Tuesday, August 31, 2010

tea time

I forget how lovely it is to sit a spell and have some tea. Real tea, not iced tea you drink from a cup with a straw. ;-)

My middles also love to enjoy a cup of warm tea. My teenager has now jumped on the bandwagon too.  I am going to start 'tea time' up regularly again with my middles, especially.  We use real tea cups, maybe pull out a few finger snacks or sliced fruit, cheese and crackers, whatever is on hand.

It doesn't really matter.  The real treasure is the time.  Taking time to sit together and enjoy each other while just being.  You don't rush.  I like to think that is why the tea is hot, you can't rush to drink a hot cup of tea, right? Conversation can flow freely or it can be a quiet time of listening to some poetry being read.  I like to put on classical music.  Anything that can set the time apart from the ordinary. If I am really on top of things, I will arrange the little snacks on a tiered rack. 

These little touches are sweet and make the moments feel extra special.  I also like to enjoy a spot of tea at the end of the day. It's nice to sit and enjoy a movie with my husband, cozy on the couch with a warm mug of tea in my hand. Or have a cup of tea keep me company while I sit at the dining table and do some writing.

It reminds me to slow down, take my time, relax and just be. Just be...present.  Just...be lovely.

A lovely cup of tea can warm even the hardest of hearts.

Monday, August 30, 2010


are one of loveliest days of my week.  I know most people dread Mondays, usually because it's back to work or school.  I love it for that.

For me, it represents a return to order and routine, even though I'm not very big on either.  Now it has become my most favorite day of the week because a friend and I have been meeting for months, every Monday morning, to pray.  Isn't that lovely?  It creates such a focused start to the week.  We began with a specific request in mind but since then, our prayer time has grown to include various requests of others as well as prayers for our children, husbands and families. 

It has been exciting to look back and see how God has answered our prayers, blessed us with wisdom and insight, and honored our faithfulness. Today was no different. I was able to look back on my week and report victory over our first week of school.  It has been so pleasant.

I usually ride my bike to her house, which is always lovely, in and of itself.  My bike has a basket, you know. ;-)  I do pray regularly on my own but there is something extra lovely to join with a friend, over a warm and lovely cup of tea and share our heart, together, with God. Our two some has grown as another friend has begun to join us as well.

Beginning a day and even more so a week, with intentional, focused prayer, I think, is the most loveliest way to begin it.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

a little brush, a little ribbon...

makes a lot of lovely.

That was what I said to my daughter this morning.  We had a little bit of school work left to finish off our week. We were about to begin with our before-we-start-school-ritual when I noticed she still had not brushed her hair...or her teeth OR even changed out of her pajama pants.  Normally Previously, I would be completely exasperated over this and with her. Instead I stopped, took a deep breathe and spoke calmly and intentionally.  We had already lit our candle.  I gently reminded her of what I had told her to do but now I added that her disobedience was interrupting our before-school routine and we were going to have to wait for her.

How simple. No yelling.  No excessive frustration. She came to the table but she had forgotten to put a ribbon in her hair. It is a new thing I am starting with her. Finally she did and I helped her put it in.  Such a simple thing. It does complete a look of loveliness. 

I took my time with her. What is the rush anyway?  No more scraggly hair in her face, no more rag-a-muffin look.  She was suddenly 'put together' and her entire demeanor changed. She was ready to work! Ready to pay attention.

I decided to start the ribbon with her after I had worn one the other day.  It's not a new concept. I have tons of ribbons. The difference is, now I am intentional about it.  I was on my way out the door and was pulling my hair up in the standard 'mommy on the go' half pony tail. ugh. No time for make-up, it was just a quick errand. However, I did not like what I saw. I decided then and there to slow down. I went back and pulled my hair all the way through into a complete pony tail. I even used a brush! I tied a coordinating ribbon around it.  One is never too old for a ribbon in their hair.  Suddenly, I was standing taller, taking notice of my posture and I felt presentable, even with out the make up.

That's when I realized, a little brush and a little ribbon, makes a whole lot of lovely.

Friday, August 27, 2010

a most Lovely gift

Isn't the most! to say the least? Seriously, isn't it so sweet? I bought that specific one for my Sister in Love. It's small and dainty and adorable.  It will be my third from that seller.  Her work is absolutely lovely.  It's my new favorite gift to give for any occasion, she does custom orders.

