Tea Swap Party

I was looking for photos for another post when I stumbled across these and realized I hadn't done a post on them yet! 

It all started about six weeks ago when I was running out of my favorite tea and asked for suggestions on Facebook. Some one suggested doing a "tea swap" with other ladies. Two of my friends jumped on board and together we put on a really fun event! 

Between the three of us we provided the food, decorations, and setting.  We held the event in one of the other lady's living room. She set up two card tables and has a gorgeous collection of Depression glass and linens we used to decorate. Three of us brought a few treats. The "tea" was at 3:00 pm so we kept the food light and didn't attempt to provide a whole meal (thought we basically did any ways). 

We asked each of the ladies attending to bring a box of their favorite tea and a mug/tea cup for a mug swap. For the swap we did a "dirty Santa" or "Yankee swap". We had such a fun collection of mugs from tea cups to travel mugs to great big mugs perfect for an early morning cup of tea. For the tea swap we each got one tea bag from every one else so we all came in with one kind of tea and left with seven new teas to try.

Over all it was such a fun way to spend an afternoon. The biggest burden was definitely on the lady hosting at her house as she did all the cleaning and decorating, but we pretty much threw it together in a week. We are already talking about our next one and this time I am thinking of some fun party favors for each the ladies to make it extra special.



Laying the Gound Work

I sat in the kitchen exhausted. The over head light broke weeks ago so I perched on a step stool in the semi darkness my head resting on my knees, my shoulder holding the phone to my ear.

 It had been a long day, a long month, a long year. With all the snow we had my kids hadn't (and still haven't) had a full school week since before Christmas. Josh was home and holding the baby, but still, there was only one person I really wanted to talk to. Mom.

 I can't really remember what we talked about. We caught up on the week I'm sure. I most likely shared stories about the girls. She filled me in on the goings on at my dads church.

I had spent all day working so hard to be loving at attentive to my children only to have it all go side ways at bed time and end with every one in tears. I am 29 years old and when that happens all I want is my mom.

I hung up the phone and started the dishes. Mulling over the peace that often comes from hearing my mother's voice. And it hit me. THAT is why I do everything I do. That's why I say yes to painting even when I know it will make a mess. That is why I bundle the kids up to play in the snow, knowing that they will be back in side in five minutes crying that it's cold (Go figure! Snow is COLD?!) That is why I answer the same question for the fifth time in a row and try to listen patiently to a 10 minute long story told by my four year old).

Because it's not just about now. It's about them at 16, and 18, and 29, and who they will turn to when they just need some one to listen. When they  need to know what to do next. When they need to hear that they are enough, that they are doing a great job, that it will get easier.

What I am doing now plays such a huge part in who they become, who I become, and who we are together in the future. It's hard... but it's worth it...

Happy Birthday... to the woman who taught me how to love...


A Glimps at the Good Stuff

I have been living in a state of exhaustion for such a long time it is starting to feel normal. The house is pretty much perpetual chaos, things are slipping through the cracks at an alarming rate, and I have pretty much stopped pretending that this is a temporary thing and pretty much come to accept that, for now, this is our new "normal".

One of the many things slipping through the crack is writing. I miss this place so much. But, Miss Tacy has hit the baby octopus stage and grabs at any and everything in her reach so using the lap top is a luxury. The past few times I have sat down to write my brain is in such a fog that I cannot think of half the words I want to use and sit there staring at the blinking cursor till I doze off.

But tonight I am powering through. Granted I'm running on the fumes of this afternoon's coffee and the sugar rush from this evening milk shake... but I think it's enough to get out what rolling around in my head. I would just wait... but I don't want to miss this... I don't want to forget....

Because tonight, for a few moments, the curtain of time pulled back and I got to catch a glimpse of the life we are building for our girls.

Saturdays shopping with the grandparents and playing out side in Grandpa's yard till fingernails are black and little girls are so tired they fall asleep on the way home.

Spring and summer evenings playing out side yelling across the street with the neighbor girl until she finally gets permission and skips across the road to jump in leaves and ride scooters up and down the drive way.

Aunt Emily coming from down stairs to bounce babies while dinner cooks.

Calling every one into dinner and sitting down at the table and not even thinking twice about the friend sitting at the table till dinner is almost done and you realize that no one thought to ASK if she could stay for dinner because it just feels so natural to have her.

Driving around with milk shakes on a Saturday night, listening to country music, reviewing the week we had and planning the week to come.

The littlest one pulling up on the bathtub and making faces while the biggest one is taking  a bath. The two of them laughing and babbling to each other while I scrub dirt off of bruised knees.

Washing the middle one's hair and both of us giggling uncontrollably at the funny hair sculptures we pile on her head.

Listening to Daddy read bed time stories on the living room floor.

"How do we do it?" I had asked him at dinner. "How do we make sure, when we look back on our lives, that we don't have a bunch of regrets?"

"Daddy, mommy was washing my hair and she started laughing, and then I started laughing, and we couldn't stop."


Things to Explore (Three Thing Thursday)

One of my sisters writes over at her beautiful blog Lists and Letters. I adore her writing style and she has recently started a weekly writing prompt. You can read about how the "three things" came to be over here. So with out further ado... my three things...

