Thankful for Tea and Good Reading!

For the past several days I have been dealing with the annoyance of my biannual sinus infection. It seems to come calling every Advent and Easter. Part of the reason, I’m sure, is the fact that as a pastor I tend to be busier during those two seasons of the year, and I also come into contact with a lot of germs. It seems like half the population of Central Pennsylvania is coughing and/or sneezing and sniffling right now.

When energy and resistance are low, I’ve learned to try to nip the situation in the bud with a quick visit to my family practitioner and an antibiotic. Heaven forbid I should cough and hack during Christmas eve service! I also try (ha!) to get as much extra rest as possible, ingest as much vitamin C as practical, and drink pots of Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime Sinus Soother Wellness Tea.

It seems to speed the healing when I slow down and sip a warm cup of tea and read a good book. Quite often I’ll find myself dozing off, and that’s alright because sleep is one of the best things to restore health and repair damage at the cellular level. I’ve learned over the years that if I keep pushing myself, I’ll only end up sicker for a longer period of time.

Good reading material another thing I’m thankful for today. I usually keep two or three books in circulation at any given time, a combination of vocational and pleasure reading. Right now I’m enjoying these selections:

The Gospel According to Starbucks: Living Life with a Grande Passion by Leonard Sweet. We’re using this book for discussion at Coffee, Tea, & Theology, Trinity’s book group. Sweet suggests that like Starbucks, Christians need to recapture a true passion for the good news. He uses the acronym E.P.I.C. (experiential, participatory, image-rich, connecting) for how this might be accomplished. Our group is enjoying both the book and the conversation and sense of community. Good stuff!

Living Spaces: Bringing Style and Spirit to Your Home by Marlee Ledai. My mother gave me this book, and I’m just now getting around to reading it and enjoying it thoroughly. Ledai is an spiritual director, life coach, and author. The book deals with appreciating one’s home as the place where God and the reader have taken up residence. Room by room she invites one into an intimate exploration of hearth, home, and soul. In fact, each chapter features a “soul project” activity deepen and personalize the concepts therein.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson. My oldest daughter gave me her Nook, and this book was on it. Since I enjoy a good thriller, and the movie is coming out December 21, 2011, I decided to read it. It is a page-turner (well, not with the Nook, even though sometimes I’m so engrossed in the story that I try to turn a page instead of click forward). It will be interesting to see how the film compares to Larsson’s novel.

Finally, here’s a link to a wonderful blog post I read this morning. I follow Alex Blackwell’s blog The Bridgemaker, and I encourage you to read “The Truth about You.” It won’t take long, but you’ll be glad you did. There’s a message here we all need to hear and share. It deals with loving yourself so that you can in turn love your neighbor. Click here to read Alex’s inspiring post.

Well, it’s nap time. I need to work on feeling better because tomorrow is Sunday, and the pastor needs to be on her toes (or at least not croaking like a frog). If you want, share a note about what you’re reading right now and your favorite tea or hot beverage.

Peace and blessing and a grateful heart!

Photos by Harsh Patel, photographer and Celestial Seasonings used under Creative Commons License. Thanks!




Naps are Nice

This afternoon I came home from a very good day at Trinity Lutheran Church and took a long, luxurious nap that was both needed and nice. I was tired in a good way; we had lively conversation in our book discussion group, wonderful worship followed by “Coffee and Conversation,” and then a visit to a dear lady in a nearby nursing home.

I can remember as a young child simply hating naps. Now as an adult I look at naps as a luxury and take every reasonable opportunity to catch a few extra minutes of sleep. Our culture moves so fast that we’ve lost the concept of an afternoon time of rest and rejuvenation. In fact, Americans as a whole do not get enough sleep and suffer from sleep deprivation.

Our bodies are geared for an afternoon nap. According to an article posted on, most people experience natural drowsiness about eight hours after waking. A nap can restore and rejuvenate a person, along with providing some much needed health benefits. The afternoon “siesta” is still the norm in many Latin American and a few European countries.

Maybe we’d all feel better and be more effective by allowing time for a daily power nap of 15 minutes to an hour in length. God commanded us to observe the Sabbath for our own benefit, but most of us fill those extra weekend hours with other activities. What if we took a “mini-Sabbath” every day in the form of a power nap and a prayer, some quiet time with a cup of tea, or 30 minutes of stretching, yoga, and/or meditation? I’d be willing to bet we’d see a drop in stress and a few more smiles.

As for me, I am thankful for today’s nap. Combined with spending time with God, the good folks at Trinity, and my family, it was a wonderful day and a fine start to another week.

How about you? When was the last time you took a nap?

Photo by In My Eyes Photo used under Creative Commons License. Thanks!