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Love… One Sip At A Time // A Valentine Tea Party

Valentine Tea Party

Because love isn’t limited to one day on a calendar I decided to share a few pictures from my Valentine Tea Party earlier this week.

I began hosting tea parties in 2002, with the highlight being an annual Christmas Tea — sometimes two. One with long-time friends and another one with new friends I’d made that year. I separated the two due to space issues. Basically, there was none.

In December 2007, I hosted my last tea party. During that Christmas Tea, I received word that my sweet grandmother had been admitted to the hospital. She would die only a few days later. I grieved longer than first realized. There was no desire to host a Christmas Tea the following year…or the next, and on and on.

But this recent move toward the mountains ushered in a fresh desire to host more teas and simple gatherings. And so it begins.

The Valentine Tea earlier this week was small, intimate. I consider my writer/critique group friends first, writers second. We pray for one another, share in both victories and struggles, and support what God has called us to do by giving honest feedback,  grounded in love.

Writers Critique Group

Marcia Moston, Carol Roper, and Beth Saadati

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. I hope this is true as I have more pictures than words today.

Valentine Tea Roses

Initially, I’d plucked a neatly wrapped bunch of non-Valentine flowers out of one of the grocery store floral buckets. I knew they would be pretty enough, maybe even save a few pennies. And then I spotted these trio-colored roses. I quickly put the non-Valentine bunch of flowers back (and okay, a few Yasso’s). The roses were worth it.

Valentines Day Yogurt

One favorite treat (I think) was the yogurt, vanilla-almond granola, and fruit in half-pint jars. I ordered these mini (and I do mean mini) red spoons from Target. {I just realized I forgot to tie a bow around the top. Oops!}

Valentine Tea Scrabble

A last minute idea was to add a fun element by spelling out the obvious. After all, I was surrounded by gifted wordsmiths.

I admit to feeling a bit inept in preparing for the tea. The to-do lists began weeks prior but I had to continually remind myself that perfection was not the goal of this gathering (or any, really) but rather, the celebration of friendship…and kinsmanship in spirit and in deed.

“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.” -C.S. Lewis

Or too many reasons to celebrate with friends. -Cathy Baker

How did you celebrate Valentine’s Day this week? Please share! 

 

Sharing Life Together, One Sip At A Time

 
Welcome, friend.

I hope you’ll pull up a chair and make yourself comfy while I’ll pour us a cuppa tea. Imaginary tea, after all, is always special.

I’m asking God to STIR us, awakening us to His Word that we might allow it to STEEP deeply into
our souls. As we take a moment to SIP on one word this week, my prayer is that it will move us to the point of action.

I don’t know about you but when I meet a friend for tea, it seems like the world spins slower and words spill sweeter. We need more days like this because let’s face it, life has a way of gulping us down like cheap earthy tea, leaving us feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. God graciously reminds us, however, that He desires to direct His children in the way we should go. And oh, the sacred fragrance that exudes from a soul at rest!

 
Heavenly Father,

As we inhale, may a stirring of thankfulness invade our heart and mind, for every breath is a gift, wrapped with the promise of abundant living. (John 10:10)

Forgive me when I settle for anything less.  
Amen.

 
Father, will you steep Your Word deeply into our soul? 
Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me.
Psalm 119:133


Is there one particular word from the above scripture you feel 
led to “sip” on throughout this week? 
 

———————————–

I plan to sip on the word “direct” this week. Lots to ponder.

 

 
Before
we bring our time to a close, consider one tangible way to “pour”
out His truth in response to the word(s) we’ve chosen above.
Thanks for stopping by today at Sharing Life Together…One Sip At A Time. Would you consider joining in the conversation by leaving your “word” in the comment box? Blessings!
He
does not delight in the strength of the horse; He does not take
pleasure in the legs of a man. The LORD favors those who fear Him, Those
who wait for His lovingkindness. – See more at:
http://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/Delight,-God-Expressing#sthash.MnlQbRF6.dpuf

This is what the LORD says– your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I
am the LORD your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs
you in the way you should go.
 Isaiah 48:17 

Sharing Life Together…One Sip At A Time: Friendships

 
Welcome! 

