Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A Cup of Friendship


A favorite quote reminds me, "You cannot tell the precise moment when friendship is formed. As in filling a vessel drop by drop, there is at last a drop that makes it run over. So in a series of kindnesses, there is at last one which makes the heart run over."

The cup of friendship above celebrates the idea that the vessel of friendship can be filled by the smallest of gestures. A warm smile, an encouraging word, a token of thoughtfulness. And drop by drop, these acts of kindness fill the heart until it overflows.

I made the travel mugs pictured for friends I met during my husband's law school days in Lexington, Ky. Our group of five met at church and became fast friends. With three of our husbands in school, money was tight. But at least once a month we planned visits to tea rooms, historic homes and other area sites. One of my favorite outings was lunch on the grounds of a historic home. Under a canopy of trees we sat nibbling layered pea salad, strawberry soup, egg salad croissants and other dainty treats. The whole afternoon was a delightful experience, and even the rain shower that sent us running to the car with picnic supplies couldn't spoil our fun.

Although we enjoyed our times together, I don't think we fully appreciated the beauty and simplicity of that time of life. Or how once our paths diverged, our happy memories would help sustain us through more difficult days. Since those golden days for our fivesome, three of us have moved to different states. Two have felt the pain of infertility; one the challenges of raising a special needs child. Three of our mothers have battled cancer. And sadly, the last time the five of us were together, we gathered to bury a child.

So this fall, from my little corner of the world in Alabama, I'm sending a cup of friendship across the miles to those four special friends from long ago. And I hope that when each one discovers her little gift in the mailbox, she will smile remembering our times together. And when she faces the demands of her most trying, hectic days, I hope she will carry her travel mug with her. Maybe it can serve as a little reminder that even when we are on-the-go, we go with the love, support and prayers of all the friends we have met along the way. And remembering their kindnesses, our grateful hearts will overflow, thankful that we have been so blessed to call each other "friend."

Oh, Fill My Cup. Making a personalized travel mug might be a wonderful way to show a friend you care. Sites like Oriental Trading sell design-your-own travel mugs, sippy cups and sport bottles in bulk, making personalized cups a cost-effective option for party favors and gift giving.

To make a personalized cup, remove the paper insert from the travel mug. Use the insert as your liner pattern. Trace the insert onto the wrong side of the fabric with a fabric-marking pen. Decorator fabrics will probably be thick enough on their own, but you may need to adhere a fusible backing to lighter-weight fabrics to give them more body. Sew a decorative edge around the liner, and cut it out. Add a monogram for the finishing touch. If you don’t have an embroidery machine, you could probably add this detail inexpensively by finding a mom who runs a home-based monogramming business.

If you are making coffee inserts in bulk or prefer to work with paper, print monograms on colorful scrapbook paper. Then use the travel mug insert to lightly trace your pattern. Cut the liner out, and laminate it. Check package instructions for dish washing instructions for your new travel mug.



Let It Overflow. What could be better than receiving a personalized coffee cup? How about filling it with rich, frothy mocha punch? I discovered this recipe at a church bridal shower and thought it would be great for all kinds of gatherings -- college and teen devotionals, dinner group with my girlfriends, or even a surprise delivery to the moms waiting in carpool line. And now I'm so pleased to share this recipe with you!



Mocha Punch
6 cups water
1/2 cup Nestle Quick Instant Mix
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup instant coffee
1/2 gallon chocolate ice cream
1/2 gallon vanilla ice cream
Whipped cream

Boil 6 cups of water, and remove from heat. Add ½ cup Nestle Quick Instant Mix, ½ cup sugar, ¼ cup instant coffee, and stir until dissolved. Cover and refrigerate for at least four hours or overnight. Thirty minutes before serving, add ½ gallon each of chocolate and vanilla ice cream into a punch bowl by scoopfuls. Pour the coffee mixture over the ice cream, and stir gently. Ladle into punch cups, and top with whipped cream.

