The Mission

Starting November 1, 2009 I am forgoing my four-latte-a-week habit.  Every dollar I save will go to help little girls in Cambodia.  Check back every Friday for an update.  To learn more, click the Worldvision link on your right.

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Sigh. Lent?

So on Sunday we celebrated Valentine’s Day…with many paper hearts, pink stickers, and Things Made of Chocolate.

I had a lovely evening steeping in a tea bath.  Appropriate, eh?

But then I realized it was also the first Sunday of Lent.  Help me out, oh Lenten observers.  Yes, I mean you Lutherans and Catholics, lapsed or non.  Growing up Quaker, I still remember being confused and then INTRIGUED by the little smudges of ash worn by college friends around this time…and always wanting to learn more.

So what do you give up?  It’s not like a diet, right–a sneaky way to lose weight but you’re doing it for oh-so-holy reasons?

It’s a spiritual practice that is supposed to lead you to focus on Christ, right?  So when you crave something….say, LATTES….you are supposed to turn your thoughts to higher things and meditate.  Is that it?

‘Cuz lately when I’ve been craving lattes, I’ve been eating ice cream.  Copious amounts.  Thanks, Ben.  Thanks, Jerry.

I somehow don’t think that’s the soul-edifying response.

I guess what I’m asking is:  how do you “do” Lent?  If I give up lattes and all treats Starbucksian for Lent, will that make me feel spiritual instead of just grouchy?  And where does ice cream fit in?

I don't look as cute covered with ice cream...

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blub.

So here’s last week’s tally:

1 latte

1 mocha

1 hot chocolate…and then…

1 latte + 1 mocha IN ONE 10-HOUR PERIOD!

I’m very tired.  The latte/mocha pairing happened on Friday when I took my dad to the airport at 4:00 am.  At 4:45 am, I hit up the airport Coffee People.  I had the mocha later that night for a needed boost of caffeine, and told myself at least it wasn’t a latte–right?

I’m very tired.  My dad flew out to a funeral.  I am reading a lot of scripts this week and seeing a lot of theater, all of it dealing with mortality and LIFE in general…and sometimes I just need an escape.

Maybe someday I’ll be zen enough to find my escape in a yoga class.  Or reading scripture.  Or taking a nice long bubble bath.  Or a new handbag of the Coach or Kate Spade variety.  (Kidding, dear husband!)  (Sort of.)

But for this season of life it doesn’t seem like any of those things fit in.  Yoga class?  Yes, I have distant memories of things like this…but for now I am finding solace in a cup of something warm and sugary, handed to me through my car window from a smiley barista.

And that’s what I could do this week.

What do YOU do when you need a little escape?  Write?  Shop?  Doodle?  Has anyone else enjoyed a stolen juice box from their child’s diaper bag?  I’d love to hear it.

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Take my cup, Lord…

So I just had a latte.  In CHURCH.

We went to a new church today, as part of our ongoing quest to become more spiritually attuned…and in the interest of passing it on to our daughters…and there was a GIANT COFFEE SHOP right there inside the lobby.

It was a giant church.

It has been a very taxing week.

I nearly wept at the the kindness of the older ladies I met there who made me a latte, brought it to my seat, and then carried it into the special “nursing room” that was decked out with cushy rocking chairs and a live feed of the church service, since I had a very fussy, hungry baby with me.

I think I looked as harried and tired as I felt, and I appreciated the kindness.

I haven’t posted in a few weeks, partly because of the aforementioned tiredness, and partly because I was in IOWA last weekend.  Now there is only ONE person for whom I would fly to Iowa, in JANUARY, during a snowstorm, solo with a baby…and that one person was getting married to the love of her life.  So off to Iowa I flew, and I gave myself license to do whatever I needed to do to stay awake and alert through the multiple snow flurries and airport connections.

But I need to go back to my original intentions:  leading the kind of life where I am taking care of myself by SLEEPING at night…to be a mom who is “present” in the mornings…so I’m not relying on an outer kick to get me through the day.

But the latte this morning was a Godsend.  And I can’t deny I felt a little…well, blessed.

Next week I’ll be back to The Tally.

Question:  Has anyone else felt blessed in some way (caffeinated or non) this week?

mama and baby

I need more of THIS...

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Put your cell phone to work

Hey! Text the word “Haiti” to 90999 on your cell phone to automatically donate $10 to American Red Cross. It’s genius easy–and it’s just added to your cell phone bill. $10–that’s like 3 lattes and a miniature vanilla scone.

I have been grumbling for the last 3 weeks about the fact that our dishwasher broke and we’ve had to wash everything by hand.  Poor me.

Nothing like a major disaster to slap on some perspective.  Let’s give, okay?  I never look at my cell phone bill anyway.  (Just kidding.  Kind of.)

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The glutton returns…

Happy New Year!

I can’t even post a tally because it has been one looooong, decadent, sugar-laden, hot-drink-swilling couple of weeks at the Hall house.  I’ve had some time to dig deep and think about my priorities and I feel lucky to have a husband who is on board with the whole “de-clutter/de-consumerize our lives” thing.

Frosting dozens of cookies

The cookie is his canvas...

(I also have a husband who bakes like a fiend around this time of year.  Sugar cookies, gingerbread men, pancakes, waffles—it’s been lovely.  But the spinach salad really tasted good tonight, you know?)

