Sunday, December 30, 2012

"Tea Time Magazine" by Hoffman Media, LLC

Phylllis Hoffman "Celebrate"

These two magazines give great ideas on food, table scapes, teas to serve for special occasions and those that could accompany your menu, recipes, wonderful photos, education on tea plant growth, history, tea rooms from many different places and cultures, and a personal tea story from a reader.

Like many readers of these magazines, when my next copy arrives in the mail, I set it aside and save it for a special time when I can devote my attention to absorbing the colorful photos, descriptions, stories, menus, recipes and much more. Taking time out for for the latest issue is such a treat whether I am in my favorite chair, with an afghan and a nice hot cup of tea during our Northern Michigan winters; or taking a break in the warm summer sunshine of the back yard.

"Christmas Cottage Cookbook" Volume I

The Christmas Cottage Cookbook Volume I has been a delightful addition to my collection of tea party menus and ideas. I have cooked, baked and served many of the selections and would recommend this book to anyone who likes to make unique foods to serve or gift.

Other tea books I've collected and used through the years are:

Tea Shop Mysteries by Laura Childs

"Totally Teatime Cookbook" by Helen Siegel and karen Gillingham, 1995

"An Invitation to Tea"
"The Twelve Teas of Friendship"
"Let's Have a Tea Party"
By Emilie Barnes

"Tea Times Southern Style"
By Rosemary Newman and Sharon Strictland, 2001

"Tea with Friends"
By Elizabeth Knight

"A Cup of Christmas Tea"
By Tom Hegg

"A Memory of Christmas Tea"
By Hegg and Hanson

"Delectables for All Seasons"
By Koch

Check your local public library, where they may also have these on e-books.

Thank you Notes

Do you send thank you notes?   I do.  Hand-written ones, that is.  I must admit that I use electronic media often to communicate, but try to send hand-written cards and notes as much as possible.  Recently while visiting my mother, she shared with me a hand-written note that was in my father's wallet.  It was about the joy of loving and being loved.  I treasure old things, like vintage belongings, especially from my own family.  If we gradually stop sending hand-written notes, what will there be to treasure for the generations that follow? 

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

MESSAGE Luke 19:1-9

Meet two old geezers - rich old goats who were tighter than tight.

"Eb was a tight-fisted, covetous old sinner; secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster.  The cold within him froze his old features.  No warmth could warm him, nor wintry weather chill him.  Nobody ever stopped him in the street to say, 'how are you,' and no beggars implored him to drop a coin in their cup, no children asked him what time it was.  Even the blind men's dogs appeared to know him, and would wag their tails as if to say, 'no eye at all is better than an evil eye, dark master!'" (Charles Dickens)

You could find Eb each day, in his counting house.  He was so miserly that he only had one clerk to do the job of many, and one little stove to keep him warm and one little lamp to light his work.  Eb believed that the end of the year was the time for paying bills, a time when you found yourself one year older AND not one year richer, a time for balancing the books.  Eb was rich, and yet, according to him, not richer than last year, so what reason did he have to be happy.

Three visions in a wild dream cause Eb to take a look at his life.  through these visions he is reminded of his past and the people he had loved and known and who had been influenced by him and his actions.  It was only when he saw his own name on a headstone which is a foretaste of the future that he becomes aware of how his life really is now.  In his dream he calls out, "Hear me! I am not the

Monday, December 24, 2012

My Lord What a Morning - an original poem

I went to the Shelter
To volunteer my time,
Then to the soup kitchen
Where there was quite a line.
There are so many people
With such great needs,
It's really incredible
We have so many to feed.
Poor and downtrodden,
Simple and plain
The needy and wandering
With or without shame.
Some dirty, some young
Just the shirt on his back
Made me really wonder
What did these people lack?
Some, like sweet Mary,
Young and unwed,
How did this happen?
Was all that she said.
A poor lowly maiden
Without neighbor or friend
Could have only desired
This new life to end.
But suddenly a voice
From the clouds up above
Gave Mary a deep faith
For a child she would love.
And Joseph, her chosen,
Was sick with despair
Would rather have left her
Without even a care.
But Joseph too heard
A voice from above,
For Mary his betrothed
And a child he would love
The reason God chose her
We'd soon be aware
Is that God came unto us
His love we should share.
We go out into the world.
To seek our dear Lord.
We look every where
To find his reward.
As we look in the stores
And at gatherings this season,
We often forget that
Jesus Christ is the reason.
The words, "unto us,"
Are the clue to this search
That Jesus is not only
Found in a church.
Look for the persecuted,
Those in sorrow or despised.
Christ will appear
Right before your eyes!
For the baby Christ child
Has been born to us all
And to each faithful heart
He issues a call -
"Be ready my servants,
For you know not when
The hour will come,
When I will return again."
 -----December, 2001  SB

