Monday, September 20, 2010

Warm Wonder

How often have you sat down to do devotions with a cup of tea or coffee? What do you do - stay focused and dutifully do your devotions? Or have you discovered the pleasure to take time, sip the delightful brew and pause with praise in your heart and soul for the simple blessing God has given you in the moment?

Today’s tea is yummy. A dark tea dusted with cinnamon, swirled with half and half. Yes, I know tea should have milk and coffee cream, but I poured in pure pleasure this morning.

The book of James is open and I’m reminded of what James wrote about how to live everyday life. Imagine being the half brother of Jesus and living with Him.

I pause and sip my tea, my imagination wonders. Did Jesus ever simplify and say to James, “Get a grip on life. Trials and tribulations builds faith and develops perseverance”?

Was James directly quoting Jesus when he wrote, “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him,” (James 1:12)?

Before putting down the half full teacup,I wonder what took place between the brothers for James to write about faith and deeds. How often did the two brothers talk about the blending of faith and actions that caused James to make it a topic for living a life alive and fulfilled?

James summed up this message in Chapter two verse 26, “As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.”

This time spent in thought, wonder, and glancing over the book of James has allowed my tea to cool. But the flavor and joy still linger; causing me to pause with praise for the delight of the tea and the time thinking of Christ while reading His words. The five short chapters in James are filled to the brim with hot topics for today and how to live life steeped in His presence and His ways.

Has the tongue been tamed in man since Christ’s time? Do we need to be reminded of the corruption this flapping little muscle can create if not bridled? James shares word pictures in chapter three comparing the tongue to bits, rudders, small sparks, and deadly poison.

In Chapter four James uses a word picture that helps me to remember the benefits of submitting to God in verse ten, “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up.”

As I swallow the last sip of tea, I’m satisfied. As I read the last chapter in James, I am encouraged and filled with hope and praise. James words “be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near,” gives me hope. I’m filled with joy because of his words that promises, “The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.”

The teacup is empty. My soul is full. My spirit is warmed with the time spent in His uplifting presence.

What remains is the insight gained in pausing for a few minutes to allow the Holy Spirit to give me a glimpse of the affect of one brother upon another to reach out and teach others to persevere, blend faith and deeds, bridle the tongue, humbly submit to God, be patient, have hope and praise the Lord who lifts up the one who prays in faith.

Thank you for joining me today. Do you remember a warm wonder that filled you.....a sunset, a song, a scripture verse, or a pause? I would love to hear about your fulfilling moment in the comment section.

May you have a perfect cup of blessing soon when pausing and pondering His Word and His ways.

Etiquette tip for tea: Tea is served with milk instead of cream because cream curdles in tea. If you have ever seen white flakes in your dark tea, it is because cream was used. Although cream maybe offered, milk is usually served with robust tea.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Cream Cheese Banana Nut Bread

Welcome to my corner of the world. Here’s a comfy seat. Be comfortable.

The cream cheese banana nut bread has about three more minutes in the oven. I’m so glad you stopped by.

Would you like honey or sugar in your tea? This is a favorite tea of mine, Honey Bush by TAZO. It’s an African tea, dark, robust and without caffeine. Friends who are giving up coffee or caffeine after 2 p.m. fined the Honey Bush a good flavorful transition. I like it any time because it tastes good.

I hope you like being adventurous with trying different teas. Down sizing my tea cabinet has been a challenge. However, there are plenty of green teas, black teas and oolong teas besides herbal drinks to share.

There’s the ding. The quick bread is ready. I’ll slip her on a cutting board and we’ll enjoy her while she’s nice and warm.

This recipe has been a reliable friend. She’s easy to make. I’ve served her at teas and at breakfast with over night house guests. I’ve packed her up to take to office meetings that needed a friendly touch and wrapped her with a tea towel for new neighbors as a welcoming gift.

Cream Cheese Banana Nut Bread

1 cup sugar 2 eggs
1 (8oz) pkg. cream cheese 2 cups Bisquick mix
2 to 3 ripe bananas ½ cup pecans, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a loaf pan or spray with PAM vegetable spray.
In a mixing bowl, cream sugar and cream cheese until smooth. Beat in bananas and eggs. Add Bisquick mix and nuts. Stir until dry ingredients are moistened. Bake for 60 minutes or until an inserted tooth pick comes out of the loaf clean.
If browning to fast, cover with foil the last 15 minutes.
• The loaf freezes well and can be made the day ahead with the same moist goodness the second day.

Enjoy and stop by again. The tea kettle is always on the back burner to serve you.
Comments are always welcome, too.