Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Pause in Prayer



"Leave the Irresparable Past in His Hands,

and step out into the Irrsistible Future with Him. "



~ Oswald Chambers

My Utmost for His Highest

December 31st
Dear God,

Heal me from my yesterdays.
Prepare me for my tomorrows.
Yet walk with me in all of my todays.

You've called me to teach.
You've provided the platform.
You've made the plan.

Here I am to use in fulfilling Your purpose.
Fill this mission with Your uplifting presence.
Make me a capable lamb.

Amen.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


A new year is dawning.

New beginnings are starting.

May 2012 be a year full of answered prayers

and Christ's uplifting blessings for you,

dear friend.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Because I love the Lord Jesus Christ, I feed and care for His flock with a teacup as an outreach tool by giving others time, encouragement, and acceptance in Christ's uplifting presence.

My scripture verse for 2012 is from Ephesians 6:10,

"Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power."



What verse have you choosen to live by in 2012?

Your comments are treasures.



Happy New Year.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Christmas Blessing over TeaCups







Tea parties at Christmas time are a peaceful delight and Christ Jesus is the heartbeat of the season.

Last Christmas, I hosted a Birthday Jesus Celebration Tea. The menu was simple with a birthday cake, brownies, cream cheese wreath cookies, Scandinavian almond cake, and hot cinnamon apple slices. The ladies and I balanced our tasty treats while setting in a circle in the living room; each one shared a specific gift we received that year from Christ. This simple activity laced our lives together in an unforgettable experience.


This year has been full of house guests, preparations for conferences, speaking engagements, times with family and friends along with meeting writing deadlines. In the light of my busyness, I did not have time to plan a tea party of my own to honor God’s greatest gift for us, His beloved Son.

I was blessed to be asked by friend to speak at her Christmas tea for the ladies in her neighborhood. My friend introduced me to Christmas Gatherings where one person hosts a party while a speaker shares the message of the giver, the gift, and the receiver. Check out the details at http://www.christmasgatherings.com/

My wish during this special season is to be with each one of you and visit over a teacup and a tasty treat. Since this isn’t possible, I want to do the next best thing - sharing this simple Scandinavian almond cake recipe with you.

Enjoy!




Scandinavian Almond Cake

1 ¼ cup sugar
1 egg
2 tsp. pure almond extract
2/3 cup milk
1 ¼ cup flour
½ tsp. baking powder
1 stick butter, melted
¼ cup sliced almonds, opt.
powered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a long narrow baking dish or bunt pan with cooking spray and dust with flour. Set aside.

Beat together sugar, egg, almond extract, and milk until smooth. Add flour, baking powder, and melted butter to sugar mixture. Mix well.

Sprinkle sliced almonds on the bottom of greased and floured pan. Pour batter over the almonds. Place in heated oven. Bake 45 to 55 minutes until golden.

Remove cake from pan two or three minutes being removed from oven onto a wire rack to cool. Dust cake with powdered sugar before serving.

Options: Serve with fruit and whip cream or vanilla ice cream and chocolate syrup.

~


May Christ’s uplifting presence be with you throughout the New Year.

For to us a child is born…And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
~ Isaiah 9:6-7

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Savoring the Silence


Life has been like boiling water the last few months. Creating a new Web site for Christian Communicators with my partner Vonda Skelton, along with hosting a week at the Christian Communicators conference, has left little energy for posting here. Forgive me, dear friends.

Like a teabag steeping in steamy water, I gave my all to refresh others. But now, I’ve had time to pause, to brew a cup of delight, and savor the silence at the Good Shepherd’s feet.

There’s no greater place to pause with a teaCup in hand than in silence. Remember my meaning for teaCup? It means enjoying time, encouragement, acceptance in Christ’s uplifting presence.

After rejoicing in having had the opportunity to feed Christ’s sheep through teaching etiquette, purpose boarding, writing purpose statements, and how to break-through barriers. I’m savoring silence over a teaCup and thinking of you.

What is it that I can serve you in these posts?

