Sunday, 30 June 2019

Slowing Down & Savouring || Come, Stay for Tea {A Guest Post by Elizabeth}

 Hello dear friends,
I hope your weekend was a truly delightful one!

Today my sweet friend, Elizabeth, from Ponderings from the Inglenook, is sharing a lovely guest post on taking time to slow down and enjoy something as simple as a cup of tea...
I am sure you'll be blessed by what she has to share...

Teatime is a chance to slow down, pull back 
and appreciate our surroundings.
-Leticia Baldridge-

Dear friends,
I invite you to savour a few moments of quiet and calm...
brew a pot of your most delicious tea,
choose the most beautiful teacup in your cupboard,
perhaps set a cookie or two, or maybe even a scone, on a pretty plate,
turn your phone to "silent" and turn off all the noises around you.
Curl up in a cozy, squishy chair or sofa, 
if it's cool enough grab a warm blanket or well-loved quilt.
 Sink down into your seat, cozy up,
and take a deep breath.
Soak that up...
that quiet and calm.
Drink it in, let it fill you up. 
May the words of this post bring peace to your spirit,
renewal to your heart,
and refreshment to your bones...
Emilie Barnes said that "the ritual and nature of tea invites us to pause during our day and to indulge in a soothing ritual." Take a few moments today and indulge in a relaxing, peaceful teatime.
The simplicity and comfort of tea gives us this same sense of connection with God. When we slow down, we have time to express our gratitude, lift up our needs and seek God's heart. And when we share tea with others, we can extend our understanding of faith to them, heart to heart. When we take the time for simple pleasures, like the ritual of tea, we also calm our thoughts and worries, and we make room for the ritual of spending time with God.*
 It's not the tea, in other words, that makes teatime special, it's the spirit of the tea party.
It's what happens when women or men or children make a place in their life for the rituals of sharing. It's what happens when we bother with the little extras that feed the soul and nurture the senses and make space for unhurried conversation. And when that happens, it doesn't really matter what fills the cups or holds the liquids.
It really isn't the tea.
It's the spirit of the tea party.*
Lord, grant me a giving heart that wishes to share the treasures of tea and hospitality and kindness. Remind me to bother with those extras that make the difference in the lives of family members, friends and strangers. Amen.*
Tea takes time-- and that's part of the magic.
You can't hurry it without losing something vital.
The act of making and drinking tea forces us to slow down--
and I truly believe our bodies and spirits are desperate to slow down
from the frantic pace our culture sets for us today.
People in our society don't like to wait, 
but you simply cannot hurry a good pot of tea.
You put on the kettle, then you must wait for the water to boil.
And while you're waiting, there are little things to attend to.
You rinse out the teapot.
You fill the cream pitcher and the sugar bowl 
and set out the teacup-- the prettiest one you have.
You might pick a flower or set a candle in its holder 
or rummage through the cabinet for a pretty plate.
Even if you haven't had time to bake,
you open a package of cookies and arrange them on the plate.
You see, boiling the water in a kettle is part of the ritual.
Arranging the tea party is part of the ritual.
Preparing and enjoying tea is a ritual in itself.*
Tea is a "Ceremony of Loveliness".
It takes so little to make us glad,
Just a cheering clasp of a friendly hand,
Just a word from one who can understand;
And we finish the task we long had planned,
And we lose the doubt and the fear we had---
So little it takes to make us glad.
-Ida Goldsmith Morris-
Enjoying a cup of tea is not like taking a summer off or going away on a retreat.
It's an island of calm you can reasonably visit in the course of your busiest day.
Once you make the decision to adjust your pace, 
you can relax and enjoy the journey.
Tea is like that too. 
You may need to change your mental gears to enjoy it fully.
You may need to practice waiting and learning to enjoy the repetitive freedom of the ritual.
But once you do, the change of pace will renew your mind and refresh your spirit.*
God, let me savour the sweetness and beauty of serving others and being with friends. 
I'm so thankful for such joys in my life. Amen.*
Nowhere is the English genius of domesticity more notably
evident than in the festival of afternoon tea.
The chink of cups and the saucers tunes the mind to happy repose.
-George Gissing-
The spirit of the tea party is, at least in part,
the spirit of beauty. And I'm fully convinced that we humans 
need beauty in order to live rich and fulfilling lives.
People grow and flourish when they are able to respond
to the beauty around them and create their own forms of beauty.
And the ritual of teatime allows room for both receiving and giving loveliness.*
The very act of preparing and serving tea encourages conversation.
The little spaces of time created by teatime rituals call out to be filled with conversation.
Even the tea itself-- warm and sweet and comforting-- inspires a feeling of
 relaxation and trust that fosters shared confidence.
It's not the tea, remember---
it's the spirit of the tea party.
And the spirit of the tea party is,
above all,
the spirit of true friendship.*
May the beauty and peacefulness of the ritual of teatime
fill you to overflowing with a renewed mind, refreshed spirit,
and a heart to share that beauty and peacefulness with those around you.
Bless you, dear friends!
Thank you for joining me for tea today.
Note: All sections marked with a star (*) are taken from Emilie Barnes' book, "The Tea Lover's Devotional".
Dear Elizabeth, thank you for being willing to share this beautiful post with my sweet readers today...

