Ambrosia Tea Room


Tea for two was the theme for a lazy, late lunch one Saturday afternoon on the first of April 2017. My mom and I visited Ambrosia Tea Room in Salado, Texas for our midday meal. Upon entering the tea house, one can quickly observe the care and attention to detail that has been placed into the creation of the tea room. Each room has relics of days gone by, of a sweeter time, menus don feminine fonts and shabby chic adequately describes some of the final touches. One of the decorative highlights is the glass tea cup chandelier hanging above the register in the main dining room.

Lunch was unique and delicious. We both drank the sweetened cranberry tea, and it reminded mom of wassail. A springtime wassail if you will. I had the turkey, cream cheese, avocado and cranberry spread on a croissant while mom had the same on wheat and a side of zucchini soup. The sandwich was the ideal pairing of sweet cranberry, rich cream and a little salt with the turkey. The perfect touch was what they call the “Ambrosia Salad,” which came in a little dish on our plates. It’s the amazing mixture of heavenly fluff composed of strawberry yogurt, whipping cream, cheesecake mix and probably some kind of magic 🙂

If you haven’t been to this place, you definitely need to check it out on a shopping day out in Salado, Texas.  They have also been the recipients of the KWTX Clean Plate Award! Ambrosia Tea Room is located at 102 N. Main Street, Salado, Texas 76571.

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The value of waiting, slowing down and finding simplicity


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Sit right here and wait. What? No thank you. Remember when used to actually wait for our parents outside school? We couldn’t text them. We just hoped that eventually they would show up to claim us and take us home.

We just hate waiting. You know it’s true. From drivers who nearly run you down just to get to the same stoplight to the bosses who needed it done yesterday or I want my coffee NOW. We despise waiting. Maybe it somehow reminds us of our humanity and the honest truth that we don’t get everything we want when we want it. Sob sob. I realize how easy it has been to fall into the trap of not wanting to wait. Why is my career not further NOW? Why do I not have the man of my dreams sitting by my side NOW? Where is my lunch NOW? The ironic part of all of this is that we have actually traded our anxious ways and don’t really know what it’s like to live NOW. Being present is something we all struggle with. We love to go and do and live life. But it’s time we all slowed down just a little bit (or rather a lot) to be able to process our lives. Processing what is happening and the actual process behind everything is something we’d rather pass over, forget and live without. When we’ve gone an entire week without assessing what we did well, what we could have done better and perhaps some mistakes we made along the way, we have become to busy. When we are too busy to stop for a conversation that needs to occur with someone or to express thankfulness to someone, we’ve become too busy. Our “busy-ness” will eventually be the death of us all, since running ourselves into the ground will exhaust us both physically and emotionally.

I’ve become very interested in the Slow Movement which believes in more of a mindful way of living- a connection to food, a connection to place, a connection to people and a connection to life. It involves slowing down and really being present in the moment. I prefer to start living more slowly and mindfully as opposed to being forced like a current through the gates of a dam. In the Entrepreneur Issue of Kinfolk, there is an interview with Carl Honore´, one of the world’s most respected advocates of the Slow Movement.  You can watch his Ted Talk here.

I decided to include some blogs regarding the concepts of simple living and a slow living mindset, so check them out:

http://www.becomingminimalist.com/becoming-minimalist-start-here/

Home:

http://www.slowyourhome.com/

Family:

http://lifeshouldbethecatsmeow.blogspot.com/

Other thoughts:

http://prettygoodstories.com/

http://valueofsimple.com/start-here/

Let’s take time to be mindful, be present and not be afraid to live a little slower paced as we journey along our path in life.

~lme

Fanswell!


uke in mountainsSo there’s this great new tool out there for musicians.  I know, I know- there are a million tools.  But Fanswell is super helpful because it takes the music straight from the artist directly to the people wanting to hear it on tour!  Graham Colton, one of my earliest musical loves, created this for artists.  He saw a need for many independent artists trying to do their own tour booking.  He realized we get stuck when there are only so many venues and a huge amount of people clamoring to play the same venues.  I love that it can help me manage my own touring and booking directly with my fans as I begin managing my own tour logistics.

So here is the page if you’re interested in me coming to your home, your porch or somewhere else near where you live.

