Royal Tea or Royalty?

Which is better, having a royal tea, or knowing you're royalty? via @blestbutstrestI stood at the castle school door in my evening gown and tiara waiting for the junior high and high school girls to arrive for an evening of tea and tiaras. A gaggle of pajama-clad (it was wear-your-pajamas-day at school day) elementary girls caught sight of me and started oohing and awing over my medieval gown and my pipe cleaner tiara.

“Where are you going?” I asked. “Aren’t you coming to the tea party?”

“We didn’t know it was for us, too,” one of them exclaimed.

“Of course you’re invited, it’s for all the girls!” I assured them. “We started already, come and join us in the library.”

“Can we dress up, too?” a little first grader asked.

“You don’t have to,” I replied. “You can come in your pajamas!”

“But I want to!” she exclaimed. Before I knew it, the gaggle of girls had rushed off to the dormitory.

I made my way carefully to the gymnasium (it’s not easy to walk in high heels with a very full skirt and a tight bodice), where I suspected that most of the older girls had congregated. “They probably forgot,” I thought to myself. After all, I had planned the event with them in mind.

November 4 marked the release day of Melanie Dickerson’s latest novel—the fourth in a saga of medieval adventure and mystery books set in the fictional German town of Hagenheim. Last year, the older girls had voraciously read the first three books in the series (The Healer’s Apprentice, Fairest Beauty, and Captive Maiden) and then kept asking when the next book would come out.

And so to celebrate the release of The Princess Spy, the librarian and I arranged a tea party and tiara making activity—our attempt to foster a love and excitement for reading good, clean books that have strong female lead characters who discover their inner princess as a child of the King.

Only two girls had gone to the gym, and neither one wanted to come to the tea party (I got a few strange looks for the boys gathered there, though). It had been a busy and disappointing day. Regardless of the fact that I’d preordered the books six months ago, Amazon had failed to deliver them on time. I’d spent an hour at our local post office while the sweet postal worker searched through bags of Fed Ex deliveries to see if our package had arrived. And now the very girls I’d planned the party for had suddenly declined the invitation.Which is better, having a royal tea, or knowing you're royalty? via @blestbutstrest

I made my way back to the library and delved into the world of making tiaras out of pipe cleaners and beads with the three students who had shown up. Within five minutes, a bevy of dressed-up little ones arrived—out of breath and dressed in their finest dresses. We had tea and cookies, and they gently touched the cover of the advanced reader’s copy of The Princess Spy.

My daughter found a website with examples of tiaras and designed an elaborate affair with swirls and hearts while little girls leaned in to watch. The librarian (my mom) took photos and cheered on the efforts and made sure everyone had hot water for their tea. We oohed and awed over their creations, their creativity and tried to make them feel like royalty.

Because they are. Each and every one is a child of God—the King of kings. And maybe that was the purpose of the event after all. Not being able to pass out crisp copies of new books (my students don’t handle a lot of new books, and almost all of them struggle with reading) or encourage a new generation of readers. No, that was my purpose. Maybe God’s purpose was to use us to give individual attention to girls who need to know that someone loves them and values them and sees their inner beauty.

I had no reason for disappointment that my intended audience didn’t show up. God’s intended audience arrived instead. 

How quickly I forget that when I’ve given my plans and my days to him, there’s no reason to rue… Click To Tweet

Which is better, having a royal tea, or knowing you're royalty? via @blestbutstrest

Have you ever planned an event that turned out differently than you envisioned?

Anita currently teaches English to 7th-12th graders. She describes herself as a ‘recovering cancer caregiver’ who gives thanks daily that her husband has been cancer-free for ten years.

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  • Oh, the joy for those girls, Anita! These are the serendipitous moments that are remembered long, that bring a smile and maybe a bit of laughter … years later.

    Simply wonderful, His plans are …
    Linda@Creekside recently posted…One Urgent Question You Must Ask Yourself Before This Holiday SeasonMy Profile

    • I think we had a smashing time! They didn’t want to leave at the end of the party ;).

  • Yes and yes! I plan lots of events for our church and my expectations are something that I must release to Him often. I loved your story… and how you told it. Beautiful, friend. Peace~
    Karen Brown recently posted…The Answer to Over-CorrectionMy Profile

    • I’m glad I”m not the only one who plans…and then has to remember this lesson! Thank you for your kind words :).

  • Oh yes! But now years later I have learned that those who ARE SUPPOSED to be there are there and those who aren’t, aren’t! It brings peace rather than disappointment. You made lemonade out of what “seemed” like a bowl of 3 lemons!!! Great story. xo
    Susan Shipe recently posted…i love to tell a storyMy Profile

    • Isn’t that the truth–I can’t make anyone come–but God can send the ones he wants–which are the ones that should be there!

