Thursday, August 27, 2015

Blog Break and a Give Away


I mentioned earlier that mid-August is the Anniversary (blogiversary) for Coffee Tea Books & Me.  In that week, I reached nine full years of blogging.  Amazing.

When I first started blogging, Christopher didn't have his driver's license and we were in full scale high school homeschooling mode.  Now he has graduated from college in Computer Science, gotten married a few years ago, and works as a Software Engineer-Manager. Another Amazing.

Stephanie had three tiny kids and now she has five, her oldest having reached thirteen.  Perhaps that is the most amazing of all.  Tempus is definitely fugiting.  Stephanie reminded me that this week it has been twenty years since the day she started college and Christopher began Kindergarten! 

Actually, the greatest miracle is a gift from God.  The fact that I'm still fine in spite of living with two auto immune system diseases (Type 1 - aka: Juvenile - Diabetes and Hashimotos Disease).   Of course, "fine" is all relative.  My body tells me everyday it is fighting against itself as my feet are both numb and painful, my fingers are numb, my eyesight helped through multiple surgeries, and I take a substantial amount of insulin.

But considering it has been at least fifteen years since the first diagnosis and a specialist predicted all kinds of terrible things within ten years... I am most fine thank you very much.

All that to say... I'm taking a teeny tiny blogging break from now through probably the day after Labor Day here in America (which is celebrated September 7th this year).  I need to work on some projects, read some books, and let my brain not have to think so much for awhile.

So to celebrate the beginning of this 10th year of blogging (fully realizing that the real 10th celebration will come next year), I'm giving away the book in the photo above, Mrs. Wheelbarrow's Practical Pantry.  It is a beautiful, colorful book with pantry recipes.  I will also throw in another yet-to-be-decided book from my own bookshelves.

Here is all you have to do.  Leave a comment and tell me what one book you would say everyone has to read!  It is a book that has or is making your heart sing.  If you can't think of just one, we'll take two or three or four or more.

I will be moderating comments each day.  They have to be moderated.  Since without moderation, I was experiencing something like 200+ Spam posts a week.  So your comment will not show up immediately.

See you in September!  (Hmmm... wasn't there a song by that title?)

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

NIV Zondervan Study Bible, a review


This is a long anticipated new Study Bible, I've been hearing the buzz about it on various Christian blogs.  So I was excited to be able to review it.  Since I most often use the NIV Bible, this one was of special interest.  If the last Study Bible I reviewed was disappointing, this one provides all I would need in a Study Bible and more.

For one thing, the Bible is full of colorful pictures and illustrations that make reading through it a visual delight.  Especially for those of us who are visual learners.  The introductions to each Book of the Bible are informative and provide information that will help both new Bible readers and those of us who have been around the block more than a few times.

Of course, there are plenty of cross references and notes at the bottom of each page where there is Biblical text.  I like how the notes at the bottom of the page are in a light color, it makes them quicker to locate and easy on the eyes.

There is a large concordance as well as numerous commentary articles in the back of the Bible.  While there is the usual Maps section in the back, there are numerous maps within the context of each Book of the Bible, too.

This is quite a large and heavy book, one you most likely would want to keep on your desk or in a nearby bookshelf for study.  However, it does come with an Access Code for a digital edition. 

My only complaint is the small font but then again, it is already a big Study Bible and increasing the font would be difficult to do and keep to a size one can lift off the table.

The General Editor is D. A. Carson.  I highly recommend this Study Bible.  It would make a perfect gift for a friend or family member who needs encouragement to study the Bible.  Not to mention an enjoyable read yourself.  I knew this was a great Study Bible when my husband tried to steal it from me before I had a chance to review it. 

The NIV Zondervan Study Bible was given to me for the purpose of review by the Publisher but the opinions are my own.

Further information at Amazon can be found... here.*

*Most links to Amazon.com are Associate links.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Sunday Afternoon Tea - Summer's End

So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.  
2 Corinthians 4:16 (Message Bible)

If one were to sit at a table on my deck last week, sipping early morning coffee and soaking in the beauty of the forest, there were hints here and there that the seasons are changing.  Oh, from a distance the forest is green, lush, and beautiful.  Except for two weeks in October, the trees are at their most beautiful at the end of August... or so it seems from my view on the deck.

