An education on tea

DSC_0006Did you know that besides water, tea is the most consumed beverage in the world?  Take that coffee.

Do you know what the difference between herbal, white, green, oolong, and black tea is?  I thought I might give you a lesson.

All white, green, oolong and black teas come from the same plant, Camellia Sinesis.  The process of oxidizing and treating the leaves make the types of tea.

White tea has the least amount of caffeine and most health benefits, then green tea, then oolong (sometimes referred to as brown tea) and finally black tea brings up the rear with the most caffeine but many health benefits as well.  One cup of black tea has 1/2 the amount of caffeine as a cup of coffee.

Herbal tea is not exactly tea because it does not come fro the Camellia Sinesis bush.  Herbal tea is a combination of different leaves, roots, flowers, stems, fruits and seeds.  

There are many health benefits to tea.  It can promote a healthier immune system, lower your cholesterol, aid in natural weight loss, and make your skin look younger just to name a few.

I rarely go a day without having at least one cup of hot tea.  Today I had three.  Pictured above is one of my favorite mugs and my tea kettle.  I have had that mug since college, back then it held pens and the butterflies where much brighter.  The size is just perfect and I think the butterflies make me happy. 

You can read more about tea here.

The Lord is thy shade

Last week I was driving on I-485 when I witnessed a horrific car accident.  I have never seen anything like it.  I had my kids in the car with me and thankfully they did not see anything.  It was truly the hand of God protecting us because a few seconds more or a different decision and we could have been involved.

I came home, and while my kids had rest time, I grabbed my Bible and began to process the whole event.  I was suddenly overcome with fear.  What if I had not passed when I did?  What if something were to happen to one of my kids or my husband?  What if… my mind began to spin out of control. 

I found myself in Psalm 121 (NIV)

 I lift up my
eyes to the hills—
       where does my help come from?

 My help comes from the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth.

 He will not let your foot slip—
who watches over you will not slumber;

 indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.

 The LORD watches over you—
       the LORD
is your shade at your right hand;

 the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.

 The LORD will keep you from all harm—
       he will watch over
your life;

LORD will watch over your coming and going
       both now and

The truth is I can trust in God's sovereign hand on my life and my family.  He watches over my life, my coming and going now and forevermore.

God's Word is a beautiful thing.  When you take the time, He will meet
you right at your point of need.  Comfort, instruction, inspiration, and
rebuke, its all there in your time of need. 

Happy Birthday Joy

March 014Today my baby sister, Joy, turns 27 years old.  Joy is a very special person.  When she was very young, my parents were told that Joy would never be a "normal" child (if you would like to hear more of my family's story concerning Joy, you can go here to listen to an interview my husband did with my mom and me). 

You know in the grand scheme of things, normal is not a good thing.  People who make an impact on this world are never normal.  So much of who I am today is a direct result of being Joy's big sister.  She has taught me many things.  To name a few…

  • Don't worry, just enjoy life.  Joy truly loves her life.
  • Don't dwell on the past, there's always something great on the horizon.  Joy loves to look forward to the next thing.  She is always full of excitement.
  • Don't hold a grudge.  I have never known Joy to stay mad at someone for more than 15 minutes. 
  • Don't compare yourself to others, be confident in who you are.  Joy is content to be herself and she expects people to accept her just as she is.

Happy Birthday Joy.  Thanks for loving and accepting me as your big sister who doesn't do everything right.  Thanks for being a bright spot of joy in the life of every single person you encounter.  Thanks for helping me be a better person.  I love you.

Fashion File… Jewelry

There's a lot I could say about jewelry.  I love jewelry.  I have probably worn earrings more days in my life than not.  I don't remember getting my ears pierced, I must have been 2 or 3 years old.  Many people don't know that at one time I had an unsuccessful jewelry business called Razzel Dazzel, but that's another story for another post.  Today I want to talk about layering.

Coco Chanel is quoted as saying "Before you leave the house, you should look in the mirror and take one thing off"  I don't think she would like jewelry trends right now because it is all about layering.  You can mix color, texture, lengths, the more the better.

This is a good thing because it means you don't have to go out and buy something new.  By layering pieces that you already have, you can feel like you have a whole new look.

