Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Tea and Much More

Last Friday I had the pleasure of having tea with two dear, old friends - Delphine Bates and Roxane Shoemaker. Delphine found a cute new tea place in Santa Clarita and invited us to come. It is called the Tea Gardens Tea Room and Bakery. What is nice about the place is that you can make a reservation for a formal tea or you can just walk in and order off the menu. They have a selection of tea platters including sandwiches, pastries, and scones, as well as other sandwiches and salads. The place looks more like a cafe and has outdoor courtyard dining as well. The food was really delicious and quite reasonable in price.

These ladies are actually more like family to me - Delphine being like a second mom to me and Roxane like a sister. I met Delphine when I was 18. I actually met her son, Brenden, at Glendale High School back in 1984, and soon thereafter began to get to know Delphine as well as the whole Bates family (husband John, daughters Wendy (Kane) and Brooke (Moore), other son Tyler). Delphine is very special to me because she is the person who shared The Gospel with me. At that time, I was a Jewish girl by heritage, and though I knew what Christianity was, I never heard the good news that one could be forgiven of sin and have eternal life. Over the course of several months, Delphine gently challenged me to think about my life, and whether what I believed lined up with God's Word, the Bible. For the first time in my life, I began reading the Bible and I truly believe that God opened my eyes to believe. The Bible clearly says of itself, "For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God." (1 Cor. 1: 17-19). I know that my conversion was a supernatural event because I did believe that it was the power of God, not foolishness. I wasn't searching, and frankly had no desire for Christianity, but God pierced through the darkness of my heart and showed me His truth. I repented of my sins, and asked Jesus Christ to be my savior in the summer of 1984, and it has been my great joy to walk with Him ever since.

Well, that was a condensed version of my conversion. I'm sure over the course of time there will be opportunity to elaborate more.

Roxane and I met through the Bates family. She had been a neighbor of the Bates and she was from a dysfunctional home. The Bates took her in, and Delphine was instrumental in Roxane's conversion as well. So, it is like Delphine is the spiritual "Mom" and we are her children. One thing that has bonded my heart to Delphine's is that she, too, has suffered the loss of one of her sons. Tyler was just 21 when he died in a diving accident in Hawaii in 1992. Having the understanding support ofshe and John during the loss of Brady was such a comfort to us. Roxane and her husband Don have also been dear friends for many years, and we lived in the same small apartment building, "Club Verdugo" as newlyweds many years ago. They have four boys, ages 7-17: Clay, Cole, Cody and Carson.

The three of us have a tradition of getting together in the springtime to celebrate our birthdays, which are close together. We usually do breakfast out, which is really fun but takes the whole morning! We laugh a lot, probably because we have such a heritage together. For one, Roxane and I have a tradition of giving each other what I like to call "cheesy angel gifts." This all started when I criticized her for having this cheesy angel print on her wall. Somehow it evolved into us giving each other gifts that have to do with angels as a gag. Last year for Christmas I gave her an angel keychain with an "R" on it, along with a super cheesy bath gift set with angel stickers all over it from Walmart. She gave me an angel garden statue. We have a million jokes, I tell you. Don't even ask about the bathtub joke (Well, alright. One of us, which shall remain unnamed and was not me, forgot to come to our birthday breakfast a couple years back. Upon calling her to inquire of her absence, it was found out that she had forgotten and was having a leisurely soak in the tub. Although she jumped out and got to the restaurant in no time flat, she never lived it down.)

Like I said before, these ladies are like family to me. They have encouraged me, taught me, and been an example to me. I thank God that he has given me these precious ladies as dear and beloved friends in Christ.

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