Creative Writing: Ordinary Tea

The tea kettle whistles, and I prepare my daily cup of tea without even thinking, like I have done hundreds of times before, just like brushing my teeth or turning the coffee on. Or even saying “I love you.”

Ordinary moment.

But as the cinnamon aroma fills the room tonight, it somehow catches my attention–like I need to realize something. Like there is a fog in my brain that must be lifted so that I can see what I need to see. 

“What is it, Lord?” 

I wrap my hands around the rough pottery feel of my terracotta cup and revel in the heat being transferred into my fingers. The night is falling early tonight, and the aroma of cinnamon hovers over me, calling me to discover that secret it holds, just out of my reach, and yet my soul strangely aches for it.  

“What is it, Lord?”


I bring the little cup to my lips and let the delightful cinnamon taste of my tea fill my mouth, like I have done hundreds of times before. Such an ordinary moment. Today, it tastes cozy, and comforting, and alive, and jumpy and smooth all at once. 

It tastes like a party in my mouth. 

Such an ordinary moment that feels like a celebration. Delightful. Holy even. 

And in that ordinary moment, the fog lifts and the secret emerges. 

I take another sip. I revel in the party in my mouth birthed in the ordinary. 

I revel in the extraordinary ordinary. 

Life has been ordinary these days. Just the ebb and flow of everyday life when you live in a community and share in the rhythm of your little town.

Days flooded with rain, welcomed by some, cursed by others. 

Extraordinary ordinary.

Days of alarm clocks, and laundry, and sorting out clothes too small or too big, and taking advantage of the nice weather to do some work around the house.

Painful nights crying with a friend when crying was all I could do; nights filled with the taste of barbecue, and laughter and sparklers and campfires so hot that making a smore without burning the marshmallow is a challenge; nights under the stars, in awe of the One Who names every one of them. 

Extraordinary ordinary.

Sourdough bread starter that comes to life and the crusty lovely taste of buttered bread hours later coupled with room temperature Camembert.

Miles and miles of forest walking, some alone and some with others, always under the watchful eye of deer, and ants, and woodpeckers and worms, always charmed by the majesty of creation.

Extraordinary ordinary.

A death, and the wrapping of oneself into the Word of God that we might not be swallowed up by the grief that comes and goes; the promise of a new life.

Dry, red wine shared with friends as the sun sets on the streets of our little town.

Extraordinary ordinary.

Tomatoes filled with warmth and cucumbers that crunch under your teeth.

Listening to a child describe what robotics is all about, and letting her teach you how to make perfect playdough circles. 

Extraordinary ordinary.

Cheering for first steps. Being sobered by last ones.

Burying a hope and it feels like your breath has died with it, yet finding the courage to breathe again, amazed at what grace looks like in those moments. 

Extraordinary ordinary.

Jokes and sarcasm that I still don’t get. 

Evenings spent watering flowers dying under the pressure of heat and watching them drink themselves to life again.

Ordinary. So ordinary.

Extraordinary. Cinnamon tea and all. 


Whose Fault is it?

It’s their fault!

Somehow, we believe that other people create how we feel.  But it is not so. Other people do not create our feelings.

We may have thoughts about other people’s behavior, and those thoughts may create our feelings, but the people themselves are not the ones creating the feeling. Our thoughts are

I know that we are taught the exact opposite–that other people create how we feel– but once we really accept the truth of the matter and step into it, we will gain so much brain and mind freedom!

Actually, it’s on you!

As long as someone else creates how you feel, you will always be at their mercy. You will always hope that they treat you nicely and they’re really supportive so that you can feel good and you can succeed.

But that’s not how life works.

We all have tried to get our parents to change, our siblings to change, our bosses and mates and co-workers and friends and kids. It doesn’t work. Even when it works a little bit, we then just find the next thing that the other person needs to do differently so that we can feel better. Crazy, right?

You and I have to focus on what we can change, and the answer is always us. Me and you.

We have been granted the privilege of being able to change our thinking.

It’s a choice.

To change one’s mind is not a piece of cake. We can’t just snap our fingers and make it happen. But what we can do is choose different thoughts on purpose. By now, you understand that when you change your thoughts, then you actually change your feelings, actions and results as well.

The change you want (change in your feelings and ultimately results) has nothing to do with relying on other people, and everything to do with you choosing your thoughts carefully. This goes right back to Deuteronomy 30:19 when God tells His people that He puts before them life and death, blessing and curse, and that they need to choose life.

The desire to control

It’s so fascinating how much we want to control other people. We have so many shoulds for
other people.

Why do we do this? One simple reason is that if someone else needs to change for us to feel better or for us to be successful, then we’re off the hook. It’s no longer our responsibility.

And when it is our responsibility to feel better and to make choices about our lives, it feels very uncomfortable because the responsibility is all on our shoulders, and isn’t it so much easier to give that responsibility to someone else.

Passing the Buck

It’s as though we just hand over our happiness, our wellbeing and our ability to succeed in life to somebody else. We just put them in charge. We pass the buck, and we don’t want the responsibility of our own lives.

Doing the Uncomfortable

But there’s something about doing the uncomfortable stuff.

You know what happens when you do the uncomfortable stuff? You become very strong. It’s like going to boot camp–you are doing all the stuff that’s difficult, and you come out a different person.

It certainly is easier to believe that weights are dangerous and we should stay away from them. But what would our result be then?

As long as our feelings are everybody else’s fault or responsibility, we are off the hook and they become the reason we fail. And we think that it makes life easier, but it isn’t true. It makes us weak.

Taking Responsibility

If you want to be successful at feeling good and having results that you like, you are going to have to take full responsibility for every decision you make.

Even the decisions that you don’t like.

Even the decisions that don’t give you the results that you want. Actually, these decisions give you a lot of information about the way you think, the things you are telling yourself about yourself and other people.

The Buck Stops Here

All the actions you take in life are the results of your thoughts and your feelings and no one else’s.

Other people can’t put thoughts in your head and even if they give you thoughts to think, it’s up to you to decide if you’re going to believe them.

Your success is up to you.

Do you believe this to be true? How are you going to change because of this blog post? Please share with me!

And feel free to share these words with anybody you know who might need them. That’s what friends do.