Look to Him and Be Radiant


"Look to him and be radiant,
    and your faces may not blush for shame.
This poor one cried out and the Lord heard,
    and from all his distress he saved him.
The angel of the Lord encamps
    around those who fear him, and he saves them."

Psalm 34:6-8


Katie's blog, Look to Him and Be Radiant, has been a source of inspiration and encouragement in the past few years as we've begun learning about and experiencing the richness of our Catholic faith.  I've found so many ideas for projects and ways to incorporate our faith into our home and family life through both her blog and Instagram feed! 

When Katie shared she had opened up an etsy shop filled with her Bible Journaling goods, I ordered a few of her beautiful stamps and she sent along a pack of these Paschal Mystery Bible Margin stickers for me to try out and share my thoughts with you about them.


I've found so many uses for these fun stickers in the past few weeks & have really enjoyed incorporating them into my Bible and Prayer journaling. Here are a few of the ways I've used them:

  • As journaling prompts: putting the sticker on a page of my prayer journal, coloring it in while reflecting on the verse, and then adding my own thoughts or prayers beside it.
  • As a bookmark: I've added the sticker onto a thin strip of cardstock, coloring it in, and then covering it with clear packing tape to make it a little more durable. 
  • In my Journaling Bible: if you have a journaling Bible (like this one), these stickers are designed to fit into the margins of your Bible! This is a great way to ease yourself into Bible journaling if you're nervous about adding your own handwriting. If you don't want to add anything permanently to your Bible, you can trim down the sides of the stickers, keeping them on their backing, and add them to your Bible using washi tape. 
  • Coloring with my Little Ones: I've loved spending time with Lily coloring! I turned a few of the stickers she colored into bookmarks and she gave one to Daddy, and it made the sweetest little present (plus it was a fun way to talk to her about Jesus!). We also used the sticker of Jesus on the Cross and made Lily her own little Holy Card. 
  • I also wanted to note that I've used watercolor paints, colored pencils, and markers with these stickers and haven't experienced any bleeding or smudging. :) 

The set Katie sent me is specifically focused on Lent and Easter (you can see all of the designs here), so I've been choosing one or two of the stickers each time I sit down with them and reflecting on different the different times in Christ's life, death, and resurrection.

As we journey alongside our Church towards the Resurrection, her Bible journaling tools have helped me to slow down and meditate on his Word as I color (which also happens to be incredibly relaxing!). I've found myself reflecting on a lot of verses I probably wouldn't have thought about on my own.


Since I'm only a few weeks postpartum, I knew I wouldn't be able to handle any kind of structured devotional journal (like the beautiful Blessed is She ones I've used in Advents & Lents past), so using these stickers has allowed me to journey through Lent in a much simpler way this year. 

If you are looking to deepen your faith through journaling this Lenten season, while also supporting another Catholic woman and artist, I encourage you to visit her etsy shop here. :) 

Katie has generously offered to give away a Paschal Mystery Bible Margin Doodle Set of 25 stickers to one of you! To enter, visit my Instagram feed @teawithtolkien! The giveaway will run from March 10-15, 2018. 


Growing in Hobbit-ness & Holiness with Our LOTR Companion Journals

This post contains affiliate links. 

Last April, as our book club was reading The Fellowship of the Ring and preparing to begin The Two Towers, I began writing a companion journal to accompany and enrich our discussion as we journeyed through Tolkien's world together. Since then, we've released a journal for The Two Towers as well as one for The Return of the King, and today we're finally launching the Pre-Sale of our Fellowship of the Ring Journal! (How awkward to have done things out of order, but now we're all good!)  


I'm expecting the journals to be shipping in late January or early February so please keep this timeline in mind if you decide to order. :)  

It's been such a blessing to write these journals and I'm so happy to finally be able to share the completed set with all of you! The purpose of these journals is to become a companion as you read through The Lord of the Rings, offering a place to keep notes or write down favorite quotes, but also to help you dig deeper into the themes and meanings of Tolkien's work.

I like to say they are meant to help you grow in hobbit-ness and holiness. 

