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

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Blessings Come in Many Ways...

Everyone knows that I simply love chocolate. So I was elated when I saw the Kilwin's sign go up in Old Town, not too far from my house. I waited patiently for them to open but it seemed like forever. They started construction that summer but didn't open until October 3rd.

But OMG the first time I bit into the caramel chocolate dipped marshmallow on a stick I knew my tummy had been blessed. But who would have thought this shop would render more blessings to me then I could have ever imagined.

Jacqueline Stepping Up Her Twitter Game!
After my second visit I discovered that the owners were African-American. I felt a sense of pride to learn that an African-American couple had opened a shop on the Gold Coast. They were so cool, and Jacqueline knew my story. She knew who I was and was excited to meet me. We bonded over small talk and samples of fudge.

 As the fall left and the winter came I would drop in for my chocolate fix. The store was holding it's own but there didn't seem to be a mad rush for ice cream and homemade chocolates. I'm sure that some of the neighbor folk who were not familiar with the Kilwin's chain clung to the historic Fudge Pot down the street. They opened so late in the season that it seemed to be affecting their business. But the tasty delights, the wonderful owners, and a desire to support them kept me coming back. And each time I dropped in I talked to Jacqueline about Twitter. You all know the Twitter addict I am thinks it's the 21st century solution to just about everything.

She was listening to me. She opened an account and I think I saw maybe one tweet a week. LOL! So last week I had had enough. I marched right in and told her husband we should do a tweet-up. Let people know that you are here and alive. My girlfriend, fellow blogger and Tweeter Dwana, and I had been talking about doing something together since forever and it seemed like the perfect fit.

Me and Dwana at #RLTEvent
The next day I went over there and Jacqueline and I sat down to make it happen. She was delighted to host a Tweet-up for National African-American HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. It was settled in 10 minutes! Carmel corn, fudge, brittle, hot chocolate and ice cream. Heart to Heart For HIV (#Heart2Heart4HIV). People could come and tweet to bring awareness to HIV/AIDS on this important day and have some wonderful treats at the same time. That's the perfect Tweet-up, something to munch on, tweeting, and conversing all at the same time and no one thinks you're being rude. But my sense of pride about the partnership is strong. People are always talking about what Black people ain't doing about HIV and never about what they are doing. Dwana nor Jacqueline are obligated but they feel it's necessary and important!

Jacqueline  Setting up her Twitter
On that day Jacqueline and I sat and talked for the next couple of hours. I had some delicious hot chocolate and gave her pointers to step up her Twitter game. We downloaded Twitter onto her iPhone and got busy.

Then, as it goes for women who connect, we shared our life stories. LOL! I told her about my lack of speaking engagements and holding on by a thread finical; And she shared with me the struggles of being a businesswomen. We also talked about Twitter and how I was using it for HIV/AIDS education and prevention. I also talked about the need to have the iPhone 4 so I could step up my Twitter game.  But with no speaking engagements in site, I didn't see it in my future anytime soon.

But in these last few years I've learned to live with what I got, not with what I want. But I've also learned you never know how God will bless you. I tell people all the time not to box God in. God's dreams for your life is much larger than your dreams could ever be. Be patient. #ForReal. God's time is not our time. I also say, it's just nice to be nice, you never know how, when, or why a person, even a stranger, will enrich your life.

The next day, Jacqueline tweeted me that she had a surprise for me. Yep, you guessed it! Her husband took me straight to the Apple Store to get me my new iPhone 4. I think I'm still in shock. It's been so hard for me in these last years. And many people who I thought would have helped me, punched out. But it's clear to me that God always fills the void.

Who would  have thought that this woman, basically a stranger to me would be such a blessing to me in so many ways. She blesses my tummy with those delightful creations in her shop, she's sponsoring our Heart To Heart For HIV Tweet-up for National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, and she sowed a personal seed into my ministry with my new iPhone 4. Now I can tweet and never leave my bed on those days that I'm not feeling well. Yep... It's true, Blessings Come in Many Ways... Don't box God in, you may miss your blessing looking in the wrong direction.

Note: Next week a review of  Kilwins wonderful delights... In the meantime we hope that you will join us on Feb. 7th... Don't forget to RSVP.

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