Friday, March 28, 2008

Instant Society

"We live in an age of acceleration, in an era so seduced by the instantaneous that we're in grave danger of losing our ability to wait. Life moves at a staggering pace. Computers yield up immediate answers. Pictures develop before our eyes. Satellites beam television signals from practically anywhere, allowing far-away images to appear instantly in our living rooms. Complex life issues are routinely introduced, dealt with, and solved in neat thirty-minute segments on tv. Space travel, fax machines, instant coffee, disposable diapers. In ways large and small, we're all encapsulated in a speeding world. We're surrounded by express lanes, express mail, express credit. There aren't just restaurants, but "fast-food" restaurants; not simply markets, but "jiffy" markets. Faster is better. Ask anyone."
When The Heart Waits - by Sue Monk Kidd

"You see, if you insist on instant, you'll get your tea, but you'll miss one of tea's most beautiful benefits - the blessing of slowing down to enjoy it. You'll be having your tea but losing the opportunity to stake out an island of calm serenity in that chaotic ocean of daily life."
If Teacups Could Talk - by Emilie Barnes

At A Spot For Tea we invite you to take a time out. The act of making and drinking tea forces us to slow down - our soul desperately longs for refreshment. Just like in child birth it takes nine months of waiting before the baby arrives. Good things take time to incubate and that makes us even more aware that God has a plan and sometimes we must wait to see the full revelation of it coming to pass.
Psalm 33:11 "But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever,
the purpose of his heart through all generations."

The picture above is 3 generations having tea at a shower for baby Holland that was born March 24th extending the generations to four.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Oklahoma City Restaurants Review

You can imagine my surprise and delight when I stumbled upon this review that was written about A Spot For Tea. The source is but the point of view is the wife (Haley) of the creator of the "shady restaurant series", Andrew Littleton. You can read the review here and she even gave us four stars. All of this to say, you never know who is going to be walking in the doors and every single day is an opportunity to make a new friend.

One of the comments to the review states "I consider Andrew a master of wit combined with Honest Abe's approach to real food versus mass production "chain" restaurants. Now he adds the girly approach (via his wife) to those who rather live in a safety net with a spot of yummy tea. To the readers this offers a wider range of choices depending upon mood of the day. I love it! I hope these two throw caution to the wind and continue to rescue the public from the "chains" of boredom. Congratulations! submitted by Charlene C. Imholz

Which brings me to the point about having a family owned business versus a chain franchise. When you walk through our front doors we hope that you feel the essence of all that we believe to be important. Every last detail from the menu to the tea selections is all with the customer in mind. It is our passion to "bring you joy in a teacup".

Originality is a dying art form with mass produced everything. To find a place "where everyone knows your name" and to be welcomed in by a familiar face seems incredibly hard to find these days. We all want to feel a sense of connection, to be known, and for someone to care that we're there. I keep track of our loyal customers....they are our friends...if I haven't seen someone in a while I make a mental note. If I see a familiar face I like to go up to the table and chat and find out how they are. This is our extended family...our customers.

3 John 1:14 "I hope to see you soon, and we will talk face to face. Peace to you. The friends here send their greetings. Greet the friends there by name."

Saturday, March 22, 2008

One Thousand Tea Parties

This is Miss Clare's Tea Party that was held at 11:00am on March 22nd, 2008. She is the official 1000th Tea Party Girl. It was her second party with us. We've hosted her 5th and 6th birthday party.
"Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence.
Talent will not; nothing is more commonplace than
unsuccessful men with talent.
Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.
Education alone will not; the world is full of educated derelicts.
Persistence and Determination alone are omnipotent."
- Calvin Coolidge

Today at 11:00am I will host my 1000 Dress Me Up Tea Party in the Rose Cottage. Even as I write this I'm thinking back to my first tea party that I gave to Brittany Atterbury at her home. Her mom saw my brochure as it was being printed up and said she knew this was what she wanted to give her daughter for her birthday. The first year of giving tea parties I did this out of a trailer and set up the tea party in the girls home. It took us an hour to set everything up. It was alot of work taking everything in. It was alot of hard work..and I consider part of it as paying my dues. How badly do you want something to succeed?

I've taken pictures of every single party since then and they are all in order by date and time in many photograph albums upstairs on a shelf in the Rose Cottage. I still can't believe 1000 tea parties. When I began the journey I never understood the power and opportunity God was giving me to touch this many families lives. Some families I've had multiple parties for each child. Some families I've had 3 siblings each have their tea parties with me. I've said that now I pray and hope that I will host some of their bridal showers and cater their weddings and hopefully, pull out the pictures of when they were here and we shared some special memories. You can never underestimate history or connection.

"Perseverance in life is being steadfast; persistence is being stubborn. Persistence is grittier than perseverance. Perseverance is achievement's perspiration. persistence is sweat. Persistence is knocking on Heaven's doors so often and so loudly on behalf of your dreams that eventually you'll be given what you want, just to shut you up. "
- Sarah Ban Breathnach

I've always said that the one good quality that I possess is I'm like the ocean that keeps rising up and down, pounding the shore until I wear down whatever I'm going after. The stubborn but patient child that wears you out, which is why you end up in the end giving in and shaking your head as you give her what she wants. I would not give up on the dream in my heart. I would not give up.