 Cover art for our journals by Jen Olson of  Fiore Design Studio

Cover art for our journals by Jen Olson of Fiore Design Studio

Each journal includes:
- a brief introduction to Tolkien
- a suggested twelve-week reading schedule
- "Wanderings & Ponderings" sections on important characters and elements of the story
- a two page spread for each chapter (although a few chapters have three pages!)
- beautiful cover art by Fiore Design Studio

For each chapter of The Lord of the Rings... 
- a brief summary
- lined space for note-taking
- blank space for lettering favorite quotes or doodling
- "On the Road" reflections and journaling prompts
- key quotes from the text, from Scripture, or from the Saints

Each journal is approx. 74 pages, printed in a half-letter size to make it the perfect size for carrying along with your book!


Emily of Reaching While Rooted reviewed our Two Towers journal, writing, 

"This reflection journal was a great way to bring some intention into reading The Two Towers: with a review for every chapter it reminds the reader to pause and absorb what Tolkien and our hobbit friends are trying to teach us about God and the journey we are all on. Each chapter review highlights key quotes from the text, joining critical plot moments with quotes from the Saints and scripture. This journal is not just surface deep either: the prompts in this journal pushes you to turn inward and confront your shortfalls and sins. I personally struggled with one of the questions from Book 3, Chapter 10: “Ask yourself, am I seeking control instead of cooperation?”  I have never had the idea presented to me in such a manner, and being a person who struggles with control I was knocked on my heels.

If you are looking for a great way to step up your reading, and really sink deeper into the richness that Middle Earth provides, I would recommend using this journal. It’s a beautiful tool for both the Tolkien scholar and the casual reader alike, and there is something for everyone." 

I was also interviewed on The Tolkien Road, my favorite Tolkien podcast, about the journal. You can give it a listen here


Say Hello to the First Catholic Journaling Bible ( + a Giveaway!)

This post contains affiliate links. 

I've held this Bible in my hands for only three days now, but I'm already beginning to see my heart changing because of it. Its lined pages offer an invitation to dive deeper into God's word, to meditate on Scripture as I strive to create something beautiful for Him by writing out his love letter to me. 

Its beautifully lettered quotes throughout draw my attention as I flip through, illuminating verses I hadn't even known I was missing. The attention to detail, the importance placed on quality, and all of the heart that was so plainly put into the creation of this Bible is so evident. I can't help but stand in awe of it, a feeling I find so fitting as I hold in my hands The Word of God. 

 here's how the back side of the page looks afterwards  

here's how the back side of the page looks afterwards  

So far, I've used a mechanical pencil and these Sharpie pens, which didn't bleed onto the page beneath and are one of my favorites to write with anyway. I also tucked a sheet of paper in between the pages I was writing on, just to be safe. The pages are a little thin but they feel similar to the ESV Journaling Bible I used to use. 

I am so excited to introduce you to this, the first Catholic Journaling Bible by Blessed is She + Our Sunday Visitor, and I want to share it with you. I'm giving away one copy to one of you, and I can't wait to see how God will use it in your life. You can enter using the Gleam widget below. 

Tea with Tolkien Christmas Gift Guide: Etsy Edition

appy golden 28.png

Now that we're settling into November, I wanted to share a few of my favorite Tolkienian finds on Etsy! I know it's early for many of you to be thinking about Christmas shopping, but due to the handmade nature of Etsy it's always best to place your orders early in the season since some of these items are made-to-order. I hope you'll be inspired & hopefully find a few new favorite small shops! 

Top: Lord of the Rings Blanket by Sweet SequelsElvish Copper Leaf Necklace by Shire Post Mint / Gandalf Quote by Daffodils & Ink / Aragorn + Arwen Mug Set by Goldberry's Hall 

Bottom: Watercolor Middle-Earth Map by Studio Senn / Rivendell Travel Print by Dream Machine Prints / Albion Tea Company "Lothlorien Chai" Blend  / Longbottom Leaf Candle by NerdWicksTrees of Valinor Necklace by JessyHerc /  "The Shire" Throw Pillow by Sweet Sequels 

Bonus ideas: 

Browse the Tea with Tolkien Shop 

Tolkien-Inspired Baby Names


As I've been reflecting on baby names and trying to decide on a name for our newest little one, I've been putting together this list of Tolkienian baby names to share with all of you! This list is in no way exhaustive, but I've included all of the names that I thought would be nice for a little hobbit lad or lass in case you're also searching for one. I've tried to add name meanings and a bit about each name, but if I've made any errors please let me know as I am certainly not an expert in Tolkien etymology. Also, if you have any more suggestions you'd like to see added to the list, please leave a comment below. 


