As The Steam Rises From Our Tea, So Shall We! Tea & Transitions
As the steam rises from our tea, so shall we!
Dear Tea Friends,
My sincere apologies for it being such a long break since I last posted.
I had a major transition take place in my life.
I went back to school.
After nearly two decades away!!!
Yes...that is where I have been...living, eating, sleeping, and breathing kindergarten...well, breathing through a surgical face mask!
Yes, I chose to return to teaching during a pandemic. This is not something I EVER imagined myself doing during year one of the virus. I was doing such a great job living as a tea hermit. Then as year two approached, I realized if I didn't go back to teaching this year, I probably never would. I knew this was the year I would turn 55. Although my age often surprises people, I feel like time is of the essence. My father died in April of 2021. My mom died 16 years ago. I know life can be too short.
So I followed a late-night Holy Spirit nudge to apply to an advertised teaching position at a local early childhood Christian school. I stumbled across the advertisement. I hadn't been in a job search mode at all. So there I was at midnight creating a resume & cover letter. Then I went to bed. When I woke up the next morning I wondered, "What came over me last night?" Then I looked at my e-mail and saw that I had been contacted about the position. And then I got cold feet and almost rescinded my application.
The director of the school was so wonderful in her encouragement and gave me just the invitation I needed. Have you ever felt like you needed to be truly invited to something? Well, I can't help but think that the Holy Spirit was also working through her and brought us together. We met in person and I said, YES.
And then I worked really hard.
Harder than I've worked on anything in a long time.
Not only was I hired just a few weeks before school officially started but I had a classroom that needed to be transformed from naked walls and missing furniture to a space of warmth & welcome for kiddos new to school! And I also had to get a handle on the curriculum, figure out what supplies and resources I was missing, cross off a long to-do list full of tasks for new hires, take & pass a CPR & first aid class, attend orientation & staff meetings, and more! And this was all before meeting with every kindergarten family & assessing each child.
Then school began!
September, October, November, December, and now January of 2022. In the mix was parent-teacher conferences, school photo day, my weekly newsletter and videos, a week of quarantine at home and teaching via video, a 30-hour mandatory professional development class, a Harvest party, a Christmas celebration -whew!! And no time to even think about blogging or re-invigorating my poor little neglected podcast!
One thing that did remain true as a daily practice even if I didn't blog about it was my tea ritual. I have been sharing some of my tea times on Instagram. Every morning before school I would get up early enough to enjoy a mindful sitting. This helped bring calm to my morning and the rest of each day. My tea practice helped me to remember to breathe when things started to feel overwhelming. The practice of paying attention to my tea and "just noticing" set the tone for the rest of my day.
It wasn't long before my fellow teachers learned that I am a big tea lover. For our staff Christmas party, my boss asked if I could serve tea at the party. She thought I could bring some tea bags to share. I tried my best not to sound like a tea snob when I told her I don't actually own any teabag tea, only loose leaf. I told her I would be delighted to bring in some candlelit glass teapots of infused tea to share. Another teacher volunteered to bring in her fancy teacup & saucer collection. It made me smile to see so many of my fellow teachers and staff enjoy really good tea together. I served a pot of Rare Tea Company's Vanilla Black tea and Silver Tip Jasmine White Tea. Both were loved by all who tasted. The setting with the glowing pots of tea and teaware was so lovely. I wish I would have thought to take a photo but I was truly living in the moment as "the tea lady", heating up fresh kettles of water & making sure the teapots never ran too low. It was a delight...and an honor.
Then right before our Christmas break, I gifted each of my co-workers with a sample of loose leaf tea. I brought a bag full of samples to our morning meeting and invited each of them to take some tea home as a visual reminder to pause during what can be a hectic and emotionally charged season. I said, even if you have to steal away in your coat closet for some peace, enjoy the cup of tea you chose. Experience it with your five senses and just be still & present. As you sip down your cup, may you be personally re-filled.
School has since fallen into more of a rhythm lately. Perhaps, I will be a more frequent contributor here.
I have seen that like tea, I can rise to the occasion. I can do hard things I never thought possible. It's a big deal to return to a profession after nearly two decades away. I already knew that tea is a wonderful teacher, but now I know it's a trusted friend in times of transition too. Have you had a transition in your life lately? Did tea help you? I'd love to hear about it! Let me know!