Serenity

This summer, I discovered a lovely little shop in the sleepy town of Summerland. It’s one of those shops that one passes whilst in the direction of something super important and one thinks, I should stop in and take a look one day…but I never do. Until this summer.

I finally stopped and stepped into the shop, discovering a delightful trove of treasures not unlike a full pirate’s chest. The Sacred Space is exactly that. As my foot crossed the threshold, I took in the many symbols of prosperity that greeted me at the door: mirrors, elephants with raised trunks, yellow and orange carnations, lotus blossoms and crystals.

“Welcome to The Sacred Space,” she greeted me. “May I get you some tea?”

Who says no to tea?! She brought it to me on a bamboo tray with a container of looped bamboo stir sticks, some sugar crystals with bamboo tongs, and Kabbalah stones sprinkled on the serviettes. I thank her, the smile on my face anticipating an impending adventure. I then wander the shop all the while sipping on my tea. 

There are five rooms meandering one into another…each a plethora of statues of the Laughing Buddha, Ganesha and Quan Yin in varying forms and sizes and media. The Hand of Fatima is also prevalent in many sizes and colors. Dispersed between the statuaries are candles of varying scents, crystals of all sizes, shapes and colors, offering bowls, prayer wheels, fountains, incense, Himalayan salt lamps and many many other intricate delights.

Two hours later, I happen upon the garden and gasp in wonder. A beautiful koi pond is in front of me, the other side of which sits a pavilion like a queen on her throne…rooted with grandeur. Pops of bright lemon yellow through the pillows, blooming lotus flowers in the pond and fruit on the table offset the cream, brown and green of the surroundings. As I sit and meditate for a short while to express gratitude, I become aware of a leather journal for entries by those who visit. I peruse excitedly, feeling a connection to all who have come before me as well as to all who have yet to write after me. 

As I reluctantly leave, promising myself to return sooner than later, I stop to consider the above image once more. Never have I seen such a crystal, the focus of my earlier gasp…and I aspire to share my home with one in the future…perhaps next to my own queenly pavilion.

Happy Birthday Mom!

This last weekend, I experienced the blessing of hosting two delightful friends from out-of-state. They popped by for a couple of days after their convention concluded and upon arrival, one of them presented me with this gorgeous arrangement of roses. When I asked after the occasion she replied, “My husband always sends me flowers on the birthdays of our children. I can’t take them on the plane with me, so I’m sharing them with you!”

Aside from the breathtaking joy of such striking colors and magnificent blooms, her husband’s consideration was almost enough to make me fall in love with him! After so many years of giving of herself to the marriage and her family, their children now grown and married with children of their own, he still remembers to honor the mother of his children and thank her for their lives on their birthday. 

I would like to share a marriage with a man like that.

Tea Friends

sweet!

A few weeks ago, I went to visit a long-time friend. We both grew up in British Commonwealth countries and met at boarding school. One of the many things we enjoy doing together is going to tea, as it reminds us of those times as children when we dressed up and went to full teas with our mothers. We are both quite capable of making and presenting our own full tea, but it’s just so much more fun to go somewhere and experience tea with others who love the tea experience. The challenge in living in the United States, is finding the right balance of appropriate food with the appropriate ambiance.

Because my trip was such a last-minute affair, neither of us even thought about reserving a tea at our favorite tea house until the day of the tea. Unfortunately for us, that tea house was completely booked up. While on the one hand my mouth was greatly disappointed that it wouldn’t be able to savor those sumptuous delectables, I had to acknowledge my excitement over that tea house doing so well in spite of the current economic status.

After sitting around, lamenting our misfortune and causing our stomachs to growl with anticipation for food that it would never see, we decided we needed to take some action and see if there were any other respectable options.

We settled on a newly restructured/reorganized/updated tea room called Sucree. Because it’s new, as of this posting, there wasn’t a website for it. We were delighted to discover that they had a handful of different types of tea menus, so we ordered one that included sandwiches, cupcakes, scones and tea.

While waiting for our tea to begin, I found myself captured by the beautiful simplicity of the mint arrangement on our table. I love mint in floral arrangements, but it tends to wilt quickly. Such a freshly crisp abundance of mint in a sweet tea-pot was quite lovely…especially because it demonstrated a detailed attention to something that could easily present poorly. The colors also captured me…a spring green in the curtain, a light mint green on the walls framed by white trimming, white wrought iron chairs and tables and delicate little chandeliers to spread the light about like fairies. The roses on the teapot, while normally annoying to me by being so cliché, popped out with just the right amount of accent.

Then the scones came. In my excitement, I failed to remember to photograph them. They were piping hot, fluffy, melted in the mouth, a little sweet, but more than acceptable. We were each served one (not enough in my opinion) on a glass tray with a dollop each of orange marmalade and Double Devon cream as schmears. I quickly committed to the Double Devon cream with great satisfaction…my throat can attest to the delight and ease with which it just slid on by.

Once the mouth ecstasy subsided slightly, I noticed a mom with her 6-year-old daughter sharing tea together at a nearby table. The daughter had a pink and purple magical fairy purse and was thoroughly engrossed in the entire experience. My heart expanded with joy that another generation would grow up learning what tea is really all about…girlfriend time…the best kind of friends.

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