Women chatted over their teacups, saucers and scones, while holiday carols were sung at the Aiken Women's Christian Connection Holiday High Tea at Woodside Plantation Country Club from 5:30 to 7 p.m.
Tuesday's event, offering early Christmas cheer and fellowship, was organized with the help of tea aficionados Sedley Roach and Connie Gantt, who both believe one cup of tea a day keeps a person healthy and happy.
Every teacup, plate, silverware and teapots came from the private collections of Roach and Ganntt. Each lady drank from an unique cup – some painted and filigreed with birds and flowers.
Between the scones, finger sandwiches and cookies, local musician Vicki Rutland led the Aiken Christian Women's Connection in singing “Deck the Halls,” “Silent Night” and “Jingle Bell Rock.”
Then, guest speaker Marynell Wallace presented her speech “What in Heaven's Name Are You Doing?”
Wallace, the youngest of four children and the only girl, said she never felt she was good enough when it came to school, relationships or other facets of life.
Her mother and she were at constant odds with one another, and Wallace often heard the question, “What in heaven's name are you doing?” Her answer often was, “I don't know.”
“As an adult, I continued to try to be good enough. From the time I took my first drink, I knew I could be good at this,” Wallace said. “I drank to feel something, to try to fill the emptiness in my heart. At least the alcohol deadened the whispers of, 'You're not good enough.'”
Even after waking up in a lake after a blackout, Wallace continued drinking until a friend called her on it. She completed a recovery program and has been sober for 33 years.
But, she said it wasn't until she turned over her feelings of rejection to God at a retreat that she realized “God doesn't love people because we're good, he loves people because he's good.”
“God is with me no matter where I am. I want everyone to know I am living for his glory, not my own,” she said.
Editor's note: This story has been updated to correctly name the private collections the teacups, plates, silverware and teapots were from. The Aiken Standard regrets the error.