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

Friday, March 12, 2010

Nambi: My Small Miracle!

Panic, terror and then guilt rushed through my head as I grabbed my baby who was choking to death. I tried to remember all the movies I had seen where they performed the Heimlich maneuver but my memory could gather no technique. All I could think to do was squeeze her stomach and stick my finger down her throat as her body was stiffening. I could see that she was fighting, trying to free herself from the terror that she was experiencing. I cried out to God, “Not now! I can’t take any more hurt!” I can’t lose her I thought. I cried louder, “Help me Lord! I don’t know how to save my baby.”

Guilt rushed though my body like a Chicago wind chill. I knew at fifteen, with bad teeth, that crouton was too hard for her to chew. I knew better! But she was barking and I was anxious to get back to work. This blog had taken center stage. I only had three more days before the launch. I needed to write. I needed peace.

But now, everything had stopped. My baby Nambi was fighting for her life. I was helpless. I remembered Oprah watching her Gracie die before her eyes and was saddened. Like Oprah, I wanted to make sense of it all. Two minutes into the ordeal I had already started to spin her death in my head. She had given me 15 great years. She was a wonderful companion, especially in those early years of my transition to AIDS when the quality of my life was reduced to home and bed when I wasn't out speaking. On those days, when my body was racked with fatigue and side-effects from my medications, Nambi would lay on the pillow over me and never move. She became my guardian angel and a reflection of my alter ego. She has been often called “Little Rae.” My significant other looked at me one day recently and declared, “That dog is just like you."

Nambi when she was young. She had so much hair! She's almost bald now.

Yes, Nambi has lived a long life far beyond her expectancy. In many ways, she is my alter ego, a fighter, defying the odds, just like me. I remember when the vet told me to put her to sleep three years ago. I cried and cried, and delayed and delayed. I had just gotten Sophie, who brought life to our house. Within weeks, Nambi had bounced back and was her old self. The vet thinks that Sophie saved her life. Now, Nambi is just old and you don’t put old people to sleep so why put an old dog to sleep? She’s been blind for two years but she finds everything she needs. She has a heart murmur and a small tumor on her liver but she is in no pain. Her collapsed trachea makes her breathing more labored at times but, for the most part, my old Diva is hanging in there. Yes, Diva. She won’t even sit on the bare floor. For real. I know death is for certain, but I didn't want it to be at my hands, that’s an experience I never want to have. I watched the vet as he put my Imani, Nambi’s mother to sleep and it took over two years for me to recover. I am certain I cannot watch another of my dogs die.

Nothing was changing, as I attempted to perform the Heimlich maneuver, squeezing her back and stomach, alternating with my finger down her throat. She was clearly choking to death. “Oh God, help me! Not this way,” I cried out. And after what seemed like an eternity, her face started to relax and her eyes popped back into place. I took a deep breath and then placed my finger down her throat again just to be sure. Her breathing was labored but she seemed ok. I put her down. She could walk but she was clearly shaken. The crouton didn't come out so it must have gone down. I picked her up, sat down and held her in my arms. I slumped over her body, and the tears starting streaming down. I was so grateful for this small miracle

Her old lady diva picture
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