Field Stone Cottage Blog

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Sunday's Hymn: Come, Let Us to the Lord Our God

Come, let us to the Lord our God
With contrite hearts return;
Our God is gracious, nor will leave
The desolate to mourn.

His voice commands the tempest forth,
And stills the stormy wave;
And, though his arm be strong to smite,
'Tis also strong to save.

Long hath the night of sorrow reigned;
The dawn shall bring us light:
God shall appear, and we shall rise
With gladness in his sight.

Our hearts, if God we seek to know,
Shall know him, and rejoice;
His coming like the morn shall be,
Like morning songs his voice.

As dew upon the tender herb,
Diffusing fragrance round,
As show'rs that usher in the spring,
And cheer the thirsty ground;

So shall his presence bless our souls,
And shed a joyful light;
That hallowed morn shall chase away
The sorrows of the night.

John Morison, 1781
Tune: Soho, Sir Joseph Barnby, 1881

Friday, January 29, 2010

Hot Tea Month--Week Four

Hot Tea Month--Week Four? It can't be! Its been so much fun, this focus on tea each week! Thanks so much to scrabblequeen who has been our gracious hostess! This week's theme is:

Whom have you met because of something related to tea? Share something about this person and how your relationship blossomed.

I'm not sure that I can honestly say there is anyone in my life that I've met because of something related to tea...except perhaps scrabblequeen herself and her tea friend, Chan, both of whom I've met because of this blog-a-thon. We're at the very early stages of getting to know each other but the potential for our relationships to blossom is apparent because of our shared love of tea and dogs...and maybe the knitting thing. I don't really knit much but I do love to crochet so I'm going to stretch it here and say we share interests in "fiber arts."

There are some other bloggers I've gotten to know who are tea lovers as well. It was Ellen's blog that first alerted me to the Hot Tea Month Blog-a-Thon, in fact. And I know Rebecca and Willow both enjoy a nice, hot cuppa. But I can't say for any of them that it was tea that caused the first connection. Its more like a love of tea was just an extra perk to the relationship.

In real life, I have a few good friends with whom I just love to share a nice, hot cuppa. Kim is right at the top of that short list even though coffee is her first hot beverage love. But she is a dog lover!

I'm thinking, though, that what makes a friendship for me is not whether a person drinks tea per se. Its more whether we can sit down and linger over conversation together, in person or in bloggyland. Tea is just sort of representative of that lingering. And it certainly enhances it on my part!

So, I'm off to make a nice, hot cuppa. Join me?

Thursday, January 28, 2010

John Brown on Christian Unity

Genuine Christians feel towards one another as brethren; and when they see their Christian brethren suffering for the cause of Christ, they naturally, though not directly, attach themselves to, take part with, their suffering brethren, and thus come in for a share of the public scorn which is poured on them.
~John Brown, Hebrews, p. 481, in reference to Hebrews 10:32-34

Thankful Thursday

Its a frigidly cold day here in Crystal Lake, IL but the sunshine just streamed into my kitchen window this morning and for that I am thankful...even though it revealed a couple of cobwebs I'd missed. Or maybe that's another reason to be thankful.

Actually, its a cold week here and so I am thankful for the heater in the Honda Ridgeline. We've never had a vehicle that got warm inside as fast as this one does!

And I'm thankful for my sweet little dog, Charlie, who warms...uh, I mean, sleeps on my side of the bed.

I'm also thankful for a receiving a letter this week from an old friend in New York. It warmed my heart to hear from her.

But what warms my soul is the Word of God. I am so very thankful for the many opportunities for rich study of His Word that God has given me.

Every word of God is flawless;
he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.
~Proverbs 30:5

Each Thursday of this year, I am joining Kim of the Upward Call and many others in sharing my thankfulness to God.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Sunday's Hymn: By the Cross of Jesus Standing

By the cross of Jesus standing,
Love our straitened souls expanding,
Taste we now the peace and grace!
Health from yonder tree is flowing,
Heavenly light is on it glowing,
From the blessed Suff'rer's face.

Here is pardon's pledge and token,
Guilt's strong chain for ever broken,
Righteous peace securely made;
Brightens now the brow once shaded,
Freshens now the face once faded,
Peace with God now makes us glad.

