It has been a while since my last newsletter and I have missed you all. I appreciated the email responses reporting how you were faring with the (then) newly imposed quarantine. You shared positivity despite layoffs, trip cancelations and other inconveniences. Thank you for taking time to share what is going on in your world. I am wondering how you are now. My kids and I pray daily, especially for you that are hardest hit with the fallout of this pandemic.
When it first began, I had hopes that the cool weather and late-blooming tulips meant that we would be able to enjoy Tea and Tulips, if only for the last week in April. That was not to be. But I am including pictures of the tulips at the end of this newsletter for you to enjoy.
I harvested tulip petals and pressed them in hopes to make artisan paper as a memorial of the 2020 Tea and Tulips season. I will let you know how that goes.
I did make it out to the tulip garden with my tulip tea cup to enjoy a quiet cup of tea. I thought of all of you who were supposed to come to visit. I missed you.
Yesterday I refunded all reservations for Mothers Tea, since our 'stay at home' mandate has been extended. I held out hope that things would change and we could celebrate with our mothers. My guest book is full of pictures and signatures of mothers and daughters and grandmothers and granddaughters, aunts and dear friends who celebrated Mothers Day here at Willowbrook. I can't think of a better way to honor motherhood than with the gentle tradition of tea!
But this year is different.
And I have to grin at my invitation for you to do something unique with your mom this Mothers Day season. It involves social distancing, and fresh air, and connecting with chamomile!
Thompson's greenhouse just informed me that my chamomile starts are ready! So I am inviting anyone who needs to get out of the house to bring their mom, or daughter, or grandma, or aunt or best friend and spend some time planting chamomile!
The invitation is for you to come to Willowbrook and spend time outside planting chamomile starts through the weed barrier. I will mark the section you plant with a little flag, so when you return, you can find the chamomile that you planted. You will be part of Willowbrook's chamomile field!
After planting, you can take a box of warm scones and wander the grounds to find an outdoor table to sit and sip tea and indulge in sweet cream scones and lemon curd. There is no charge. The tea and scones are a thank you for helping me plant the chamomile.
Garden carts and gloves are provided for comfort.
There will be hand washing stations and, as always, proper sanitizing practices in place.
If you would like to schedule a 'Chamomile Date' CLICK HERE to send an email request. Include the date and time you would like to come beginning May 11th. We will plant chamomile Monday through Saturday. I will schedule only one party in the field at a time and will email you a confirmation with a 'Chamomile Date at Willowbrook' gift certificate that you can print and give on Mothers Day if you wish.
In light of the difficulties I know many of you are facing, and with Mother's day coming this weekend, I wanted to share a story from my own mother. I appreciate how she taught me to have faith in the face of adversity and how to have hope even when the challenges seemed overwhelming. I have leaned on those principles throughout my life. The family picture above was taken about the time of the '80s recession. My father worked in commercial construction and there were no projects and no jobs, so Dad worked odd jobs as a heavy equipment operator. We lived on a farm and produced much of our own food, but the day came when there was no money and only enough flour for Mom to make that day's bread. My mom said she had a heart to heart with God, explaining that she was doing her part in caring for her family, and needed a miracle. Then she set to baking bread with the last of her flour. When my brother, Wayne, brought in the mail that day, there was an envelope with no return address. It contained a gift certificate to the local grocery store.
When I am faced with uncertainty and scarcity, I remember that story. I especially remember how my mother, when using the last of her flour, believed that somehow, someway, things would work out and she would have means to feed her family. She set fear aside and practiced faith instead. This is a gift she gave me when I was just a teenager.
I am grateful for faith-filled mothers.
Saying Thank you~
In my concern for the families that are without means to buy food due to the pandemic, I reached out to our local food bank to see If I could provide baked goods for them. They responded and asked if I would do some baking as a thank you for the National Guard who stepped in and provided the manpower to set up four drive through food banks in our area. Click HERE to read an article about the work they are doing.
(They are smiling under their masks.)
So I have been baking goodies every Tuesday morning and delivering them to the food bank. Usually everyone is in meetings, but this time they came out, ate scones, and visited for a bit. I have to admit I got choked up when they shared with me all that they are doing. I am very grateful for these soldiers, and all of the volunteers and staff that work at our local food bank. They are on the front lines, serving our community. Perhaps I see in them that gift certificate to the grocery store that arrived when my family was out of flour. It makes my heart very tender.
This teacup sits in the display shelf among my mis-matched cups and saucers. I relish them all because you can't tell that they don't match unless you look closely. I think the cup came in a box with various tea cups with missing saucers. I paired it with a saucer that feels like the essence of Spring. Can you see why I enjoy it so much?