Crossing a Bridge

img_0424

Crossing a bridge, I decide to sit.

Breeze blowing, shadows dancing. Brittle leaves scratching the wood. A trickle of water tumbles down through rocks and into the creek. Sunlight filters through the leaves.  Locusts hum, unaware that summer is done. Bird songs welcome Fall. Reflections of branches quiver on the water’s surface. I am grateful for the stillness.

 

The Ritual of Tea (and a giveaway)

IMG_1874

Tea is a treasured respite from the bustle of my day. Drinking it, of course, but especially the ritual of tea. It is a meditation of sorts, opening bottles to inhale earthy and floral scents while deciding which tea suits my mood. Then choosing a cup and watching the leaves’ tannins seep like ink into the hot water.

I find the spot in the room with the prettiest light and gather my fountain pen and journal, grateful for this quiet time to capture thoughts. Steam rises like a translucent flame above the rim and I sit still, waiting patiently to take a sip.

Part of my tea love affair is because of the sense of place it brings:

  • Discovering loose tea on my first trip to Paris, where I selected a fruity black tea with blue cornflowers at a local farmers’ market. Drinking it reminds me of France.
  • Delighting in the anticipation of high tea at the Savoy Hotel when I lived in London, and savoring tea and conversation on my cozy blue sofa with dear friends.
  • Tasting sweet mint tea in Marrakesh, offered to me in an antique shop with secret passages.
  • Learning how to ceremoniously “pedal” jasmine tea in San Francisco’s Chinatown.
  • Sampling the distinct vanilla taste of Rooibos tea in an art gallery in Swaziland.
  • Hunting for tea shops in far away corners of new cities

And, sometimes, asking for “just one more cup of tea” is the perfect excuse for lingering a bit longer…


This post is part of the “kick off” for the Grace Notes blog hop, the new blog companion to Stampington & Company’s Bella Grace Magazine that celebrates everyday pleasures through inspirational photography and heartfelt stories.

In honor of this blog hop, I’m hosting a giveaway for a complimentary copy of Bella Grace Magazine Issue 7. Bella Grace Issue 7 Cover

For a chance to win, simply leave a comment on this post and share what you do to slow down and savor the moment. I will randomly select a winner and post an update on March 31st.

***Update: Congratulations to Rachel Gordon, who won the Bella Grace Magazine Issue 7 Giveaway! Yay! ***

Abundant joy,

Tracy

Marvelous Moments

IMG_3828

Reading through my journal, 2014 has already brought so many wonderful new experiences.  Our time living abroad feels like life is on fast-forward,  so we really try to be present and feel thankful for these kinds of moments:

  • sampling new  Swazi and South African dishes: impala, pap, warthog, and ox tail
  • the moving, resonant, and harmonic voices of just six people attending an evening church service; their sound burst through the silence with gorgeous, powerful, a cappella song that filled the room
  • A hippo and crocodile cruise in St. Lucia’s iSimangaliso Wetland Park (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), and sleeping under mosquito netting in a cabin that feels like you’re in the jungle
  • the concept of the lodge “honesty bar, ” where you drink what you like in an outside lounge area, write it down, and get charged when you check out
  • playing with our toddler in tidal pools formed by the  Indian Ocean, watching the joy of his daily discoveries, wonderment of life, and reminders to all of us to be child-like and PLAY
  • fragrant Victoria St. Market in Durban; a maze of beaded sandals, wooden carvings clothing, jewelry, painted ostrich eggs, and woven baskets
  • being treated like family at a coffee roaster in a litchi orchard in Salt Rock, South Africa, where they are “mad for a gorgeous cuppa”
  • the adrenaline rush and phenomenal views from a first micro flight over Ballito
  • Driving on highway R541 called “The Genesis Route,” tied to the origins of our planet and the idea that all humans share an African heritage. 3.5 billion-year-old rocks in Makhonjwa mountain range are amongst the most ancient in the world. (let that sink in for a second. Wow, right)?
  • Discovering Vetiver grass roots, which smell divine, and loving the beautiful nests into which the roots are woven
  • Visiting Jane Goodall’s Chimp Eden, a bit disappointed not to have time for a tour, but then heading back to the car and spotting a group of  giraffes (called a “tower,” which seems aptly named, as they do tower, and grandly so).  Just free roaming, wild and out in the open.  Stunning.