Compassion Tea Twist on the Easter Egg

image006This week, I have been faced with an awful conundrum. It centers around eggs. You see, we have 4 chickie ladies who produce the most subtly beautiful eggs daily. Chip lays blue eggs; Raindrop and Ziggy produce brown eggs; and Clarabelle produces pink eggs. What fun to see them all nestled in an egg carton! They are the perfect Easter egg collection.

That being said, it is Easter, and I have two little ones who are positive we should color (as in dye) Easter eggs this year. Do I go to the store and buy MORE eggs? White, mass produced, not so organic, not so fresh eggs? Alas and alack, I did. Such a first world problem.

But! This week, Compassion Tea artistic director, Jon Larson, shared this recipe for Chinese Tea eggs featuring our Lapsang Souchong Butterfly Smokey China Black tea. Something fun to try with our already beautiful eggs! Perhaps you would like to try too! (A big thank you to Jon for the recipe and the photos! You can see more of his work at www.compassiontea.com and at www.larsonimages.com.)

image002Ingredients:
6-8 eggs hard-boiled and cooled
2 tbsp loose tea leaves (Lapsang Souchong Butterfly Smokey China Black tea)
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp salt
¾ tbsp. Chinese fivespice
1 star Anise
2” strip of orange zest

Directions:
Hard boil eggs. I place the eggs in a saucepan then fill with cold water, one inch above the eggs. Bring the water to boil. After one minute at a boil, turn off the heat and let the eggs sit in the hot water for 10 minutes. Then, cool.

When cool, using a spoon or the back of a knife, crack the egg. Make the cracks deep enough that the tea mixture can penetrate the shell to give the egg the desired flavor and look. Just be careful not to let the shell fall apart.

Place eggs in a medium pot and fill pot with water to one inch above the eggs. Add tea, soy sauce, salt, and spices. Bring to a boil.

Cover, reduce heat, and simmer the eggs and tea mixture for about 2 hours. Add water as necessary to image003keep them covered.

Remove from heat and leave the eggs submerged in the tea mixture overnight (about 8 hours) to allow the eggs to absorb the flavors.

Enjoy!

(Store eggs with shell on in the original egg carton in the refrigerator for up to a week.)image004

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Collection Call

There was a season of my life during which I hung on the every movement of the doctors of a certain ER. Their lives were fascinating as were the intersections of their lives and those of the patients who poured through their doors. Dramatic operating room and emergency room scenes depicted life-saving in action… sterile drapes, caps, gloves, instruments, walls, lights, meds aplenty. I don’t recall a single episode where the doctors called for an instrument or a med and it wasn’t readily provided by an eager nurse, not even that time the whole city was shut down from a monster snow storm and people were lining the hallways in need of medical care. That, of course, was TV.

Nor do I recall ever walking into a doctor’s office or ER or hospital and hearing things like, “We’re out of antibiotics; sorry we can’t help you” or “We’ll have to make do; try to get things as sterile as possible. But we’re out of caps, gloves, and drapes.” There has always been heat, light, water, cleanliness – one might even describe it as a cold sterility. This, of course, is my reality.

It is not the reality for so many people in Africa. CompassioNow has received a list of medical supply requests from Mission Medic Air Zambia. Written by hand and in the language of medicine, I find it difficult to translate. But I can make out things like theater caps, masks, and gowns; surgical and examination gloves; catheters; surgical blades; cord clamps; bandage; pain relief ointments; panadol (equivalent to Tylenol) tablets; cotton wool; ultrasound gel and paper; crutches; wheel chairs; braces; thermometers; and eye drops. Can you imagine? CompassioNow seeks to fill these requests for places like Mission Medic Air and the clinics it serves along with clinics in Kenya, Tanzania, and South Africa. Collecting the items through donations or through purchasing the items using the money raised by Compassion Tea Company and from individual donors is only half the battle. Safely transporting the medicines and supplies is the other half… the more perilous half.

Currently, CompassioNow is collecting supplies for the Tanzania Christian Clinic in Tanzania and the Karero clinic in Kenya. Two Compassion Tea directors will hand deliver donated pharmaceuticals and medical supplies in June when they visit the clinics. How can you help? 1) Your purchase of tea from Compassion Tea Company provides funds for purchasing needed supplies! 2) Purchase supplies from the following list and send them to Compassion Tea! 3) Make a direct donation to CompassioNow! 4) Pray for the team as it prepares and travels to Africa!

