I don't quite remember when I fell in love with tea but I do remember the most special moments of me drinking tea. I was eighteen years old and I went to live with my biological mother for four months. I had just met her months earlier and it was awkward for both of us. She and her ex-husband lived a very quiet life in Boulder, Colorado. He was a professor at one of the universities and she was a housewife. After years of drug addiction and being in and out of jail, she deserved the break. I was homeless so she and her husband agreed to let me come live with them. Each evening my mother and I would find a spot in the living room with a cup of tea and a book.

Now, years later, I'm a self proclaimed tea expert. I start each day with a wonderful English Breakfast tea to get me going. As the day progresses, who knows what wonderful tea I will crown queen. But for sure, I have at least three cups of tea a day. And yes, when I can, I have tea everyday at about 3:00 P. M. I love to invite my friends over for tea and cupcakes and so far everyone thinks it’s a delightful experience. I am always in search of the best blend of tea. Yes, I’m a tea snob, I prefer loose tea but I do like some bags also. I have learned not to judge a book by it’s cover. Some bags can be quite nice. And yes again, any Diva knows, what you drink your tea out of is very important.

Tea for me is a way of life. It's wellness for the mind body and spirit. Here, I will explore every expect of tea possible, with a high concentration on wellness. I will review the best teas, the best places to have tea, the best ways to brew tea, the best tea accessories, what tea goes best with what foods, and the list goes on and on. I plan to share my passion for tea with you. And I've been told, nothing I do is ever boring so be prepared to go on this tea journey with me.

RLT Collection Tea Ball Frosted Clear Beads!

Mint Medley by The Persimmon Tree Tea Company

About This Tea:

Until recently I had never drank Peppermint Tea made with loose leaves. And Honestly, I will probably never go back. The freshness of loose Peppermint Tea cannot be denied. When I open the can of Mint Medley, From The Persimmon Tree Tea Company, I feel as if I stepped into a garden of peppermint leaves. It is a perfect blend of organic peppermint and spearmint leaves grown in the US.

Mint Medley has become a favorite and I find myself reaching for this tea tin almost everyday. It is great for on-going nausea. The health benefits and endless. It relieves muscle aches, headaches, migraines, stress. And now that it feels like someone is sitting on my chest and I have a mean cough, I'm sure it will help to relieve some of this congestion in my chest. Mint Medley has been in my tea cup more than any tea as of late. It has really helped with my winter cough, congestion related to this bout of pneumonia. You can read my full review on The Persimmon Tree Tea Company Mint Teas.

RLT Collection AIDS Awareness Tea Ball!

Welcome to my world of books! As an pre-teen books changed my world. I fell in love with the writers of the Harlem Renaissance period and the more I read the more I wanted to read. The fiction of this period was powerful and empowering all at the same time. It spoke to my own degradation and gave me hope for a better tomorrow. It gave me purpose for my own life and the courage to fight the good fight and never surrender.

I love to read! Inside a book I escape into someone else's life. There is something wonderful about turning to the next page of a wonderful story. Something intoxicating about the smell of the book and the story it brings to life. Reading brings me joy, and these days with my health in the balance, I find solace in my books.

I spent hours in my bedroom sequestered with the door closed reading the classics from the Harlem Renaissance, Hughes, Larsen, Hurston, Wright and Baldwin. Books became my escape and my salvation. The fiction of this period was powerful and empowering all at the same time. It gave me purpose for my own life and the courage to fight the good fight and never surrender.

Reading is the one thing that the pain of my life could never take away from me. It was the thing that helped to make it better. And even today, living with AIDS, books continue to be the safest place for me. It’s the one thing that belongs to me that AIDS cannot take away from me.The RLTReads book club will be books that I choose. It’s me sharing a part of me with you that has nothing to do with AIDS. It’s actually in spite of AIDS.

The RLTReads book club will be books that I choose. It’s me sharing a part of me with you that has nothing to do with AIDS. It’s actually in spite of AIDS. I have read hundreds of books from many different genres and I will pick the best of my reads over the years. I warn you, it will not be exclusively white or black, male or female, fiction or non fiction, it will be all of them.

I’m so excited and I’m grateful to everyone who wants to be a part of this venture. We already have 110 Book Club Members. You can email me @ RLTReads@raelewisthornton.com. The Twitter hashtag is #RLTReads. We can make this book club as wonderful as we want to make it. Who says that Oprah has to have the only ownership to a wonderful book club?

