Friday, October 31, 2008

ichor red tea. [all hallows' eve]

I just wanted to wish my lovely readers a very terrifying All Hallows' Eve, and a happy Reformation Day while I'm at it.

"On mounting a rising ground, which brought the figure of his fellow-traveller in relief against the sky, gigantic in height, and muffled in a cloak, Ichabod was horror-struck on perceiving that he was headless!--but his horror was still more increased on observing that the head, which should have rested on his shoulders, was carried before him on the pommel of his saddle!"
--The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Washington Irving

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

raspberry zinger. [faith integration]

In reading an article for my CS 102 class entitled Integrating Faith & Learning, by David S. Dockery, I am inclined to reflect upon my own experience at a Christian Liberal Arts college. I am thankful for my education, and know how rare a thorough, yet Christian, education can be. As Dockery points out, the majority of colleges and universities in America at one point all had one goal in common: an authentic Christian higher education. Though the number of schools with a goal like this in mind has drastically depleted, I am glad that I had the opportunity to study at one with such a vigor for Christ--a vigor that emanates from every pore of the college's being.
I came to Montreat College in the autumn of 2005. Previously in high school, I claimed my Christianity but did not particularly live it. I knew what I believed, but I probably couldn’t tell you why I believed it. Jesus loves me this I know was about the extent of my doctrinal knowledge. As soon as I arrived to Montreat, my new home, nestled in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains in an enchanting cove which time seems to have left untouched, I knew it was different. Never before had I been in an atmosphere that so obviously contained an insatiable love for Christ, and I was wholeheartedly encouraged to deepen my relationship with Him by not only my friends but my professors as well. It didn’t happen overnight, but as I spent more and more time in Montreat and around people who were on fire for Christ, it was hard to resist the power and grace of my old Friend, and renovate the relationship I had with Him. So shortly after arriving to Montreat I begin to strengthen my relationship with Jesus through prayer, reading the Word and fellowship with my awesome friends. I decided to make, what was up till then my parents’ faith, my own. Thus began the inauguration of my faith integration process.
As a Christian in a Christian college it wasn’t hard to begin integrating my faith in with my learning, because most of my professors were already integrating the faith into their teaching. This not only helped me see what faith and learning integration was, but helped me see what faith integration can look like in a career. I struggled to choose a major, and planned what felt like the rest of my known existence; I really didn’t know what I wanted to be in life besides a mom, and the only other thing I was certain of was that I would travel. I wanted my Christianity to be apart of every aspect of my life so eventually my conclusion was: Bible and Religion concentrating in Cross-Cultural Studies. Bible so I can answer my kids’ questions about my faith (as well as anyone else’s questions), and Cross-Cultural Studies to satisfy my desire to travel, as well as learn about other worldviews and beliefs--not to be a close-minded, ignorant Christian.
I wouldn't trade my experience at Montreat for anything. Through my classes, especially ones like Christian Doctrine and Worldviews, I have understood not only that I am a Christian, but why I am. I no longer am a follower of a faith I know nothing about. Montreat also revealed to me the other half of my soul, though I can hardly credit Montreat's liberal arts education for giving me the gift that is my husband, Jeremy Foreman.
As Dockery says, "learning shaped and formed by faith results in living that is shaped and formed by faith." I can joyously say that I am an unmitigated example of the truth in that statement.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

perfectly pear white tea. [first snow]

It was snowing this morning. I looked out the window to see my car blanketed in a white mantle of fresh, glistening snow. So beautiful. It was also Cael's first snow experience. He was enraptured.
It was joyous.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

tension tamer ginger tea. [an eerie evening]

