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The Amber Elixir

Tea!  thou soft, thou sober, sage, and venerable liquid…thou female tongue-running, smile-smoothing, heart-opening, wind-tippling cordial, to whose glorious insipidity I owe the happiest moment of my life, let me fall prostrate.”  ~Colley Cibber, Lady’s Last Stake (I first read it on the invitation my daughters, Stephanie and Stormie, extended inviting me to tea.)


“Bread and water can so easily be toast and tea.”  ~Author Unknown

The Tea, as I understand its’ purpose to be, was merely the opportunity for Stephanie and Stormie to try out as many rapturous recipes on us as possible.  Things such as Blackberry Napoleans on shortbread and scones with raspberry preserves or fresh Devonshire Cream, finger sandwiches, and fancy tea cakes were among the wondrous offerings.  Then there were the perfectly-brewed teas: Earl Grey, Peach and Chai Spice, to choose from.  Luscious chocolate truffles and handcrafted candies awaited us as well.  They just cooked and baked and created and delighted us all.


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Stormie and Stephanie also took the opportunity to use the mix-and-match dishes and serving pieces they both collect.  There was China as old as the 1930’s and pieces from the 40’s and 50’s as well as “vintage” linens from the 70’s mixed with things from Anthropologie’s vintage modern and oh-so-hip wares. 

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If you are cold, tea will warm you.  If you are too heated, it will cool you.  If you are depressed, it will cheer you.  If you are excited, it will calm you.”  ~Gladstone, 1865


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Pennants and garlands were sewn from papier and sprinkled about for color and fun.  The effect was timeless and frolicsome and playful ~ grown women enjoying a tea party like little girls.

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Another novelty is the tea-party, an extraordinary meal in that, being offered to persons that have already dined well, it supposes neither appetite nor thirst, and has no object but distraction, no basis but delicate enjoyment.”  ~Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, The Physiology of Taste

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All true tea lovers not only like their tea strong, but like it a little stronger with each year that passes.  ~George Orwell, “A Nice Cup of Tea”


Tea. Earl Grey. Hot. And whoever this ‘Earl Grey’ fellow is, I’d like to have a word with him… ”  -Jean-Luc Picard, Star Trek, The Next Generation

 The Earl Grey was smooth and sweet (without sugar, thank-you very much) and I have enjoyed the Earl on several occasions since the tea.  Yes, he was that good.


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“Tea with lemon please”   ~Jerry Seinfeld

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Sandy-the-Dog takes her Tea with two lumps of sugar, if you please.

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They just did a great job and we all felt so polite and honored and classy and well-fed. 

Thank-you Stephanie and Stormie.  I am available for recipe-testing anytime.  It was magnificent!…Mom


Now don’t you want to join us for tea very soon?

Chapter 12: No Place Like Home – Just Jeanie today…

These are the observations both deep and lighthearted from The Sacred Romance – Drawing Closer to the Heart of God (by Brent Curtis and John Eldredge) among a few friends.   We are drawing to a close here as we begin to think towards heaven – a very important part of the story God is writing for us.   We hope you’ll let us know what you are thinking, too…

Posts by the other book-bloggers to follow.

Chapter Twelve: Coming Home


Jeanie on Chapter 12:   Besides the Epilogue, this is it-the final chapter in this now-classic book by John Eldredge and Brent Curtis.   I was sort of resisting this chapter for two reasons.   One,  the book  has been so impactful that I don’t want it to end, and two, I knew we were going to focus on heaven.

Page 179: “If…we believe that this life is our best shot at happiness, if this is as good as it gets, we will live as desperate, demanding and eventually   despairing men and women.   We will place on this world a burden it was never intended to bear…”

You may be wondering, What?   A Christian who doesn’t want to talk about heaven?   Well, kind of.   It isn’t that I don’t want to or that I don’t hope to go there someday.   But  I grew up in Christianity that seemed very focused on escape – let’s get out of here and get to heaven as quickly as we can, seemed the metality.   People would gut-sing songs with lyrics like “This old life is filled trouble…trials and sorrow fill the ‘morrow, but someday soon, I’ll take my flight…some morning I will leave it all behind.”   They would belt out these words as if they were hoping God would just transport them right to heaven if they sang loud enough.   Yes, I grew up among Chrsitians who lived their lives in a beam-me-up-God, PLEASE! metality.

