Tea in the Afternoon

NOTE: I want to thank those of you who have been praying for our family, the sale of our home and for Kenzie, my sister-in-law and I who leave Wednesday for the Proverbs 31 She Speaks Conference. Your prayers have made a HUGE difference! Keep ‘em coming and I’ll update you all when we get back. And please pray for my hubby and boys who will be on their own while we are gone and trying to pack the house for a quick move.

 This week Todd and I will celebrate our 22nd anniversary. I remembered how excited I was to set up our frst little apartment and begin cooking for my man. Too bad I didn’t know how to do anything other than boil water, make instant coffee and occasionally whip up some cookies from a roll of slice and bake refrigerator dough!!! That first month in June of 1986, I did learn to do something else. Make tea!!! Hot tea, herb tea, iced tea, any kind of tea. Yep, I hit a home run with that one. Easy and so many kinds!

Speaking of tea, I am thrilled this week to be posting an interview with Mari Helms, a new cyber friend who has an entire website ministry called Tea and Traditions that is devoted to….you guessed it, TEA! And not just to tea, but offering hospitality through the serving of tea. Read on for the interview with Mari and for directions for entering the drawing to win some of her wonderful product!

mekaira2.jpg  Mari Helms is a wife, homeschooling mom of three and small business owner.  Prior to motherhood Mari worked in various administrative positions acquiring skills that are proving essential in running a small home business.  It is apparent how the Lord has clearly prepared her in advance for what He has called her to do.  She passionately pursues her relationship with the Lord because without Him she knows none of this would be possible.

Tea & Traditions is an online tea retailer, but also an important ministry.  The Lord continues to open doors, using tea, for ministry to all kinds of people in all kinds of circumstances.  Hospitality is our primary focus seeking to educate, equip and encourage our customers to open their homes to whomever God brings their way. 

Tea & Traditions will be giving away three gifts:

Prize 1

2 oz. bag of PRECIOUS JEWELS, a rooibos (or red tea),  with pineapple bits, papaya bits, mango bits, black currants, strawberry bits, sunflower blossoms with black currant raspberry taste.  It is also our tribute to wives and mothers based on Proverbs 31:10.  Also included: disposable tea sacs and a perfect measure, to measure that perfect cup of tea every time.

Prize 2

2 oz. bag of WHITLOCK AFTERNOON, a black tea with sweet, aromatic peaches, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom and ginger, a tribute to the homes on Whitlock Avenue in Marietta, Georgia that have hosted many an afternoon tea over the year.   Also included: disposable tea sacs and a perfect measure, to measure that perfect cup of tea every time.

Prize 3

2 oz. bag of JANE AUSTEN, a blend of three China black teas authentic to the early 1800s when Jane Austen lived and wrote her novels.  Also included: disposable tea sacs and a perfect measure, to measure that perfect cup of tea every time.

Be sure to check the end of this post to see how you can enter the drawing to win one of these great give-aways!!! Now for the interview…..


Mari, tell us a little bit about you and your family.

I am first wife to Todd for eight years and then mother to Isabella, Annais and Kaira, for six, three and one year respectively.  I homeschool and run Tea & Traditions a web-based tea retailer.  I love to write, do anything creative, fellowship with just about anyone and watch my family grow in the Lord. 

How did you come to own Tea and Traditions?

Tea & Traditions was a tea shop in Marietta until December 2007.  In November the previous owner announced the store was closing and I was devastated.  A few days later the Lord began to speak to me and give me what appeared to be a business plan for an internet based tea store.  I spoke to the owner the next day and here I am, now in business for four months.  And because of things the Lord led me to do a couple of years ago I was positioned to make this transition fairly smoothly complete with access to wonderful free resources at the local college including an attorney and business coach.   

What products do you offer through your website?

We sell fine loose tea, infuser mugs and tea accessories.  To our local customers I can offer baskets and will soon be hosting in-home parties to include tea education, hostess benefits and encouragement to those wanting a unique way to open their homes. 

What do you find to be the greatest challenge in owning a home based business?

Right now the biggest challenge is establishing a quitting time.  Since the business is still new there is a lot to be done.  Hopefully as I get into a routine and get things set up I will set working hours and non-working hours and stick to them.

And, what is the greatest blessing of working from home?

Being able to stay home with my children.  It isn’t always easy, but I always know how fortunate I am.  Since I have my own business at home they are very much a part of it.

How do you feel that tea, traditions and hospitality can be related?

Tea is a great way to extend hospitality not only beautifully, but easily and affordably.  I can host 20 women on a moment’s notice by putting a white table cloth on the table, bringing out the teacups and brewing a pot of tea.  It makes everyone feel special and relaxed.  Tea seems to have an amazing way of opening up intimate and unexpected conversation.

What is your goal when it comes to encouraging hospitality through your ministry?

My goal is our Mission Statement:

• To educate our customers on the fine art of tea – from selection to serving ?• To equip our customers to easily and affordably extend hospitality ?• To encourage our customers to open their homes to their communities

Any other words of advice for the readers?