The trees were unusually vocal, and the night was eerie as I walked Cael in the darkness. The shadows were long and skeletal, and the chill in the air sharper than it has yet been. Sounds came from the woods to my left, and voices not belonging to the trees whispered in the branches above me. We walked on; the voices followed. The wind created a tumult in the canopy above, causing leaves to rain down around me in torrent of cold darkly colorless leaves. The dark is frightening; it pilfers the brilliant color that normally typifies my sleepy valley. Where there is darkness, no color remains. We continued up the road, through the shadows, trying to ignore the voices in the trees. A gravel, tree covered road peels off of the one we tread, and it abruptly ended into a huge mouth of black nothingness. Mysterious noises piqued Cael interest as he strained on his leash toward the ominous blackness, my senses and the hair on the back of my neck held any degree of curiosity I might have a bay, while I attempted to keep my spaniel as such. We turned and headed for home, still being trailed by the voices in the forest, as the occasional leaf, drained of color, ghosted to the ground at my feet. I shivered, pulled my scarf closer to my neck, and tried to think of nothing but the hot tea I would have when I had returned home.

Monday, October 20, 2008

honey vanilla white tea. [autumnal weekend.]

This past weekend was full of autumnal occasions. Friday was a day of relaxation for Jeremy and I, I made dinner and we watched Scream 2, (Hocus Pocus is next on my list). It was nice to stay in and just enjoy each others' company. Saturday morning I met with my girls to discuss our brilliant ideas about our brilliant novels, and to laugh and be silly with each other as well. We had to cut our meeting a bit short due to the wedding of friends of Jeremy and I, which we were going to at two. Shelley and Nate married each other on the beautiful, albeit chilly, autumn day that Saturday was. The wedding was held In The Oaks, in Black Mountain, beneath a sunshade of autumn oaks, maples, and birches. It was gorgeous, and Shnate (as they have been dubbed) were blissful in each other's arms. I was able to take many good photos for them as well, just as a gift. The reception was catered by Jeremy's mother, Anne, so needless to say, the food was exquisite. Their dance was romantic, their smiles perpetual, and their escape, fingers entwined, through a throng of people tossing freshly gathered leaves of many hues, was sublime.
After the wedding, I went to catch the last fifteen minutes of the Montreat vs. Covenant soccer game, we won 4-0, very exciting. Jeremy and I celebrated with part of the team that evening.
On Sunday morning, Jeremy and I awoke early with intentions of leaving at the break of dawn and abscond to the parkway for the day to enjoy the beauty of the leaves, and the majesty of the mountains. Though we got up a little later than anticipated, we still made it up to the parkway before the crowds and had a wonderful day. We brought Cael along with us, he was a pain, but we love him were glad we brought him in the end. For some reason part of the parkway was closed and we couldn't go farther than Craggy Gardens, so we pulled in there. We ate our lunch, and then hiked the trail that began on the far side of the picnic area. Jeremy, Cael, and I embarked on the trail leading up to the summit of the small mount we were on. The trail took us twice as long to follow for we tended to venture off the beaten path whene'r something caught our eyes. It was an easy hike, about mile long, though we easily did two. One such venture took us deep into the woods for the better part of a half an hour before we rejoined the trail. The forest was beautiful, the sun danced playfully upon the golden leaves, while igniting the those that were crimson. The trees stood tall and strong, inviting us to caper below their emblazoned canopy. I felt like I was in a different world, the forest made me feel like I belonged there. The trees whispered around us, and the breeze carried their message of peace and tranquility to our ears, tempting us to lose ourselves within their undisturbed embrace of earthy serenity. We came to ourselves before all manner of mind was lost and found our way back to the path. Ambling the rest of the way up the trail did not take long, and the view at the top was magnificent. I spent some time up there, then began our trek back down to reality. The trip back didn;t take half as long as the former, and were within view of the prking lot all too soon. We drove him, still feeling enchanted, though our exhaustive exploits of the day began to take their toll on us the moment we sat down. It was a beautiful day, and I was lucky to be able to spend it with the most amazing husband anyone could ask for.
Later that evening, I made a dinner of avocado burgers with carmelized onions, and honey mustard dressing, and Laura and Chelsea came over to eat and watch North and South which is a charmingly romantic story set in 19th century England. Though a bit long, it was worth investing the time to see the way Mr. Thornton looks at Margaret in the train station.
As always, Chelsea and Laura's company was amusing and thoroughly enjoyable.

As you can imagine, I'm quite knackered and in dire need of a good long rest which I am hoping to obtain tonight.

