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ASPIRE TEA TIME
Pictured left to right going up the stairway:
ASPIRE MINISTRY TEAM turning back the clock and seemingly the pages of time, creating a nostalgic scene from yesteryear. We are all donned in lovely vintage hats and colorful ostrich boas while sharing “Afternoon High Tea” at“Behind The Garden Gate” Tea Room in Ooltewah, Tennessee.
A few weeks ago our ASPIRE Team of lovely ladies gathered together in the Rose Room, for High Tea at the charming , quaint and beautiful,
ASPIRE has shared the Gospel of Christ, reaching thousands of women all around the world, in five continents, and all the United States. We are thankful to God and very thankful for all of you treasured friends.
While we were waiting on several of our team women to join us, Janis and Krystal were sharing what had happened on the Wednesday night before at ABBA’s House in Hixson, Tennessee, as the Youth shared their testimonies. Krystal quoted the scripture that they were drawn to with the powerful breakthrough and outpouring from God’s Holy Spirit, that night.
Then I asked Janis what time is was. And she said, “12:11". Just at that time the last of our team, walked into the Rose Room and Holy Spirit filled the place! Like the song, “I could feel the brush of angel wings,” and I saw glory on each of these beautiful ladies’ faces!
Revelation 12:11 is the same scripture Holy Spirit led me for our ASPIRE TEAM TESTIMONIES when we began our ministry in February, 2007. And this was a precious reminder of God’s love and how faithful He is to His Promises, as it was prophesied that ASPIRE’s vision and women’s mentoring ministry would be “UNIVERSAL.”
If you are new to our women’s ministry, and have not visited our home site, go to www.aspireministries.com , and read our personal testimonies and get to know us. We wish to get to know you, so send us your comments and personal testimonies. And take the time to browse, and read our messages. All the gifted, anointed women on our team have such a heart for women. And they love the LORD our God with all their hearts!
I want to personally encourage each of you women to also share with others your testimonies and give testimony to the awesome power and authority of God’s Love and Living Word! Your testimony to God’s goodness and mercy could change lives in a mighty way!
Also I wanted to share a precious tradition that you may wish to start with your family and friends to thank them and let you know how much you love them.
At the tea, to honor Krystal, the first person to join our ASPIRE team, I gave her an ENGLISH SILVER FRIENDSHIP HEART and the following message.
(Many of you may have seen the movie, “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, both I and II.” So I searched to find something symbolic, meaningful and precious for our ASPIRE team to pass around - fully knowing that in reality my jeans would not fit the others! :):):)
“Grace to you and peace
In renewing an old English tradition, as the occasion arises, it is told how a special favor is traditionally passed back and forth and exchanged through the years by friends, sisters, aunts, daughters and mothers.
Please keep this Friendship Heart for a while as a reminder of my love and thankfulness to God, for you. Remember each time you see this heart, that you are in my heart, I love you very much, and I am praying for you.
Then send it to another friend or family member, with special
Blessings, joy, grace and much love,
I encourage you women to find a special heart or memento box, and place a gift inside, with a special scripture. Give it to a family member, friend, sorority sister, college mate, or person in your workplace, and start a tradition. It would also be a good way to renew an old friendship or restore a family relationship.
To all of you precious
PASS THE BLESSINGS AND LOVE OF JESUS
SISTERS, SISTERS, SISTERS!
In our Southern Churches we women lovingly often refer to one another as our “Sisters-In-Christ”. And to those all over the world reading this, we ASPIRE YAHWEH SISTERS reach out to you in love, and we embrace,
Throughout the South, universities and colleges have sororities for young women, who call one another ‘sorority sisters.’ Traditionally many mothers and grandmothers pass down their sorority affiliation.
All over the South, where I was born and raised you find girls and grown women who are actually called Sister, an affectionate nick name. (We sometimes call our pastors, Brother. There are a lot of Southern gentlemen also called Brother.)
SISTERS, MOTHERS, DAUGHTERS
How I love my rich Southern heritage and roots! Raised as true Southern Belles, my four sisters and I traditionally had fun Tea Parties from childhood. Many times it was just milk, juice or Kool-Aid and cookies because we were not allowed to drink tea. We would ‘play dress up’ and don our Mother’s high heels, clothes, hats and jewelry. Never her real pearls though!
I can also very vividly remember one rainy afternoon, when I was only three years old, having a Tea Party with only my dolls seated in the little chairs around the small table, for company. And I served cabbage leaves and water in the Jello molds with designs, (for congealed salads) some of you may remember. I remember distinctly not wanted to bother my Mother, because I wanted to do it all by myself. You would have thought the way I felt in my baby mind, that I was serving High Tea to Royalty! I do not know why this memory stands out, unless it is because I was rarely ever playing by myself, alone, because I had two wonderful older sisters always there to play with, and help me, which helped me in turn to learn to help my two younger sisters.
