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

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Take Control Over Your Vagina!

Everything I do is ministry including writing this blog. And sometimes writing this blog is like preparing a sermon. I wait and wait on a word from the Lord, but it seems like nothing comes. Many nights I go to bed with no idea of what I will write about the next day. Yeah, a lot of times I think something up to make myself feel good, just like I did last night. I told my dinner companion, Brittany, that I was going to write about testing in the back drop of National HIV Testing Day a week ago. But truly, I just came up with something because I knew a blog had to be written. But those random ideas never really pan out. God steps in, as He did late last night! I turned to my over one hundred messages in my Facebook inbox to discover this video. I laughed out loud. And after I gained my composure I watched it yet again. My girlfriend Rev. Veronica Slater had sent it. She simply said, "I found this interesting and thought you might want it for your blog.

She was so right! But it was more than interesting it was on point! And I knew instantly that God had given me something to say that was straight from my heart. It is an unorthodox video, but it it so on point!!

I know right... It's WOW! But it is true. Women can take control of their bodies, in this case their vagina. For Real! And it is a must!! Why? Because AIDS is the number one killer of African-American women between the ages of 25-44 and 72% of all new cases of  women  with HIV are African-American. Every 34 minutes a woman in the United States is infected with HIV. But we change these facts, by taking control over our bodies.

It is 2-1 that if a woman has sex with a man who is infected with HIV, he will infect her. On the reverse, it is 20-1 that a woman will infect a man. Yes, it is easier for men to infect women, that's a fact. Approximately 12% of the men in the United States are infected from having sex with a woman and about 52% of the women are infected from having sex with a man.

Women must begin to take control of their bodies. I remember someone asked me in a speaking engagement about forgiveness of the person who infected me. The room went into an uproar. Most of the young girls there said, "HELL NAW!" Well, my answer was simple, "It's not about me forgiving him, it's about me forging me." At the end of the day, I had a choice to have sex or  to not have sex. To have sex with a condom or without. You can't blame someone else for  the choice you make about your own body. You lay down and get HIV, you could have kept you're freaking legs close. Cold, but it's the truth! You could have asked him to use a condom another truth!

Many times we don't ask because we are afraid of rejection. Some of us don't ask because  we live in some make believe world about our man and the relationship. I hear it all the time, "Im in monogamous relationship" WTF? If the penis ain't in your pocket you have no idea what it's doing when it ain't with you.  For Real! So why do we set ourselves up? Why would you live in such an arrogant world? There is no penis worth your life; And each time you have unprotected sex you are putting your life against that penis.

If a man don't respect your choice to use a condom, then he's not respecting you. And I  gonna ask, "Why would you have sex with a man that does not respect the choices you make about your body and life?" Just wondering, if companionship and the concept of love is more important than your life? Why are you  are willing to sacrifice self-respect just to have a man?

We can change these statistics!  But their must be some person responsibility somewhere in the equation. That's what the Protected Protect I'm launching is all about. People taking control over their bodies! The hardest fact to face with HIV is the simplest one, it is a prevention disease.

These day's I say come prepared. You can carry condoms in your make-up bag, or you can carry them in cute little case like this one. There are even female condoms that you can insert in your own body. The bottom line, you must take ownership of you vagina! We hope that the love will keep us safe, but I speak out of experience; At the end of the day, the only person that will keep you safe is you. The rule, if he is not your husband, no condom no sex. It does not matter how long you have been in a relationship with him. By the way, if you've been in a relationship with him that long and he hasn't married you, why are you wasting your pretty?  Love yourself more than you love a man, or the idea of having a man. It could save your life!!

Post Script: I am happy that both Just in Case and the Female Condom Company are sponsors of my Social Media Event at Encore Liquid Lounge on July 15th. Ladies you will be able to see both up close!!

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