Excuse the crude self portrait, but here is an example of me combining two different necklaces.  One of them already had a layering effect to it.  I bought it on clearance at Old Navy for $3 (actually it used to be shiny gold but now has a tarnished nice bronze look to it).  The other piece, the bronze medallion, was a gift.  Together they look great.

Photo on 2010-04-14 at 19.56

The second look I want to show you is a combination of several casual pieces that I decided would look great together.  My Elevation necklace, the Elevation purity necklace (we sold last year during our series, Pure), and my mother's necklace given to me by the Elevation staff wives one Christmas. 

Photo on 2010-04-26 at 15.31

In an economy where gold and silver are priced sky high, and where trends are more towards costume jewelry, don't be afraid to buy junk jewelry.  Nobody can tell the difference, and you can afford to have variety.  I rarely pay full price for costume jewelry.  Anytime I am in a store, I always browse the sale jewelry.  Target (the earrings I wore on Easter were $5 from Target), Express, Old Navy, Forever 21, Guess, Francesca's, and even department stores are always marking down jewelry. 

Here's a great site for some more layered necklaces that are affordable for those of you that don't like to go into the aforementioned stores :).

Monday Morning Commentary


Yesterday my husband continued our series with a message entitled, When Dreams Die.  I don't know how he does it week after week, but the message was, again, amazing.

He started off with a look at Moses and Joshua.  One man whose died at the edge of his dream, entering the promised land.  The other died and was buried smack in the middle of the promised land he had lead the Israelites to conquer. 

My husband profoundly identified three places where dreams die, the beginning (the womb of small beginnings), middle (the wilderness of transition) and end (the borderline of a breakthrough).

There was one line that really resonated with me…

God doesn't require you to have the faith to finish, just the faith to begin.

How comforting is that?  God doesn't ask us to have the faith of an oak tree, simply that of a mustard seed.  He is the author and finisher of our faith (Heb 12:2).  He only asks that we take the baby steps of faith to accomplish the dream that He has placed in our hearts.

Have you ever completed a puzzle?  When I was a teenager, my family enjoyed an occasional puzzle.  Its an odd thing, a box filled with thousands of tiny pieces that you have to fit together to make one large picture.  The other day I was teaching Elijah the fundamentals of completing a puzzle.  I know you know it too, start with the corners and the edges and work your way in.  If you try to start with the middle, you can easily become frustrated and give up.  But one piece at a time, before you know it, you have accomplished quite a task.

Accomplishing a dream that God has placed in your heart is much like completing a puzzle, one piece at a time.  God promises to give us the grace that we need each step even though we can't see the entire picture.

You can listen to the message (part 3, Where are they now?) here later today.  Happy Monday.

A Trip to the Strawberry Patch


Yesterday we joined some friends to pick strawberries at Hall Family Farm here in Charlotte.  I forgot my camera but thank the Lord for the iPhone!!  I think Elijah's face is priceless in the first picture, he looks like such a big boy!

We had a great time.  Strawberries are my favorite and these are delicious.  We finished the morning off with strawberry slushies and a picnic lunch.  We will definitely be back.

Tomorrow I will be scouring the internet for strawberry recipes, any suggestions are greatly appreciated!

I can’t ride his spiritual coat tails

I've been having this thought… I feel like God is telling me that I cannot ride my husband's spiritual coat tails.  In our line of work, it is easy to fall into the trap of depending on my husband's faith.  His vision, his purpose, and dangerously, his relationship with God.

It's a hard line to balance.  He is my husband, we are one.  His vision should be my vision, his purpose mine.  And he is my spiritual leader, his relationship with God directly affects mine.  But his relationship with God cannot replace my own relationship with God.

I also cannot ride the spiritual coat tails of our church.  It is such a privilege to be a part of a move of God.  There's nothing like hearing the testimonies and seeing the hands raised (yes, I peek).  But if I don't allow God to speak to me each week, change me, seeing God move in others will only last me so long.

The danger is that it sneaks up on you.  With a family to care for, a house to manage and responsibilities at our church, it is easy to let the urgent take the place of the important.  Before you know it, you find yourself in a funk and burnt out.

I hope you don't think I am just talking to women in the ministry.  I'm not.  You can't ride anyone's coat tails, not your mom or your pastor or your friend. 

