Iced Wine tea

As I opened the package labeled “Iced Wine tea” the most beautiful aroma filled the air. I was curious & excited, I hadn’t known there was such a tea available, the instructions indicated it could be enjoyed hot or iced, once brewed. The aroma & name of this tea had my expectations rather high for a delightful tea adventure. Welcome to our time of reflection…

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It is a hot summer’s day, I have brewed the tea & placed enticing cupcakes (Recipes) on a pedestal cake stand. My husband, Steve, has his usual Australian black tea & we are sitting surrounded by the beauty of our garden. The preparations are now complete for this anticipated exciting taste adventure…

I pour the cooled amber liquid into my icy glass…I lift it to my lips, closing my eyes to linger in the moment of that very first sip of a new taste…but…my expectations were sadly not met…this tea’s flavor had both an initial & lingering chemical taste that was rather pungent & unpleasant.

This had me pondering upon our reflection today….

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On my own high expectations of this little tea adventure & the desired outcome I had been hoping to experience…

Expectations, are interesting aren’t they…we all have them. We often have expectations of loved ones, relationships, society, ourselves & experiences (like my tea adventure). The problem with expectations, they are constructed from our own perceptions of cultural, familial & personal experience. They involve; a mixture of imaginings, core beliefs, hopes & standards of past experiences & behavior, either positive or negative that have impacted us.

We combine these, to have an anticipated imagined outcome. This can put undue pressure both on the focus of our expectation & upon ourselves. Giving an unrealistic level of expectancy which may result in disappointment. This then may lead to constructing unfair judgements against whatever or whoever has not meet our expectations.

To be fair, there may be circumstances surrounding the practicality of our unmet expectations…in the case of the tea, it may simply be a bad batch or past its prime.  If it’s an unmet expectation of a loved one in our life, they may not be able to meet our expectations because of circumstances in their own lives, that we are not privileged too or it is simply beyond their capacity in this season of their life.

It is absolutely healthy to look forward to the goals, events, experiences, time with loved ones & our personal bests in our lives, even stretching beyond our comfort zones for new personal growth. But it is very unhealthy to have expectations of others & ourselves that can never be met because they are unrealistic & have been constructed in our own imaginings.

So, may we be kinder in our expectations of others & ourselves. May we include actual practicality, understanding, love & respect for another if they can not meet our expectations. May we also include our own realistic personal capacities in what we expect of ourselves & be fluid in the changing seasons of our lives, living our personal bests & enjoying the moments within that season.

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Lastly, may we see the beautiful moments in a tea adventure that wasn’t quite the taste experience that was expected but none the less, was a delightful time, with a loving & caring man in the garden he cultivates. With birds chirping & chortling, delicious cup cakes & companionable times of chatting…until next time…

Jennifer

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Tea by the sea…

Welcome, we are sitting overlooking azure waters of the bay today, the sun is shinning, the birds are chirping & the waves are gently lapping upon the shore, let us begin our time of reflection…

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I have brewed my all time favorite tea blend, Earl Grey. A black tea with bergamot added, a leafy herb that was used as a tea by the early American Indians for sore throats, stomach ailments & colds. My tasty treat is a chocolate covered organic bite with coconut & candied citrus pieces.

Earl Grey tea is the one blend I keep coming back to, I enjoy it everyday mainly with breakfast.  It’s like an old friend, you know exactly what to expect & it never disappoints. Especially in that early part of the day when you need that true & trusted cup that is part of a comforting routine, as you prepare for the day.

I must admit I do find routines very comforting, I particularly realized this after my late husband passed away from brain cancer in 2002. I was living & working on our farm as a wool grower & also as the region’s clinical counselor when he died.  The big drought had just started… Going out to hand feed our large flocks of sheep & checking their water troughs each morning was comforting. I knew what I had to do, to keep my husband’s life work going & I was determined to honor his memory in this way…

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In greener times

After a while though I realized, although these routines were comforting & my intentions honorable, they were also draining the life out of my soul. As I was living another’s dream, my late husband’s, not my own. I came to a point where I knew that I needed to get out of the routines that had initially bought comfort & live the life I had been created to live. His greatest desire for me before he died, was for me to go & live an abundant life after He had passed into glory…I had to ask myself was I living that abundant life?

