Tea Parties Under the Table and Other Small Things


“Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” —Hebrews 13:5 ESV

It had been a long home-school morning. We were living overseas, and Ray’s job in the army had taken him far from our apartment home in Stuttgart, Germany. We had slogged through math (not our favorite), enjoyed our morning story read, and managed spelling tests and cursive writing. My little first grader and preschooler were more than done, and so was their tired mother, who was at the moment a single parent. We needed cheering up. So … I called for a tea party. But not just any tea party.

“Let’s have a tea party under the table!” Excitement returned to our home. We cleared the dining room table and draped it with a bed sheet so that underneath, it was a bit dark and mysterious. We made the tea in a fancy teapot and brought our tea cups, crawling carefully under the sheet, into our special secret place. Cross-legged, I served the tea and cookies, and we laughed and chatted and thought we were just the coolest in our hideaway. What outrageous and totally silly fun we had that day! Fears for my husband and weariness from responsibility faded in the joy of being with my girls, practicing our British accents and holding our tea cups with pinkies (of course) extended. It’s one of my happiest memories of being a mama to littles.

And it cost us practically nothing. I was pondering this today, marveling that although we toured famous castles in Europe and stood in awe of the Swiss and Austrian Alps, one of my best memories was so small. So simple. So odd. We had several tea parties under the table during our time in Germany, but that one stands out to me. Over and over in the Bible, we are warned not to make money and wealth our goal. After all, one does not need much money to have a tea party under the table! Often, more joy can be found in something that simple than in fancy vacations. Isn’t that amazing?

When Ray retired from the army, he took a job at a Christian high school, which was only in its second year of existence. Our income dropped to less than half of what he had been earning. No more visits to the Alps and exotic places for us. Instead, we saved quarters, dimes, and nickels just to have money for vacations. In a year, we were usually able to save about $100. We couldn’t afford to go away on that, but we still made it stretch. Each of the four of us was assigned a day—their day. We would do what that family member wanted and spend $25 on the activity chosen by the person-of-the-day. Oh. What. Fun! We took walks and had picnics, bought ice cream cones and went swimming. Watched movies all day and munched popcorn.

As I look back, I don’t feel we were deprived in the least. We took what we had, and God blessed it and gave us joy as a family. Is it easy to go without? Of course not. Did we have times of worry? Yes. I learned a lot about turning my worries into prayers. Also a good thing. But was there joy? You bet! Let’s make serving God and loving others our goal—not gaining wealth. More joy can often be found in a simple home seeking God’s blessing than in a mansion with swimming pools and fancy cars filled with people who still want more.

Father, when I think of those suffering around the world with far less than we had at our poorest, I realize how foolish it is to complain about lack of money when we have so much. Thank You for freely giving gifts of creativity, laughter, love, and joy. Please pour out Your peace and contentment on those who have little in the way of money but are rich in Your love and grace. Help us to be grateful for what we’ve been given and to enjoy it to the fullest. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

You are loved,




Sweet Selah Ministries

To inspire a movement away from the belief that “busy is better”
and toward the truth of God’s Word that stillness and knowing
Him matter most—and will be reflected in more effective work and service

To offer biblical resources and retreats that help women pause (Selah)
and love God more deeply as they know Him more intimately (Sweet)

If you’ve been blessed, keep the blessing going!
Click over to our Donation page … and thanks.





Share it. Pin it.



4 Comments. Leave new

  • Margaret Fowler
    April 22, 2024 10:21 pm

    Love it, tea party under the table!! A good message, Simple things are best and make happy memories. Our first home cost us #12oo, yes twelve hundred! Very small, a simple home, but we were happy there . Of course that was a long time ago. Our Sharon and Bethany were born while we lived in our tiny house. Praise the Lord.

    • Sharon Gamble
      April 22, 2024 11:16 pm

      You *might* have had a lot to do with my love for tea – and parties! Thanks for the encouragement. Being happy with what we have is such a wonderful way to live.

  • Chelli Tennis
    April 24, 2024 12:35 am

    Thank you Sharon for sharing this story.
    It had me thinking back to our earlier years bringing up 5
    children. We didn’t have a lot of money. My husband Kerry saved money for us to take a trip to Florida
    to do the whole Disney thing. The hotel we stayed at had a beautiful pool.
    We were one day into going to the parks and all the kids wanted was to go play in the pool.
    Oh I felt bad for my poor husband. But we made it through and did have a wonderful time but it showed us our kids were
    content with the small but big things to them of spending time as a family.

    • Sharon Gamble
      May 28, 2024 6:12 pm

      Oh that is funny! I remember the Christmas when I bought the elaborate kitchen set for our girls and their favorite gift was their chapstick. Yes, we don’t need a lot of money to have sweet times with our loved ones. You are absolutely right.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.
You need to agree with the terms to proceed

Next Post
Bruised, Broken, Blessed
Previous Post
Crisis? Or Confidence!