Items requested for Tanzania/Kenyan Trip, 2013 Following is the initial list of items we are seeking for our trip to Africa in June. These are items that we pretty much take for granted here in the United States, but that are difficult to get in the remote medical clinics we will be visiting in Tanzania and Kenya. Contact us at info@compassiontea.com or 1888-SHR-TEAS for more information.

• Pepto Bismal (tablets only) (Expiration date at least 6 months out) • Disposable Nebulizer Kits • Exam gloves – all sizes, but especially medium and large • Casting Material – Ortho Glass-Comfort (Synthetic Splint System) and Delta-Cast Soft (Semi Ridged Cast Tape) (Expiration date at least 6 months out ) • Ace Bandages (various sizes) • Sterile Gauze Pads and Sponges – all sizes ((Expiration date at least 6 months out) can get at CVS, Walmart, Target, Amazon etc. • Children’s Liquid Ibuprofen and Tylenol (Expiration date at least 6 months out) • Infant’s Liquid Ibuprofen and Tylenol (Expiration date at least 6 months out) • ENT Examination Equipment (including powerful odescope) • Digital Celsius thermometer (must be Celsius) • Neosporin or generic antibiotic salve in tubes. (Expiration date at least 6 months out) Every donation counts! And so does every prayer! Thank you in advance for your support!

For the Love of Honey

Just a spoonful of honey....

Just a spoonful of honey….

We have a very clear love/hate relationship with honey at our house. As my daughter so eloquently explained yesterday, “I love honey. It tastes so good. But it is really bee spit and that’s just gross.” Because my daughter is also allergic to bee stings, she has an amazing aversion to the little guys, the kind that elicits screams of hysteria and lots of huffing and puffing and body movement when they fly nearby. Of course, when we went to the garden store this weekend, we were careful to buy flowers that would attract bees to our vegetable gardens. Without bees, our gardens will produce very little. And while at the garden store, the kids were eager to sample the honey varieties for sale. Locally harvested, the honeys were organic, raw, and delicious. According to our pediatrician, it is good for our seasonal plant allergies to eat local honey. The rawness of the honey means there is still pollen in it thereby allowing our bodies to build up antibodies (immunity) to the very things to which we are allergic.

Honey reportedly is a healthier alternative to sugar. Reports suggest that because honey is a combination of glucose and fructose (as opposed to the sucrose found in table sugar), it is easier on the body’s digestion system and reportedly provides a longer, slower energy release, which is good for athletes and even for those who are dieting. Honey contains some trace vitamins and minerals, more so than table sugar, and is commonly said to contain high levels of antioxidants. Similarly, honey is often claimed to have anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It’s commonly used as a cold remedy, such as soothing sore throats and coughs. How many of us have taken a spoonful of honey mixed with lemon juice when we’re feeling raspy and hacky! But of course, honey is high in calories and it would take eating a lot of honey in order to meet any of your daily requirements of vitamins and/or minerals.

As a sweetener for tea, however, it is delightful! We’re used to the honey in the bear bottle… clover honey. But beekeepers are getting crafty with the honey they encourage. By placing beehives in certain areas, beekeepers can limit or direct where the bees are feeding, thereby creating different flavored honeys. Lavender honey is distinctly lavender tasting. Honeys can have the heat of a hillside covered in sage on a sunny Greek isle or the floral richness of a rose garden. IMG_0558And each honey imparts that flavoring to your cup of tea. Not all teas require sweeteners, but certainly the more robust blacks benefit from a taste of the sweet. Just a teaspoon of that amber liquid gold makes a cup of tea a true cuppa!

IMG_0572And with spring around the corner and with the blooms that are filling the trees, it’s time to start watching for the bees. Their buzzing, while fear-inducing to some, is in fact the sound of summer! Summer means ICED TEA! And more honey! Enjoy!

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What’s In Your Tea?

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Camomile Tea… no grass or ferns here!

