It’s June, National Ice Tea Month, and it’s time to dust off your iced tea glass set and get ready to party! This year, the first day of summer falls on June 20th. I’m reminded of flip flops, painted toe nails, sand between the toes, 4th of July BBQ, sunburns, camping and songs by the campfire. Mostly though, summer reminds me of family and friends. Summer is a time that family and friends laugh, have fun and relax. It is a time of holding a cold glass of ice tea, kicked back with shades on, finding comfort in the warm embrace of the sun.
In 1904 at the World’s Fair in Saint Louis, Missouri, Richard Blechynden, an American merchant, was sampling hot tea to fair patrons. Due to the extreme heat, the crowds of people did not want the hot tea. Blechynden and his team used their creative minds and came up with an idea to cool off the tea by passing it through iced lead pipes. The free, “iced” tea, became wildly popular and soon Blechynden was off to Bloomingdales introducing iced tea as the perfect summer drink. To date, iced tea has found its place in the heart of practically every American and if you have a sweet tooth, just travel 1,500 miles east and you will discover Sweet Tea, the tea drink of the South. Personally, I’m not much of a traditional “iced” tea fan but you can’t keep me away from a Starbucks, Ice Passion Tango Tea. Unsweetened please! I love the tart flavor of this hibiscus herbal infusion. Another favorite is the Very Berry Hibiscus Refresher that has real berries in it. After I drink the cool refreshing tea I dig my fingers through the ice to the bottom of the cup and pull out the berries one by one and pop them in my mouth. This is part of my personal Starbucks experience and it puts a smile on my face.
As I think about these teas I am reminded of the thousands of Americans who boycotted Starbucks in 2012 and the bold protests that are happening today. I think about injustice, hatred and love, and I think, why don’t we all just sit down, over a cup of iced tea, and get to know each other. I realize I didn’t have a choice in the family I was born into, but I do have the choice to embrace my ethnic background or deny it. I have the choice to stand in my God given identity as a member of humanity, or go through life empty of who I was created to be. I am a member of the, human race, created in the image of a loving God who knows me and sees me. I am unique and I embrace who I am. I am German, and in 6th grade, in 1978, I was bullied by classmates who called me Nazi. It was confusing in my 6th grade, 12-year-old mind. It made me feel small, like there was something wrong with me. It made me think that who I was, was wrong. It wasn't until my adult years that I learned, God created every one of us to belong. He created us just the way we are for purpose and love. I have embraced my German heritage and legacy as a creative, intelligent woman. I honor those who have gone before me as musicians, composers, inventors, scientists and reformers. I am unique as a fair skinned, brown haired, blue eyed, German-American and I’m proud of it.
Is it possible that we haven’t told each other, enough, how amazing we are? That we are valued, wanted, seen? Is it possible that we have overlooked the value of humanity because it isn’t valued in the womb and children are being raised to believe that life and possibly an entire race, is disposable? Could it be possible that discrimination starts when a mother is referred to an abortion clinic? When 92% of Down Syndrome children diagnosed in-utero, are aborted, it could seem so. Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood said, “Birth Control offers an avenue of escape. It is reasonable to assume that women of subnormal mentality, however lacking they may be in vision and altruism, would prefer to avoid the pain and responsibilities of procreation, if the satisfaction of sex could be divorced from reproduction. Given Birth Control, the unfit will voluntarily eliminate their kind.” With this type of discriminatory mindset, it should cause a person to question why 80% of Planned Parenthood abortion clinics are in minority neighborhoods.
As I set aside a little time to ponder how writing about National Iced Tea Month and my love for Starbucks Iced Tea led to my story of being bullied and the reflection questions on abortion, I question how I close this blog and how can I encourage you in the midst? I decided I’d like to leave you with this, surround yourself with people who love. Surround yourself with people who are positive. Surround yourself with people who build you up. Surround yourself with people who will celebrate you and hug you. Surround yourself with people who see you, value you and honor you. Surround yourself with people who see others, value others and honor others and life. Don’t be hard on yourself. Love yourself and be kind to yourself so you can love others and be kind to them. But, the best bit of encouragement I can give you is to love God! Love Him first. Cherish Him in your life and get to know Him. In turn, you will discover that He is your safety, your best friend, your cheerleader, confidant and provider. His love never fails and He will never leave you.
If you have had an abortion or have been bullied, you are not alone and there is help. I found help and support through AbAnon, (Abortion Anonymous). This organization is for men and women and through its support groups can bring healing from the shame and pain of abortion.