Friday, August 29, 2014

Tea Luncheon by Linda

Awhile before my mom became ill, my friend, Linda, who I met through the world of tea, had scheduled a tea luncheon at her home for Barb Gulley [Detroit Tea Examiner columnist and fellow tea blogger] and myself.  It so happened the date fell in between my mom's passing and her viewing, so I opted not to cancel knowing it would be a welcomed emotional oasis.

Upon arrival Linda served refreshing glasses of sparkling white grape juice using her Victorian silver sippers.

Then we went to her cheerful sun porch for delicious appetizers.


Linda is a foodie, and fabulous cook.  She served luscious strawberries with cruets of Chocolate Balsamic Vinaigrette and Blueberry Balsamic Glaze [from Fustinis in Ann Arbor]. Both were delicious!  There was also a plate of assorted crackers to accompany a fabulous Salmon Mousse.   We could have gone home very fulfilled after pleasant conversation and delicious food around this table, but there was lots more to come.

From the sun porch we went into the dining room for the main course.  Linda is a tablescape artist as you can see in the photo below.  Both a crisp white vintage linen napkin, and a blue silk-like lapkin were layered together in napkin rings at each place setting.  

We began with a refreshing salad of mixed greens, blueberries, raspberries, chocolate chips and a succulent wedge of watermelon topped with a dollop of goat cheese.  We dressed our individual salads with the gourmet balsamic vinaigrettes served on the sun porch.  

The tea served throughout the meal was a delicious English Breakfast tea from An Afternoon to Remember Fine Tea and Gifts.  Typically an English Breakfast tea is a robust, full-bodied, tea, but this one wasn't overly strong, and needed no milk or sweeteners.  It was the perfect accompaniment to our meal.

The coconut, white chocolate scone was served with a pina colada spread, pineapple rings sauteed in butter and brown sugar, and a Pirouette French rolled wafer.  Heavenly!

The main course was Chicken Wellington, with a delicious pasta salad, and baked spears of breaded squash.  I would have been hard pressed to pick a favorite.

The grand finale - dessert - was a scoop of butter pecan ice cream on top of a bed of coarsely chopped Pecan Sandie cookies, topped with caramel sauce and candied pecans. We ate this using Linda's beautiful Victorian ice cream forks.  The tea served with this course was a flavored black dessert tea, Butterscotch Caramel Toffee.

Needless to say, Linda had to provide take home containers for some of our food.  We whiled away five and a half hours, and it was just what I needed to fortify my spirit.

Mother Nature even added her touch by providing rain drops tapping on the metal roof of the sun porch.  

Thanks Linda, for providing such a wonderful, leisure afternoon of delicious food and fellowship.  Barb and I will be reflecting on it for many days to come!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Hawaiian Tea and New Beginnings

It's good to be back on my blog again after a lengthy hiatus.  My mother's Memorial Service was yesterday, and I finally completed the task of emptying out her apartment and turning in the key earlier this week, so now I'm entering a phase of life referred to as "the new normal."

And what better way to begin that than with a cup of tea.  A lot has transpired since I've been away, so I'll try to bring you up-to-date on some happy events that have taken place.

My son, Steve, and his family left for a family vacation to Kauai, Hawaii on August 12th.  [He was there when my mom passed away so we waited for his return to have the Memorial Service since he was her Pastor.]

He said Hawaii was paradise on earth, and by far the best vacation he and his family ever experienced.  I've borrowed some of his photos to share with you today.  Below is a photo of the island from the airplane window as they were preparing to land.

They stayed on Kauai for their entire vacation.  Kauai is the 4th largest island known as the "Garden Isle" for its undeveloped land and forests.  It is less commercialized than the main island.

[L-R:  Brianna, Sharon, Brooke and Steve]

~ Steve and Sharon ~

They brought me back two boxes of tea from the Hanalei Tea Company.   Kauai is the home island of the company.  I'm drinking their tropical Mango Sunrise this morning.

While tea is grown in Hawaii, Hanalei Tea Company uses Ceylon black tea to add their tropical fruit flavors to.

