Tuesday, January 30, 2018

The Candle

The Candle

A candle's but a simple thing,
it starts with just a bit of string.
Yet dipped and dipped with patient hand,
it gathers wax upon the strand
until, complete and snowy white,
it gives at last a lovely light.

Life is so like that bit of string,
each deed we do a simple thing,
yet day by day if on life's strand
we work with patient heart and hand
it gathers joy, makes dark days bright,
and gives at last a lovely light.
~Clara B. Thurston

A candle is a beautiful thing in the midst of winter.
It touches my soul and I smile.
It warms a dreary night.
Take care, dear friends.
Savor the little flickers of light in the darkness.
I have hope that the sun will come again
and brighten our days.
For now just embrace the light wherever you can find it.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Monday's Tea Quote

The first cup moistens my lips and throat.
The second shatters my loneliness.
The third causes the wrongs of life to fade
gently from my recollection.
The fourth purifies my soul.
The fifth lifts me to the realms
of the unwinking gods."
~Chinese mystic, Tang Dynasty
Where are you on the list?
How many cups of tea have you sipped today?
Pictures taken in the window of the Camas Antique Mall.
Beautiful Russian teaware.
I love that for a few moments I can step into 
this window and pretend I am sitting there having tea.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Walk with a Friend

 A bird's nest,
 Lichen on a bench,

and mushrooms were all sculptures my friend and I found along the way.
I picked up the book on Walking in Portland and found a walk
on Scouter's Mountain. It was near my friends house,
so I invited her to walk along.
 All sorts of growing things along the walk.
Walking in nature with a friend is the very best way to catch
up on the news and enjoy the out of doors too.
Since I am not sharing walks on Monday's, did you think
I wasn't walking any longer?
Walking outdoors in nature is one of my favorite things to do,
so on occasion there will still be walks to share.

Let's keep on walking!
Have a great weekend, dear friends!
And if I ever find myself in your neighborhood,
who knows there might be a walk there too.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Happy Colors?

 What is your happy color?
Can you guess which is mine?

What color makes you feel warm and happy when you see it? 
Red is my warm and happy color 
My car is red
There is red in my garden
One of the few colors in my closet is red
And there are touches of red around my home

Red makes me happy
It cheers my soul

When I was a child all the girls chose pink for their color;
so I picked yellow. Yes, I had to be different.
For many years it was yellow
and I still have a fondness for the color;
but red just sings to me,
it makes me laugh and smile.
Can you see in some of the photos how it just
jumps out and grabs you.
It says "see me"!
Every where I go, I notice you, dear red!

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Da Hong Pao - Floating Leaves

When I ordered my stand-by morning tea, Yunnan Gold,
from Floating Leaves not too long ago; 
they included a sample package of Da Hong Pao oolong.
Here is their description of this wonderful tea:

"This Da Hong Pao has been roasted four times and the last roast was finished in 2016. You can find it at Floating Leaves, here.

The aroma has chocolate and ripe fruit notes. The broth is full bodied, heavy and warming. The aftertaste is strong and lingers for a long time in the throat. We love this tea for winter time drinking."

That was exactly what it was, as it is fully gone now.
This is a tea I will for sure be ordering soon.
I would say it is not only a tea for winter,
but all year long. 
The flavor lingers in my mind.

In the picture you will see my Marmalady's serving mat and
a wonderful teapot made by Richard Brandt, a local potter.
Don't you just love that bunny on the top?

Monday, January 22, 2018

Monday's Tea Quote

"All true tea lovers not only like their tea strong,
but like it a little stronger with each year that passes."
~George Orwell, A Nice Cup of Tea, January 12, 1946

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Be the Light

 At this time of year I go searching for light.
When I went walking this week at the Japanese Gardens,
I was on my search.
When I arrived the sun was sprinkled through the trees
so very beautifully.
I stopped for a cup of tea and the light disappeared.
As I walked I thought I had missed the light;
so I tried to notice other things.
 Small touches of color.
 Raindrops on camillias.
 Finally when I was about to leave the sun came out in all it's glory.
Isn't the light most amazing when it decides to show up.
 How I love finding the light.
Here even on my back steps I found the light for a cup of tea.