After much prayer & soul searching, for this was not an easy decision to make, I made preparations both to hand the farm over & to head for my dream & God’s clear direction for my life to the mountains by the seacoast! A short time later I found myself living in the most beautiful seaside paradise, that has been so very healing & restorative for my soul.

So, while I still enjoy comforting cups of Earl Grey tea as part of my morning routine. I no longer try & keep someone else’s dream or life’s work alive but live my own life, abundantly. Trying new tea blends & new little experiences that are healthy for my soul as I go…like starting this blog!

While we are in reflection, ask yourself…are you living the abundant life you were created to live or are you trying to live a life that is or was someone else’s dream for you or them? Yes, it may have started as a comforting routine or a great idea at the time but it has now become unhealthy & draining the life out of your soul…

My Earl Grey tea is now finished & the chocolate bite was absolutely delicious! The tide has come in & my shady spot is no longer shady…Until next time…

Jennifer

 

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Chai tea

Welcome, glad you dropped by, I have my tea brewed & tasty treat at hand. Have you got yours, so we can begin our time of reflection together…you do…let us continue…

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I have an old favorite of mine today, a mug of exotically spiced Chai tea brewed on lactose free milk & sweetened with just a dash of honey.  My treat is a small gluten free apple & passionfruit cupcake (Recipes) topped with lemon icing. I am sitting under our front pergola, overlooking the bush reserve  (tall Eucalyptus trees, native shrubs & grassed hilly area) opposite our home.

I first tasted Chai tea when I was a student in New Delhi, India, researching & observing the amazing medical work of an NGO working with Leprosy. The street vendors made their Chai tea on sweetened condensed milk, served in small glasses, very sweet. It was warm & revitalizing, just as it is today, although mine is not as sweet as that first cup but still an explosion of spicy deliciousness upon my tongue. I can taste cinnamon, cardamon, cloves, ginger & the peppery taste of black pepper corns mixed in a base of black tea in each sip.

It is a curious blend for a tea mix. Pepper is normally used for seasoning the savory but here it is used for a sweet spicy tea. Very curious! But it creates a harmoniously balanced & exotic blend that is particularly delicious! I pondered this…

There is a lot of banter around today about positive verses negative, especially in my profession. That we need to always be positive & avoid the negative. Yes, having positive aspects in our lives is very important without doubt, but we also need the balance of the negative to highlight the positive! Just like the pepper corns in amongst the spices, it gives a harmonious balance.

There can be extremes in these of course, too much positivity can become unrealistic, too much negativity can be very oppressive for the soul, neither extreme is healthy. Though, I have come to appreciate those who can see pitfalls ahead.

I can paint you a personal picture of this. I live with a lovely husband who has a temperament that sees potential obstacles ahead & so prepares extremely well beforehand. This wife’s temperament is; let’s go & have an adventure & work out the pitfalls as we meet them. I try & look at life through best case scenario lenses but this is not always wise as there can be dangers ahead that need solid preparation to overcome.  Conversely, too much preparation or analysis of potential obstacles can become overwhelming, leading to procrastination & emotional paralysis.

So, what might be classified as negative by some & seen as a dampener upon enthusiastic plans can be in actual fact a wise analysis, this mixed with the blend of a positive adventurous spirit, leads to a harmonious balance for a fun & safe life adventure together…it’s wise to reassess our perceptions at times & look from different angles or view points…you may be pleasantly surprised in what you find like pepper in sweet spicy tea!

My mug is now empty & only a few crumbs remain of the delicious cupcake…until our next cup of inspiration together…

Jennifer

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Maple tea…

Hi, so glad you dropped by, it’s lovely to have you here for our time together…have you got your favorite beverage & delicious treat ready….Are you in a comfy spot to relax, linger & reflect…

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Maple tea is my choice today, my daughter bought it back as a gift from a recent trip to Canada. I love baking muffins, so my treat for our time together is a Cinnamon & Pecan muffin Tasty treat recipes…, these are particularly delicious slightly warmed with a smidgen of nut butter.

