Blog Book Tour | “The Way of Tea and Justice” by Rev. Becca Stevens A non-fiction reflection on social justice, empowering women, and striving for a world where ‘fair trade’ truly lives up to it’s name!

Posted Friday, 27 February, 2015 by jorielov , , , 2 Comments

Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Sergey Zolkin.

Acquired Book By:

I was selected to be a tour stop on the “The Way of Tea and Justice” virtual book tour through JKS Communications: A Literary Publicity Firm. I received my complimentary copy of The Way of Tea and Justice direct from JKS Communications in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Inspired to Read:

Ever since I first started watching Law & Order: SVU I’ve been keenly aware of non-profit organisations that reach out to women in need as much as women who need help to turn their lives around after domestic violence or tragedy. Even before my watching of the series, there were segments on a life-changing non-profit knitted into Walker, Texas Ranger where Alex (Walker’s future wife) would reach out to the women in her community and help them get a fresh start to their lives. The lead actress in SVU was inspired through her character to create the Joyful Heart Foundation to help women in real-life the show depicts through the gritty story-lines. I became a strong advocate for Gimme Shelter before it was releasing in the theaters, as I had stumbled across the real-life story of the woman who founded the center where unwed mothers could find safe harbour for themselves and their unbourne children. By the time I caught sight of The Way of Justice and Tea it simply felt like the right book to read at the right time as I love celebrating how women are empowering other women to carry forward after devastating adversity.

– I originally expressed this earlier in the month on Jorie’s Box of Joy

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

Blog Book Tour | “The Way of Tea and Justice” by Rev. Becca Stevens A non-fiction reflection on social justice, empowering women, and striving for a world where ‘fair trade’ truly lives up to it’s name!The Way of Tea and Justice: Rescuing the World's Favourite Beverage from it's Violent History
by Rev. Becca Stevens

What started as an impossible dream-to build a café that employs women recovering from prostitution and addiction-is helping to fuel an astonishing movement to bring freedom and fair wages to women producers worldwide where tea and trafficking are linked by oppression and the opiate wars.

Becca Stevens started the Thistle Stop Café to empower women survivors. But when she discovered a connection between café workers and tea laborers overseas, she embarked on a global mission called “Shared Trade” to increase the value of women survivors and producers across the globe.

As she recounts the victories and unexpected challenges of building the café, Becca also sweeps the reader into the world of tea, where timeless rituals transport to an era of beauty and the challenging truths about tea’s darker, more violent history. She offers moving reflections of the meaning of tea in our lives, plus recipes for tea blends that readers can make themselves.

In this journey of triumph for impoverished tea laborers, hope for café workers, and insight into the history of tea, Becca sets out to defy the odds and prove that love is the most powerful force for transformation on earth.

Genres: Current Events, Non-Fiction, Women's Studies

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Published by Jericho Books

on 4th November, 2014

Format: Hardcover

Pages: 256

Published by: Jericho Books (@JerichoBooks)

an imprint of Hachette Book Group, Inc. (@HachetteUS)

Available FormatsHardback, Trade Paperback, & Ebook

Converse via: #TeaAndJustice

About Rev. Becca Stevens

Becca Stevens is one of the premiere preachers and speakers in the United States proclaiming love as the most powerful force for social change. She is an Episcopal priest and founder of Magdalene, residential communities of women who have survived prostitution, trafficking and addiction. She founded Thistle Farms in 2001 which currently employs nearly 50 residents and graduates, and houses a natural body care line, a paper and sewing studio and the Thistle Stop Café. She demonstrates that love is good business and raises millions of dollars annually for the organizations she runs.

She is a prolific writer and has been featured in the New York Times and on ABC World News, NPR, PBS, CNN, and Huffington Post and named by the White House as one of 15 Champions of Change for violence against women in 2011. She was recently named 2014 Humanitarian of the Year by the Small Business Council of America, has been inducted into the Tennessee Women’s Hall of Fame, and was conferred an honorary doctorate by Sewanee: The University of the South.

In fall 2013, Stevens launched the first Thistle Farms national conference welcoming attendees from over 30 states. Her newest book, “The Way of Tea & Justice: Rescuing the World’s Favorite Beverage from its Violent History,” will release in 2014. Stevens lives in Nashville with her husband, Grammy-winning songwriter Marcus Hummon, and their three sons.

{ Excerpt taken from her Press Release Q&A }

Why was a café your next step to expand your current initiatives with Thistle Farms and Magdalene?

Thistle Farms, as a national model for social enterprises run by survivors, began in 2012 to welcome more than 1,000 individual per year coming to immerse themselves in our model. It made sense to open a café and offer healing tea, while at the same time expanding employment opportunities for some of the residents and graduates of the residential program called Magdalene.

Why do you think tea is so powerful? What is it about tea in particular that brings people together?

Tea can’t help but draw people together as the kettle is heated and the tea is steeping. Some tea connoisseurs have referred to tea as an elixir of the gods! It is calming and invigorating. It is warm and healing.

