Thursday, August 29, 2013

Time For Tea Anyone?

This summer has been a whirlwind for me. I have no idea where the days and weeks have gone but alas, my favorite time of year is approaching. I am crazy about the autumn months. Thoughts of curling up with a book and something warm to drink dance in my head. I'm all about making time for friends over tea or coffee. Unfortunately, our society isn't wired this way anymore.

One of the pleasantries of living in the old south was the practice of hospitality. Life was hard. They needed one another so relationships were of value. I love the ritual of daily tea time when there was a dedicated time of slowing...of visiting with neighbors. There were many things I abhor about the old south but they did get a few things right. While my ancestors did not originate here, I've adopted some of the practices into my home and made them my own. (I also recognize there were other practices in other parts of our great country. I just happen to live in the south.)

Recently, I was invited to the home of one of my closest friends for an afternoon Tea Tasting. We were presented with several different kinds of teas, set out in her beautiful dining room. As we drank from dainty china teacups, I imagined ladies a century ago doing the same. Though their clothing may have looked a little different and possibly their homes were a little different, their conversation probably centered around the same topics as ours...children, school, church and personal issues. I doubt that the deepest concern of the day was the weather, although it could have been if their crops weren't doing well.

Tea Tasting at Kim's (Third from left)
Women need each other...then and now. We need the community of friendship. My friend Kim, who hosted the gathering is busy planning her daughter's wedding, just sent another daughter off to the U.S. Marine Corps, and was preparing to return to her teaching job, yet found the time to plan this lovely afternoon. She not only nourished our bodies, she nourished our souls as well.

As we sat in the cool of her dining room sipping tea, sharing our lives, there was a sweetness, a blending of hearts that took place.

Time...we all have the same amount. We choose how we're going to use it.

So how will you spend your time as the Autumn months trek toward us? Will you be tailgating in a football stadium somewhere? Don't go alone...find another family to invite. Maybe you'll make a trip to the mountains wherever you live. A bonfire with smores is always a fun activity in the Fall. Rake a pile of leaves for your children to jump into. Invite your neighbors...get to know the people who live next to you. The opportunities are endless. We have so much for which to be thankful and family and friends are at the top of my list.

Slow down...smell the coffee...or the leaves...or whatever your neck of the woods is famous for. Your children are only babies me, they do remember and they will remind you...regularly! Our fondest memories are of the simple things...backyard cookouts with our neighbors...climbing trees...playing in the sandbox...homemade ice cream...a community of friendship. Don't let time slip away from you.

Our afternoon of tea tasting made memories for all of us. People are worth the investment of our time whether it's the nineteenth century or the present. Hospitality never goes out of style...hoop skirts maybe, but never extending an invitation to deepen a friendship.

If you'll excuse me, I hear the tea kettle whistling.

Blessings from My Little Corner,

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Rainy Days and Mondays

I love Mondays and rainy days. Put them together and I'm a happy girl. Most people dread Mondays but not yours truly. I look forward to a new week of possibilities, of list making and doing all the tasks not completed the week before.

This past Monday began as it normally does, and fell apart...totally fell apart. It became a day I'd like to of those do-over days. One thing led to another and at the end of my day, I was a teary-eyed mess.

Have you ever had a day you wish you could rewrite the way you would like it to REALLY happen? My version would involve truth and no one's feelings would ever get hurt. My children would rise and call me blessed. The pantry would miraculously be filled and supper would be on the table at the end of a long day of writing my next best selling book. And my husband would send me off to the beach for a month long writing sabbatical in a secluded little cottage near the water. Chocolate and lattes would magically appear at just the right time.

But life isn't a fairy tale and we mess up. We hurt people and people hurt us. We live one moment, one breath at a time. We say we're sorry and lament over the wrong done to us and then we lay our head on our pillow...

For God's mercy is new every morning. Just as the sun rose on Tuesday morning, I had...we all had an opportunity, if we took a breath, for a do-over...another day to start fresh, to put one foot in front of the other and go about the tasks we're called to do.

I was still licking my wounds on Wednesday morning, feeling quite sorry for myself, when I was drawn to read of Stephen and James' (the half brother of Jesus), deaths. They died martyrs. And it wasn't pretty, I might add. They were both stoned. I hung my head in shame. I've let two days escape me while I wallowed in self pity. Lesson learned.

What are you wrestling with today? Is it a person? An issue that won't resolve itself? Today is the day for a rewrite...a do-over. Don't waste precious time like me wallowing when you can be the author of your best story yet. Or better still...let Him write the ending. He's a much better Author and Finisher of our faith. mercies! That's my rewrite!

