I knew that C.S. Lewis and I had more in common than our Christianity when he said, "You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me." Welcome to a celebration of faith, tea, and the written word. I'm always engaged in a book, and whether it's one I'm reading or one of the inspirational historical romances I write, there's always a cup of tea close by. Join me in a cup as we chat about faith, our favorite books and the exciting places our reading and writing adventures take us.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Finding Joy in Unexpected Places: The Pastor's Wife Speaks

Whether you're a pastor's wife or a fan of inspirational fiction, you're sure to find encouragement on Jennifer AlLee's new blog, The Pastor's Wife Speaks.

Centered around the heroine of Jen's newest release, The Pastor's Wife from Abingdon Press, The Pastor's Wife Speaks is a blog that celebrates faith, shares inspiration, and offers giveaways...and you don't have to be a pastor's wife or have read Jen's book to participate. However, the blog offers encouragement for the unique issues faced by pastor's wives.

Jen graciously invited me to share an article I'd previously written for Inkwell Inspirations, and you can read it using the above link. I muse about an opportunity God gave me to share my faith through my position as the wife of a pastor. I hope you'll check it out!


Speaking of giveaways, be sure to check out Inkwell Inspirations all week as we celebrate our First Blog-o-versary. I'll be posting Friday with a giveaway of my own.

Hope you're all enjoying the end of summer!

Sunday, August 22, 2010


This morning on Inkwell Inspirations, I've posted a devotional on seizing the day and sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ with others. It was a lesson I received this summer while we were on our family vacation in the Pacific Northwest. Sometimes I'm amazed at the ways God reminds me how He wants me to live, and this occasion was no different. He reminded me to reach out to others using a funny sort of instructional aid.

Napkins. Bedecked with gnomes.

I guess I shouldn't be shocked. God knows me inside and out, and understands I've got a thing for gnomes so they'd be a good way to grab my attention. Gnomes remind me of childhood, when I'd pretend that fairies and clothes-wearing mice dwelled within the tree trunks and slept under rose-petal quilts. I may be an adult, but my imagination is still just as crazy and I haven't outgrown my affection for tiny mythical creatures. To prove the point: three little red-capped gnomes are tucked in various spots throughout my garden. As if they were really alive, they're always on the move, thanks to my kids, who hide them like pirate treasure for a few of our younger friends when they visit. Here they are in the basil, Lars, Uther, and Nicky.

And even if gnomes aren't your thing, the reminder that God gives us opportunities to share His love with others applies to us all.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Tea, Crumpets, and Lavender -- a Novel Idea

You know me. Regardless of whether the weather is hot or cold, you can't keep me away from a good book and a cup of tea. My summer vacation was no exception.
Inside Pike Place Market, Seattle, Washington.Image via Wikipedia

It was a cool, rainy morning when we drove into Seattle to check out Pike Place Market. I'd never been to the Pacific Northwest, but Pike Market is a place that's almost required visiting for tourists. What started out as a small public street market in 1907 is now a world-famous farmer's market/experience. Even if you haven't been, you've perhaps heard of the fishmongers who shout and toss whole salmons to each other to the delight of the crowd, or you've read about the delicious donuts from Daily Dozen (I'd read about it. And yearned for the donuts. We ordered a varied dozen, but I never saw more of the sprinkled ones than a flash of pink frosting. My kids and nephews had first dibs and just like that, poof! They vanished. The cinnamon sugar I tried were fabulous, however.).

There was another stop I'd heard of and wanted to explore. How could I possibly pass by Market Spice?

When we entered that amazing-smelling store, I restrained myself from going gaga. As the name implies, they sell spices and teas, displayed in hand-labeled jars. Accoutrements, too, from goofy teacups to some serious china, like the pot that matches my Russian Cobalt Net teacup. I browsed with a paper cup of their signature blend of tea in hand (a spicy tea that reminds me a bit of Good Earth brand). Of course I bought a packet of the loose leaf, but I also bought a blend I'd never heard of before: Princess Grey, a mixture of Earl Grey, rose petals and lavender. My daughter and I exclaimed over the sheer delight of that combination.

"Girly tea," my brother-in-law quipped. He's right, of course. The tea is delicate, feminine, and delicious, the perfect accompaniment for scones. And if there's a fair-princess-girly tea where Princess Grey is served, invite me.

A buttered crumpetImage via Wikipedia
After lunch, I was delighted to stumble across The Crumpet Shop on 1st Avenue. Feeling a bit like Alice in Wonderland, I forked over $1.60 and ordered one smothered with honey. The crumpet looked like a cross between a thick pancake and an english muffin. I wish I'd photographed it, but there it was, sticky in my hands, and all I could think about was keeping the honey from dripping on my pants. I had no fork, no plate, nothing but my fingers to work with, so I broke off a chunk and stuck it in my mouth. The crumpet was crispy on the outside, soft inside, and delicious, tasting like neither a pancake or an english muffin to me. (Here's a pic which I didn't take, of course, but it gives you an idea.) If I'd had ten minutes, a novel, and a mug of tea to go with it, I'd have been set. As it was, my little crumpet break during a busy day offered a bit of refreshment that went beyond putting my feet up.

If tea and crumpets offered relaxation, another stop on my trip offered inspiration. A lavender farm.

As we passed through the peninsula of Washington, we spotted several signs advertising family-owned lavender farms. We had a bit of time to do away with, so we stopped at one in Sequim, and I'm not disappointed we did. Lavender makes a particularly pretty crop, and the elegantly-rounded plants flowed seamlessly into the gardens surrounding the farmer's house. We were invited to walk among the lavender and we trailed our hands through the blossoms, breathing through our lavender-scented fingers. In the small gift shop, I pored over all things lavender -- cookbooks, soaps, dishtowels, and tea. Yes, Princess Grey was here, too! I asked the proprietor -- a gentleman who'd lived in my own hometown and retired to Sequim -- and he told me the earl grey component of the tea came from Market Spice, which he then blended with his own lavender.

The sensory experience of the lavender farm got my creative energy going and inspired an idea for a new story. When, of course, I finish my current project. (I'm working on it!)

Until then, I have my memories (and notes) to sustain me. I may not be able to recreate my crumpet experience, but I'm lucky enough to have my Princess Grey tea and lavender-infused goodies to remind me of the bit of relaxation and inspiration I received this summer.

How was your summer vacation? Were you able to try something new? If you're a writer, did you receive inspiration from it?

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Monday, August 9, 2010

Five, Yes FIVE, Free Copies of Goodness Gracious Green!

Wow, it's good to be back. After seven weeks of a sinus infection and a lo-ong car trip to visit family in the Pacific Northwest, I've been absent from the blog scene for a while now. But with school starting right around the corner, it's time to get back into the routine. (I wish the weather felt a bit more like summer is waning!)

I can't wait to share a bit more about the books and tea of my summer (I had the most fabulous thing in Seattle -- a honey-drizzled crumpet -- to tell you about) but for now, I have to share the astonishing opportunity to win a delightful book.

Visit Inkwell Inspirations today, August 9, and leave a comment for the chance to win one of five copies of Judy Christie's Goodness Gracious Green, published by Abingdon Press. Thanks to Abingdon, Judy, and Abingdon author Jennifer AlLee (author of the wonderful book, The Pastor's Wife) for making this possible!

Tomorrow, I've got a post on the Inkwell weaving together 1950s nostalgia, board games, and learning about my mom. I hope you can check it out!
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