This makes me remember with a smile the old song, “Sisters. Sisters. Never seen such devoted sisters!”
PINK TEA PARTIES
Years later, passing on the tradition, I loved having special Tea Parties for my daughter and did so from the time she could walk.
Southerners just love to have any opportunity to give a Tea Party! Or any party! And we like to choose ‘themes’ for all our parties! And we have color ‘schemes’, Pink Teas being very popular! I gave a Pink Tea (of course) for my daughter for her second child, a Baby Girl Tea Party Shower! Everything was pink. Pink long stemmed roses. Pink roses on the pale green and pink antique china handed down from my husband’s grandmother, his Mother’s Mother. I poured tea punch and served Petite Fours decorated with baby pink roses. Pink mints in the shape of baby booties. Pink napkins and tablecloths completed the ‘pink theme.’ The only thing not pink was the silver tea service and the silver vase filled with the pink roses! And I wrapped all the baby gifts in pink with giant French silk, pink bows. I however stopped at the thoughts of pink punch. Unlike some women in the South, I do not like serving pink or green sweet sweet sherbet punch for weddings, teas and parties! ( I served my special refreshing iced tea punch and have shared this recipe following this article.)
My daughter loved pink when she was young. When she was ten and her older brother sixteen, he walked into her totally all frilly, lacy, girly, pink silk and satin bedroom one day and said, “Oh! There’s too much pink in here! That must be what is wrong with girls! Too much PINK!”
When my daughter was expecting her first baby, a boy, I gave her a Baby Shower Tea in a quaint and lovely Tea Room in Atlanta. And of course we used the Baby Boy Blue theme!
PASSING THE TRADITION
Mothers and Grandmothers, you can begin teaching your daughters and granddaughters manners and social graces at a very young and tender age.
Passing the tradition down, then to my precious grandblessings, when my granddaughter was old enough, we shared many wonderful Tea Parties , one of her very favorite things for us to do together in the afternoon. She loved to set her child’s silver tea service on her tiny white table, complete with her little china teacups, saucers and plates, as we sat together for special afternoons. I smile now to remember her carefully placing her napkin in her little lap. Those are some of my most treasured ‘evergreen’ or should I say ‘ever pink’ memories.
I have written and teach “Christian Charm Courses - Manners, Etiquette and Social Graces, different one geared to girls of all ages, from tots to teens. We always have a formal dinner at the end of the classes, with their parents in an exclusive restaurant, and sometimes a Tea Party to practice what they have learned.
One of the main things taught is the importance to pay honor and respect to others, as I tell little girls that the grown up word, “Etiquette” simply means “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Another special emphasis is the importance in saying “Thank you! ” “From Merci Beacoup to Graci”, as Ann Platz writes in her book “Social Graces- Manners, Converstaion, and Charm For Today”. I recommend this book highly for you to gift your daughter ( and son) or grandchildren.
One of my most treasured gifts, is the book of Etiquette by Emily Post, copyright, 1945, my Mother gave to her daughters in 1950, when I was eight years old. In her chapter, “Teas and Other Afternoon Parties,” Emily Post writes, “A tea, no matter how formal it pretends to be, is friendly and inviting. One does not go to be impressed or instructed, but merely to see one’s friends and be seen by them.”
TRUE ‘GRITS AND GREENS’ SOUTHERN BELLE
Although I am a great lover of hot tea, as a true ‘grits and greens’ Southern Belle, I drink iced tea not only in the long lazy hot summers, but in all seasons of the year, even in a wintry cold blizzard! True to my heritage, I have collected not only china tea pots for making hot tea, but lovely iced tea pitchers throughout the years. While living and traveling overseas ice was a rare commodity. I smiled the other day, and certainly understood and related, when Ann Platz wrote to me that once overseas she paid one dollar a piece for ice cubes!
Speaking of life overseas and ‘grits’ I recall one evening in Ankara, Turkey, years ago, while attending an elegant formal Embassy dinner, a celebration in honor of our American Ambassador to Turkey. This was truly an occasion fit for a ‘royal king and queen.’ There were just a few Southerners seated at our large table, and people from other parts of the United States were asking us about our Southern heritage, tradition, customs and well known cooking.