At this time of the year, when it is the darkest,
I bring light into my life.
In the darkness of a winter day candles are lit,
twinkling lights spread on tables and over my mantel.
Including light in my days and evenings improves
my mood tremendously.

Searching for the light, I found these two quotes.

If you can't be the sun, then be a star.
~Martin Luther King Jr.

To Native healers, "light" is a vision of well-being
where broken hearts and bodies are healed, and where
many times the true cause of an illness is found.
Once found, it is more easily remedied.
~Yakima healer, from Listening with Your Heart
by Wayne Paete, M.D. 

Do you add light to your winter days?
How do you make it through the darkness?

Happy weekend, dear friends!

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Walking Hand in Hand

No matter where we travel,
wherever we walk,
or wherever we wander
I will walk with you.
Sometimes the road is rough,
but together walking hand in hand
we can overcome whatever comes our way.
I will lift you when you fall.
Your arm will be in mine in the dark.
There might be times when we travel down into
the lowest point, then turn a corner
and rise up to the highest mountain tops.
There will be turns in the road 
and we might lose our way;
but in the end we can stick together,
travel the road together,
and find JOY at the end.
Come along with me for I know JOY is coming.

Times of reflection yesterday as I walked this trail
alone in the quiet of the morning light
at the Portland Japanese Gardens.
Then there were some moments of JOY over a cup of tea.
 The teahouse and the tea.
Early Tuesday morning, there was no one in the teahouse.
Sipping tea was pure JOY.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

T Project - Ripe Puerh with Ginger

The flower is here just to cheer the day!

What can I say,
here is another tea that might take a couple tries
to get the amount and steeping time right.
But if you like ginger in your tea,
it will be worth it.
This is T Project's Ginger Puerh,
a small-batch, loose leaf ripe puerh black tea with ginger.
Perfect for a winter morning!

You can find it at T Project, here: https://www.tprojectshop.com/

Monday, January 15, 2018

Monday's Tea Quote

"If you are cold, tea will warm you. If you are heated, it will cool you. If you are depressed, it will cheer you. If you are excited, it will calm you." - William Gladstone

Note: This cup and saucer are no longer in my possession.
They have gone to a low income retirement center;
so they also can enjoy tea times together when family
comes for visits.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Ironing Day

Recently a friend said how much he likes to iron.
I was surprised first that it was a guy friend
and second that he liked to iron.
He even bought himself a new iron for Christmas.

Ironing Day

I do like ironing day, oh, quite the best
Of all the week-the tided calm, the peace
Of my small kitchen gives my heart new lease
Upon content.....with each clean garment pressed
And hung across the bars, I like to feel
A man, a little, fair-haired child will go
Immaculately clothed from this crisp row,
The happier for one short morning's zeal.

As under my swift iron, a pattern blooms
On table linen, worries are resolved-
With time for thought-to blessings, while in plumes
Of steam, problems fade, projects are evolved...
I may be tired, but still I thank the Lord,
When I am finished, for an ironing board.
~Kitchen Sonnets by Ethel Romig Fuller

 Do you iron?

I find it is time to meditate, dream, and think.
The two pictures are an indication of the things I like to iron.
Pillowcases and tablecloth's are my favorites,
but also I just love ironing my clothes and seeing the wrinkles disappear.
The wrinkles in my soul are soothed.

Happy Weekend, dear friends!

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Self Care

 With the new year I once again think of "self care".
What do I need to do for myself.

Here is what I have thought of so far:

1. Develop regular sleep pattern
2. Eat regular, healthy meals
3. Exercise 
4. Take walks in nature
5. If needed, talk to a professional to work through life's difficulties
5. Laugh 
6. Create space for "Me Time" to read a book, sip a cup of tea,
a massage, or watch a movie that makes you smile 
 7. Spend time with friends

What can you add to the list?
What do you do for "self care"?
Do you find a secret retreat?
A place to put your feet up?

