Monday, March 31, 2014


It is hard to put in words how I felt when I stepped on Althorp property.  For literally years, I dreamt of being here.   I fell in love with all things royal the day Diana met her prince.  Millions watched as she rode in the centuries old carriage,  smiling and waving to the crowds cheering and waving back at her as she passed by.  A Royal Wedding.  I was in junior high back then.  Couldn't wait to watch the wedding.  I believe that is when the dream began.  Someday I would travel to this enchanting land across the pond.  England.  It took awhile for the dream to come true, but it did.  I was here.  We know the fairytale didn't last, but mine was about to begin.     
This is my first glimpse.  There in between the trees.  It reminds me of when we took our children to see Mt. Rushmore in South Dakota.  "Oh, I think I saw one of its heads.  Gasp.  There it is again..."  The excitement was palpable.  And so it was for me.  I was about to step in to a legacy.  A more than 500 year old home. 
This is the front gate.  Pretty sure the security system was not there 500 years ago.  I realized immediately that I could live here!  Quaint, quiet, curtains on the windows, green grass perfectly manicured.  Yep.  I want to stay. 
I came upon this tree lined area on the grounds and pondered how many hours were spent running and playing.  Little legs weaving in and out of the trunks of these trees.   Did they fall down, dizzy?  Did they race each other up and down the middle?   I pictured  leaves rustling and crinkling in the soft breeze, happy to be a part of children's frolic.   
      Which brings me to this picture.  Walking hand in hand.    John and Yvonne.  I love these people and I love their company.   They got me here!  Drove on the wrong side of the road.  I think they saved our marriage!  (kidding of course) But I can just picture what it would have been like if my husband were driving...I never would!  Gasps that about give him a heart attack, "Look out.  Do you see that car?" "Do you know where you are going?"  Trying to get in the right lane in a roundabout, going round and round in circles.  Watching mini coopers zoom past us, laughing as they notice our angst making it very obvious that we are tourists.  My husband, in the nicest way possible, begging me to "do him a favor and try to be quiet."   As I turn on the radio and he looks at me with this "are you kidding me" look to which I think "maybe not!"  Quiet.  Yep.  It needs to be quiet. 

 I think I will park here for some weeks to come and relive Althorp.  Life is about making memories and some really great ones were made here. 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Personal Character

It doesn't look like it outside, but I see growth. 
Spring is taking its own sweet time to appear. 
As I sip my English breakfast tea, I am meditating on some powerful words this morning. 

Oswald Chambers is the author.  My Utmost for His Highest:  the name of the devotional. 
I first picked up the book simply due to the name.  Oswald was the first name of my paternal grandfather.   
Oswald Chambers, like CS Lewis, grew in influence most certainly after his death.  Oswald died very young.  43.  From a ruptured appendix. 
He leaves a legacy of truth in his writings. 

"An elevated mood can only come out of an elevated habit of personal character...."

"The golden rule in temptation is--go higher.  When you get higher up, you face other temptations and characteristics."

"Compare this week in your spiritual history with the same week last year and see how God has called you up higher."

"Growth in grace is measured not by the fact that you have not gone back, but that you have an insight into where you are spiritually; you have heard God say "Come up higher," not to you personally, but to the insight of your character."

Sometimes I have to just quote authors.  I can't write it better.
I want to see growth in my life.  I want to look back from yesterday and see that I have sprouted.  Even if it is just a millimeter. 
As I look back on my journal, I indeed, am seeing growth.  Millimeters--yes.  But I am moving forward. 
Character.  You can't buy it.  It is who you are.  You are the only one who can work on it. 
At the end of my life I want to be in full bloom and hear Him say, "Well done."


Monday, March 24, 2014

My pen

Can I borrow your pen?

I carry this pen with me always.  It is my favorite.  Thank goodness it is  refillable.  I have filled it again and again.
  It is silver and covered with baby blue dots.  The wording is a bit worn, but I know what it says.

ALTHORP.  Celebrating 500 years. 

