Friday, February 15, 2013

What we can learn from the Ravens Superbowl Victory

I have to admit.  I still can't believe that the Baltimore Ravens won the Superbowl.  I am an avid fan and watched every minute of the post season.  There were cheers, screams, I even had to mute the TV a few times to get through some nail biting plays, but the game always ended in a win.

Even Hollywood screen writers could not have scripted this ending to a season full of challenges and adversity.  I am not an analyst, but I did notice a few things I could learn from this amazing season.

There is no "I" in Team.

I know this is a tired old saying, but in this case it rings true.  Coach John Harbaugh was quoted as saying his most important priority in coaching the Ravens was Team, Team and Team.  It is true, this season the Ravens were the ultimate team. Players came out of the woodwork to fill in for injured team mates.  Each week the roster was sometimes dramatically different but everyone worked together for the good of the team.  There were no big egos on the field, just a group of players that wanted to win.

The Team is not just the players on the field.

It was obvious that the Baltimore Ravens football team was not only the players on the field, the coaches, owners and staff.  The team was the entire city of Baltimore, State of Maryland and as far reaching as any fan in any state that rooted for the Ravens.  The players and coaches even hinted at this as they spoke of how much the support of fans carried them all the way to New Orleans.  Fans traveled to Denver, Foxboro and New Orleans to be a part of it.   Even during the Super Bowl, you could hear the stands erupt with the Ravens chant/song.  A team is often more than the players on its roster.

What's Love Got to do with it?

What impressed me the most about the Baltimore Ravens were the post game interviews given by players and coaches.  I confess I have watched more ESPN Sports Center than I'd like to admit but the interviews were astonishing.   Each interview was underlined with the words "we love each other".

They love each other? What does that mean?  Well, for the Ravens it means they respect each other.  They put others and the team above themselves.  The choices they made each month, week and day of the season were for the benefit of the team and not individuals.  How hard do you think it was for Coach Harbaugh to fire Cam Cameron late in the season?  How hard was it for the team to go 1 and 4 in the last 5 games of the regular season?  How hard was it for Torrey Smith to go to work the same day he lost his brother?

It was as hard as most challenges, but the Ravens were able to stay together as a team and put their personal egos and issues aside to achieve a common goal.

What can we learn from the Ravens?  Love is an action - it is a choice.  Love is choosing to do what is best for someone even if it means you have to sit on the bench, lose your job, go to work in the midst of a family crisis.  Love is not about what is good for me, but it is about what is good for someone else.  Thanks Ravens - for not only bringing the Lombardi Trophy back to Baltimore, but for showing us that love had a lot to do with it!

Labels: , , , ,

Friday, January 4, 2013

Resolution Free Zone

No more resolutions!

I declare this space a "resolution free zone"!  Each year in January we resolve to change, to improve, to enhance our lives in some way.  Not that I think this is a bad idea, its just that as I look over the past year I see how often I have attempted to "do" something to change and then abandoned it when failure seemed inevitable.

So this year I decided to do something different.  This year I will make a list not of what I am planning to do, but of what I am planning to "Stop Doing".  As I reviewed 2012 I found that there are many things I do that are positive, uplifting and profitable to myself and others.  However there are a few things that don't just need to change, they need to be stopped altogether!

Too often we resolve to do things like, eat better, exercise more, do random acts of kindness, etc.  All excellent goals.  But what if we re-wrote these goals to say:  Stop making poor food choices, Stop being a couch potato, Stop thinking only of yourself?

For me, the "Stop Doing" list is a truer picture of who I am and the person I want to become.

