Monday, July 20, 2015

An Alice in Wonderland Mad Hatter Tea Party!

Wow!  Have we not been bombarded by bad news, bad weather, social, economic and political garbage as of late?  I cannot stand to even watch the news anymore.  It is depressing, provokes anger, and steals away my joy, peace and hope.  That said, I needed something to lift my spirits and bring happiness into my home as a kind of healing balm (kind of reminds me of the song, "There is a balm in Gilead".  Anyway, my granddaughters have been after me to have a special tea party and I thought that summer was a good time to do this for them, and of course, me!
We decided on a theme of The Mad Hatter's Tea Party from Alice in Wonderland.  It took almost two months to get every thing together and finally, on Saturday, we celebrated our "mad" tea party!
Here is my tea table waiting for our guests to arrive.  I used two 6ft. banquet tables placed side by side.  The table cover was an old bedspread, that draped almost to the floor, then another tablecloth that fit from end to end, and in the center, a lace tea cloth.

The centerpiece was a mini wreath holder from which hung an antique pocket watch, and on top was a cutout of the White Rabbit which the girls painted and glittered. "I'm late, I'm late for a very important date!  Can't wait to say hello, goodbye, I'm late, I'm late, I'm late!"

I made my own place mats.  I downloaded pictures from Alice, had them laminated, and hot glued black and red lace around the mat.

And of course, we had to have an authentic Alice in Wonderland tea pot!

Each setting had a special favor which was a hand stamped glycene bag, that held a character mirror from Alice in Wonderland, and a hand stamped wooden teaspoon, all tied with black or red ribbon and a "take me" tag.

I served fresh scones with Devonshire cream and lemon curd, tea sandwiches, spinach and strawberry salad, and tomato pie.  For dessert, we had mini cream puffs, eclairs, cookies and cherry tarts.

For the table scatter, we took playing cards and punched the hearts, spades, diamonds, and clubs with a crown shaped punch.  I served three different hot teas, iced tea, and water.  We had a great time, laughing, enjoying each other's company and had a surprise door prize drawing....everyone wins!

My guests included my three granddaughters, my daughter, my two sisters, two nieces and a dear friend from our church.  My oldest granddaughter, Olivia surprised all of us with a special gift of hand made lip balm, which she placed at each setting!

My advice....The blues got you down?  Feeling sad, frustrated, lonely, or all around ick?  Throw a tea party!!  You do not have to have too many in attendance, or too complicated.  All you need is a pot of tea, something savory, something sweet, and a good friend to share it with.  I guarantee your spirits will be lifted and the sun will suddenly seem brighter!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Memorial Day.....And a Loss of Innocence

Memorial Day has come and gone and the memories of those who have left this world to fight for our freedom still remain a painful reminder of how precious our Liberty is to us.  I cannot help but feel somber and a bit nostalgic about Memorial Day.  In my own life, I have experienced loss due to the wages of war and within my own family, members, who fought to keep us free.

However, I also experienced another loss that was as painful as if it had happened to me.  My husband and I were invited to participate in a special Memorial Day Mass/Funeral/Internment at another church in our community.  One of the parishioners found the remains of a little fetus in the dumpster outside of a medical facility and brought it to the church for a proper burial.  Now, we have no idea what caused that person to find the fetus.  We do not know if it was through an abortion, or a miscarriage.  All we do know, is that the little baby had a soul, was a child of God, and deserved to have a proper burial.

The memorial took place in the Serenity Garden of the Church outdoors with the threat of rain and wind at our heels.  However, it turned out to be a beautiful ceremony, at the same time, solemn and holy.  The little wooden casket sat on the altar and I gazed at it with sadness and questions.  What, if any, was the baby's name?  Who were the parents?  Did the grandparents know of the existence of this little one?  Why did they toss the innocent in the garbage?  Does anyone care anymore about the dignity of life?

My eyes welled up with tears as I watched the priest carry the little casket to the Angelus cemetery.  There the trumpeter played Taps, and prayers of internment were said.  We all bid farewell and asked God to receive this little one in Heaven.  The casket was placed inside a little tomb for babies.  The tiles were screwed in place, and the larger piece on top of that.  We walked away in silence.  Our hearts were heavy, but we were at peace knowing that this little innocent one was rescued from the dirt and laid to rest.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Forever, Mom

Forever is how long I'm going to love you, mom.  Beyond every season, past every sunrise and sunset, you will always be loved deep within my heart.  My heart overflows with gratitude because I know that it takes a special women to rise to the challenges of being a mother.