  • Aldaron | another name of Oromë, Aldaron means "Horn-Blower" in Quenya. He was the Ainu responsible for the hunt. Read more about him here. This name also reminds us of Alderaan (from Star Wars), so you might get twice the nerdy points if you choose this name. ;) 
  • Aragorn | Sindarin for "Revered King", the name given to Aragorn II son of Arathorn II, who became the last High King of both Arnor and Gondor. He played a great part in the destruction of the One Ring and was a beloved and just king. 
  • Arathorn | Means "Eagle King" (according to Tolkien). Arathorn II is the father of Aragorn (see above).
  • Arda | Quenya name for the world as a whole. 
  • Arwen | Means "Noble Maiden" in Sindarin. Arwen is considered the fairest of the Children of Iluvatar, resembling Luthien. 
  • Beorn | In "The Hobbit", Beorn is a Skin-changer who can change from a man into bear.  According to Tolkien Gateway, "Beorn is an Old English word meaning "a warrior, a hero, a man of valour" (also, poetic "man"), cognate to Old Norse björn ("bear")." 
  • Beren | A character from "The Silmarillion", Beren is a mortal man who falls in love with the beautiful elf Luthien. Their epic romance is inspired by Tolkien's own love for his wife; upon her death, he inscribed her gravestone with "Luthien" and his bears "Beren". 
  • Celeborn | In Sindarin, means "silver-tall". Celeborn is the spouse of Galadriel and Lord of Lorien. Read more about him here
  • Durin | The first of the Seven Fathers of the Dwarves, Durin I is the founder of Khazad-dum. His name means "sleepy". 
  • Eärendil | Referred to as Earendil the Mariner, his name means "devoted to the sea" or "sea-lover" in Quenya. Read about him here
  • Edith | Inspired by Tolkien's beloved wife, Edith Mary Tolkien. 
  • Elanor | Elanor The Fair is the first-born daughter of Sam Gamgee and Rosie Cotton. Her name is taken from the sun-star, the little flower that grows in Lothlorien. 
  • Elbereth | Inspired by Elbereth Gilthoniel, the Sindarin name for Varda; Sindarin meaning: "star-queen", Quenya meaning: "sublime" or "lofty". Elves revere her most of all and call upon her in their greatest need. Frodo and Samwise find hope and protection in the use of her name in The Lord of the Rings
  • Eldar | The name given to the Elves when first seen by Oromë, later applied only to the West-Elves. Means "connected or concerned with the stars". 
  • Elendil | Elendil was the father of Isildur. His name means "Devoted to the Stars" in Quenya. 
  • Elenna | The island on which Númenor was founded. Means "Land of the Star", 
  • Elessar | Quenya for "Elf-Stone", which is the name given to Aragorn II. 
  • Éomer | The 18th King of Rohan, nephew of King Théoden and brother of Éowyn. "His name is likely derived from the Anglo-Saxon words eoh ("war-horse"), and mere, ("grand, excellent, famous"). He adopted the epithet Éadig during his kingship, which is an Old English word meaning "happy, wealthy" and usually translated as "blessed", used for saints in medieval literature." (Etymology quoted from Tolkien Gateway). 
  • Éowyn | The Lady of Rohan, who defended Théoden against the Nazgul King, and was later wed to Faramir. Her name means "Horse-joy" in Old English. 
  • Faramir | The younger son of Denethor, appointed Prince of Ithilien after the coming of King Aragorn. He was known for his pursuit of wisdom and justice over power or wealth. The meaning of his name is unknown. 
