Mandela

by bonnie on December 10, 2013

2003 aaron,m anna and maI woke long before dawn to watch the news feed from South Africa this morning.
It is the day of Memorial for Nelson Mandela.

What shall I say? Some of you are not going to like what I say…I warn you…

Yesterday, I tried to explain to my granddaughter what it was like during the days of Apartheid and Civil Rights.
It’s not easy for young people to understand what it was like in the 1960′s-1980′s but I’ll keep on telling my grandmother stories no matter what.

As an interracial couple with two young children in the 1960′s and 1970′s, life for my husband and I was often dangerous. I worked in Civil Rights for many years in local projects, then as a Vista Volunteer in Washington D.C. and Philadelpia.

I was living in the Nation’s Capitol when both Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy were killed. Riots  followed. Shortly after the riots, my husband (and most of the young Black men in the area) was drafted. (During the Viet Nam War) It was too dangerous, the Army said, for me to go ‘Down South’ with my husband because of the activities of the KKK, so I flew home to California until he was transfered a year later to Texas (hardly better in 1970).

Housing off base was hard to come by and I had to be escorted everywhere for my safety.  I was attacked, but there was no going to the police. These were ‘the times’ and it was difficult.

It was a great relief to be back in California after the Army stint was over but there was an adjustment to my own people that had to be made because I had become afraid of them.

Someone burned a cross on my lawn in Cupertino…right in Silicon Valley in the 1980′s…and sometimes people called me names, (both Black and White) but that was that. There were those in both communities who had the attitude that I was getting what was coming to me, that I had broken the rules. I stole a Black man, I wasn’t capable of raising brown children, that I must be a loose woman or uneducated.

I didn’t call the police. Every time I had needed help in the past, nobody had helped me.

One day I found out that my bank was doing business with the apartheid government of South Africa so I changed banks.
People began to pass around information about which companies to boycott because of their involvement in South Africa and soon the Press began to report information.

Around the time Nelson Mandela was released from Prison, I rented a VHS video called ‘Cry Freedom’ about Stephen Biko (Starring a young Denzel Washington) which showed the brutality of apartheid.
First, my teenaged daughter and son watched the movie, then I took the film to my parents house and showed it to them with my Aunt and Uncle (retired Linguists).

All was very quiet throughout the movie.

At the end…my old Aunt Lois raised her fist in the air and said in a loud voice, “Where do I sign up, I’m ready to go right now!”

I was so proud of her. She said what I felt.

We are a family that has always tried to fight on the side of what is just.

Recently, I’ve been reading my family history. It’s interesting that only one person was in the Southern United States for 20 years in Alabama (my great-great grandfather). At the beginning of the Civil War, he left Alabama, went North and fought for the Union Army. Curious that he would do that and I’m glad. No slaves in the family, but lots of clergy and farmers (a King or two).

The one thing that impressed me the most about Nelson Mandela ( the same can be said of Martin Luther King, Mother Theresa and Gandhi) was the lack of bitterness or hatred towards others.

“Love your enemies. Do good to those who do evil against you.” How many times have I heard these words in Church?!

So often I hear people interject the word “BUT”…”But, I’m not like those people.” “But, I’m no Saint!”
“But, I could never forgive.” “But, you don’t know what they did to me or my family.”

No, I don’t.

I have been beaten, shamed and called names. Hated and almost killed. Abandoned. And I have to say that it is possible to forgive everyone.

As long as the bitterness and unforgiveness exists, the same hatred that created the evil that was apartheid lives on. The same evil that created slavery has it’s roots in bitterness and unforgiveness.

Rage is right under the surface waiting for something to happen.

A long time ago, I was told that because I was White that I could not be a mother to Black children. (I’m sure President Obama’s mother was told the same thing.) There were stereotypes about White people in the Black community that are still there. There are still stereotypes in the White community (and guilt) about Black people.

