Tea and Book Pairing: Golden Tea for Good Companionship

True fellowship in the life of faith is a treasure chest filled with joys. When we find it in books or in persons, it’s worth celebrating with the best things we can bring to the table. That’s why I paired The Wilderness Journal: 365 Days with the Philokalia by Angela Doll Carlson with Tealyra’s Imperial Golden Monkey Yunnan black tea. This tea is smooth and a little malty, perfect on its own. If you want to experience a companionable tea, this is the one to splurge on. Drink it hot or warm with no additions. I steep it a bit strong sometimes, but this tea is perfect with a lower proportion of leaves in the pot.

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What could be better on a trip to the shore than warm tea, The Wilderness Journal, and honeycomb to sweeten the salt air?

As for the book, it makes the company and good advice of the saints accessible in perfectly paired reflections and quotes from the Philokalia. It’s arranged by date, so you can jump in at any point. These reflections bring immediacy of experience to the words from wise men of earlier centuries, inviting us to enter the unvarnished, impartial, but particular and close grace of God right where we are.

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Each section of the book begins with an introduction to help familiarize readers with some of the context of the excerpts from the Philokalia. Full disclosure: I wrote the brief introduction on St. John of Karpathos for the month of December.  

I highly recommend this book to tuck into your commuting bag, to sit on the seat beside you for moments waiting on your carpool members, to read in the morning or evening by your bed, or to take with you to the mountains or the sea.

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I brought the icon. My mother picked the sturdy sea shore flowers. My daughter collected the shells. Looking at this photo, I can taste the salt and the relief of tea and lovely words on the edge of the world. 

Amazon Shopping List: Imperial Golden Monkey Yunnan tea, The Wilderness Journal: 365 Days with the PhilokaliaFolklore Enamel Mug, Folklore Enamel Coffee Pot.

*This post contains affiliate links. Though I will receive a contributor’s copy of this book in future, this review is based on a copy I purchased on my own and shared out of true enjoyment.*

Tea & Book Pairing: Tumika’s Tea Blend

I’m revamping this blog to post allergy-friendly recipes and tea and book review pairings. Here’s the first pairing, based on a book I read at the beginning of this autumn’s reading binge.

*****

tumika's tea blend

I received a free review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Some books heal by skirting the edges of pain, but this book dives right into it, bringing us healing through facing the truth. When a Man Loves a Woman by Tumika Cain answers the question a lot of us have from the outside looking in on situations of domestic violence. Many of the reviewers have already provided insights, but I would like to offer the feeling it inspired for me in the form of a tea recipe.


This tea, and this book, taste like catharsis.


When a Man Loves a Woman Tea
*makes one pot*
3 heaping tablespoons Harney & Sons Decaffinated Earl Grey tea leaves (or 3 teabags)
1/2 teaspoon ground organic cardamom
Steep in boiling water for 5 minutes. Serve with brown sugar cubes and maybe a little half and half.

The bite of cardamom echoes the sophisticated characters, and it gives a bite to the beautiful life that Alicia lives despite the troubles she endures. The blend of the two reminds us like the book that change does not happen alone.


I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to read a fictional account that brings them to the heart of both pain and healing.

Amazon Shopping List: When a Man Loves a Woman paperback, Harney & Sons Decaffinated Earl Grey teabags, Organic cardamom.

This post contains affiliate links.

Dollhouse tea service 

We threw a big tea party for some special events in our children’s lives this weekend. Since space was at a premium, I set out the sweeteners and spoons in one of our toy houses.  

vintage silver teaspoons,honey,and stevia packets are displayed in favorite family cups

Do you have a creative tea serving idea?

Low tea

We’ve started calling elevensies “low tea.”

When you’re part of a religious group that cycles through food restrictions like the Orthodox fasts, setting a pretty table can be a challenge. I’m so grateful during the Apostles fast that there’s so much fresh fruit.  

What’s your favorite food to serve to guests with dietary restrictions?

Prayer When You’re Busiest

Coming this November with Light Messages Publishers.
Coming this November with Light Messages Publishers.

After my dad died in 2012, there was a long period of going through the motions. What kept me sane and kept my family together was the daily need for food, drink, connection. I had loved tea with friends and family before then, but we solidified our family tea tradition that year, capping a summer of hot grief with the warmth of the tea table. I dug in a garden that summer, too, and the mints and herbs that grow there have come to be regulars at our teatime.

In Tea & Crumples, the protagonist Sienna is suffering under a terrible grief. But the people around her bridge the gap across her sorrow by reaching across the tea table. It’s not always our words that make sacred spaces. Sometimes it’s the daily rituals, the cleaning of cups, the laying of tables, the tucking in of chairs. Most of the time, holiness seeps in right between our weary fingers. Often, it leaves them warmer.

My hope for this novel is that it creates a safe space for love, for grief, for questions too big to ask all at once. It’s a spot of tea for the soul.

Has tea helped you through a hard time?

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: WritingLikeAMother.com|

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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?