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

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Monday Reflection: Do Better!!!

The old saying, “When you know better, you should do better," has been floating around forever. I first heard it from Oprah who got it from Maya Angelou. People quote it often but I wonder how many of us actually put our words into action. For those who have been reading my blog you know that I have had to work at doing better, even in the face of knowing better.

It's an ongoing struggle, even for overachievers like me. It's interesting, you know in your heart when you are not living up to your own standards, but it's a hard thing to face. Then something happens that forces you to face that hard reality and it hits you like a ton of bricks. That happened to me on World AIDS Day. I hung out with Relana Johnson at her GoodGyrrl dance studio to have a candid discussion with women about dating, sex, and living healthy, and toward the end, someone asked me point blank, "So, since the name of the event here today is *do better* what advice do you have for the women to actually do better?

I started explaining to the women that at some point you have to say enough is enough and be willing to face loneliness to become the woman you can be proud of. And truly, once you make the right changes in your life, you will open yourself up for the goodness to come in. Nothing good can get through the door when the bad is blocking the way. It's like this, you're in the bathroom shitting, the door and window are closed and the poop sucks up all the oxygen. And often when we finish, we get air freshener and spray, and then it smells like air freshener and poop, trying to hide the nasty. Right? Right! It's not until you open the door and windows and let the bad stuff out, will the good stuff come in.

I submit, you've gotta be willing to take chances to get to the better. Not just with dating, but in all areas of your life. What I know for sure I learned from my mentor Rev. Jesse L. Jackson. He taught me that if you don't run you are guaranteed to lose; if you do run, you might lose. You can't let the fear of failure paralyze you from being the person God intended for you to be or interfere with your life's purpose(s). You can't see His vision, but it's a living being running though your veins and when you alter from what you know to be right, good and purposeful it interferes with God's direction for your life slowing down progress.

So today I have a renewed pledge to *do better* in all areas of my life. To get out of God's way with my selfish mortal desires and be willing to accept that the thing I want most is the thing that stunts my growth. Be willing to take chances with my brand and ministry when the vision is clear and purposeful, but the growth is slow. I must remember, God's time is not our time and if He has planted that seed in you, it will definitely grow. You just have to keep watering that thang, talk to it and give it sunlight, and watch it grow. Remember, a bamboo plant grows tall but it's not until that seventh year that it blooms right before your eyes. So I challenge you all today to make a list, check it twice, and get to work to *do better*.

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