Journal entries, handwritten letters, signing checks, underlining in books, a quick note so I won't forget a thought....all have been inked with this pen. 
It was given to me by someone very dear to me. 
I remember exactly when I was gifted it.   
You can't see it in this picture but it is in that little bag.  My pen. 
I was enjoying some time by myself in this enchanting place.  Princess Diana's ancestral home...ALTHORP. 
I was reading everything there for me to discover in the museum area. 
This place  was on my "must do" list.  Those with me came along for the ride!  They have told me that it was more than they expected.  They would go again.  No question that I would too! 
As I was reading, along came my friend.  Bearing a gift.  For me.  My pen.  It is priceless to me. 

In answer to the question...Can I borrow your pen?  NO!  You know what happens when someone borrows your pen?  It gets legs and walks away.  I won't ever take that chance with this pen.  I keep another pen for those times! 

Do you have something that someone has given to you that is priceless? 


Thursday, March 20, 2014


With snow piled high at the end of my driveway and at every street corner, it is hard to believe that today is the first day of spring.  Daffodils are still asleep, insulated under layers of snow. 
It has been quite a winter.  Many are tired of dragging out their shovels and snow blowers to remove yet another 3-5 inches of snow.   Every evening we listen to the forecast making sure we  leave enough time in morning routines to get to work on time.  Black ice, spin outs, accidents, and "leave enough space for the car in front of you," will soon be faded memories of a very long winter.  It is time to wake from our long winters nap. 

I will miss the mornings when Jack Frost painted a winter wonderland while we were sleeping.  We woke to Narnia many mornings. 
Hats, boots, and  mittens will soon be shoved in the corners of our closets, replaced by flip flops, raincoats and umbrellas.
I wondered if I really needed an umbrella on a recent day trip we took to the ruins while in Mexico.  There were clouds in the sky and a nice breeze.  I certainly did not want to have to carry one all day.  While exiting the bus, our guide looked at me and said, "you should take this. your skin will burn."  I begrudgingly grabbed it to make the guide feel better!    At first, it felt like a weight lugging that thing around.  I didn't want to open it for fear I would take someone's eye out.  When there was enough space around me to actually open the umbrella,  it pinched my finger!  No blood thank goodness!  I noticed my hand was dirty from residue around the handle.  Rust.  This shield was old!  I was ready to ditch this so called protective covering quick.  Not many others had one.  I was just about ready to stash it somewhere...anywhere...behind the pyramid maybe...when our guide asked me if he could borrow it for a moment.  Gladly,  I gave it to him.  He used it to draw in the ground, helping us to imagine this incredible time in history when the Mayans lived right on these lands.   He then gave it back to me, telling me that I was the smart one who took one of these as the sun started beating down on all of us.  It was getting warm.  No cloud cover.  "It is hot" was heard throughout the crowd.  I was starting to sweat myself as I pulled open the umbrella and let it protect me from the sun's rays.   By mid day, we were cookin!  I was grateful for this umbrella now.       
    On rainy days and sunny days, that umbrella comes in handy.  I need and long for the protection of an umbrella.  I want to hide under it.  The umbrella shields me.  More importantly, Jesus is my umbrella.  It is He who protects me and covers me.  I don't have to be afraid of getting wet or getting sunburned, because He will be there, my umbrella, giving me shelter.  Guarding me in all my ways. 
 Happy spring.   

Monday, March 17, 2014

Worth repeating

Back in August 2013, I blogged about Susan Branch. 
She went on  a little trip across the pond to lovely England not long ago. 
Went on the Queen Mary 2 and kept a diary of all that she did. 
She draws and writes and creates the most incredible illustrations. 
Her penmanship is an art in itself. 
This is her book:  A Fine Romance.  Falling in love with the English Countryside. 
It puts me in my happy place every time I pick it up. 
Tea cups, recipes, advice.  There is even a page on "What to ask for on your birthday."
I won't give her list away.  You must get the book! 
Here is a sample page:
Today I spent some time on her web page.
I was perusing her past blog entries. 
June 27, 2011 appealed to me.  It was about How to make a Peggy Pie.  Susan went into great detail about how this woman brought her a pie and how that affected her.  Right down to the towel it was wrapped in.  You must go and read it. 
Everything about this website is simply marvelous. 
Take just a few minutes and go have a look. 
It will put a smile on your face.  Guaranteed. 
Oh...Go get the book too. 
On one of her blogs, she tells what kind of camera she has.  On my list to get a new camera, so I am taking her advice. 

