Re-learning a lesson

Thursday, October 29, 2015

I've learned a number of lessons over the course of my life, but some of them I need to occasionally re-learn. Just recently I had to re-learn the hard way to "look before you leap." Or, don't rush ahead of the Lord when making plans.

A couple friends were leaving my house after book club about a month ago, discussing an upcoming trip they were planning. "Hey, you wanna come?" they asked.

Yeah right, I thought. I'm getting ready to go to Hawaii, and they were talking about a major trip planned for the beginning of December. It would require considerable preparation and would be pricey, too. Plus, I had never considered such a trip, halfway across the world to a mysterious and exotic location.

"I'll pray about it," I told them, without much conviction.

Well, that's the problem. I didn't really pray about it. I kind of forgot about it. But when I got home from Hawaii, I somehow allowed myself to get caught up in the excitement of the plans, hurried along by pressing deadlines.

Before I knew it, I was researching getting a tourist visa, checking into getting vaccinations, making packing lists, and purchasing an expensive airline ticket.

Several times, the thought went through my head: am I supposed to be going? Is this really a good idea? Even, I'm not so sure this is a good idea. The other travelers had definite plans and reasons for going (this wasn't just a vacation, in other words); I was just kind of tagging along. 

Several family members and friends cautioned me against going; I was facing dealing with the high probability of running into deadly allergens (I have an anaphylactic reaction to sesame) that I may not  have been able to avoid because of the ubiquitous use of sesame there and problems of communicating in another language with food vendors and restaurant workers. However, I was prepared to take along protein bars and other food just to avoid any issues.

But then there were other safety issues as well. Honestly, I think I would have been fine, but as I weighed these risks against whether or not I had a calling to go, I realized I couldn't expect God's protection if I had no clear call to go, and if I was running ahead of His purposes for me. And what if His plans there didn't include me for some reason?

Somewhat abashed, I cancelled my flight and reluctantly told my friends. I don't think I'll ever know for sure why I had that check in my spirit, but I think it's always right to Pay Attention.

Sigh. Lesson (re)learned.


Now, here's someone who suffers no nagging and bothersome existential questions about whether or not to go for it. He just plows ahead, regardless of the consequences.

I had filled my feeder up, and had a little more seed left in the bag, so I just sprinkled it all along a section of my deck railing, hoping my little bird friends would enjoy the extra treats. But here comes Mr. Squirrel, the scourge of the neighborhood. He starts at one end, and proceeds, single-handedly, to eat up every single seed in sight. Wow. He's not going to be feeling well later.


What about you? Have you charged ahead, making plans, and then realized you had been too impulsive? Or not spent time praying about it?

October tea

Monday, October 26, 2015

Anne reveled in the world of color about her.

"Oh, Marilla," she exclaimed one Saturday morning, coming dancing in with her arms full of gorgeous boughs, "I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers. It would be terrible if we just skipped from September to November, wouldn't it? Look at these maple branches. Don't they give you a thrill--several thrills?” 

-- L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

Royal Albert October teacup, Cosmos

Coming home from Hawaii to these beautiful fall colors softens the blow a little bit.

Quite a change from this . . . 

and this . . .

We went snorkeling here, another first and a highlight of our trip.

But I'm not going to complain, not when I can see this out my front door.

Joining Rose Chintz Cottage for tea.

Getting out of my comfort zone

Friday, October 23, 2015

I have a fear of heights. I cannot stand near the edge of a balcony even three stories high and lean against the railing. In glass elevators, I stand way back, close to the door and close my eyes. One time, I got stuck at the top of a Ferris wheel, and thought I was going to have a full-blown panic attack.

So why, oh why, did I sign us up for a 7-line treetop zipline adventure on our recent trip to Hawaii? 

As in, ascending to a platform five stories high, stepping off the edge of it, and careening over a canyon at least 10 stories deep? And doing that six more times?

Was I crazy?

And, of course, before we left I started researching zipline safety on the web. Just to reassure myself. Right. That story of the woman who fell 150 feet to her death. Of course, she wasn't wearing a harness, and we would be. But still.

I had trouble getting to sleep a couple nights, let me tell you.

Oh, and then, the morning before our adventure, there was an article in the Maui News, delivered to our doorstep, on zipline safety. Was it a sign?

After we got our helmets and harnesses on, and took a couple pictures, I told my husband we could leave. Just show the pics to everyone; no one would be the wiser. You see, I had made such a big deal about our ziplining plans to everyone, I guess trying to seem daring and adventurous, that I knew I would be embarrassed to say I'd chickened out.

But, with fear and trembling, I geared myself up. We headed with the rest of our group over to the ramp and staircase, up to the first platform, high in a giant eucalyptus tree.

As I waited my turn, I tried to ignore the two adolescent boys, pushing and shoving each other, pretending to "fall" off the platform. (The fact that they were securely harnessed made no difference. I still pictured them plunging to their deaths, and somehow taking me with them!)  

So my turn came. With shaky legs, I stood at the edge, at the edge of The Abyss. 

That first step off was the worst.

But then . . . it was okay.

I hurtled through the air and somehow landed on the ramp to the second platform. Still shaky, my heart racing, but I had done it!  I noticed, though, that I was grasping both safety lines with both hands as I awaited my next run, while the others stood casually around, hands free.**

The next run was a little easier.

 By the seventh run, I was hands free, twirling around, and thoroughly enjoying myself!

Lesson learned? Face your fears. You just might be surprised.

I think I can handle a stalled Ferris wheel after this.

** Except one poor girl, on her honeymoon, and not very happy. She was very nervous, and clearly not enjoying herself. I heard her say to her new husband, without a touch of humor, "You owe me a present after this." 