To adapt the mocha punch recipe to serve it at home with friends, keep the coffee mixture in a pitcher in the refrigerator. Scoop ice cream into personalized travel mugs, and pour the coffee mixture over. Top with whipped cream, and garnish with a sprinkle of Nestle Quick.

Let It Overflow with Love. I treasure the new friendships that have formed through blogging. Although we may not know each other by face or by voice, we share an intimacy because we know each other by heart. I am so thankful that you are now a part of my journey, so I would like to send a cup of friendship your way. Leave me a comment on this post, and I will draw a name next Wednesday to receive a personalized travel mug.


"Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up" (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10).

71 comments:

Melisa said...

Hi Melissa from another Melisa! Visiting from Illinois via BATW...I LOVE your blog header; it's gorgeous!

Those mugs are a great idea, and I loved the post that went with it. Have a great day!

Dawn said...

Hi from Louisiana! I lived in Birmingham when I was younger and really loved it there. Great post!

Becky Welch said...

You are amazing! Thanks for letting me visit daily!!!

CaraBee said...

What a wonderful idea! I will definitely be doing this soon!

Renet said...

I'm in the place you described right now and I really appreciated the reminder to cherish this time. I'm part of a fantastic group of women~ we call ourselves the 'Fab Five'.
They are the sisters I prayed for growing up as the only girl in a houseful of boys.

I know that time will shift us about someday, but they will always be among the blessings I count daily.

Thanks for your lovely words.

Nonna said...

Congrats on being spotlighted today! Im here from Texas! I know all about "Southern" LOL I have made a punch similar to your mocha drink! It was so delicious!!

Veggie Mom said...

Dee-lish! And so crafty, too!! Visiting from BATW--thanks for having us!

Michelle said...

What a lovely gesture, I'm sure that your friends will be thrilled when the open the package.

ohhollyf said...

I copy your quote, it's so tebder to the heart.....here from Blogaroundtheworld........i'm goona copy the Mocha Punch too.
you're very inspiring, Holly

Lauren W said...

What a beautiful post :) Thanks for the reminder of what an amazing blessing friendship is.

Tammy said...

Hello from Tennessee!! My family is from Eufalla/Blue Springs area. We will be going down there in October for a family reunion. I love your blog. I just started one yesterday. It is not ready for viewing yet. I will let you know.
Thanks,
Tammy

Kori said...

Hey there from my corner of Alabama to yours.

Tara said...

Good morning from Nebraska. I love your mugs! Your blog is really cute. I love your writing!

Sarah said...

What a sweet post, and how special to have such close friendships like that. I loved the travel mug idea and the coffee punch (I've seen recipes for it before and have always wanted to try it).'
sdyjak@gmail.com

Live.Love.Eat said...

As always Melissa, you move me. This time, you moved me to smiles AND tears. I love that you have these friendships. I have special long distance friendships and hope I can do something like this for them. But I also can't get it out of my head that you said you last gathered to bury a child. Those 3 words kill me. I so hope & pray your friend is doing Ok as I assume it was one of them who lost their child. I need to stare at your travel mug and get a smile back on my face. You truly have a huge heart to go with your creativity.

Cant Hardly Wait said...

Hello from Louisiana! The Mocha Punch looks so yummy, and I love the cups, they are so pretty! You are very talented!

Tamie said...

ditoo: what a sweet post and tribute to days gone by...isn't it always that way, though: the past was always so much simpler and uncomplicated. i don't think that that is necessarily true, however, the complicated of today just seems more complicated because we always seem to have "more" that is complicated. (does that make sense)
i used to work at a retirement home and the ladies of the red hat took great pleaseure in frequenting local tea houses...and lucky me, i got to go as well...what fun...but for you: in true southern fashion...i'm sure that our tea houses can't even hold a candle to what you've got down south!

Stacey @ The Blessed Nest said...