Thursday, March 13, 2014


They were all  between the ages of 18 and 21
Two separate accidents this past week
Icy roads
3 in one car
4 in the other
7 lives lost

Hard to turn off the thoughts in my head repeating the question, "What if...."

I have a boy
Just turned 21
Travels in a car at times
Icy roads everywhere where he is in college
In fact, snowed AGAIN

One of the parents was quoted, "we had 21 great years with him.  for that we are grateful."

I did not know any of these families.  I still grieve for their unimaginable losses. 
As I sit here, I am quite sure I would not be brave.

I am learning to TRUST in this new year.

Quoting CS Lewis..."If and when a horror turns up, you will then be given grace to help you.  I don't think one is usually given it in advance...."

Life is day by day.  Hour by hour. 
I am thankful each day that God grants me life to be with my family. 
I love to hear my children's voices and wake next to my husband. 
May I never ever take for granted that gift. 

May God wrap his loving arms around these families and give them peace. 



Monday, March 10, 2014

Laura Childs

Tea cup mysteries.  That is what she writes. 

Reading the paper, the article grabbed my attention.  In the LIFE section, there was a picture of an author with a pile of books and she was shown drinking a cup of tea. 
I was hooked. 
As I read, I realized this author's works are advertised in Tea Time magazine.  Each time I receive this magazine in the mail, I drop everything and start paging through it.  Photos of delicate tea cups and afternoon tea recipes puts me in my happy place.  Thoughts of England! 

The article was well written with pictures of her and her husband.  I learned her real name is Gerry Schmitt.  She writes as Laura Childs. 
The mysteries take place in Charleston, South Carolina in a place called Indigo Tea Shop. 
She has written many books with titles as clever as:  Oolong Dead, Agony of the Leaves, Sweet Tea Revenge to name a few. 
I had to meet her.  I put the date on my calendar, and Saturday we were off. 
What a delightful lady.  We had a wonderful conversation about writing.  She gave me great advice.  "It takes great discipline to sit in the chair and write."  Yep.  It sure does. 
I bought her latest book, Steeped In Evil, and she signed it for me.  We talked about tea and I told her how much I love to drink it!  How appropriate for her to sign my book the way she did! 
An added bonus...there are recipes in the books she writes.  Recipes for scones, tea sandwiches, tea.  Also, ideas for tea parties. 
I am looking forward to reading her works. 
To learn more about this author, go to
Once there, click on tea resources. 
There is so much information about tea on that page.  You will get lost for hours. 
Happy tea drinking. 


Thursday, March 6, 2014


Time to break out the wellies and start playing in the puddles.  25 degrees yesterday......above zero I might add!   Today the weatherman states 35.  Yippee!  The dripping has commenced.  My drive in to work has improved greatly  as the washboard effect has dissipated.  I do believe I am actually driving on nothing but pavement.  No ice to make my way slippery.   
Next up...POTHOLES!  One bad move and your tire will connect with the hole!  I have a feeling it could be interesting as the frost comes out of the ground.  Already figuring out what lanes not to be in.  Let the dodging begin! 

Do you have a favorite pair of rain boots?  What color are yours? 

Monday, March 3, 2014

Blue bird tea paperie

Handwritten letters are my favorite way to communicate. 
Whenever I receive one, I make a cup of tea, sit in my favorite chair,  and relish the time spent reading the cherished piece of mail. 

A letter feels personal.  Intimate.  Someone took the time to pen their thoughts to me.  I love that. 

I write to my kids a lot.  One day while face to face  I asked my son, "do you even read my letters or do you just take the cash and run?!"    He looked at me with the most insulted look!  "of course I read your letters.  They help me get through my week." 

On Mother's Day last year, both of my kids were telling me that they "did good this year."  I looked at them,  puzzled.  "You'll see" was their reply. 
Together they made me a collage. 
Pictures of us scattered throughout of days gone by.  What I really loved were the notes.  Notes that I had wrote to them and they saved them and put some on the collage.  "The comforter" "I adore you" to name a few.  I keep it hung close to my desk in my den.  Notes mean a lot. 
I found the perfect notecards.  Teacups blended throughout the cards.  Stacked cups, dozens displayed in rows, these cards are so English.  I love them.  So fun to write on. 
Take a look for yourself. 
How about you still write handwritten notes?