Sunday, October 18, 2015

I'm home from a wonderful two-week vacation in Hawaii with my husband. We had such a great time, and did so many fun things, including snorkeling and zip lining, both firsts for us.

We got up at 2:30 one morning to see the sun rise over Haleakala volcano in Maui and we went to Pearl Harbor. We took a sunset dinner cruise, and a tour through secluded rain forests and steep valleys where Avatar and Pirates of the Caribbean were filmed. We played in the waves and rested on the beach. We went to an old pineapple plantation and a black sand beach.

It was a restful and rejuvenating time. I'll share a few pictures later when I get them sorted.

Our first stop was in Honolulu where my brother lives. I'm sharing a picture of a tea set he won at a charity auction. It's not Hawaiian, but the colorful flowers on it remind me of the beautiful flowers we saw everywhere, both on Oahu and on Maui.

Yellow hibiscus, Hawaii's state flower

Spider lily; also known as Queen Emma's lily

Pink ginger
White ginger
The flowers were gorgeous, as were the plumeria trees with their white blossoms, which were everywhere, and smell simply wonderful.

I'm getting ready to welcome home both sons and three of their friends for a few days before they head over to their alma mater, Hillsdale College, for homecoming weekend. Will be busy cooking up some favorite foods. Already have the lasagne ready!

Hope to catch up with you all soon.

Joining Rose Chintz Cottage for tea.

Teacup exchange reveal

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Today's the day to reveal the gifts we all received as part of Stephanie's teacup exchange. I believe there were 150 participants from all over the world who participated in this most recent exchange. What a lot of hard work for Stephanie to coordinate all this -- thank you so much Stephanie for all you did to help us enjoy yet another fun exchange. 

This was the second teacup exchange I've participated in, and it was great fun, not only to select special goodies for the package I sent to a new blogger friend in London, but to receive a package, too. I can't help it. I just love to receive surprise packages in the mail.

My package came from Judith at Lavender Cottage. Judith was one of the very first bloggers to welcome me to blogland almost two years ago. As well as blogging about gardening, she hosts a popular blog party each week, Mosaic Monday. She also blogs about tea, and it was through the weekly blog tea parties that I first met her. She became a loyal commenter on my blog, and I'll always be grateful for that warm welcome.

She sent me an amazing package. Really. Over the top. Just look at these goodies.

Of course, Judith is not from Lavender Cottage for nothing. She addressed my package in lavender ink, and wrapped everything in lavender tissue paper. Even the pretty handmade card was made in her signature color.

very pretty embossing

This lovely teacup comes from Judith's own collection. I feel very honored. Isn't it gorgeous?

Isn't this a darling tea towel?

I used to love to do embroidery. And I love a project that won't take me months to finish. So, after a little investigation, I discovered I could order similar embroidery patterns and towels from Colonial Patterns, Inc. I am looking forward to making some of these myself.

Judith lives in Canada. Love the French on these packages of tea and cookies. Makes them seem so much more chic, nest pas?

Sweet little bird ornament . . . 

And here's a picture of the goodies I picked out for Zivile of My Dream Cottage who lives in London. I've just met Zivile, and adore her vintage and cottage style.

Since I've been blogging, I've received or sent packages to Ecuador, New Zealand, Vancouver, Alberta, Texas, Australia . . . and more. Wonderful how blogging can bring us into this kind of community.

Thank you again, Judith and Stephanie. I will treasure my gifts.

Linking with The Enchanting Rose.


Saturday, October 10, 2015

It has always seemed to me, ever since early childhood, amid all the commonplaces of life, I was very near to a kingdom of ideal beauty. Between it and me hung only a thin veil. I could never draw it quite aside, but sometimes a wind fluttered it and I caught a glimpse of the enchanting realms beyond -- only a glimpse -- but those glimpses have always made life worthwhile.

L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

Tea with Miss Read

Sunday, October 4, 2015

In far too many places in England today, the agreeable habit of taking afternoon tea has vanished.

'Such a shocking waste of time,' says one.

'Much too fattening a meal with all that dreadful starch,' says another.

'Quite unnecessary, if one has had lunch or proposes to eat in the evening,' says a third.

. . . All very true, no doubt, but what a lot of innocent pleasure these strong-minded people are missing! The very ritual of tea-making, warming the pot, making sure that the water is just boiling, inhaling the fragrant steam, arranging the tea-cosy to fit snugly around the precious container, all the preliminaries lead up to the exquisite pleasure of sipping the brew from thin porcelain, and helping oneself to hot buttered scones and strawberry jam, a slice of feather-light sponge cake or home-made shortbread.

                                                                 -- from Gossip from Thrush Green by Miss Read

Love this new (to me) teacup. I bought it as a gift for a friend, but will have to find her something else. Don't want to part with it!

If you've never read any of Miss Read's books, you don't know what you're missing. I've read the first four of her Fairacre series, and the first five of the Thrush Green series. The one I've quoted from here is next on my list. If you like charming and simple stories of village life in mid-20th century England,  peopled with lovable and sometimes eccentric characters, you're in for a treat.

Linking with Sandi's tea party.

Perfume bottle bud vase

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Here's a quick and easy DIY project for when you run out of your favorite perfume. And quick and easy is all I usually attempt.

I used a wrench to get the spritzer thing-y off the top. It was on very tight. So I ended up breaking the glass a little around the top. (Even quick and easy can be a challenge for me.) I took a heavy-duty emery board and filed it nice and smooth. Et voila!

Coco Mademoiselle by Chanel

One of my favorite perfumes, Angel, is actually refillable. So I'll take that back to the store for a refill when I've used it up. But for my other favorites --  a collection of empty perfume bottles used as bud vases would make a pretty vignette in the boudoir, n'est pas?
Made With Love By The Dutch Lady Designs