon when that slump hits around 3, I like to take some time to brew and drink a lovely cup of tea (and a little snack). Seriously if I don’t I usually end up wandering aimlessly around the house and nothing is accomplished. This helps me relax and refocus giving me the reserves to make it through “toddler and baby witching hour” which hits about 5 pm.

My Tea Time Ritual

3 minutes to boil water
5 minutes to brew tea
2-5 minutes adding cream and sugar or milk and honey and waiting for it to cool off.
10 minutes to sip: tea is not gulped down; it is sipped.

20-23 minutes of de-stressing time (I usually just round it up to 30 min.)

Here are some of my favorite teas to sip during tea time

London Fog
Chai Tea

*For you engineers, the % are used more as a literary device than actuate estimates of my mug collection.

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Thursday Meditation: The All-Good

I pray.

In fact I like to congratulate myself that I pray quite a bit.

But lately I’ve been realizing my prayers consist of are mostly petitions for myself and others

Instead of taking the time to behold the beauty of the Lord.

Then the Valley of Vision a collection of Puritan prayers entered my life. As I have been praying through this beautiful book of prayers, my own prayer life and devotional life has been greatly encouraged. This has been my prayer and meditation lately.

 

The All-Good

“My God,

Thou hast helped me to see,

that whatever good be in honor and rejoicing,

how good is he who gives them, and can withdraw them; 

that blessedness does not lie in so much in receiving good from and in thee, but

in holding forth they glory and virtue;

that it is an amazing thing

to see Deity in a creature, speaking, acting, filling, shining through it;

that nothing is good but thee,

that I am near good when I am near thee

that to be like thee is a glorious thing:

This is my magnet, my attraction.

 

Thor art all my good in times of peace,

my only support in days of trouble,

my one sufficiency when life shall end.

Help me to see how good they will is in all,

and even when it crosses mine

teach me to be please with it.

Grant me to feel thee in fire, and food and every providence,

and to see that they many gifts and creatures
are but they hands and fingers taking hold of me.

Thou bottomless fountain of all good,

I tie myself to thee out of love,

for all I have or own is thine,

my goods, family, church, self,

to do with as thou wilt,

to honour thyself by me, and by all mine.

if it be consistent with they eternal counsels,

the purpose of they grade,

and the great ends of they glory

then bestow upon me the blessings of they comforts;

if not, let me resign myself to they wiser determinations.”

 

 

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Wednesday Meditation: Isaiah 53:4-5

“And heaven knows, heaven knows
I tried to find a cure for the pain
Oh my Lord, to suffer like you do
It would be a lie to run away.”
Jon Foreman

On this earth that groans waiting for salvation, it is impossible to keep ourselves from pain. Pain inflicted by others intentional or not, pain inflicted by ourselves, and pain inflicted upon us by the Enemy of human souls. Whether the hurt be insignificant or catastrophic, no matter how hard we try to escape the it, the aches remains.

But Heaven knows, Heaven knows all about pain. And when I meditate on this, my heart is broken with love and gratitude for my Savior. My grief seems so much easier to bear because His grace is strong and my pain remind me of His love.

“Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed.”
Isaiah 53:4-5

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My garden (easy tomato sauce recipe)

My garden

My garden

 

I’m not afraid to try new things, except for gardening that is. Even though I grew up on a farm, every plant I tried to grow, as a kid, was either barren or died. Once again this year gardening season rolled around and I said, “I’ll try it next year.” Besides I was 7 months pregnant and moving to a new house. And then low and behold a friend gives me two heirloom tomato plants, two pepper plants, and a basil plant. How could I just waste two lovely purple, organic, heirloom tomato plants? So I “sowed and I hoed and I watched my [little Italian] garden grow.” And just like in Muncha, Muncha, Muncha* I was convinced that little bunnies would eat my plants.

They didn’t.

There was only one slight problem with my plentiful garden, we don’t like nawrrring on raw tomatoes. So I sauced them. But seriously making tomato sauce isn’t fun. A person has to blanche, and chop and deseed and cook put them through a masher thingy, and then can them.  I don’t have time to shower let alone make tomato sauce.

But my mom saved the day with this little back-woods-Idaho trick. Never mind all that skin and seed removal, just throw all the tomatoes in a blender and the chuck ’em in a jar and your set.

Making and canning tomato sauce

  • Wash tomatoes
  • Chop tomatoes into quarters
  • Blend to a smooth sauce in blender
  • Bring to boil
  • Add herb (or just leave plain)
  • Cook tomato sauce
  • Fill canning jars with  boiling water
  • Pour out water
  • Add boiling tomato sauce
  • Put lid on with ring loosely secured
  • Wait for lid to seal as the jar cools
  • Store

And for you visual people

WP_000114

Tomatoes

Blender

Blend

WP_000112

Boil

WP_000147

Store

Cheers

Note: I did use this sauce in a lasagnas and a pizza; it turned out nice. Also, when you blend it, it will have the consistency of a smoothie, but resist the temptation of watering it down because it looks to thick. The boiling will change the slurry into regular tomato sauce.

*Most of my literary allusions come from Honora’s favorite books since that’s all the literature I read now.

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7 Evidences the Bible is Inerrant

Is the Bible Inerrant?

This is a big question many Christians face today. Many scholars have done their best to tear down the authority of scripture to the point that, sadly, many Christians do not believe in the inerrancy of God’s word. There are those (like myself) who believe wholeheartedly that the Bible is inerrant but who has no idea how to “prove” it to a skeptic.

