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, August 23, 2010

Monday Reflection: Perspective

Sophie was ready for her evening walk and I saw no reason why I couldn't perform my Mommie duties yesterday. The temperature had gone down and my diarrhea had passed. She was one happy dog as we made our way down the street. With Nambi in my arms and Sophie leading the way I didn't have a care in the world, that is until I felt my stomach turn. "Oh NO!" I said to my girlfriend Jay on the phone. "I think I'm gonna have diarrhea again." And as soon as I said it, I could feel the poop seeping out of my behind. I contracted my anal muscles trying to hold it in, but that was futile. As I made my way back home, I could feel more and more seep into my pants. The acid from the poop started to sting like someone had poured alcohol into an open wound.

This was not good. Embarrassment ran across my face wondering if people could see the watery brown stain in my light tan capris. But I made my way through my Gold Coast neighborhood as quickly as I could with two dogs. By the time I reached my bathroom my bottom was raw and poop was everywhere. All I could do was sigh.

After I had finished using the bathroom, I washed my body and then my pants. I turned off all the lights and crawled into my bed. Not to cry nor to ask God why, but to calm myself. There is no need to ask God why. I know that answer. When I was 21 years old, I made a choice about my body that has me fighting for my life for the rest of my life. And nothing will ever change that, not fancy clothes, or even being on the cover of the Chicago Tribune. My life is what it is. My peace comes with this acceptance. We give God way to much credit, blaming Him for how we use the gift of free will. But I understand that I could have made a different decision that would have rendered me a different outcome. God on the other hand gives us the tools to cope with all our jacked up decisions that are contrary to living whole and healthy.

So laying there with Sophie's head on my chest, showing me some love, I didn't ask why. I laid there centering myself. I started to reflect on what I had told the congregation at Immanuel M. B. Church earlier that morning as their Women's Day speaker. "It's easy to love God when things are going great," I said. "But can you love God when you are hurting?"

In an instant I was thankful. Thankful that I didn't have diarrhea earlier in my beautiful baby blue St. John Knit, or in the pulpit while speaking. Thankful that I was only a block from my home and that I had a home to come to.

Thankful that my doctor is back from vacation today and that I have a wonderful doctor who knows everything about treating women with HIV/AIDS. It's been twelve long days for me. Nausea, diarrhea, no appetite, and unexpected weight loss. I'll call the doctor in an hour so we can begin this journey of diagnosis on top of the other issues I am already having. Who knows what this is. I assumed it was food poisoning when it first began, but today I have no idea. And with advanced AIDS, it could be something simple like medication, or something serious like an infection. All I can do is brace myself for the answers. Even in that I'm thankful. I understand that the alternative is death. So I take life as it comes and measure my good days against my bad days in full perspective. It's better to be alive and to be a part of God's earthly plan then to have no life at all.

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