Do you want to know something even neater? I was able to purchase this gift with out having to use any of my 'own' money.  It sounds corny but I do these paid surveys online and the company will deposit the payment straight into your paypal account.  I also use swagbucks to earn gift cards. I earned enough to get paypal 'money' deposited into my account. I had more than enough to purchase this lovely little gift.

I am hoping, at some point, I can splurge and get one for myself...just because...just because it's lovely.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Lovely way to begin 'school'

I am so pleased with the new curriculum* I have chosen for my middles, this year. My favorite part is the way it encourages, what it calls 'Circle Time'. It sounds like something meant for preschool, doesn't it? It is part of the younger's syllabus but I do it with both middles and the older is welcome to join us.

We begin with the lighting of a candle.  We then recite a poem. I then have us look at the Bible verse of the day on the calender**. We repeat that a few times. If one of the verses for that week is particularly relevant, then I have us focus on that one in addition to the new one each day. Then there is a closing poetic verse, which I have incorporated as a daily prayer. It is just too sweet not to!

Here it is:

May my hands work with care
My heart work with love
And my mind work with attention

We stand in a circle and hold hands during our prayer.
 Then we blow out the candle and begin lessons.
Isn't that the most lovely way to begin that you've ever heard of?

It really brings us together. A ritual that signifies we are going to focus on our academics. It's clear, it's calm and it's absolutely pleasant.

**I got it free from backtothebible.org and it is absolutely fabulous!

Friday, August 20, 2010

a Lovely theme

Let my teaching drop as the rain, my speech distill as the dew, as raindrops on the tender herb, and as showers on the grass. Deut. 32:2

This is my theme verse for this school year. I have never had a theme verse before.  When I saw this, it spoke to my heart so deeply.  
I want to teach w/ joy. I want learning to happen in lovely ways, not forced with tension. I have ordered some curricula for this next year that I am very excited about using. I hope it allows us to get back to 'ourselves'. The way of learning we enjoy, being in nature, exploring, reading, living a life that promotes learning as a lifestyle.

I have also been applying this verse to my daily life. In speech and thought and action.  It comes to my mind and changes me from the inside out.  I don't want to teach, children or others, by force. I don't want to crush others under the weight of a *teaching*. I don't want my tone to offend.

May my speech uplift and encourage.  May my teaching refresh.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

bouquet of Loveliness

It was a gift giving occasion but my flowers were not in bloom yet...what to do? what to do?  I did have several small bushes of herbs growing.  I looked up their meaning and began to gather them together.  I incorporated their meaning into a written blessing on the back side of a homemade piece of paper.  I attached the small bouquet of the appropriate herbs across the front with ribbon.  It was unique, sincere and felt just right.
This is also another way to be frugal.  Many times, regular flowers may not yet be in bloom but herbs can be used with or with out their flowers. Herb fragrances can't be beat either plus the recipient can enjoy them longer if they use them when they cook.
Here is a list of herbs and their meanings to get you started.
  • Basil = Love
  • Bay = Fame
  • Chamomile = Wisdom
  • Chervil = Serenity
  • Chives = Usefulness
  • Dill = Good cheer, Survival
  • Fennel= Grief, Endurance
  • Lavender = Devotion
  • Marjoram = Joy
  • Mint= Refreshment
  • Parsley = Merriment
  • Rosemary = Remembrance
  • Sage = Wisdom
  • Santolina = Virtue
  • Savory = Interest
  • Scented Geranium = Happiness
  • Sweet Woodruff = Humility
  • Tansy = Hostility

  • Tarragon=Permanence

  • Thyme = Daring
~Gather your herbs cutting near the bottom of the bush.  Longer stems are best because you can always trim them to fit your bouquet later. 
~You can arrange them loosely and wild or more decoratively.  Think basic shapes like an upside down triangle, arranging the tallest ones in the center OR you can lay them flat and 'layer' them, with the tallest ones in the back layering shorter ones in front.  You could also simply bunch them together.
~Use a bit of string, wire or rubber band to hold the bunch together at the stems.
~For a decorative touch, wrap a piece of ribbon around the stems to cover the rubber band or wire.  You can use a few ribbons to add color or twine for a more natural look. You can also use butcher or parchment paper to wrap around like a traditional bouquet and wrap ribbon around the outside to hold it together.  You can attach the ribbon farther down the stems and present them upside down for a *hanging bouquet*, as well.
~Include a simple tag to the ribbon listing the meanings of the herbs used and a special blessing incorporating their meanings.