Thursday, February 22, 2018

A Spirit of Gratitude: February 22

I Am Thankful For:
Trying something different
Goals accomplished
Rediscovering an old favorite
Realizing that what you were worrying about was nothing
Hearing the Man of the House laugh
Afternoon coffee
Leftover cheesecake filling
Being lazy
Jelly beans
That sound the cat makes when he's watching birds
Setting in the Man of the House's lap
British comedy
Extra productive days
Little details that make a big difference

What are you thankful for this week?

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Why I Don't Drink Decaf

Anyone who knows much of anything about me knows I adore a cup of coffee.  And I enjoy a nice cup of tea as well.  In my opinion, a warm beverage is just one of life's great simple pleasures.  At least two cups of coffee are essential to my morning routine.  And a cup of coffee or tea is a lovely way to refresh myself during the afternoon, especially if the day is chilly or rainy.   

The afternoon cuppa is often a decaffeinated variety to avoid a wide-eyed and restless night ahead.  Or rather ... it was. 

During out anniversary trip last year, the Man of the House and I visited the Charleston Tea Plantation.  While we were touring the grounds, the guide mentioned that they produce no decaf teas and how the decaffeination process would involve introducing harsh chemicals such as acetate to the teas that they have grown with no herbicides or pesticides. 

Which is when I had one of those "Wait... WHAT?" moments.

Maybe this is common knowledge.  But I had been living in blissful ignorance for all these years!  That was all over now.  As soon as we arrived home, I started doing my research.  And realized I had been consuming something without any clue as to how it was actually made.  

The most common method for decaffeinating coffee or tea is typically by steaming the beans or leaves and then rinsing them with either methylene chloride or ethyl acetate to remove the caffeine molecules. 

That makes me feel a little queasy when I consider that methylene chloride (often used as a solvent in paint removers, metal cleaners, and degreasers) has been banned for use in hair sprays and is considered by OSHA to be a potential occupational carcinogen.  And many of you may recognize ethyl acetate as a common ingredient in nail polish removers. It is also used as an industrial solvent, and is popular with insect collectors as an efficient method of quickly killing "samples" without destroying their appearance.  

Yes, the FDA has approved both of these as safe for the use of decaffeinating tea and coffee. 

Yes, there is reportedly almost no trace left in the coffee or tea once the process is complete and especially after roasting of the coffee beans has occured. 

And yes, companies can legally label products decaffeinated using ethyl acetate as "naturally decaffeinated" because the chemical is derived from fruit. 

But for me, personally, that doesn't make me feel much better about the whole thing.  

If you do some shopping around, you can find some coffees and teas which use a process of cooking the leaves or beans with carbon dioxide using high temperatures and high pressure to remove the caffeine. 

There is also a "water method" which is primarily only used for coffee.  But many coffee lovers feel it leaves the beverage tasting, well... watered down.

After taking in all of this information, I made the personal choice to eliminate decaffeinated coffee and tea from my diet. 

Notice, I said "decaffeinated".  There is a difference between "decaffeinated" tea and "caffeine-free" tea.  Many herbal teas are naturally caffeine-free.  As in, they never contained caffeine in the first place.  I keep a small variety of herbal teas - such as mint, chamomile, and a nice red raspberry leaf -  in the house for those occasions when I really don't want to consume any caffeine with my hot beverage.  

I'll just stick to having my coffee and tea the way nature intended - full of naturally occurring caffeine, or have something which never contained caffeine to start with.

Do you drink decaf? Does knowing a bit about how the caffeine is removed make you feel any differently about it?

Much Love,
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Saturday, February 17, 2018

Saturday Coffee: Caffiene and Tears

Grab a cup of coffee (or tea - or whatever your beverage of choice is right now)  and let's talk! 

I don't even know where to start when it comes to the past week.  

Wednesday was a Valentine's Day.  And Ash Wednesday.  It should have been a day where our only thoughts were on love and the upcoming Lenten season.  Instead it was a day when we once again had to cope with young people being terrorized and murdered by one of their own.  In a school of all places.  

I can't really discuss this with any clarity.  I have so many thoughts and emotions.  So many opinions, many of which seem to completely contradict each other.  As the young people say "I just can't even..."  (how old does that make me sound?)

The only thing I know with any certainty is that my heart is broken for every single student, parent, family, staff member, law enforcement officer, and fire and rescue worker who had to face this horror.  

I saw somewhere that today is Random Acts of Kindness day.  And perhaps that's the best thing we can do this week.  Be kind.  Love on others.  Give of ourselves.  And maybe, in doing that, we can help to overcome a tiny bit of the evil we have seen existing in the world this week.  

With Love,
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Thursday, February 15, 2018

A Spirit of Gratitude: February 15

Clear blue skies
"Clean out the fridge" dinner night
Waking up feeling rested
Sunshine before the rain
The taste of coffee
My dad stopping by for a visit
Spring cleaning plans
Weird memo board messages like "Velcro dog"
Morning kisses
Lying in the dark listening to the rain pour down
My husband is my best friend
Rainy, foggy, hazy days
The bird outside my bvedroom window telling me it's time to get up
When I can finally fall asleep after tossing and turning for hours
The grandkid dressed up "like a 100 year old man"

Knowing I am loved
Valentine texts
Making mini cheesecake bites for my guys

What are you thankful for this week?

With Love,
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Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Happy Valentine's Day

If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.

If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing.

If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it;  but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude.

It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.

It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.

Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

- 1 Corinthians 13: 1-7

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Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Somebody to Love

The following is a repost of a something I wrote several years ago. (with a few minor edits)  My view of the subject remains the same, so I  felt it was appropriate to share it once again...

Tomorrow is Valentine's Day. The day of Love.  Hearts, cupids, flowers and chocolates run wild in every store.  And just so you know - Yes,  I can hear the groans from here.  The quiet grumbles of "made up holiday" and "why should I have to show my love on that day just because Hallmark says so", etc, etc, etc. 

And you're right.  Although it's roots go back to a religious day to observe St. Valentine - the more modern idea of Valentine's Day is pretty much a made up holiday.  And yes, the card companies and candy makers and florists are getting rich off the romantic madness.  But you know what else?  I don't care! 

I can't believe that any reason to show love and affection could be a bad thing.  Sure, we should be showing those we love how we feel about them every single day of the year.  Goes without saying.  But what is one day set aside to remind us of that and encourage us to go all out going to hurt?  Any excuse to be loving and affectionate sounds like a good thing to me!

And yes, I know not everyone is involved in a romantic relationship.  And some of those persons might feel left out of all the lovey-dovey going around.  But is there a law that says one must use Valentine's Day only to show romantic love?  Maybe you have a family member you can show a little appreciation and love for on this day of hearts.  Or a close friend you love like a sister.  Or maybe the person you need to show a little love is yourself!!

You don't like chocolate?  Flowers just die anyway.  Maybe the gifts aren't your thing.  But I bet there is someone who would just appreciate your time and attention.  Or maybe you just need a little time to yourself to read that book/watch that movie/take that bubble bath/paint your toenails like you've been meaning to do.

Take advantage of the day meant for love.  Show someone some love.  Show yourself some love.  Just love somebody! 

Because love is a many splendored thing!

 Love makes the world go 'round!

All you need is LOVE!


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