You had all those qualities, and hopefully, I have inherited them as I am now a mother and a grandmother.
We never really spoke of our feelings toward each other, until you became sick, and for that I am eternally sorry.  However, you always knew how much you meant to me, and I knew how much I meant to you.
Mom, you are my inspiration and strength.  You always let me know that no matter the situation, I could always come to you with my issues.  You did not always solve them for me, but let me make my own decisions.  I did know that because of you, I could be strong enough to be vulnerable to those I love.

I miss you mom, you were the heart of our family and are missed so very much.

I will strive for the rest of my days, to fulfill the values and dreams you inspired in me.  And with love and pride, I will always hold you to a special place:  the home you have within my heart.

Happy Mothers Day!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

The Blessing Cup

The other day, I was organizing my favorite keepsakes and I was changing things around a bit, putting things in different places.  I came across my blessing cup and wanted to share what my blessing cup is all about.
Perhaps the best known "cup" in the scriptures is that of the blessing cup in 1 Cor. 10:16:  "The blessing cup that we bless, is it not a sharing in the blood of Christ?"

Groups or families who are striving to strengthen bonds do so by mutually sharing hopes, joys, fears, and sorrows.  The blessing cup is a tradition you can begin in your home or meeting place to help you toward this goal.  Used as a family symbol, the blessing cup can become a sign of solidarity, oneness in prayer and blessing.  I selected my cup which is pottery, and keep it in a prominent spot in my home.  Whenever we have family gathered together for a special occasion or celebration, and usually before a meal is served, we fill the cup with either wine or a juice or any other beverage of choice, and pass it around so each person can take a sip as a sign of our oneness with each other.  It is a rather ceremonious act, as the cup is passed around.  We also say a prayer of blessing for whatever the occasion should be, birthday, anniversary, holidays, or times of change and growth..  The unity achieved in prayer is then celebrated by passing the common cup.

Each of us can offer blessings and we can be a blessing to others too.  When we bless, it is God's deep and vast goodness that blesses another.  Many people have blessed my life.  Probably most of them are not even aware of how they have done this unless I deliberately tell them so by thanking them.  We bless people by our kind gestures, a smile, a good deed, concern and care, and affirmations.

You may be at a place in your life where you can easily resonate with blessings, or you may be in a tough or difficult place where you wonder if you have ever blessed or been blessed.  Wherever you are, I hope that you can pause today and believe in the possibility and the power of blessings.

I hold my cup and wrap my hands around it and give thanks to all those who have blessed my life and for all the goodness and blessing I may have given others!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

A Season of Birthing

One of the most exciting times during Spring, is the sound of the new "peepers" the little chorus frogs that come out of hibernation and fill the air with their sweet whistle.  After a long cold winter, it is a welcoming noise to hear, because it makes Spring official!
When this season returns to the land, a festival of lights and life abound.  The creatures that have hidden for so long in the dark folds of winter's skirts, are lured by the light and warmth of the penetrating sun.  Bird songs echo, fish begin to move through thawed water, and a new life cycle begins again.  It is a jubilant time for nature!  Delicate green shoots push their way toward the warm sun, fields and forests are filled with newly born creatures, and brilliant colors emerge replacing the drab brown and greys we have looked at for many months.

The human spirit also experiences springtime.  The periods of depression and discouragement that visit us inwardly, do not last forever.  Like rays of sun breaking through storm clouds, currents of hope, joy, and peace, start stirring the life within.  The spirit of renewal is strong as it gently takes over the heart! That weariness slowly slips away. The grey moods, the anxiety, overwhelming angst, and dread, melt away, and the sense of loving and being loved warms our heart and soul.  The places within that were cold and dormant in wintertime, now allow the heart to sing again!

When these springlike encounters begin, our inner search is blessed with a new and invigorating sense of purpose and direction.  In this season of the soul, there is awe and wonder at the changes taking place.  As I look at the still matted brown mixed with green in my grass, the trees struggling to birth forth their buds, I become restless and want everything to bloom fully, immediately.  But I see more clearly as each season appears, that I do not have control of the process. The One who created the entire universe has it in His hands, and I must trust, and patiently wait.

The land waits, the dawn waits, the creatures wait.  I too, must wait.

"For behold the winter is passed;the rain is over and gone.  The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land."  Song of Solomon 2:11-12