An angel in disguise?

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

A Royal Albert New Country Roses teacup arrived on my doorstep last week, a gift from my son and daughter-in-law. 

I went for a walk a couple weeks ago feeling kind of sad and discouraged. I found a bench and sat on it, kind of half hoping the Lord would send an angel in disguise to come sit with me and comfort me. I remembered a friend who told me that once, when she was sitting alone at a park feeling very sad, a perfect stranger came and sat with her and talked with her for a long time, encouraging her and blessing her with kind and helpful words. She told me later that she was convinced that an angel had visited her.

That's what I'd like right now, Lord. Just a few words of encouragement. Just a simple reminder of the things I already know but need to hear again.

But there was just silence. 

As I sat there in the chill of the early spring morning, my son's little dog at my feet, I saw a woman emerge from a townhouse across the commons area from my bench. She was carrying a large pair of very sharp trimmers and I saw her try to trim a branch from a tree just behind her house. The branch was large and just a little beyond a comfortable reach.

After a few futile attempts, she went back in the house. I thought she'd given up. But the next moment I saw her come out again carrying a ladder and the trimmers.

Uh-oh, I thought. That doesn't look safe.

I walked across the grassy area to her and asked if I could help. She looked a little startled and uncomfortable at having a perfect stranger approach her. She'd never seen me before. After all, I was visiting from another state and had never walked this way before. But I didn't think I looked too threatening, what with my silver hair and all, and a little dog with me on her leash.

I tried to put her at ease, explaining that my brother-in-law had injured himself quite badly a few years ago falling from a ladder. I offered to hold it for her while she cut the branch.

While I held the ladder, she explained that some neighborhood boys had been coming around, hanging on the branch, swinging from it, and that she was afraid they would eventually break it. She was having quite a hard time so I offered to trade her the dog leash for the trimmers and have a go at it.

Now I don't have a lot of upper body strength at all, and what's more, I was working from the ground at a very awkward angle.  But I felt I had to make good after my offer. And I did eventually manage to cut the branch, although not quite as neatly as might be hoped.

She was about my age and I made some joke about us and our tree-trimming adventure. But still feeling that she felt a bit awkward, I just wished her a good day and retrieved my little dog and went on my way.

She'd never seen me before and will most likely never see me again. 

So I smiled a little as I walked away. I had prayed for an angel to visit me. Who knows if she didn't wonder later if maybe I was an angel in disguise sent to help her?

We pray for things. But sometimes the Lord knows better than we what we need. I wanted someone to encourage and sympathize with me, someone to help me out. But instead I was given an opportunity to help someone else.

 I felt encouraged and uplifted. My prayer had been answered.

A birthday tea

Monday, March 13, 2017

I feel like Winnie-the-Pooh must have said somewhere,"Oh, a Birthday Tea. What a Happy Thought."

I had a birthday tea for my daughter and a dear friend of hers who flew in from out of state to celebrate the birthday weekend.

I didn't make her wear this Dollar Store crown.

Uh-oh . . . I forgot to remove the damp paper towels over the plate of sandwiches before taking this picture. I didn't want them drying out before we ate.

Another friend was to join us, but couldn't make it.

Here you see some of my mother-in-law's silver, and what looks like a Limoges teacup, but just says Made in Austria. The plate on top is the Rose Chintz pattern by Johnson Brothers. The fruit bowl is from Target.

The linen luncheon napkins are probably more than 75 years old, and came from a friend of my husband's grandmother's.

Because I'd been out of town I didn't make anything except for two kinds of scones. Oh, I did assemble the sandwiches and cut up some fruit! I got the rest of the goodies at a nearby Italian grocers with a wonderful pastry counter.

Little party favors were in order. A tiny bottle of glitter never hurt anything either.

Lady Carlyle by Royal Doulton is in the running for my all-time favorite china pattern.

Had to have some bubbly pink lemonade in my mother-in-law's champagne glasses, circa 1949 (the glasses, not the lemonade!).
These Italian hard candies are filled with soft centers. I bought them just because the packaging was so lovely. But they taste pretty good too.

Chocolate mousse-filled cups sitting atop cupcake stands I found at Target.

This tablecloth, which is really a bedspread, was hand crocheted by my grandmother. It's huge, and I can't even imagine the time that went into making it.

Croissants filled with chicken salad, and thin Pepperidge Farm sandwich bread filled with ham spread and boursin cheese and thinly sliced cucumbers.

Lemon curd and homemade clotted cream for the scones.

The birthday girl, my daughter, on the left, and her dear friend Sam.

After our tea, we sank into the couch and easy chairs for conversation in front of the fire. We were all in various degrees of semi sugar-induced comas.

A Delightful Party with two lovely young women!

Meeting another blogger friend

Saturday, March 11, 2017

So did you guess which blogger from North Carolina I met this past week?

Debby Ray from My Favorite Things!

And she is just as sweet and friendly as you would expect a Southern gal to be. 

I came down to stay with my son and daughter-in-law, who just had surgery and needed some help.

Before coming down I remembered that Debby lives in North Carolina, and wondered if it was anywhere near my son. I emailed her, and voila! She's maybe an hour away from him, so we decided to meet for dinner about halfway.

We talked so long we closed the place down! The thing about meeting a blogger friend who is a stranger is that they're not really a stranger at all. We already know lots about each other from our blogs. Besides that, we have many mutual blogging friends we love and admire. ("Oh, do you read So and So's blog, too? Isn't she great?")

I wish I'd taken a picture of the buttermilk fried chicken, collard greens, and big flaky biscuit I had. Honestly it was the only real Southern food I'd had all week other than the pimento cheese sandwich I made. 

I remember when my daughter moved to Alabama to teach high school. When we went to visit her, all I saw were Panera Breads and Ruby Tuesdays and the like. I wanted some real Southern-style cooking -- cheese and grits and and ribs and fried green tomatoes and all that. So I was really glad Debby suggested this down-home, Southern-style restaurant. 

Debby gave me some "gifts from the sea." I've been to the North Carolina beaches. Oh, what wonderful walks I've had on them. And how much I'd like to vacation there every year.

Look at these fun sea shell candies.

 My daughter-in-law, who grew up in North Carolina, said she and her sister always got these candies when they went to the beach as children.

So fun, and such pretty shapes and colors, but I honestly didn't have high hopes for how they would taste. But I was wrong. They're really good, kind of like soft M&Ms.

And they actually came in quite handy on my long 9-hour drive home. Nothing like a little sugar to keep you going. Thanks, Debby!

I think this photo should be made into a puzzle, don't you?

So I've met nine bloggers now (see my previous post for the list). I feel so grateful for the friendships made here in blogland. Wish I could meet all of you in person.

And Debby, thanks so much for making the drive after a long day at work and taking a chance on meeting me. I do hope we'll be able to meet again sometime.
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