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Tea, Friends, & Family

Higinbotham's Tea Room, New Oxford, PA

Higinbotham’s Tea Room, New Oxford, PA

If you know me at all, you know how I love to go to tea! Recently, while traveling to Adams County, PA for work, I ran across a tea room I had never seen before in New Oxford, PA….Higinbotham’s Tea Room and Bed & Breakfast. When I arrived home, I quickly contacted my tea-loving friend, Tammy (we’ve been friends since 7th grade!) and we made arrangements to go to tea and check it out! We planned to meet my cousin Marcia there, but plans change, and Marcia had to cancel out. It all worked out well though. I took Katie in Marcia’s place, as Katie loves going to tea too!

Higinbotham’s proved to be a little different from other tea rooms we had visited. We enjoyed ourselves though, nonetheless! After all, having tea together is more about cultivating friendships than it is drinking tea and eating little sandwiches. We caught up on each other’s lives, since Tammy and I don’t see each other often. Katie threw in her two cents every now and then. Mrs. Higinbotham kept fussing over Katie and raving how well she was behaving and eating all her food. Mr. Higinbotham was there as well and kept our water glasses filled.

Tea was lovely, and we were quite satisfied and full. The next step in our day out was a stop at my cousin Marcia’s. Her sister (my cousin) Sharon and her children were here for a visit (hence, why Marcia cancelled out). I got to meet two tiny cousins that I had never met before. Katie was excited to see her cousin Caleb, who was only 2 weeks old the last time we saw him. He’s 6 years old now!

As it usually is with good friends and family, we picked up right where we left off from the last time we were together. Within minutes, it was as if we never had been apart. Sharon shared with me that Caleb had a special spot in his heart for Katie. Ever since he was a toddler, he’s had Katie’s picture on his bedroom wall. When Caleb walked in the room, Sharon said, “Look who’s here, Caleb!”

Quietly, he says, “It’s Katie!” and off they went to play. For a change, Katie was the oldest cousin in the room instead of the youngest. She was thrilled!

Marcia, Sharon, and Tammy and I all visited for a while. All good things, though, must come to an end. We began to say our goodbyes and snapped a few photos.

Cousins together again. Marcia, Sharon, and me.

Cousins together again. Marcia, Sharon, and me.

We went outside to track down the children. We found Katie and Caleb diligently working on a project together. They had gathered various sized rocks from around the yard and from the orchard behind the house and created a “fire ring” in the back yard. They were busily rubbing sticks together, hoping to create a spark. We watched in amusement for a while, and of course, snapped some photos!

The only thing that would have made the day more complete, would have been to have my cousin, Sue there too. It’s hard though once you grow up to have a time where it suits everyone to get together. However, those of us who were able to visit, created new memories together. And for that I wouldn’t trade a thing!

♥Miriam

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My Cup Runneth Over

If you know me well, you know that I like tea. Well, maybe that’s not entirely true. I love tea! I love to drink tea, but more than that, I love to “go to tea”!

Homemade Scones

Homemade Scones

Have you ever been to a tea? You should try it some time. The tea, of course, is the featured  delight, but there’s so much more to it. There’s a small serving of soup, a salad, tiny little sandwiches barely more than 2-3 bites big. There are scones….oh, I love the scones…..especially with lemon curd and clotted cream. Yes, clotted cream. I know it sounds disgusting, but don’t knock it till you try it. Fresh fruit accompanies the scones. Then there are these little, rich, tempting  desserts….just a bite, but oh so decedent!  Some tea rooms will end your tea with a sorbet to cleanse your palate. The whole experience is just wonderful. But there’s something even better than the tea and food.  It’s the time spent with those you are having tea with. It’s a time to relax and just enjoy each other.  You can easily visit for hours sipping tea and nibbling sweets and savories. It’s not uncommon for each participant to consume more than one pot of tea.

Mini Desserts

Mini Desserts

Today, I enjoyed a different kind of tea. I was attending a conference. The people attending this conference are all involved in camping ministry in some way. We were having tea to experience what a tea would be like in a camp setting and to think about how we could incorporate teas at our own camps. I got to participate with some unlikely people.Across from me at my table, was an older woman, old enough to be my mother. We really didn’t know each other, though we had eaten a meal at the same table before. During the course of the tea, she asked questions of each of us and we were able to tell our stories of how we got involved in camping ministry.  She shared hers as well.

To my left, was the most unlikely of people to attend a tea. It was our camp cook. This was definitely a new experience for him. He inquired if he should extend his pinky to drink from his cup, as he knew this what proper English people did for tea. He began to discuss what he would prepare for a tea and began to recite a menu that sounded more like a feast than a tea.  Roasted marinated pork tenderloin, baked chicken….obviously, he had never experienced a tea before. He was a bit unrefined, but did his best to participate. He asked me many questions and began to refer to me as the “tea guru”.  But, during our tea, my table learned about his passion for cooking, his passion to reach teens with God’s love, his passion to be in service for God. We learned that he was a new believer, having just become a Christian in June of this past year. As he shared his story, I gleaned a new admiration for him.

To my right, was another unlikely guest. Like me, she was a first time attendee at the conference. But, to my surprise, we knew each other! We hadn’t seen each other for 37 years….we were in 2nd grade when we last saw each other.  Who would have thought I’d be having tea with a childhood friend? We were surprised to learn that we both have daughters that are close in age, that we both ended up in Christian ministry around the same time. She had gone through some struggles over the years, as have I. Our lives were pretty parallel to each others. We reminisced about our 2nd grade teacher and we pondered as to what had happened to others that were in our class. The years melted away and we were 7 again!

Tea Sandwiches

Tea Sandwiches

I thought of the devotional that was offered prior to the tea. What kind of cup were we? Were we a broken cup in need of repair. Were we a cracked cup in need of some reinforcement? Was our cup empty? I thought about this as we enjoyed our tea and goodies. I thought of the differences in the people at my table. Our camp cook was recently an empty cup and was now filled with Holy Spirit. The lady across from me was once a cracked cup, and just needed reassurance that she and her husband were doing the right thing in entering Christian ministry. My childhood friend had once been a broken cup, but God had glued her back together. And me….I was a full cup. I was full with the new respect for those around me, full with happiness for reconnecting with a long-lost friend, full of hope that I too would find fulfillment as I progressed on my journey to grow in my job.  Yes, my cup was full, so full that it began to overflow. I was so thankful for the friendships grown and strengthened over tea.  But more than this, was so thankful that I get to serve God doing something I enjoy.

David knew this feeling when he wrote the 23rd Psalm. Verse 5 says, “Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; MY CUP RUNNETH OVER.” He knew the joy that comes from being in communion with God. What kind of cup are you?

♥Miriam