Cheerfully exhausted,


Friday, October 17, 2008

darjeeling black tea. [knowledge the enemy of faith?]

Last night, Jeremy and I watching The Order, with Heath Ledger, which is a movie about the what are called "sin eaters." The movie focuses on a Catholic priest called Alex, he is one of the Carolingian order of priests, who are specifically trained to exorcise demons, and fight otherworldly creatures. The movie itself is of little consequence to me in this post, but more a quote given by a 'wise' bookstore owner in Rome, because everyone who owns a bookstore is the pinnacle of wisdom for all subjects. He says the knowledge in the enemy of faith. It took a moment for his meaning to sink in, then I said aloud, "I completely disagree." I'll be the first to admit, that to a person weak in faith, 'knowledge' is the means by which the culprit snatches the waning faith from said person, usually giving him a haughty new worldview which belittles the 'faith' he thought he possessed before. But as a Christian, knowledge has been fuel to my fire, and not only knowledge about what I believe; the more I know God, the more I see his fingerprints on the world around me, and the more easily I see his influence in every aspect of my education. True faith begets knowledge. St. Anselm of Canterbury said "I believe in order that I may understand." Believing in God not only allows us a better view of the created order, but knowing God, allows us to better know ourselves and others as well.
Esphesians 3: 17-19
I pray that you being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know that this love surpasses knowledge--that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Dwell on this, so that you may understand that no matter how much knowledge you acquire, there is nothing that you can know that equals the love that we have in Christ, that he loves us so much, though we deserve none of it. That he allows us to know him and know his creation--every aspect of it. Knowledge will never be an enemy of faith, it can only supplement our relationship with God, to better serve him as his chosen people, as we continue to build his kingdom.

Late for class,


Thursday, October 16, 2008

hot fresh-pressed apple cider. [mind of Gwen]

I know I'm not drinking tea, but if you knew how glorious this apple cider tasted you wouldn't be questioning me.
Classes are now back in full swing, and I'm just praying that the second half of the semester goes as quickly by as the first half. Overall, my classes are going well and I'm enjoying most of them, most of the time.
Autumn is still working on transforming this valley into a palette of deep, rich colors; the paint brushes of trees still striving towards their brightest, most vivid colors. The leaves have begun to loose themselves from their places on the lofty branches with the aid of the occasional gust of crisp westerly wind. On Cael's walk this morning, up ahead of us a breath of wind liberated some leaves from a yellow birch tree, they looked like gold flakes glittering to the ground in the morning sun.

I have been working on my novel lately and been making some encouraging progress, but I continue running into the same problem. Gwen, my protagonist, is reluctant to allow me full access into her mind--this is a problem because I am writing it in first-person, from her point of view. I feel like I'm forcing ideas into her head, then when I go back and read them, they don't fit into the narrative at all. I've done a character study, but maybe I need one that is more in depth, because Gwen is not one that lets people in easily. Any ideas on how to get Gwen to let me in?



Monday, October 13, 2008

black currant black tea. [harvest time]

