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

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Just Some Thoughts: Me and God, Actors In My LIfe

Often we want to blame God for everything that happens in our life. In that regard, we give God credit that He doesn't deserve. I do understand that God gives us free will. The right to say yes and equal right to say no. I was at a funeral yesterday and a woman said, "God wouldn't let me eat," and the pastor leaned over to me and said, "That wasn't God's fault. God doesn't starve people." And he was so right. The good news in this woman's story is that God kept her from self destruction while she was locked into depression. I remember in Helen Baylor's Testimony, she said something quite profound, "God loosed me long enough to make an intelligent decision." WOW, she and God were both actors in her recovery from addiction. That is an awesome relationship we have with God. He allows us to participate actively in our lives.

At that same funeral yesterday, Pastor Darrius Brooks made remarks that were so powerful that I have not been able to shake them. He wrote the song "Your Will" He said, "In ALL things, God knows what's best for me." ALL things, the good, the bad, the ugly...

Yes, I believe that God knows, but in this knowing, I also understand I am free to make my own decisions. That's another awesome thing about God, He oversees, but doesn't micromanage our decisions. Sometimes we want and even pray for the things that will take us further away from who God wants us to be. There is a verse in the song that says, "What I want may hurt me, and God won't let me go out like that." It's complicated isn't it? God gives us free will, but as overseer He gives us just what we need at that particular time in our journey. Mama used to say, "Just enough rope to hang yourself." How ironic, don't you think? Some of us would have self-destructed a long time ago if all the factors were in place.

I know I'm all over the place this morning, but I just wanted to share some thoughts with you. I understand that God's will is what's best for me. And no, I'm not saying that God wanted me to have HIV/AIDS. God wants what is best for us and having AIDS is not good. My free will, the right to say yes, literally got me HIV. But God created a goodness out of my HIV status. This is what I am saying, that God knew how my life would play out, and while I was making bad decisions, He was paving a way to use my bad decision for His glory. And actually, I still had the right to say yes or no to God's call for my life. Now that is an awesome God. I'm just glad that I eventually caught up with God. I began to see myself as God intended...

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