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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