Hundreds of teacups were donated to the café, each with a story attached. What is one of your favorite “teacup stories?”

There are so many stories of survivors that are inspiring. I love the Japanese cup from a survivor of an internment camp during World War II who was in her 80s, and wanted to remind the women of Thistle Farms to never lose hope.

A poem greets you:

Before you seep into the pages of The Way of Tea and Justice, you happily stumble into the beauty of an image shining out of a poem greeting you by the writer of this book. Her keen insight into how tea is mirthfully a cuppa of bliss to the drinker inasmuch as it has extraordinary tendencies to unlock universal truths with a simple pleasure of it’s presence, she has captured the reader by the lightness of her entreaty to paint the way to what we will find next as we embark on this journey through tea, time, and the chosen path of one woman who is forging a difference at a time where it is necessary to take immediate action.

An explanation on behalf of tea follows:

I was a bourne tea drinker even if I have crossed over into the world of coffee, my palette for both is enriched by the source of the leaf and the bean. My favourite teas are green, white, herbal, and red yet there was a time where I had a serious penchant for drinking black tea; in particular chai. I am sensing my time with coffee is going to be a bit short-lived, it’s only been on my walk for a bit less than seven years now, and yet, with tea it has a sort of ‘coming home’ attribute to the brewing and the pause to inhale the aroma as much as to breathe in it’s essence.

Tea for me is much more than a simple cuppa to embrace on a wintry eve or a breakage of hours in the chaos of everyday life. Which brings me to one tea I have a particular fondness of: machta tea is revered for it’s healing properties as much as for it’s intensity of phytonutrients; it is a tea I have only tried in smaller increments yet aspire to drink quite regularly, as I took a fancy to how it tastes and how the tea gave me back a sense of wellness. Tea is like this, it changes it’s mood as easily as we change ours and how it affects us is an introspective level of awareness to keying into what we feel, sense, and murmur out a thought of pensive repose as we cuddle a cuppa and entice the tea into our being.

I loved reading how Rev. Stevens found a connective thread between tea and Buddhism, inasmuch as I agree with her on the level of sourcing the teas we drink when we have the luxury to be actively discriminative in our selections. All of life is a balance and a mindful connection to what we learn and it is how we use the knowledge we gather that unveils the true marks of progress.

As an aside, my favourite way to brew tea is akin to how I brew my favourite coffee by way of a wicked good French Press! I love finding loose leaf teas as much as the bagged varieties, but sometimes I find myself a bit sensitive to the raw tea over the bagged. I started to wonder if it was the process behind the tea itself I was growing a sensitivity against rather than the taste of the tea from the moment it is brewed? It was a curious thought, as there are a heap of processes to our food chain, some a bit more ambiguously known than others, but it is as we unwind the layers (envision an onion whose peel is quite telling in how many spirals are seen) we start to root out truths that were a bit shrouded in a veil that kept our sight of them from being seen. So too, is our learnt nature guiding us forward to keeping our eyes tapped into the knowledge that what is readily available is not always the best route to take towards getting something we need or want.

My Review of The Way of Tea and Justice:

Ah, alas! I have found someone who has found a lovely way to eclipse the elementary excitement of what the hitching of energy we feel as we’ve unearthed a profound ‘something’ out of an ordinary day feels like as much as what it signals from outside of ourselves! Stevens is an intuitive writer, signalling out her muse as if she has fused a way to link her innermost thoughts with her pen; allowing her spirit and her heart to guide her words, whilst allowing us the grace to soak inside her mind’s eye.

I have mentioned in the past I am an organic writer, but so too, I have felt I am an adventurer who loves to collect experiences which organically alight on my lifepath. I love to experience the spontaneity of how time unwinds itself into our presence, whilst we catch the prism of joys which uplift our days by the beauty of what can be caught within the light. As I settled into the back-story of how the Cafe at Thistle Farms came into being, I started to notice that there are others who feel an awakening in their spirit to follow a path that is not yet carved and is entirely quite impossibly cast away from everything that is familiar. Sometimes the best we can do is put ourselves outside the sphere of where we think we are meant to travel and embrace a curious attachment for something quite different to benefit us in the future. Life is lived forward, but as we internalise what we understand each day we blink away from the calendar, so too, do we aspire to understand more than we knew before the journey ever began.

Her ambitious segue into the world of tea is enlightening on the merits that inspiration and creativity are the underlit sparks of a mind who sees the end result before the components of how the pieces fit together. Sometimes you have to thrust yourself into visualising where you want to be before you can sort out the route that will take you there. As she talks about the art of reading tea, it is nearly an impressive glimpse into how we strive to see the patterns of our lives knit together before the threads are ready to be stitched. We have a yearning to understand the ‘retrospective bits’ prior to living through the moments that will chart our course to our reality inside the future.

