Weekend Coffee Share 12/23/17

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If we were having coffee today — and we were at my house — we’d be using Christmas mugs because I love them, and I have LOTS of them. I’d also probably say I couldn’t visit more than a few minutes because I have more things on my schedule than I have hours to give to them.  But I can honestly say I’m not feeling too stressed about it.

There was a time in my life when I would have been very stressed, but these days (I’m sure it’s by the grace of God) I seem to be able to take more things in stride and not beat up on myself if I don’t accomplish every single thing on my agenda. And I concern myself a lot less with other people’s opinions of me as well. My goodness, it’s a freeing experience. I think that comes partly with age. I guess I feel I’m old enough to have earned the rest from social pressure.

I would also tell you that I’m trying to figure out how someone who absolutely loves Christmas and has been counting down the days since October can be on the threshold of Christmas Eve and still not have the Christmas towels on the towel racks and no goodies baked.  Yep, I’m describing myself. That’s me this year.

Well, actually, I do know part of the answer to that question. It’s because of the remodel I just went through on my house. (I’ve been able to blame a lot of stuff on the upheaval caused by that remodel. But before long that excuse is going to run out of fuel). But — no kidding — spending two months with a house full of men and equipment — who kept turning off my power and moving me out of my office and away from my computers — caused me to get way behind in my work. And since I’ve had so much work to catch up with, I’ve had to put several of my Christmas plans on a back burner. But I’m gradually getting it all done.

And one thing in my favor is that I celebrate the 12 Days of Christmas — not with the song by that name — but in the traditional Christian celebration of the Lord’s birth from December 25 to January 6 (Epiphany). So that means I can wait until Christmas Day to really get started and still have almost two weeks to enjoy it all.

One more thing I’d likely do if we were having coffee is present you with a really cute coffee mug. In fact, I did just that with a friend I had coffee with this morning. We hadn’t been able to meet and visit for months, so we stole some time out of this morning to do that. She loves coffee, as I do. This week I came across a brand new coffee mug in a store that I frequent. On both sides of the cup were these words: “But first … coffee.” It fit my friend perfectly. It fits me as well. And if you and I were having coffee, that would mean you love coffee too, so I think you’d enjoy receiving a cup like that. I know I would. Hey … maybe I’ll go buy myself one too. 🙂

Hope you all have a very merry and healthy Christmas!

 


Visit “Weekend Coffee Share” to participate and share you thoughts.

 

 

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Wish You Could Come Over

COFFEE MAN WITH FLOWERS

I just brewed a fresh pot of coffee, and my house smells DELICIOUS!  I also have two kinds of cookies — both kinds with chocolate icing. I wish I could have all my WordPress family over to enjoy them with me. But I’m thinking about you!

 

 

 

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Birthday Cinquain

BIRTHDAY CAKE 2Birthdays
They come and go.
But when they come, they give
A gift that lasts throughout the year:
My age.

 

Oh my!
My birthday’s here.
And I’m not ready yet.
I’m old enough, so let’s wait ’til
Next year.

 

Happy
Birthday to me.
I wish me many more.
Maybe I’ll begin to count them
Backwards.

 

My day
Was quite well spent.
I got to do nice things.
And even got surprises too.
Four times.

 

In prose, I’d like to say thank you to all of you who sent me happy wishes and gave me such delightful surprises. God bless you.

 

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Let Me Introduce You To . . .

MAT AT MICMy world grew much, much larger, and exponentially richer the day I started blogging. A few years later, I have so many wonderful friends and acquaintances online that I find it hard to try to list all of them. However, periodically, I like to introduce some of those people — and their own blogs — to my readers. A few of you already know these people, but many of you probably do not. 

Of course, I cannot begin to tell you in one post about all of the wonderful blogs I follow, but I can suggest a few of them at a time and give you a short synopsis of what you can expect to find when you visit them. I’ll do another list later on. But for now, here are nine great blogs that you might enjoy as much as I do. 

