“When tea becomes ritual, it takes its place at the heart of our ability to see greatness in small things. Where is beauty to be found? In great things that, like everything else, are doomed to die, or in small things that aspire to nothing, yet know how to set a jewel of infinity in a single moment?” ~ Muriel Barbery (The Elegance of the Hedgehog)
Hello, Cutie Pies. Happy New Year!
Baby, it’s cold outside. This winter’s shaping up to be a real cracker. It’s so cold around here we have to open the refrigerator to heat the house. So cold, a cake I just baked and set out to cool frosted itself.
Mr. Cornelius has taken to sleeping in oven mitts,
and is mad for fuzzy scarves (nice fashion statement, eh?).
But where are my manners? Please make yourself comfortable and have a nice spot of tea. There now, better?
Hope you enjoyed the holiday season. Len and I had a poignant visit with my family in Hawai’i. So good to see everyone, but when your parents are 89 and 99 years old, each Christmas, each day spent together — becomes more and more precious. The two gifts I most wanted to give them — good health and more time, were sadly out of my reach. The gifts they gave me — seeing how bravely they faced each day’s challenges and how they helped each other — will stay with me always.
No one tells you how hard it will be to see your parents age. My mother (always the pillar of strength in our family), who just a year ago was able to cook a big New Year’s Eve dinner, can now barely stand in the kitchen. Please pray for her, will you?
Lots of folks have posted their New Year’s Resolutions; some have selected a Word around which to shape their year. What I aspire to every year is the same. My word for the year is always the same: LOVE.
RESOLVE TO LOVE.
Love my family, friends, and neighbors, yes. Love my work, my country, the small and big things of this world. I remind myself not to be stingy about it, not to wait or hold back. We all only have this one moment, this one chance. No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted.
Nothing matters more in this world than how you treat other people.
The golden rule may sound old fashioned and cliché, but so very many people have forgotten it. When you lead with love, good things follow: wonder, joy, compassion, creativity, inspiration, fulfillment, generosity, growth, tolerance, understanding, peace.
Human beings hunger for love all their lives. It’s why we’re here, and when all is said and done, it’s the only thing any of us really has to give.
TEA FOR YOU, TEA FOR ME
Since it looks like we’ll be needing lots of tea to get us through the winter, we’re gonna keep the kettle on all the time. Ah yes — nothing soothes the soul like sipping a freshly brewed cup of Earl Grey, English Breakfast or Darjeeling while snuggled up in a cozy fleece blanket and reading a good book. No better fuel for contemplation and reflection, no better companion for a cheeky chat.
What’s that? You’d like a side of England to go with your tea? I was thinking the same thing. So many of my favorite people and things come from the other side of the pond: Shakespeare, the Beatles, Brontës, Jane Austen, Pooh, Paddington Bear, Notting Hill, the inimitable Colin “takes the cake” Firth, scones, lemon curd tarts, Downton Abbey . . .
Wait, did someone say “Downton Abbey”? Did you see it Sunday night? Hooray, it’s finally back!! Thomas looked especially hot, and how about that touching scene with Carson and Lady Mary? *weeps*
I’m happy to see how Edith’s character is developing; it’ll be fun to follow Rose’s adventures (what a minx, and Sam Thorley is a cutie, isn’t he?); and of course, the kitchen scenes with Mrs. Patmore and Daisy are the best (not sure I like Ivy so much).
I’m looking forward to serving up some Downton-inspired treats and poring over all these cookbooks:
Also on the Winter Menu: More “Indie Artist Spotlights,” chats with cool authors, illustrators and poets, book reviews, Poetry Friday Feasts, soup (of course!), our usual mischief.
Tea + England is basically the way to go. After all, everyone who is anybody is having a cuppa right this minute.
Pip pip! Let’s raise our cups. Here’s to a faboo 2014!
“Come in the evening, come in the morning,
Come when expected, come without warning;
Thousands of welcomes you’ll find here before you,
And the oftener you come, the more we’ll adore you.” (Irish Rhyme)
Copyright © 2014 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.