Saturday Afternoon Chat and a Cup of Tea: Snow and letting God calm the storm in me

Come on in out of the cold and have a seat.

Excuse the mess. We’ve been busy this week doing crafts, homeschooling, and being outside in the cold.

What have you been busy doing this week?

This week I don’t have anything too exciting or new to drink, but I am glad to have some local honey to put in my organic peppermint tea. I ran out of honey early in the week and added sugar as a sweetener which was completely awful. I haven’t put plain sugar in anything in years, other than a cup of tea a few months ago when I was, again, out of honey.

I never realized how sickly sweet it was. It was so sweet that it actually made me feel sick to my stomach. I cut back on sugar over a decade ago and I won’t lie and say I never eat sugar, but I don’t put sugar in tea or on cereal any longer. It’s just too much to me. If I sweeten things it is with honey or maple syrup or molasses. I think I shared one week that I like to add maple syrup to my hot cocoa, which is only plain cocoa powder mixed in hot milk. I don’t use the cocoa mixes with sugar added because it’s simply too sweet for me.

Don’t worry — I’m not a sugarless snob. I still have candy bars and some cookies or cake, although very rarely on the cake and cookies. I simply don’t have the cravings for sweet food as much as I once did. I do, however, still crave chocolate, so I’m not sugar-free.

Winter remembered it was supposed to be – uh – wintering this past week and dumped a few inches of snow on us over a couple of days.

Little Miss and Zooma the Wonder Dog were super excited because they love the snow. I don’t really love the snow but I went out with them and took some photographs and shivered. After the first little snow, both Little Miss and Scout ended up a tree, but they were both short trees so both of them could climb out easily.

Eventually, we went back inside and I started a fire in our woodstove and The Boy made us homemade French fries while we finished our school lessons. It was really a nice, relaxing day

We had another storm on Wednesday and Little Miss and Zooma the Wonder Dog enjoyed their time in the snow again.

Since we are low on heating oil and have an outstanding bill from the insanely high oil prices, we are trying to run the woodstove more often and I’ve been surprised by how well it is heating the house. It did heat the house well before but we never let it run past our bedtime until this week. Now it heats the house all night as well, which means we can reduce our oil usage and turn down the electric heat.

I was very stressed when I realized how low we were on heating oil. It seems like we’ve been getting hit with a lot lately and this seemed like something else. It isn’t easy, especially if we really do run out of heating oil before we can afford another order, but we really are very lucky. We don’t have it as mad as many people. Our house, while old, is in very good shape, with a fairly new roof and siding. We were lucky the woodstove was in the house when we came here and that it keeps us warm on cold winter nights.

We are able to afford food and lately, people have been giving my parents food they can’t use from the food pantry and they’ve been passing that on to us.

We’ve truly been very blessed by God, even when I feel lost and worried about the future.

There are still some appointments coming up for my youngest that have me worried, but I’m doing my best to trust God each step of the way.

Last week Little Miss had some trouble sleeping. She wasn’t sure why, but she simply couldn’t sleep. I was very upset by this because I was tired and worried about her but also about how I’d function the next day. Eventually, after about three hours, she did fall asleep but by then I was wired and wide awake and my anxiety was high. I prayed and suddenly I felt a strange calm settle over me. I felt almost happy. I closed my eyes and prayed for a couple people, thought about some ideas for a future story and eventually drifted off and jerked awake fifteen minutes later. Then eventually I drifted off altogether and managed a few hours.

As I was drifting off I thought about how sometimes God doesn’t calm the storm raging around us, but, instead, he calms the storm within is.

I need that calm right now, certainly, with all that’s been going on. Only God can calm the storm within us and it’s something I need to remember as much as I can.

It was good to have that reminder pop into my head that night, or morning, and I don’t think it came from my own mind alone.

Have you had any reminders you needed lately?

And what are you drinking today to help get you through your day? I certainly hope it’s some nice tea or cocoa.

Let me pour you a cup of tea and we can chat

Can I get you some tea?

I’ve got some herbal and regular and chamomile, but chamomile makes me sleepy. Does it make you sleepy?

Well, anyhow, I thought it would be nice to catch up today and just chat.

My bloggy friend Erin has a coffee chat feature she shares on her blog, but I don’t drink coffee, so I thought today I’d offer some tea instead. Then again, if you’d like some coffee, I can make some in the Keurig. I think. I tried one time, and my son said it was fairly watery so…maybe you’d better make the coffee.

I have milk for cocoa but it’s lactose free, if you’re okay with that.

I’ve been drinking lactose-free milk (Lactaid brand) since it first came out when I was maybe 11 or 12.

Before that I either had no milk or soy milk. I’ve been lactose-intolerant my entire life and I generously passed it on to my first born. Luckily, Little Miss doesn’t have the same issue. Not yet anyhow. My mom developed the issue when she became an adult and my brother was older when he started having issues with dairy as well.