Making It Write

Jane Basil writes mainly about the challenges that are in her life and about her heroic and mostly successful efforts to overcome them. Her writing will intrigue you one day, humble you the next, cause you to delve deeply into your own conscience on another day, and the day after that inspire you to reach farther for your own dreams. She is one of the most honest writers I know, and she truly appreciates readers’ feedback.

 Lucid Gypsy

Gilly Goldsworthy was the second real friend I met after entering into this delightful hobby called ‘blogging.’ And she is one of the most ‘comfortable’ bloggers I’ve become acquainted with. I use that word to describe her site because that’s just what I feel every time I visit. I know I will enjoy a sense of welcome and refreshing and, very often, learn something new. Gilly loves to travel, and she often writes about the places she visits. She enjoys her family, her nation, her British and Nigerian heritage, and her friends — both in person and on the Internet — and her blog makes that enjoyment abundantly clear. Her site is filled with lovely photography and some of the most charming haiku and tanka I have ever read — as well as articles about a large variety of subjects.

 Restawyle

Gerry Ainger will have to go down in history as the very first blogging friend I made after I became part of the WordPress network. He is super friendly, gracious, and big-hearted. You will find an enormous variety of subject matter on Gerry’s blogs. This link is to only one of his sites, but once there, you will find links to the others. If you enjoy music, stories of fantasy, or trips down memory lane, Gerry has a little bit of all of it for you.

Lee’s Birdwatching Adventures Plus

Lee Dusing is just a super lady — or perhaps I should say a super birdlady — or maybe that should be ladybird.  Anyway, no matter how we say it, Lee has one of the most incredible sites I’ve connected with on the Internet. She works harder than almost anyone I know to fill her site with a storehouse of information, and does it all with excellent photography and interesting visits from other bloggers as well. Her focus is on birds and how they are gifts from our Creator to teach us many things and to make our lives fuller and richer. I sometimes go over there just to listen to the audio of birds singing.

Northwest Photographer

Bob MIelke is one of the most incredibly talented photographers I have ever known. His sites are so enjoyable. (Besides his WordPress blog, which is the link you’ll find here, Bob also has a Tumbler site with full-screen size photos, and a National Geographic site where he posts photos he’s submitted for possible use by that periodical. You’ll find links to those 2 sites on his main blog.) Bob has been a portrait photographer, although he does a lot of landscape photos these days. He’s also an artist and a photography instructor, but I think his favorite thing to do is visit the Portland, Oregan Zoo and take super pictures of all the animals. You can’t visit his blog without experiencing any number of “oooohs” and “aaaaahs” before you go away. And if you’re interested in learning how to take better pictures, he’s got some great tips that he’s always willing to share.

The Day After

Dawn is a very down-to-earth lady who is a professional photographer as well as a talented writer. Her site is rich with photographs of a huge variety of subjects. My favorites are her landscapes and buildings.  She creates calendars with her original photography gracing every month. Every Wednesday she posts her articles and stories, and generally she takes part in several writing challenges each week. I’m also jealous of where she lives, and if you visit her site, you’ll soon learn why.

Pure Glory

Christian ministers Hazel Straub and Gabriel Cross are the two hosts of the ministry site Pure Glory. Every day, without fail, they post a message — based on God’s Word — that goes right to the heart of where we live. Their encouraging posts have helped me many times — often as if they had written the words just for me personally. However, I know many, many people feel that same way when they read those messages. I believe that’s because the Lord tells them exactly what to post every day. If you want a word that will lift you, strengthen your faith, and make you know you are loved, visit them often.

Writer On The Edge

Writer Tish Farrell’s site is classy, warm, and full of energy. She covers a wide variety of subject matter — and always with great photos to accompany her words. Tish has written some wonderful articles on writing, full of thought-provoking and encouraging ideas. But whatever she posts, from pictures of red elephants to articles declaring shopping to be the one characteristic that most denotes our humanity, she makes the reader feel that she’s completely invested in what she presents.

