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, December 20, 2010

Monday Reflection: Living In Your Life!

In life I have taken some chances. That's what living is all about. I've taken chances on men who promised me the world but in the end only left me empty in spirit. I’ve taken chances on beauty products that fall short of their promises to work magic. I took a chance in my early profession, moving to Washington, DC, to go work in the Jackson for President Campaign. I took a chance when I appeared on the cover of Essence Magazine as the first African-American to tell my story of living with AIDS at a time when the face of AIDS was still primarily white gay, male, and IV drug user.

Yep, I have taken some chances, all in an attempt to live this darn life that God has given me. Some chances have paid off, some have left me worse off than when I began. But no matter what my outcomes are, I never really regret taking a chance. I learned from Rev. Jesse L. Jackson that if you don’t run you are guaranteed to lose; if you do run, you might lose.

AIDS Awareness Tea Bracelet
So I step out on faith when I hear that little whisper in my ear, “Go ahead this is what I have for you to do.” 
When I get that inner feeling, like God is speaking to me leading me in the direction I'm to go, I can’t shake it until I do what is in my spirit. It was much like that when I quit my well paying job as a political organizer, with no speaking engagements set up, no brochure and no direction on how to go about getting a speaking engagement, when I came to the conclusion that God wanted me to speak about my life. I quit that darn job and I never looked back.

First RLT Collection
I can’t explain it but it’s a feeling that I know is right. It was like that when I launched my collection of bracelets. I had a lot of naysayers and people watching on the sidelines. Some of my friends still haven't purchased a bracelet from me. But it’s all good. I’m grateful for those who have supported me and are willing to wear my creations. It was a lofty project and I’m proud of my collection. No, I haven't had the sales that I would love to have, but I get so much joy out of designing the bracelets. Rome wasn't built in a day. But if I never get another bracelet sale, it’s all good too. But one thing is for sure, I won’t ever stop designing, even if I have to wear them myself. There are 365 days in a year and that will give me enough days to wear my wonderful designs.

Mother of Pearl Tea Bracelet and More Cupcake
Don't you know that God has blessed us with gifts and talents? But many of us squander them, doubting ourselves, listening to others jacked up advice when they ain't doing shit themselves. Misery loves company! For Real... For Real... That’s why you better watch the company you keep. You better watch who you share your dreams with, they can squash them and your spirit in minutes. Even with family, sometimes you have to set better boundaries. Sometimes God will even remove people and things from our lives so that we can flourish in our purpose. But we cry over that thing like it was the best tea from China when in fact even a better garden could be growing.

The worst of all, I think, is when we let the fear of failure paralyze us. God has a plan for all of our lives but some of us interfere with those plans. We get stuck in what we know for sure, it’s a safe place. But staying in a safe place isn't living, it’s just being alive. But I declare it’s not enough to just be alive, you have to live in that thang called life. And when you don’t live in it, you squander that precious gift of life that God has given you. You don’t know who’s life will be touched by your willingness to embrace your gifts and talents, no matter how big or small you may think they are. It's like the Christmas movie, "It's a Wonderful Life," George Bailey's willingness to live in his life, even when the odds were against him, touched so many others' lives.

Shell Pearl and Coral Tea Bracelet
I know I have an incredible gift to talk about my life in a way that it touches the lives of others. And I live in that everyday, every way possible, by speaking, blogging, and being on Twitter. But I’m also a very creative person. I’m actually grateful that God has blessed me with life long enough to see my creative gifts and talent flourish. It seems such a small thing, but just think, if AIDS had taken my life years ago I wouldn't be launching my line of Tea Bracelets for RLT Collection today. I know it may seem silly to some, but why not? Tea Balls with fabulous beaded tails. Yep, a bracelet for your tea ball, and some even have a dual function and can be worn as a bracelet too.

 My new collection of Tea Bracelets is just one example of me living in the life that God has blessed me with. Combining my talent of beading with my love of tea and sharing it with others. I know that there are some out there who will see my Tea Bracelets as a wonderful idea. Some will even buy them. That will make me very happy!

Onyx Tea Bracelet and More Velvet Cupcake
But just like with the bracelet collection, there are 365 days in the year and I drink tea at least three times a day. At the very least, I will have a fabulous tea ball dangling out the side of my tea cup each time I drink a cup. Yep, either way, I’m living in this life that God has blessed me with!!! Are you?

Tiger's Eye, Freshwater Pearls and Angelic Crystal Tea Bracelet
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