Leah’s Fanswell Page

Feel free to share this with others through social media outlets.  This fall, I’ll set out to come play for all of you lovely listeners eager to hear some earthy music.  We are starting with surrounding states and also those surrounding my home state of Texas.  Thanks Graham for creating this and thanks to all who are supporting me on this exciting entrepreneurial and creative journey 🙂

~lme

 

 

Sugar in the Shoreline


“We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch – we are getting back from whence we came.” ~John F. Kennedy

The open road is a reset button for the mind. A simple roadtrip can clear the senses, help one take in the scenery from a new vantage point and gain fresh
perspective. You merely watch the frustrations, irritations and pain of life disappear in the rear view mirror with each passing mile. As we drove through the mountains of Asheville, I was able to be in the moment if only for a moment. Winter was melting away as the water rushed down the hills and shot off the rocks in tiny waterfall fashion as if dancing for me and shouting- Spring is here! For us wandering spirits, the open road holds promise, possibility and the pursuit of something new. Charleston was our home for a long Easter weekend, and we soaked it in like a bowl of creamy, delicious grits. We met new characters, allowed our taste buds to revel in both savory and sweet, ambled amidst the sea colored cottages and smiled as we heard the swelling song of the ocean in all her glory. Charleston can boast of a slower pace, a calmer smile and a wealth of historical connections. From the marshy and peaceful beauty of Cypress Gardens to the pasted painted perfection of Rainbow Row, Charlie-town (as Brianne named it), did not disappoint us in the least.

Travel, like music, is a process of changing with a movement of ourselves from one place to another. Perhaps musicians are at times signified as vagabonds, because music and travel clasp hands like the ocean and the shoreline. A longing for freedom and a sense of cutting the strings tied to our wrists by the infringing world of doubters, naysayers and realists. To seek a wealth of experience as opposed to a wealth of money is a noble aim. Charleston, the ocean and the moments of respite from our frantic lives were a welcoming haven for us.

“The sea does not reward those who are too anxious, too greedy, or too impatient. One should lie empty, open, choiceless as a beach – waiting for a gift from the sea.”

~Anne Morrow Lindbergh

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The start of an Italian love affair


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Italy. Few places have pulled me in so tightly initially and held me in their warm embrace. Italy was different from the trips before, and I completely fell in love with the culture. I enjoyed soaking up the cultures of Peru and New Zealand, but Italy is, well, brava. The people are warm, inviting, loving and willing to hug you, shake your hand and kiss both of your cheeks. When they talk in an animated way, they’re not mad. They just use their hands and speak with passion and can be intense, because they mean what they say about the food! Oh and the food- fresh fish at the fish market, cheeses (especially the water buffalo mozzarella), vegetables, olives, olive oil, Sorrento lemons, fresh baked breads, tomatoes, meats, lightly dressed salads and the ultimate local meal with all food taken from 100 feet of where we sat to eat Christmas Dinner at Chef Luca’s house on the coast, were perfecto. I felt at home there.

Travel is part of what makes the world a  more beautiful and better place to live. I truly believe that if more people saw more of the world, there would be fewer wars, less hatred toward others and a more peaceful and kind place to live.  We think others are different because of the color of their skin, the language they speak, the way they dress and the food they eat. But really, deep down, there are countless common threads woven within our makeup as human beings.  We all want safety and peace, freedom to go where we choose, worship how we choose, pursue our dreams, raise children in a healthy and safe environment, be fed and sleep calmly with a roof over our head.  I believe our similarities far outweigh our differences if we’re willing to be honest with ourselves. I think that’s why i’ve always felt so emotional watching an Olympic Opening Ceremony. It seems that for a brief moment in time the world, full of some many different nationalities, languages and races can all come together to celebrate something we love and be at peace. That coming together has always been something I love about the Olympics (maybe I should be doing their marketing or something).

This trip was only the start. I have to return. I have to see what people, adventures, stories await me in South Italy on the coast. Positano bites deep- said John Steinbeck, and I can see why. It grabs a hold of your heart and doesn’t let go.  The village nestled on the side of the mountain is unforgettable. It’s magical and frozen in time with no shopping malls, fast food, Wal-Marts or massive American commercialism. It’s a haven for simplicity and connection with nature.

The narrow cobblestone roads in Rome to the little marketplace alleyways of Sorrento that offer hours of strolling and searching for scarves, pasta and more, and the Italian fashion, refuse to disappear from your mind. They merely linger as if to whisper- come back and please come soon. It’s hard to ignore the beckoning of the Italian coast once you’ve been.

Here’s to the future and travel adventures yet to be had!