  • Aw, Anita! You are making me cry! I didn’t realize you ordered the books to give to the girls ON TUESDAY!!! I’m so sorry they didn’t come in time. You are just the sweetest person to do this for these girls, and your daughter and mother too! So, so sweet. I know God is pleased and proud and loving your heart for these little ones whom He loves so much. God bless you!!! And thank you for letting me be a little part of it. 🙂 Love and hugs to you and to them!!!

    • :). The little girl that won the drawing for her own copy of the book squealed when we read her name, and squealed and jumped up and down when the book came in yesterday! THAT’S the reaction I love to see when a girl gets a godly book in her hands! I AM blessed with a wonderful mom and daughter :). Keep those beautiful words that influence young people for Jesus coming!

  • I bet Melanie would love hearing this story. She and I went to the same church together for awhile and she is a precious, gentle soul. I appreciate you sharing a story that didn’t quite turn out the way you’d planned, but one that the Lord redeemed for his own purposes. You have a beautiful heart, Anita!
    Lisa notes recently posted…Don’t look awayMy Profile

    • Thank you for your kind words, Lisa :). God is the business of redemption–no matter how small or how big the need is. Melanie loved the story ;).

  • Oh how great when my plans fade into His purposes, and He overwhelms me with better than I could have ever hoped for or imagined!!
    Congratulations on a super Princess event!! =)
    Blessings of GREAT JOY on your adventure journey with Jesus…
    Lisa Brittain recently posted…My Prayer for You*and Me*My Profile

    • It was a splendiferous Princess event, to be sure! Thanks for stopping by!

  • Your post reminds of the parable Jesus told of the King who set up a marriage feast for his son in Matthew 22. Those whom he invited didn’t come either. But how blessed were those who did accept the invitation! I’m so glad you included a picture of your lovely dress, Anita – it sounds like your tea party blessed exactly whom it was designed to 🙂 Blessings.

    • That exact story went through my mind, too (especially as I traipsed around looking for students in all my finery!). I made the dress about ten years ago for a high school play I directed (the hoop skirt that goes underneath is is packed in storage, so it was a little long!).

  • Stopping by from Woman 2 Woman. Love your title and thank you for sharing your experience with us.

  • Loved the story…I know those little girls had the time of their life – and years from now will look back on that time and remember what you did for them; and God said, “It is Good”. Thanks for sharing!
    Barbara London recently posted…SilenceMy Profile

    • We did have a smashing time, that’s for sure! Some of them are still wearing their tiaras :).

  • So glad I stopped by from TellHisStory to read your beautiful story! How important it is to invest in the women of tomorrow— I know this tea party will be a very special memory for your girls. I write Christian teen fiction for girls, and would be honoured to send a complimentary copy of my published novels Tears to Dancing and Tears of a Princess for your library. You can see book details on my website, and contact me if I can help in this way: Blessing to you!
    Laura Thomas recently posted…SAYING YES… TO INDIA!My Profile

    • That would be awesome, Laura! Thank you so much for your kind offer. We’re always looking for uplifting stories for our girls to read :).

  • That was a great thing to do. I love your heart.
    Caiobhe Hope recently posted…I have lived to tell the tale of love that frees, and draws and healsMy Profile

  • That makes me smile so big! Girls need good, encouraging, and uplifting books. I love the effort and end results of your day! 🙂
    Sarah Donegan recently posted…More Than EnoughMy Profile

    • They do! And they also need to know that someone loves them unconditionally–without them having to prove anything or do anything, or give away pieces of themselves to please someone. I’m not the perfect reflection of that love, but I’m working on letting it reflect off me as much as possible.

  • Precious!!! If we are only receptive, He will bring forth His plans. Great post!
    Lauren recently posted…Friday DreamsMy Profile

    • Amen. It’s not easy to be receptive sometimes, because we get so caught up in our agendas.

  • I wish I could’ve been there! I would’ve made Sarah make me a tiara, though, since I’m not very craftily creative. ;). I’m glad it turned out so well (your eager crowd was a good turnout!) and I’m excited to read that book.
    Laura Melchor recently posted…Why I Don’t Like Stuck in LoveMy Profile

    • Sarah is definitely the Tiara Queen! It was a blast, and you will adore the book :).

  • Oh, yes. I have had many activities not goes as planned. I had “Teen Read Week” celebration when I worked at a high school library one year. I had a special cake made for our participating community leader readers . The bakery made a mistake and labeled the book cake “Team Read Week.” We ate it anyway. We had a great time. I love the message behind your party and this book series. I am definitely going to see if I can get it for my daughter. Thank you for linking up with Book Musing Mondays. I hope you come back regularly. 🙂
    Mary Hill recently posted…The Metabolism Solution: A ReviewMy Profile

    • I’m glad I’m not the only one ;). I love how ‘Teen’ got changed to ‘Team’–it sounds almost nicer, doesn’t it ;)? All of her books are wonderful (one of my students actually chased me when a new one arrived and she wanted to start reading it NOW).

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