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.
Lamentations 3:22-23

Blessings from My Little Corner,

P.S. I have a close family member who has recently been diagnosed with an illness. I would appreciate prayer for her. Thanks so much!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Blogging...Has It Really Been Six Months?

When I began this journey in February, I had no idea where I was going with it exactly. Getting up the nerve for that first post took all the courage I could muster. I've learned a few things I'd like to share but there's so much more to learn.

1. I've learned I have the best family and friends in the world. They comment and encourage me with their words of affirmation...PRICELESS!

2. People need you to be vulnerable with them. They need to know someone else has been hurt, feels inadequate, has failed or does not have it together. They need to know there is someone who identifies with their pain. They need to know there is a God Who does have it together and Who does have a plan for their lives.

3. Writing has helped me to heal, but sharing my story with others is giving me freedom.

My drink of choice
4. I've learned the more I learn, the more I want to learn...I could possibly become addicted to writers' conferences.

5. Technology is forgiving...just blunder through, you'll eventually figure it out all by your fifty something self...and feel pretty good 'bout that!

6. I've learned there are not enough hours in the day to write all I want to write and read all the books I want to read to make me a better what's a girl to do?

Drink more Skinny Vanilla Lattes!! That's what!!

7. One last, simple fact...blogging is fun and cheap therapy!

So...if you're someone who is teetering on the blogging edge, go for it!

It's a lot of work...and occupies your thought life...everything becomes a possible blog post.

However, if you love to write, do it!

It's your space. Be creative. Write from your Passion.

I'm so glad God gave me the courage to press "Publish" that first time.

I'm thankful to you, my readers, for stopping by My Little Corner to share my thoughts. Also, to my family, I say "thank you" for putting up with the many hours I while away on my computer up in my little corner office. Time flies by when you're doing what you love. Lastly, I'm most thankful to my Savior, for lifting me from the pit onto solid ground and giving me purpose when I thought life after the empty nest was over. I'm learning life really can be's not just something printed on a t-shirt.

Blessings from My Little Corner,

Thursday, August 8, 2013

She Speaks...and She Writes

"Chatting" at She Speaks with Emily Freeman
The last couple of weeks have been busy for me...the kind of can't catch your breath, where did the summer go kind of busy. I'm still coming down from my weekend in Charlotte at She Speaks. In a word, it was OVERWHELMING, yet it was all I could have wanted it to be, and so much more.

The keynotes, workshop sessions, worship times and food were amazing but that's not what will live on in my memory. That special place is reserved for several women, varying in age, background, size and shape. We gathered from the south, the north, the east, the west, the northeast, the northwest, the southwest and two precious girls came from Alaska. One sweet little thing just moved back to her home state from Switzerland. Most of these women left babies and husbands behind to get away to pursue her dream.

All of us are writers...we want to write...need to write...feel called to write. We spent the weekend sharing our hearts, our stories, our fears. Several submitted book proposals...very good book proposals. One day you'll be reading their books. I'm sure of it.

I've had the desire to write since I was a young girl. I've written stories in my head as I've washed dishes, worked in my garden, rocked babies, ironed, walked or any number of chores as a wife and mother. Most of my life I've journaled, but never really got serious about writing. My home and family and other responsibilities were my priority and writing seemed out of reach. Fear also played a significant role. Now that my nest is empty, my time has come. Those things are still a priority but I'm making room for writing as more than a hobby.
We talked last weekend about how hard it is to call ourselves a writer. For me, I think it's because I don't have a degree or certificate hanging on the wall that says, "You are a Writer." My husband has his degree hanging proudly in his office for everyone to see along with awards he's achieved. They clearly identify him as a Land Surveyor. The state of South Carolina and two other states have requirements he has to meet to maintain his license to practice in their states. My concrete mind has a hard time accepting something abstract. my friend Amanda from Alaska, boldly and courageously declared, "I am a writer, I will follow her lead and do the same. "I am a writer. I love to write. It matters not that I ever earn a cent or publish a book (although I am writing a book). I write for the pure joy of encouraging others in their journey in this thing called life."

With that said, I will lay down my pencil and type before I lose my nerve. Thank you for reading and offering your encouragement. You have been "Aaron" to my "Moses" many times when I questioned whether I could really do this.

As for She Speaks...He spoke loudly through 22 other women. He spoke through laughter, tears, smiles, hugs and lattes. He spoke through one woman and her wisdom to draw us together before the conference...women who didn't even know each other six weeks ago and are now sisters in Christ. She listened to Him speak...and now we have the courage to speak and declare our craft.

To my new friends, She Speaks was one of the best weekends of my life and an investment in how I feel God has called me to use the rest of my life. So thank you for sharing your hearts with me and your stories...I will treasure them.

Blessings from My Little Corner,