Cover Reveal!

Tea is how I love people.”

Welcome to Tea and Crumples where tea brewed strong with grace has the power to bring people together. The click of chess pieces and susurrus of fine papers mingle with aromas of warm pastries, tea, and the caramel of hospitality. Through it all, the steady love of God pours out in daily rituals.

Meet Sienna, whose spiritual gifts are the heart of the shop. Walk with her as she struggles to believe in miracles even while she walks in the shadow of death under the weight of temptation.  

Tea makes Sienna remember. She remembers pain in order to hold fast the joy of her lost daughter and happiness gone in order to hold fast to Peter’s love. Tea is there with Sienna when every bit of her has been poured out. So are her friends. They keep vigil when all that’s left is faith, tea, and love.

coming this november with light messages publishers

Tea Cabinet refresh 

I’ve been swamped lately with the birth of my 3 month old daughter (our fifth child), edits to the novel Tea and Crumples (Light Messages Publishers, November 2015), and preparing for this past weekend’s Read Local Book Festival. The house –how can I say this kindly? — suffered. Today I listened to an organizing podcast that reminded me to start de-cluttering with a small project that is my space. It also advised using one’s favorite things. So I did.  I purged teas I don’t like. I set aside the empty tea tins and packets of tea I’ll never drink. I’ll donate them to my church’s giant garage sale at the end of the summer. The new space allowed me to display necessary tea things in beautiful heirlooms.

  The Vaseline Glass bowl from my Grandmother-in-law holds tea sachets for travel. The silver plate basket and child cup are from my husband’s parents. One of his baby cups holds stevia packets.

  The pewter cup holds honey sleeves.

  I was able to fit the children’s tea set into the new arrangement, as well as the cup of silver teaspoons.

 My favorite “top shelf” teas hold a spot on the top shelf. Years ago, my tea cabinet was so tall that I kept them on the middle one, much to friends’ amusement. My favorite bit of whimsy is the squirrel card holder. He’s proclaiming the heart of my writing life: faith, tea, and love in journeys of healing. Now that the tea cabinet is organized, I can share more of all three with friends!

How about you? Do you have a tea cabinet? Link to your blog post or describe it in the comments below!

[For a recap of the Read Local festival, visit my main website:|


Just heard the exciting news that my novel, Tea and Crumples, launches at the Main Branch of the Durham Library in downtown, Saturday, November 7! A tea party, a book party, in a library!

Tea in old children’s books

I love the past. I trained as a church historian in part because of that love. The past is full of vivid surprises if you can tolerate the dust. 

from Andersen’s Fairy Tales, New York: Grosset&Dunlap, 1945

My favorite old things (besides teaspoons) are children’s books. Maybe it’s the way they were published at such a high standard, meant to be cherished by cherished littles.   

The warm lignin burning away the pages in my hands brightens the saturated colors in the illustrations.  

I’m convinced that the books mean what they say, and they fully intend to shape my imagination when I open them. 

Alice in Wonderland Meets the White Rabbit, New York: Simon and Schuster, 1951

I especially like when they serve tea.

How about you? Do you like old books? What’s your favorite old thing?


Flowers Go With Tea

My love of tea and love of flower arranging grew apace. But it was the year that I worked as a florists’ assistant that I learned to make flowers sing along with the kettle.   

I love making simple arrangements for our table and prayer corner, of course, but my favorites are wedding bouquets. Above you see my daughter with her flower girl bouquet from last summer. Though my husband and I had been married for 15 years, we wanted to experience the blessing of the Orthodox Crowning ceremony. I’m so glad we did! We had a big tea party for our friends afterward, and the lovely bouquets added to the festivities.


I added herbs from our garden to my bouquet: rosemary, mint, and thyme. 

This was a hair check selfie. When you’re crowned, you need a flexible hairdo.  


We loved the teacups we rented from Southern Vintage Table.   

Every time I make a bouquet I remember the others I’ve been privileged to make. I made bouquets for my mother’s Christmas wedding to my stepdad years ago (pre-digital photos) of red roses and winter berry and fluffy greenery. Above you see some of my sister’s bouquet from 2011. 

I love tea for the continuity it provides through all circumstances, for the way we get to use teapots for generations, and for its capacity to add warmth and ritual to gatherings. I think flowers play a great supporting role.

What about you? What’s your favorite extra at tea?