The tea is a black Ceylon tea, flavoured with syrup derived from the sap of the Maple tree. I take mine with LF milk & raw sugar. As I sip, munch & reflect,  I am enjoying the unusual taste of sweet spice, nut earthiness & the aromas of the muffin & tea together. Mmmm delightful!

I think trees are wonderful things they give us so much, I enjoy watching the movement of the wind upon their foliage & I particularly like the fruit, flowers & edible delights they produce, like maple syrup & cinnamon.

Our backyard, has the most majestical Jacaranda tree, which covers our entire backyard with its canopy, of cool shade in our very hot summers. Then dropping its leaves during the cold winter months allowing the sun to give us a warm place to sit in the sunshine. In late spring it then comes alive with brilliant lilac flowers, slowly dropping them to the ground creating a lilac & green carpet upon the lawn! Simply, breathtaking!

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Trees have been created to gradually grow strong trunks, boughs & branches from seed, producing leaves, flowers & fruit. Their roots growing in the invisible depths below to balance what is visible above. Most trees have a main tap root to anchor it within the soil, while feeder roots branch out within the ground creating a network of supporting roots to balance & provide nutrition for the tree’s canopy above. The greatest test comes when the storms & extreme weather strike, as to how these supports help the tree to stand.

This Jacaranda, has been hit by some particularly severe storms, which has cruelly buffeted it, slamming it’s beautiful branches, leaves & flowers from side to side, pelting it with torrential rain & large hail stones.  It lost a few branches & many of its leaves & flowers, during those storms, but it held its ground. Its resilience in being solidly anchored firstly by its tap root then by its well nourished network roots, held fast.

Storms come to us all, its a part of life, how we weather those storms depends on how our roots are being continually nourished & what we have allowed our tap root to be anchored into. We need to ask ourselves are we continually nourishing ourselves with what is good for us or is it actually poisonous & toxic? What have we allowed our tap root, our precious souls to be anchored into?

My network of roots are in many areas which continually nourish me in body, mind & spirit; in healthy relationships, in interests that give joy & delight,  in the little everyday choices I make, in meditating & reflecting on the anchor of my soul. The Creator of the universe, whose nourishment has helped me to stand against the severest of storms. I may have lost some branches, leaves & flowers during the storms, but they have been replaced with a seasoned network for the leaves & flowers to bloom…

Well my tea & muffin are now delightfully consumed, until next time…

Jennifer

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Berry tea & expresso coffee…

Welcome, do you have your favorite beverage & delightful tasty treat ready? You do!  Then let us enjoy our time of reflection together.

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My choice today is a fruity blend of berries; Strawberry, Raspberry & Loganberry, my tasty treat is a small plate of fruit chips. My grandchildren love my “fruit chips”, simply, I take whatever fruit is in season ie.  apples, bananas,  strawberries,  mangoes or nectarines etc… I slice them into thin wedges, place them on their own “special plate” with a little cake fork & add their drink for an afternoon tea with Nanny ~ as I am called, a precious time of sharing follows.

This tea blend has both natural ingredients & flavoring added, it was included in a gift, a beautiful cup, saucer & plate set for my recent birthday. The cup is a large one & appears to have a huge volume capacity, just right for this refreshing berry tea! I added a little sugar in mine. It is delicious either as a hot tea or an iced tea.

I find the topic of capacity interesting & it has surfaced several times in the last week from different & unrelated sources. Did you know each one of us has a unique capacity, just like the new cup I received above. We each have our own unique volume capacities in the following areas; physical, emotional, mental & spiritual. They however do not exist in isolation to each other, they are intertwined to make our whole overall capacity.

Over my professional life I have had many clients compare their unique volume to others, so they were left feeling less than, unworthy, depressed & devalued. Rather than seeing that they actually may be living to their own unique capacity to the fullest of measures.

