National Tea Month

Standard

January is National Tea Month. Sometimes it’s nice to get a random reminder of the wonderfulness of tea. After the holiday season, I’m ready to get rid of the sweets and sugar-filled drinks like hot chocolate and eggnog, and even hot apple cider. I’m not a coffee drinker, so tea is my real go-to for all kinds of reasons, not the least of which is taste.

It’s getting better, but in the past, I have found it somewhat difficult to find the teas I like to drink. I went through a spate of only drinking chai masala or ginger tea. Unfortunately for me most ginger teas come in lemon flavor or green tea, and I prefer black tea as my base. With this first post, I want to share some of the places you can find teas nationally.

1. The Fresh Market has a wide variety of teas from your basic Lipton to imported from the United Kingdom, India, and China. They have nearly every flavor that you might want to try or add to your repertory of tea selections.

2. Adagio is a mail order tea company that has a fandom section. I’ve enjoyed teas from them in themes of Harry Potter, Supernatural, The Walking Dead, Doctor Who, and more. They also have the opportunity to blend your own although I haven’t made use of that yet. They also offer reasonably priced sample tins so you can try something new.

3. PGTips is quintessentially British tea. Best taken with milk added first in a hot cup. Find Douglas Adams’s guide for making the perfect cup of tea. It is worth the Google.

4. Twinings has a wide variety. My favorites are the British and Irish breakfast and afternoon teas: English breakfast, Irish breakfast, Scottish afternoon, Prince of Wales, Earl Grey, Lady Grey among others. Afternoon teas tend to have less caffeine so less chance to keep you up at night.

5. Stash is the only place that I was able to get my Ginger Black Breakfast Tea that I originally and randomly found one box of in an overstock store.

Check your local directories for small tea shops or tea blenders and sellers. They are more and more popping up in localities around my neighborhood, and also probably yours as well.

Inspire. January.

Standard

New Computer. New Calendar. New Creativity. (c)2020

What you do today can improve all your tomorrows.

– Ralph Marston

Getting Through the Holiday Letdown

Nothing in our lives is perfect; nor should it be. No matter how wonderful the holidays are, I feel as though there is still some underlying disappointment. Since Halloween, we’ve been rush-rush-rushing to get everything done: Thanksgiving travel and dinner, cleaning our houses to some perceived perfection for house guests or just answering the door to the mail carrier, who I just realized I never gave a Christmas gift to. *facepalm* We’re shopping, wrapping presents, trying not to eat out too much but not having time to cook, putting up the tree, finding (or not finding) the boxes of ornaments, planning the menu, remembering what times the religious services are, finding the mismatched candles for the menorah and like every other Jewish family across the world, laying down a strip of aluminum foil to catch the wax drippings. When Christmas dinner is over and the dishes are put away, we barely have time to breathe before the year ends, and a new one begins. Will there be parties? Work? Sleep? There will be food, but what kind and how much effort? Or is that just me?

Did I mention that my daughter’s birthday is at the end of the week?

What are some ways that you deal with the holiday letdown and prepare for the excitement and anticipation of the new year? Comment with your best advice. Here are a few of my own:

1. Breathe. I know I said it last week, but it’s true. Breathing is essential. Slowing down, counting to ten (or twenty or one hundred) and breathe. In through your nose; out through your mouth. You can do it; I know you can.

2. Journal. Even if you’re not typically a journal keeper, get a cheap notebook for the next couple of weeks, and write it down. Write down your feelings. Write down a list of what you need to do. For me, if it’s not on a list, it won’t be remembered.

3. Doodle. If you’re not a journaler, doodle in the margins like you did in school. Stick figures. Hearts. Circles, squares, triangles, and more circles. Trees and flowers. Mindless doodling.

4. Water. Have a tall, cool glass of water. It will make your whole body feel better.

5. Music. Listen to something you love. My two go-to’s for getting lost in the sound are the Patrick Doyle’s Henry V soundtrack from the 1989 movie and Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton. Equally engrossing at loud or soft volume. It pulls me in and keeps me there.