This morning heralds the end of my Fall Break, which is rather unfortunate--but it also ushers in the latter half of the semester, which means I'm only about six weeks away from graduation. As much as I do not want to go to class this morning, I must think of what is to come, and why I must go. This has perhaps been one of the best ones I have ever experienced. I read the entirety of Son of the Shadows, and loved every page of it; and I also began Child of the Prophecy, which is the next of the trilogy.
Yesterday was perhaps the best day though. Jeremy and I went to church at iSight, which was quite fulfilling, then came home and made and had lunch with Laurel, Jeremy's sister. After Laurel left we went out to find pumpkin carving tools, candy corn, and some pumpkin ale. Jeremy brought home three perfect pumpkins the other day, and we spent all day together yesterday carving pumpkins, toasting pumpkin seeds, listeing to Irish music, and eating candy corn. It was so great to spend a day with Jeremy, laughing, and joking around, and just being together having fun. I love carving pumpkins, and he surprised me the other day when he brought them home, like they were flowers. I was so excited. It was just such a pleasant time with him. We each carved one of our own, then I traced one, and he carved it while I made dinner. Can you guess which one's which?
We then watched The Village, which isn't terrifying, but it's as scary as I tend to venture to see. I love that movie, it's so thrilling--but I realized the real reason why I love it is because of the relationship between Ivy and Lucius. It's beautiful. There is this one scene where their town is being invaded by dangerous mythical creatures who have not breached their borders in many years, while everyone is terrified, running inside to their safe places beneath the floor boards, Ivy, who is blind but also one of the more capable people in the village, is standing on the front porch with her hand out, waiting for Lucius. She knows he will come for her, she has a faith in him that is so pure and so sure that she risks her life as one of the creatures is coming for her, but before it gets there, another hand firmly grasps hers and leads her inside. Lucius had come, just as she knew he would. It it's just such a beautiful picture of the kind of trust two such people should have in each other, they are not engaged yet as of that scene, but they do become so later. It really is the ultimate image of a blind faith, as cliche as that might be.
Spending time with Jeremy yesterday was so enjoyable, and reading books with such strong, faith-filled love, and seeing The Village last night really made me appreciate him all the more. We are so wonderful for each other, and it's beautiful to see our relationship strengthen, and our lives grow intwined with each other, creating not just two people perfect for each other, but eventually, one heart beating in a steady, never-ending cadence of devotion.

Not caring how sappy this post seems,


Friday, October 10, 2008

darjeeling black tea. [autumnal elegance]

After a wonderful night of dinner, dessert, and great company--Laura came over for dinner and brought with her an delectable chocolate peppermint torte--I read a bit before going to bed, and was inclined to sleep in this morning. When I woke up, Cael was ever so ready to go on his morning walk, tail wagging, constant whining and all. I threw on my favorite blue hoodie, my black sambas, got Cael leashed up and headed out the door.
As soon as I took a few steps outside I knew this morning was different. I continued walking, letting Cael do his thing, then usually I would turn back for home as soon as he was finished. But this morning lured me on to continue walking, the crispness in the air, the vibrant colors on the trees, and the ever thicker carpet of yellows, reds, and browns enlightened my mind to the fact that it was now undeniably autumn. The toughest wildflowers were still hanging on, but even they cannot last much longer, their springy pinks and purples no match for autumn's gold, scarlet, and sweet orange. As Cael and I walked, protected by the still intact canopy of the trees, the chill was nipping but not biting yet, still a small puppy waiting to be full grown with the coming of winter. The mist was covering the mountains again, giving way to yet another contented sigh from me as we walked on. The wind, by and by, would ripple through the trees and they would lean in toward each other as if telling great secrets only they can understand, precipitating a new array of color to rain down to the ground, adding to the beautiful autumnal mantle through which I continued to walk. We walked for the better part of an hour, smelling, hearing, seeing, and even tasting the lovely weather with the coming and going of the breeze, always having something else riveting to catch the eye. We turned for home, enjoying the last few paces of our walk and the wind prompted the trees to again begin whispering and leaning in toward each other, I couldn't understand their cryptic language, but I'd like to think they were calling to me, telling me to return again soon to enjoy their protective canopy, and delight in their resonant colors once more.

Enraptured by Autumn,


Wednesday, October 8, 2008

honey vanilla chamomile tea.

I am not actually sipping my honey vanilla chamomile tea yet, I am awaiting the whistle of the kettle to forewarn me that the water is boiled and my tea can now begin imbuing its flavorful herbs in my white, wide-mouthed mug. Anytime now. Ah, I can hear the pressure rising...
Now that my tea is steeping and sweetened with the perfect amount of honey I can really sit down and write. Today has been another long day, made bearable by two things: The perpetual rain today has shrouded the mountains all around the valley in that enchanting mist I love so much, hiding the peaks so that one can imagine they loom higher than ever before in majestic mysteriousness. Today is also the beginning of Fall Break, and I am so thankful to get a couple days away from the engrossing life of being a student. I have two extra days in which to read whatever I want, and spend my time how ever I please, which may or may not include any of the following: reading, writing, drawing, thinking, painting, and then of course the everyday things like walking Cael, and loving my husband so well. These things are all prevailed upon in my everyday life by my school work and constant thoughts of assignments, grades, and articles for the newspaper. I eagerly anticipate giving them their due time these next few days; then alas, it will be over before I realize.