However, all is not perfect in this fallen of worlds.  The same weeks upon weeks of rain that resulted in a lush forest played havoc with my garden.  Yes, the photo above is my garden now a center of weeds so high that to enter, one must be certain to wear heavy shoes, long slacks, and bring their garden gloves.  For the heavy rains disintegrated the thick plastic landscape fabric covering the rows and caused weeds and brush to grow instead.

There are other winks and witnesses that the season is ending soon.  The deck herbs and flowers look a little ratty when seen close up.  The grass is growing far less than just a few weeks ago.  The black walnuts are once again raining onto our roof as hungry squirrels make their way to the very end of tree limbs, causing the ripe nuts to fall on the ground and our roof.  It occurs every year and I still jump the first few times I hear the now familiar thumps overhead.

Then there is the raining of the leaves from trees already discarding their spring and summer wardrobe.  It is August and my deck is covered with leaves.  Only the beginning of about a gazillion or so to come.  Such is life when one lives surrounded by forest.

Sometimes I feel like a late summer day for there is still life and breath and creative thoughts and if one looks from a distance then all is well.  But come a little closer and you will find the clues that the season is not as lush as it once was for there are prescription bottles, insulin needles, a pillow on the sofa for afternoon rests or naps, shoes for feet that are numb, and the boundaries are far more limited now.

I walked in my bedroom last week to fold laundry and noticed the basket sitting on the floor beside my bed.  For in that basket are CDs.  Those I listen to often are next to the CD player in the kitchen. There was a sadness when I looked at that basket for I haven't listened to any of that music for about a year and I like all of it.

A sense of the passing of our hours and days and weeks and years came over me.  That knowledge that the train of time is quickly passing one depot after another and racing toward the destination at breakneck speed.  Where has time gone?

I'm at home most days and there are still books unread and letters not written and too many podcasts to ever hear and music sitting in a basket by my bed neglected in the many other options vying for my attention.

Time races.  Seasons change.  Good things not accomplished.  People we don't see again.  The weeds of the everyday essential work overtake the goals and aspirations left undone in our rush toward the end of the race.

I suppose that is part of the brief sense of panic that day as I looked at the music in the basket on the wood floor.  That realization that our Everyday had better reflect that which God intended from the beginning of the world.

Our decisions become our day.  Our minutes become our life.  How we choose to spend our time will be reflected in all of Eternity.  We have this one life and it goes by far faster than we thought possible at age eighteen.

But you know, Summer's End is not all that bad.  I am always ready for it as I don't care for hot weather and humidity... and this year with all the rain the bugs have attacked every time we left the front door to walk down the gravel lane to get the mail.

It is much the same with getting older if we look at it the same way.  Just yesterday evening, I sat in the cozy hunter green overstuffed chair in the Study reading a short story by Rosamunde Pilcher while my husband watched preseason football in the living room (his beloved Chicago Bears vs. the Colts).

The sun was setting and a breeze blew in through the open window.  The lights behind the chair reflected on the rest of the room and made it look very pretty and warm and cozy.  I have said before that the Study is God's gift for the Empty Nest Syndrome.  ;)

I've accepted this new season of life and learned that by doing so, the good stuff that comes along with it can be appreciated.  Looking back is only good once in awhile as we have fond memories of days gone by.  It is for this season we are to live.  And I thank God for each new day as it is a gift not to be taken lightly. Whatever our age...

I think perhaps the best way to enjoy each new season and most especially the latter seasons of life is this... to fully recognize this is but the Shadowlands (as Lewis calls this life).  This is not the end.  I think he calls it the "cover page" of our real life.

For there will be a time and a day and a Forever to do that which we long to do here and for some reason or another... age or budget or small children or old parents or health or all kinds of things...  we will wait to enjoy fully and perfectly in Eternity.

We are pilgrims and strangers only passing through... doing our best to leave this world a better place because we lived but fully realizing this is not our home.

In the meantime, I will embrace each day for what He provides... and take back my garden after the hard frosts and freezes of late autumn.  I hope.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Living the Pantry Lifestyle - The instant pantry


I don't use a lot of processed foods but there are times I need something convenient and quick in the pantry.  These are also the kinds of foods that make a good emergency pantry ingredient.  Especially if you have a way to boil water and heat the contents of cans.