If you are determined to gather life's honeyful reward, to stick your hand into the hive again and again, (to put on your tea party hat one more time) to be stung so many times that you become numb to the pain, (to give up your Saturdays so that you are making it special for someone else) , to persevere and persist till those who know and love you become unable to think of you as a fairly normal woman, you will be called successful.

When I give my 1000th tea party today there will be no trumpets...there will be no rewards but in heaven, I know that God is smiling. Smiling because I didn't give up and smiling because He gave me what I asked for. A Spot For Tea is a dream come true for me.

Romans 5:2-5 "And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us."

Friday, March 21, 2008

Take Yourself To Places Where You Feel Terrific

Have you thought about a tropical vacation this year? The next question is where do you go when you're not on vacation but you want to feel as if you are for an hour or an afternoon? We all have places that make us feel terrific and are our private getaway. Some are faraway, once-a-year or even life-time destinations. Others are just around the corner. Spending time there is a great idea for stress relief.

Do some writing in your journal about places you truly would like to visit...places you've never been and other places your heart would like to return. Then make a plan; visit a travel agency and dream...collect an armchair traveler.

In between those vacations, we hope that you will make A Spot For Tea one of those around the corner places you love to visit. It can be a Godsend. If you are spending your time and your life start making a decision to choose wisely who and what you spend those precious moments on. Spend as much of it as you can in those places that leave you refreshed and filled up. Don't waste another minute on people and places that drain you.

Psalm 71:3 "Be to me a rock of refuge in which to dwell, and a sheltering stronghold to which I continually RESORT, which you have appointed to save me, for you are my Rock and my Fortress."

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Tea 101

There is so much to learn about the world of tea and it would take an entire lifetime to know everything. One question we get at A Spot For Tea is about how to choose and buy tea. Our staff is trained to help guide you through the task of our 50 tea selections.

It's always a good idea to taste it, just like wine. We have a large tea menu that comes to the table just like a wine list. We always have a sample being served everyday at the front by the register. We have a description of the tea being sampled.

In my opinion, you should buy small quantities (2 ounces) to start with - unless it's a particular favorite. We have some customers that know what they love and now only buy (4 ounces) at a time. In general, buying smaller bags of tea is better because of freshness.

How it Looks
The first thing that you should notice about tea is how it looks. You probably already know that the whole leaf is preferable to CTC, or Cut Torn Crushed 'tea' dust that is put into many bags and if leaves are broken, it probably means that they were harvested by machine. Broken leaves sometimes gives a bitter tea. We don't sell bags of tea at A Spot For Tea only loose leaf tea is served and sold here. Ask to see the dry leaves. We have all of our teas available to see and sniff.

How it Smells
After the tea has been infused, good teas will give out a delicious aroma. The most important thing is that there should be some smell, whatever the tea, even in the dry leaves. Flavored teas should retain their essential aroma even after infusion. When we do tastings we allow the customers to compare the dry leaves and the wet leaves.

Taste is Choice
As with any food or drink, taste is ultimately a personal preference. Tea should never, ever taste stale or flavorless and, if brewed properly, should not be bitter. The best way to taste tea, like wine, is to slurp in order to allow air to mix with the tea and enhance the flavor. When we got our Tea Certification from the Specialty Tea Institute at the World Tea Expo this was a particular fun sight to see and hear with all the students using the slurping technique in one big room.

Ultimately, whatever tea you buy depends on your own personal taste. We have some customers who prefer floral (Rose Petal) while others are into organic (Assam) and still others like a sweet note (For the Love of Charlotte). You can visit our website and click on our Tea List for all of our wonderful tea selections.

"O taste and see that the Lord is good!" Psalm 34:8

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Tea Experience

At A Spot For Tea, we treat the business of the tea experience, as a ministry and a work of art. The way we see it, the tearoom's mission is more than just making money. We really want to connect to our customers and feel that we are making a contribution to the world one person at a cup at a time. This is even part of the training not to hurry or rush anyone from the table. Tea is the perfect solution to slowing down. It's about taking a moment to sit while the tea is steeping and breathe.

As you wait for your pot of tea, take in the sights and smells all around you. Can you smell the vanilla muffins coming out of the oven? Maybe you've chosen 3 Flower Burst in a glass teapot and you are watching the tea leaves furl out right in front of your very eyes. Slowing down requires giving yourself permission to wait and experience calm. Hear the soothing music over the fountains as the water trickles to the end of all your cares.

Everything in this life that is worthwhile requires taking the time to enjoy it. Friendships and tea cannot be hurried. Whats the use of all our hard work if we can't find the time to be together with the people we care about? Just walking in the door makes you feel like you've entered another world. And isn't that what we are all after a little rest and relaxation in the middle of our hectic lives. Customers and employees have said it is like a sanctuary for the soul at A Spot For Tea.

"In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength."
Isaiah 30:15