Hello! Welcome to my blog Teawillow. Come have a cup of tea with me and take time out to nourish your soul. That’s what having a cup of tea is all about in my mind, whether it’s replenishing the soul of a friendship, or simply taking time to be.
My name is Jean and I am a writer, wife, mother, and child of the Heavenly Father. Some of you know me as author Jean Harmeling, others as Chris’ wife, Jean Stephenson. I am also known as Mum, MAAM, Madre, Auntie Jean, and My Love. But to most people, I am just Jean.
Twenty-seven years ago, I left my home in America to marry a guy from Swaziland named Chris. Since then, we have lived in many places in South Africa and England. Our two children, Ian and Lyndall, have grown up with three different passports. Ian, currently an art major at Westmont College, speaks six different languages. His little sister, Lyndall, has just joined him as a freshman. I am now the “Lone Madre”, wondering how these two starbursts of life came and went from our home so quickly.
As a family, we have had the privilege of travelling often from our base here in Cambridge, England to America, Europe and Africa. Exploring new places as well as revisiting home places that are loved and familiar is a passion we all share. That’s probably why Wind in the Willows is my favorite book. It’s about a band of friends who travel far and wide together, but who also need to find their way home once in a while.
That is the story of my life, and the meaning of tea willow. I once lived in a small village close to the river in a house called “Willows.” There is a meadow golden with buttercups close by, a weir and a lock where people mess about in boats, and an old mill and tea room that serves freshly baked scones. It is a place in England that is perfectly home to me, a place to have a cup of tea on a warm summer day while watching the swans drift through the willow trees overhanging the river bank. It is very much a dulce domum, a place of anchorage beside still waters, a teawillow place.