I came to visit from Blog Around the World, and I must say, your blog is pure "loveliness"!! So welcoming and such beautiful pictures and ideas! How do you get such lovely pics? I'm afraid I haven't taken time to figure out Photoshop yet :). I'm so glad to have found you, we have lots in common! I'll be adding you to my fav list :).

Blessings,
Stacey

Brian and Staci said...

WHOA! I'm blown away by your beautiful writing and blog! (And that Mocha punch looks incredible!) Oh...forgot to introduce myself...Ms. Oklahoma here! Nice to meet you..can't wait to read more! Your blog is truly lovely!

Angela said...

Hi Melissa and thanks for another beautiful idea. I'm not as handy as you are with crafts, but I love your ideas! The mugs are gorgeous.

maryanne420 said...

hi melissa,

i'm new to your blog. i just wanted to say thank you for all of the great ideas you posted. you are very creative and one talented lady! i will adding a link of your blog to mine, if that's okay with you.

mary anne

EmmaP said...

OK!!! I LOVE the travel mugs!!!!! I'm gonna do it!!! Just gave me my Neighbor Christmas Gift Idea (complete with cocoa mix, of coruse!)

Thanks for letting me stop by for a li'l visit on my BATW trip! And btw - love the pics of the babies!!! DARRRRRRRRRLING!

Z's Mom said...

What a sweet post and a CUTE idea!!!

Carly Winborne said...

Each day when I come to your blog, my cup is filled (no pun intended with today's post). You truly accomplish your task of "a little loveliness". Thank you for sharing so generously!

Kris said...

What a lovely idea! I am going to do this for some of my dear friends as a fall surprise.
What a kind and wonderful friend you are - those who know you are so blessed. I just know it.

Jennifer said...

Ah! the beauty and wonderful gift of friendship. Such enchanting times when they all start. Thanks for the fabulous idea!
Keep spreading that loveliness.
Another traveller from BATW

Shell said...

Thank you for your cup of friendship. Your Mocha Punch sounds delicious. I am surfing in from BATW. You have a lovely blog.

Kristen said...

You are sooo creative. I wish I had just a pinch of your talent. I think I was at the shower with the mocha punch. It is divine!

Karol said...

You have an amazing talent for writing. (and being quite crafty!)
Sending some Bloggy love from Ohio through BATW.

Hot Tub Lizzy said...

Gosh... that post was just... well... Lush. But not in an alcoholic way, in a beautiful, deep, rich way...

Does that make sense?

IT's a pleasure to meet you and your blog! I'll be back!

Leslie said...

I love your blog, and the mugs are great! Lovely post!

sassy stephanie said...

Such cute mugs!

What a fun way to see a new city and make friends at the same time!

Sydney said...

Okay, I love this coffee mug idea! I think I'm going to try it for my friends (though there will be no sewing/embroidery involved) but maybe pretty paper! Love it!

I have friends scattered all over the country. My best friends from high school are all far far away. I love making them things to they have a piece of me with them wherever they go.

Leah said...

Beautiful! What a great idea!! I love that punch too!! It's the best!

Lady Dorothy said...

Greetings from California as I BATW!

This was just such a lovely post. Friendship, craft/gift idea, and a fantastic recipe. Thank you for all!

Keeper of the Skies Wife said...

Hello from Arkansas! Thanks for the recipe...YUM. Your blog is so pretty.

Debbie said...

Melissa...you are the best. This post is why I love you so much.

Pamela said...

Oh those look so yummy. I wish I could have coffee right now (pregnant). Love your blog!

lynn said...

What cute mugs! And such a lovely post. Enjoy the rest of your day!

Kelly said...

First of all those mochas look so inviting!!
What a great idea for Christmas and B-days too. Thanks!!

Judy said...

Hello sweet "neighbor"! What darling mugs and yummy mocha punch! I would love to win the mug but if not, I will attempt to make one for my daughter for her b'day next month, tucking in the receipe!

