Friday, February 27, 2015

Beauty from a Different Perspective

 When I photographed this flower on the water I felt it just didn't work for me.
It seemed a bit flat and nondescript.
Though I could see the rocks more clearly the perspective just didn't do anything for me.
Moving I looked at the flower from a different perspective and snapped another photo.
The light on the water just sang to my heart.
Yes, this is what I wanted the ebb and flow of the water around the beauty of one pink flower.

This example reminded me that it is sometimes important to look at a situation, maybe a
problem, or just a decision to be made from different angles or perspectives.
In this different angle we see the beauty, see something differently, or see more clearly.

Happy weekend, dear friends!
Take time to look from a new perspective and angle.
Notice what you Notice.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Chinese New Year Tea Time

A tea pet in waiting, ready for tea.
Tea time celebration with friends is a beautiful thing.
There was food to celebrate Chinese New Year.
Shuiwen from Floating Leaves in Seattle
shares tea time with our Wuwo Tea Ceremony group.
She had 8 different new winter oolongs for us to taste.
That's a lot of tea I would say!
Each sniff and sip was better than the last one,
but in the end I brought home some of the first we tasted.
It was a lovely floral Baozhong Farmer's Choice from Taiwan.
You could say the tea was beautiful with each and every sip.

Do you find beauty around you?
Is it in the out of doors, in the cup, on your plate, in the smile of a child?

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Beauty Surrounds Us

As a young girl the outdoors pulled at my heart.
It said come play with me.
Breathe my essence.
Feel the wind in my hair.
Smell the scents surrounding me.
 I rarely was found indoors.
The love of the outdoors has remained in my heart.
I notice the beauty of nature wherever I go.
Even from my window my eyes wander outdoors.
In my hearts eye I see fairies dancing among the flowers.
I lay on the sponge of the moss staring up at the trees.
For my delight is on the small and large things in nature
and I reside there to fill my heart with the music of JOY.

Is your heart filled with JOY in the surrounding nature of your life?
Do you see the BEAUTY surrounding you there?
Notice what you notice.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Beauty of Tea Time

Often I notice the beauty of the tea leaf and the delights of the flavor of the tea.
There is so much more beauty that surrounds tea time.
There are the accoutrements of tea, serving sets, flowers on the table, 
or the starkness of just a simple cup.
As a girl on certain quiet occasions, my mother and I would share cups of tea.
It wasn't anything fancy, but just a sit at the kitchen table and a chat.
My mother passed away 11 years ago, but when I go to a special tea
I love wearing her pearls.
The pearls were a gift from me many years ago
and I just know she would have worn these pearls to tea time.
Wearing them now to tea time, beside being beautiful, 
just feels like she is still having tea with me.
Do you share tea times with someone special,
even if in memory?

For those teacups collectors, this cup only says 
"Bavarian China Germany".

Monday, February 23, 2015

Monday's Quotes

 Life is full of beauty.
Notice it.
Notice the bumble bee, the small child, and the smiling faces.
Smell the rain, and feel the wind.
Live your life to the fullest potential,
and fight for your dreams.
~Ashley Smith
And the winner of the pear candle is:
Nora of 

Friday, February 20, 2015

Happy Chinese New Year!

 Lan Su Chinese Garden celebration for Chinese New Year, year of the ram.
 I just love the winter blossoms.
Both above and below are plants that are so fragrant,
they just make me smile.
Above is in the daphne family.
Below is a fragrant tea flower.
I had never noticed the tea flower in the garden before.

 The teahouse in the garden.
 There he is, the lion dancing for us.
 The lion dance and the red lanterns made the celebration so special.

The red in this flower (I think Japanese quince) was so intense, it touched my heart.

Happy Chinese New Year!

Note:  Don't miss signing up for the give-away on my Wednesday post.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Kindness at the Coffee Shop

My "live-in gardener" and I often enjoy a Sunday morning chai latte
at a coffee shop nearby.  It is a special treat!
No this isn't an advertisement for Starbucks,
but we do like their Oprah chai latte's if they are hot.
Plus, it is one thing my "live-in gardener" can drink that was made with caffeine.
The caffeine, I believe, is cooked out of these ready-made chai mixes,
but they are still quite delicious.

Well Sunday was an extra special treat.
When we drove up to the window to pay
the guy at the window said, "the car in front of you paid for your chai".
There are still some kind souls out there in the universe.
What a touching note to end a week of kindness and start a new week.
It is a good reminder to pay it forward, which I intend to do.