Thanks for stopping by. Pull up a chair, make yourself comfy, and I’ll pour us a cuppa tea.

I wish
we could physically sit across such a table together, but since most of
us cannot, I created a summer tea time on Tuesday’s just for us. 

We’ll begin by asking God to stir us, awakening us to today’s takeaway. My prayer is that He will take today’s scripture and steep it deeply into our souls as we take a moment to ponder on, sip on, one word from the verse throughout out the week, moving us toward one particular action.

Today’s tea time is all about friendships. You know…the friend who quietly alerts you to the grits wedged tightly between your teeth (two guesses as to my favorite time to meet!) Most importantly, the kind of friend who boldly but lovingly speaks truth. These are the friendships I want surrounding me, and I’m thankful many of them do. One such friend for me is Becky. When I spend time with her, my spirit hits a “reset” button of sorts. I leave with a clearer understanding of God, of my role in the big scheme of things and perhaps more importantly, what my role is not. Thank you, Beck.

So, how about you? Does someone come to mind? Who are those friends for you?

 
Heavenly Father,
You created meaningful connections with us in mind, knowing how desperately we’d need one another.
And on those days when truth pierces like a sword, leaving us breathless, we can choose to trust. For the wounds of a true friend is motivated by their love for us, by truth, and for Your ultimate glorification. (Prov. 27:6) May our friendships cast a clear reflection of your grace and mercy to those around us. Thank You for our friends, Father.

Amen.
 

This week’s verse we pray will steep richly and deeply 
into our hearts and minds: 
A friend loves at all times.
Proverbs 17:17


Let’s choose one word from the above verse to “sip” on throughout this week, asking the Lord to show us why this word or
phrase stands out to us at this particular time.
———————————–

I choose the word “all.” Come misspoken words, unintentional neglect, grit-laden teeth, misunderstandings or miles between us, I am to love—at all times—and I fail miserably. Please forgive me.

Before we bring our time to a close, let’s consider one tangible way to “pour” out His truth in response to the word(s) we’ve chosen above. 

Thank you for sharing a tea table with me today at Sharing Life Together…One Sip At A Time.  

Would you consider joining in the conversation by leaving your “word” or in the comment box? Blessings to you, my friend!

Sharing Life Together…One Sip At A Time

 
Welcome! 

Please, pull up a chair, make yourself comfy, and I’ll pour us a cuppa tea. I wish
we could physically sit across such a table together, but since most of
us cannot, I created a summer tea time on Tuesday’s just for us. 

As
mentioned in this post,
I’m the first to say there is no replacement for Bible study in a
Christ-followers life. In addition to studying the Word in-depth, we grow in our walk when making continuous low droning sounds while sitting in a certain position
meditating on His Word by taking a small portion of scripture, praying over
it, and pondering its meaning for our lives. Sipping on scripture throughout the summer is sure to be a divine delight! 

Today’s tea time is a particularly personal one for me, so thanks in advance for allowing my tears to flow as freely as our tea.

This week’s scripture passage emerged after last week’s meeting with Shirley, a kind but straightforward personal care coordinator. It was a mandatory one-hour appointment to review my health for insurance purposes. We began with my favorite activity, stepping on the dastardly scales. I asked (okay, begged) her not to tell me the number. We discussed how my thyroid levels bonked in 2008 and the weight issue I’ve dealt with ever since. I shared how I’d told the endocrinologist my plan to begin Weight Watchers, to which he replied You can give it a try but I doubt it will help. You have no metabolism. I complained to Shirley how he wasn’t very encouraging, to which she responded No…he’s just being realistic. 
In a split second, Shirley became a blur behind my unexpected tears. She stopped typing, looked my way, and said Cathy, you are way too hard on yourself. Your expectations are too high based on the thyroid situation alone, not to mention the other things working against you.
It wasn’t the first time I’d heard those words but for some reason they struck an especially raw and painful chord within. Perhaps I’m not alone in this struggle with weight and self-image issues? 

  
Heavenly Father, maker of heaven and earth…and each of us, would you still the chaos within? Chaos created by our own expectations. Chaos created by a culture that says spotless skin and a size 4 waist is necessary for life and love. Lift our eyes to the eternal purposes of this body, shaped by Your hands and molded for Your purposes, motivating us to care for it well. Help us to cling to truth at all times. Amen. 