So here is part of my "Stop Doing" list for 2013:

  • Stop blaming others for the bad things that happen to you
  • Stop beating yourself up for mistakes and failures
  • Stop spending so much time on leisure activities (T.V., Internet)
  • Stop making lists (just kidding!)
Finally, I will continue to remind myself of the person I want to be - this song by Glen Campbell says it all:

A Little Less of Me

Let me be a little kinder 
Let me be a little blinder 
To the faults of those about me 
Let me praise a little more 

Let me be when I am weary 
Just a little bit more cheery 
Think a little more of others 
And a little less of me 

Let me be a little braver 
When temptation bids me waver 
Let me strive a little harder 
To be all that I should be 

Let me be a little meeker 
With the brother that is weaker 
Let me think more of my neighbor 
And a little less of me 

Let me be when I am weary 
Just a little bit more cheery 
Let me serve a little better 
Those that I am striving for 

Let me be a little meeker 
With the brother that is weaker 
Think a little more of others 
And a little less of me
What does your "stop doing" list look like?

Labels: , ,

Friday, November 30, 2012

One sure fire way to survive the holidays!

Do you find yourself stressed this time of year?  Thanksgiving is in the past, Christmas is only weeks away and then it's time for all of those resolutions to be renewed.  How do you cope?  
Do you plow through til the end?  Do you chuck it all and say "Bah Humbug"?  Do you work yourself into a frenzy and wonder was it worth it all?  I tend to plow through til the end, wake up December 26th and wonder "what now?" and "who's going to clean all of this up?"

But this year I have a plan - an action plan.  I am going to take back the holidays and keep my sanity.  The best part of this plan is that it is simple - be thankful.

Now I know there was a campaign on Facebook in November to write one item you are thankful for each day for 30 days.  That was a great plan, however, I propose something a little more permanent, personal (you are the only who sees it) and easier to look back on and review.

To execute this plan you will need the following:
  • A pad of paper or journal
  • A pen or pencil
  • A place to keep your paper & pen (preferably at your bedside or with your favorite teacup!)
  • An open mind

Now, every night when you have that evening cup of tea or  before you turn off the light write down at least 3 things you are thankful for.  Do this everyday if you can or at least 4 times each week.  Do this every week until you have nothing left to be thankful for! 

This discipline may seem juvenile at first, but stick with it.  It gets easier.  I began this discipline in July 2012 and I can tell you that after a few weeks of it I became:
  • more content with life
  • more optimistic
  • less stressed
  • more willing to help others
  • better able to see the silver lining in each cloud
In the retail business it is hard to remember that Thanksgiving comes before Christmas! Our shelves are stocked with holiday cheer while the weather is still hot and humid.  Let's make this holiday season about more than 30 days in November and more than packages and bows.  Join me in making it a way of life - a part of our character.  Now get that pad of paper and pen and start writing!

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Saturday, October 27, 2012

What Tea Means To Me

What Tea Means to Me

I have been in the business of tea for over 10 years.  However, I feel as if tea has been a part me all my life.  As a child, I began to drink tea to emulate a much loved older sister.  She was not a coffee drinker then, she drank tea and I wanted to be like her.  My teacup collection grew because my Aunt Millie collected teacups.  I remember her telling me how she would offer the cups to her guests after dinner - a different cup for each guest.  I was fascinated and soon began my collection. It is often my souvenir of choice when I travel to return with a teacup to remember my holiday.  Now, in my own home, I offer guests the whole of my tea cupboard to choose their own personal teacup.  After a meal my guests may choose their favorite cup from my collection - each with its own story to tell. Since owning a tea shop I have become an even more avid tea drinker, enjoying the ritual of making a pot of tea almost as much as sipping each cup.  Tea is definitely a way of life for me. 
What does tea mean to you?  How did you first develop a love for tea? 

Labels: , , , ,

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Welcome to Tea By Two!

From the first whistle of a boiling kettle to the last drop in a china teacup, afternoon tea is a charming, relaxing and delightful experience. Our dream was to create a special place for friends and family to celebrate, support, or just "catch up" with each other. As you enjoy one of our forty varieties of fine loose teas, we hope you will discover the pleasant ritual of taking tea.

Read More Information!