~lme

Eulogy while I’m still alive


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I hope to die with a thousand stories woven within my skin.  There will be tales of adventures in foreign lands, of amazing people that I have met and befriended along my journey, of moments that taught me, lifted me and pulled me closer to who I was meant to become.  My face will be well worn but all of the smile lines will indicate a myriad of moments where laughter lit my face up and a hearty burst of air exhaled from my chest into a world where I temporarily existed.  My hands may look old but hopefully the river of veins running throughout them will tell of the people they’ve hugged, the meals they’ve cooked for those I have loved or handed something to someone in need.

The vacant body that they will see before them will have only been the vessel.  A vessel that had opportunities beyond what she thought at 20 when she thought the world would end.  For in this body she traveled around an incredible landscape, saw sights that ancient queens never comprehended, heard music that made her spirit soar, created music to share with others, flew above a Costa Rican rainforest like an eagle, hiked the Inca trail in the Andes into Macchu Picchu with her family, walked in the great cities of the ancient world, climbed mountains, swam in oceans, stood beneath waterfalls, whitewater rafted in Idaho, devoured lobster on the shores of a Maine island, felt the waves of the ocean caress her feet, overcame fears, met countless souls close to home and far away, learned to sail, gained skills in cooking from an Italian, an American mother and grandmother, entertained at dinner parties and birthday parties, rode horseback through the ephemeral forests of New Zealand, did mission work in Jamaica, traversed the British Isles, seeing the graves of Shakespeare and more, met and connected with those in poverty, opened her heart to love those different than her and those less fortunate and extended hands of friendship to those the world over.

I will hope that I learned to give and value real love.  To have learned that love is a choice and not just a feeling.  I hope that I will have loved when it was difficult, and I hope I will be willing to love enough to desire to give up.  Love is an emptying of self and pride of which it takes a lifetime to learn and a lifetime to put into practice.  And the person that I became will not be focused on how pretty or fit or well-dressed I was.  I will have become someone who lives and abides in the comfort that my validation does not come from others around me.  I will be focused on the fact that none of these temporal things matters to the God I serve and that those who focus on the true things of life will have always been present in my life.  I will have learned that the people who are meant to be near us and surround us will gravitate toward us continually.  Should we have desired affection or attention from others that we did not receive, perhaps we were never meant to be the recipient of that.

I hope the look on my face in my coffin resembles a smile instead of a frown and that I did more of the first in life than the latter.  A soul at peace should have nothing but a smile on her face and a song within her heart when it’s her time to go on.  I hope that when people think of me they in turn will smile.  I hope they each have vivid memories of places I shared with them, sunsets we sat beneath, trains that passed us while we played our instruments, conversations we shared that involved depths not comprehended by the naked eye as well as songs I shared and left around the American landscape as a piece of my legacy.  I hope people come to a closer view of my Maker when they come in contact with me.  May I not be merely focused on myself as a musician, a career woman, a writer, a daughter, a sister, a thinker, an explorer or a songwriter.  But may I know that all facets make up a daughter of God walking and breathing and trying to walk on a good path homeward.  As they lay me back into the dust from which I came, my stories will turn back into organic matter that become the setting for the next generation of adventurers and dreamers.  For they will carry on what we have started.  And I will hope I have done my part to leave it in good hands and to have bettered the world while I inhabited it.

When I die and begin to travel toward the light of the sun, perhaps the shackles around my feet will unclasp and release me from the bonds of an earth to which I shall never return.  And as my spirit soars ever higher up and through the clouds and into the stratosphere, I will begin to hear music and familiar voices.  And when I arrive at heaven’s front door and I softly knock, He will open it with a warm and welcoming smile and say, “We’ve been waiting for you- come in.”  I will leave my jar of troubles outside and enter in where the most beautiful song I have ever heard is wafting toward me and slowly washes over me.  And forever I will be in eternal joy.

Go forth and do good as you create a lasting legacy 🙂

~lme

Good News in Jamaica!


A few weeks ago, I had the wonderful opportunity to serve and share God’s message with those in various places in Jamaica surrounding Savanna la Mar (or Sav as we called it).

