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, November 24, 2014

Delirious for Downton

My friends across the pond are enjoying another Season of Downton Abbey (as are some of my American friends, thanks to the internet). While I'm very, very curious about my friends Bates, Edith, Tom (stay away from that pushy schoolteacher, Tom!), and the rest of the upstairs/downstairs gang, I've held out.

Still questioning the wisdom of this. I could have answers!

But I wouldn't necessarily be able to speak about them, which is half the fun.

It's already available for preorder on Amazon! Look how big the babies are now!

Speaking of spoilers, avert your eyes for a bit if you wish to know nothing about the current season. I'm not giving anything away, mind you, because I haven't seen the current season. But I do know a bit and I want to know what the hoopla is about:

  • Who might be moving to America? Tom, you are forbidden to go anywhere!
  • Why is George Clooney in the Christmas episode? (Celebrity gossip tangent: George became friends with Hugh Bonneville while filming "Monuments Men" and that is how he got the gig. If there is a bit of poetic justice in the Downton Universe, he will be there to woo Edith and won't care a figgy pudding about Mary.)
  • What happened to Edith's beau/baby daddy?
Ok, it's safe to look again.

Meanwhile, I have my Downton Abbey possessions to comfort me (yes, this is a joke).

Last year I scored for Christmas. Mom gave my daughter and me D.A necklaces that are super fancy. I was also given Downton wine (according to the label, it was chosen by Bates himself). I photographed it next to Downton Abbey wrapping paper, which I found at World Market (they also sold china, white with little gold and black flourishes).
Ooh la la! I'm just like the Crawleys!

I was also given a D.A. plum pudding, which we ate Christmas Day. It was dense, sweet, and chock full of raisins.
Of course we set it on fire! If you look closely, you can see the blue flames.

And this year my friend gave me some D.A. tea. It's delicious!
Yum! Other flavors are available, too, but this is mine!
Looks like there are lots of new D.A treats for 2014, too.

Scouring Amazon, I found new goodies for this year. Behold, a cd of Lord Grantham's favorite Christmas tunes! Elizabeth McGovern (Cora) sings! The classical pieces look fabulous. Of course, this isn't the first D.A. cd. There's a soundtrack out, too.
Available here
I think this cookbook may end up on my Christmas list. Because I want to eat just like Lady Mary does (assuming she eats chocolate, tea sandwiches, and opera cake).
Yum again!

Want another book with pretty pictures? Julian Fellowes put out this one, with recipes for "kedgeree, orange marmalade, asparagus tarts, cream of watercress soup, Irish stew, lemon barley water, meringues with red berries, parmesan straws, Christmas pudding with brandy butter and more." I'm not sure how I feel about lemon barley water.
Want it under your Christmas tree? Click here.
Looks fun to me. But if your budget is a little tight (and $11 for an ornament isn't ridiculous sounding, which it is to me) why not bring a little D.A. to your tree with this bell pull?
Ring ring!
If only I could ring for Carson.

Speaking of Carson, he's written a book on staff management. It'll be out Nov. 25.

If you're having problems with your footmen, click here.

Is there nothing that man can't do?

Last but not least--because I could go on forever, trust me--is the official board game. This is something I may have to buy so I can play with my local D.A.-fan friends, and haul in a suitcase to next year's ACFW for some cutthroat competition with a few Inkies.
Oh mercy. Guess what I want for Christmas.
Whom shall I be? Why am I even asking this when Tom is an option? If Deb Marvin beats me to that punch, I'll call the Dowager.
Oh wait, looks like our options are Faceless Anna and Faceless Barrow (aka Thomas, not to be confused with Tom, thank you very much). I'll pick the red Anna.

It looks a bit like Clue, but the directions describe tasks to complete.

Squee! Roll the dice and have a sip of D.A. tea while the Christmas cd plays in the background. We're on!

Who's with me?

originally appeared on Inkwell Inspirations

Monday, November 17, 2014

Chugging Along

How's your November going?

I'm still plugging along on NaNoWriMo, but I admit it's not going as fruitfully as I'd hoped. November is a busy month with my family, and we've had a few extras piled on to the usual sources of busyness. Isn't that how life always goes?

I'm tired. Worn out. Weary.

I'm spiritually tired, too. Seems like some things are tough to get over. Other things, I'm not sure why I bother. Sometimes doing the right thing doesn't appear to bear any fruit.

Ever feel like that?

But I'm determined not to give up.

James 1:12

Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.

2 Thessalonians 3:13

And as for you, brothers, never tire of doing what is right.

Ecclesiastes 9:11

I have seen something else under the sun: The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all.

Galatians 6:9

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
This November, I look forward to reaping a harvest that will never spoil or decay. Even if I don't see that day for years to come.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Nutcracker Christmas by Jennifer Allee

I'm reading a delightful holiday-themed novella by Jennifer AlLee right now: 

Nutcracker Christmas, part of the Christmas Traditions novella collection. Right now this sweet story is available as an e-book for only 99 cents!

Here's the scoop:

Isabella Brandt lives to dance, but she's spent the last four years in obscurity as part of the corps. Now, she's finally landed a principal role in The Nutcracker. But a handsome Hungarian violinist and a shocking visit from her past may knock this ballerina off her feet and ruin Christmas.

Sounds good, doesn't it?

It's 1945, and Isabella's just one of many ballerinas in the San Francisco Ballet Corps trying out for a plum role in The Nutcracker. Victor Randolf, Hungarian immigrant and violinist, is delighted for the job in the orchestra. Working together, they become close, but a Thanksgiving surprise threatens to ruin their relationship. Not to mention Christmas. And Isabella faces an entirely different looking future than she'd planned.

The 20K word novella is a quck-paced read. I love Jennifer's style. If you have a Kindle and enjoy inspirational romance, this is a sweet holiday option.

Click here to buy!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Now that it's November...

  • I'll make my super easy pumpkin cake (1 can pumpkin + 1 box spice cake mix, bake at 350 for half an hour). Not the healthiest recipe, but it's so fast...and sometimes fast is what gets things done.
  • I'm drinking a lot of hot apple cider. Warms my hands and tummy, and tastes like autumn.
  • I'm curious to see which of my neighbors will begin decorating for Christmas first.
  • I may not decorate, but I might give in and listen to some Christmas music while I write or drive in the car--alone, so my family doesn't laugh at me.
  • Yep, I've already started Christmas shopping.
  • I'm also reading Christmas books, including Cup of Christmas Cheer from Guideposts! A few of my friends have stories in this year's volumes (3 and 4) and I was privileged to critique one. These are the sorts of books I leave out every December for family members or guests to curl up with; they are short stories big in holiday spirit.
  • Thanksgiving is coming! What will I do differently this year? I'm always shaking up side dishes.
  • I'm working on NaNoWriMo, trying to write 50K words in 30 days. So far, so good. But it's a busy month, so I expect a few challenges.

How about you? What are you up to, now that it's November?