I’m aiming for the positive this week, so here are some good things to share:

1.  I got to meet with Kathy T.  (one of the leaders of the Women of Vision Columbia/Willamette Chapter) this week–over tea!–and chat with her more about the Cambodia project.  I can’t wait to share more of this with blog readers–and I’m very excited about kicking these funds their way.

2.  Free Peet’s latte. (Seriously!)

3. $2 “happy hour” drinks at the Bridgeport Village Borders.

4.  Biggest positive of all:  choosing to avoid the mall, choosing to take it slowly, choosing to breathe instead of fume…That was nice.

My resolution for 2010:  More of that.

Oh–and less lattes.

What are some of YOUR positives from the recently passed holidays?  Did you breathe?  And do free gingerbread lattes really count as “lattes”??

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Me and my shadows

angel in the snow

A snow angel casts a long shadow...

This week’s Tally:

3 teas…in 1 day!

1 LATTE

(I had one of Those Days…and I had to try the Gingerbread Latte.  Oh. My.  Darn you, Starbucks, and your minions of frothy goodness.

I’ve been thinking a lot about shadows lately.  Partly due to the Peter Pan phase that my daughter is in right now, in which she is Wendy, I am Peter Pan, and her baby sister is sometimes “brother Michael” and other times Tinkerbell (when Pixie Dust is needed).  My job is to swoop in to the living room, alight gracefully on the couch, tap the sleeping “Wendy” on the shoulder and ask her to help me find my shadow.  We chase the shadow, she sews it onto my feet (with her crayon; v. ticklish), and we all fly off to Neverland to swim with the mermaids.

(After multiple tours as Peter Pan I am usually zonked.  I think about caffeine, sugar, and zoning out.  I try to transition into another activity–with varying degrees of efficacy.)

Lately it feels like I have TWO shadows in real (non-Pan) life.  The girls teetered on the edge of sick last week, making them extra clingy and extra mama-centric.  I feel like there has been a lot of hoisting and holding and trailing from place to place asking to be hoisted and held, and it makes me feel needed, necessary…and WATCHED.

I’m making lists; I’m baking; I’m licking envelopes; I’m checking voicemail; I’m breaking ornaments and running out of eggs; I’m being WATCHED.

And imitated.

Which makes me want to do well—“do” life well.  I really, really want my girls to be able to see a life lived with purpose, intention, and actions that match the values I spew.  Hence this do-goody latte project.

I’m trying hard to relax about that which I really, really (REALLY) want, though–since one of the “values” I claim to have is a relaxed/non-stressed approach to life.  Sigh.  Sometimes I make really distorted shadows.  That usually accompanies the dark shadows under my eyes.

As my Zen-ish sister would say, “It’s a journey.”  And then she would nod sagely.  And wrap her hands around a mug of hot tea.

As Christmas fast approaches I’m thankful for the “journey,” among so many things.

So here’s the question I’m sending out:  how’s the whole actions-matching-your-words thing going?  What’s the biggest value you want to pass along to your children?  I’m in the mood to make a list!

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Tea Hee Hee!

So here’s last week’s tally:

1 Starbucks latte

1 independent coffee shop latte

4 cups of home-brewed tea (excellent!!)

I was dragging like a blanket yesterday (Friday) but I knew I had to post my tally, and it is the only thing that kept me from hitting the nearest drive-through Starbucks…which happens to be 40 seconds from my house.  So thank you, everyone, for keeping me accountable.  BLEHHHH!  I just wanted yesterday’s Friday tally to be less than last Friday’s…you know?  A hint of progress is good for the soul.

So I did actually brew some tea from the aforementioned/heretofore SECRET tea cabinet…and I liked this Tazo Passion stuff.  It was purple, kept me sane, and smelled like berries.  I know it’s uncaffeinated, but it worked on a very cold day.  I also tried some sweet & spicy  Good Earth tea.

I think part of the giving up of lattes is mental.  Confession: I’m realizing that I kind of  liked that feeling of rushing around, doing things one-handed while holding the Starbucks cup aloft.  It made me feel uber-efficient, part of the flow of our busy society.  It made me feel multi-tasky and a teensy bit indulgent–like, I may be dead-tired, but look at me!  I am entertaining two children while keeping them safe from cars, picking up drycleaning, checking my voicemail, wearing shoes that match each other, AND I am sipping on something with whipped cream on it as my lunch.

I enjoy the hustle and bustle.  It reminds me of producing a show, working downtown, burning the candle at both ends, feeling important.

So there it is.  That’s what I miss sometimes.  And I think that’s what the latte represents at times.

A tea drinker lets things steep.  She boils water in a kettle, and then transfers it into another container–maybe even a pretty one.  She waits.  Breathes.  Thinks.  Maybe leads her children in some sun salutes as the organic quinoa-infused bread dough rises on the hearth.  !

I think I could enjoy this too.

So, friends–let me have it!  What are your favorite teas, caffeinated and non?  Do you take your tea with you, or indulge in a lovely china teacup (as Andee suggested!)?  Do you have a teabag stashed in your purse or diaper bag?

What comes to mind when YOU think of a tea drinker vs. a coffee drinker?

Lu drinks her tea

Do fine ladies prefer teacups?

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