“Self care is never a selfish act — it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer others.” — Parker Palmer 

Note: All pictures were taken today at the Kennedy School near my home. It is a place to retreat for awhile, to have something good to eat, watch a movie, enjoy the art, or soak in the soaking pool. 

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

What a Difference a Steep Makes

 For Christmas I received several special gifts.
Imperial Tea Court, Imperial Keemun Hao Ya was sent to me by a friend.
It is considered a Tribute Tea or "gift tea" because of the extraordinary
quality of the tea. It is from Anhul's Qimen county in China where
keemun's are most often not produced anymore.
Most often I avoid keemun teas because I find them too black and bitter,
but I could tell this one was special just from the scent.
I tried it once and it was OK, but the information that came along
with it suggested trying to steep it a different way.
So I tried again. My normal 4 minute steep with one teaspoon
of tea per cup just wasn't working. The next time I steeped it 3 minutes
with one full teaspoon for a small 3 cup teapot.
What a difference it made and it was just right for a delicious
pot of tea. So glad I tried again.

Then my family knows I love books. Above you can see the two
books I received. Did they get it right?
Can't wait to take more walks in 2018.
The author, James Norwood Pratt, added a lovely note inside
The Romance of Tea.

On the plate was an after Christmas snack of the last bits of
Christmas stollen, mandarin, and cheese. My favorites!

Did you find some special, thoughtful gifts under your Christmas tree?

Monday, January 8, 2018

Monday's Tea Quote

I pluck the petals that are wet with dew,
and drink my solitary cup with quiet.
When it is empty, pour myself another,
The Sun goes down and all of nature rests.
~T'ao Ch'ien, China 400CE

Today I start a new Monday series, Monday's Tea Quote.
I hope you enjoy them as we travel with tea through 2018.
Raising my cup to you dear friends, Marilyn

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Sit in Silence

"So, if you are too tired to speak,
sit next to me,
because I, too, am fluent in silence."
~R. Arnold

Dream a little dream with me.
Sit and listen to the silence.
Then hand in hand we will walk along the edge of the sea.
We will soak up the memories and share our dreams.
For today the slate has been washed clean.
A new year has begun.
Take JOY, dear friends.
Listen to your heart.
And Notice what you Notice!

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Hotel deLuxe - Afternoon Tea Time

I had meant to share this sooner, but life
sometimes distracts; so here I am sharing Christmas tea time
at the Hotel deLuxe in Portland, Oregon.
My sister and I most often go to tea for birthdays in March
and for Christmas.
This year it was the Hotel deLuxe.
The surroundings are so 1920's era in feel,
which makes for a special afternoon tea experience.
It is a historic hotel in Portland and use to be called the Mallory Hotel.
They serve Smith Teamaker's teas and we enjoyed a lovely Darjeeling.
The sandwiches were for the most part the traditional
salmon, cucumber, egg salad, then they added a pimento cheese
and one with cranberries.
There were scones, both plain and raisin,
served with jam and cream.
To top off the special celebration were sweets which included
a fruit tart, chocolate cup with raspberry, ginger cookie,
and spice cake.
The music played on a player piano,
the room was full of those celebrating with tea,
and it just felt like for awhile we took a step back in time.
A gentler time, a non-rushed time, and a time to sip tea.

Linking to Bernideen at: http://blog.bernideens.com/

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

My Favorite Tea

What can I say, I love so many different teas;
but if I had to choose one it would be this.
Yunnan Gold, which I buy from Floating Leaves,
is the one I always return to, the one that I love.
After all, as a chocolate lover, this one tea just
says chocolate to me.
Now it doesn't really have chocolate in it or really
taste chocolatey,  but is has a full flavor and scent of
the richness of chocolate. A bit of malty flavor.
It is a straight black tea from the Yunnan Provence of China.
Now when I say black tea many of you think of the
astringency of a tea like Lipton's.
Nope, it's not like that.
It is a full leaf tea which dances and unfurls in hot water.
The fragrance just perfumes the air with
a little bit of earthy floralness.
I steep it in boiling water for 4 minutes
and then just sip and savor.

So there you have it,
the tea I am beginning with in 2018.
My favorite go to tea,
Yunnan Gold!