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, November 15, 2010

Monday Reflection: Just Continue to Do Your Part...

The truth is I have been looking at the computer screen off and on all morning trying to find something to say that is meaningful, but I seem to be empty. Empty all the way around. My mind, body, spirit and even my ministry.

I can’t believe that World AIDS Day is in a few weeks and I don’t even have a gig. I mean, I’m one of the most name recognizable Black women in America with AIDS, Emmy Award winning AIDS Activist, educated, articulate and a true soldier, and no one has confirmed me to speak for World AIDS Day. My speakers fee is $23,000 less than Magic Johnson, and $13,000 less than Greg Louganis. I can talk my ass off and from what I’ve been told, I leave a lasting impression.  But yet my date book is empty.

There’s one part of me that thinks, maybe God wants my body and spirit to rest and rejuvenate from the back to back hits I’ve taken with my health in the last few months. But then I remember the days when my t-cell count was 8 and I was in demand and I responded. Even with a temperature of a 101 and PCP attacking my lungs, my health never stopped me. I was on a mission and I was clear that my ministry was greater than my health. But when my ministry and my health take a hit, I am lost. What seems like God’s silence has left me void.

I don’t have any answers. None. There was a time in my life that I knew that I knew that I knew: My life was about purpose even in my suffering. But, my lack of speaking engagements leaves me in doubt. In the last two years my combined speaking engagements have not amounted to what a months worth used to be. And HIV/AIDS is worse than ever for African-Americans.

I sometimes even wonder how I have been able to keep a roof over my head. But then when I really think about it, truly God must be an actor in all of this. Just when my telephone or lights are are gonna be disconnected something comes so unexpected that God must be moving. Even last week when I was at the lowest I’ve been in years with my health I didn't crack.

Honestly, I was close on Tuesday. I was so close. But here it is six days later and I am still in my right mind. So I’m convinced that God moves even when I can’t hear His voice. I may be empty but I am alive. I may not know what the future holds but I know who holds my future. So I will at least continue to do my part. Be all that I can be even when it’s not how it used to be. Accept what lies in front of me and not worry about what’s ahead of me. Blog when I don’t feel prophetic, tweet my message when there is no formal platform, rest and heal. God no doubt will do the rest, for He is a keeper. Whatever your darkest moment may be, know that God will keep you, just continue to do your part


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