All the love of God is yonder,
Love above all thought and wonder,
Perfect love that casts out fear!
Strength, like dew, is here distilling,
Glorious life our souls is filling,
Life eternal, only here!

Here the living water welleth;
Here the Rock, now smitten, telleth
Of salvation freely giv'n:
This the fount of love and pity,
This the pathway to the city,
This the very gate of heav'n.

Horatius Bonar, 1808-1889
Tune: Stabat Mater, John B. Dykes, 1875

Friday, January 22, 2010

Hot Tea Month--Week Three

Its the third week of Hot Tea Month hosted by scrabblequeen already! This week, the theme is:
"If I could have my own Tea House, this is how I would run things...."
Well, for starters, my Tea House would be a cottage in a lovely little town not too far from the bigger city. We do need customers, you know! It would be on the main street of that little town but it would have a sweet little garden to walk through (on a stone path) to get to the door of the tea cottage. And that little garden would extend around one side of the Tea House where there would be a stone patio with four round tables for taking tea outside on a perfect, warm day. Next door, there'd be a used book store for perusing after teatime. On the other side, a quilt shop. And down the street, a couple of antique stores, as well. Hey, I can make up the whole little town, can't I? This is my dream, we're entering here.

Back to the Tea House. Inside, a hostess would greet you. She'd be dressed in the sort of dresses the Bennet sisters wear in Pride and Prejudice (the A & E version). In fact, all of the waitresses would be dressed like that! The surroundings would be sort of English farmhouse feeling. Not the frilly Victorian stuff so much. More sturdy and homey. And fresh flowers on every table.

The teapots (complete with cozies) would be the heavier kind that actually pour without dripping (I hate drippy teapots) and the tea would be very hot! Also of the very best quality. We'll serve all kinds and varieties of tea...even the stuff that is not really tea!

The food is all homemade, of course, and of the highest quality. That goes without saying! Scones of several varieties, lemon curd, Devonshire cream. Sandwiches of many kinds. Salads of every sort. And soups. Quiches! I do love a good quiche. Muffins and sweet breads and cookies (but we'd call them biscuits).

And over in an alcove, my daughter, Emily, would be playing her harpsichord. On Fridays, she'd have a couple of violins and a cello playing with her. Perhaps a flutist would join them on occasion.

There's a little gift shop off to the side with all kinds of tea things. You can buy those non-drippy teapots there. And our high quality teas. And tea cozies and all sorts of tea accoutrements.

I was sharing my dream with my dear friend, Kim, last night and she suggested Wi-Fi. At first, I was taken aback. Wi-Fi in my sweet old Tea House? "But you'll want people to feel like they can stay and enjoy a respite from the world," she said. And yes, I want that. So this is what I'm thinking. Maybe an adjoining room, more like a lounge with couches and chairs and low tables (I'm not sure I want to use the word "coffee" in this post) where you can take your tea after you've eaten and just sit and sip and relax. Again, the decor is sort of English country manor. A roaring fire in cooler weather. And bookshelves. Lots of bookshelves filled with all kind of books to peruse. But no wait staff over there so you can take the pot and refill your own cup. And when that pot is empty, come get another. We'll have the Wi-Fi area over there for those who don't want to pick up a book. Oh, and I'd love to have you bring your embroidery or knitting!

So, I can't wait for the grand opening! Please say you'll come.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Thankful Thursday

My dear friends, Kim and Carol, have just left after our weekly Bible study together. I'm so thankful for both of them! I'm thankful for the insights that they bring as serious students of God's Word. I'm thankful for their encouragement. And I'm thankful for the accountability that I can depend on in our relationship. But most of all, I am thankful for God's Word. As a young preacher who ministered to our little church on a number of occasions used to say, "It is God's most direct communication with His people."

Many of us are joining Kim from The Upward Call's lead and posting our thanksgiving to God each Thursday of 2010. We'd love to have you join us!

15 Words or Less Poems

Play or be dinner.
No wonder its called a game.

To share a poem of your own or read more, visit Laura Purdie Salas.

Photo by Norbert Rosing

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Freezing Fog

Today is the first day since last week that I didn't wake up to it. I miss the fairy tale look of the world.


Sunday, January 17, 2010

Sunday's Hymn: Man of Sorrows!