Nobody talks much about this like it’s forbidden. There are things unsaid…secrets. Rage and unforgiveness that are not dissimilar to what must have existed when Nelson Mandela was released from Prison.

How then do we proceed?

No more hiding out of guilt or shame or anger or hurt.
I am not guilty. I am not afraid or ashamed.

Let us feed the hungry, heal the sick, love one another. By the example of Mandela,
be lovers of God the Giver of Life.

Memory Eternal Nelson Mandela

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Fall Musings

by bonnie on October 6, 2013


IMG_1150Every week the round-trip to Church from Fort Collins to Loveland and back is 30 miles and the view along the route is spectacular!

The road runs parallel to the base of the Rocky Mountains and fills me with awe every time I drive the distance. Especially majestic is a stretch of protected open space with snowy peaks jutting over 14,000 feet into the sky.

One day, while passing Walmart on the edge of Loveland, I decided to explore the road behind the store for possible places to take photos.
The back of this particular Walmart has an expansive mountain view. It’s unbelievable that a big box store occupies such prime real estate. Anywhere else there would be a line of fine restaurants with patio seating facing these mountains, but not here.

I’ve learned that in Colorado, mountain views and panoramic settings are for everyone, not for the fortunate few. It’s hard to find a spot that isn’t stunning along the FrontRange.

Because the scenery is so beautiful, my camera is always tucked in my bag.  I take photo’s…then stop and watch for awhile, taking time to really see what’s around me and appreciate the moment.

Last week I went to my monthly fibromyalgia support group. The Doctor commented that while there is no cure for fibromyalgia,  there are small things that when added together, can make you feel a great deal better.

This is something that I’ve learned to do when I drink tea.  When I pay attention to the aroma, look at the leaves and tea liquor and then taste the tea, there is a type of contemplation taking place that counteracts anxiety and stress. Other changes such as a healthier diet,  tea with friends and spending time outside in nature (even for a few minutes) are some of the small things that have helped me have less pain.

Life isn’t always easy, I’m aware of how hard it can be.

My writing is a pebble skipping across the water and then it disappears. I have no illusions about what happens. I never know if anyone ever reads what I write but I keep writing anyway.

Today I told a young man to remember one thing for the rest of his life when he’s looking for a job. Balance the lure of the paycheck with the stress involved in the job. If there is too much stress for too long a period of time, he’d end up sick like me or worse.

It’s just not worth it. I’m blessed to have any life left!

I’m thankful! So thankful to God to be alive!

 

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1000 Year Storm

by bonnie on September 19, 2013

IMG_1112

The 1000 Year Storm!

That’s what they’re calling the rain and flooding  in Colorado.  I’ve been fortunate, again, to be on the edge of disaster but not a victim of it.

Last year, I could see the flames from the High Park Fire in the hills right at the end of my block. This year, huge Chanook Helecopters have been going back and forth frequently for the past 4 days… loud and low over my home as they pick up people up who are stranded…still cut off by the floods.

A staging area for rescue choppers and responders is around the corner.

This is a reminder of how blessed I am, and how horrible for others. Sleep has been elusive and restless beginning with the dozens of alerts and alarms then closures and rescues.

This morning, the helicopters were quiet until 9:30 am due to thunderstorms, and I finally slept until the jolt of a big Chanook whirring overhead. This hurt my migraine prone head. I went straight to the kitchen to brew my version of  ‘chicken soup ‘, Laoshan Black Tea.

Most tea drinkers have a go-to favorite that makes them feel better when they’re sick or stressed. I’m no exception and Laoshan Black is my favorite go-to tea. I put it in my own puerh blend creation and add LB to herbals especially ginger or spice blends.

This morning, my ‘chicken soup’, Laoshan Black, did what it always does for me by soothing  tension and giving me the rich chocolate, barley flavor I love! I’m never disappointed.

Colorado is stunningly beautiful! I made a small photo show with a few pictures of sky and some music composed by my granddaughter Megan, who is in High School. I wanted to share how I’ve felt during this 1000 year storm.