A couple weeks ago in Sunday school, we watched a great video presentation by Charlie Campbell called 7 Evidences the Bible is Inerrant. It completely answered my question of “yes, I believe, but how do I explain it to the skeptics?” Here is just a brief summary of what he covered on the hour long session.

7 Evidences the Bible is Inerrant

1. Fulfilled Prophecy: no other religious book contains so much specific fulfilled prophecies. For example: 600 years before Jesus came it was prophesied the  Messiah would be born of Abraham’s seed, in the tribe of Judah, of the house of David, in the city of Bethlehem. Daniel pinpoints the exact time period the Messiah would also be born in 500 years before his birth. There is no way that Christians could have “doctored” up these prophecies. The Dead Sea Scroll (which predate Christ) contain manuscripts of the prophets writing.

2. Archaeological Evidences: The Bible is historically reliable. If it talks about a city, a person could go dig around in the dirt and find that city. In fact the Bible is so accurate, archaeologist has started going to it for information. Dr. Nelson Glueck is quoted as saying, …”No archaeological discovery has ever discredited the Bible…in fact the Bible’s evidences has lead to the discovery of many things.” Here are just a few examples: there was a stone found with writing on it pronouncing a curse on King David. Caiaphas’s (the high priest who wanted Jesus dead)  tomb was found. The Megiddo Church (very old church probably one of the first churches) has a very old plaque dedicated to the God Jesus Christ. These are just a couple of MANY discoveries proving the accuracies of the Bible. Unfortunately, the Book of Mormon is not so fortunate. Some of the places mentioned in there are completely fabricated.

3. The Bible’s Internal Consistency: The Bible consists of 66 books, written by 40 different authors over a 1500 year period, covering 60 generations, on 3 different continents, in 3 languages not to mention many different styles (history, poetry, prophecy, letters, narratives etc.) yet it harmonizes all the way through. In the original language there is no contradictions of message. The Koran, written by one man, cannot boast total consistency.

4. Extrabiblical Writings: The people in the Bible cannot be just figments of the disciples imaginations. There are external sources that verify at least 60 persons from the Bible. Josephus mentions that Jesus was a good man who lived and then was crucified by the Romans after that he mentions that Jesus’ disciples claimed He rose from the dead. There are 39 other non-Christian sources within 150 years of Christ’s death that speak of Jesus and his contemporaries.

5. Bible’s Amazing Scientific Accuracy and Foresight:  The Bible doesn’t contradict science. Not all other religious books can make this claim. For example, Sura 18:86 of the Koran mentions that Alexander the Great “…when he reached the setting of the sun, he found it set in a spring of murky water…” King David also speaks about the sun in Psalms 19:6 “Its rising is from one end of heaven, And its circuit to the other end; And there is nothing hidden from its heat” (NKJV). The Hindus believed that the earth was set on an elephant who stood on a turtle who swam in a great ocean. Job, a contemporary of them wrote “… He [God] hangs the earth on nothing” (Job 26:7 NKJV). In fact, I think the Bible might have been a little bit ahead of science on that one since scientists didn’t figure this concept out till around 1650 AD. Jeremiah the Prophet mentions that the “…host of heaven (stars) cannot be numbered, nor the sand of the sea measured…” (Jeremiah 33:22, NKJV). Kepler said there were only 1006 stars. Thankfully Carl Sagan was a little more astute when he said, “there were more stars in the heavens than there are sand on the beaches of earth.” Oh and one last one, Isaiah the prophet says that the Lord “sits above the circle of the earth.” His contemporaries probably thought he was a moron; they all thought the earth was flat. So how did these guys know stuff that their contemporaries didn’t? Simple, God wrote through them (2 Peter 1:21).

6. Manuscript Evidence:  a big objection of the skeptics to the Bible is the complaint that the Bible’s manuscripts haven’t been accurately translated throughout the generations. A manuscript is anything handwritten predating 1455 and the printing press. there are 24,000 partial of complete New Testament manuscripts. The ancient church father quoted the New Testament 86,000 times.In fact, if we lost the New Testament today, we could piece 97% of it back together with just quotes from the ancient church fathers (Justin Maryter, Polycarp, Tertullian etc.). But that’s just the New Testament, what about the Old Testament? Three words: Dead Sea Scrolls. This proves that the Bible and it’s message hasn’t been changed.

7. The Willingness of Jesus Disciples to Suffer: there are many many Buddhist, Hindus, Muslims, and Christians that have died for their faith because they believe they had the truth.Yet, people die for what they think is true, not allow themselves to be brutally killed for what they know to be a fabricated lie. Almost all of Jesus disciples died nasty and disgusting deaths like having all their skin cut off, boiled in oil, burned to death, shot to death with arrows, crucified upsidedown were just among a few of their deaths. Why would they allow this if they just fabricated everything? Self-preservation is pretty high human instinct. There may have been 1 crazy disciple willing to die for a lie but 11? I highly doubt it. Their message got them killed or kicked out of their own country (and any other country they went to). Yet at Jesus’ arrest, they all ran away and let him be taken. At his death and after, they hid in a little room embarrassed for following this man. What changed? The fact that they realized Jesus is God after he rose from the dead.

The Bible is not just an amazing piece of literature. It is the word of God. Why is this important? As Charile Campbell said, “Our faith should be grounded on fact not feeling.” I’m not going to be ashamed anymore to mention that what I believe, or I should say know, is true.

To find out more about this subject check out Charlie Campbell’s website