Monday, January 23, 2017

58th US Presidential Inauguration



On January 29th, my monthly tea presentation at Shore Pointe Assisted Living will be about Presidential Inaugurations, so I was sitting in front of my TV shortly after 11:00 a.m. on Friday morning, January 20th, ready to watch the inauguration of Donald J. Trump as he took the oath to become the 45th President of the United States of America. The actual ceremony began at 12:00 noon, so my cup of tea, pen, paper, and camera were beside me in readiness.


In 1981 Ronald Reagan, 40th U.S. President, said presidential inaugurations are both commonplace and miraculous.  Commonplace because they've routinely occurred every four years in our country for almost two centuries, and miraculous because of the orderly and peaceful transfer of power called for in our Constitution. Most Americans take it for granted, but in the eyes of many around the world, it's nothing less than a miracle.  With that in mind, the theme of this 58th inaugural ceremony was "Uniquely American".

The inauguration isn't about Democrats or Republicans, it's about America, and I would have watched this inauguration with pride regardless of which candidate won the election. It's a celebration of our country's great democracy, and patriotic respect for the Office. Sadly, not all Americans have respect for life or the Presidential Office, since four U.S. Presidents have been assassinated, and unsuccessful plots and attempts have been made on the lives of 14 others.


The Mormon Tabernacle choir [below], dubbed "America's Choir" by Ronald Reagan, gave their seventh inauguration performance by singing America the Beautiful accompanied by the Marine Band.  


In Abraham Lincoln's second inaugural address [16th President] he sought to bring unity to our divided nation with the words, "...with malice toward none and charity for all...", appropriate words to embrace in 2017 as well.

Hatred, intolerance, refusal to accept the outcome of the election, fake news reports, and rioting will never bring our country together. The Bible commands Christians [I Timothy 2:1-2] to pray and make intercession for those in authority over us, so I pledge to pray for President Trump, just as I prayed for President Obama.  Regardless of personal preferences, it's hard to dislike someone while praying for them, and prayer truly does change things - if not the person being prayed for, then our attitude towards them.

President Trump's inaugural speech was just under 20 minutes.  George Washington's second inaugural address [1st President of the U.S.] was the shortest in history with only 130 words.


The longest inaugural speech was given by William Henry Harrison, 9th President of the United States.  It was 8,445 words and took an hour and 45 minutes to deliver.  President Harrison developed pneumonia after delivering it in a snowstorm and died shortly after taking office, leaving vice-president, John Tyler, to take over.

The most memorable line from an inaugural address was probably uttered by John F. Kennedy, our 35th President [1961]:  "...And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country."

Myrlie Evers-Williams, an American civil rights activist and journalist, was the first non-clergy woman to deliver an inaugural prayer at the second inauguration of Barack Obama in 2013.  

Paula White-Cain, who prayed at President Trump's inauguration, was the first female clergy member to pray an inaugural prayer at a U.S. inaugural ceremony.

[Internet Photo]

God bless America, my home sweet home!



Friday, January 20, 2017

Tea Blogging Award



Recently [January 16th], I received an e-mail from Mr. Anuj Agarwal congratulating me for being selected by a panel at Feedspot as one of the "Top 100 Tea Blogs" on the web, and for my contribution to the tea world.

I have no idea how many tea bloggers exist, but it was a nice e-mail to receive, and I'm happy to be among the 100.

I must confess I had never heard of Feedspot before, so I promptly went to their website: blog.feedspot.com/tea_blogs/.  When I scrolled down the list of the other 99 who have received this award I was happy to see other blogs I follow listed there - Tea With Friends [Angela McRae], Bernideen's Tea Time Cottage and Garden [Bernideen Canfield], The Tea Maestro [Bruce Richardson], and  Steph's Cup of Tea [Stephanie Wilson], as well as several tea business blogs such as World Tea News and Tea Time Magazine.  The website allows tea enthusiasts to keep up with 100 tea blogs at one place.

I'm humbly honored to be among such a fine group of tea lovers and specialists.  Thank you, Feedspot!