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Tea Sermon- Sharing

by bonnie on September 14, 2013

IMG_0867I’ve wondered what makes some people who write about tea sour like bitter roots while other’s are sweet, kind and humble.

Are these people drinking different beverages?

Why do some tea experts criticize others when tea is supposed to teach humility?

My sighing has increased as I’ve observed word-darts being flung viciously at good tea folk for reasons that make no sense? Surely this isn’t done to honor tea! Can a mind full of poison comprehend the goodness of tea?

There’s one lesson about tea that needs attention in my opinion. It could help teach humility to everyone, and that lesson is in the the building up of community.

Tea is meant to be shared and not enjoyed in total isolation… all the time…by a select few.

Humility is produced when we drink tea together without the need to be a know-it-all. Then,  the healing of the inner person can begin. This step is often glossed over but is as necessary as the tea itself being healthful to drink for the body. Share, pour and drink in community.

If I sit behind my computer with my many exquisite tea’s as Guru of my fabulously fine tea world without the balance of other people, I will eventually become more and more prideful and critical. I will look to myself!  The temptation to be an expert will gradually outweigh my judgement to be kind and what good is the tea to me if I have become the poison to it.

My journey has a story.

Tea has not only helped me physically by decreasing my migraine and fibromyalgia symptoms, but the experience of drinking tea in community, at least once a week… is a major reason for decreasing chronic depression (a side effect of fibromyalgia).

At  the local tea house, I’ve made tea friends of college students, young professionals and a few older people like myself, along with the knowledgeable teahouse staff.

We drink together without age discrimination because tea culture has always been wonderfully all-inclusive!

When we do gongfu tea tastings, we share with everyone who’s around. Any customer who wants to join in is always welcome! The thrill of a person new to experiencing gongfu style tea and loving it, is one of my favorite things to do!

If anyone ever wondered why I write so often about my local tea house, Happy Lucky’s, it’s to encourage everyone to find their own special community!

I bring  my own packets of  tea for the people in the shop to taste, and  new blends are brought from the work-room by the Master Tea Blender for me to taste. People come and go at the bar, talking about their lives. We discuss studies at the University, boyfriends and girlfriends…what’s for dinner, recipes and the weather.

“What was it like in the 1960′s?”, I’m asked. And I share memories from the past. The Hippie Era, Civil Rights Marches, the day President Kennedy was shot.

I do the slide along with Joe’s mom… spontaniously, some old blues music playing overhead.  We’re sitting on barstools, talking to a group of dancers in their 20′s.
A student from Cambodia, adjusting to 70 degree weather which is the coldest he’s ever been and the first bed he’s ever slept in, can’t comprehend how I live alone at age 65 when my daughter and grandchildren live in the same town. It isn’t done in Cambodia!

The adventurous life of drinking tea with others keeps me alive, young and (I hope) or at least… working on humility… as a goal!

If you spend your life only drinking tea with experts that you want to impress, you’ll lose your perspective and joy.

Tea is for all people, all ages and should be shared together!

 

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IMG_1060Many cities and towns have been blazing HOT, including the Frontrange where I live. Higher up in the Rockies there will be a shift to snow in a matter of days.

I had one lone cucumber in the refrigerator, and no idea what to have for lunch so I began daydreaming about the tempting creations that pop up on my Facebook coming from the Verdant Teahouse daily feed. Their fruit enhanced tea blends always sound delicious, making me wonder what I could come up with myself.

What if I could try creating a blend with the lone cucumber? All I needed was the right tea to pair it with (which took all of a nano second to think about). This was an easy creation with only a few ingredients on my list.

Cucumber and Spring Harvest Laoshan Green tea sounded like good partners with added lime, ice and clover honey. That was all I needed for creating a SMOOTHIE.

The technique was the trickier part of the process because I don’t own a teahouse,  an expresso machine or matcha grinder!

