Coffee, Tea and Thee
"The very act of preparing and serving tea encourages conversation. The little spaces in
time created by teatime rituals call out to be filled with conversation. Even the tea itself --
warm and comforting -- inspires a feeling of relaxation and trust that fosters shared confidences."
(Emilie Barnes, If Teacups Could Talk)
Picture yourself and your friends seated around a table amidst dainty food, silver spoons,
classical music, china cups and scented flowers. Between sips of smooth, warm tea, you chat
freely about your lives.
What more non-threatening environment could there be to share the love of Christ than in your home?
Your Home, a Sanctuary
As women, we are "keepers of the home." I like the way Kay Arthur puts it ...
A home should be transformed into harbors of safety and places of comforting order that blesses all who come inside.
Inside, there's a longing ... the sweet nostalgia that draws you to a haven of your own, a place called home. This is your domain, where you can enter in, shut the door and choose what, when, where.
A sanctuary that you can create. A harbor of safety for loved ones from the storms of life. Your shelter in the world, from the world. A sanctuary for your soul.
You can be at peace, have contentment in your soul, spiritual thirst quenched, an inner longing satisfied. For in your home, that corner that is yours, is a place to keep your faith, to be still and commune with the One who knows you. (Kay Arthur, Sanctuary For Your Soul)
My Spiritual Kindred Spirits
Several years ago, I discovered two spiritual kindred spirits. I could also call them my heroines. In the 1980s, I attended a Ladies Conference at the church I was attending, and the guest speakers were authors and motivational speakers, Florence Littauer and Patsy Clairmont. The Conference changed my life in profound ways. And I came to love these two lovely ladies more than I could ever express. I still love them both. For me, they each represent the epitome of the Christian women, and a blueprint for graciousness. I hope that one day, I can see them in person once more and be able to tell them face-to-face what the things they said at their conference meant to my life. Which is a good lesson for all of us ... if someone has touched your life, let them know. They who encouraged us just might be in need of encouragement themselves at some point in their life.
For for the purpose of this page, I want to talk about Patsy Clairmont. She has written one of my favorite books, one that I treasure and keep out in my home at all times. It's called Tea with Patsy Clairmont, and I highly recommend it to anyone who would like to add beauty to their lives and home.
In this beautiful little book, I learned the most valuable lessons that one can ever learn from
having the gift of tea in our lives.
What is there about a cup of tea that charms a woman's heart? I believe tea is much more than an
amber liquid to be sipped. It also speaks to a difference pace, a genteel space, a still moment, a quiet thought and a worthy conversation. Tea is another mind set, one very different from the intensely driven whirl which we live in. Tea time invites us to relax and reflect; it helps us not to lose touch with ourselves and with others. And it permits us to unplug from our harriedness to nurture our souls.
Tea also whispers a language of romance; the romance of embracing loveliness. A graceful cup, a delicate napkin, a sterling spoon, a lace doily and a tea service helps to establish a gentle ambiance. Our senses are soothed by a carefully prepared tea environment.
Tea is a sip of yesterday, when times were less frantic and more family. Put the kettle on, and
we'll have tea. Listen ... can you hear the sounds of loved ones as they congregate around the comforting cups? The steaming kettle sings for attention as friends lean in to touch one another's lives.
More importantly, tea time is when I collect myself before re-entering my passionate pursuits. This personal interlude becomes as sacred as a Tête-à-Tête with the One who understands my franticness and my longings. He reminds me that "in quietness and trust is your strength." (Isaiah 3:15b). (~Patsy Clairmont)
"We welcome you most cordially,
We welcome you most regally."
(~The Munchkins from The Wizard of Oz)
Another favorite author is who I think of as the "Queen of home and tea," Emilie Barnes. Talk about inspirational! In her book, Welcome Home, I learned that ...
Some homes are places to live. And some homes are restful retreats where you can laugh and love and work and play and dream.
Some homes offer a roof, a kitchen, a bath, some bedrooms and a couple of closets.
And some homes offer shared fellowship, peaceful silence, a comfortable chair and a vase of flowers.
What makes the difference? It's a matter of making yourself at home.
When you make yourself at home, you surround yourself with the people you love, the objects you cherish, the memories that warm you and the ideas that motivate you. You work to create a nest that helps you to be happy and productive, an environment that rests you and renews you. You choose to invest your time, your care, your loving energy to keep your nest clean and warm and welcoming.
From there, it's a natural "next step" to making other people at home as well. It's just a matter
of opening your heart and adjusting your lving space to make room for one more (or a few more).
And when you have done that, you will have a home with open arms; the kind of welcoming home that
enfolds others with comfort and caring. (~Emilie Barnes)
Starting Your Own Prayer Tea
Many Christmas today are involved in a home-based small-study group to reach others for Christ. Victorian teas are a way of getting together with non-Christian friends and family members for this purpose! The intimacy of a home sets the stage for the perfect atmosphere. People are put at ease immediately in a more relaxed setting. No church can match the comfort that a home offers. And for the unchurched, it is much easier to invite them over for tea than it is to say, "Come to church with me this Sunday."
The three keys to such an event are: planning, praying and putting it all together.
And invite a few Christian friends to share their testimony, too!
Making a Young Girl Feel Special
Maybe you're a Sunday school teacher, or have several young girls in your neighborhood. This can
also be a great way to serve the Lord by making them feel special and loved.
Again, Patsy Clairmont, in her amazing book, shared a beautiful way to do just that! She called it, Chipped Teacups:
For a special high tea, invite girls (around 10 to 12 years old is perfect for this)
to come dressed in their Sunday best. Escort each guest into the area where you have laid out the
tea service on a white linen cloth. Then bring out a tray of dainty teacups, antique embroidered
hankies and tiny silver spoons (always buy these when you find them at antique shops!). It's nice
when each cup is different. Let each guest pick up a cup, a hankie (to be used as a napkin) and a
spoon. Serve scones, jam and real whipped cream.
The teacup you are holding is yours to keep.
After the tea, collect all the cups and spoons; wash and dry them, and return them to the girls.
Then tell them the following story ...
The teacup you hold in your hand is beautiful. And you are beautiful, too. Handmade by god.
But look at your teacup. Do you see a chp or a crack? As you grow older, certain thins may happen
that can hurt or even damage you. Maybe a friend will hurt you, or a member of your family. You
may have financial hardships. Or for young ladies, a boyfriend may jilt you or you might not be
accepted by a college. Those little cracks andchips come into everyone's life. But look at your
teacup. It's still beautiful, and it can still be used. And you can stay beautiful and
useful, too, if you keep on growing and learning.
When you're finished, your guests will be excited to see a chip in their teacups! Then tell them ...
Each guest takes home their cup, their hankie and the silver spoon. Hopefully, years later (and
especially during times of sadness or hurt), they'll remember the special day of your tea party.
Susan Wheeler, creator of the highly popular Holly Pond Hill series of books, has a lovely
book entitled, Let's Have Tea Together: Recipes and Celebrations for Every Season. What a
beautiful book this would be to have for each of your young guests! If it's not in your immediate
budget, perhaps you could think of buying one or two copies of the book per month, and then hold a
special Christmas tea for the girls and have a copy for each of them as a Christmas gift.
But whatever or however or whoever, whether you host a tea for non-Christian friends or family or
for the young girls of your Sunday school class or neighborhood, just remember to keep The Tea Maker
the main focus of your study!
THE TEA MAKER
Steeped in His word,
Infused with His love,
Sweetened by His Spirit,
Stirred from above.
Midi- The Day Thou Gavest (Queen Victoria's favorite hymn)