Do stop by Elizabeth's lovely blog, Ponderings from the Inglenook, for some sweet inspiration - she writes about the joy of home, everyday beauty and bookish ramblings.
With love in Christ,

Monday, 24 June 2019

a lovely kind of saturday.

Today was one of those lovely kinds of Saturdays;
the kind in which nothing truly wonderful or out of the ordinary happened,
but was filled with the simple little things that make for a happy sort of day.

When I got up early this morning to make a cup of coffee, it was pouring with rain, so I spent the first half the morning updating my diary, writing in my travel journal, and wrapping a few little gifts for sweet friends.
I even did a spot of sewing – I am currently working on a few new bookmarks.

I also thought I would put together a batch of apple and cinnamon muffins…
I discovered this delicious recipe while with my family in China, and have made them on several occasions.
I have shared the recipe at the end of this post.

As the falling rain subsided, and then eventually ceased somewhere during the course of the morning,
I decided I would set a pretty little tea table outside so Nancy and I could enjoy some sunshine and fresh air…

It was lovely to sit and chat and enjoy tea together after an industrious morning.

 Jasmine is sweetly blooming in our neighbour’s garden, spilling over their wall and into our yard.
We picked some to brighten our tea table and afterwards, freshen our house…

I always love having an excuse to use my pretty teacup collection.


These apple and cinnamon muffins are wonderfully light and ever so delicious.
They are the perfect tea time treat.

Even our kitty, Oscar, joined us for tea in the garden…
He loved soaking up the warm winter sunshine.

Apple and Cinnamon Muffins

2 cups plain flour

¾ cup brown sugar

4 tsp baking powder

1 tbsp ground cinnamon

½ tsp salt

1 cup milk/yoghurt/buttermilk

½ cup oil

2 eggs

2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, gated and juice squeezed out

2 tbsp sugar

1 tsp ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. 

Grease or line a muffin pan with baking paper.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.

Stir through the dry grated apple.

In another bowl, beat together the milk, oil and eggs.

Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet.

Stir until just combined – don’t overmix.

Divide mixture evenly between muffin cups, being careful not to overfill.

Mix the sugar and cinnamon together and sprinkle over each batter filled muffin cup.

Bake until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the muffins come out clean – about 13-15 minutes.

Leave to cool slightly before removing muffins from the pan.

And now, dear friends, I am off to read a bit and maybe take a nap.
We had a busy week catching up with friends and running errands and I feel quite tired suddenly.
I am hoping to do some piano practicing later this afternoon – Nancy has been giving me lessons and I am thoroughly enjoying this new found hobby!

Have a blessed weekend further!