Here’s what I did to compensate:

Cucumber/Lime Honey- Spring Harvest Laoshan Green Smoothie (Dairy Free!)

1 Seeded-Peeled and Chopped Cucumber
1/4 cup Lime Juice
2 TB Clover Honey (or to taste)
1 Cup (or more) Ice Cubes (enough to make a thick slushy smoothy)
Concentrated Laoshan Green Tea… See directions below*

*Tea concentrate:
I used a teaspoon of Laoshan Green Tea and hand ground it into a powder using a mortar and pestle. Then I sifted the tea powder through my tea strainer and added 1/4 cup boiling water stirring quickly for 1 minute.  I strained the powder again and poured the remaining tea into the cucumber mixture. The flavor was concentrated like an espresso shot. If I had a small Thai drip coffee maker or very small french press that would work well after grinding.

Process in a blender until thick and smooth. Serve with long spoon or stir stick in a 16 oz glass.

Is this delicious? You bet!

BTW, the picture is an Armenian cucumber which is not the one I used. Mine was plain old regular type of cucumber. My daughter dropped off the sweet Armenian one, so I added it into the photo.

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The Joy of Tea

by bonnie on August 3, 2013

Verdant Tea and IncenseI’ve waited to write these deep, personal thoughts on life and tea while they matured over several years.

One has to be careful about feelings. They are often unreliable and can be the influence of a bad night’s sleep or the weather. For me, a bad mood is often caused by an uncontrolable change in my brain that triggers depression. Fibromyalgia and migraines are tricksters. One moment I’m up and the next I’m down without warning. It can’t be helped and there isn’t a cure.

I wait for depression to pass like a cloud in an ever-changing emotional landscape.

As a young teen, I discovered an advantage to my being left-handed and right brained.  I was able to visualize concepts, idea’s and sensory input. Taste, sound and aroma had color and form. Idea’s triggered memories that played on a large picture screen in my mind. Thoughts were organized as index cards, easily retreived. My world was lonely, but rich with colorful music and poetry filling me with wonder. I didn’t dare share my world with anyone. I’m not sure why, but I knew that nobody would understand that I preferred Rachmaninoff and William Inge instead of Elvis and comic books.

What soothed my soul from earliest childhood was the belief that God loved me. This ‘One’ accepted and understood me, which was sustaining!

Amazingly, I  wandered into the world of tea only a few years ago while I was looking for an aid to prayer and a way to be calm. (Being calm and still is not an easy practice to learn in our society, and tea is useful for teaching this skill.)

While looking for some instruction on preparing a tea that I purchased, I Googled the tea and found the website ‘Steepster’.

I began to read about tea, then wrote reviews about the tea I was brewing.

A whole new world opened up to me!

This website became the first place in my life where I shared thoughts and feelings openly with other people!

My right brain was soon working overtime, filled with words spilling over from a spring deep inside me…tea-infused visions, magically alive and energetic.

With the writing and epic tea tasting came the calm and peacefullness I was looking for.

 Psalm 104 says:

He waters the mountains from His upper chambers;
The earth is satisfied with the fruit of His works.

He causes the grass to grow for the cattle,
And vegetation for the labor of man,
So that he may bring forth food from the earth,

And wine which makes man’s heart glad,
So that he may make his face glisten with oil,
And food which sustains man’s heart.

to which my heart added : “And for joy and healing, the Tea Trees!”

I must to be careful though. People spiritualize what should not be.

I’ve waited for clarity, listening to  tea speak to me for two years. I’m old in age with much yet to learn.

Tea isn’t a spiritual object in itself.

When we listen to tea (as tea people say)… tea is humble.  The virtue in drinking tea comes with practicing hospitality with humility. This produces a quiet heart.

I know that God’s energies hold all things together.

When I drink tea with gratitude, sharing tea with others, I am returning a thankful heart to God.

If I can gain this understanding through tea…I can learn to be thankful with more in my life.

