Friday, December 7, 2012

Christmas tea!

I love tea!

The first time I went to an actual Afternoon Tea type of restaurant, I was really young.
I don't remember how old, but it was a small tea shop in Show Low. It has since closed down, and my friend Amber and I only got to go once.
It's one of those perfect memories. Her mom Martha took us, and even tough it was expensive, she bought us each our own full tea course. Scones, cream, sandwiches, desserts, and our own pot of was magical! I remember feeling so grown up. I had a pot of Jasmine Green Tea, and to this day, it's my favorite tea flavor.
The pretty windows looked out into the green trees, and everything looked and smelled amazing, dotted with lace doilies and flowers.
Martha has always loved to spoil us with treats and grown-up adventures.

Coming back to present time, the law wives have an annual event called the Christmas Tea! It quickly became my favorite event of the year.
I got to be much more involved this year, which was really fun! I love the law wives so much, and have made so many dear friends.

For the tea, we all get really dressed up and go to a fancy place on campus where we're served afternoon tea.
We also usually have a speaker who explains the history of tea, and another speaker who talks about an on-campus ministry called the Godparent Home.
The Godparent Home is a residence that provides housing, education and counseling for single, pregnant young women from around the world.
We each bring a collection of spa-type goodies to fill up stockings for the girls at the home, and then about a week later there's a "Spa Night" where a group of us law wives go and give them pedicures, and spend a few hours visiting and pampering them.

This is a few of us at the tea last year:

This year we had the tea in the new Visitor's Center, which is absolutely gorgeous, on December 1st
It was really exciting to be in a new place! It was the perfect atmosphere.

There was a gargantuan tree in the main foyer, too!

I confess, I walked around all the tables and picked my own place setting.
I wanted a beautiful, unique teacup, and a sweet Christmas-y plate.
I think I found both!

The centerpieces were fresh flower-filled teapots!

This was our spa table - everyone brought in their items for us to fill the stockings with!

I bought the prizes for the games and raffle this year, and if you know me, I take gifts pretty seriously.
I loved going out and putting them together!

One of my favorite parts about the new location was the amazing view. There was a giant window that looked out over Lynchburg.
The Visitor's Center kind of sits on a hill on campus, so it's a really great landscape view!
It just made the whole room feel really serene.

 Before long, the other wives started to arrive, looking fancy!

I'm definitely going to try and institute a "Best Dressed" prize for next year -
Rachel went all out in vintage attire and looked amazing.

To start off the event, we had a Holiday Bingo game for everyone to play.

And Rachel won!

This prize was "Paris" inspired - a sweet Parisian cafe journal, with a little porcelain purse dish, and Ghirardelli peppermint bark chocolates.

After the game, we settled in for our tea lesson.
We had our local "Tea Lady" come by and show us how it's done! She explained how a proper tea is done, and even gave us a little tea quiz to fill out.
She asked things like, "What is a tea brick and what was it for" and "is it appropriate to squeeze lemon into your tea?" and "when are the proper times for afternoon and high tea?"
It was extremely educational. The person who got the most right won a prize, and so did the person who got the most wrong! (She said because they're the ones that learn the most!)
Allison was our lucky learner :)

While she spoke, we enjoyed our tea courses.

The tea spoons. Why is everything so much cuter when it's tiny?

The key to tea sandwiches is butter...butter, butter, butter.

I learned so much about a tea and its lemon.
You serve lemons in slices like this, so that people don't squeeze them, because that's improper.
Also, you don't actually want the lemon juice in your tea -- what you want is to let the lemon rind and flavor slowly seep into the heart of the tea, which gives an entirely different taste.

 I think Stephanie (on the left) and I had about 19 cups each. We were pretty shaky.

My mom had just given me this ring which was totally perfect for this moment.
Thanks mom! Whadya think?

After the tea, we had a woman from the Godparent Home speak to us about the ministry.
It was one of the most moving testimonies!
She spoke about how she and her husband were active in the church, and were shocked by the news that their own daughter was pregnant.
Her daughter had made up her mind to go the Godparent Home at Liberty, and they were touched, blessed and ministered to by that experience.
One of the things the Godparent Home does is to really help the single women make an educated decision about whether to raise their child, or put it up for adoption.
By the end of the story, it was revealed that this woman's daughter is now the head of the Godparent Home!
What a wonderful story of full-circle redemption.

Afterwards we decided to do the raffle, and play our last game.
For the raffle I made a special tea-inspired Posies by Cait headband and brooch.
Victoria won!

So cute!

The last game we played was a word game, where we had a phrase at the top of the page,
"Devonshire Cream and Scones".
We all had 3 minutes to write down as many words as we possibly could, using only those letters!

It was a feverish few minutes, to be sure. Everyone was scribbling down as fast as they could.
When the 3 minutes was up, Ginny was chosen as the winner!
(First place was actually Rachel, who had already won Bingo, and second place was Victoria, who had already won the raffle!)
This was my favorite prize. Very appropriate! Her very own teapot.

Such a fun day!
I was sad as soon as it was over.
Especially since I knew I probably would be up for 3 days straight, with all the tea I'd consumed.
But that didn't stop me wishing I had more.

In love,


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