Book Review-The Way of Tea and Justice


The Way of Tea and Justice: Rescuing the World’s Favorite Beverage from Its Violent History Becca Stevens

Emotional Response-5

Scholarly Response-5

You know how easy it is to ignore problems other people have? It is easy until you stop seeing the people as other. Until your eyes are opened to the truth. Thoughts like this were why I didn’t want to start reading this book about tea and justice. I love tea. And when my eyes are really opened to the problems that still plague the tea industry, I may have to stop drinking one of my favorites. This makes me sad, and yet I believe I was created to live in relationship with creation and with all those God created. I need to be informed. I need to let my eyes be opened. And so I began to read…

In these pages the author weaves together many stories, and it works. While tracing the history of tea, we journey with the women of Thistle Farms and Magdalene as the idea of a teahouse called The Thistle Stop Cafe is birthed into being. In these stories my eyes were opened to stories different than my own. And yet in the differences, I also found similarities. In these pages you’ll meet women who are seeking to be all God has created them to be. You’ll read about the struggle to create a tea shop where stories and justice are served in each cup. You’ll see faith and the stories of the Bible interpreted through the eyes of one who is called by God to love others, seek justice, and walk humbly with God. And if you are anything like me, you’ll find yourself laughing, smiling, crying, and cheering for the success of this little cafe and all the amazing women. You’ll make yourself another cup of tea and keep reading.

[Read more…]

Worship Words-A Reading of 1 Corinthians 13: 1-13

When we hear a familiar text being read in worship, we may recite it along with the reader or we may tune out because we’ve heard it so many times. By utilizing two readers for this most familiar passage and adding reflections by the second reader, you’ll catch the attention of the congregation and help everyone listen with new ears.

I’d suggest having only one person stand up to read the Scripture. The second reader should have access to a microphone and be out of sight. He or she may even move around during the reading and say the last line while standing by reader one.

The words of Scripture are said by reader one and are in italics.


A Litany expanding on 1 Corinthians 13: 1-13


One-If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.

Two-There are days when i am so busy with all that must be done that I spend too much time making noise and not enough time loving others.

One-And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.

Two-There are days when I know all the answers and am too busy knowing everything to love anyone.

One-If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Two-There are days when I share from what I have with others only to get rid of my abundance and not because I love anyone.

One-Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Two-And then there are days like today where I hear these words and I remember.

One-Love never ends.

Two-Love never ends.

One-But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end. For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known.

Two-Love never ends.

One-And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.

Two-Love never ends.

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The pictures are the hard work of the youth and the adults who love them of St. Giles Presbyterian Church at their Spring Beach Retreat from May 2014. Although their sand art was soon erased by the waves, always remember that you are loved.

Worship Words-Puzzles with Children

I am scheduled to preach on Sunday. My plan was to weave together stories of past mission trips and the importance of youth ministry with 1 Corinthians 12: 12-31 and Luke 4: 14-21. I say my plan because there is a huge blizzard heading for us this weekend. And I might have spent too much time watching the weather forecast and planning for when we’ll reschedule the weekend plans, and not enough time finishing my sermon. While my sermon may not be complete, I do have a plan for talking with the children on Sunday (or whenever this actually happens).

To help the children understand that we are all necessary parts of the body of Christ, I purchased some blank puzzles and will bring some of my favorite markers so they can sign or draw on the puzzle. We’ll take the puzzle apart and then put it back together to show how we come together as individuals to create the body of Christ together.

Here’s how it might work out-

Welcome. Today, I’m going to ask each of you to take a marker and sign your name or draw a small picture on this puzzle. And now that everyone has done that, I’m going to take our puzzle apart and together we’ll put it back together.

What would happen if one of the pieces decided it didn’t want to be in the puzzle? The puzzle would have an empty space and wouldn’t be complete.

Our first Scripture for this morning talked about how we need all our different body parts and we might think that some are more important than others and yet we need them all. The writer of Corinthians said we are the body of Christ and we all need to bring our gifts and work together to do the work God calls us to do in the world.

So all the puzzle pieces are important and all of you are important as we live as Christ’s disciples sharing his love with everyone in the world.

Let’s pray together. Repeat after me-

God, We thank you for each one of us and the gifts you gave us. Help us to love ourselves, each other, and all your children. Amen.


Worship Words-Birthdays


I love celebrating birthdays. Each of us needs a reminder that we are special and a beloved child of God. Birthdays are a time to give thanks for everyone who has supported us on our journeys and look with hope to what can happen in the next year.

A Birthday Prayer

Faithful God,

Thank you for surrounding me with people who love me and walk with me on this journey.

Thank you for the opportunities you give me to share my gifts and love with others.

Thank you for another year of life. in the midst of my joy, I pause to remember all those who are no longer with us. As I celebrate this year, I remember and give thanks for my family and friends who have died and now live with you.

Thank you for another trip around the sun. Thank you for the gift of another 525,600 minutes.

As I blow out my candles, I say thank you God for the gift of life. Amen.