Writing With Some Ink and a Hammer

Scott Thomas Summers is a prolific writer and a teacher of literature and writing as well. He seems to be one of those people who has a dual personality — at least where his writing is concerned. He has written two powerful books about the American Civil War, telling the stories in each book from the perspective of a young soldier. The books are written in free verse, and Thomas’ ability to make the experiences blatantly real is something that I envy. More recently he has written about the life of Jesse James with equal realism. However, his alter-ego is that of a fantasy writer, and just as thoroughly as he creates reality, he also creates totally make-believe worlds filled with trolls, goblins, dragons, and the valiant warriors who fight them.  The truth is you just never know when you stop by Thomas’ blog whether you will be galloping with a posse chasing Jesse James, slaying a dragon to rescue a fair damsel, or fighting for your life at Gettysburg. Better just hop over and find out.

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It’s worth repeating one statement from my introduction here. There are many other blogs that are worth visiting and following. But in order to do them justice, I must present only a few at a time. So watch for the next installment, and I’ll add a few more for you to check out and enjoy.

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Daily Post Prompt: Object Lesson – OR – What’s Life Without a Cup of Coffee?

The “Daily Post” prompt today challenges us to write about an object strongly associated with us personally.  Here is the challenge in their own words:  “Sherlock Holmes had his pipe. Dorothy had her red shoes. Batman had his Batmobile. If we asked your friends what object they most immediately associate with you, what would they answer?”
COFFEE MAN - RED,YELLOW
Okay, let’s see. There are a number of things I could suggest, but most of those would be red herrings, because I’m pretty positive that nine out of every ten people would say that if they had to choose one object they immediately associated with me, they would say a cup of coffee.
Yep, coffee. And I’m not talking about cappuccinos, lattes, or any of the myriads of other specialty drinks that people clump into the category of coffee. Nope. I’m talking plain old, unpretentious, unsophisticated coffee. However, it has to be fresh-brewed and just the RIGHT temperature. I don’t want it to scald my tongue, but I want it to be hot enough to stay that way for a while. And my day always goes better if I have a microwave handy somewhere so that I can warm it up if necessary.
Why is coffee so much a part of my life?  Am I addicted?  Well, I don’t think so — at least not in the usual sense. I can drink either caffeinated or de-caff, and I generally can’t tell the difference. Of course, I’m sure if I never drank anything except de-caff, I would eventually be able to tell. But the thing is that I seldom actually DRINK more than 2 or 3 cups of coffee in a 24-hour period. (And some days, I actually drink hot tea instead).
Here’s what happens: I carry a cup around with me — during my morning rituals, during my working day, sitting at my computer or with a book in the evening, visiting with friends, conducting a meeting. It’s just there. I take a sip or two, maybe another, and then half an hour later look for a place to warm up the remainder so that I can take another sip or two.  I don’t seem to feel the need for caffeine as much as I feel the need to have something warm to sip on throughout the day and evening — or maybe even to just hold in my hands, knowing I can take a sip if I want to.
I think maybe there is an “addiction,” but it is an addiction to the comfort of that cup of coffee. It goes way back to the days of earliest child hood. My parents were big coffee drinkers. They always made a pot in the morning, often another at noon, and another in the evening. The aroma of fresh-brewed coffee actually has the power to soothe and comfort me more than any other aroma I can think of. Because all those years of being safe and loved and treasured in a home where peace and security were dominant environments in my life are indelibly connected to that delightful aroma.
I can remember so many happy experiences in my life — family meals, visits from beloved friends and relatives, quiet evenings on the porch, when that cup of coffee was so much a part of the experience that it just would not have been the same experience at all without it. And other times when some kind of trauma had come into our lives — severe storms and time spent in storm shelters, the death of a loved one, a local or national catastrophe that affected everyone in our town — during those times, the one thing that often pulled our thoughts and emotions back into balance was someone putting on a pot of coffee.
My sister and I were allowed to have coffee on some of those occasions, but only if we put in lots of cream and some sugar. Mom and Dad figured that if our cup was only 3/4 full, and half of that was milk or cream, then we weren’t getting too much coffee. As I grew into adulthood, of course, I was able to decide exactly how much cream and sugar balanced out the coffee, and gradually, I left off the sugar as one more way to avoid gaining weight. Many years after I reached adulthood, I was battling a nauseous stomach and, on a whim, tried a little coffee black. That cup settled my stomach so effectively that I’ve taken my coffee black every since.
I’m great friends with many people who do not drink coffee. And, in fact, my husband of 22 years could not stand it at all. (However, he was very gracious about buying it and even making it on occasion for me and any visitors who did enjoy it.)  I also know people who insist that coffee is bad for our health. But several recent scientific and medical research reports have come to my rescue on that score. There are numerous articles in print right now that praise the health benefits of coffee on several different levels.
And my personal response to people who try to defame coffee because of its caffeine is that God says he made the seeds and fruit of the trees for man to eat. That coffee bean is the fruit of a plant, and inherent in that been is the caffeine. It is not something we humans added. If God put caffeine into that coffee bean, then it has something in it that’s good for us.
I need to add that I’m sure people can live a totally happy, and delightful life without ever drinking one cup of coffee. I tried to write that as my closing remark, but — to be honest — really, really honest — I’m not sure I believe that.