This week’s morsel of truth we’re praying will steep richly and deeply 
into our hearts and minds: 
 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
    but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Proverbs 31:30
 Now,
let’s choose one word, or a few, to “sip” on throughout this week.
Jot it down on an index card or sticky note and place it in a visible
spot. Let’s ask the Lord to show us why this one particular word or
phrase stands out at this particular time in our lives.
I chose the word “deceptive.” How often I’ve skipped over it like a crack in a sidewalk to reach the intended destination, the final part of the verse—for this is my heart’s desire! To revere and love the Lord in all I do and say. And yet, by not giving this one word its proper due, it has become a trip wire stretched taut between my ears.
 
Finally, let’s jot down one tangible way we can “pour” out His truth in response to the word(s) we’ve chosen above. 

 

Thank you for sharing a tea table with me today at Sharing Life Together…One Sip At A Time. You’re invited to continue the conversation by leaving your word(s) in the comment box or anything else the Lord lays on your heart to share. Blessings!

The
cup of tea on arrival at a country house is a thing which, as a rule, I
particularly enjoy. I like the crackling logs, the shaded lights, the
scent of buttered toast, the general atmosphere of leisured coziness.
~P.G. Wodehouse

Sharing Life Together…One Sip At A Time

Welcome! 

Please pull up a chair, make yourself comfy, and I’ll pour us a cuppa tea. 

I wish we could physically sit across such a table together, but since most of us cannot, I created a tea time on Tuesday’s for our summer months. As mentioned in last week’s post, I’ll be the first to say there is no replacement for Bible study in a Christ-followers life. Another vital part of our walk is making a continuous low droning sound while sitting in a certain position meditating on His Word by taking a morsel of scripture, praying about it, and pondering its meaning for our lives. It’s something we’ll do together each week.

So, let the tea time begin! How was your weekend? I hope it overflowed with hellos, joyous moments and rich times with the Lord. I have to admit that ours was a difficult one as we buried my cousin’s twenty-one year old son, a rising senior at The Citadel. 

Today’s scripture came to mind soon after learning of my cousin’s loss while posting a prayer request for her on a private Facebook group. This isn’t just any group but one composed of women I recently had the privilege of meeting while leading a Writing to Heal workshop. It was part of a day retreat for mother’s who’ve lost children of any age. (I wrote about it here.) These women wholeheartedly live out today’s verse.

Heavenly Father, stir our hearts now as we pause, catch our breath, and concentrate on You and Your Word. Thank You that Your Word is active, living, wielding great power and penetrating our hearts with truth. Help us to receive and walk in this truth. Amen.

This week’s morsel of truth that we’re praying will steep deeply into our heart and mind:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who
comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort
those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we
ourselves are comforted by God. 2 Corinthians 1:3,4

Now, let’s choose one word, or a few, we can “sip” on throughout this week. Jot it down on an index card or sticky note and place it in a visible spot. Let’s ask the Lord to show us why this one particular word or phrase may stand out to us at this particular time in our lives.

My words for this week are “so that.” Two simple words convey that God never wastes a trembling lower lip, a wash of tears, or a secret scar buried beneath a smile. He is never caught off guard. For me, I saw this truth lived out after my second divorce by the age of 27. Since then, God has given me countless opportunities to come alongside other women who are contemplating leaving their husband or those crushed by the weight of rejection. Only God can transform our difficult circumstances, and the journey that ensues, into a glorious gift to others so that they might benefit from the same comfort we ourselves once received.

Write down one tangible way you can “pour” yourself into another this week, based on the word(s) chosen above, if possible.

Did you enjoy our time together as much as I did? Feel free to leave a comment to continue the conversation. 🙂 Blessings!

Tea Tips: Interested in knowing how to brew a great cup of tea? Twinings is a great place to start. 

If you are cold, tea will warm you;
if you are too heated, it will cool you;
if you are depressed, it will cheer you;
if you are excited, it will calm you.
-William Ewart Gladstone
Tiny House on the Hill

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