XO,
Judy

Tracy P. said...

I'm so glad you included the recipe! Beautiful idea!

Photo mugs are also a special way celebrate friendship.

Hope you've enjoyed your day. Thanks so much for the beautiful southern hospitality. That's what makes BATW so great--each region is so unique! (Not that we don't love a good tea...)

Jen - Balancing beauty and bedlam said...

I love the personalized mugs. We made a bunch of them for Christmas one year, including one for my husband with pictures and little notes that the kids wrote. So special...but one note...do not put it in the dishwasher. Bless their hearts. They didn't know, but it was good while it lasted. :)

Karin @ 6ByHisDesign said...

Your Talents astound me.

Thanks for a beautiful post - LOVE those mugs...(covet thy sewing machine. No. No. No, I won't...)

I may have said it before. But thanks for visiting Missouri - I'm trying to visit each commentor from last week and I think I got lost a little and visited a few more than once...well, sometimes that was just Divine Providence. Like returning to yours (although you're Favorite'd for me, anywho...)

Long post just to say Thanks - and Cool that it's Your State today

Frizzy and Bird said...

Yeah, I'm after my friend K! What a treat! I would love to receive such a sweet gesture in the mail. Especially when from an old friend with such history. Your post today brought tears to my eyes. Friendships like the ones described above are a rare treasure and huge blessing. You have a tender heart and I love it. I'll be back and am thankful I found you on my BATW journey.

chellekay said...

Those mugs are so cute and a great idea

Julie said...

I saw you from BATW and I am enjoying reading your site. THanks for the links and all the fun recipes and ideas! Have a blessed day!
julie

Gina said...

That is just about the sweetest thing ever. I wish I was your friend. It's all about presentation. The gift has nothing to do wiht the dollars attatched to it. I once received a basket of hand-me-downs at a shower. Each piece was washed, ironed, rolled, and tied with a curly ribbon. And all size 3T. When I opened the box they were in recently, I remembered how special that package was and it was just like getting the gift again.
Congratulations on your feature day.

Suzy said...

That is one fantastic idea, the mugs look so fancy. It is a fabulous gift. I sure will try out your coffee recipe.

Have a delightful day. Suzy

Lea said...

Beautiful idea!
When I was a little girl of 5 we moved to Lexington, KY for two years while my mother finished grad school and my dad attended Ashland Ave Bible College... I loved Lexington even as a little girl... the giant Dixie Cup water tower..the smell of peanut butter when you drove through certain parts of the city... and our dear little house on Cave Hill Ln, (before the housing boom) where I could pet the horses from the farm next to ours.
I felt a deep pang hearing the cares of this world that have hit your friends... how thankful for a God who cares for us so deeply and sends angels like you to send mugs to your friends to brighten their days!

Tamie said...

hey: glad that you liked my cherry apron. my "38 ways to make you husband happy" book was just a recipe book of our "tried-and-true" recipes...and i've got some great ones. i specialize (as i'm sure lots of mom's do) in quick and easy but super-delicious and present great, recipes...
thanks for stopping by my blog today!

Laura said...

Thank you for this neat idea! I can't wait to try it!

oº˚ Anissa ˚ºo said...

Those look so good! Stopping by from Louisiana. Hope your having a great day. Loved reading your blog. Hope to chat with you later! Much Love from Queen Bee.

Kellie said...

I Love this idea! Thanks for sharing!

Aubrey said...

Sorry I missed your day yesterday! What a lovely post and a great idea!

Thanks for stopping by for a little tour of Colorado!

sweeter and the bubbas said...

Okay...now my friend, YOU are a celebrity in the blog world. I feel so honored to be your friend!!
I hope y'all are having a wonderful time at the beach!!

HeathahLee said...

Those are just lovely! I'm a little late for BATW, but better late than never, I guess! : ) Your blog is beautiful!

Gramma 2 Many said...

