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, September 20, 2010

Monday Reflection: When Life Knocks You On Your Ass

Sometimes life knocks you flat on your ass. It’s not one thing but the sum total of it all. Lately, that’s what it’s been like for me in a nutshell. Just feeling knocked down and having a hell of a time trying to get back on my feet. I will admit that any one thing in my life would have been enough to knock the average person down. But I’m not average in the least bit. Never have been. Even as a little girl being beat until my young body cried with welts, I was determined to hold on to the joy that comes from within. The thing that comes from God and rests deep within.

So if I admit to being knocked down then it’s big. And I’ve got to admit, I’ve been in a funk. Feeling overwhelmed about my life and all that it is. My health has been a freaking thorn in my side. More obtrusive then normal, reminding me of the days of yesteryear when AIDS was an absolute death sentence and you prayed for T-Cells. I have clearly taken a hit. This stomach virus has yet to go away. And the longer it stays, the longer I have to stay off my HIV medication leaving my body vulnerable to that bitch of a virus.

I am hopeful that this will be my last week on this drug holiday. Hopeful, but then that’s even with mixed emotions. Once back on the medication, I have to readjust to the side effects all over again. There are five medications in my HIV cocktail but the two with the worst side effects are Norvir and Isentress. So here were go. Isentress causes fatigue and severe headaches, Norvir causes nausea, diarrhea and fatigue. So understand this, I got off my medication so my body could become normal again to be able to tolerate the side effects of the regimen. And then we pray that I haven't developed a resistance to this combination. It’s all so much to think about and deal with. But I know in my heart that God won’t let me fail. I have to remember my history with God. Remember what He has done in my life. And remember that even now He is an actor in my life; case in point, I have breath in my body.

But this understanding does not take away the right now struggle of it all. Being sick every day and trying to keep a roof over your head is no easy task. All that it encompasses from answering e-mails, sending out packets, explaining to people why I would be the right person to deliver the message and then the actual work. Becoming valuable and transparent with the hope that it will help someone, but draining everything that I have on the inside. And what’s so deep about it all is that people think that my life is glamorous and prosperous. Ministry is a lonely place, a hard life, and lately, harder than normal.

Being sick and packing a house for a move and then unpacking after a move is no easy task either. My OCD won’t let me stop. No matter how hard I try to rest I still find myself up at 1:00 am trying to make my place just right. Adding more physical stress to an already stressed out body. Trying to create a private space for myself that belongs to me in this public world that I live. It’s seems easy to just say rest. But the compulsion to keep moving dominates even the knowing that I need to rest. Yes, I have a lot going on and these are just some of the issues that weigh heavy on my heart and life - School: I am so behind in my Ph.D. program, praying that they don’t kick me out; Love and friendships: those you have, those you want to have. Yes, life has a way of adding up and then weighing down on you.

Wouldn't it be nice if all the bad would just go away? But that isn't the real world. In the world life knocks you on your ass. I understand this. And in this understanding I cannot let it keep me down. I understand that the victory is in getting back up. Some people believe it’s about the quickness of getting up. But then that’s unrealistic too. You have to give yourself the time to process it all. To come to terms with the losses and the changes in your life. If you don’t deal with that “thing (s)” it will paralyze you making the getting back up harder then the “thing(s)” that made you fall.

While I’m down, I find my strength in the memory that God’s has never stopped being an actor in my life. With this understanding of God’s history in my life I find comfort and understanding that the future can only be brighter. This is the thing that helps me to get back up, to not surrender to the darkness. The thing that helps me fight back one push up at a time. And in this knowing I can find the joy rooted deep down and comes from within. It does not leave you when you fall. It’s just waiting on you for you to push it back up.

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