@Tempests in Teacups

Not that tea groupies like Virginia need an excuse to consume more favorite teas (and try new ones) but January is National Hot Tea month. As such, today Virginia is sharing a favorite past blog post about teabags, teacups and all kinds of women.

“A woman is like a tea bag. You never know how strong she is until she gets into hot water.”  Eleanor Roosevelt

My sister sent a special card with this quote on it. As an avid tea drinker, I brew pots and cups of tea all day long: green teas, black teas, rooibos and herbal teas.  My stash of over 60+ teas fills an entire cabinet. Even though I try to use them up, there are always so many interesting teas to try whilst gadding about (and we must keep tea businesses thriving.)

Some tea snobs only drink loose leaf tea, but I’m an equal opportunity tea drinker utilizing loose leaf AND tea bags depending on the time of day, mood or whatever.  So, this quote got me thinking about women, teabags, and teacups.

There are many different kinds of teacups, just like there are many different kinds of women: shy, authoritative, introverts, extroverts, reticent, magnanimous, leaders, servers, thinkers, doers, tall, short, thin, traditionally-built, well-rounded, well-grounded, flighty…

Some of us are fragile, like this china tea cup. (Note the rose!)

Yet, when boiling water pours into the fragile cups of our lives, we make strong tea.

Like my Mama – so fragile, yet she demonstrated incredible determination and strength as she took care of our bedfast quadriplegic Papa for so many years.

This is one of Mama’s porcelain cups, a treasured memory of countless shared teatimes. Like her, it’s so very beautiful. It’s also a reminder of how she loved blue birds and appreciated the beauty of creation: a conscious choice that can elevate our minds and spirits, especially when times are tough.

Some of us are like this sturdy, favorite hand-pottered mug. Unique. Like turtles on a fence post we may be placed somewhere not of optimal choosing, but the teabags of our lives give strength to others when tempests arise.

We women are a diverse bunch, like this Kenyan cup and saucer from a tea set made by women in Nairobi. When the disparate parts of our lives tear us apart, we can drown in our sorrows, or swirl them together into something beautiful for God and for others.  We can choose joy, even when suffering limits the strength of our teabags.

And some of us are just ordinary, like this Spode tea cup I use every morning. It’s a little cracked around the edges and well worn over many years, yet it’s still a beautiful cup. That’s the thing – we women come in all shapes, sizes and hues, yet most of us lead ordinary lives. As the hot water of life’s challenges steep us, we may get a little cracked around the edges, but in time we can find we are stronger because of what we have endured.

We may be ordinary, yet extraordinary, because …we are WOMEN!

grace, peace & teacup tempests

Virginia : )

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Garden of Lights (Take 2!)

As shared here a few weeks ago (in this Garden of Lights post) my brother and I enjoyed a lovely outing to Lewis Ginter’s Gardenfest celebration in Richmond, Virginia. Just before the New Year, Virginia (the person) enjoyed another trek up to the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden with her sister, niece and energizer uncle.

This time it wasn’t quite so crowded (or cold) so we thoroughly enjoyed taking our time traipsing around the gorgeous lights and sights.

Today (to brighten up this second week of the new year) here are a few highlights from Virginia’s second visit to Gardenfest.

sunset reflected in the lake (a peacock in attendance)

Once again the luminescence of Gardenfest’s ‘bringing art to light’ wowed.

luminescent peacock @ night

There were ‘enlightened’ flowers everywhere (not in bloom, but in Light!)

Like these in honor of Vincent Van Gogh

I take that back, actually there were a few blooming flowers…

like these orchids in the  conservatory.

Once again, the children’s garden was packed with families enjoying the sights.

Miss Pink Piggy (a hit with big kids like us, too!)

We managed to see the trains this time (last time the line was way too long)

Trains, trains, trains – more fun for Big Kids!

(note: all the amusement park peripherals moved, too.)

Magnificent trees and scenes of joyous light wowed my uncle, sis and niece (& me!)

Tree of light (& delight!)

Once again, though, methinks our collective favorite was the tribute to Monet’s bridge (given how much time we spent there.)

Impressionistic bridge of Light…

What a wonderful wandering walking in Lewis Ginter’s Gardenfest’s wonderland of Art & Light. Hope you enjoyed this second visit as much as I enjoyed mine.

grace, peace & inspiring Light(s)

Virginia : )

“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.” Thomas Merton

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Epiphanies of Giving (& LOVE!)