This Month We are Reading In My Fathers House by E Lynn Harris

Read along and join our discussion July 19th at 7 pm CST

For more Tea with Rae "Vlogs" Click here to visit her youtube channel

Monday, March 22, 2010

Anyway I Can!!

As I logged out of my bank account, tears welled in my eyes. I had no idea how I had miscalculated yet again. This was not the day to be broke. I had exactly one hour and thirty minutes to get to this speaking engagement and taking a taxi was out of the question.

I sat in the bed pondering my dilemma. If I hadn't spent 30 minutes between Twitter and Facebook, then maybe I would’ve had enough time to find another way, but that was not the case. Now I was in a tight bind and I didn’t see a good way out. I knew that I couldn’t spend half of all the money I had on a taxi, but I was definitely running late. The rain hitting against my window pane only seemed to compound my dilemma. It felt as if nature was beating me with every drop. At that moment, reality set in. My finances were as murky as the rain on my window plane. “Things have got get better,” I mumbled.

I had long begun to accept that the broken economy hit me hard. As a result, my financial situation was bleak. Hyperion Publishers had walked away from the book deal of my memoir and that hit me as hard as the Wall Street Crash of ‘29. It sent me straight into a depression not only financially, but also emotionally. I had invested everything, including time and energy. I worked tirelessly on my memoir, crying along the way. I wanted to be honest and authentic and that put me on an emotional roller coaster but I did it. I left nothing out. I told on myself and everybody else but it was not enough for my editor. She wanted my story without context but I had learned long ago that text without context is pretext. I was not going to be the next Video Vixen. My life was much more meaningful than being reduced to a story line. I had even been told that I was a “poor writer.” It didn’t do much for my self esteem.

Yes, I had been blindsided by my publisher in every way and it made a bad situation worse. Almost two years prior to the book deal I had made significant life style changes. And during the early months of the book deal, I took the changes even further. I downsized my life in every aspect: from my living space to the things that I owned. I had a house sale that lasted for months. In therapy, I had come to terms with my spending issue and now I was proactive and feeling good about the financial decisions I was making. I had a well laid plain that would keep me afloat for at least a year. By then, I would be on tour with my book and making money. But now, things had changed.

So, two Saturdays ago, I sat in bed, listening to the rain and playing out my dilemma in my head. I could cancel, say that I was sick. But I had never done that before. Using my illness to deceive is not how God would have me to live. It was a small speaking engagement and I was sure that the crowd would be small, but that didn't matter either. I had committed, basically for little to no money, but it was a commitment nonetheless. At the end of the day, you’re only as good as your word.

 Swallowing my pride that morning was like swallowing a teaspoon of castor oil with Grandmama holding the spoon. There is no way out. So I pushed forward, dressed and made my way to Chicago public transportation. By the time I made it to the station I didn't have a curl on my head. I sat on the train thinking about it all and became overwhelmed and started to cry. I tried to shake it off but the tears kept coming. I knew I had to pull it together but the harder I tried, the harder I cried. No curls, now no makeup. What a mess, sitting on the train with tears streaming down. 

As I sat there wallowing in self-pity, a young African-American male boarded the train. He was dressed in an overcoat, baggy jeans, dark shades, a do-rag and a cap. As he made his way toward me I pulled my Chanel handbag a little tighter. But soon, I learned that he was only interested in my soul. He started walking the aisle and talking about how God delivered him from bondage. My tears dried as I listened to him PREACH. His words were powerful. “This isn't what I would be doing. My way is the wrong way,” he sang out. No sooner than he had my full attention, he was off the train. The last thing I heard him say as he exited, hit me like a ton of bricks. “It’s what God would have me to do.”

As the train started again, I looked over to the other car and there he was. PREACHING!!! I instantly, shook off the leftovers of my pride. If he could do God’s work, anyway he can, then so could I.

 By the time I made it to my speaking engagement, my hair was all over my head, my makeup up was gone and the bottom of my pants legs were wet, but I made it. I found a mirror and tried to get my Diva back as best as I could. But somehow, at the moment, it didn’t matter. Nothing seemed to matter. Not even the $49.00 I had to my name. What mattered the most was that God still had purpose for my life, and I was willing to do His bidding, anyway I can.

Note: Photo with one of my Twitter Followers Chris Vaughn, who made his way to hear me speak in the rain, of course with his camera.  LOL..
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