Orchid Vanilla Black Tea


This tea is another party favor I received from the party I attended last fall. I love black teas and vanilla, so I was excited to try this tea. I was concerned about how much coconut flavor would be in the tea since coconut is not one of my favorite flavors. I really enjoyed this tea. It tasted smooth with a smell of coconut and very little taste of coconut. The vanilla was nicely balanced. This was a great cup of tea!



Worship Words-Engaging Scripture with Sharpies


I am always looking for new ways for my youth to engage their faith. My favorite ideas don’t require many supplies or much preparation and can be adapted for any age. And, I recently found a way to engage Scripture that uses Sharpies. What’s not to love?


This idea is not my own. Credit for this idea is given to Adam at I was so inspired by this idea that I needed to share it because you’ll want to add it to your worship life too. It could work well for individual meditation, with a small group, or even in worship on a Sunday morning.


Supplies Needed-

Black Sharpies for everyone. Ideally one fine point and one broad point.

Newspaper to put under your work to keep everything clean.

Prints out of the Scripture.


Depending on the space you are using, you might line the tables with newspaper or hand each person a piece of newspaper. The newspaper is only there to keep the Sharpie from transfering onto something you don’t want it on.


When everyone has a handout of the Scripture, shapies, and newspaper under their work, begin with an explanation like this-

We are going to be exploring a piece of Scripture today. We’ll read the passage together aloud (or you can ask for volunteers to read it verse by verse). And then we’ll read it silently to ourselves. What words or phrases jump out at you? Circle them or draw a box around them. Read it again to yourself. Do more words or phrases speak to you? If so, circle or draw a box around them. After you’ve found the words that have caught your attention, take the thick Sharpie and black out the remaining words. Read the words that are remaining. Offer them as a silent prayer. When others have finished, ask for volunteers to read their words out loud.

It has been suggested that this method of engaging Scripture is much like lectio divina with paper and markers. I used this way of praying and diving into Scripture as a devotion to start a meeting recently. Everyone participated and expressed their surprise at how it opened their eyes to what God might be saying to each one of them. So, why not give this a try? If you want, you can share what Scripture you used and what God was saying to you. 

Book Review-Steeped: Recipes Infused with Tea


Steeped: Recipes Infused with Tea

Annelies Zijderveld


Those of you who know me well will chuckle at the idea of me reviewing a book filled with recipes also known as a cookbook. Despite my lack of any desire to cook anything, I could not resist the opportunity to immerse myself in a book that featured food and tea. So, I made myself a cup of Winter Spice and sat down to enjoy this book.

The author begins with a wonderful introduction to tea including educating the reader about the different types of tea. She tells you how long and at what temperature each tea should be brewed. The first fifteen pages are a primer in all things tea. Just this information makes the book worthwhile.

And if the tea information isn’t enough for you, the pictures are amazing. You’ll enjoy pictures of tea cups and tea pots, foods you’ll want to create, and tea waiting to add flavor to foods. Since this is a cookbook, I should like you know the recipes sound so delicious (each one includes tea in some form) that I might consider cooking one of them up. To show that tea works at any time of day, the recipes are divided into morning tea (breakfast), midday tea (lunch), afternoon tea (snacks), high tea (dinner/supper), and sweet tea (desserts).

Here are the recipes I’m most interested in creating-

Arnold Palmer’s Poppy Seed Muffins pg. 6. This recipe calls for Arnold Palmer Powder which uses English breakfast tea, lemon zest, and sugar in a jar that you seal and shake.  This powder is used to create a lemon poppy seed muffin. 

Green Tea Guacamole with Grapefruit Tea Toast pg. 48. A unique spin on guacamole with balsamic vinegar, kumquats, matcha green tea powder, Sriracha, and the regular guacamole ingredients you’d expect. She recommends putting your guacamole on top of a slice of toasted sourdough bread and topping that with a piece of grapefruit and a thin slice of radish.

Mini Cherry Chai Cream Pies with Sweet Tea Glaze pg. 92. Masala chai sugar is added to the pastry cream and English breakfast sugar is added to the pie crusts.
I’d recommend this book for the tea lover in your life whose tea cabinet is so full she can’t possibly receive one more bag or box of tea. I’d recommend this book for anyone you know who loves to cook with different ingredients. I’d recommend this book as a fun gift to yourself. I’d be glad to lend this book to anyone who wants to try out the recipes and let me taste test!


I received this book free from the author and/or publisher through the Speakeasy blogging book review network. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR,Part 255.


Worship Words-Beloved

You will need seven people who will hold up the seven letters of beloved and read their line. For ease, I would have their line printed on the back of their letter. As each person is sharing what their letter stands for, they hold up the letter. At the end, all letters are held up again as everyone says beloved together.


B-Believe you are loved

E-Everyday and always

L-Love others as you love yourself

O-Oh, child of mine, remember how

V-Very much I love you

E-Everyday and always

D-Don’t worry. Nothing! Nothing, at all will change the fact that you are my