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 19, 2011

Stop Being a Part of the Problem

My heart is so heavy this morning. For Real. It's been months since I've woken up in the morning and actually felt good. And on top of that, I can count on both hands the number of balanced meals I've had in months because my GI system is off. The doctors are saying my brain is not telling my stomach what to do and that is causing havoc. Nonstop nausea, no appetite, sporadic diarrhea, and no matter how much I eat, there's an overwhelming feeling of fullness. But in my hardship, I'm not so self-centered that my heart can't be heavy for something/someone other than myself.

So this morning when I saw a tweet about 90 girls pregnant at one high school in Memphis, I surely thought it was a joke. I went searching and found that it was true. I'm absolutely heartbroken to hear this, but I'm equally heartbroken about a culture that makes this acceptable. A double standard in our lives that celebrates unacceptable behavior on the one hand and curse it on the other. We have helped to create this culture where teen girls believe unprotected sex is acceptable and having a baby is a prize of some sort. A culture that says the dangers of unprotected sex are minimum.

I'm gonna start at the top of the food chain. There's a denial in the Black community that HIV is a problem. We continually say that the statistics must be wrong. The other night, Anderson Cooper had a program about AIDS in the African-American community, and the tweets I saw, even from AIDS activists, disturbed me. Tweet's that said, "Stop making AIDS seem like it's a "Black" problem, other people are infected with HIV also." Well hello, African-Americans are 46% of the HIV cases and 45% of all new cases in the United States, and we are only 12% of the population. I don't know about you, but I consider that a Black issue.

It seems that we are stuck on stupid. I even hear people saying amongst ourselves that the "white man" is just making us look bad, that the statics are not true. With this continued denial we send a subliminal message that we are not at risk. Which on the one hand makes it acceptable for woman, both young and old alike, to have unprotected sex. What's the worst that could happen? Get pregnant, no big deal.

But the fact of the matter, in Memphis, Shelby County, 80% of all HIV cases are African-American. So it stands to reason that each time a young lady lies down she is putting herself at risk for HIV and a host of other sexually transmitted diseases; birds of a feather tend to flock together, including STD's. It would be a shame for a young girl to be told all at the same time that she is pregnant and that she also has HIV. Her life will never be the same. She becomes an instant adult, not only a child raising a child, but a child who will have to start fighting for her life for the rest of her life.

But this double standard is not just in the African-American community. It's a part of the larger society. This culture that says anyone can be famous. No need to work for it. Get  pregnant and you can be on a reality TV show with all the fame and perks. There is not just one reality show, but two. 16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom. Girls are getting pregnant just for a chance at reality show fame. And teen pregnancy is not just occuring among African-American girls. A group of girls in Gloucester, MA, made a pact to get pregnant and raise their children together.

If we are going to change this tide we all must become a part of the solution and stop being a part of the problem. We must challenge abstinence only programs in schools across this country. We must give young people all the information so they can make smart decisions. Even churches need to stop threatening teens with sin and God's wrath. God is a loving God and wants us to live whole and healthy, but how can they live whole with only some of the information. How can young people respect and trust you when Pastors are being accused of sexual abuse of young men and other Pastors and church leaders across the country are silent.

How can our young teens respect your advice when you are still lying about how Uncle John and Aunt Mary died. When no one in the family has mentioned the word AIDS at a family gathering but are whispering about it in the corners of our homes. And when are mothers and fathers gonna take a real leadership role in our families and sit with our teenagers and give them honest information about sex.

Change must take place at the top of the food chain. We must all become a part of the solution and stop being a part of the problem. Just the other day someone asked me if I had to use profanity on my blog post to make a point. It was one of my Fuckin Friday blogs. You damn straight. If cussing is needed to get the point across then that's what I do. I will never be so damn self-righteous that it interferes with my desire to help bring positive change. My sex blogs get more visits and retweets on Twitter than any other post. That means young people are getting my message and sharing it.

Let's move beyond our hypocrisy, self-righteousness and denial so that we do not lose a generation of our young people. We must all become a part of the solution and stop being a part of the problem.

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