My tea is finally cool enough to sip. The flavor of the aromas are dancing upon my tongue in peaceful pirouettes then waltzing back and forth, making aqauintance with every tastebud before slipping down my throat, warm and comforting. The smell of chamomile is something that never fails to calm my senses and ease the tension that usually accumulates in my shoulders any given day. It's sweet but not sickly so; the redolence seems to permeate my being little by little, each breath taken being deeper than the one before it. It smells like home, like curling up with a good book on a chilly winter's gloaming, like the warm embrace of a parent when you're young before drifting off to sleep. When I smell chamomile I find it easy to imagine myself in my favorite fantasy novel, having a warm cup of chamomile tea before the hearth of my father's household, being full from a hearty dinner, surrounded by family listening to stories of old I've heard a thousand times and of which I never tire.
Now I am finding that as my body relaxes, that tranquility is knocking at the door to my mind. I think I'll end here, and go and welcome my guest waiting on the doorstep; I'll invite him in and ask him to stay a while.



Tuesday, October 7, 2008

irish breakfast tea. [autumn approaching]

It's one of those mornings again. I do not say this because it's a dreadful, nothing is going right sort of morning. I say it because the night and dawn have brought a beautiful, enchanting mist upon my valley again this morning. I love these kinds of mornings, and while I took Cael out on his morning walk I took in the smells of the damp woods as the crisp autumn air nipped at the back of my neck. I pulled up my hood and noticed leaves littering the ground in a decorative carpet of golds and yellows. The vermilion leaves have not yet begun to show themselves as much as the vibrant, early yellows, but I have heard whispers of the sugar maples preparing for the day when they will allow their colors to explode forth in an array of gorgeous shades of sweet orange, yellow, with hints of crimson. I'll be there on that day, taking in the beauty and admiring the canvas of color with which God always blesses this valley. The time approaches.

Monday, October 6, 2008

raspberry zinger. [company]

I can't stay long tonight, I have company, as I write, pulling up into the driveway. Josh, Christal, and their kids, as well as my dear friend Chelsea, are all coming over tonight to watch the newest episode of "Heroes." I enjoy having friends over and being able to provide a place for such to gather. Fellowship is such an important aspect of not only being a Christian, but just being human. Being able to share common interests, and also common struggles with someone you care about allows one to realize they are not alone in this world in the marvelous or dreadful things that occur in life. I am incredibly thankful for the friends God has blessed me with, whether I see them all the time, or every once in while we'll get together and it'll be like we were never apart. I am thankful for those that love me for who I am, and enjoy each little idiosyncrasy of my personality--and I love being able to return the favor.

À demain,


Sunday, October 5, 2008

vanilla black tea.

Yesterday was a pretty long day. I was on my feet, serving appetizers, serving wine, then clearing dishes, among other catering duties most of the day. It was for a fortieth wedding anniversary party, and it was a pretty sweet event. The house where the party was held was off of Elk Mountain Scenic Highway, which connects to the Parkway--it winds, twists, and turns up and around a mountain for about fifteen minutes before the intended destination. The way up was a bit precarious, because I was ill familiar with the road and its sudden veerings left and right. But after the party, around 10 o'clock in the evening, the brisk mountain air lured my windows down, my moon roof back, and my senses unwound as the road unwound itself down the mountain. I listened to some of my favorite bands, breathed deep, and enjoyed the crisp autumn zephyrs as they danced wildly with my dark tresses and gently kissed my eyelashes. It was one of the most pleasant drives I have had in quite some time.