Man of Sorrows! what a name
For the Son of God, who came
Ruined sinners to reclaim:
Hallelujah! what a Saviour!

Bearing shame and scoffing rude,
In my place condemned he stood,
Sealed my pardon with his blood:
Hallelujah! what a Saviour!

Guilty, vile, and helpless, we;
Spotless Lamb of God was he;
Full atonement! can it be?
Hallelujah! what a Saviour!

Lifted up was he to die,
"It is finished!" was his cry:
Now in heav'n exalted high:
Hallelujah! what a Saviour!

When he comes, our glorious King,
All his ransomed home to bring,
Then anew this song we'll sing:
Hallelujah! what a Saviour!

Philip P. Bliss, 1838-1876
Tune: Man of Sorrows, Philip P. Bliss, 1838-1876

Thursday, January 14, 2010

15 Words or Less Poem

Slogging and sweating
through sticky woods;
awaiting clear, tranquil water.
Worth every drop.

More 15 Words or Less at Laura Purdie Salas's place. Try your hand?

Thankful Thursday-Part II

I have even more reason to be thankful today! I had a stress test yesterday and my doctor called just a little while ago to tell me that it came back perfectly normal! My heart is just fine!

The back story is that the EKG I had on December 31st as part of my yearly physical showed some abnormalities. While my doctor said that this particular abnormality can be caused by something as insignificant as a headache or even hyperventilation, she wanted to check it further because of my family history and some ambiguous symptoms I've experienced in the past.

I'm thankful for my doctor's thorough and cautious approach that ruled out any heart problems for me now! And I'm thankful to get those results much sooner than I expected!

Thankful Thursday

I am thankful for renewed energy today! It took a while to get that energy back after being off my synthroid. Then the feeling of being overwhelmed from all that didn't get done while I was hypothyroid was discouraging too. But finally, I feel ready to tackle anything...well, almost anything! And that's despite the fact that my tent is still not 100%! But that's a post for another day. Right now, I am thanking God for this renewed strength and energy.

I can do everything through him who gives me strength.~Philipians 4:13

Please join in the thanksgiving to God and share your praise of Him.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Hot Tea Month--Week Two

Its week two of the Hot Tea Month Blog-a-Thon graciously hosted by scrabblequeen. Now is the time to share our favorite teas! Do you prefer black, green, white, red or "herbal"? Do you like added flavors such as fruit, flowers, vanilla, chocolate or spices...or are you a "purist"?

My favorite teas are definitely black! Earl Grey (Twinings, to be really specific), Irish Breakfast, P.G. Tips. I've learned to like the smoky lapsang souchong that my husband, Andy, loves. And I have a black tea that a Turkish friend gave me a few years ago that I ration out because we've lost touch and I really don't know how to get any more of it. These teas I take strong and hot so that I can add a bit of milk and its still strong and hot! No sugar, thank you.

There a few "flavored" black teas that I like...primarily the citrus-y and spicy ones...but mostly I'm a purist when it comes to black tea. The flavored black teas, I take with a bit of sugar or honey.

Green tea is only tolerable with some flavor to mask the grass clippings taste. And at that its only tolerable. I am not a fan of green tea.

I like the red (rooibos) teas but they are not really teas. They come from an entirely different plant! And they have no caffiene! But I like most of them with a pinch of sweetness. My favorite is a lemon rooibos that I get at Tea Gschwender.

White teas are really from the tea plant but I think of them in the same way that I think of rooibos tea. I like them well enough but they are not really tea for me. I really am a black tea person! So you can probably guess that I am not much into herbal teas (tisanes! NOT tea) either. Herbals I mostly only drink "for medicinal purposes." Ginger is for a sore throat. Chamomile for an upset tummy. I hate peppermint tea!!

Well, I'm off for a nice, hot cuppa with my family right now. Its a perfect way to end the day!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Decorated Trees

Driving to church every Sunday, we pass this group of evergreen trees but we've never seen them looking quite like this before! Remember we had quite a bit of snow in these parts on Thursday and into Friday? Well, yesterday was a beautiful, sunny day with temperatures rising all the way to 24 degrees. This is the southern face of these trees and all that warm sunshine caused quite a bit of their snow decoration to melt and and then refreeze into these gorgeous icicles as temperatures dropped back to -4 degrees overnight.