Our unique capacity can be greatly impacted though by life issues & events. This may lead to an adjusted new capacity, that we need to realize, utilize & learn to work within, this can be either in a reduced volume in some areas or an increase in having grown in other areas, expanding our overall capacity…

I will give you an example of this, chronic health conditions have impacted my volume, in the areas of physical energy & cognitive processing ~ known as Fibromyalgia brain fog… my once larger “Coffee mug” capacity is now a much smaller “Demitasse” (expresso cup) capacity. But just like expresso coffee is strong, concentrated & robust. I now have a concentrated & robust strength in spiritual capacity which undergirds & flavors the other areas impacted by ill health…

In an interesting exercise after finishing my berry tea, I filled up my new cup with water & poured it into my everyday willow mug to see its volume capacity.  You know what….it was actually less in volume than my everyday mug! It was all in the perception of the design!

It can be very fruitful to reflect upon our uniquely designed capacity & really start to flourish to our fullest measure… as it is uniquely ours to do so…start flourishing!

Jennifer

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Vanilla Rooibos Tea

Well hello, how lovely of you to join me, my choice today is an unusual herbal tea blend, made from branches of a shrub & bean pods. I invite you to brew yourself a hot or maybe an iced comforting beverage of your choice,  add a tasty treat of deliciousness & reflect with me for a special time together.

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This tea has its origins in South Africa, made from the branches of the native Rooibos shrub, which is apparently a member of the legume family. To enhance the flavor, Vanilla, which essence has been derived from the bean pods of the Vanilla Orchid, originating in Mexico, has been added. This has created a very unique blend. It gives a reddish/amber colored tea when brewed, is naturally sweet in taste, fragrance & totally caffeine free, I take mine with lactose free milk & just a little raw sugar.

I normally have this at night,  being caffeine free I am able to enjoy it without fear of it adding to nocturnal alertness! It is interesting how two entirely different plants from different locations in the world create such a harmonious, comforting & soothing blend!

We need comforting & soothing at times, don’t we… life can get pretty tough & awfully wearisome even in the best of lives. I had some unexpected visitors a few years back & then they took up residency without my permission, let me introduce you to them; Fibromyalgia,  Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis & Celiac disease. These residents do not create a harmonious blend for this hostess, they are rather demanding! Though I am determined to raise to the daily challenge of their demands, I have learnt to work within my new limitations & capacity, living my best life… but weariness still comes.

This can become a negative experience if I allow it to, I can either focus on the daily constant pain, fatigue, brain fog & weariness or I can focus on the positives in my life. Those being the joys that I can still experience in so much around me, the love I have in my life, the beautiful area I live in with everything I love in God’s natural environment, the enjoyment I can derive from the craft projects I set myself to do for Diversional Therapy. The delight & time I now have to experience the little but meaningful things to me, such as a comforting cup of tea & a tasty treat while in that all important time of reflection with those of you who drop by.

The choice is ours you see, we can focus on either the negative pressures in our lives or identify the positive aspects & place our focus on those, creating that unique & harmonious blend of focused blessings to add a sweet aroma & taste to our life…

What positive aspects can you focus upon in your life now? I would love to hear what you discover…

Jennifer

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Lemon Grass Tea

Welcome, it is so lovely having you drop by, please join me in our time of tea & reflection together.

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I am making my own infusion of Lemon Grass tea today picked from my garden. Firstly,  I have selected two ribbons of the lemon grass that were the tallest, cutting just above the newer shoots on the stem, I then washed them very gently, as I don’t want to release the fragrance & oils that lay within too early. I have put the kettle on to boil, now the process of making the healing balm of Lemon Grass tea has begun.

I wind the two long ribbons around my four fingers in a circular pattern, small enough to fit into my Japanese clay teapot, as the hot water comes to the boil I twist & bruise the ribbons a few times, this action releases the oils & fragrance that has been trapped within the plant while it grew. Then placing it quickly into the pot, I pour the boiling water over the bruised ribbons. I wait approximately 5 minutes (any longer it becomes bitter) for it to infuse. It has produced the most refreshingly delicious fragrance and taste of sweet lemony rice with each sip. I have added a sweet treat of deliciousness in a little gluten-free “melting moment”.

Life can get a bit like Lemon Grass tea at times don’t you think, we get excited when we feel that we have finally been selected & made the cut, we have a definite purpose & direction for our life! We get orientated in the purpose, this may take a little bit more refining but we don’t mind as we are looking forward to fulfilling the purpose we feel which we were created to fulfill.