Thursday, January 19, 2017

Time

Every year as my birthday approaches my hubby and children ask for gift suggestions.  My mind has been focused on time since the beginning of the new year [its elusiveness and the importance of using it wisely], so when I saw two clock teapots on e-bay, I told my hubby I'd like to have them for my birthday and he ordered them.  They recently arrived in the mail.


I also found some clock demitasse teacups on e-bay that I bought.  I think time would be a thought provoking theme for a tea.  We usually only give thought to time on New Year's Eve as one year is ushered out and a new one enters, but time [and how quickly it passes] is something we need to ponder throughout the year as well. 


Little by little I'm accumulating dishes for a time themed tea.  Pictured below is my collection of clock dishware to date.  They're harder to find than you think.


I mentioned in my January 6th post that I'm reading Rick Warren's book, The Purpose Driven Life [2002].   I know that when my time on earth comes to an end, I won't attain Heaven because of my works.  It'll only be because of God's grace and mercy through the sacrificial death of His son, Jesus Christ, the confession and forgiveness of my sins, and my declaration that Jesus is my Lord and Savior.  But Scripture says I will stand before God one day and give an account of my life and how I used my time. Will the things I've invested my time in be categorized as wood, hay or straw [things that don't really matter] and vanish when tested by fire, or will they consist of valuable and meaningful things like gold, silver, and costly stones that are refined by fire? [I Corinthians 3:11-15]

I want my time on earth to reflect my love for God and His great love for mankind.  With that in mind I began my first Bible study in my home yesterday with three ladies [one neighbor and two friends].  We began with the beginning of time in Genesis, and the first woman who walked this earth, Eve.  We spent three wonderful hours together around my dining room table - half of it in God's Word with our Bibles open in study, and the other half enjoying lunch together.  I kept lunch simple - homemade chicken soup with Oyster Cracker Nibbles, tea [of course] - Sweet Royal Delight, a Caramel  and Butterscotch flavored black tea, and Monkey Bread with Butter Pecan Ice Cream drizzled with Butterscotch Sauce.  God blessed our time together and we're looking forward to our next Bible study on January 31st. 

We noted God mentioned placing trees in the Garden of Eden as food for His creation to freely enjoy and partake of - not to sustain life because before Adam and Eve sinned death had not entered the world.  They were purely for pleasure. I hope Heaven [like the Garden of Eden] will be filled with pleasurable things, including tea and tea parties! What a happy thought!  

Because one of the ladies asked for the recipe for Oyster Cracker Nibbles I'm providing it for you as well.
1 box oyster crackers
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 package dry Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing
1 teaspoon dried dill weed
1 teaspoon garlic powder

In large bowl mix all ingredients.  Toss until well coated and pour onto a jelly roll pan and place in 250 degree oven for two hours, stirring occasionally.  Store in an airtight container. They're a perfect and tasty accompaniment to soup.  Enjoy!


Tuesday, January 17, 2017

A Royal Gift and More...

I've been staying with my granddaughter, Brooke, Sunday afternoon thru today while her parents are away on a staff retreat.  

After church on Sunday she wanted to go to Mongolian Grill for lunch - definitely a unique dining experience, but a good one.



Once inside, you're given a bowl which you take to a bar with numerous selections of raw meats, seafood, noodles and more.  When the bowl is filled with your choices, you take it to a counter where your bowl is numbered, and then its contents are dumped out onto a large circular grill, and grilled while you wait.


It's then served on a platter [below].  A server brings white, brown, or fried rice to the table along with tortillas to make a wrap.  They serve tea too.  Good restaurant choice, Brooke!


Now for the royal gift part of this post... When I was at Linda's last Thursday for the luncheon, another friend, Barb, was there and she presented me with a gift bag.  Inside was a tin of tea, but not just any tea - a commemorative tin [with the tea still inside] celebrating Queen Elizabeth II's Silver Jubilee in 1977.