Here's a close-up of those sparkling ornaments on the branches. Aren't they lovely?

Sunday's Hymn: I Love to Tell the Story

I love to tell the story of unseen things above,
Of Jesus and his glory, of Jesus and his love.
I love to tell the story, because I know 'tis true;
It satisfies my longings as nothing else could do.

I love to tell the story, 'twill be my theme in glory
To tell the old, old story of Jesus and his love.

I love to tell the story; more wonderful it seems
Than all the golden fancies of all our golden dreams.
I love to tell the story, it did so much for me;
And that is just the reason I tell it now to thee.

I love to tell the story; 'tis pleasant to repeat
What seems, each time I tell it, more wonderfully sweet.
I love to tell the story, for some have never heard
The message of salvation from God's own holy Word.

I love to tell the story; for those who know it best
Seem hungering and thirsting to hear it, like the rest,
And when, in scenes of glory, I sing the new, new song,
'Twill be the old, old story, that I have loved so long.

Katherine Hankey, 1866
Tune: I Love to Tell the Story, William G. Fischer, 1869

Friday, January 8, 2010

"Reblooming" Poinsettia

This poinsettia continues to amaze me! It came to my house as a gift from my dear friend, Kim, on Thanksgiving of 2008. That's over a year ago! I blogged about it last May when it still looked pretty much like it did when it arrived. Over the summer, it went completely green but it never faded and died. I did some research on poinsettia and came to the conclusion that if I treated it very well, I could probably keep it healthy but it would remain green from then on. I was given to understand that the brilliant red bracts were encouraged by some means that commercial growers had access to but a mere houseplant enthusiast like myself could not replicate. So I accepted that and continued to care for my green foliage poinsettia just the same.

Just after Christmas, it began to get some faint red in a few of its bracts. Since then, the red has deepened and appeared in more bracts. Here it is the end of the first week of January and the plant is healthy and the red, while maybe not as dominant as in the plants of the local nurseries before Christmas, is quite pronounced!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Hot Tea Month--Week One

What a perfect blog-a-thon topic for the cold, cold month of January! As a dedicated tea drinker, I couldn't resist participating! Scrabble queen is our hostess and each week of the month, there is a tea-related topic to post on. This first week it is tea as a mood lifter: How does tea improve your day? What is your favorite time for a nice, hot cuppa?

Well, dare I mention that "other" drink, coffee, right off the bat? Let's just say I don't drink it at all. It makes me terribly ill. So I start my morning off with the far more refreshing beverage, tea, right after I kiss Andy good-bye and watch him head off to work.

My next cup is usually after lunch with Emily, although I do put the kettle on at any time of day that I may feel tired or down or need to relax. Tea is the perfect mood lifter! It just is!

My favorite cup of the day is after supper though. We never fail to brew a pot and share it in the evening, the two of us. Three, if Emily is home. Its the perfect way to wind down and end the day companionably relaxing together!

What about you? What are your daily tea-drinking habits? Can't wait to hear!

Thankful Thursday

They say that "imitation is the sincerest of flattery." Well, actually, Charles Caleb Colton said it first but I do appreciate the truth of it. And in that spirit, I'm going to copy Kim of the Upward Call who is copying Rebecca of Rebecca Writes in posting thankful thoughts. In fact, I'm going to really copy Kim and try to post those thankful thoughts every Thursday of 2010! And Kim invites us all to join in!

So on this snowy, snowy day, I am very thankful for my warm little cottage. Here's a photo of what I am thankful for the protection from this Thursday! We're supposed to get lots of it!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Sunday's Hymn: Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise

Immortal, invisible, God only wise,
In light inaccessible hid from our eyes,
Most blessed, most glorious, the Ancient of Days,
Almighty, victorious, thy great Name we praise.

Unresting, unhasting, and silent as light,
Nor wanting, nor wasting, thou rulest in might;
Thy justice like mountains high soaring above
Thy clouds which are fountains of goodness and love.

Great Father of Glory, pure Father of Light,
Thine angels adore thee, all veiling their sight;
All praise we would render; O help us to see
'Tis only the splendor of light hideth thee!

Walter Chalmers Smith, 1824-1908
Tune: Joanna, Welsh hymn melody