Thursday, December 20, 2012

November Tea: November 25, 2012  Apple Soup with Cheddar Crackers with Carrot Cream sandwiches, flower cucumbers and fresh from the garden carrot sticks.

October 18, 2012  Fall Tea - pumpkin scones and apple hand pies served with PG Tips black tea and Falling Leaves tea.
We gathered to celebrate our aunt who passed away January 14, 2012. We shared old photos of her and shared our memories.  A memorial service would be held in the spring of 2012. 

"I like a nice cup of tea in the morning, just to start the day.....and I like a nice cup of tea with my tea."  This is a portion of a poem received from our cousin Nellie in England.  Our aunt certainly enjoyed having tea. In Memory of Aunt Gladys.

MESSAGE: But Then What?

Foundation and Excerpts for my messages are from "The Daily Study Bible Series, Revised" by William Barclay

Luke 1:26-38   Sunday before Christmas  Title, "But Then What."

"Delta Dawn, what's that flower you have on
Could it be a faded rose from days gone by?
And did I hear you say he was a-meetin' you here today,
To take you to that mansion in the sky."

(Written by Alexander Harvey in 1971, sung by Bette Midler and then by Tanya Tucker.)

Delta Dawn is waiting....waiting for someone special. She wasn't about to miss him if he came to get her today - a promise made to her long ago.  She'd been so ready, for such a long time, but then what?  We've been getting prepared for Christmas for four weeks now.  And we're ready for the most part - but ready for what?  We're getting ready to celebrate the King's birth, our Savior, who came unto us; we're ready for a family get-together, an exchange of gifts and abundance of food, but then what?

The shepherds weren't ready to hear the praises of the angels.  They were minding their own business, and suddenly, like a

Tea Parties

January 2012
Pearl Tea

We celebrated the white of winter with pearls. 

Monday, December 17, 2012

Christmas Child by Janice Lewis Clark

Christmas is for children, and my childhood's long behind.
I have responsibilities that weigh upon my mind.
That lovely snow's a hazard; all the shopping is a chore;
Too much to do: there isn't time to let my spirit soar.

And yet, the Christmas carols strike a chord within my heart.
The scents of pine and candles make a flood of memories start.
All year I do my duty, seldom falter or complain,
But, oh, when Christmas comes, I yearn to be a child again.

I want to see the magic through the glitter and the glare.
I want to hear the angels singing in the frosty air.
I want to hear the story for the first time yet again,
How Jesus came from heaven to bring peace on earth to men.

I want to feel the wonder and the promise of His birth;
I want to know the simple joy He brought for all the earth.
Tomorrow I'll resume my place, a grown-up to the core,
But please, Lord, now it's Christmas, let me be a child once more.

                                                  Written December 1999
                                                  By Janice Lewis Clark

Ms. Clark puts the sights, sounds, scents and stories up front where they belong. This poem is a great reminder. 

My childhood Christmases were spent with both sets of grandparents - maternal on Christmas Eve, and paternal on Christmas Day or soon after.   How fortunate we were to have both sets of grandparents in our home town. We had my mother's parents to ourselves, as in our elementary age years, we were the only grandchildren who lived here.  All the rest of our cousins, aunts and uncles on that side of the family got to experience Gram and Grandpa coming to visit and staying over night.

Each year we would memorize our "piece" for the Sunday School Christmas program, which once was held on Christmas many years in the past.  My mother enjoys retelling

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Teapots and Their Stories - Introduction

About 15 years ago I wanted to find a way to share my teapot stories other than telling when I received or purchased one and from who or where.  With a bit of prayer and contemplation, I decided to write a devotion on each of my pots.  To begin, I looked at each pot individually, and besides telling the story of how I came to own it, I started to relate the meaning of that pot, the looks of the pot, the problems of that pot to life in general. 

I began by sharing my love for tea, from childhood and having tea with my grandparents.  Grandpa came to the U.S.