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“We’re here to love each other, serve each other, and uplift each other.” — my morning Yogi tea tag line
I’m a huge fan of tag lines… the kind one finds on the tea tags of certain brands of tea. I started out (with my Nanny’s help) with Salada tags when I was about six years old. She would save them in quart-size Mason jars for me, and when visited, I would sort them by saying, reading them over and over.
Then I found Good Earth teas (I’m not a huge fan of their Original Blend–too sweet for my tastes) and indulged heavily in their Energizing Black tea with Maté and Citrus (yum!) for a time. I also indulged in my passion for collecting tag lines, because Good Earth gave me a whole new selection of (sweet, sometimes trite) sayings to muse over.
It was after I broke my wrist last December and found that caffeine was causing me problems with my pain meds that I ended up finding my latest tea tag supplier–Yogi teas (yes, I know I could just spend time looking through a website or book of quotes, but the morning discovery is more than half the fun). They have some wonderful caffeine-free flavors (tisanes and infusions really–since tea actually only comes from one plant, Camellia sinensis) that I’ve grown quite fond of. If you want flavor recommendations, just ask… then remember to tell me to stop.
(As a side note, I love the porcelain figurines in Red Rose tea too. I’m not a collector, but I enjoy it when I get one from a family member or in a box.)
This post isn’t about tea… Is it? Well, in a sense, it is. It’s about what tea is to me–connection and family, love and contentment.
My recent What’s With Wednesday post, despite the fact that it still feels like it needed to be written as it was, has left a very bad taste in my mouth.
I don’t like to read posts where people dwell on the ills they suffered in their youth, especially that harm done by those people who should love them most. I don’t like to read books about child abuse and neglect (the reason I’m struggling through Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt, despite his flair for words). I don’t like to dwell on the negative.
It’s a power thing… I hate the thought of giving power and credence to the horrible things we do to each other by speaking about them. And I hate that I’ve written about them, both in an active sense in my blogs and a more passive sense in my fiction.
I hate it, but I also understand how therapeutic it has been for me to admit that bad things have happened and that not only have I survived but grown and improved… not despite the bad but sometimes because of it.
That said, it’s wrong to dwell on the negative. Positive things are all around us, and they deserve equal, if not heightened, promotion in our lives.
I was not fair to my father at all in my Wednesday post. No, Dad is not a perfect person. Even now, Dad’s temper can be a challenge to deal with. My own temper can be too, and I’ve witnessed myself acting like him too many times for comfort.
But Dad is an amazing man in so many ways. He is insatiably curious about the world; it’s from him that I discovered my love for Classical music, gained the courage to sing, and useful life skills like swimming and how to fix my car (I don’t own the equipment to rebuild an engine or do most automotive work these days, but it’s a rare issue that leaves me stranded for longer than a short trip for a supply or two). I know Dad loved his role as a father, and he loves working with and being around kids.
Both Mom and Dad gave me a love of reading and words.
And they both also gave me my love of tea. Iced tea was Mom’s gift. Dad introduced me to the joys of brewed tea, not just tea bags, but the delight of watching balls of Chinese Gunpowder unfurl in hot water, of the many subtle flavors and nuances that one can achieve with different steeping times or waters.
Tea is comforting and delightful on its own, but it’s more for me. My tea drinking might not reach the level of a true tea ceremony, but when I have tea with a friend, to me, it’s always the fifth cup. It draws on the good things I grew up with and enhances them.
The tea tag line at the beginning of the post also seems to be the theme for this ROW80 check-in. It inspired my sponsor post, which will be posted some Monday during this ROWnd. It’s the essence that encouraged me to become a sponsor; it’s the reason I found myself drawn not only to the ROW80 but also Kristen Lamb’s WANA Tribe.
Any creative person knows how hard it can be to work at an endeavor without knowing if his/her efforts will be appreciated by others. But we do it anyway. We have to–it’s our nature.
Communities, like the ROW80 and WANA, allow us to support and nurture each other. And we’re uplifted when we bring another person up. It’s the same power thing I mentioned above. Bringing good things to the table is always more empowering than rehashing the bad.
At least that’s what I think.
So along with the good in this post, let me acknowledge some bad. Despite my choosing to do the April CampNaNo, I’ve taken two days off of writing fiction. My wordcount is behind but not irrecoverably so. When I wasn’t pondering the aforementioned sponsor post, I was taking time out to play Minecraft or spend time going to museums or on walks with my family.
I feel rested and rejuvenated. I feel uplifted. And I’ve gotten a bunch of exercise and reading done toward those goals as well.