I received a letter from a friend the other day – a true, bona fide, handwritten-on-stationary letter via snail mail. What a great treat that was. My friend’s letter was thanking me for some tea I had gifted him and his wife at Christmas. He mentioned that he was grateful for the quality loose tea that he was assured had no fillers in it. I was puzzled. Fillers? What kind of fillers? Who would do such a thing?

Turns out ABC News recently did an exposé on fillers in food found in our grocery stores and tea is one of most frequently abused products. Turns out tea makers, in an effort to bring you highly affordable tea, will fill their little tea bags with things like fern and lawn grass clippings. Now, I realize that some teas, some very high-quality teas for that matter, have a grassy aroma which comes through during an official cupping. But that shouldn’t be because it IS grass! If you are paying for tea, you don’t want grass!

Here is the article and the corresponding video from the report. Better check your pomegranate juice and your lemon juice, too.

But with Compassion Tea, you don’t have to worry about fillers! Our teas are hand-picked, processed with the highest quality standards, and delivered to you in ways that make it easy to see what you’re drinking. I remember the first time I ripped open a Compassion Tea pouch of camomile tea. The plump, cheery heads of the camomile flowers filled the bag. They weren’t crushed beyond recognition. They were whole and so happy to look at… happy tea! And what a difference that made in the taste!

Fact: The more whole the tea leaves, the better the flavor extracted from the steeping. It also means you can steep the tea more than once and still have a delightful cup of tea. Our pyramid tea bags are shaped in this unique way so that the tea inside doesn’t get crushed beyond recognition. And of course, our loose teas are hand-rolled or hand-cut in ways that make them works of art in and of themselves. Have you ever really looked at the fineness of our Silver Needle Jasmine tea or our Jade Cloud tea, to name a few? As you steep the tea, the leaves change, grow, unfurl in graceful beauty. No fillers here.

Which leads me to think of that old beer commercial. What was it? Great Taste, Less Filling? Something like that. Well, with Compassion Tea, you have “Great Taste, No Fillers, and a Healthy Helping of Compassion for the World’s Least Served!” What could be better than that?

Building an Ark

“It took Noah 120 years to build the ark.” Wait. What? My understanding of Noah and his cruise through the floodwaters of the world has been shaped significantly by the cartoonish tellings of children’s Bibles with the sweet pictures of animals snuggly resting and the rhyming words that gloss over the reality of what was under the water. My understanding looks something like this: Noah gets a word from God to build a boat. God gives him very specific instructions about size and shape and cargo. Noah gets busy and finishes just in time to load the animals before the deluge hits, killing all life except what is on that boat. I remember studying the flood in college. There, we read a number of flood stories from a number of different religions. Based on the prolific motif of a flood destroying the earth found throughout early literature, we can safely assume that such a thing happened, so concluded that professor.

Well, it appears to be Noah week in the drama of my life. On Tuesday, we studied the life of Noah in Bible Study. My son Joseph is learning about Noah in preschool. In fact, he wore a green shirt and brought two stuffed animals to school today so that his class could form a rainbow (based on shirt color) and an ark-like zoo (hence, the stuffed animals). And last night, the Bible story I blindly pulled off the shelf to read to my kids was… yep, Noah.

So, Noah. The Bible tells us specifically that he was 500 years old when he had his first son and he was 600 when the flood started. He was 601 when he finally left the ark. He was a righteous man who walked with God and did exactly what God told him to do. And my Bible study commentary says that it took Noah 120 years to build the ark. Curious, I looked at Genesis 5-9, the story of Noah, over and over again in a number of translations. All I could see there was in Genesis 6:3 where God makes a promise that in 120 years He is going to wipe out the earth. Fed up with the evil, sad that He had created His creation, God says “Enough.” 120 years and the game’s up. But because Noah is righteous, God will save him and his family and seven pairs of every animal, bird, insect. (I feel like singing… “The Lord said to Noah, ‘There’s gonna be a floody floody.’ Lord said to Noah, ‘There’s gonna be a floody floody. Get those animals out of the muddy muddy. Children of the Lord.’”) So, I turned to the internet. Turns out there is a lot of discussion about how long it took Noah to build the ark. Hypotheses range from 50 to 75 to 120 years based on God’s promise of destruction and salvation, when Noah had his sons, when they were old enough to have wives, etc.