Don't forget to sign up for the candle give-away posted yesterday.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Kindness in Candles

 My favorite gift shop in Portland has been The Arrangement on N.E. Fremont at 48th for many years;
so when they started a Facebook page I "liked".
About 2 weeks ago they posted a picture of beautiful candles
and I commented that they were "beautiful".
The company rep for the candle company saw my comment and offered to
send me a sample candle.  I was thrilled.
The package arrived at my door last Friday and I was stunned.
There were 6 gorgeous candles in the box.
Remember how I said just recently that I burn candles in winter
to have light through the darkness of the season?
Well I will be burning beautiful candles that speak of the coming of spring.
Aren't the colors lovely, they look like springtime and sorbet.
Yes, my theme this week is "kindness" and these candles sent
last week were full of "kindness". 
To pay it forward I will send one of the pear candles to one reader.
All you need to do is leave a comment on this post before next Monday.  
Sorry, but I won't be able to send this give-away internationally,
this one is for US residence only. 
Note:  If you are unable to leave a comment, but would like to be included 
in the drawing, email me at:  marilyn tea at gmail dot com
and I will add you.

The candle company is Vance Kitira International.
They are made in Thailand.
 They are 100% fully refined paraffin wax and water clear when poured. 
They are actually deemed food grade!
 Wicks are 100% cotton US made. 
 Their dyes come from Germany resulting in a beautiful candle with long burn times.  

If you follow the link on the website to the retail sight,
then find the store locator, you can find a store near you.
If in Portland, OR. you can definitely find them at The Arrangement.

Celebrate Life…
                       Light A Candle

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Kindness of a Friend

David's Tea in Canada makes wonderful, fragrant flavored teas.
Pink Flamingo, a fruit infusion, is caffeine free.
It is a blend of hibiscus, lemon grass, dried beetroot, apple,
carrot, blackberry leaves, eucalyptus, tangerine and orange slices.
The pink color is a delight to the eye.
Shared with my "live-in gardener" we tried to identify the flavors.
What we noticed was the hibiscus and the citrus flavor of lemon grass.
It was the perfect Valentine's celebration tea to sip for an afternoon break.
Thanks to the kindness of a friend who sent me the sample to enjoy.
We thoroughly enjoyed this tea in the afternoon.

PS David's Tea can be found online and there are a few shops
around the country, as I once came across one in San Francisco.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Monday's Quotes

Kindness in words creates confidence.
Kindness in thinking creates profoundness.
Kindness in giving creates love.
~Lao Tzu

Kindness the language which
the deaf can hear and
the blind can see.
~Mark Twain

Friday, February 13, 2015

Book Review

By the teahouse at the Japanese Gardens.
Photos were taken at the Japanese Gardens in Portland, Oregon

Shitamoe, he said, shoots under snow.  It was a nod to the hope of spring returning, to the ancestor Rikyu's simple tea, and to the new life, unbelievably, slumbering inside my older sister............The only sounds in the room were like breath: the soughing of the boiling water, the whisper of the tea whisk in the bowl.
"When he wrote to the Meiji court, he said the aim of tea was that people face one another as equals.  Just as you said, he wanted a way for merchant and samurai, commoner and artisan, Kyoto native and Satsuma man," she said, nodding here to Advisor Kato, "to set those differences aside and meet each other in the teahouse as equals, as fellow men"- inspired, she snatched at Kato's rhetoric - "under the Emperor, citizens of a new Japan."

The book, The Teahouse Fire" by Ellis Avery is full of tea and tea ceremony in a Japanese teahouse during the late 1800's.  It made me sad to see how women were treated during that time and how the Western world began changing things in the country.  I missed being enveloped by that world after finishing this book a few days ago.  Definitely worth reading.

Happy Friday, dear friends!
Happy Valentine's Day tomorrow!
In front of our house there is a heart of crocus each Valentine's.
Often children stop by to see it and it has even been photographed by
people walking by.  It is a little difficult to photograph, but hope you can tell.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Let It Go

The flowers are just because some days we just have
to pause and smell the flowers and be GRATEFUL.
They are shining in my garden right now.

Having worked for the company that has the slogan "Just Do It".   Plus always having dreams and working to achieve those dreams, my attitude was always one of "Just Do It".  Just make it happen for you know there are ways of getting it done.  So it was a bit of a surprise to myself when recently I had a dream that woke me during the night and left me with the message, "Let it Go".  Now this isn't an easy one to face, but I believe it came from having to do very little for 6 weeks while I recuperated from surgery.  I could see the dust bunnies floating on the floor and I knew so much wasn't getting done, especially to my standards.  I still have dreams and things I want to do; but that message kept coming, "Let it Go".   I don't like it, really I don't.  In all my years I haven't had to think in this direction.  I am struggling with it.  I know there are still dreams to come true and places to go; but I also know there are some things I need to let go.  So riding along with my word for this year of "Grateful" is coming "Let it Go".  Where this will take me, I am not sure; but I have some mighty lessons to learn this year, lessons I am not sure I want to learn.  A different direction I may be headed.  The journey will be full of surprises, delights, frustrations, and even anger.  Not something I usually mention here, but some days are just like this and we learn, we turn, and move forward into new avenues of life.   I need to open my heart to what is coming and just let other things go.  Round and round we go, where we end nobody knows.  Will there be surprises, will there be frustrations, heck yeh!  But now I will be watching and noticing, for life is a delightful journey and sometimes I have to learn to "let it go".

Do you find there are days where you just have to "let it go"?