  • Francis | Inspired by Father Francis Xavier Morgan, the parish priest that took in JRR Tolkien and his younger brother after the death of their mother. Father Francis became a father-figure to the Tolkien boys and had a profound influence on their lives, specifically in the area of the Catholic faith. Tolkien named his first son, John Francis Reuel Tolkien, after him. 
  • Galadriel | The Lady of Lothlorien, keeper of Nenya (one of the Three Rings), and one of the Elves who had lived to see the light of the Two Trees of Valinor. In Sindarin, her name means "Glittering Garland" or "Maiden Crowned with Gleaming Hair". Read more about her here
  • Goldberry | Wife of Tom Bombadil, also called "River-daughter". 
  • Hilary | Inspired by Tolkien's younger brother, Hilary Arthur Reuel Tolkien. 
  • John | Tolkien's first name, a classic yet subtle way to incorporate his namesake into own family. 
  • Lórien | The common name for Irmo, the Vala who was master of dreams and visions. He also tended to the Gardens of LórienIn Quenya, this name means "Land of Dreams". 
  • Lúthien | The only daughter of Thingol & Melian, said to have been the fairest maiden to ever live. The story of her life, as told in "Beren and Lúthien", is said to be the kernel of the mythology of Middle-Earth. Her character was inspired by Tolkien's own wife, and the name means "Daughters of Flowers" in Sindarin. 
  • Mabel | Inspired by Tolkien's own beloved mother. Means "beautiful" and "loving". 
  • Melian | The mother of Lúthien, her name means "Dear Gift". 
  • Maia | Inspired by the Maiar, the name for the spirits which helped the Valar shape the world. In Quenya, Maiar means "The Beautiful". 
  • Mandos | The Doomsman of the Valar, his name means "Judge". The Halls of Mandos were a place on the northern shores of Valinor where the spirits of Elves and Men gathered to await their fates. 
  • Merry | Inspired by Meriadoc Brandybuck, a close companion of Frodo and member of the Fellowship of the Ring. His name means "Great Lord" in Welsh. 
  • Nessa | One of the Valier, her name means "Young" in Quenya. 
  • Nienna | A Queen of the Valar, Nienna's name is derived from the Quenya word for "tear". She was the 'lady of pity and mourning'. 
  • Peregrin (Pippin) | Peregrin Took was a close friend of Frodo and member of the Fellowship of the Ring. During the War of the Ring, he became a Knight of Gondor. Read more about him here
  • Ronald | Means "counselor" or "ruler", and is the first middle name of JRR Tolkien (John Ronald). 
  • Rosie | Inspired by Rosie Cotton, the wife of Samwise Gamgee. Together, they had 13 children including Elanor the Fair. 
  • Reuel | Inspired by Tolkien's own name (John Ronald Reuel) 
  • Samwise | The servant and closest friend of Frodo Baggins. His devotion and love for Frodo illustrates the truest form of friendship. His name means "simple minded". 
  • Willow | Inspired by Old Man Willow, who I'll admit is not a very kind old tree but it's still a sweet name. 
  • Va'na | "The Ever-young; she is the younger sister of Yavanna. All flowers spring as she passes and open if she glances upon them; and all birds sing at her coming." (Silmarillion, Valaquenta)
  • Varda |  Queen of the Valar, wife of Manwe, also called Elbereth Gilthoniel. 
  • Yavanna | "The spouse of Aule is Yavanna, the Giver of Fruits. She is the lover of all things that grow in the earth, and all their countless forms she holds in her mind, from the trees like towers in forests long ago to the moss upon stones... Some there are who have seen her standing like a tree under heaven, crowned with the Sun..." (Silmarillion, Valaquenta) 

