Tea for Two

On my first date with The Boy I ordered tea.

I love tea. I loved it when I read the Laura Ingalls Wilder books (it’s all Pa will drink in cold weather and now that I’m thinking about it I think he might have been my first crush? awkward live-blogged realization :/ ). I loved it when I discovered all kinds of weird teas shoved haphazard in our old pantry because Mom was Coffee or Die, and Dad was a teacher, and teachers get weird gifts all the time. Like tea samplers. And the Eternal Christmas Tri-part Popcorn Bucket of Doom.

Drinking tea made me feel fancy. Adult. Different. Like I could any second blink and be 150 years ago with cooler clothes and speech patterns and EVERYTHING. (minus, you know, plumbing indoors, and a bunch of political and social right, but WHATEVZ).

Also, I was allowed to drink it. So.

On my first date with The Boy I drank tea (Earl Gray), and it was discovered that The Boy DID NOT LIKE TEA. He drank coffee on the daily and had no interest at all in the wonderful world of spice and allure waiting for him in a teacup. NONE AT ALL.

And I quote: ‘It’s like hot juice. No thank you.’

This was the closest thing to a red flag I encountered in our budding relationship.

To change his mind, I laughed at him. It was super effective! HA no. No it wasn’t. Wasn’t at all. I tried to explain, to reason with him. Nothing. So we broke up.

HA no. Boy y’all are gullible. We agreed to disagree, and I waited. Bided my time. (Bid my time? Bit? Bidden? Bought? BODE my time? help) and kept ordering tea. (and sometimes mochas.) Eventually I got him some Earl Grey of his own, and he admitted (grudgingly) that it was okay.

OKAY. psh. Had he so blasphemed my beloved Irish Breakfast…well. Let’s be thankful he didn’t.

This summer, the Summer of All the Problems, Nate had to make some dietary changes that included eliminating caffeine, and also, we got sick A LOT. And while caffeine-free coffee just isn’t even worth thinking about, caffeine-free tea is a different story.

Time, consider yourself boden.


fear the spice dragon
allll da flavors

ALL of these (except for a not-pictured classy ziploc full of Throat Coat, which I brought back from the good ol’ USA in January) we got through the wonder of iHerb, my current favorite non-blog place on the Webz. Imported goods in Korea are a wee bit expensive, and they do make Korean tea, but most of it is grain based? It’s like hot barley water. “So watery…and yet there’s a smack of barley to it.”

(I just chortled for a full minute)

I wondered over to iHerb to check out what they had and ended up with a cart full of teas. And some organic rolled oats (Korea doesn’t do oats). And some apple cider vinegar. And peppermint extract (winter baking is coming). They do foodstuffs and cosmetics and a whole lot of ‘health supplements’ that I do not understand and consequently, fear.

(annnnd for first time orderers, use this code: RSG968 You’ll get a discount, and I’ll get rewards when I reorder!)

After waiting for the package to clear customs and getting lots of texts from the Korean post office, Nate came home with a backpack of wonder. His current favorites are peppermint and lemon ginger, with just a touch of honey. We’ll ease into the chai and ‘spice’ territories but if he hates those…more for me. He’s officially converted, you guys. Bless the Lord.

Mobile Word Ministry

I learned from my mother, who always told us the same story: ‘I said I’d never marry a pastor.’ ‘The last thing I wanted was to be making babies and oatmeal.’ ‘I swore I’d never be in the same room with anyone under 12 if I could help it.’

Thus saith Sally, 35-years married to a pastor, mother of 10, sometime 4th-grade teacher, and purveyor of millions of bowls of oatmeal.

Lesson being: never say never. (courtesy of my mother, and also, the Biebs.)

So I didn’t. I never said never.

I just thought it.

But then came The Boy. And I retroactively realized that the never (verb) never rule applies to thinking as well. And I couldn’t be happier that I got it wrong.

From our first post-engagement Bible study, lo these many moons ago.

Because this guy’s got a calling from Jesus. He’s the most pastor-y person I know. He can’t help it. I married a pastor-in-training, a pastor in heart and head and all but employ.

We believe that God has a place intended for him to minister…for us to minister, as much as those italics make me squirm.

And the first step–scratch that. The millionth step already, in two lives full of steps, is here. “The ministry blog” we called it to ourselves, during the 2014 Spring of Planning that became the 2014 Summer of Inevitable Delays. The labor of love from the girl who spent years blogging sporadically about things that didn’t matter at all, and The Boy with a gift for saying things that matter very much but to whom ‘blog’ was a sound you made about food you disliked. But it’s real, and it’s up, and the words God gives The Boy every week are for everyone to read. Now it’s called Mobile Word. Because the Gospel isn’t static but dynamic. Made to move. Just like we are.

Devotionals every Tuesday, reflections on the Word and the Walk every Thursday.

Go and read. And may it bless you the very most.