Today in church, I was informed that a girl at my school's father died suddenly last night of a heart attack. He was in his mid-fifties and it was completely unexpected. My heart goes out to her and her family, I can't even imagine losing my father--just the idea makes my chest tighten and my eyes threaten to unleash a deluge of tears. It makes me miss my father, as well as my mother, tremendously. They live in Germany, and I see them very little except for Skype phone calls very once in a while. It makes me appreciate having such great parents, and continuing to love and grow in my relationship with them. Since I've gotten married our dynamic has changed to more of a friendship which is really wonderful. So Dad and Mom, I love you very much, and miss you more than you know. Thanks for being so amazing, and I look forward to when I am next able to see your smiling faces, and throw myself into your loving embraces. Can't wait till December.

Still sipping,


Saturday, October 4, 2008

vanilla almond tea.

I have recently returned from yet another splendid Snippets meeting, bearing the fruits of good friendship, and helpful ideas from my fellow snippets. Unfortunately this post cannot be of length, because I was just reminded that I promised Jeremy's mother that I would help her with a catering job tonight. I will away to her house within the half hour, and help prepare the food, and then help serve at the party later. I must discontentedly miss the Homecoming soccer game, which I was looking forward to, but I made a promise and I will keep it.

Until my next cup,


Friday, October 3, 2008

black currant black tea.

I sit down this evening, hot tea in hand, perfectly sweetened with honey and a bit of milk, and face a night by myself. Jeremy has gone camping with his good friend, Billy May, for the night, so it's just Cael and I. It makes a bit nervous because I haven't spent a night by myself since before I was married, but at the same time, it'll be nice to have some time to myself to read, write, or whatever. Overall, I look forward to my solitary evening, but am not looking forward to a night in a bed by myself.

I have now finished, (as of yesterday morning), Daughter of the Forest, and have already been loaned a copy of the next book Son of the Shadows. I have begun the second book, but am trying to hold off until Fall Break to continue reading because I have midterms to study for next week, and need the extra time I would be reading to study.

Tomorrow I meet with my Snippets again, and look forward to it. I haven't written too much this week, but did overcome the obstacle of writing my hero's character analysis. I have learned much by sitting down and answering questions in his voice, and I am excited about what else I'll found out about his character. I'll probably try to write a bit tonight, so I can bring in some new stuff to read to Chelsea and Laura tomorrow morning. Well, I'm about to finish my tea, make myself dinner, then bathe Cael (wish me luck).

Until tomorrow,


Thursday, October 2, 2008

honey vanilla chamomile tea.

Autumn is here at last. I can feel it in the crisp chill in the air, and smell it in the breeze. The trees are beginning their annual spectacle of vivid shades of gold, vermilion, and orange. I feel it as I have a wear a hoodie or jacket when I take Cael on our morning walk. I sense the change, and it makes me smile and sigh with contentment. Autumn has always been my favorite season, and I look forward to enjoying another glorious Western Carolina autumn with Jeremy, and now Cael as well.
For those of you who have not been able meet the newest addition to our little family, I hope this video clip will help you realize what you're missing. Jeremy and I would love for you to visit.


Wednesday, October 1, 2008

cranberry apple zinger tea.

I write late today because of a couple reasons. Firstly, I worked tonight at Cheshire Fitness Club, I man the front desk--greeting the members, and membership management type of position. Secondly, I am so enraptured by the book I'm reading: Daughter of the Forest. I have been reading in every second of spare time I can find.
I love finding a book that so captures my attention that I can scarce put it down. They have been few and far between the last couple years. Not to say I haven't read books that I haven't enjoyed; I have, especially those I must read for my Bible classes. But to find a book that so pulls you into its story that you find yourself doing things that are part of its plot--that is special. Like with my book, the protagonist, Sorcha, cannot speak for the majority of the book, for if she does, hers tasks will be for nothing, and she will lose her brothers forever. I find myself, while reading, hesitating to answer Jeremy's questions for a moment, or pausing before I speak to Cael, my puppy.
To find a fantastical world in which you become an inhabitant, even if just for a moment, being able to escape the toils of everyday and immerse yourself in a good book is something that is so necessary sometimes. I thank God for the ability to plunge into a good book, and be swept away with its adventure, love, danger, and happily ever after.
Now excuse me, as I get back to being silent with Sorcha.

Until I steep next,