Some foods are so obvious, I didn't show them.  Such as peanut butter, canned tuna and chicken (mixed with mayo and more for a sandwich), cereal, canned soup, canned fruit, jerky, summer sausage, crackers, cheese, etc.

Three of my go-to instant (so to speak) foods are shown above.

Krusteaz Pancake Mix - I have a number of good pancake recipes I use off and on but sometimes what is needed is fast and easy.  Especially in the morning.  I learned about this brand a number of years ago on another blog and it is very good.  This is a perfect pantry food because it already has everything in it... just add water.

Now, like any pre-mixed blends containing baking powder (cake mixes, biscuit mixes, Jiffy cornbread, etc.) these have a definite Use By date.  I'd say you could go past a few months but no more.  But by purchasing a size adequate for your family (the aforementioned blogger bought their huge family size box, I buy their regular size) and remembering to rotate new packages to the back and the oldest package to the front... there should be no problem with it going stale.

Canned Nuts - I don't eat many whole nuts.  One of the affects of illness is my teeth getting softer!  However, my husband could live on various nuts and sunflower seeds.  His favorite sunflower seeds are purchased in a bag at Menards.  No... not kidding.

But nuts and seeds are great for any pantry and especially an emergency pantry.  One must, however, rotate often and even consider keeping those you don't eat quickly in the freezer.  Nuts that come roasted and in a sealed container have a longer shelf life and do not need to be refrigerated or frozen.

Recently Kroger had their brand of roasted nuts on sale for $1.99 a can.  I bought three... one for now and two for the pantry.  I bought one of their regular salted tin and two of their Buttered Toffee peanuts (the latter can be crushed and used on ice cream).

Various kinds of nuts are purchased as we can afford.  My favorite is pecans, which tend to be pricey so they are mostly purchased for recipes as needed.  They are also nice and soft and easy to eat!

If one has nuts and dried fruit and perhaps a package of good milk chocolate chips in their pantry (some like M&Ms instead), they can put together trail mix for a delicious pantry recipe!

Starbucks Via Instant packets -  Once upon a time, I would have told you there might be one small jar of instant coffee for an emergency on the level of The End of the World As We Know It.  I can't stand instant coffee.

Then my son-in-law, the coffee snob connoisseur, told me about Starbucks Via instant.  Somehow it came up when they had been out of power awhile due to a hurricane coming inland.  Or was it a blizzard?  You never know in New England.

But he said the Via instant was "not too bad".  Which means... from the guy who turns green looking at my canister of Maxwell House Original... that it is darn good for the rest of us.  I tried it and loved it.  Although not their pumpkin spice, it has an after taste and judging from Amazon comments, others feel the same way.  Stick to original Starbucks coffee.

I have since found out that people who travel a lot carry Via packets with them to use instead of the usual hotel offerings in rooms.

They aren't cheap because they are good coffee.  I have used part of a gift card off and on to buy a package (around $11.00 for a package of twelve).  My favorite is the Blonde Blend because... ta da... that is my favorite Starbucks blend in everything (except what they use to make a pumpkin spice latte, which has to be dark).  Blonde Blends are lighter than their original coffee.  Via packets are available at Starbucks and most grocery stores in the U.S.

The Use By date is usually about a year out but I had a package hidden by other items on a shelf and tried it two years after the date.  It was fine (they are individually packaged to retain freshness).

I keep them in my pantry for emergency situations and then use them around their Use By date if necessary.  Or two years after.  Just saying.

I'd love to know what your favorite "instant" foods are found in your pantry.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

My World this Week

The light is beginning to change to a new season...

A cold front came through last night.  I mean a real honest to goodness cold front.  I shivered as I walked down the gravel lane to pick up the newspaper this morning.  I know it will turn hot again.  The temperatures can soar in September!  But this is the first taste of Autumn...  Can pumpkin spice lattes be far behind?

This week has been full of slow days.  Quite wonderful after all the busy-ness of the last months.  I may be able to pull out my scrapbook journal and work on it soon.  If I do, I will make certain to take photos to share here.

So without further delay, this is what has been going on in my world this past week as seen through the lens of a simple point and shoot camera.

Reading

I haven't had time for much in the way of personal reading this week with review responsibilities.  However, I had ordered Sarah Mae's new book with Amazon Credit at a great price and I can tell already I'm going to love it.