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Pantry Tea Time

When visiting the Deepwood Estate in Salem, Oregon at the end of January
I was fascinated by the butler's pantry in the house.
After doing a little research I learned that during the Victorian era large homes
were built with a separate room between the kitchen and the dining room.
The room was often used as a staging area for serving meals and also
as a place to store china, candles, and linens.
Sometimes it was used for preparing sandwiches or had a small sink
for washing the silver and small plates.

When I have visited homes such as this one I had always wondered what
the pantry was used for, so it was fun to finally have a better idea now of the
special needs this little room provided.

Wouldn't you just love a room like this,
one that you can keep all the beautiful teapots, teacups, and linens
ready for an impromptu tea party?

Monday, February 9, 2015

Monday's Quote

The Sixth of January
  by David Budbill
as collected in Good Poems, ed by Garrison Keillor

The cat sits on the back of the sofa looking
out the window through the softly falling snow
at the last bit of gray light.

I can't say the sun is going down.
We haven't seen the sun for two months.
Who cares?

I am sitting in the blue chair listening to this stillness.
The only sound the occasional gurgle of tea
coming out of the pot and into the cup.

How can this be?
Such calm, such peace, such solitude

in this world of woe.

Friday, February 6, 2015

First of the Year?!

I must admit, I have been amiss!
In a normal first of the year I would have all my bookkeeping up to date
and all my papers ready for the accountant.
Since this hasn't been a normal first of the year
I am sipping my tea and noticing that I have been amiss.
Do you think anyone will notice if I am not ready by the
beginning of February?
It is not one of my favorite things to do.
There are still papers to gather and inventory to do.
Numbers to crunch and organization will come.
So if you don't hear from me for a day or maybe two,
I am about to come out of the hole I have been in.
After all March isn't here yet,
give this girl a break.
For I can still meet tax time
and another year will be faced.
Dreaming dreams for adventures
after tax time is done.

Yikes!  Do you just cringe when having to prepare for taxes?
Pull out the teapot and a pretty cup too.
It will soothe the edges and soon we can play.

Happy weekend, dear friends.

Photos from the Deepwood Estate, Salem, Oregon

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Nibble on Cookies

Recuperating from neck surgery since the end of December has given
me time to think and just be.
Normally this is not who I am.
I am fairly independent.
I haven't been given permission from the doctor to drive yet
and this is beginning to really bug me.
I don't like having to depend on others to drive me where I want to go
and then wait for their schedule to do so.
Soon, very soon I must regain my sanity and independence.
So in the meantime, I am sitting here sipping tea and nibbling on cookies.
Not having ventured out much I just am beginning to realize Valentines
is coming next week. And next week I will celebrate healing with a drive in my car.
Think I will go to the chocolate shop.
Care to join me?
Oh, but you would have to come here.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Joyful Floral PDX

When I stopped by the JoyfulFloral PDX it was closed,
but I was still struck by the happy, colorful feeling in this open air shop.
There were flowers waiting in anticipation, which would make any heart sing.
There was also a note saying they could be found at
Soon, very soon I will walk this way again, for it isn't far from my house.
I know I will be welcomed there if I come the hours she is open.
Friday, Saturday, and Sunday's from 11AM to 2PM,
what perfect times to find fresh flowers to delight your day.
Don't you just love the cheerful colors to light a winter day?
Flowers and beautiful color just make the heart sing.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Cucumber for Tea Time

Cucumbers just seem to go with any semblance of British afternoon tea time.
Sometimes I think they can be rather boring,
but often very, very good.
There is the typical sandwich with butter and bread.
Then again, there are so many variations.
You can slice the cucumber vertically, scoop the seeds out,
and fill the trough with a yummy tuna or shrimp salad.
Then slice the trough into small serving sizes.
This one is great for those that would like avoiding bread.
You can also slice down the side with a cheese plane or veggie peeler
to get thin long slices to use as a wrap around bundles of noodles, veggies, and crab,
then close with a toothpick.

A recipe from my book, Tea Outdoors, which you can find at

2 Tablespoons mayonnaise
1 teaspoon horseradish
dill weed
mint leaves
sliced bread of your choice

Mix mayonnaise and horseradish, spread mixture on inside of bread, sprinkle with dill weed,
place a layer of sliced cucumbers, add a mint leaf or two.
Close sandwich, trim crust, and cut into shapes.
If cutting shapes with a cookie cutter, cut the bread before making sandwiches.
Often cream cheese is used in place of the mayonnaise and horseradish mixture.

Two tips:
1. Slice cucumbers, wrap in a paper towel then plastic wrap, and refrigerate until ready to use.
This will remove some of the moisture.
2. To protect any sandwich from getting soggy spread inside of bread with thin layer of butter.

Next time you stop for a cup of tea in the afternoon, ENJOY a cucumber sandwich.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Monday's Quotes

Beneath the dusting of soft snow there is a summer waiting to be born, a season of sun-kissed shoulders and rodeo queens, of campfires, and rivers, and barn swallows dancing at twilight...
~ Kate Mullane Robertson ~

Photos from a different year.
Thinking of you under that blanket of snow.