I’m not one who likes to chatter with pen and ink or typing on a blank screen. Writing on purpose to fill a need, a want, or a desire requested of me is more my style. What information or story may I serve you?

At a formal tea there are three main food types:




Savories – finger sandwiches
Sweet breads – scones, muffins, and simple loaves
Sweet treats – cakes, petit fours, and candies

My goal is to serve three main areas of information for you dear guest. However to bring you what you want, I need know what to bring to you.

What type of information would you like to bite into about etiquette?
What substantial teaching would fill your needs in adding professional polish?
What tasty treat in story telling would you like to hear about situations and relationships in the home, workplace, or community?

The boiling water in my life has cold down. The silence was refreshing. Now I await your comment on what you would like to be served through TeaCup Living postings.



Uplifting blessings, dear friends.





Friday, August 12, 2011

A Book Junky in the Making

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Being a book junky causes me to do strange things, such as keeping an extra plastic grocery bag or two stashed in my car, so I can smuggle in books along with groceries is one of the crazy things I do. This is premeditated deception so I can feed my fix.

There are books hidden in the pantry, in the guest room drawers, and in plain sight displaced in fancy bathroom baskets. My husband says I have enough as he see the eight bookcases are over stuffed and I'm trying to cram in one more.

How can one have to many books? Each book is a friend...an author who has taken time to tell a story or share information? Who can have too many entertaining and teaching friends? A book is a part of a person held between a front and back cover.

The best (or worst, depending on how you look at it) thing I've done as a book junky is to give our youngest grandson a taste of this addition by taking him to a booksigning afternoon tea!

With his special challenges, I didn't know how wise this outing would be. Taking any eight year old boy to a formal tea was a risk.

But a local book store called Fiction Addition had a perfect set up downtown at a renowned cafe' for tea and manners tutoring for young kids. They served grilled cheese and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches cut in small bite size shapes for savories. Lined baskets filled with waved potato chips with salad tongs replaced sweet breads and scones. The mini cupcakes with icing crowning their tops were offered by our host, Ms. Jill Hendrix on a beautiful plate. Punch and hot chocolate filled the tea cups. The menu was perfect for the girls and boys too. They gobbled it all up. They applied the manners the author taught before eating and drinking began.

What a delight it was to see our grandson dab his mouth a few times as he was taught; but, still leaving the chocolate mustache behind. The long linen covered table held over twenty kids, moms and grandmothers. No loud noises, all dressed in their best, and the art of conversation did out shined the rest.

Our grandson became hooked on his new book when the author read her story about a dragon and a princess on a quest to find good manners. Before leaving, the author wrote a personalized note in the front of Luke's book.

A new book junky in the making, this book junky does some good things too.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Do you have a special book you can remember that became your special friend or changed your life? Share the title with me, please. I've created a new space for another bookcase...a junky can never have enough treasured friends.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Photo: baby pix PHOTOGRAPHY
http://www.babypixphotography.com/

The book: A Quest for Good Manners by Karin Lefranc
www.amazon.com/Quest-Good-Manners-Karin-Lefranc/dp/0983045909/ref=sr_1_?ie=UTF8&qid=1313160690&sr=8-1

The book store: Fiction Addiction
www.fiction-addiction.com/


Monday, July 18, 2011

Whistle Stop

Life has been a boiling tea kettle.



The kettle seems to be screaming for my attention with loud whistles for me to stop.



House guest for three weeks, emails piled as high as a fireman's extended latter, articles to write and customized programs to create; each a ministry with focused needs. The "doing" needs to be done. It's the "being" that causes me to pour the water into the kettle and turn on the fire.



However, I love the bubbling roar and shieking bluster. Why? Because the rush means to pull the tea kettle away from the flame and pour the hot liquid over awaiting tealeaves in a porcelain tea pot then to pause in the wait while allowing steeping to change my pace.



Teatime takes me out of my routine to pause, to pray, to praise, or just be in Christ's presence. It's a time for me to pour out appreciation to the One who give me strength. Pausing and steeping at His feet brings change in me.