1. Books: Old favorites and new classics. Re-reading a favorite and the discovery of the yet to be read. Worlds real and imagined. Things past and things speculated to come. Fiction, fantasy, food. On the beach, head throbbing from the glare. In the car, feet stretched out on the dashboard. On the front porch, with a glass of cold lemonade. On the sofa, curled up with a favorite quilt and a pen and paper to take notes so I can find my way back to the same place. 

2. Down Town: The farmers market, the antique stores, the hodgepodge. Finding new foods to try. Discovering the perfect piece of some one's past to fit into my present. Learning, learning new things about our town and our family and who we all are and how it all fits together.

3. Fabric Stores: Wandering the aisle. Running fingers over everything from satin to burlap. Seeing not only the patterns and the textures but what they can become. Getting lost in my own imagination and listening to my own voice and heart.  


On Cinnamon Toast and Parables.

I made cinnamon toast for breakfast this morning. Every time I make cinnamon toast I think of my dad and my grandpa. Growing up my grandpa would make cinnamon toast for my dad and his siblings. There were eight kids, but for whatever reason, my grandpa would always make ten pieces of toast. This presented a dilemma. Did you savor your piece of toast, or did you rush through it in hopes of getting one of the two extra pieces. We all know this story by heart because every time my mom made toast my dad would tell this story. And now, whenever one of us makes cinnamon toast we tell the story as well.

As I made toast this morning I thought back to our small group a few weeks ago. We are going through the book of Mark and as a group we were discussing the fact that Jesus taught in parables. We talked about the fact that he used every day items, things that his listeners would no doubt be familiar with, to get his point across. Farming, fishing, sheep, slaves, vineyards were all things that would have been part of the day to day life of his audience.

I am sure He did this for a number of reasons. If you are trying to teach knew knowledge it only makes sense to build on previous knowledge. I do not claim to be a Bible scholar and I hesitate to presume anything. But, as I look at the cinnamon toast on my plate and think back on the familiar family story, I can't help but wonder if that was part of the point. I think about the farmers that may have heard the parable of the sewer and wonder if any of them were ever able to plant their crops again with out thinking about that sermon.

Maybe I am off base, maybe not. But Jesus changed how people saw a lot of things... so why not change how they saw a seed?


Each Season Has It's Joys

My sister-in-law have a phrase that we so very often repeat to each other, "Not every season is joyful but every season has joyful moments." or, "Not every season is easy, but there are still good moments in those seasons."

If I were to be honest, this week has been one of the less joyful seasons. In fact, depending on when you asked me, I might even classify it as down right hard. Tacy has been sick and from there we have fallen one by one.

Josh and I were hit earlier in the week and by last night we were all down for the count. I spent the night last night sleeping on the sofa waking up every 45 minutes to tend to my 6 year old or 6 month old and then was woken for the day around 6:30 by my 4 year old.

Today has been a muddle of sick kiddos, pizza for lunch, crazy amounts of NetFlix, canceling weekend plans, and unsuccessfully getting my kids to nap.

But, in the midst of this hard week there have been glimpses of joy. Sweet reminders of love and light. My brother and his family living with us is so often a fresh breeze on these hard days. Someone else close by who understands the exhaustion that comes with those early years of parenting. Someone to swap kids with because, for whatever reason, another person's  kids can be cute even when yours are on your last nerve. A third opinion on fevers and flues. A bottle of of Motrin when you are out. A hug when the kids haven't napped, and you haven't showered, and the husband won't be home for hours. Even better, some one to watch the kids so you can get that shower!

I know that the season of being a multi-family home is coming to a close soon. I know the time is coming for us to all have our own spaces back. When the times comes it will be a happy positive day full of God's provision. I know this can't last forever and, while I will be thrilled for them when God gives them their own home, I will miss the sweet, daily reminders that each season has it's joys.


When What We Ask For Is Harder Than We Expected.

We are getting ready to leave a friend’s house. She begs for a drinking. She is “sooooooo thirsty” she says. “PLEASE?!” she begs. Just one drink. She is given a bottle of juice. She climbs into the car and promptly drops the lid. For the next 15 minutes I listen to her complain….
She has to cover the top with her hand so it won’t spill and her hand hurts.
Her hands are cold.
She is tired.
She doesn’t want to hold it any more.
Please can’t I hold it for her?
And I shake my hand and stifle a sigh of exhaustion before it hits me that she and I are the same.
How often does it happen? I fixate on something. “Please, dear God,” I pray, “Please! This, THIS would make me happy.” Convinced I know what’s best I badger and beg till it is given to me…. Only to be surprised that there is no magic cure. That the gift I so desperately begged for is not an easy answer, but something that takes work.
Dream Jobs
Dream homes
All come with strings attached. All come with work and sacrifice and commitment.
How surprised we are to realize that happiness takes effort.
How reluctant we often are to do the hard things.
How many times have I been a four year old little girl, crying over the juice I begged for.
May I be willing
To do the work.
To get my hands dirty. 
To make the sacrifices.
Happiness takes effort and big dreams don't come easily.
May I be willing to accept that.