Space to Praise

Yesterday I started running. (Again.) The last time I ran was probably in June, before a summer of crummy sicknesses knocked me out and drained me of resolve. And also laziness, and hating it. But let’s be gracious to me, a sinner, and say it was the sicknesses. In the morning I skyped with two of my sisters. Our skypes are legendary bouts of face-making and laughter and all-too-accurate insults seasoned with love. we shared and cried and talked the hard things and the hilarious, and prayed together before signing off. One of the things they prayed for me was for space to praise in.

Sounds…unnecessary? or obvious. That’s why we go to church, right? That’s why we play music, full-blast when home alone or in crowds through earbuds. That’s why we read devotionals or have Bible studies. That’s why we read our daily morning Scripture and daily evening Scripture and pray our before-we-go-to-work prayers. But no. It’s the most necessary prayer I’ve heard in a while.

The truth is this: It’s hard to praise when you lead worship every Sunday. It’s hard to praise when your mind is occupied elsewhere. It’s hard to praise when you are in charge. It’s hard to praise when your focus is anywhere else but how glorious Jesus is. At home, at work, at church, in transit. Where is that space made? Where are we free for it?

I believe firmly in finding opportune moments in the small things, the little bits of life that aren’t meant to be documented or even commented on, but which are communications of joy or grace or conviction or peace or humility. Yet there should be more than small bits of time, because praise– as much as it is found in the habits of the routine– is deliberate. It’s chosen. But it’s also a miracle.

I thought about her words all day, and that evening, as I pounded away at my self-imposed regimen, I found it. Space to praise, on a little-trafficked country road in Korea. Space to praise, sweaty, sore, out of breath and out of practice with this: running and seeking the deliberate glorification of God. Panting hallelujahs between my steps. Sunset on high clouds, songs of praise on my breathless lips. And it was life.

Today I ran again, and it was harder, like the second day always is, but the sense of accomplishment bore me up. Then before lunch I got horribly obnoxious news about money (paying bills in a second language is sometimes hard. Who knew?) and freaked out. Just. Legit. As in buried my face in (I think it was) a towel and howled at the injustice of it. I DID THE THING I was supposed to do and have been doing for months and now the thing is wrong? And I have to deal with it? WHY IS THIS HAPPENING. I howled. Ask Nate. He’ll tell you. (poor boy.)

After a bit things calmed down, what with helpful friends and longsuffering husband and, you know, lunch. But now I’m facing down an afternoon full of things-to-be-done, with eyes still slightly sore from The Meltdown and legs still crazy sore from The Exercise, and both reminds me– where is the space to praise today? Where is the deliberate choice to seek and glorify my Savior without distraction? It’s here. It’s now, as I write this. Whispering hallelujahs between keystrokes. Street sounds (including saxophone records. someone in this Korean country suburb is playing saxophone records) echoing though the windows and work to be done, here, now. Space to praise in my heart, if not in my schedule.

Thank God that He comes for us. Right? I can’t be in a cathedral right now, and I can’t repeat yesterday’s sidewalk miracle. My apartment gets zero natural light right now/ever and there’s no cloudscape or sea view to get lost in. I have a glowing laptop screen and a bed to make and laundry to do and syllabi to finalize and emails to send and and and and. I have a thirst to praise God. And that is how the space comes, not through assuming it will show up uninvited, but through taking a beat and asking for it.

Sick Day

Maybe you’re like me.

Maybe you woke up on a deliciously cool Saturday morning after a pretty-stressful-but-God-is-good couple of weeks, and maybe you couldn’t swallow and your throat felt like Grim Death. No warning, no symptom build-up. Just blamo. Grim Death.

Not the other kinds of Death. GRIM Death.

The thing is, if you are like me…then maybe you sent your husband off on a day of Bible studies and grocery shopping alone so that you could guzzle apple cider vinegar and lemon honey water and these beauties (which you love so much that they were actually part of your birthday present this year) while browsing Korean television stations (nothing is on).

And maybe you got a little hungry and remembered the rolled oats you just got in your iHerb order.  And decided to make some oatmeal.

But let’s say just hypothetically that you had some other things in your postage stamp kitchen: things like half a can of coconut milk, a bag of chia seeds, a giant container of cinnamon, a crustily particulated bag of dark brown sugar. Things like that.

So maybe you whip all these things together. Boiling the oats in half-water-half-coconut milk. Scooping out a heaping tablespoon of chia seeds…and one of brown sugar. Stirring violently. Dusting with cinnamon. Drizzling with the LEAST little bit of honey because it was there, and you can’t leave well enough alone.

But then…this is where you are not like me. Because you beautiful sensible people would have stopped right there, or several steps before. But maybe you didn’t.

Because maybe you remembered the ice cube tray of Dutch cold brewed coffee concentrate in your freezer.

And maybe you added a cube of it to your sticky sweet grainy oatmeal.


I am not a well woman.

Or maybe you’re not like me. At all. And maybe I should get more lemon water and watch some Korean TV.