This is what I aspire to do and to be. This is the Joy of Tea.

 

(Note: Since I began to drink tea, my migraines are less frequent and mood swings more controlled. The l-theanine in tea is an aid to reducing anxiety in the brain and brings natural feelings of well-being.)

 

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Grandparents & Grandson Adopton!

by bonnie on July 17, 2013

IMG_0840Sunday, I sat as I always do furthest back in the church where there’s the least amount of light. The building is almost 100 years old, built in 1915 of heavy wood. My spot is a nook past the aging wood pews. The ceiling is low at that point to accomodate the choir loft above. The choir sings the Liturgy as the people join in with them.

I always sit back with the toddlers on folding chairs. There were few toddlers this Sunday. Fr. Evan’s son was quieter than usual playing with his small painted cars. One adorable 3 year old sitting next to me with his grandmother, caught my eye.

YaYa (Greek grandmother) was about 80 and still strong. She held her grandson through all the standing portions of the service, then gently protected his head when he tried to crawl through the wide back opening of the folding chair in front of them. He tilted his head, looked up and smiled with sweet, innocent love at his YaYa, ready to do whatever she asked him to do. Did she approve? They were lovely to watch as a Holy relationship of love.

People often remark that I have wonderful children. Generous and gifted adults, they give to others without reservation. They are a reflection of what has passed from one generation to the next.

My grandmother and grandfather took bags of groceries to families down on their luck. Grandpa had a bus depot in San Francisco in the 1940′s and 50′s. Grandma would hear of someone needing help. No fuss about it, tell Grandpa and he’d pick up and deliver groceries.

My mother and father adopted my dad’s twin neices when they were orphaned at age 12. There was always a plate at our table especially around the holidays for people without family. Dad worked 2 jobs because of my mother’s medical bills for most of the 40 years of their marriage. Mom was very ill, something he knew when he married her. There were live-in grandmother’s to care for, the twins, my brother and I.

When I lived in a small Sierra Foothill town, it seemed natural for my daughter to bring home teenage girls who’s parents had kicked them out of their homes. They could stay with us. If people need food and shelter and you have that to give, this is what you did. People commented at how nice I was but I always felt that this was the way all people should behave. I wasn’t behaving in any special way.
We became a household of 5 females during my daughter’s last few years of High School and the best of it was that all the girls graduated. They worked at finishing school because they knew that I had taken them in without being paid for it. I worked for them and in turn they worked at school for me.

Later in life my parents became very critically ill and I moved in to care for them. Both of my children would visit their grandparents to watch tv or play games with them. They weren’t asked to do this, they did it on their own. This wasn’t a chore for them, they loved their grandparents, knew them well and spent lots of time with them!

Forwarding to the present, my son has continued to care for others. He has worked feeding the homeless in San Francisco and Santa Cruz, and has helped care for me!

My daughter and son-in-law are 2013 Foster Parents of the Year for our County. They have 3 daughters and 4 adopted boys (1 more in process).

This is what is important. One generation fills the cup that overflows to the next.

We need each other!

I asked someone at church to name the places where old and young interact? The only place we could think of were religious institutions or within
the family (at holidays). If you don’t have either of those, where do you go?

I’ve found the tea community has been very open and kind to me as an older person and I’m thankful for this! I think this is part of universal tea culture (I’m hopeful!).

I talk to young people all the time which keeps me young! I come from the generation the started the technology revolution. I worked with the early computers, saw rock and roll greats when they were still young and have stories that make my young friends roll with laughter.

When we get over the age issue, we have fun!

Adopt a grandparent or older friend if you don’t have one. Not all young people are fun to be around and not all old people are fun either. Find your match!

Today, my newest grandson Hayden is being adopted into the family! He’s almost 3 and when I come over to the house he announces “Grandma’s home!”

Indeed! Welcome Home Beloved Hayden! You will become a person who cares for others because you are a part of this family!