So, I have swung the direction of figuring out how to live in the here and now as a Christian.   I think there is a good scriptural basis for this, “On earth, as it is in heaven.”   The Word of God as a whole is filled with wisdom to get us through this life.

But I also know I have discounted, at times, the beauty of what awaits.   I have wondered about heaven.   Fully aware that it is not going to be a bunch of little cherubs on clouds with harps popping grapes into their mouths, I still have wondered: what will it be?   And it has been hard to fathom, for I am very practical and boxed in and linear at times.   I admit I have read John’s Revelation of Jesus Christ (The Book of the Revelation) and quickly glossed over his attempts to describe the indescribable.   In so doing, I know I have missed what may be.

Quoting C.S. Lewis on page 180, “If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.”

Though it is full of theological inconsistencies and truly ‘just a story,’ the movie “What Dreams May Come”  was one person’s attempt to comprehend what might be.   The tag “After life there is more.   The end is just the beginning” certainly capsulizes what most of us believe.   In the movie, the man dies and finds out there is a heaven that was more than he could have imagined.   Surprisingly, for a movie, it was beautiful and fantastical and colorful.   How do you communicate that?

Eugene Peterson, the  interpreter of The Message, piqued my interest in introducing Revelation:

“The Bible ends with a flourish: vision and song, doom and deliverance, terror and triumph.   the rush of color and sound, image and energy leaves us reeling…we find ourselves in the multidimensional act of Christian worship…John’s Revelation is not easy reading,   Besides being a pastor, John is a poet, fond of metaphor and symbol, image and allusion, passionate in his desire to bring us into the presence of Jesus believing and adoring…the demands he makes on our intelligence and imagination are well-rewarded…for our worship of God {when we receive the Revelation] will almost certainly deepen in in urgency and joy.”

So, in The Sacred Romance, we arrive at the topic of heaven and though I’ve sometimes neglected it, I am open.   Let’s talk heaven.

Quoting Catholic philosopher Peter Kreeft from Everything You Wanted to Know about Heaven (pages 180-181):   “Our pictures of heaven simply do not move us; they are not moving pictures…Our pictures of Heaven are dull, platitudinous and syrupy; therefore, so is our faith, our hope, and our love of Heaven…Dullness, not doubt, is the strongest enemy of of faith…”

The author, in reflecting on 1 Cor. 2.9 (“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him”) reminds us “we cannot outdream God.”

He goes on to quote theologians and philosophers trying to make sense of what we cannot fully understand, like John the revelator, who tried to explain in words what we don’t yet have words for, “…it was like jasper…the streets were like…glass like crystal…” etc.

Reading these things, I could see how lifeless my imagination of a future with God, and seeing Him and being like Him will be.   I have read of the worship of heaven and, with my great love of worship have just envisioned myself some where in the crowd, far away from Him, unnoticed.   I have secretly wondered how that could be heaven.

But as I pondered the possibilities, after reading this chapter, it seemed God gave me a glimpse: me, as a 10-year old girl on a tire swing, just having moved “far away” from family and friends and church and all I had ever known, but in those lonely times, with lush, green Iowa grass beneath my feet and a corn field and streams round about, I would sing the songs of heaven – sing to Father.   The melodies came easily and His Presence soothed my fears and lonliness and it was just Him and me.   God reminded me that He has already been giving me glimpses to keep me on the path.   I am pretty sure in heaven, I will have my own tire swing on grassy meadows and there’ll be no crowds between us….

What can you tell me about heaven?   I want to know more…Jeanie

NOTE TO SELF: Today I am closer than yesterday to where “real life begins.”