The "doing" will wait for me to get things done. The "being" will renew me while reminding me to live what I teach. The hot water of life and taking time to be in His presence makes for a tasty brew that addes flavor to my serve in what He's called me to do.




When God turns up the fire and my life begings to boil and I begin to be an annoying whistle, I know He's planning to lift me up to pour me out to fill up another cold soul that is before me as a house guest, an email friend, or a guest in the audience. Life can be empty if the tea kettle doesn't whistle for me to stop, steep and be in Christ's uplifting presence.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


What causes you to pause when life seems like a boiling tea kettle?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


The best tea kettle I have found is an electric one I picked up at CostCo.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Miss Mattie's First Tea














Mother-daughter teas are my delight.








Miss Mattie was going on three. I had invited her and her mother to join me for tea. Planning a simple menu was easy to do.








Putting out the fine china set from my mother-in-law with the story of Little Red Ridinghood was my pleasure. Long-long ago, I created my motto for life that I live by today,




"People I cherish and things I use."





Miss Mattie's eyes opened so wide when she saw the table sit so pretty. Her "awe" spoke poetry to her mother and me.







Her eyes stayed wide open watching what her mother and I did. She then did it too. The napkin she laid over her lap. "Yes, please," she said like her mommy and me.






However, she used two hands to sip her chilled peach tea from the antique teacup. Miss Mattie was a joy to be hold as she tasted the tiny treats.



Manners weren't taught that day. They were caught.





Mother-daughter teas make meaningful memories. What is your delight?







Wednesday, June 8, 2011

3 Strangers Coming for Tea


~ Three lovely ladies are coming for tea. All are strangers to me.
~ Tea at two sounded like a good time. the house is shiny and prime.
~ Making the savories and the sweet breads with love is not a dread. Each is mixed with prayer and praise.
~ Who are these leadies God's bringing today? No matter, we're gathering in fellowship, hurray?
~ Lord, come join us as our honored guest. You're always a blessing, please come and stay.
~ We just want to steep in Your presence and sip in Your peace.
~ The ladies may be strangers when we set down at the tea table; but when they rise to go, they will be strangers no more.
***
~ Thank You, Lord for You joined us in fellowship. Our boasting way in You.
~ We strangers found we had a mutual friend in You. Come join us again.
~ Our hearts and our ears are waiting to hear Your knock at the door. No tea tastes as sweet without Your uplifting presence.
<<<<<>>>>>
Tea Tip:
When strangers are invited to your tea table offer both a black tea with caffeine and an herbal tea which is caffeine free. My favorite teas to serve first time guests are French Vanilla by Bigelow and Honeybush by Tazo.
<<<<<>>>>>
May your table always be full of good conversations, filling fellowship, and uplifting blessings.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A Glorious Moment


Sett'n on a porch swing
sippin' tea
in a pause -
just Jesus and me.
Bein' together
in silence
and drinkin' in His
upliftin' presence,
I breathe deep
and take in the life
He has put
before me.
With a genteel rock
on my heel
to the tip of my toe
and back again,
I move gently in place
and remember
how far the Good Shepherd
has led me.
On the drift,
my soul hears
His contentment
at my side.
I think
He likes me
just being with Him -
Swing'n and paus'n
and not-a do'n,
a talk'n or
even a pray'n.
It's a glorious moment
just porch swing'n with Him
and a teacup
in my hand.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation. ~ Psalm 62:1
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Monday, April 11, 2011

Mingling Manners with Outer Space People


An act of kindness landed me at a VIP NASA launch reception. When I received the unexpected formal invitation to NASA’s reception and launch, I thought it was a mistake until I recognized the handwritten signature. When I showed it to my boss, the dean of the college of business, he said, “Go!”

Fear grounded me. Then I realized it was time to apply what I’d taught students and professionals for years- how to apply mingling techniques in an unknown environment and have fun doing it. At that moment, I felt like a trained astronaut, I was ready for takeoff.

First, I listed my tasks for mingling with elite strangers.