Grandma will teach you, mom and dad will teach you. You will learn.
_______________________________________________

Laoshan Genmaicha
Verdant Tea

One reason I chose to review this blend is because like my new grandson Hayden, this is a playful tea.

I can’t say that I am ever in a serious mood when I drink Laoshan Genmaicha. Maybe you are, but not me!
I’m in the mood for sweet and salty, chocolate and caramel…cocoa puffs or cocoa rice popped something.
The idea of dropping a little maple nugget into my tea sounds good, hum.

This is why I think of playfulness and my  Hayden on this adoption day.

Hayden is playful to the max! If you know who the movie character Medea is, then shrink that personality down to 3 year old and you have Hayden.
He is a charmer for sure! I finally get to legally post pictures of him (which I could not do before as a foster child).

Back to tea!

My feeling about this hasn’t changed from the first time I drank the silky brew. There’s a double hit of flavor…rice then chocolate cocoa finish.
My memory kicks in with Laoshan Black…oh yes! (But not)

The best way to prepare this tea is in a tumbler or gaiwan not a teapot. The tea ends up somehow weak any other way, in my opinion, when you add too much water.

Innovation and local sourcing of rice makes me love this tea even more.

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The Success of Friends

by bonnie on July 1, 2013

IMG_0897Congratulations to David and Lily Duckler on the opening of the new Verdant Tea House!

I’ve been saving this tea for a special occasion.

Could any day be as special as this day? A dream come true and one that has been full of hard work (and frustration at times)!

This was the right time for tasting but I couldn’t keep such a special tea all to myself. This was the Duckler’s Wedding Tea and they shared it with others on an even greater, more special day. (Some of the Wedding Beeng was saved the for annual Anniversary celebrations, which I think is very romantic!)

I decided to take my packet of tea to share at Happy Lucky’s Tea House. (For anyone who is new, this is my local tea pub in Fort Collins, and I take tea to them and share. They drink my tea and I drink theirs!)

I arrived early enough for the shop to be pretty quiet. Preston set up a gongfu tray for shop owner George, manager Andy and the rest of the staff to enjoy many steepings of tea.

Because the shape of the tea leaves is somewhat like wheat, the flavor opens up quickly when exposed to water.

One short rinse, and the first pour was smoky with a smooth texture and sweet hay like aroma.

The second pour was more developed and sweeter. Andy said the tea reminded him of an olive tree that had been cut down by his house and how the wood smelled sweet when it burned (although I didn’t taste or smell smokiness any longer).

I sat at the tea bar, thinking about Lily and David’s wedding day and how this tea fit into their plans. Many guests being served the tea outdoors, the scent of flowers in the air and much joy. A beautiful bride.

Everything fit. The tea, the scene…all blended with elegance.

The sweet, buttery tea would weave a silky thread uniting everyone in joyous celebration, lifting the spirit.

Eric commented that he had tasted a young Yabao before but he wasn’t fond of it. This aged Yabao however, was “really special”! (All agreed!)

Excellent tea to celebrate an excellent friendship on a special occasion. What an honor!

To have dear friends who care so much for others is a great treasure.

I lift my cup with my friends to David and Lily, and all the people at Verdant Tea House!

מזל ט 我 祝 你 好运!

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When I’m Sick….Tea

by bonnie on June 3, 2013

Days of darkness pierced by glass,
At the edge of light and sky,
Never fearing death alone,
Daybreak screams of pain now gone.

I’ve had the most awful season of migraines and fibromyalgia!

Instead of discription, I drew a picture when I was coming out of the worst of it. Don’t mean to be too scary!

sick

Sometimes words are not enough! I thought that maybe this would help someone else.

Through the 6 weeks of attacks I drank TEA. Not much else would sooth my head or nausea. No longer able to taste tea, the hot liquid in the mug felt good held against my face when I had chills.

After the attacks ended I wasn’t functioning properly (taste, speech, writing, balance), but with peaceful confidence that in time all would return to normal, I drank TEA!

