this seems to have an african theme

I think we're well-stocked on matches, don't you? True to my nature, we have plenty of my favorite little matchboxes on hand. Matchbooks are OK, but I prefer the tiny boxes. They're essential for candle & incense-burning, and for bathrooms (olfactory purposes). And I predict empty matchboxes will be put to creative use once I have both a daughter and dollhouse.

That lone matchbook is from Big Dipper Wax Works and that reminds me, we shall soon need two new candles. I keep one of the scented variety in the living room and TV room. I believe it's important to have a good candle where you sit most often. My method peppermint-vanilla candles are almost gone - a shame because I'm in love with the porcelain container's round shape. However, I can salvage those to hold other candles, huh? I'm excited about Big Dipper Wax Works, though ~ they use beeswax which actually cleanses the air, and real essential oils for aromatherapy. I'm thinking a beehive glass in ylang ylang-tangerine and another in lemongrass-grapefruit.

Other than peeking into drawers, I've been in charge of laundry (sheets), misting our stripped pillows with Thieves spray, and washing tomatoes. Johnny's been outside mowing the lawn, edging, and weeding a flower bed. The dryer is tumbling, the sprinklers are watering the grass, and summer has arrived in Houston, TX. It's not as hot (or humid) as August will be, but it's a toasty 92 degrees today. So, we decided to take our daily walk this evening. But I'm embracing summer more than I used to. I'm not as fearful of sweating anymore (it removes toxins), and now, I truly appreciate the change of seasons, too.

As much as I love mugs of hot liquid, iced beverages are a necessity during the summer. For example, I've been craving plain iced coffee, and I hear that iced coconut milk lattes are actually very good. And, I love iced tea ~ in restaurants, iced green tea, and hibiscus mint tea. I'm even making plans to brew sun tea w/fresh mint on the back porch.

I first tried hibiscus mint tea at one of my favorite restaurants in Austin, TX - Kerbey Lane Cafe. They feature an iced herbal tea of the day, and it's often hibiscus mint tea. I ordered it religiously when I lived in Austin several years ago. You can imagine my excitement when we passed of box of these family-size tea bags in Whole Foods. Johnny said, "If you're getting that, I'm getting Ben & Jerry's New York Super Fudge Chunk." I was so into the tea that his ice cream selection didn't even dampen my mood - that chocolate concoction was a staple of our dating menu (so was vanilla ice cream topped with KahlĂșa). Last night, I put one hibiscus mint tea bag in a pitcher of water and set it in the fridge for a good 45 minutes (the box says the longer, the better).

So far today, Johnny and I have gulped down two three glasses each. We agree that it tastes amazing sweetened or unsweetened. It is the quintessential summer beverage, and honestly, I don't think I'd enjoy it heated. Other than its crimson hue, the beauty of hibiscus mint tea is that it's caffeine-free and naturally rich in vitamin C. And I learned from the box, "For centuries, hibiscus flowers have been grown in the rich silt of the Nile Valley. The Egyptians and the Sudanese use these flowers to make a tart, vibrantly-colored beverage."

As we meandered around Whole foods, other African items caught my eye:

-a paddle plant, a lovely succulent. They are native to South Africa, found in Cape Province. I want one.
-Alaffia shea butter products - Kerry told me about this wonderful fair trade company. I can't wait to snag some vanilla almond shea butter, or shea butter & African wild honey soap.
-Rooibos on the tea aisle, but I already know all about that, of course. It's an herbal plant from South Africa, and I can't recommend rooibos almond or vanilla enough. I find that a cup of either flavor at night helps just as much as chamomile, if not more.

And then I read a disturbing story in the newspaper this morning. At least 19 albinos have been killed in Tanzania recently:

"Discrimination against albinos is a serious problem throughout sub-Saharan Africa, but recently in Tanzania it has taken a wicked twist: at least 19 albinos, including children, have been killed and mutilated in the past year, victims of what Tanzanian officials say is a growing criminal trade in albino body parts.

Many people in Tanzania — and across Africa, for that matter — believe albinos have magical powers. They stand out, often the lone white face in a black crowd, a result of a genetic condition that impairs normal skin pigmentation and strikes about 1 in 3,000 people here. Tanzanian officials say witch doctors are now marketing albino skin, bones and hair as ingredients in potions that are promised to make people rich

Mine and Johnny's hearts are heavy today with prayer needs from our small Church in Houston, and now this. I prayed for our friends; I prayed for the albinos in Tanzania. Though the NY Times article was difficult to read, it's one of the many reasons I believe the newspaper is important - to learn exactly what is going on clear across the world. Things I cannot imagine. And it's confirmation to me that what the beautiful continent of Africa needs most is the Gospel.

For lack of a much better analogy, as hibiscus mint tea quenches my thirst, didn't Jesus say He is the living water? Whoever comes to Him will never thirst? Yes, He did. And so, the universal Church - myself included - needs to pray and do what we're able to help deluge Africa with the Gospel. Truth will shatter every lie, including the myth that albino skin holds magical powers. That is pure evil.

To and from Church yesterday, Johnny and I discussed how politics are not the solution to healing Africa (or elsewhere). Africans need clean water and aid, and most certainly the Gospel. The Church owns these responsibilities. The following organizations are a great start as to how we can help:

-Anglican Aid (ARDF).
-Blood:Water Mission.
-Food for the Hungry.
-Lifewater International.
-Mocha Club.

All of this makes me think of Johnny's hymn, and these verses read aloud in Church yesterday:

"Hear the word of the Lord, O nations,
And declare in the coastlands afar off ....
They will come and shout for joy on the height of Zion,
And they will be radiant over the bounty of the Lord -
Over the grain and the new wine and the oil;
And over the young of the flock and the herd;
And their life will be like a watered garden,
And they will never languish again
[in Jeremiah 31]


Anonymous said...

As of today, we have 4 hibiscus plants in our yard - 2 in big pots and 2 in the ground. I talked to a lady at Kroger's last week who is from Jamaica. She said that hibiscus become trees there and people use them as fences. The one that is blooming today is a golden orange color. Gorgeous.

Love ya!


nicole said...

the tea sounds fantastic, jenni. I think I'll combine your rooibos tangerine with lemonade for tomorrow evening's meal with friends. also, speaking of what you've posted - this broke my heart:

jenni said...

I can't wait to see those plants, Mom!

Let me know how the tea + lemonade turns out, Nicole. Those photos are very heartbreaking. Our Godson's Dad's parents are from Ethiopia, and there right now. Thankfully, they are currently doing well. I'll pray for the many who aren't.

Laura Leigh Dobson said...

need to check out that tea. :)

thanks for posting those thoughts about
Africa. . . .you are right ,what is really needed is the Gospel and how often we forget.

allison said...

Wow, I hadn't heard about the plight of the albinos in Tanzania. Man's capacity for brutality never ceases to amaze me.

jenni said...

Laura - I think I sent you some rooibos....

I hear you, Allison.

jenni said...

Or did you mean the hibiscus mint iced tea, Laura? Yes, you need to try it.