Tea Floats

IMG_5261The day turned hot, and intensive spring-cleaning made it hotter. Moving furniture and vacuuming and rethinking room plans consumed hubby and me. The kids hit their boredom peak as the sun tipped toward the west, and we sent them into the pool for a cool down. And I headed to the kitchen.

Our family chooses not to drink soda. There is no need for that much sugar in our diet. We get plenty, to be sure! So, what does one do when an afternoon is screaming for a Root Beer Float?

One makes a Tea Float instead!

IMG_5262That afternoon, I chose our new Sweet Chai tea. I mixed 1 cup brewed tea with ¾ cup of sparkling water and then added vanilla ice cream. I’ve also tried our Creamy Earl Grey. The results are dreamy! The Sweet Chai float reminds me of a Root Beer Float with its sweetness and subtle bite. The Creamy Earl Grey float tastes like an iced latte. I have plans for trying Coconut Oolong the next time I get to the store and remember to buy vanilla ice cream. Really, I think we have a lot of flavors that would work brilliantly. And the summer is new and fresh, so we have plenty of time to experiment!

What flavor Tea Float will you try?IMG_5260


IMG_5256Meet Dragon. You may look at this and think, “Why did she name that walrus Dragon?” That is an appropriate question. First of all, the walrus in question is my son’s… not mine. Secondly, this creature in question… is a dragon… and a walrus. It’s complicated.

Let me explain. We walked into our favorite toy store and Joseph began his usual systematic hunt through the store for the best “I want.” He approached me after awhile and showed me this puppet.IMG_5255

“What is this?” he asked.
“A walrus,” I replied.

He wasn’t happy with my answer. He asked the clerk. “Umm, excuse me. What is this?”
“A walrus,” she replied.

And then he explained the look on his face. “No, this is a dragon. See.”IMG_5258

I still didn’t see really, but I pretended. “Oh, yes… flippers, wings, yes! Very good.” And the walrus came home with us.

It wasn’t until later that day that I really sat down and looked at the walrus, trying to see him with my son’s eyes. Upside down walrus. No, dragon.

And then my eyes glazed over and my heart flip-flopped and I saw what he saw. Tusks became horns. Beard became fluffy-top-of-the-head hair. Tail… still tail… but more dragon-like upside down.IMG_5259

Walrus… dragon… it’s a matter of perspective.

Now, what is this?

Be sure to crush your loose tea leaves before measuring!

You probably answered, “Tea!” And like my walrus answer, it is a correct answer. But let’s reconsider. Let’s turn it upside down and look at it from a different angle.

Because maybe it is this.

Stina and Nurse Susan hug. That's Dr. Mac in the background.


Wendy and Scovia

Fred leaves with Beatrice for the 40 mile ride to the closest x-ray machine.

Fred leaves with Beatrice for the 40 mile ride to the closest x-ray machine.

Fred, in blue, being prayed over by his friends.

Fred, in blue, being prayed over by his friends.






And this.0-43

Sister Dlimani, Community Caregivers, Dawn's daughter Karin, and Stina take time for tea.

Some of the happy faces coming to day care.

I'm a 1000 HIlls Kid -- it is so good to belong!


Stina teaches the Community Caregivers how to use their new stethoscopes

Elphus in his tiny room

Where Elphus lives

Wendy and Dawn Leppan get ready to distribute the kits.

Community Caregivers with their new medical kits


It could be this also.Day12Meds.162535 Day7nurseJoyceatKareroclinin.160848

I have to ask, then, if tea can be all of these things, why aren’t we looking at tea in this way? Why are you still buying your tea at the grocery store? Why aren’t you buying tea that can be this? Compassion Tea… Share Tea… Save Lives… Tea NOW!

IMG_0257 IMG_8083

Lessons From the Farm

Sometimes people say I run a farm. Sometimes I feel like I run the circus. But with 4 hens, 3 baby chicks, 1 rambunctious doodle, a stray cat picked up along the way, and 2 aquariums, I do have a bit of a farm thing going on. I remind myself of the gentlemen farmers of the colonial period. All dressed up and fancy and hauling slop.

Lately, my animals have been teaching me things and I’d like to pass on this knowledge.