6. Read. Read something new. Read something you love. If I haven’t already, I’ll share my 2019 books to offer what I read and what I recommend.

7. Relax. I do not mean this in that condescending way that people often advise you. I speak from where you are because I’m there right now and have been there before. Take a minute. Most of what we’re worrying and stressing about aren’t as big as we think they are. Step back, relax, and the keep moving forward.

Happy New Year!

National Tea Month (Jan) – Tea Resources

Standard

Please add your own in the comments.

Adagio

Barry’s

Celestial Seasonings

English Tea Store

Glengettie

Hamilton Beach Tea Kettle

Harney & Sons Master Tea Blenders

Kung Fu Tea

Murroughs Welsh Brew Tea

PG Tips

Republic of Tea

Saratoga Tea and Honey Company

Stash

Starbuck’s

Tazo

Teavanna

Tu Hwnt I’r Bont Tearoom, Llanrwst, Wales

Twining’s

The Whistling Kettle

January: New Year, New Beginnings: Quotation

Standard

Let me listen to me and not to them.

– Gertrude Stein


Let us have faith in each other. Let us not grow weary and lose heart, for there are more seasons to come and there is more work to do.

– Hillary Clinton [11/11/16]


Let us not grow weary of doing good, for in good season we shall reap.

– also from that speech by H. Clinton, drawn from Galatians 6:9

January: New Year, New Beginnings: Reflection

Standard

What small thing can you do when you wake up in the morning to tap into that sense of marvel before you start your day? [365 Health and Happiness Boosters by M.J. Ryan]

I really want to be a morning person.

I also really want to be a nite-owl.

I’m naturally more of the latter, although I can stay up until 2am, and still get up at 7 if I need to. If I don’t need to, I tend to stay in bed, whether it’s sleeping or reading or writing. I actually get a lot done in my pajamas. I think that works for wintertime. It’s cold and it’s grey, and I don’t want to go anywhere, including out of my cocoon.

At the moment, the sun is shining, and it’s deceiving me into thinking it’s not quite so cold out, and enticing me to leave the house, which I will almost certainly regret.

Spring mornings just have that sense of marvel. It’s the same sun, the same window, the same temperature on the inside, but what is it about spring mornings that feel differently? Perhaps it’s the angle of the sun, the way it peers in the window, the glow from behind the bare trees. The glow begins a little earlier each day, and it can be not only inspirational, but motivational.

It urges me to rise, to grasp everything.

I read two books every morning before I check facebookagram and my email. The first is the one where that initial question/prompt came from. MJ Ryan’s book of health and happiness boosters. Some i ignore – they don’t quite work for me, and that is what I like about the book; take it or leave it. Take what works, and leave the rest. So far, there are questions to ponder, breathing techniques, quotations, and we’ll see what else as the year progresses. One page, or half a page really each day.

The second book is a year long devotional study dedicated to the women of the Bible. Each week, I’m introduced to a new Biblical woman, and each day a different thought about her to read and meditate on. It’s a Monday through Friday, which leaves Saturday and Sunday for regular worship or reviewing what I’ve read. So far, Sarah and Hagar. Up next: Lot’s Wife and then Rebekkah, and so on.

Those are the two that get me started and my mind moving, getting ready for whatever the day brings: reading, errands, writing, phone calls.

I know it’s not quite enough; there is something missing from my morning ritual, and I’m still not sure what it is, but I continue looking for it. However, those two books are small ways to start my day when I wake up in the morning. It takes little time, and so I can fit it in almost every morning before anything else no matter how structured the rest of the day is, and it carries through the weekend to give me the stability that often falls apart once school and work are over for the week and everyone wants to control the day.

I’ll keep you updated.

What small thing can you change or add to your morning?

1-52 – January

Standard

​January.

