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Posts Tagged ‘hot cocoa’

Mugs and Cocoa

To think this pile of brown dust turns into a delicious, warm, indulgent chocolate drink is wonderful. And if I pour the steaming water from several inches above the brim, the cocoa will be frothy. After a few minutes, casually stirring and waiting for the cup to cool, the bubbles are still there, but smaller, a foamy chocolate layer on top featuring swirls and spots of darker chocolate, not totally blended yet. Marshmallows keep hot chocolate warm longer, by insulating the cup from the top, like the ice on top of a lake that allows fish and life to continue beneath. One small sip, breathed rather than drunk, promises a mug full of pleasure, a sweet and filling substitute for a healthier lunch.

I love my mugs. The one at work, whence I type this, is cobalt blue with white etching of Colorado evergreens. I can slip most of my fingers through the handle to warm my hand without doing anything useful. It’s a thinking position, the cozy act of a multi-tasker not really thinking about her work. The brim of the mug has no lip, is simply straight, allowing the breathe-sipping and preventing strange sticky mustaches from forming on my lip.

At home there is a large, paler blue glass mug that promises abundance, luxury, a long afternoon to enjoy its contents. There is a rounded goblet-like mug that looks like a candle-lamp, with a small, finger-sized ring for a handle near the bulbous bottom. It looks more like dessert and beauty than comfort and ease. And I have my Chicago cup, short and wide, purple and unappealing except for the complete redemption of having Chicago written on the outside, reminding me constantly of my favorite city.

Ok, so I have several more mugs, and sometimes I even feign British propriety and use a teacup and saucer (which is almost always profaning the use, as I drink cocoa much more readily than tea). Each of my mugs is a privilege to use, and makes me wish that I stayed home more, reading a good book, instead of shopping or skipping about to work and libraries (the last thing I need is to read books I do not own instead of the stacks of those unread editions that I do).

The very fact that I’m writing about cups and cocoa proves that I am absolutely given over to a writing craze. I’ve been reading a lot, and every thought forms itself into a communicative sentence that insists on being written and remembered. I will try to be an Elinor, of Sense and Sensibility, to push aside my instincts and follow my sacrificial duty. Perhaps my sense of story will infiltrate my responsibility and make it poetic. Wish me luck.

A few hours later I have most irresponsibly finished reading a book. My cobalt blue mug contains a half inch of cold, watered-down cocoa, having been refilled with hot water to make the last bit last longer. I cannot get into the story of Ephesians 5 and 6 sufficiently for it to say what I thought it said, so maybe I should start over and let God say what He says. I want connection, though, between what God has been saying and what He will say.

To God be all glory,

Lisa of Longbourn

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One can read over the brim of one’s cup, just as Treebeard the Ent studied Merry and Pippin in his mountain home over his entdraught in Middle Earth long ago.  Such was I doing when I stopped thinking about the words and became more attentive to the taste in my cup.  I was drinking a vanilla chai tea latte, hot, and slightly watered down due to my lack of tablespoon at work.  The flavor is one of the new things introduced to my life in a year that is rapidly flowing to its end.  I like it. 

 

But I miss hot chocolate.  Not that I never drink chocolate anymore.  That I drink chai tea when I would have been sipping cocoa is undeniable.  Life has changed.  My tastes have dutifully broadened as an expected part of growing up.  If they are broadened, they are also dispersed.  Now the intensity of my appreciation for chocolate is tempered by my acceptance of vanilla chai tea. 

 

Would my life be better if I had refused to taste chai tea?  If through loyalty I remained zealous for chocolate alone, could I still be a grown up and still be happy?  Would I be happier? 

 

Life is a choice whether to try new things.  Once surrendered to a new pet topic, to the diminution of my former sole passion, my experience says there is no possibility of returning to a single-passion life.  A new opportunity arises, and if I am consistent, is tried.  Causes ebb and flow, wax and wane now, each replacing the last for its moment in the spotlight. 

 

I haven’t really written anything in a while.  Inspiration departed.  Whenever that happens I get borderline depressed, because life seems to have lost its flavor, and my passion for each moment has waned.  I don’t like drifting, shallow waves of life lapping around an unresponsive me.  Leaving the metaphor, though, I keep on doing things: going to work, talking to people, checking email.  Even genuine smiles come to my face. 

 

Now, slowly, I think I’m coming out of my doldrums.  A week ago Saturday night, I completely spontaneously saw a movie, August Rush.  There were so few people in the theater, and I was so tired.  Reclined in my seat, I tilted my head against the back of the cushion, and absorbed a beautiful movie.  The soundtrack was uniquely expressive, imposing its presence and importance.  Music spoke in the movie.  It communicated identity, feelings, direction, summons, friendship, longings, and fulfillment. 

 

Afterward I escaped the scent of popcorn into a fresh midnight wind.  The air was too cold to linger, but I breathed it deeply, and memorized its touch on my face.  I felt the cold and the current.  My brother and I talked of how we love things and moments with feeling, and flavor.  They say something, and mean something. 

 

In contrast, the chocolate cake I had just before the movie was bland.  The color boasted bursting flavor, when in actuality the taste was dull and muted.  Not like fudge, or cinnamon, or grape juice.  Those things are so bursting with flavor that they assert their identities. 

 

Then a few days later was a day full of feeling, and a sense of doing things important, though everyday.  I cried near the end, for a few friends came home.  Tears break the walls of the world without passion.  That’s the metaphor of George MacDonald’s Princess Lightness. 

 

Yet when the walls are down, and I care about what happens around me, when I’m advancing my might on causes and people, there’s the probability that I’ll see the world in reality, and see myself as I am.  Couple this to just turning 23, to holidays and old friends, and I am sad now – not depressed, but sad in a sentimental way, in a fightable way. 

 

Sunday I went to Red Robin alone.  They offered me a free burger for my birthday in exchange for receiving their emails, so I went to redeem my coupon.  The staff was nice.  I brought a book about grace.  And in between sips of a chocolate shake and bites of luscious burger, I observed.  The walls caught my attention, bearing an eclectic collection of posters, prints, and photographs.  One fantastic picture showed downtown Chicago along the Chicago River in 1929.  Already the concentration of sky-piercing towers was a marvel.  Chicago is my favorite city.  I can’t lay my finger on the reason, only that when I am there I feel alive.  Every place is a story; every sound has a flavor; and every person has a style. 

 

I love Christmas for the same reason.  Each song is a tale, each note a rush of emotion.  Every light twinkles mystery into my soul.  Altered from its original intent or not, in December the whole country is united in focus.  No one asks why the stores all play music about snow, bells, peace, and Jesus.  It is understood when you wear red that you’re being festive.  Even those who have dropped out of church make it back for the memories of candlelight at Christmas Eve services. 

 

So today, especially at Christmas, I want to challenge you to seize the day.  Breathe the moment.  Live to the hilt.  Pursue life.  Feed on truth.  Praise beauty.  Remember.  Cry.  Hope.  Laugh.  Sing.  Love. 

 

To God be all glory,

Lisa of Longbourn

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