There is no easy solution to this.  No magic formula of how to balance my time and responsibilities with my downtime.  But the truth is if I don't continually cultivate my own faith I will not make it in ministry.  Awareness is definitely the first step.  Action should follow. 

Sorry, I don't have any cut and dry action steps.  Mine would be different than yours.  But I can start with a simple prayer, "Lord, I want to know you.  Reveal yourself to me today.  I will obey whatever you tell me."

What I want from Graham for my birthday

January 209 Dear Graham,  
    As you know, my 30th birthday is coming up.  30 is a big birthday and you will need to give me a present.  Since I'm not so big on surprises, and not so great at dropping hints, I thought I would just come right out and tell you what I want from you for my birthday.
    What I want is your diapers.  In other words, I want you to be potty trained.  I was thinking the other day what a wonderful summer we could have if you were potty trained.  No more nasty swimming diapers, diaper bags, wipes or stinky trash cans.  Think of the freedom we will have.  Thank you in advance.


Fashion File

I love fashion.  I always have.  One of my earliest memories of being disciplined was because I pitched a fit over what dress I was going to wear on a Sunday morning to church.  I am pretty sure I was in kindergarten.

God knew that a girl with such a love for fashion needed a mom who had a passion for bargains.  My fashion sense coupled with the lessons I have learned from my mom have turned out quite for my benefit.

So I have decided to start a new category here on this blog called Fashion File.  In no way would I consider myself an expert, but I would say that fashion is my hobby.  I am an In-Style reading, Project Runway watching, and Any mall shopping girl.  

I want to share some personal tips on everything from jewelry and accessories to hair and make up or shoes and clothing.   And for the lurking male readers out there, don't worry, I promise to do a post or two for you (I do consider myself responsible for creating the fashion monster that I call my husband). 

I am going to close this post with a tip for finding great bargains… Always shop out of season.

Shopping out of season requires planning and patience.  You don't always get any instant gratification but you sure can find some great deals.  This past winter there were many sleeveless items, if you browse the clearance racks now, you'll find many items that are technically out of season, but totally appropriate for Spring/Summer.  For instance, the other day I found a really cool sleeveless silk blouse on the clearance rack at Target for $5. 

I also buy out of season for my kids.  I try to hit stores like Old Navy and Children's Place when they are clearing out.  I paid $5 each for the jackets that they wore on Easter.  They were last season's Easter at Children's place that I bought one size up for each of them.  

Ok, I am already working on a post about jewelry for a future time.  Happy Hunting!

Monday Morning Commentary


Yesterday we continued our series, Where Are They Now?  And I know I say the sermon is great every week, because it is, but my husband's message yesterday was one of my favorites in a while.  It was so so practical and applicable to everyone that was there (any age or stage).

The sermon was called The Danger of Spiritual Hearing Loss.  The inspiration came from a scare that we had last week when my husband experienced some hearing loss in his right ear.  I won't get into all the details (you can listen to the message for that), but basically, he experienced some ringing in his ear, went to see a specialist, had a hearing test and was put on some medication.  And from that experience, he wrote his message.

The point that spoke the most to me was how it's possible to hear perfectly on one frequency and not the other but you can't obey God on one frequency and not the other.  For instance, I know God wants me to be generous with our finances, and I know God wants me forgive when others hurt me, but I have a hard time when God asks me to stop watching so much television in the evenings and start spending more time developing my mind and my relationship with Him (how's that for being real).  Ouch.

The hard part is eventually, if I don't obey, I know God will stop there with me.  God's not going to take me any further until I am willing to obey what He has already told me to do.

The good part is Rom 10:17, "Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God."  Elijah asked me the other night "how come God doesn't talk?"  I think he was stalling because he didn't want to go to sleep.  I quickly answered him, "God does speak, it just doesn't sound like a normal voice."  If you are confused about this God speaking thing, start with the scripture, remember, "faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God."

One more thing before I wrap it up… Today, take a minute and let God remind you that He loves you.  He loved you before you gave your life to Him and He loves you the same today.  Yes, you make mistakes, yes, you don't always hear Him, but He loved you enough to send His Son to die for you and He loves you today, no matter where you are in your walk with Him.

You can listen to the message (part 2, Where are they now?) here later today.