Do not let loose tea intimidate you.  Once you realize how easy it is you will be hooked.  The bible says if He has called you, He has equipped you and we know He has called us (all of us) to hospitality.  You will be blessed by the sweet, surprised look on your guest’s faces when they taste that first sip of fine tea and think to themselves, “She made this just for me.” 

 Now for the give-away. Simply leave a comment any day this week about tea. Why you like it, what your favorite flavor of tea is, a special memory or funny story that has to do with tea, even why you’ve never tried making tea! Anything goes. Winners will be chosen by Mari and announced next Monday.

Sweet Tea-brewing Blessings,





  1. What a wonderful giveaway! I love tea ~ hot and cold. I can remember visiting my Grandparents on hot summer day ~ they would have fans going and glasses of iced tea with rivulets of condensation running down the outside of the glass.
    My little 6 year old granddaughter and myself love to have little tea parties ~ we wear our feather boas and use her little tea set.

  2. Tea! I have a fondness for the hot sweetness!! The simple individual packets are for me! Yes, I am intimidated by anything else! Would I TRY something else, perhaps. I enjoy HOT DECAFFINATED tea. I’ll add honey once in a while for a super sweet warm drink! Cold tea doesn’t do anything for me, as of yet. Tea is so soothing and comforting to me and can settle me when I’m tired, sick or just want something warm to drink. Delcious! I don’t have a specific brand that I like best and I enjoy a variety of flavors; I’ll try any flavor once.

    MMMMM…..all of this typing and reading is making me crave a cup of sweet Yogi tea…black licorice, perhaps? (Which, by the way, doesn’t taste like black licorice…I don’t like black licorice!)

  3. My favorite tea memory is of my son, who is in the Army and was stationed in Korea at the time. When he came home for a visit, he brought me loose leaf tea – and he carried a tea pot with little cups all the way from Korea – on his lap! What a sweet and thoughtful thing to do. I think of him whenever I see the tea pot.

  4. I’m a Southern Belle living in Michigan….how can I NOT leave a comment!? LOL I grew up on sweet tea. I don’t remember having soda (pop for you yanks) in the house as a kid…it was always water, milk, or sweet tea. I always drank it cold when I lived in the south.
    I began to love hot tea while we were living in Ethiopia while my hubby completed an internship. The Ethiopians would take a tea break every afternoon and it was so delightful!! And so my love for hot tea began.
    I have finally turned my yankee hubby into a sweet tea drinker and I have 2 of my 4 kids drinking it now. :)
    My Grandma-in-love (law) and I will meet as often as we can so that we can share a pot of hot tea together and we could talk for hours as we sip our tea. This last Christmas we all got together for a Christmas tea. Grandma organized it and also had my sister in law, serving as a missionary in Malawi, Africa, drinking hot tea at the same time as us in here in MI. We prayed for our family in Malawi while they were there praying for us…all over a cup of Christmas tea. How fun!!
    I have never made loose tea but really want to learn b/c I’ve had it before and it is so much better than bagged tea. I’m looking forward to learning more about this on your site!

  5. After the birth of my first son, my relatively new friend (who quickly became a close friend), served tea to my mother and I in my home. The memory is a very sweet one and it left such an impression on my mom that she has since shared tea with many, many women in her life.

    ***Thank you, Tina, for sharing such a precious tradition with Mom and I! I appreciate you very much. Drop by for a cup soon. :o) ***


  6. I have caught the bug for tea! My favorite is Whitlock afternoon, and it’s great hot or iced. I am learning to not worry about what my house looks like when others come over, and sitting down with tea (and scones) with friends is helping! My biggest thrill is having my dear friend from England come over for tea. It reminds her of home. I love seeing the smile on her face when I ask if she wants a cup of tea! :-)

    Thanks Mari for continuing Tea and Traditions and following God’s plan!!

  7. I love iced tea…my Dad used to make fun of me for drinking iced tea and then complaining about being so cold. ha! ha! Just recently, thanks to a wonderful older lady who teaches my Sunday School class, I’ve gotten hooked on peach tea…I love it!!!

  8. The women in my family started having a family tea a few years ago. It’s a wonderful time my daughter and I look forward to every year. It was started as a special way to spend time with my grandmother and 3 great aunts who are now all in their 90’s. It’s a blessing that my 9 year old can know these wonderful Christian women who have lived and learned so much. Last year I think we had almost 50 women attend from all over the U.S.

  9. Tea reminds me of my treasured friend Koby whom I miss tremendously. Not only did we work together at church as a team, we became great friends. Many meetings were held and personal problems discussed over tea-hot or sweetened. She makes the best homemade sweetened tea because she has to for her Texas born husband. My family and I moved away about 6 months ago and although we try to keep in touch it’s still not the same without her close by. Once I sent her a card and put a bag of Constant Comment tea inside to remind her of our great times and to take a break on me. If chosen, I’d actually like to have one of the prizes sent to her because she is the Hospitality Queen. I have learned much from her about being a gracious Christian host. Did I mention that I really, really miss her?