 

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Another Blogger Joins the Family

ON LINE
Just want to put in a plug for a friend of mine – who is also currently one of my creative writing students. A few months ago, she took up the challenge to stretch her creative muscles and start a blog. So I’m posting the link to it here, in the hope that some of my readers will hop over and visit her, and comment on anything they like. She has a little prose, a little poetry, a little humor, and a lot of pictures.

You’ll find her at Lyra’s Place here on WordPress.

 

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Just a Few of My Favorite Things

I enjoy visiting and interacting with so many of the new friends I have made on WordPress over the past two years. I’d like to share with my readers the links to a few of those blogs that have become special to me. I’m visiting new sites and acquiring new friends every day, so I hope to add more to my list soon.  I’ve tried to list these in pretty much the order that I discovered them.  Hope you find them a blessing too:

http://thebardonthehill.wordpress.com/

http://stevensawyer.wordpress.com/

http://pureglory.net/

http://leesbird.com/

http://lucidgypsy.wordpress.com/

http://fortyisfavored.wordpress.com/

http://awalkintheword.wordpress.com/

http://learning2hear.com

http://cobbies69.wordpress.com/

http://dnobrienpoetry.wordpress.com/

http://chiefofleast.com/

http://collinesblog.wordpress.com/

http://thedorsetrambler.com/

Where Did I Miss You?

Since I seem to be focusing on the subject of love during February, I can’t help but give some time to one unique aspect of how it comes – or fails to come – into our lives. No focus on the subject of love, in all it’s categories, could ever be quite complete if it did not include the concept of what love might have awaited us in different venues of life if we had made different choices along our way.

COBBLESTONE STREET - PARIS - cropped, credits
There is a theory espoused by some that there is actually an alternate experience of life that is running concurrently with the one we are aware of, and that if we could become aware of it as well, it would give us the experiences to which our alternate choices had ope
ned the door. Of course, I realize that, according to the Word of God, that concept is not a reality, but I am still aware that had I made just one or two choices differently – even the choice of what street to walk down, or what restaurant to visit, or what time of day I went to the library – a hundred things in my life might be completely different. 

The reality of this truth came home to me quite unexpectedly, and quite dramatically, one day a couple of years ago, while standing in a fast food restaurant. I’ve been fleetingly aware of other such experiences during my life, but this time, I was so touched by it, and my life so affected by it, that I immediately wrote it down and saved it, so that it would remain a part of who I am from that moment on. I share that experience with you now, and I hope you find it to be as much of a blessing as I do.

WHERE DID I MISS YOU?

I didn’t notice him as I entered the fast-food restaurant. His table was to my right as I entered the door. And he wasn’t in my line of vision as I stood in line at the counter, so I don’t know if he had noticed me as I came in or not. But as I carried my sack over to the end of the shelf where the napkins were located, I glanced up and met his eyes. It was for only the briefest second, because it was one of those situations where you know you’ve made contact, but you don’t know why and aren’t sure how to react. So you swiftly shift your eyes to the side, pretending to look at other things — as if you had just been letting your eyes sweep the area in general.

