TUESDAY TEA in the Wilderness

We went hiking recently….in a land that looks like wilderness.Wilderness 1


The trail starts innocently enough…a dirt path with unnecessary cairns marking the way.Wilderness 2


But as we hike further, the trail turns into the stone of old lava flows.Wilderness 3


The cairns become vital to showing us the correct direction.Wilderness 4

The black layers of lava are pushed into mounds. Deep crevices split the rough surface.Wilderness 5


But here among the rocks of the wilderness,  bright desert flowers grow.Wilderness 6

How perfect an example of God leading us through the wilderness…with a gift of life at the end.

The wilderness and the wasteland shall be glad for them, And the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose; It shall blossom abundantly and rejoice, Even with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, The excellence of Carmel and Sharon. They shall see the glory of the Lord, The excellency of our God.  Isaiah 35:1-3 (NKJV)

So enjoy a trail bar and sip some iced tea from your water bottle as we marvel at God’s blessings.

Lost in the mountains….finding my trail to writing….


Winding through juniper-covered mountains as we drive to Santa Fe to attend a WORDHARVEST travel writing workshop, I am looking forward to meeting New Mexico travel writer, Lesley S. King, who will be our guide on this adventure.  A year ago, after reading her article in New Mexico Magazine about the historic “Turquoise Trail” of mining lore, we drove along New Mexico Highway 14 through the Ortiz Mountains east of Albuquerque.  A souvenir necklace I purchased along the way was the inspiration for “Turquoise Remembrance” which won the 2011 Tony Hillerman Mystery Short Story Contest and became my first publication.

Gathering at La Tienda in Eldorado on this azure-sky morning, it is good to meet Lesley and the other participants who will share this experience.  While Lesley goes over our itinerary, a cool breeze floats through the open door.  Sipping a cup of English Breakfast tea helps me to focus on this trek through the mountains of my writing desires.  We will be finding our authentic paths, discovering our journey companions and deciding what gear to carry along.  To begin, Lesley is telling us to write something….. a moment of panic!  Which way to go?  What am I doing here?  I don’t know anything about writing!  I don’t even know what to begin to write!  But Lesley is a good leader and steps with me as I begin down this trail.

Where am I going?  She helps me learn how to discover my goals. Writing is fun!  And writing a blog is a way to be my own publisher, giving me freedom to write as I wish.

Who will be going with me?  We explore the various social media–Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest–learning how to connect with others.

What do I need to bring along?  Joy, appreciation, curiosity, enthusiasm.

The day has gone by quickly.  It is time to say good-bye, so I leave with a map in hand, but it is still hard to decide which path to take.  One blog or two?  How much social media?  Who is my audience?  What is the purpose of my writing?  Is my goal too lofty?  Is this too hard and too much work?   Do I have the time?

Driving home as the glowing sun sets in front of us, my husband and I are reviewing the day and what we have learned.  We are surrounded by New Mexico’s lavender sky and purple hills, and I now realize which mountain trail I want to take.  Not the one along the rocky summit and not the one through the swift creek.  I want to take the meandering trail by the bubbling brook.  I want to sit and chat with the others along the path as I snack on dried cherries.  I want to draw in the fragrant wild roses and the vanilla-scented Ponderosa pines.  I want to hear the melodies of finches and the chirping of a robin.  Yes, I want the peaceful trail with the companionship of others who enjoy discovering the journey.

As Lesley says in her book, King Of the Road, “Within a single lifetime, most people live many incarnations.  Career changes, family shifts and travel, all add to the journey’s richness.”  So maybe another time, I will take the trail to the mountain crest or the path along the cascading stream.  At this moment, I am adding to my journey through the mountains by joyfully writing what I love (my family, travel, romance, hiking, afternoon tea, food, cooking, history, historic hotels, faith, inspiration, trains, camping, reading) and with whom I love (my hero, best friend and husband of 41 years–Collin Stewart).  And the sun is shining!

“You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you.”  Isaiah 55:12

Joyous celebrations!

A special way to celebrate the joys of life!

Thursday afternoon tea!  Celebration!

The writing community I have encountered is so supportive of its members.  I’m currently taking a writing class and find the encouragement of the instructor and the participants gratifying. 

Other writers in my circle are always helpful.  We celebrate one another’s achievements.  This month Kira Brady’s trilogy, beginning with Hearts of Darkness (to be published August 7, 2012) is receiving glowing reviews.  Romance Writers of America announced the finalists for their 2012 contests–and three finalists are of special significance for me—-RITA finalists, Linda Winstead Jones and Cherry Adair, and Golden Heart finalist, Marni Donnelly Folsom.  Congratulations! 

For a special celebration of my first publication, Kira Brady treated me to afternoon tea at the charming Queen Mary Tea Shop in Seattle, Washington.  Celebrations don’t get any better than this—or more elegant!  Sorbet followed by a three-tiered selection of treats (tiny sandwiches, assorted fruits, sweet bites, tender scones) and accompanied by a pot of tea–(I had white peach–delicious!)  The celebration of family, friends, accomplishments and good news! 

I am thankful for the many joys in my life.  And I hope you all have good news to celebrate!


“A cheerful look brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones.”   Proverbs 15:30


Enjoying Thursday afternoon tea!

This afternoon, I am sipping Blood Orange Rooibos from a micaceous pottery cup made by Brian Grossnickle. I am fascinated by micaceous pottery–the warm golden color I associate with New Mexico landscapes. It seemed appropriate to drink a tea from the New Mexico Tea Company. A good blend of hibiscus, rose-hips, apple pieces, orange, vanilla, and lemon.

Micaceous pottery……I first learned about this beautiful art by reading New Mexico Magazine’s article in the August 2010 issue.

On a trip to Santa Fe, I looked for Cafe Pasqual’s to see what pieces were available to buy at the gallery.  One doesn’t know what will be for sale as they sell very quickly. I was fortunate to find a bean pot made by Felipe Ortega that was exactly what I was hoping to find–the one that felt just right. Yes, it “spoke” to me!  The beautiful “fire clouds” caused during the firing process as the juniper wood touches the pot are intriguing. To use this pot to cook beans is a special experience—the beans and the pot bring together a perfect essence of traditional cooking.

Since then we added cups created by Brian Grossnickle because we enjoy tea and the warmth of the pottery cups.   Art that is to be used and enjoyed.  All treasures of New Mexico!

Now back to writing! And yes, there will be a micaceous pot in a future story!

“Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use?”  Romans 9:21