She has found a way to honour the legacy of tea by unearthing the heart of where tea resides in both our dimensional space and the space where earth and man meet. At the core of who I am, lies the advocacy for sustainable farming and resources curating a balance between what is needed and how what we need can yield a path of goodwill (rather than harm) to the earth. If we can find a measure of balance between a quantity for goods, crops, and commodities that do not take away from the natural state of our planet, than we have progressed past the blight where mankind felt only selfish gain outweighed the justice of righting a wrong. Except that this is only one observation to be made, because growing up in the South and reading Southern Literature, you endeavour a deeper understanding of how the pursuit of what is deemed necessary to our lives can honestly place the life of another in danger, if the procurement of said goods are taken by inhumane means.

I definitely understood how her heart expanded when she started to visit where each individual tea resided and how the tea itself was treated. If you flip this around an ancient truth about food, how is it any different than how food is altered in taste by the lack of love that is not given to it at the time of preparation? If a worker who is responsible for the care of tea in it’s original state of growth and harvest, is deprived of an honourable way of life, than how can we not accept that those emotions would thereby be transferred into the tea leaves themselves, as wrought out of the skin who touches them? All of life has energy and a light source — how we choose to pass on our emotional awareness to one another and to each non-human life force on earth has a way of being affected tenfold from what we first perceive.

I loved the depth of how this work of non-fiction goes far deeper than mere memoir or dissection on tea itself, but to knit together an honesty of humanity’s strength to connect our spirituality with our perception of reality. It is how Stevens sought out the breadth of her journey at Thistle Farms through the foundational journey of the Cafe, that inspires you to continue reading because it is through ‘tea’ you start to see the picture enlarge and engulf far more than a mere cup of hot liquid quenching a piece of your spirit you did not know needed rest.

Tea became the catalyst that inspired Rev. Stevens forward onto a path I am not even sure she fully understood until she walked it. We’re all called to undertake a period of learning, an expanse of time set apart from our regular hours where we’re inclusively tied to seeking knowledge and a way through a period of blindness. When our eyes are opened, they can never become closed again; yet it is a tricky development, because the full sight of what is revealled continues to push us forward into new avenues to traverse. A journey whose steps have stopped is merely a reprieve for the next chapter that has not yet been written.

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

This blog tour is courtesy of:

JKS Communications: A Literary Publicity Firm

JKS Communications Reviewer BadgeRainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

Beautiful posts by other book bloggers: { outside of the blog tour }

{ I did not have a route for this blog tour and ran a search for reviews }

A book blogger’s joy of #amreading “The Way of Tea & Justice” @ Of Thoughts & Words (*)

The Way of Tea & Justice @ Many Sparrows

It Began with Thistles: The Way of Tea & Justice @ Eco Chick

Much More than Tea & Sympathy @ Chapter 16

{*} This blogger might be on the blog tour

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

Compassion and Mindfulness are two attributes I breathe in with each cuppa tea I sip and allow the aromatherapy to wash over me as I sit in a pause of reprieve. If we all attempt to remain vigilant and aware of those around us who need an extra hug of love and understanding, we can each help unite our compassionate hearts and strive to bring a bit more peace into the world with our light.

– Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

{SOURCES: Book Cover Art for “The Way of Justice and Tea”, Author Biography, Author Photograph, Book Synopsis, the Press Release, and reviewer badge were provided by JKS Communications and used with permission. Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Sergey Zolkin. Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo and used with permission. Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission. Tweets are embedded due to codes provided by Twitter.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2015.

About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Friday, 27 February, 2015 by jorielov in 21st Century, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Clever Turns of Phrase, Compassion & Acceptance of Differences, Domestic Violence, Eco-Friendly, Environmental Activism, Environmental Conscience, Environmental Science, Equality In Literature, Green-Minded Social Awareness, History, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, JKS Communications: Literary Publicity Firm, Lessons from Scripture, Lyrical Quotations, Memoir, Mental Health, Modern Day, Multi-cultural Characters and/or Honest Representations of Ethnicity, Non-Fiction, Philosophical Intuitiveness, Poetry, Political Narrative & Modern Topics, Realistic Fiction, Social Change, Spirituality & Metaphysics, Sustainability & Ecological Preservation, Tea History, The Natural World, Trauma | Abuse & Recovery, Travel, Travel Narrative | Memoir, Travel Writing, Vignettes of Real Life, Women's Fiction, Wordsmiths & Palettes of Sage, World Religions

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2 responses to “Blog Book Tour | “The Way of Tea and Justice” by Rev. Becca Stevens A non-fiction reflection on social justice, empowering women, and striving for a world where ‘fair trade’ truly lives up to it’s name!

    • Hallo, Hallo Andrea!

      :) What a lovely surprise seeing your note this morning! :) Stevens writes with poetic intuition and a calming sense of acknowledging how everything starts to knit together as much as how life affects us as we live. I loved her shared insight and the way she captured the tea and the attention of Thistle Farm’s cafe’s history through the snippets of it’s origins as she underwent her journey on behalf of ‘tea’.

      I look forward to your thoughts after you’ve read the book!

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