I felt discouraged. Noah taking 120 years to build the ark seemed so dramatic and cool. 50 years? Not so much. But, really, that’s ridiculous on my part. Can you imagine the situation? You’re far away from the sea. You are a farmer. You start building a large boat in your backyard. Why? Because God told you to. It doesn’t really matter how long it took. If it took 120 years, wow, that’s a long time to believe, follow through, and obey. If it took 75 years, wow, that’s a long time to believe, follow through, and obey. If it took 50 years, wow, you get the picture. Perseverance. Noah stuck it out.
One has to believe that he took some grief for his grand boat project. “Crazy old Noah! Always good for a laugh!” must have been the taunting around the neighborhood. After all, the Bible tells us that Noah was the only righteous man to be found. Therefore, it is safe to conclude that no one else knew God and/or if they had heard of Him they certainly didn’t believe, follow, or obey. Yes, Noah must have been the subject of many jokes. But he persevered.

With the jokes, were there other nuisances? Or even threats? If Noah knew that God was about to destroy the world and if he was telling the naysayers why he was doing what he was doing, which the Bible tells us he knew and he did, don’t you think there might have been some who were angered by the message? Who thought Noah was too proud and needed to come down a peg? Who might have tried to sabotage his work? Or who mocked Noah at every turn? “Where’s the rain, Noah? Where’s the flood? You’ve been working on this for 50 (or 75 or 120) years. Do you really believe this God is going to do what He says? Don’t you think maybe you just made this up in your mind?” But Noah persevered.

Do you know any Noahs today? People who buck convention, stick it out, persevere through thick and thin? People who seek to follow God’s ways, obey His commands, walk with Him even when the rest of the world is laughing?

A couple of our Compassion Tea directors are currently preparing for a trip to Africa this summer. While there, they will be distributing supplies, visiting clinics, taking notes about what is needed at the clinics, and well, frankly, risking their safety and certainly their comfort. Facing this huge trip must feel daunting, something like building an ark. How much and what is needed for the trip? How to collect medical supplies? How to carry those supplies to Africa? Once there, they will run across lots of other Noahs who are building arks in the shape of medical clinics and churches, who are tending to the most basic needs of their fellow man in places where voodoo is still the preferred method of medical treatment and where supplies for treating even the most basic illnesses are scarce. One of the clinics they will be visiting has a recently donated x-ray machine. This is new technology for the clinic. The machine is all set up and ready! But there is no one trained in how to use it. So it sits unused. Another clinic has patiently been waiting for its running water to be restored. They’ve been waiting for 2 years. The funding is there, but getting anything done in Africa is kind of like building an ark in the middle of a desert. It takes a whole lot of perseverance. The kind of perseverance that has led one of the missionaries with whom CompassioNow works to return to Africa after medical time off in the States. This missionary has celiac disease and has to eat gluten-free. Rural Africa doesn’t understand gluten-free. But for the sake of fulfilling God’s calling on her life, this missionary is stocking up on gluten-free food and heading back.

Fulfilling God’s calling is rarely easy. Whether it is building an ark in the desert or running a tea company or traveling to Africa to bring supplies and comfort, it takes a special brand of perseverance. I am pretty sure that when Noah heard God shut the door behind him and saw the waters pour forth from heaven and earth, he was infinitely glad he had listened and obeyed. Once the first x-ray is taken, once the first drops of water flow into the clinic, once the missionary sees the smiling face of a goo-goo (grandma in Africa), there will be much joy and relief. When our Compassion Tea directors deliver duffle bags of pharmaceuticals and medical supplies to clinics in Africa, there will be much joy and relief. When the directors return from Africa, there will be much joy and relief, too. But it will take continued perseverance for all of these things to happen… and a lot of tea!

That’s where you can step in! By drinking tea, by joining our membership, you can help the directors collect medical supplies to take to Africa. By drinking tea, by joining our membership, you can help CompassioNow send medical supplies to the clinics in other parts of Africa. By drinking tea, by joining our membership, you can provide funding for staff and water projects and other projects. We would love to welcome you aboard our ark!