At first, I could taste a little of the Yu Lu Yan Cha Black tea (Verdant) which was so exciting that I began to drink several 24oz pots a day. I was lavishing in tea and just beginning to find those hints of french fried potato and chocolate flavors I remembered. The tastes kept growing stronger with each pot of tea.

With the awakening of my taste buds came a warm glow inside. I was becoming myself again. Others could see it too.

This could have occured naturally over time…and in time perhaps it would have. With less delight and joy it could have happened, and with less enjoyment which would have been a shame.

So, I have chronic migraines triggered by noise, weather and light. Fibromyalgia has triggers too. Tea calms the brain because of the L-theanine contained in tea. (Caffeine for migraine is likewise beneficial.) Drinking tea is also a restful action, one that is calming and centering.

A few days ago, I went to visit my friends at Happy Lucky’s Tea House and we made a big pot of tea (Joe made it actually). We celebrated that delicious Yu Lu Yan Cha which was a ‘Heaven’ sent gift during my recuperation. It’s agreed, this is a favorite Black Tea of everyone at the tea bar! Strangers and friends alike lifted their cups to enjoy, all commenting on the ‘french fries dipped in chocolate shake flavor’. (I suspect all my young friends still dip their fries!)

What a ‘table’ God has prepared before me. How marvelous to have been led so late in life to tea.

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Tea:
Mrmopar sent me a few small Tuo cha’s around Christmas (nice of him) so this morning I rinsed one piece for 20 seconds in boiling water, poking it gently with my Puer knife. I used a small pot for brewing tea instead of a Gaiwan.

The steep time was 1 minute because I prefer a strong brew.

Surprisingly, the flavor wasn’t strong but bland. Uninteresting, bland Puer is something I rarely encounter.

Recently, I put together a bin of herbs, spices and berries for adding to tea when I feel like experimenting with flavor.

The list contains:

Elderberry, tulsi and various kinds of mint, goji berries, lavendar, cinnamon bark chips, dry ginger, burdock root, jasmine flowers,
chrysanthemum blossoms, cranberries, orange peel, cassia seeds and cocoa hulls. (Most items cost about $2 an ounce)

I had this blah tasting Puer and I knew that I could do something to improve the flavor with an ingredient from my bin of goodies.
I chose the packet of cocoa hulls and steeped a very small amount in the brew basket with the bland Puer tuo cha.

The addition worked! I created a tasty pot of very Cocoa PU! I added cream and sweetened the cocoa pu to make it even more delicious.

Can’t wait to see what else can be created from this bin of flavor boosters!

Humility:

My daughter called…

“Mom, guess what? We just got a ‘Star Award’ for best Foster Parents and I don’t know what to say? How can I accept the award when I get mad and frustrated at my children and lose it sometimes?”

It didn’t surprise me that she and my son-in-law recieved the award, or that she would say that she didn’t deserve it. People who deserve awards usually don’t realize that what they do is special, or heroic. It’s in their character to go beyond normal.

That same day, she got another call and was informed that they had received ‘Foster Parents of the Year’ for our County.

Now she was complaining again! “How could this be?!”

Blubber, blubber, blubber!

Calmly I explained that life has to have balance. The many nights sitting up with the bi-polar 8 year old who can’t sleep and is bouncing off the walls. The baby on oxygen who was crying. Then I remembered the baby who was thrown out the window and had broken bones, and the many newborns they had nursed off drugs. All the hours of diapers, laundry, visits and thankless nights were being recognised. This is a family with 12 people, not a family of 3 or 4!

“Annalisa, remember these awards when your son is yelling at you and telling you how unfair you are! When the County does a ‘POP VISIT’ on the day the septic has overflowed into the basement bathroom during naptime and you’ve got wet towels in your hands.”

Humility is learning how to bow and let the oil of blessing fall on your head without protesting. It’s hardest to do when it’s deserved.

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