When Steve and his family's return flight landed in Chicago, they drove directly to Nashville, Tennessee where my granddaughter, Brianna, began her freshman year of college a couple of days ago at Trevecca Nazarene University.  I'm still trying to figure out how the years have passed so swiftly!  

My hubby loaded his Chevy Traverse SUV with Brianna's belongings, and met them in Nashville.  Below is Brianna's half of the dorm room.  She's rooming with another "PK" [preacher's kid] from Georgia.  

I'm anxious to make the trip down to visit her after she gets settled in, and, of course, I'll be checking out the tea rooms in the Nashville area!  

Bri's "selfie" on her first day of college [Aug. 26th].  Sending big hugs to you across the miles, Bri!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Mom's Viewing and Interment

Today was my mom's private viewing and interment at Great Lakes National Cemetery.  It still doesn't seem quite real that she's gone.

As I was sorting through her things I found a bundle of letters my dad had written to her when he was stationed overseas during World War II.  I invaded their privacy and read one letter [well...actually two!].  He told her how he couldn't wait for the war to end so he could hold her in his arms again...that he knew how difficult it was for her being alone with two small children...and that he was going to make it up to her when he got back home by getting them a new little house [which he did!].  

She saved the letters for 69 years, so it just seemed fitting that she should be buried with them, still bound with the blue satin, time-stained ribbon.

Her interment is in the same grave as my dad's. [He's on the bottom since he passed first, and she'll be on top.]

Later in the afternoon when I returned home, a beautiful teacup floral arrangement was delivered from my girlfriend and her family.  Thanks, Sandy!  My mother's middle name was Rose, so the arrangement of roses was very appropriate.

Some family members are out-of-town until next week, so a Memorial Service will be held for my mom on August 27th.  Below is a photo of three of my grandchildren who were present at today's viewing.  Their great-nana would have been so pleased they were there.

[L-R:  Brandon, Tiffany, and Marissa - my daughter's children]

Monday, August 18, 2014

In the Presence of Jesus

My mom went to be with Jesus last night at 11:50.

Alice Rose Sullivan Bowman
October 11, 1921 - August 17, 2014

"While I draw this fleeting breath,
When mine eyes shall close in death,
When I rise to worlds unknown,
See Thee on Thy judgement throne,
Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee."

Rest in peace, Mom!

Friday, August 15, 2014

A Compassionate Granddaughter

I borrowed a photo my granddaughter, Tiffany, posted on her Facebook page yesterday when she completed her last day of clinicals, and finished another semester of nursing. I'm very proud of her.  Like her mother [my daughter, who also works in  health care], she has a very compassionate heart, and will make a wonderful nurse.  Tiff's been so sweet to her "Great Nana," especially during these last days of her life, and she's written a beautiful poem about my mother's hands to read at the memorial service when the time comes.  

As an update on my mom, the hospice nurse said she will likely make it through today, but there are signs she could go to be with Jesus tomorrow.

[Tiffany is the first one on the left.]

Below is a photo of Tiffany and my mom taken at the December 2013 Christmas tea at my church.  It's Tiffany's current Facebook profile picture.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Sunflowers and Tea

I love sunflowers!  They're my favorite flower because of their cheerfulness.   Yesterday the florist delivered a beautiful bouquet containing six of them to brighten my day.   Thank you for your thoughtfulness Paul, Ruth and girls! 

About the only thing that could make sunflowers better, is a cup of soothing tea to accompany them.  Now I'm ready to face another day as the unknown begins to unfold.  My mother continues to cling to life.  It's a week today since she went into Hospice care.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Tea Cards and an Update

A tea-themed card is always uplifting, and I've received two recently that I'm sharing while giving an update on my mother. 

The Hospice nurse said yesterday that she will be going to her eternal home very soon - maybe even today.  To those of you who have sent messages of comfort and concern, they have been greatly appreciated.  

When life returns to normal I will resume blogging on a regular basis, but until then I know you understand.