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. My favorite tea memory is having tea in a quaint village tearoom in England…complete with scones, clotted cream, butter and jam! Yum! I loved it!!!

  2. When I think about tea it reminds me of my dear, sweet great-grandma whom we called Sissie. Sissie had tea and toast every morning for breakfast. She and my grandmother would also host beautiful teas for their friends. There would be tea, of course, and also delicious little finger sandwiches and many other wonderful delicacies including homemade petit fours. Yummy and beautiful ! Sissie was a southern lady and also made the best iced tea I’ve ever tasted! She has been gone for many years but still inspires me today. Thank you for bringing these wonderful memories to mind!

  3. When I was a child, we used to visit my great aunt. My Mom, Dad, Brother (Steve) and I would sit around her kitchen table and she would always serve the same thing- a hot, steaming cup of Lipton Tea. I know that Lipton tea is not fancy, but it is for a kid. She served it with sugar cubes. That was the only time in life that I was allowed to have sugar cubes. I loved sitting around the tabe talking with my aunt and my family. To this day, I still love plain old Lipton Tea. Because it’s not just about the tea. It’s about the experience.

    My husband and I frequently visit a little tea shop in the twin cities. My very favorite tea is called “Winter Spice” it reminds me of Christmas- even in the summer. And every once in a while, I’ll throw in a sugar cube to remind me of my great aunt.

  4. I fell in love with tea all over again when the original Tea and Traditions haven opened. The elegant, uplifting atmosphere was extremely soothing especially after teaching with second graders all day. There were a group of us from Still Elem. who were blessed enough to have taken classes there. We explored the world in such lovely fashion. My husband gifted me with the settee from the store when they closed. My grand daughter and I constantly have tea parties and book readings every few days when she is here. At two, she is not interested in drinking tea yet…she is a total water girl…but we are getting the basics down regarding etiquette. In her word book, she even knows the difference between tea kettles and Nana’s tea pot. She already owns and uses two tea sets herself! The tea is always ready to brew both here and at school.

  5. I love tea! It’s one way I pamper myself everyday. My personal hot tea favorite is a Tazo “Passion” tea with a little bit of honey! Mmmmmm. It doesn’t get better than that.

    I also love ice tea—I brew my ice tea with a family size decaf tea bag and a small bag of Bigelow’s Plantation Mint. Everyone loves the touch of mint!

    And when I’m really wanting to splurge I do a Chai Latte. I purchase Oregon Chai–Black Tea, Honey, Vanilla and spices then fill a glass with half Chai and half milk. It’s a great treat and everyone I serve it to just loves it!

  6. Over the past year, one of my lifelong best friends and I discovered a wonderful tea house. Since we both have hectic schedules and our jobs can be a bit stressful, we decided to plan an afternoon off every couple of months and enjoy a tea together. It was a such a terrific way for us to unwind, feel relaxed, special and share together. We both enjoyed the Jasmine loose tea so much that we bought some to take home. The Christmas tea we had there was an extra blessing as the tea house had a musician who played beautiful music on his keyboard for us. Afterwards, he gave everyone one of his CDs which was instrumental Christian jazz music. We shared that we were also believers and that was a God moment for sure. Our next tea is in 6 weeks when we’ll celebrate our birthdays together.
    Thanks, Mari, for sharing what God is doing through your business with us. Blessings to you.

  7. Thank you for sharing your sweet and special memories of loved ones and tea. It blesses me trememdously to hear these stories. My prayer is that more people will find the beauty of a cup of tea with loved ones or strangers. It really does create a lasting memory (as many of you have shared). Your stories truly capture our vision and mission.

    I encourage you all to share a cup with someone this week. We all know that one person who could use a little pampering, a little extra special attention and the comfort of a cup of tea and wonderful company. I plan to do that too this week. My will be via USPS for a dear friend going through a rough time. How do you think scones will hold up in the mail? Well, we will find out. You have been challenged and now I will be accountable to send a care package to my dear friend.

    Thank you all…I am encouraged and blessed.

    For those of you who love iced tea…call me and for PEACH tea, well you have found your source in Tea & Traditions. We will be getting peach green tea this week, we currently have black and rooibos peach.

  8. I’m new to tea drinking. I used to drink coffee 24/7. I now love the taste of tea and its better for me.

  9. Tea is a part of Me in soo many ways!!! 12 years ago a group of Christian women that I met in MOPS started having tea at the Ritz Carlton annually and then we started to have it at each others home and now we have officially formed a “Tea Club”. It consists of 12 women who now all have teenagers and two “Titus ” women in their 60’s who mentored us way back then as we had preschoolers and now mentor us in this new difficult stage of teenagers!! We host “tea Parties” 5 times a year,taking turns hosting as pairs or threes. We have had tea at many fancy hotels, in each others living rooms, gardens, and at numerous tea houses . I love so many th ings about tea hence I even have it in my eamil adress!!! I love the delicate tea cups- I usually open my china hutch and let guests choose their tea cup and then tell then the story of its special meaning . Tea is so comforting as is talkin with the girlfriends about our walks with the Lord. We have cried together, laughed much and prayed around the”tea table ” so often. As the Lord fills our “cup”every day as we spend time with Him, so tea does that to my soul. I have always loved the traditional “Teas’ with cream and sugar because of falling in love with tea when I was on a mission trip to India in the 80’s. I now love loose teas especially the rooibus teas becaus it is naturally decaf and has many flavors addid and it is amazing hot or cold!! Tea calms me, transports me to “other “places and brings healing as well as refreshes, invigorates and delights me!! I love your tea business and I soo wish something like She Speaks was on the West coast!! I love reading all your blogs and know that I will opray for all your ventures! Blessings to you as I enjoy my green tea for health benefits!! Cheers!

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