Why we do that, I don’t know. Maybe it’s a reaction only in those of us who have a measurable lack of self-confidence. Whatever the reason, though, I knew I had reacted that way when I really hadn’t wanted to do so.

But I felt the pull of his personality so strongly that I almost felt as if I’d insulted him by not smiling at him when our eyes had touched so fleetingly. Thinking it may have been just my imagination, I glanced his way again and found him looking at me again as well. But, again, I broke contact within mere seconds. And, once again, I was sorry. I now felt the pull of him so strongly that I knew I had to do something to connect with him, if only for one smile.

It was easier than I had expected, because at the table closest to his sat an old friend of mine. I usually tried to speak briefly to her whenever I saw her anywhere, so I decided I’d walk over to her table now, necessarily passing by his.

As I stepped past his table, my eyes still wouldn’t connect with his. So I just looked right at my friend and spoke. “How are you doing, Betty?”

“I’m doing fine. How are you?”

“I’m fine too. I’ll be even better after I eat this,” I added whimsically, holding up my sack. I glanced his way, and he was looking at me. He smiled. I smiled. He could hear every word I said clearly. I looked back to Betty, still holding my sack out in front of me. Then facing Betty, but letting my eyes drift in his direction, I focused on his left hand. He did have on a gold ring, but whether it was actually a wedding band or not I couldn’t tell. It was best if I didn’t know for sure anyway, but … disappointment pierced through me. It was a brief, stabbing feeling, and then sort of a dull resignation took its place.

But somehow, I just couldn’t quite let go of him yet. I held up my sack again – in Betty’s direction: “I don’t really need this … but … then again, I guess I do need it” was my next inane addition to the conversation. I glanced at him again, as if to include him in this “high-level” discussion. He understood. So I took advantage of that moment to look at him more closely.

There was nothing extraordinarily attractive about him. I mean he wasn’t the kind of man you’d naturally notice because he was gorgeous or was dressed in the height of fashion. His African-American complexion wasn’t ebony, but it was darker than brown. He had on a kind of knit cap that covered most of his short-cropped hair. His beard was mostly gray and extremely neat, but even though the beard was gray, the face was young. He was obviously overweight. Not fat, but certainly not sporting the kind of physique that normally caught a woman’s attention.

But it was his eyes and his smile. Or maybe it was his smile and his eyes. It doesn’t matter which, because his smile was so warm and genuine that it filled his eyes as well as his mouth. And it was that smile that made him really attractive — not the physical smile — the part of it that came from his soul. It was his soul that was in his eyes, and there was an invitation there: “I could sit and talk to you and understand you,” it said. “And you would understand me. We’d be friends.”

By that time (barely seconds) Betty was responding to my convoluted statement about the need for food, and she answered, “Yeah … you have to eat to live.” Brilliant answer!

“Right,” I said, looking back at my new friend. His smile was even sweeter — and even more inviting. He knew I wouldn’t — and couldn’t — sit down and talk to him. Why not? Because we had no connector. We had no tiny moment from our past that could have provided even the thinnest thread of oneness. We had just this one minuscule moment — taken out of time — to recognize, to dream, to wish. But he let me know that he had enjoyed talking to me vicariously and hoped that I had felt the same.

I smiled at him as generously as I knew how, hoping my message was in my own eyes: “I wish things were different. I wish I could sit down at your table and get to know you. Yes, we’d be friends; I’m sure of it. … Have a good day. Have a good life. … Bye.”

I walked out the door — sadder than when I’d walked in — poorer because of knowing there was a rich friendship out there that I would never own. Where in my life did I choose a path that put me in the position of never meeting him until today? Where did I miss finding him at a time when I could have known him,  owned him as a friend, and had my life woven in with his?  I wish I knew.  No … I wish I’d known then … and I would have chosen differently.

© Sandra Conner 2009

Photo: © Brenda Calvert, 2011