Even though I am a gourmet cook, and appreciate cuisine from all over the world, I still love preparing southern food. We were discussing everything from southern fried chicken, turnip greens, collard greens and polk salad greens- highly seasoned with pork, fried okra, country style fried corn, fried green tomatoes, fried squash, pecan pie, sweet potato pie and yams, fresh coconut cake, pecan pralines, orange and coconut ambrosia, potato salad, chicken salad, (always using only the white meat:) cornbread, seafood gumbo, hush puppies, fried catfish, turkey and cornbread dressing with fresh cranberry and oranges relish, chicken and dumplings, country ham, biscuits and saw mill gravy- all the rich (though high calorie) southern foods that just make my mouth water to think of now!
During this conversation I mentioned how many southerners eat plain grits or with sugar and cream in the morning for breakfast, or grits and cheese as a side dish with vegetables and meat, or delicious ‘grits and shrimp’ for dinner in the evening. One of my new women friends from Michigan very thoughtfully and very loudly exclaimed... “Well...you know...I HAVE NEVER EVER HAD
SHARING SPECIAL TEA TIMES
The first time I visited Ann Platz’s elegant home, she served a delicious iced Peach Tea with ginger ale, in a delicate tall green clear glass. Many restaurants serve different kinds of fruit iced tea, but none have ever tasted so good to me as that afternoon. Part of it also had to do with Ann’s impeccable southern grace and charm. And the ambiance in the ‘sanctuary’ room in her beautiful home, where she welcomes guests with such loving hospitality...... Her favorite room she said to counsel, mentor and pray with women.
Iced Tea Punch
Brew two quarts of tea in a four to six quart stainless steel pot. While hot add one cup of white granulated sugar and a large frozen lemonade.
Hot Russian Tea
My Mother’s Family Recipe
One of my fondest childhood memories of cold winter days was sharing a cup of delicious hot Russian tea with my Mother and sisters. Or curling up under an old fashioned quilt hand made by my Aunt Ann, with a good book and this healing refreshing tea when I had a cold or flu. And later, when I lived and traveled all over the world, the times I spent in my home sharing a WARM CUP OF COMFORT with close friends of all nationalities and cultures. As my Mother did before me, I usually had a freshly baked banana nut bread, my favorite thing to serve with the tea.
Directions: Brew two quarts of tea. While hot add one cup of white granulated sugar. Then add the juice of six fresh oranges and six fresh lemons. Pour in a quart or one-half quart of pineapple juice. Add four to six cinnamon sticks, and twenty or more spicey cloves. (When you make
Banana Nut Bread
Mix well in this order the following Ingredients:
1 stick of real butter, room temperature
2 cups white granulated sugar
Fold in: 2 cups flour and 1 tsp. Soda
3 large bananas, mashed well
l cup of chopped pecans
Bake in greased and floured loaf pan
at 325% for one hour or until well done in middle when tested.
PURIST TEA LOVERS UNITE
“What Your Mother or Grandmother
(Excerpt from article in AMERICAN HOME, FEBRUARY 1977.)
Tea is refreshing, bracing and comforting. Not everyone realizes that tea is a viable alternative to coffee. Americans use 170 million pounds of tea each year.
There are more than 3,000 varieties of tea that take their names from the areas where they are grown, Assam, Java, Darjeeling and Ceylon (Sri Lanka).
The tea we buy here in America is a blend of only 20 to 30 different varieties. The characteristics of tea that distinguish one variety from another are flavor, color, body, and aroma.
There are three different general types of tea - black, green, and oolong. All three types come from the same tea bush; it’s what happens after they are picked that makes the difference. Over 97 percent of all the tea consumed in the United States is black tea. Spiced and flavored teas are becoming increasingly popular.
How To Brew A Perfect Cup of Tea
Don’t be turned off by the tea brewing mystique. It is not a tedious ritual that only an expert can master.
1. Use a teapot..it makes the best tea because it holds the water temperature.
2. Use the right amount of tea.
3. Bring fresh cold water to a full rolling boil. Pour boiling water immediately over tea. Stir once and cover pot.
4. Brew three to five minutes, depending on the strength you like. Don’t judge the strength by its color. Some teas brew light, some dark.
5. Stir tea before pouring to make sure it is uniformly strong.
THEN POUR, SERVE AND ENJOY!
The best teapots for brewing are made of china, earthernware, glass, stainless steel and silver. Always use freshly drawn water. Serve tea with milk (not half-and-half or cream) to allow full tea flavor to come through. Or serve with lemon, lime or orange wedges, mint springs, or cinnamon sticks to bring up its flavor.
HAPPY TEA TIME
You may subscribe here to InJesus,
our additional site,
for weekly encouraging words
from Aspire Ministries.
Author Sandy Cox