Anyhoooo….I digress, which is actually what I intend to do for this entire post.

The other night The Boy and I were talking about his blog nickname, which I chose as a joke because The Husband always comes home from work and says “Where is The Boy?”, but now keep using because I don’t have any other ideas for blog nicknames. I don’t know why I don’t use the children’s real names on here. I mean, I have my real name on here so people can figure out my kid’s names, but I guess I just like the whole nickname thing so I have stuck with it.

I also have no idea where I picked up “Little Miss.” My daughter is not dainty or proper by any means and maybe that’s why I chose it. Because she’s the exact opposite. *snort*

We have had some nice, sunny days here and despite almost all of our leaves having already blown off, we still have a few bright colored ones hanging in there and helping to make everything beautiful. Little Miss is getting as much trampoline jumping in as she can before the snow starts to fall and our neighbor puts up their trampoline.

Our evenings are cool, which has brought animals to the ends of our beds and in some cases right onto my chest. Winter is cuddle season around here and it’s when our youngest cat, Scout, seems to revert back to being a kitten. She still likes to curl up on my chest, even though she doesn’t fit as well anymore. I hate to move when she curls up that way but I have to hold my arms a certain way to give her a bed and eventually my arms give out. Yesterday I had cat fur up my nose but hated to move her. Cuddles with her are a rare thing for much of the year so I have to take it when I can get it.

When I find myself dreading winter because of the dark, cold days that loom ahead, I remember that at least I will be able to cuddle under a fuzzy, warm blanket with a cup of tea or cocoa, a cat or dog curled up on me, and hopefully a good book in my hand or a cozy mystery on TV. The mention of a warm beverage reminds me — do you need yours warmed up? I usually have to warm my tea up about five times a day, if not more, just like coffee drinkers have to do.

The Boy has been working every Tuesday and Thursday with his grandpa, a tradition we started around the same time we started homeschooling at the end of the 2017-2018 school year. I’m really glad that my son has this time with his grandfather and that my dad can have some extra help around the house and property.

We are continuing homeschooling lessons, but I am a lot less strict this year than I have been in previous years. I am still requiring “book learning” so to speak but if the opportunity for a hands-on experience comes up, that trumps books and worksheets any day. I don’t even mind if the opportunity is what others might not consider “educational.” If we have the opportunity to get out of the area on a drive or spend time with family, homeschooling gets laid aside and we go.

Earlier this month we visited my 89-year-old aunt, traveled 90 minutes away to take Little Miss to a small (very small) Build-A-Bear store, and grocery shopped in place of more traditional math, reading, history or science lessons. Each opportunity offered its own unique lessons, even math when it comes to grocery shopping trips. Those trips also help to teach the children how to interact with others and offer assistance to strangers when needed.

In some ways, I find the life lessons more valuable than the “traditional” lessons and I am more grateful for them this year than in previous school years. I used to feel like I failed as a homeschooling parent if my children didn’t complete a list of traditional assignments I had for them. It’s taken me almost five years to break out of the mindset that homeschooling has to be like traditional school and now that the wall has been broken it is a liberating feeling and one I plan to continue doing.

I’ve found myself drawn to lighter movies or shows as the news of the world becomes heavier and heavier and more and more upside down. Recently I have enjoyed watching my favorite, sweet and innocent kisses from movies, including this one, from The Quiet Man (parodied in ET), which is pretty much my all time favorite.

I miss the days when kisses in movies were sweet and tongue free, or at least you didn’t see the tongues swirling around each other while characters attempted to suck each other’s face off.

As I sit here in my living room with schoolbooks piled around me (I just finished lesson planning for the week), Little Miss chatting with a friend on her phone (they can video chat through Kids Messenger), and the animals sprawled on various pieces of furniture, snoring away, I am trying to bring to mind other favorite movie kisses that aren’t gratuitous and cringeworthy.

Let’s see, there is:

  • Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward in From the Terrace, even though I hated the movie overall;
  • Anything with Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart
  • Cary Elwes and Robin Wright in The Princess Bride
  • Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed in It’s A Wonderful Life (when she’s on the phone and he’s listening in and he’s so close and wants to kiss her and it overwhelms him and … swoooon)
  • Rhett and Scarlet in Gone With the Wind
  • And Mark Darcy and Bridget Jones at the end of Bridget Jones’ Diary.

I guess I’ll have to bring this chat to a close. I need to read my son’s history lesson so I know what he is learning, teach Little Miss history (we are reading a book about George Washington Carver instead of reading lessons in a book) and reading, and then get ready to make dinner early so I can take Little Miss to gymnastics for her make up class.

I hope you enjoyed your cup of tea (or coffee) and our chat. We’ll do it again soon.