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, March 28, 2011

Monday Reflection: Be The Change!

It is a fact, change comes by action! A desire for change is only the beginning, at some point you have to be the change you want to see. You have to either get off the pot or piss! There is no other way.

I've learned this in my own life. No matter how hard the struggle, you have to press to the new, or the old will dominate your life, for the rest of your life. But I also know that change is not easy.

It's no secret that I have demons galore. I have blogged and talked about them very openly in my speaking engagements. Low self-esteem rooted in childhood sexual, emotional and physical abuse, left me trying to figure out what was normal and healthy. As a result, I maneuvered through life doing damage to my body, mind and spirit. I had to learn that what I thought was a normal way of life, was abnormal. But once I learned, translating that into new behaviors was not an easy task. In fact, it is easiest doing what is familiar to you. While the familiar is the safest thing to do, it is also the most destructive thing to do.

Once I figured out that some of my problems were of my own doing, it became a battle between the old and the new. Yes, it took years of therapy and prayer, but it also required action on my part.

The saying "If you take one step, God will take two," is true. But if you don't move, you give God no room to work in your life. That's the thing about free will. God gives us the option to make both bad and good decisions for our lives. What you do, with what you know, is your choice, your right.

So once I understood what healthy was, how did I actually get to this place in my life of living healthy? The saying, "When you know better, you do better," is not as easy as it seems.

It took a lot of freaking work!! It took taking chances. It took denying myself of things that I enjoyed. It took leaving some people behind. It took a profound internalization that accepting a new way of life was better than the old way, even if the old felt safe. Even if there were levels of comfort in the old.

I had to accept that the old rendered me nothing but the old. And in the old, I was destroying the person God intended for me to be. I had to stop the madness or destroy the wonderful woman that God made me to be!  

Remember the definition of insanity: "Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome." Well, that's what happens when we keep talking about wanting a different life but continue to live in the life you have, the same way you have, over and over again.

Now let me be clear, making changes in our life is not easy. It's hard as hell!!! I'm going to give you a practical example and call it a day.

Example: Last week an ex-lover texted to tell me that he missed me and wanted to get together. You can read the blog HERE to fill in the details. I asked him did he still have a wife? He said yes, and I then said, I can't go there. And that ended the texting.

Now this is the reality. My last relationship ended about a year ago. I promised him that I wouldn't talk about him publicly because he has the right to work through his demons his own way. I love and miss him and I know he feels the same way, but we CANNOT be together. It is what it is! So I'm very lonely. I miss him, but I also miss companionship and honestly, I miss being touched. (Not fucked, touched!)

Now an ex-lover, who I was with for about 5 years texted to say he wanted to be with me, if I was willing. Now, he is familiar, the chemistry is great. Like we are good together. And I know it would be a well kept secret.

Him texting me stirred up emotions at that moment. He made me remember how good we were together, it made me feel desirable. Here I am with AIDS and going through IV treatment for herpes, pretty much at a low emotional point in my life, and a man who has a wife and is "happily married" texts me to say, I want you.

Damn!! Girl you got it like that, went through my head. My ego was on 10! And then I started to think about him and in that second, how he made my toes curl. And I was honest with him--"I miss you, but I can't do it." And I wonder if I really missed him, or actually just missed being with someone. Or maybe it seemed like the next best thing at that moment because I can't be with who I want to be with. Who knows, maybe all the above.

Now, I had a few options. I could have filled some void in my life by fucking him but that would have put me right back where I was a few years ago. In those few texts I had to be HONEST with myself.

For a 30 minute fuck, I would destroy all this hard work on myself. I had to weigh the fuck verses the damage the fuck would do to me.

After the fuck, he would go back home to his wife and all I would have is a wet pussy, still be lonely and a broken spirit.

And that may lead me back to a cycle of unhealthy behavior, yet again, because I would be seeking something to fill that void. It might lead me down Michigan Ave. spending money I don't have to spend, literally bill money. Or make me break Lent and go get a dozen More Cupcakes. Or make myself vulnerable to continue to see him.

I also had to remember his history in this equation. He will fuck as often as I allow him to fuck and that is all he is willing to offer, a hard dick. It was hard. Think about it. I had to do all of this thinking lonely, vulnerable and within minutes. But I did it!!

I did that right thing for me in the long run. I didn't put myself in a situation to go back to unhealthy behavior. I won't break Lent and there is a blessing in keeping Lent. I won't spend my bill money, keeping me focused on trying to get my finances in order and out of this dreadful debt I'm in. And I didn't commit adultery, making my life and ministry a lie. Only so many times we can look to David's messed up, sinful crap as an excuse for ours.

And because of my faithfulness I put myself in a better place to be used more and more by God. But honestly, I know that God will love me in spite of me. I also know that gifts and calling comes without repentance. (It's in the word.) So at the end of the day, the most important thing is that I can look myself in the mirror and feel good about what I see. Yes, I am still lonely and at an emotional low point in my life. But at least I like myself.

Now, someone made a smart ass comment on the blog post about be being HONEST in my text about "missing him." And she said I was wrong, that I might as well go ahead and fuck him. HUH?

You CANNOT be healthy living a lie either in actions, head or heart. I had to accept my desire at that moment in order to conquer that desire. If an addict does not face that they want to "use" at that moment and take their ass to an AA meeting or call their sponsor, they will surely end up in a crack house. You cannot face your demons in a lie.

It is true, "He who conceals his disease cannot except to be cured." If you don't face ALL the truths in a situation you cannot make the best decisions for your life. I'm just grateful that God allowed me to be honest with you about what I was feeling. You cannot save lives with half-truths and misinformation. I wanta say more, but I think other people addressed her appropriately. Thank you, Lovely's!! #teamRae.

I wanted to work through this scenario for you. I wanted you to see how it plays out in real life. At any given moment we are faced with choices. What you do with your choices is up to you. God has given you the gift of free will. You can use it to be the person God intended for you to be or you can use it to destroy the gift that you are.

At some point in your life you have got to make the hard decisions about what's good, right and perfect, and what kind of life you truly want to live.

Yes, it will be hard work and no, you will never be a perfect being. Only God is perfect. But in the end, you will not only love the person that you are, you will actually like the person that you are. But one thing is for sure, if you continue to do the same thing over and over again, change will NEVER happen! Be the Change you want to see in your life!

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