· Develop a researchable topic for small talk in a field farther than the moon to me. (Not being a scientist, engineer, or dignitary, my challenge was finding a fitting topic that would provide a platform of interest in order to inquire of other guests and allow them to share opinions.)

· Focus on the truth that no matter a person’s education, career or position, they all want time, encouragement and acceptance.

· Pack proper attire for both events that would help me fit in, be approachable and have pockets for my business card holder with easy access.

· Put my fears aside and reach out as an ambassador for Christ, a representative of the university and as a reflection of what I teach.

· Most importantly-Pray!


An answer to many prayers resulted in finding an interesting topic I thought might generate fun feedback from the experts. In fact, the research turned out to be quite enjoyable.

With packed bags; plenty of business cards; a few tokens from the university; a fun topic tucked away in the event of a fear freeze would grab me; and prayer warriors on duty, my husband and I flew to Cape Canaveral for the launch of the STS-112 mission.


Upon arrival, I applied the actions steps of mingling at the VIP reception:


1. I sought our host of the event who sent me the invitation.

2. I thanked her for the honor and privilege to be part of this occasion.

3. I asked the host if there was anyone she wanted me to meet or any way in which I could assist them during the evening.

4. I interacted with the astronaut our host had introduced to my husband and me.

5. I made sure my husband remained with a group in which he felt comfortable.

6. I approached circles of three or more.

7. I reminded myself that mingling is not about me. Mingling is about reaching out to others in order to make them feel comfortable, to make new contacts and to set appointments.


At the end of the special evening, I felt honored to have attended such an event, overjoyed that I had made new friends and contacts and especially proud that Christ had allowed me to use my expertise to be an ambassador for Him. I have to admit, the night was a complete success, despite my initial fear. It even ended with me securing a potential speaker for our College of Business Distinguished Lecture Series because of connections I had made even before getting to the reception! (This story will be in another blog, on never knowing where and when you make a first impression that can help you in an unexpected place.)

Finding yourself frozen in fear or wondering how to mingle with others properly and appropriately is completely normal. The next time you’re faced with attending an event you’re not sure you can pull off, don’t give into the fear or insecurities! Instead, follow these simple rules, and ask god to use your unique gifts as His ambassador. He most certainly will!


We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making His appeal through us.

2 Corinthians 5:20 a

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Have Teapot ~ Will Serve


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The pure white teapot was standing in her regal spot. I had only moments before driving off to co-host a women’s conference.

Should I take her? Dare I take her?

She has been a faithful servant. Her purpose is to fill teacups with the liquid excuse for people to come together and pause in fellowship.

How could I leave her behind when there were women thirsty in learning how to launch their Christian speaking ministry? The regal teapot was ready and willing to serve.

Was I willing to share her? Was I willing to risk losing or breaking her for women I didn’t know? Was I going to take this window of opportunity to share my beloved treasure with unknown sisters?

God gave His best. How could I do anything less?

I grabbed her by the handle. Her top began to chink and dance as I rushed to pack her. On our way the teapot clinked a time or two a cheery tune for being included.

She found a new spot to stand in readiness to serve. In a strange place she stood bright and tall…. as much as a teapot could.

The graceful porcelain served the ladies faithfully during our stay. Her job was accomplished to the fullest without a scratch, a nick or a chip. Regally, she stood on her own field of service to pour out warmth, joy and love to encourage the Lord’s ladies.

After returning home, the pure white teapot stood in her stately spot ready and willing to serve again. Silently she waits to be used as the excuse to bring people together in fellowship over a cup of tea.

Taking my worldly treasure taught me a lesson. There’s bliss in sharing the best.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Serve the LORD with gladness; come before Him with joyful songs. ~ Psalm 100:2

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Hope Keeps the Heart Warm




And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit whom He has given us.
Romans 5:5

Our hearts are like teacups receiving the love that God pours into us.

It is when we let our hearts grow cold toward God that the steaming love He pours into us can create a crack that allow brokenness to begin.

May hope continue to keep you heart warm until Christ’s return.

Happy New Year, treasured readers.