Looks like I am late to the party. A day late to be precise. Love the mugs and the sentiment behind them. You have a beautiful site. Really enjoy it.
I am actually trying to visit everyone who visited me on Monday BATW to thank them for coming over. So Thank You. I would be more than happy to make us some sweet tea if you were to drop in again. Love the company.
Hope you have enjoyed your day to shine. It was fun for me.

Kimba said...

Hi Melissa! Thanks for stopping by and for your sweet comment. You really made me feel good. Thank you.

This is such a sweet post. I'm sure your friends will love your gift and the memories that it will bring back. Now I'm thirsty for a mocha coffee.

Mamasphere said...

True friendship spans the ages, and it looks like that's what you have.

I love the cups! I wish I could make something like that.

Jennifer P. said...

You always have THE best ideas for thoughtful gifts. I'm sure each and every person that receives something from you knows that it comes right from the heart, and not just right off the bargain shelf at Wal Mart :)!

Hope you had a great BATW day!

Claudie said...

Hello from Canada
Melissa you are one talented writer, photographer, kindred spirit and oh did I mention the queen of blog land?
My babies are teens now and I have fond, beautiful memories & pictures of them running on the beach in Florida and loving DisneyWorld.
When you have time come and visit me.
CC
Claudie from Canada

Joanne Kennedy said...

Hi,

I'm playing catch up as I've been busy and unable to read my favorite blogs for a few days.

I think your gifts are always so thoughtful. You really do put your heart into all your gifts no matter how small or big they are. You are so sweet and that saying "It's the thought that counts" really describes your gifts.

I had to laugh at the post when Mary Ashley had to respond to being grounded by Christian. Out of the mouths of babes...

I love your Teddy Bear Cookie. What a great idea. It's darling.

Big hugs,
Joanne

Liisa said...

Hi Melissa,

I just recently discovered your blog and have already been blessed by it and I wanted to give you the Smile Award!

You've Been Awarded...
THE SMILE AWARD's rules are:

1. The recipient must link back to the awards creator (http://thebabblingsofmere.blogspot.com/2008/07/smile-award_11.html)
2. You must post these rules if you receive the award.
3. You must choose 5 people to receive the award after receiving it yourself.
4. You must fit the characteristics of the recipient of the award (see below.)
5. You must post the characteristics of a recipient.
6. You must create a post sharing your win with others.
7. You must thank your giver. (s)

Characteristics for the Smile Award:
1. Must display a cheerful attitude. (not necessarily at all times--we are all human).
2. Must love one another.
3. Must make mistakes.
4. Must learn from other.
5. Must be a positive contributor to blog world.
6. Must love life.
7. Must love kids.

Blessings,
Liisa

dmills said...

Hey Melissa, you are amazing. You have 4 beautiful children and always smiling. I love reading your blog. It lifts me each time I read it. Thanks for sharing.

Marla said...

The mugs are beautiful and I can't wait to try the Mocha Punch.

Tabitha Blue said...

Wow, just found your blog from SITS, congrats! This is a GREAT blog! My husband and I are ministers in Michigan I've just recently started blogging. I will check back here often.

Those mugs are beautiful!! What a great idea! I may have to do something like that.

Gombojav Tribe said...

Lovely. Really lovely!

Anonymous said...

Please tell me what kind of embroidery machine do you have?

Cindy

Melissa Lester said...

I have a Babylock Ellure, and I love it. Although it is the low-end model for Babylock, it can do everything I want it to do and more.

odomfamilyfun said...

Melissa,
Once again I find myself re-reading your blog and 'old' posts. So I am going to start making these mugs for friends and teachers for my kids but had a quick question. Did you buy your mugs from Oriental Trading or did you find them some place else? I found some at Hobby Lobby, but they are huge and don't have lids. If you did get yours at Oriental, did you like the quality? Or, any other suggestions as to where to get them? Also, love the Fall Outfits!!! I have done the same things with Target and Walmart solids and monograms!!! Love it!

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