1. When your doodle starts growling and misbehaving, he is seeking attention. Stop and play for 5 minutes and the attention-seeking behavior settles down. This works for kids, too.IMG_4768 IMG_4769
2. If you really want to have fun, you have to let go. Winston will fetch a toy and bring it back to me. But then he doesn’t let go. He stands there with the toy dangling from his mouth waiting for me to play some more. I can’t… until he lets go. So let go, for goodness sake.IMG_5254 IMG_5253
3. Babies grow. And when they do, they need more room. Sometimes that means they need higher walls and bigger space, looser boundaries, or just boundaries that seem less restricting. But they are still babies and they still need protection and boundaries.IMG_5234
4. Baby chickens like to try their wings. So do children. Let them try… when the scary doodle isn’t breathing down their neck, in places and ways that ensure success and not danger.IMG_5243 IMG_5242 IMG_5241 IMG_5240 IMG_5239 IMG_5238
5. Grown-ups don’t like change. The grown hens are completely bent out of shape at the peepings they hear from the nearby pen. Given the opportunity, the big girls will chase after the babies and scare them thoroughly. Gentle, subtle change is better than a full-on meet and greet with the newbies.
6. Handle with care. All of them.
7. Cats and tween girls are very much alike. Aloof and independent most of the time, they come slinking out of their room for food and to have a need met. Like, when they need you to find a specific shirt or to have their water changed. But occasionally, they crave a little love and come wrapping themselves around your ankles. Rarely is the timing good for you. Usually you are in a rush yourself. But if you want to connect and build relationship, you better change your plans fast and stoop down for a pat, a snuggle, and a few kind words. In the blink of an eye, they change their mind and jump out of your arms and scurry back into the cover of their spot.IMG_4662
8. Most of the time, don’t expect too much from either the cat or the tween. Each has his/her own thing going on and will not be hurried, hassled, or otherwise bothered by anything you suggest or offer.IMG_4666 IMG_4665
9. Feed in the light. The fish can’t find the food in the dark (maybe they can, but they look so lost to me!). So turn on the light and then feed them. Feed the kids THE LIGHT… the one true Savior, God, Redeemer. Steer them ever toward THE LIGHT.
10. Take the time to watch and listen. They have things to teach us. And just stopping to watch or play or snuggle is good… really good… for your soul.
Okay, the doodle is pushing my arm with his nose. He’s getting upset, toddler that he is. It’s time to play. Adieu from the farm!

Making Plans

I used to make plans. Sure, I’ll still make the list of to-dos for the day. Grocery lists, an order of errand running so I don’t forget the dry cleaning or the milk or to mail the taxes. And yes, I’ve got meetings scheduled… coffee with her and lunch with them and planning sessions with the team. But planning… like life planning… like dreaming of the future, yearning after things… not so much.

When I was 16 or so, I thought I would become a lawyer or possibly a journalist. I would get married sometime in my 30s and have kids but my career would trump most of that. I hear my daughter saying things like this. That she’s never going to get married or if she does it’ll be a long time from now and kids, well, maybe. And my son chimes in with assurances that he is going to build a cabin in the woods somewhere so he can hunt and ranch and live off the land and who needs a wife and kids for that but mom and dad will always have a place there. So sweet. It used to worry me that my kids didn’t want families. Like, where did I go wrong? Did I complain once too many times about having to pick up after everyone, feed everyone 500 times a day, and oh the mountains of laundry? No. Once I remembered my own carefree ideas of the future from my earlier self’s yearnings, I relaxed.

Because life has a way of reshaping, stretching, replacing and even annihilating dreams.

Or, as God says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11.

I was toying around this morning with an idea, after watching a gorgeous grandma deliver her grandson to kindergarten. It was an idea that pondered the future. Could that be me? Would it be possible for me to help my daughter raise her kids? Would I have this chance on the school playground ever again after my own children grew out of the playground? What would that look like and what would be the paths that put us there?

What a siren song that could have been. It could consume, hold me captive in a dream, while life walked on around me.

No, as Maya Angelou once said, “I believe life loves the liver of it.” No, dreaming is okay, but living is better. And turning that life over to God, to His plans, is the ultimate.

I’m probably about halfway through my life. And I believe every step of the journey has had some learning purpose to it. Coming on to the board of Compassion Tea? Early classes in writing, experiences with missionaries, and traveling abroad all prepared me for this stage. My adoption gave me a heart for children without families. My own struggles with having children taught me a reverence for life that I couldn’t have otherwise understood. Raising those kids has softened my heart toward us all; good grief, it ain’t easy being a parent, much less human!

My husband talks about retirement; he plans for it and dreams big. And I listen and smile and encourage; all the while knowing that any and all of those dreams belong to God. About some He will say, “No, that’s not good for you.” About others He will say, “Yes, to my glory.”

Me? I’m just along for the ride. My eyes are watching God to see where and when and how He moves.