It was such an encouraging week and one unlike any I have ever spent.  To get out of one’s comfort level and have the sole purpose of encouraging, connecting and serving can be so freeing and helpful for the soul. The simplicity really struck me.  It’s almost like an America of days gone by with kids laughing and riding bikes in the street with this ever present sense of community.  We ate together in one of the communities called Little Russia one day and led the neighborhood kids in a rollicking game of the hokey pokey. Amidst what at first glance looks like a lack, after some time reveals rather an abundance.  There is a wealth of beach views, rolling and lush hillsides, delicious and fresh fruits, smiles, warm greetings by those on the street and uplifting songs in services. The heat of Jamaica paralleled the warmth in our hearts as we bonded with other brothers and sisters on this island far from our homes in Tennessee, Texas, Florida, Ohio and Georgia.  We bonded as a team and beganI think one of my favorite memories is the beauty of 30 Vacation Bible School children crammed on a bus, bouncing and singing praises to their wonderful Maker who made each and every one of them special.  Mission work teaches us to focus and to work as a team.  It teaches us to remember what is important amidst all of the devices and distractions in our modern landscape.  And it also teaches us the beauty in coming together for a bigger purpose, utilizing our time and talents in God’s work.

I realized I should be ever so thankful as a young and able servant in the kingdom with sufficient funds to have the opportunity to serve in a foreign land.  I am blessed beyond measure and I forget that all too often.

If any of our Good News Jamaica team reads this, I would like to thank you- for your hard work, for your encouragement, for giving a week or two of your life to give, serve and spread the Good News in a place far from home.  We worked as a team for a higher purpose than ourselves.

Love to you all, friends near and far, new and old, those I have come to know and those I have yet to meet,

~leah

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Guest Post!


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I had the pleasure of guest posting on the Living Behind the Scenes blog recently.  Please feel free to check out the post here.  It’s a resourceful blog for people in the music industry with helpful hints and more.  So, visit the site and peruse some of the articles if you so choose!

Here’s a poem I wrote today to say so long…

Into the wind…

As I threw it to the wind

My spirit felt more light

I wonder if I smiled more

Would it my feet begin to fly

Nothing gold can ever stay

Who’s hiding what is real

The fact that I can hurt

Means I’m still able to feel

 

father time is keeping watch

over hours and our days

they keep pushing us through moments

Without first resting on this page

What’s common can be lovely

What’s simple can be joy

What’s with all the pressure

To settle on a boy

 

I carried the weight on my shoulders

Like a milkmaid into town

Worried what they’re saying

Knocking myself down

Pinball spinning slower

Around the hairpin curve

Undocumented hours

To be a king, you serve

 

The mountains give direction

The sun crests o’er the hills

Welcome to the forest

Where no one cheats or steals

Whispers in the willows

The hollow tree, a home

The moss becomes a blanket

My pillow is a stone

 

In dreams I found a melody

That disappeared with light

I searched for something somewhere

For my goods I had to fight

If only I was something

I let myself believe

When I had it all along

Tucked within my sleeve

~lme

Treat mints


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You don’t know?

Inpatient, impatient

Why didn’t anyone tell me?

How could I not know?

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Brother here, sister too

Anyone, anyone?

Hello hello, anyone there?

Flashback

Car ride needing something

So close to learning truth

The box of things sits on the first step for days

I debated

I only found out because I called to

find the address

Why didn’t anyone tell me?

Why should they?

I didn’t have the title

Or did I

But I was the last one

Or so I think

Should I have known?

Could I have known?

And once again… trigger pain

Is it my fault?

Why didn’t they call me?

They blame me

Why would they call me

I was the last one

at the scene of emotional crime.

~lme

It’s Fools Day


Fools day

They look upon me with pity

Because I’ve no one on my arm

Why’s it gotta be

that I’m not real without someone to keep me warm

I have a lot of dreams

But they don’t mean anything

To anyone

To anyone

 

I’ll guard my heart

Better than before

Don’t let those wolves come in

Even when they knock nicely at the door

 

Simplicity is felicity

Burning out the dross

If I can tell you something

Lessons in the loss

Why chase boys

When there’s Less sadness in your dreams

Happiness is found

in unraveling the seams

I put my money where my mouth is

Invested in a risk

For you, I gave pieces of myself

Has to be a reason for this

 

I’ll guard my heart

Better than before

Don’t let those wolves come in

Even when they knock nicely at the door

 

The easy route was to toss it out

And burn the framework to the ground

Silence in the shoreline

Nothing’s safe without a sound

I’ll choose a storm chaser

Who finds beauty in unrest

traveling for travelin’s sake

who can be happy in the mess

 

I’ll guard my heart

Better than before

Don’t let those wolves come in

Even when they knock nicely at the door

~lme