Then a twisting & a bruising comes to us or to someone we love, it quite often comes without warning, maybe the loss of a dear & precious loved one, an illness that never leaves or the loss of that job we worked so hard for! Or the bruising may come to us from our own unwise choices we have chosen for our life (or a significant other’s unwise choices that have significantly impacted our life), we find we are in hot water because of those unwise choices! What ever the reason we are left feeling bruised, confused & hurting.

It is very normal & healthy to feel these emotions  &  we do need to withdraw from the busyness of our lives & have time to reflect, restore, be built up in both our emotional state & body strength (as one impacts upon other) for a while. This is healthy for us to do, we need to infuse just like the Lemon Grass tea for healing. Jumping out of these times into more busyness only leads to the future eruption of emotions that will subconsciously fester over time if not addressed & spew forth like a volcanic eruption in inappropriate ways & places (as many of my clients had experienced).

But just as the infusion of the Lemon Grass has an optimum time for its infusion, to be fragrant & healing, so do we! After this it becomes bitter & loses its fragrance. We too can linger too long in a place of hurt, becoming bitter, cold & losing our way because of the hurt, grief, loss, pain & sadness we hang onto.

We need to ask ourselves, are we lingering too long in a place of hurt or sadness, that has turned bitter? Do we need to forgive someone (this releases healing both for the situation & for us)? Maybe we need to forgive ourselves?  Or is it God we have held responsible for the situation? Do we need to seek professional or pastoral help so we can move to that place of healing?

Well my lemon grass tea is finished, the melting moment’s deliciousness has melted upon my tongue, please drop by again, you are most welcome to join me.

Jennifer

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Lady Grey Tea

 

Hi,

I’m Jennifer, brew a cup of tea, coffee or hot chocolate, add a tasty treat of delight and join me for a few minutes of reflection.

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I have always enjoyed a nice cup of tea, I feel that being able to sit for the time it takes to drink a good cup of tea, coffee or hot chocolate and munch on a sweet or savory treat helps to still our minds and souls for that brief course of reflection, upon our own lives or the lives of those who cross our paths.

When I was counseling, I would offer a cup of tea, coffee or hot chocolate to those who sought counsel, as I found that having a time together over a “cuppa” would create a relaxed time of shared focus.

Lady Grey tea is known as a mild tea, created with black tea, bergamot & adding a little touch of citrus. It can be taken either black or as I enjoy it with milk and sugar. As I write this I am enjoying just such a tea today and my treat is a sweet bite of deliciousness covered with dark chocolate.

Life can be like a cup of Lady Grey tea at times, things seem to be mild, not in the fast lane and not in the slow lane but mild. Some days seem common place like the black tea, but if we linger and taste awhile, we can see that our life is flavored with touches of blessings in the common day like the citrus and bergamot in Lady Grey.

A Blessing is unique for each person in what is perceived as a blessing for one, can seem like a curse to another who is observing from afar. It all depends on the perception of the receiver and the onlooker, like the preference for having your tea black, white or with sugar.

Today I have seen that the blessings that flavour my life is the life I have lived. It has been a full life with both joyous and sadder times but I am here to write about it and that is a blessing in itself. As we sit for our tea time together,  I will share the wisdom I have learned through those times that you may find encouraging,  enlightening and flavorsome.

Have you thought of the blessings that may be flavoring your life lately?

Well my tea is now finished and the tasty delight of dark chocolate, coconut and citrus still lingers upon my tongue.  I invite you to join me for tea and delights again soon.

Jennifer

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Welcome to Tea with Jennifer

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Brew yourself a cup of comfort (mine is mostly a fragrant tea I have specifically chosen), add a tasty treat of deliciousness that adds to that time of comfort & reflect with me on life’s mysteries, happenings, challenges & wise lessons learned or maybe still being learnt.

Linger with me for a while in our quiet time, a time to smell the beautiful aroma of your freshly brewed tea, coffee or hot chocolate, taste that yummy treat & together let us be refreshed, encouraged, inspired & maybe just a little challenged to view our day to day lives from a newer & brighter perception.

Jennifer

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