PS: please do not name your children Melkor, Morgoth, Sauron, Saruman, Smeagol, Tu'na , Elmo, or Grima. ;)

Riddles in the Dark (Hobbit Party Printable)

"Sssss," said Gollum, and became quite polite. "Praps ye sits here and chats with it a bitsy, my preciousss. It like riddles, praps it does, does it?" He was anxious to appear friendly, at any rate for the moment, and until he found out more about the sword and the hobbit, whether he was quite alone really, whether he was good to eat, and whether Gollum was really hungry. Riddles were all he could think of. Asking them, and sometimes guessing them, had been the only game he had ever played with other funny creatures sitting in their holes in the long, long ago, before he lost all his friends and was driven away, alone, and crept down, down, into the dark under the mountains. "Very well," said Bilbo, who was anxious to agree, until he found out more about the creature, whether he was quite alone, whether he was fierce or hungry, and whether he was a friend of the goblins." 
- The Hobbit, Riddles in the Dark

Bilbo's finding of the Ring and his riddle game with Gollum are two of the most important, or at least consequential, scenes of The Hobbit. To include this chapter in our celebrations, I put together this fun and easy riddle game for guests to play.

I included eight of the riddles from this chapter as well as the answers on a separate page. I printed the riddles out onto a thicker white paper so they're a little more durable to be passed around and such. I also might the riddles into strips and roll them into mini scrolls for the guests to choose from and ask each other! Winner gets their very own golden ring to keep!

Yo can grab the printable here. I hope you'll love it!
It made such a fun addition to our Hobbit celebration. :) 

Hobbit Party Planning: Second Breakfast & More

Menu Inspiration.jpg

"When every guest had been welcomed and was finally inside the gate, there were songs, dances, music, games, and, of course, food and drink. There were three official meals: lunch, tea, and dinner (or supper). But lunch and tea were marked chiefly by the fact that at those times all the guests were sitting down and eating together. At other times there were merely lots of people eating and drinking--continuously from elevenses until six-thirty, when the fireworks started."
- The Fellowship of the Ring, A Long-Expected Party

As hobbits are known for their love for food, it is likely the most important element of any good hobbit celebration! Hobbits are known to feast from breakfast and well into the evening, preferring hearty, home-cooked comfort foods. 

Your menu will depend on the time and duration of your celebration (as well as whether or not little hobbits will be invited!). In years past, we've had an open house so friends were able to drop by whenever they were able, which is my favorite because it gives me the opportunity to make all the hobbit food. 

Here's a round-up of all my favorite Hobbit Party menu items. I've grouped them by meal, and have included links to as many recipes as I could find. Make sure to check the bottom of the post for more resources, including links to a few of my favorite Tolkien-inspired blogs and Cookbooks! 

Breakfast (7am)

For (first) breakfast, we typically serve something light and sweet, such as a pastry or small cake with fruit. This should be something simple since Second Breakfast will be quite hearty. Depending on the size of the party, I'd serve a couple of these:  

Second breakfast (9 am)

For second breakfast, we go all out with eggs, bacon, sausages, and more! This meal is meant to be hearty and filling. I'm planning to cook up the sausage and bacon ahead of time and then serve them in a warming tray (or maybe keep them in a crockpot on low if I can spare one). 

  • Biscuits with Sausage Gravy
  • Potato & Veggie Frittata
  • Sausage and Mushrooms
  • Fried Potatoes
  • Fried Eggs
  • Pumpkin Spiced French Toast 

Elevenses (11 am)

  • Lembas Bread (with Lavender, Citrus, and Almond!)
  • Biscuits with Raspberry Jam
  • A coffee bar (including fall-inspired syrups and cream) 
  • Meat and Cheese Platter

Lunch (1 pm)

  • Any Kind of Hearty, Broth-based Soup (such as beef and vegetable stew)
  • Garden Salad
  • Cold Chicken Sandwiches (either sliced deli style or in a chicken salad) 
  • Individual Meat Pies

Afternoon tea (3pm)

Tips on pairing desserts and pastries with teas: How to Pair Tea with Dessert by Art of Tea

Dinner, or Supper (6 pm)

  • Pot Roast with Onions, Potatoes, Carrots, and Mushrooms
  • Shepherd's Pie
  • Roast Chicken with Potatoes and Vegetables
  • Stuffed Mushrooms



When it comes to drinks, most of the planning relies on creatively labelling your beverages. Your drink list will also vary a good deal depending on whether you're hosting little hobbits or grown-ups. 

or the grown-ups...

  • Beer: Label the best Ale you've got to offer as "Proper 1420" (preferably something golden, as most things in the year 1420 were unusually golden and fair). 
  • Wines: label them according to different Elven realms (Rivendell, Mirkwood would make excellent Reds, Lothlorien would be perfect for white or sparkling). 
  • Ent Draught: apple juice, lemon juice, gin, and basil (source), other ideas include: anything to do with mint and vodka. 

Family Friendly...