  10. Loving these comments ladies! It is encouraging to hear that many women have a heart for hospitality. For those of you who want to do it and don’t know where to start, feel free to call me or email me, you can find that information above in the links to Tea & Traditions.

    Like I said in the interview, do not let loose tea intimidate you, it’s like anything else…once someone shows you, you’ll get it…and once you taste the difference you will never want to go back to bagged.

    For those of you who love iced tea check out our iced tea filter packs new for the *hot* summer months, you can find them under “featured products”. Convenient and delicious!

    Keep those comments coming – three of you will be enjoying some of Atlanta’s best tea by next week!

  11. I love tea because it’s so versatile. Hot tea is wonderful, but if you happen to forget about it and it cools iced tea is just as good (I can’t say that about coffee). It’s great to have a cup of tea with friends, but if your friends are busy it’s just as nice to curl up by yourself with some tea and a book.

  12. Tea is delicious and refreshing. On these hot days, there’s nothing like a good pitcher of iced tea to share with a friend.

    But on chilly days, I prefer a hot cup of black tea with sugar. My Irish-born grandmother taught me to enjoy good tea when I was still a little girl. She would brew some Barry’s tea in her pretty teapot, and pour me the first cup (before it got TOO strong). My Granma was wonderful at always making people feel welcome. Tea and scones were ever-present in her kitchen, and you could always come on in and sit at the kitchen table with her for a cup of tea and a chat. Her door was never locked! Granma has gone to Heaven now, but my dad and I never fail to enjoy a nice cup of tea when we get together–and if we can get it, we like Barry’s tea.

  13. I just had a wonderful cup of special tea with a very special friend. You know a cup of tea makes you slow down and enjoy the moment you have with friends and helps you realize how blessed you are with the special people God puts in your life. It makes you take a moment and thank God for all the blessings in your life from providing for you family, for friends, and for special little children he puts in your life when you don’t have Grandchildren. :>) Tea is a wonderful way to minster to others and to grab a moment for yourself and friends. I have enjoyed the interviews and all the wonderful tips on Tea and Traditions web site. I pray God will continue to bless Mari’s business as she allows God to work through her.

  14. Love tea! There is nothing like a cup of hot tea when the winds and snow are blowing!! Discovered loose black cherry tea at the Farmer’s Market in Lancaster. Just love it! Too far away to keep on hand. Like to make lemon tea-iced in the summer. Wonderful way to cool off.
    Love that your business is also your ministry.

  15. Hi there,
    I love tea when someone else has made it for me. Loose tea sort of intimidates me. I am not sure of what to do or for how long. I look forward to checking out your web site. May God bless your ministry.


  16. Hi there! Tea is very soothing and relaxing. I don’t really like the store bought teas very much; however, take me to a speciality shop and it’s all good! My favorite is Chai tea in the winter time. Talk about comfort at its finest!

    Prayers and Blessings!


    p.s. Can’t wait to check out the website!

  17. I have a dear friend, Holly, who is also a tea lover. We love rich teas with a hint of fruit in it, and spend time what little together with tea and discussing different aspect of a Christian’s woman’s walk. Since we both have 2 year olds, a quiet time without the kids is difficult!. I appreciate Karen for letting me know of a tea lady to go to so we can have new teas to try!

  18. I loved Tea and Traditions when it was a brick-and-mortar place, and I love it now that you are selling online, too! I am really encouraged by your mission to serve and to use your business as a way to help others learn to do so. I love to host people and hearing of other believers, especially women, really pursuing that calling is good for my heart. :)

  19. I am not usually a big fan of tea. For some reason it always tastes watered down to me. My 12 year old daughter loves Chai tea with milk in it. If she is having a bad day(and believe me, at almost 13 years old there are plenty of them) I only have to make her a cup of hot Chai tea and immediately her mood improves.

  20. My parents introduced me to tea when I was very young; my dad drinks iced tea often and my mom drinks hot tea every morning and iced tea often. I drink lots of iced tea and hot tea often, I haven’t gotten into loose leaf, but I’m sure I would love it. I love red tea, and also really like green and black teas. I love learning more about it, and I know I have much more to learn. Thanks, Mari, for your newsletter and blog!

  21. Hi Karen,
    I am continuing to pray for you as you are in the midst of so many things going on as well as preparing for She Speaks. May you sense His peace and presence this week.


  22. I love tea parties! We used to have a wonderful tea shop in town that served the best orange creme tea and scones. Sadly they closed, and I have since wanted to have some tea parties at my house. I had a few several years ago and invited some women from church and it was so much fun. I have many lovely tea cups and saucers given to me by friends and I also have several from my grandmother that are just beautiful. Taking tea whether with a large group of gals or just two of you is a way to really connect with friends and slow down life a little!

  23. Being a GRIT (girl raised in the South), I grew up on iced tea and still love it. I moved on to hot tea 11 years ago and gave up coffee. Loose tea is the best! It has so much flavor, and the varieties are amazing. God bless your business – I can hardly wait for the giveaways!

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