Some may know Sarah Mae from co-writing with Sally Clarkson.  You can find more information about Longing for Paris at Amazon... here.*

Listening

I listen to the Valley of Vision "album"* on the Amazon Music App on the iPad.  It is beautiful!  Info... here.

Creating

Cooking & Baking
I made veggie beef soup even though it was hot outside at the time!
I had cream cheese that needed to be used soon so I made cheesecake to share with the kids.   That same day I made a new batch of chocolate sauce for my husband.  This is what he did with it.  ;)

Thrifting
All but one are thrift store/antique mall finds.
The $3.99 Goodwill purchase.
My very favorite teapot, a gift from Stephanie.

I don't go to Goodwill often these days because, well... I have enough stuff.  But this past week I decided to take a walk-thru and look what I found for $3.99!  The teapot in the middle photo.

It looks a lot like my very favorite teapot, the one my daughter purchased for me as a birthday gift (or was it a Christmas gift?) when she worked at a coffee/tea shop in college.  They both are made by companies in Staffordshire, England.

Actually, everything on the buffet comes from thrifting except one teacup, the July birthday teacup (lower right teacup on first photo) that my daughter bought me when we were at Old Sturbridge Village a long time ago! 

Morning Light

Morning quiet time with Paris tea* and my favorite devotional*.

Her Fluffiness
I had just sat down to write my To Do list in my calendar (the one with the pretty scrapbook paper covering the ugly cover) when who should appear?  I do have photos of her elsewhere but these are the cutest.  She is a little blurry as she was bathing.  ;)

*Most links to Amazon.com are Associate links.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Lazarus Awakening DVD and Study Guide, a review


This review is of the DVD and Study Guide, the book itself is not included in the package.  However, I have not read the book and got by just fine without it.  If studied in a group situation, the book would be helpful.

I was drawn to this study because of the author, Joanna Weaver.  I loved her book Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World.  This study is about Lazarus and Jesus calling him "from darkness" and how you can lead a resurrection life.

First of all, I'm not always a fan of DVD studies because the study book and the DVD don't always coincide well.  But this one is fabulous.  It is put together to make it easy to watch each teaching segment on the DVD and work within the corresponding chapter of the study book.

While this series would make a fantastic study in a group situation (I'd love to take part of those discussions!), what makes this quite unique is that one can easily work their way through it alone.  I plan to continue until I am through the study book; which by the way is easy to read, follow, and understand.

What puts this study over the top and better than any DVD series I have followed before is the teaching and the location.  For Joanna Weaver is a gifted teacher and the location is from the land of Israel.  It is beautiful and helps the student feel as if they are walking where Jesus walked.

The DVD includes (info taken from the back of the DVD case):
In-depth Bible study: Features eight 17- to 20-minute video sessions
Bonus "Israel Moment" videos explore the life of Christ and the Holy land.
Down loadable leader's guide, promotional material, and retreat format.

Highly recommended for group and personal use!

This Study package was provided by Blogging for Books for the sake of review but the opinion is my own.

Further information can be found... here*

*Most links to Amazon.com are Associate links.

For the Love by Jen Hatmaker, a review


I've heard a lot about Jen Hatmaker's blog and former book but I haven't read much of her writing.  All I knew about her was that "she is funny".

Well, she certainly has funny sections of this book.  A few caused me to laugh out loud.  She has a way of surrounding Truth with humor and honesty as she invites the reader into her real world.

This book is about freeing yourself from guilt.  About freeing yourself from what she calls the "unattainable Pinterest life".  It is about being good enough and realizing the attempt to be perfect holds you back in the living of life.

It is about turning 40 and throughout the book, talking to her 29 year old self.  Which in itself is pretty darn hysterical.

This book is excellent for unwinding at the end of a long day and soaking up God's Truth as you relax.  The only thing I didn't care for was actually a personal preference.  I get tired of books that are this funny throughout the entire book.  But that is just me and I expect most people are not like that.

Highly recommended, especially for young moms as they struggle to live up to what (they think) is expected in the Christian world.

This book was provided by the publisher for the sake of review but the opinions are my own.

Further information can be found... here.*

*Most links to Amazon.com are Associate links.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Sunday Afternoon Tea - Bookish


If there was one word I would use to describe my family, if I sipped coffee and pondered and thought about it long enough... that word would be Bookish.