Cold and grey.

Always a chance of snow.

For us, January comes with the continued holiday rush.

Christmas has barely ended, and it’s New Year’s.

Then it’s my daughter’s birthday. She wants the tree down, and I do not. There is no compromise; not yet. There’s birthday dinner, birthday cake, birthday snack for school, presents, and there are still birthday parties.

Before we have a chance to take a breath, it’s Martin Luther King Day with the Super Bowl right around the corner, and then we can almost see Ash Wednesday peeking at us.

There is no respite despite this being the time of the year that we need respite the most.

Snow days are a double edged sword, and there’s a randomness of not knowing how the day will go.

There is a bittersweetness. Next year, both of the little ones will be in middle school. Right now they still want to cuddle and tell awful kid jokes and laugh at everything, but they also like the television and their tablets, Lego and books. They cook a little for themselves, something I hate on many levels. One, they’re growing up too fast. Two, I become my mother and think it’s too dangerous for them to use the stove. Three, I feel like I should be the mommy, and do it all. I don’t want to be Martha Stewart; I want to be Ann Romano or Florida Evans or Frankie Heck, but really I want to be me, just with more energy and less anxiety.

January.

I will sit.

I will drink tea.

I will write and listen to music and read.

It is grey out, and grey means deep breaths and goal setting, and art, and resolutions. It is time to regroup, whether that means career or hobby or writerly things or politics.

Regroup.

January’s reward is a cup of hot tea in a cozy too big chair with a scarf around my shoulders, my Kindle resting on my knee as I read the next book or the magazine subscription.

January.

We begin.

January Index

Standard

Prompts

With the new year commencing on Thursday, what is the one thing you remember or love about 2014 and what is the one thing you want (or want to do) in 2015?

New beginnings

Resolutions, Reflections

Photos

Resolutions, 2015

Happy Birthday, Baby!

New Beginnings

Resolutions and Reflections

A Place for Everything and Everything in its Place

A Doctor Who Sketch

Quotations

Alfred Lord Tennyson

C.S. Lewis

Kristin Armstrong

John Barrowman

A. A. Milne

Motivating Your Organization and Organizing

Benjamin Franklin

About Writing

Recs

Brother Mickey McGrath

Ambient Noise

Tabletop Audio

Inspirational Book – Under the Tamarind Tree

Organizational Helpers

Instant Inspiration (writing)

Products

White Noise App

Original Writings and Reflections

Annual Mason Jar Project

Weekly Photo Challenge

New Beginnings – A Reflection

A Reflection on Resolutions

An Actual Agenda for This Week 😉

Current Events/Politics

I Remember (Thoughts on MLK Day)

Rethinking the March for Life

Domestic Violence

BDSM? Or Abuse? (cross-posted with Sexuality)

Sexuality

BDSM? Or Abuse? (cross-posted with Domestic Violence)

Repost

My First Church Friend

Reblogs

Unsure of a Title, Tags, Categories! (suicide and suicide prevention)

Buttermilk Pecan Pie for National Pie Day

Blogging 101

Why I’m Blogging

Title and Tagline

Words in Space (Etheree Poetry) (cross-posted with Memoir)

Request for Feedback

Share Links

Writing Exercise (Mockingjay, page 82, line 3)

Links

Random Acts (charity)
The Trevor Project (lgbt+)
Brother Mickey McGrath (spiritual, art)
Thesaurus (writing)
Urban Dictionary (writing)
IRS (money, taxes)
Punxsutawney Phil (holidays)
National Domestic Violence Hotline (domestic violence)
National Weather Service (weather)
Catholic Culture (spiritual, history)
Transgender Law Center (lgbt+, legal, trans-specific)

BDSM

Fifty Shades of Grey in its own words describing why it’s glorified abuse

A chart showing the difference between BDSM and Abuse

Blog Housekeeping

Apparently, I’ve Hit the Wrong Button (I lost my theme)