The Indian and Ceylon tea was blended by Jacksons of Piccadilly.  The London Tea House was founded in 1815 by Robert Jackson, and is still in business today.  Thanks, Barb, for this wonderful treasure!




Monday, January 16, 2017

A Second Christmas

As mentioned in my last post, after the tea luncheon everyone went into Linda's living room where she presented each of us with gift bags.   It was like Christmas all over again!   Inside each bag were multiple gifts carefully selected to suit our individual interests. I wish I would have thought to take a photo of my overflowing gift bag before I delved into it, but I did photograph each item to share after I got home.

A cast-iron teapot warmer for the Japanese Tetsubin Teapot I bought at Tea Haus in Ann Arbor, MI last November.



~ Eight blue and white porcelain teapot shaped napkin holders. ~


A blue and white porcelain tea caddy that Linda's son-in-law brought back from China, and a blue and white linen tea towel.


A blue and white teapot brooch with matching teacup earrings.


~ A journal and teapot ornament. ~


And an out-of-print, hard-to-find cookbook pertaining to automotive pioneer, Henry Ford. Linda knew I've done presentations about Henry Ford, and thought this book would be an interesting addition.


Now ALL these gifts were more than enough to overwhelm me, but she gave me a second bag that she said wasn't for Christmas.  They were just things she thought I'd like!   That bag included a DVD of Disney's Frozen, another tea-themed brooch and teapot charm, a tea-themed book titled Good Friends Sip Together, and a cloche hat.  I might add, she was just as generous to the other seven ladies, saying it brought her great joy to give gifts to us!


The ladies all wanted me to model my new Roaring Twenties style hat.  Can you envision Lady Mary or Lady Edith Crawley on Downton Abbey wearing this hat?


I thought you might enjoy seeing a few pictures of Linda's kitchen all decorated for Christmas. Actually most of it can stay out through February since it pertains to snow and winter.  






~ A corner hutch with Christmas dishware. ~



There are no words to adequately thank Linda for her kindness and generosity, only to ask our Heavenly Father, who is the giver of all good gifts, to bless and repay her abundantly!



Thursday, January 12, 2017

A Post Christmas Luncheon

Today was a wonderful day with a tinge of melancholy.   Our daughter, Lori, has progressed well enough following her knee replacement surgery to be able to return to her apartment today after recuperating at our house for almost a month.   I'm thankful for her progress, and happy she's able to go back to work on Tuesday, Jan. 17th, but I will miss her.   It's been a delight having her home again.

My friend, Linda, had a post Christmas luncheon at 11:00 a.m. today that was the perfect antidote for chasing away any blues lurking about.

I took lots of photos to share with you.  Linda [below] loves peacocks, and they were incorporated into her Christmas tree, home décor, and tablescape.


Before we went into the dining room for lunch, Linda had Brie and Crackers [and other hors d' oeuvres] and champagne [including non-alcoholic] set out in her kitchen for us to enjoy.


Pictured below is Linda's tea station. Eight ladies were invited, so eight peacock teacups were waiting to be filled with two kinds of tea throughout the luncheon.  We began with a first flush, unflavored green tea that her son-in-law brought back from China, and then we transitioned to a Marzipan flavored black tea. 


~ Linda's tablescape from one end of the table to the other, and in-between. ~




~ Place Setting ~


Each lady had a place card held by a peacock.  There were two Phyllis' present and we sat next to each other.


The luncheon began with Sweet Potato/Coconut Soup.


~ Salad ~


~ Green Tea in a beautiful Peacock Teacups. ~


~ Scones with homemade Lemon Curd and mock Devonshire Cream. ~


The main entrée was Cheese-filled Ravioli in a Lemon Herb Sauce, garnished with Fresh Fruit, and Green Beans.


~ Dessert was a slice of Coconut Cake and Spumoni Ice Cream ~


Everything was delicious!  Pictured around the table are Linda, Connie, and Louise.


~ Louise, Joanie, and Barb ~


~ Phyllis N., Me, and Kathleen ~


When we finished eating we went into the living room where Linda had Christmas presents for everyone...next post.