“And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto Him gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.”  (Matthew 2:11)

On Epiphany we celebrate the faith of the Three Kings who traveled from the East (a long journey) to worship Jesus, the Prince of Peace. To lay before the child Jesus, they brought high value gifts: gold, frankincense and myrrh.

(These gifts most likely funded Joseph and Mary’s flight from Herod to Egypt and helped them set up a carpentry shop and get by there for a few years.)

This Feast of Epiphany proffers the question: what gifts can we bring to lay before Jesus?

Our time, talents, hearts, minds, lives, our obedience (always a tough one), our hopes and dreams… ourselves.

At the beginning of this New Year, it’s something to contemplate.

Can we give Jesus our best gifts (the best bits of us) at the start of each day, not what’s leftover when the day is done?

Everything – work, play, gifts and talents inclusive – can be as a gift if done for Him.

The most precious gift, however, we can give Jesus is Love. Which gets kind of confusing since His presence in us is all about His love in us, but maybe the way we give Him love is the way we share His love with others?

The way we are His love in this whacked out world?

Love emboldened with the gold of compassion, frankincense of joy, and myrrh of healing perseverance.

grace, peace & precious gifts

Virginia : )

“God wants us to see the Epiphanies of God and in time, become Epiphanies ourselves.” Larry Gillick, S.J.

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Three Wise Women(!!!)

Hope everyone is having a grand start to 2019. Preparing to celebrate Epiphany on Sunday (commemorating when The Three Wise Men journeyed from afar to bring gifts to Jesus in Bethlehem) I thought these words from a plaque on my wall (won at a Christmas gift swap years ago) might bring a chuckle (or two) today.











grace, peace & wise women (!!!)

Virginia : )

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being our way into the new year

Virginia has been traipsing out and about (trying to keep up) with her energizer uncle who is visiting this week. (He turns 80 this year and is still a fulltime professor in Iowa.)

Art & Chaos Exhibit @ Chrysler Museum (Norfolk, VA)

We’re having a grand time, but taking a sec today to thank everyone for the encouragement (comments, likes, emails, prayers) during Virginia’s recent post-a-day Advent gig. Made it (barely) to Christmas and hope everyone is having a blessed Christmastide (that lasts awhile, if you Google it.)

As the New Year approaches, here’s something written awhile ago when Virginia was ‘is-ing’ it in a contemplative mood.


What was may never be, again.

What is – a fleeting moment sequestered for a posterity that doesn’t look back.

‘What will be, will be…’ so it has been said.

But what is in the ‘is’ of now determines what will be.

What are you and I putting into the ‘is’ of now?

To shape, impact, direct, influence the hope of what will be?

What are we being? How are we being?

When will our aspired ‘is’ yield nows of hope and love?

When what is overflows from the love we put into the ‘is’ of now.

Wishing everyone a blessed New Year with lots of love overflowing the ‘is’ of your now.

grace, peace & love-filled now(s)

Virginia : )

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“Arise, shine, for the Light of the world is come…”  (Isaiah 60:1)




Christmas prayer: Prepare a way for the Hope of Life

“Hope is the wedding of two freedoms, human and divine, in the acceptance of Love that is at once a promise and the beginning of fulfillment.”  Thomas Merton

grace, peace & Christmas Hope

Virginia : )



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It’s Christmas Eve(!) Here at the end of our Advent journey we await the dawn of Christmas Light to shine brightly upon us (and within us.)

Sunrise @ the Grand Canyon

“In the tender compassion of our God the Dawn from on high shall break upon us, to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death, and to guide our feet into the way of peace.”  (Luke 1:78-79)

“O Radiant Dawn, splendor of eternal light, sun of justice: come and shine on those who dwell in darkness and in the shadow of death.”

After night comes day.

As Christmas comes anew in our lives, may the light of Christ lift the darkness of despair and desolation in our hearts.

Let’s not keep swallowing what tastes bad, or has gone wrong this past year – let’s spit it out!  May Jesus fill our minds, hearts and spirits with the sweetness of His mercy, grace, love, peace and joy.

Remember, after the darkness of night comes the Dawn…

Just after sunrise, Grand Canyon (AZ)

…shining with Light that makes the unknown of the darkness clear and bright.

grace, peace & Light dawning(s)


“Darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines, it will shine out the clearer.” J.R.R. Tolkien (LOTR)

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