First and foremost, we are people of the Book.  All that is important, everything which encompasses our being, is found in the Book.  We dedicated both our children to the God of the Book (and returned our first born back to His Presence).  Knowing God gave us two children to raise and one who is waiting... we raised them by the Book.

Not Dr. Spock but the Book of the Ancient of Days.  One of my life verses is found on the sidebar of this blog, one that tells us to "look to the ancient paths".  Those very paths and lanes and highways are found in that Book.

Something magical happens when one reads (Narnia magic you know).  I am convinced that Story is God's gift to His finite children... the closest we come to the infinite this side of Glory.  When we read to our children, we give them the gift of that infinite imagination.  They become kings and queens who fight the dragons and conquer that which is evil in their world.  They do not think twice when beavers talk or trees walk or bunnies live in a tree with art on the wall and a blankie keeping them warm.

Reading to children as I did, from the crib until they preferred getting away alone and absorbing their latest literary love (sob!), lays a foundation of imagination.  For I have found people who read often have the best vocabulary and the most amazing ideas.  Their brains have had a good foundation of being stretched beyond all that is in this finite world to beyond the stars.

When we read together as a family, a mutual world is experienced.  A vocabulary comes alive.  Used as adults and well understood.  Sometimes only within the family.  Often within the Fellowship of the Book.  Otherwise known as... our Bookish friends.

For you see, Bookish people love their equally Bookish friends.  We come together from the get-go with a common background of shared literary words, and places we have visited between the pages of a book, and people we have come to cherish from reading their words over and over, and animals we quote, and the wonder of... Story.

I think back on a quite wonderful day when we were visiting New England.  That particular visit happened to overlap with a visit from one of my very favorite people, Sarah Clarkson.  When asked if I minded that Sarah would be there the first two days of our visit, I think my response was something like, "Are you kidding?".

One morning Stephanie, Sarah, and I set out to the cutest village to take Faith to her weekly dancing lessons.  We waited for her nearby at a coffee shop and chatted until my granddaughter was finished with her class.  I can't recall which came first... the walk in the park with the Autumnal leaves falling around us or the visit to the dusty used bookstore.  The one in which we had to peruse every aisle.

It was the kind of day we Bookish people experience a few times when all came together to create magic... Autumn in New England, coffee, books, and the fellowship of friends.  A couple of years later, I opened the book I had been reading during that visit and out fluttered pressed Autumn leaves to the floor.  Serendipity!  Beauty!  Memories.  :)

Having a boy in mid-life introduced me to books I never otherwise would have read.  Books about pirates and ships and knights and being brave.  Stories of French swordsmen and the rather unusual world of graphic novels.  Books that stretched my world in a different way than my girlish preferences.

I have told you before about a picture frame that sits on a table in our bedroom.  The very frame that was sitting at our place during the meal at Stephanie's wedding.  We have it to remember that day and her childhood.  For in that frame are the words from the book her father read to her over and over and over (sigh... and yet over again) as a small child.

Goodnight room
Goodnight moon
Goodnight cow jumping over
the moon
Goodnight light
And the red balloon
Goodnight bears
Goodnight chairs
Goodnight kittens
And goodnight mittens
Goodnight clocks
And goodnight socks
Goodnight little house
And goodnight mouse
Goodnight comb
And goodnight brush
Goodnight nobody
Goodnight mush
And goodnight to the old lady
whispering "hush"
Goodnight stars
Goodnight air
Goodnight noises everywhere.*

Oh, my... did that bring tears to our eyes.  At Christopher's wedding reception, he chose the words to a song instead.  A song for the dance of the groom and his mother.  Those words were from one of my favorite songs, the one by Garth Brooks called The Dance.  I had to sit down before the end of the dance... sobbing.

"Yes my life is better left to chance
I could have missed the pain
but I'd have had to miss...  the dance." 

For how quickly the passage of time had flown by to reach that day.  There isn't much time to form the bonds that is a family and those with friends.  Life is but a mist, a breath! But I'm thankful God gave us a way.  His Book.  The books written by His creation.  Words.  The Word.

*Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Living the Pantry Lifestyle - Keeping on... Keeping on


It seems there has been a lot of "little bit at a time" work all summer.  Speaking of which, I am so ready for Autumn!  The heat and humidity have returned and I've never been a Summer person.  Except when we lived near Lake Michigan.  But I digress...

I had that one last item to check off the first Procrastination List and even that was turned into smaller steps.  The setting up of an online account for my insurance has been accomplished and options perused.  I still need to find out if my previous retinal specialist is on their approved list.

But it is quite wonderful to think of everything that was accomplished this Summer and for the most part, all of it broken down into little "easier to handle" bits and pieces of work.  A lot can be accomplished by "keeping on... keeping on".

I've decided my next Procrastination List will only be the garage for that in itself is a huge project.  I used to keep up with it nicely but ummm... it got away from me.  Big time.  So as I've done in the past, what is up to me to organize will be accomplished a little at a time and then Hubby takes over the big stuff.  That which requires heavy lifting and all.

Okay... there is a second and much smaller organization project come to think of it.  That was put off due to circumstances beyond my control.  Mr. & Mrs. Christopher have decided that 1) they do want the large bookshelf in the Study but 2) there is no room for it in his present little home office.  So I'm to keep it for another couple of years but I can use it.

So here is what I'm going to do.  Aren't you glad you asked?  I'm going to get everything out of the bottom of my son's closet (which is still stuffed full of his things that he obviously does not need at the moment) and stack his books on the bottom of that closet.

So he won't be taking the bookshelf or many of his books but he will be forced to make a decision on some other items.  Hehehe...  Of course, I can make some decisions for him.  Just as I am some of his stuff in the garage.  For instance, he will never be in a size Medium clothing again so his mid-teen clothes will go to charity.

Back to the garage and all.  Getting the deep freeze all nicely defrosted made it possible for my most recent essential purchase.  I had one five pound bag of King Arthur All Purpose flour left so I put my Pantry Budget into purchasing four bags, when I could get them at a good price.  They are now in the deep freeze getting debugged.  I know some people say one should put them in the freezer, take them out a few weeks, and then put them back in for another couple of weeks.

But frankly, just thinking of keeping track of all that makes me tired.  So I leave them in their plastic grocery bags, throw them gently place them in the deep freeze, and bring them out in a couple of weeks.  Never had a problem with bugs by doing it that way.  Frankly, I have forgotten to put them in the freezer and haven't had a bug problem but I don't want to take that chance.

I'm still reading and watching and listening to those folks talking about possible economic issues this Fall.  I must admit my friends, it has been quite amazing how God gives the grace to a person for what He wants them to do... and when he wants them to do it.  For I have been avoiding spending time listening to negative newscasts and such (much less these kinds of newscasts and articles!) for a few years.  Now I can't get enough of them and I can listen without getting upset, annoyed, or frightened.  He is so amazing.

But I do not have the same grace when it comes to 2016 election coverage.  Already.  Too much.  Just saying...

I have a couple links for you this week:

A Working Pantry always has interesting information and I've enjoyed their $5.00 pantry challenges.  I may not stock a lot of rice like they suggest (for white rice is like pure sugar to the body) but I do get lots of ideas.  I have plenty of packages of beans put back instead.  Their link is... here.

I enjoy reading information from The Kitchn, so much so that I receive their updates via e-mail.  So I was very interested in their take on putting together a Disaster Kit.  As per their usual articles, this one is easy for readers to do and I thought very good on their selection of items to put in the kit.  It is good information for stocking pantry basics, too. 

I love it that one of their recommendations is Twinkies for these people tend to be very  health savvy.  But if you stop to think of it, they do have a frightening long shelf life.  :)  That link is... here.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Stephanie's New Blog!


Stephanie has had a new blog domain for awhile but she has been very busy to do what was necessary to get it started.  But it is ready and I can't wait to see what she writes there.  The new blog reflects where she is right now, both literary ponderings and to follow the progress of her new project.

For you see, her Tookish side has come out.  Well, it has always been prevalent.  But not long ago she started a project that probably has even the Tookish folks in awe.  More than once I asked her if she was certain this is where God was leading?  Typical mother I assure you as I was thinking of the work involved and she is already up-to-her-eyes busy.

But when we were there in May, she drove her dad and I by the land.  Oh, my.  That land.  I can see why it sparked their new adventure.

