To anyone who has lost someone to Covid-19 this year, we wish for you to know the peace of a healing heart. Today’s post is written in memory of Ed Bissen, our close family friend, whose straight-shooting, loving presence had the power to steady and cheer you.
Giving Thanks in All Things
I get how you might be wondering if this headline is sarcastic or a joke. 2020 has got to be going down in the history books as one of the worst years of all time.
Actually, this blog post is an important exercise for me. My book club is reading The Road Back to You, “An Enneagram Journey to Self Discovery.” Testing as a number One (“The Perfectionist”), I can tell you, we Ones can fall into the bad habit of looking on the negative, because we are always seeking ways to make things better. Good intent, poor outcome. For us, a gratitude practice is a very needed thing; it helps restore our goodwill towards the world (and gives our families a break from our critical eye). So today, as the Christmas season begins, I’d like to reflect on the good that has shone through the suffering during this difficult year.
Thankful for…The Body’s Power to Heal
Especially at the start of the pandemic, when medical professionals were learning which therapeutics worked best for coronavirus, the body’s ability to defend itself was a person’s best chance at survival. Those of us who prayed for a sick loved one know the joy their recovery brought. Under this category, I also give thanks for the heart’s power to heal. For those who had to say goodbye over the phone, the heart’s resilience gave the strength to deal with sudden grief.
This virus has reminded us not to take anyone we love for granted. That I can still pick up the phone and hear my Aunt Mary’s “hello” is a gift to me. That she can read this message today is a joy: Aunt Mary, I love you and I am so thankful you are in my life!
Thankful for…Brainiacs and The Digital Age
Okay, I know how this will sound to anyone who knows me well. I admit, there is a bit of a contradiction in how I view technology. Though I run this website, I freely bemoan the ubiquitous presence of screens in today’s society. I do constantly ask my family to put their phones away. Nevertheless, I have to acknowledge how fortunate we were that Internet infrastructure and online platforms were what they were when the pandemic hit.
My four children are virtual schooling, many people shifted to work from home, streaming services gave us a break from reality, and Zoom became our mental sanity lifeline. Using Marco Polo, I’ve even deepened my bonds and reconnected with college friends and close friends who’ve moved away. So cheers to all the brainiacs who invented, perfected and installed the technology that makes all of this remote connectivity possible, and special thanks to them for having it all teed up in time to help us through this crisis.
Thankful for…Essential Workers
During the spring lockdown in Georgia, while I was thinking about how to take care of my family, my friend Maya was doing that too, plus going to work as usual, as a nurse in an Atlanta hospital. We are indebted to the courageous folks that put themselves at risk in order to keep growing our food, running our grocery stores and restaurants, delivering our packages, fixing our cars, and protecting and saving our lives, so that others could stay safe at home.
Thankful for…A Worldwide Outcry for Racial Justice
It’s been acknowledged that the altered reality of quarantine life — the isolation, anxiety, slowed pace and increased reliance on social media for interaction — kindled a powerful, global reaction to the killings of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery, among other wrongful deaths of Black Americans. I am grateful that the call for racial equity has again risen to the national stage. We have work to do in this country, and the first step in creating change is acknowledging that change needs to happen. If you’d like to learn along with me, please check out the weekly topics in my local antiracism group’s newsletters.
Thankful for…Nature Doing Its Thing
In March, when our schools first closed, for two weeks (ha), and the stores sold out of toilet paper (why?), it began to sink in: we were in for a major adjustment.
As humans canceled plans and began adapting to lockdown life, the natural world went about its usual business, which was a notable and comforting source of normalcy in an upended world.
Sitting quietly in my garden surrounded by the busy sounds of spring’s arrival felt like a kind of reassurance. The world keeps turning; this too shall pass.
Thankful for…The Joys of Tea
We tea lovers, as always, find solace in the magical, restorative powers of a cup of tea. As shutdowns spread across the country, we turned to our tea rituals to cheer us and connect us.
The Cream Tea Comeback
In the early months of the pandemic, it was as if a call went out across the land: “Let the baking begin!” Flour sold out as tea lovers everywhere began testing scone and dessert recipes, for at-home teatimes. Our social media was flooded with tantalizing cream tea pictures and shared recipes.
New Destination Tea Content for Hosting Tea at Home
At Destination Tea, this trend inspired us to get cracking on one of our original goals. Temporary tearoom closures meant we had some downtime, and could focus on adding new content for hosting tea at home: Tea Party Planner Template, Themed Tea Party Guides, Recipe Indexes, Online Tea Shops, Vintage Teacup Shop and Tea Party Caterer Listings and 10 Amusements for Tea Lovers at Home.
The Virtual Tea Party Is Born
Okay, this is just fabulous. Over Zoom, tea friends began gathering to take tea together. Many times this was a casual affair, but some folks went all out (which we love). First, each household would receive a tea party package with all the trimmings (scone mix and spreads, recipes to prepare in advance, teacups, tea with brewing instructions, party favors, etc), then everyone would set a beautiful tea table in front of their cameras, and join the call dressed in their tea finery. Another popular idea was to have your virtual tea party menu catered…
Afternoon Tea Boxes
Rooting mightily for tearoom owners to survive the forced restaurant closures and reduced dine-in capacity of 2020, we cheered their ingenuity when they introduced a new product: the to-go afternoon tea. One Pennsylvania tearoom owner told us she actually did more business this Mother’s Day than ever before, by offering a takeout Mother’s Day afternoon tea. More and more tearooms have begun to creatively package their afternoon tea menus (tea, sandwiches, scones, spreads and desserts), for delivery or curbside pick-up. Some even ship them nationwide!
Check out your local tearooms to see if they offer afternoon tea to-go. We notice many offering seasonally scrumptious menus for holiday teas — the perfect gift for your tea friends — which when combined with the virtual tea party, can bring holiday joy to loved ones who are isolated in quarantine.
Tell us, what good rose to your attention in 2020?