I've found several different recipes for Treebeard's Ent Draught, all of which are unique - I'd love to try them all! Here are two of my favorites: This recipe from the Inn at The Crossroads, which includes tea, florals, and herbs & Another from Feast of Starlight is a mix of fruit juices, sparkling water, and mint. For a simpler, kid-friendly Ent Draught, anything fruity or green will do (green punch, green Powerade, or honestly even apple juice... for the little ones it's more about the experience so make sure to tell them all about what Ent Draught is!).  

Other Magnificent Resources

Almond, Citrus, and Lavender Lembas Bread


For this year's Hobbit celebration feast, I knew I wanted to serve a very special Lembas. In past years, I had gone a simpler route and used pita chips, sugar cookies, or graham crackers wrapped in green napkins or fabric leaves. But this year I wanted to attempt making actual Lembas.

While Tolkien unfortunately doesn't provide us with an exact recipe for this Elvish way-bread, we do know a few things about it. Lembas is sweet, often described as a cake; it is made with the fruit of the Mallorn tree, a round nut with a silver shale; and it is cream-colored on the inside and has a light brown crust. For more details regarding Lembas, I came across an excellent article here

 “Eat little at a time, and only at need. For these things are given to serve you when all else fails. The cakes will keep sweet for many many days, if they are unbroken and left in their leaf-wrappings, as we have brought them. One will keep a traveler on his feet for a day of long labour, even if he be one of the tall men of Minas Tirith.” -The Fellowship of the Ring

After reading through several different recipes online, I ended up modifying this recipe by Feast of Starlight, so I thought I'd share a bit about what I used and how it turned out. The combination of the citrus with the almond, and then the slight hint of lavender is just so good! 

Homemade Almond, Citrus, & Lavender Lembas


  • 3 Cups Butter, softened
  • 1 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Honey
  • 4 Large Eggs
  • 4 Cups Flour
  • 1 Cup Almond Meal (I made my own by blending almonds in a food processor)
  • 1/2 Cup Slivered Almonds
  • 1/2 tsp. Orange Extract
  • 1 tsp. Lemon Extract
  • 2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 2-3 Drops Lavender Essential Oil 
  • One handful of finely chopped dried fruit (Optional - I didn't use this in my original recipe but I keep wishing I had! Dried cranberries would've been such a good addition. Or apricots or raisins!)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. 
  2. Cream butter and brown sugar. Add honey, then eggs. Mix until smooth. 
  3. In a separate bowl, mix flour, almond meal, and slivered almonds.
  4. Fold flour mixture into batter, adding the extracts & oil slowly. Mix until well-combined. Carefully fold in dried fruit (optional). 
  5. Refrigerate dough until it has stiffened a bit, then roll out on a floured surface. Dough should be about 1/2 inch thick.
  6. Cut into rectangles, about 3 x 2.5 inches. Gently score the tops with an 'x'.
  7. Bake on a greased tray for about 15 minutes, or until the bottoms of the Lembas wafers have slightly browned. 
  8. This recipe will make approximately 36 pieces. 

These slightly sweet biscuits pair so nicely with a warm cup of tea! They were a hit with everyone in my family! My daughter asked for a cup of our sleepytime tea as she had hers, and even the two year-old said they were "yummy cookies" so I'm counting that as a win. 

Lembas is traditionally served in "Mallorn leaves", so you can either wrap them in any non-poisonous leaves or use green fabric cut like leaves (here's a good tutorial here). 

I'd love to hear if you try this recipe and what you think of it!
I'm so excited to have them at this year's Hobbit day celebration. :) 

Lembas Recipe 4.jpg

Our Saints & Scripture Gallery Wall


About a year ago, I started gathering up prints from a few of my favorite small shops in hopes of putting together a little gallery wall. And whenever I manage to keep this space clean, it quickly becomes my favorite place in the house to sit and write. I posted a photo of the wall on Instagram the other day and a few of you asked for the sources as well as more photos of the prints themselves, so I thought I'd write it all out here! 


I don't have any tips for planning a gallery wall, other than just doing whatever you want (usually my life motto). We're living in a rental so it's pretty low-pressure when it comes to hanging artwork, I'm not worried about how something will look for 10+ years. There's a pretty great tutorial over at At Home with Natalie if you're interested. 

Gallery Wall Sources