So for awhile, I will leave up Cottage Thoughts on my "Favorites" widget on the sidebar.  But if you click on that photo of Stephanie on the sidebar, the one that obviously says "My Daughter's Blog"... it will now take you to Soar Cloud-High.

Oh, and so will clicking... here.  ;)

Image:  Swiped borrowed from Soar Cloud-High.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

My World this Week


It is quite difficult to believe but it is true... Coffee Tea Books & Me is celebrating its' ninth anniversary.  Within a week I will begin the tenth year of writing at this Internet address.  Amazing.

I will write more about those ponderings next week.  But still... that is a very long time to be typing away and I believe I have gone through two (perhaps three?) computers and one laptop.  ;)

So... here is what is happening in my world through the lens of my camera.  I have found the simplest of days are quite nice.

Reading

I finished Listening Valley and absolutely loved it.  I didn't think I would at first but the way D. E. Stevenson can bring a plot together in the end is genius.  It brings together two literary subjects I love to read about... WWII and Scotland.  More info... here.*

I've been reading Heaven on Earth for a couple of weeks off and on as time permits.  It is part of my continuing Stalking Jonathan Edwards reading.  Excellent book!  More info... here.*

Listening

I've been listening to more podcasts recently instead of watching television (except for my favorite programs, of course).  I must say if my Podcast App was stuck on only one, I would want it to be The Eric Metaxas Show.

I think I first heard of Eric Metaxas through his work with Chuck Colson.  I also began watching his Socrates in the City broadcasts when they would come on the NRB channel Friday evenings.  You may know him from his books, the two most famous being Amazing Grace and Bonhoeffer... although he has written many.  Did you know he also wrote for Bob the Tomato and Larry the Cucumber?  :)

But his Podcast is absolutely amazing.  He is so funny and smart and has the best guests.  You know I'd love it when talks about Bigfoot one week and interviews literary types at Oxford the next week.  My kind of man.  More info about this podcast can be found... here.

Another podcast I thoroughly enjoy listening to off and on (listened to two episodes last night) is called Authors on the Line with Tony Reinke.  He has not been making new episodes this year but the archives are worth having this podcast available.

Tony Reinke is the author of Lit: A Christian Guide to Reading Books and John Newton: On the Christian Life.  The podcast can be downloaded or listened to on your computer... here.

Baking

So... my husband takes a look at this scone after I baked a double batch, one for us and the other to take to Mrs. Christopher as her sisters were visiting.  He turned his nose up at it and said that he really was not a scone type of person.

Then I cut the scone in half and added lemon curd to the middle.  He is now a scone type of person.  At least with lemon curd.  Recipe... here.  ;)

Tea Time

Soon after putting together this "tea time", I knew I had to take a photo and show you what my real world can look like when I am busy.  While I love brewing tea the way it should be and enjoying it in pretty china cups with my snack on an equally pretty plate... this happens more often.

I ran water through the Keurig to make it hot and then steeped the teabag in a mug.  I cut half a piece of my friend, Sheila's bread to enjoy.  My favorite red plastic plate was brought out... yes I said plastic.  These plates are leftover from when the guys used to enjoy having dinner in front of the TV while watching sports.  Real Life.  So when I do have a proper solitary tea time, it is quite enjoyable.

Morning Light

The morning light filtering through the lace curtains in the Study has been beautiful this summer.  That room tends to be dark most of the days as we are surrounded by trees.  So I enjoy filtered light when I can get it.

Growing

I had a sweet potato sprout before I had a chance to use it and well, I've been thinking of growing a sweet potato vine...

I Love My Family

This is for Pam to see as I told her about it recently.  When I visited my New England family in May, they had saved this Bigfoot sticker for me.  They know their Grammie.  As I told Pam, it kinda' makes me wonder what they think of Grammie and her Bigfoot obsession.  But hey, it makes me an interesting grandmother to say the least.  ;)

Decorating By Tweaking

I have thought about hanging artwork below this window for years and years.  But I wasn't sure what would work until I did all that artwork switching recently.  I love this print, I purchased it directly from the artist when we lived in Detroit.  So when I removed it from where it was, I tried and it is perfect there.  When the light is on, it shows the lovely autumnal colors of that scene!

Her Fluffiness
I love that face...
I adore those snowshoe paws....

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