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, March 30, 2011

This Is For Me!

Me after Speaking - Picture in Washington Post Newspaper
I have never really asked for much. I have been a one woman show in these 19 years  that I've been speaking. No big pharmaceutical contracts, no sponsors, just me on the grind.

Honestly, I never ask because my pride for the most part always gets in the way. Some days I think, who the hell do I think I am asking people for anything. Even after I watched Les Brown one evening explain why people needed to have each of his books and then watched people stand in line to buy it, I couldn't get my nerve up to ask. Some speakers even ask for things like first class tickets and double my speakers fee, but I could never ask for such an expense. I want the message to be heard, but yet I do have to live.

Cover Story Emerge Magazine
But more than my pride, I have always underestimated my ministry and impact on the lives of others. My ex-husband used to taunt me when he was angry and tell me that I was "married to my ministry, not him." I would just shrug him off because I understood that was his shit, his insecurity. Looking back, I'm glad I didn't let him influence my work ethic or my purpose. I just Kept It Moving no matter how his passive/aggressive personality tried to derail my work.

My good friend Luke tells me all the time that I just don't understand how life changing my work is. There's a part of me that is happy that I don't. Grateful that I have been able to remain humble on this journey. And don't get my Type A personality confused. It's the thing that fuels my work, but not my purpose. Shoot, you gotta have a Type A personality to talk about half the stuff I talk about, otherwise you would get crushed. For Real... For Real...

Speaking at Rainbow/PUSH National Headquarters
But I must admit, it's starting to sorta sink in. The emails and private messages I get on Twitter and Facebook speak volumes and are a testament to my work. I'm always so overwhelmed when people reach out to me and share the impact of something I have either written or said that inspire them to be better and do better. I'm humbled that God took my mess and made it a ministry.

But most important, I am living in my purpose! Many people live a lifetime and never even know their purpose. And others who know their purpose are paralyzed by failure and fear. My boldness to walk in my purpose is a legacy I am proud to leave.

With all of this said... this one is for me! My next Diva AIDS Awareness Bracelet is for me! To honor my life and my work around HIV/AIDS. I have lived with HIV for 28 years and AIDS for 19. I have lived over half of my life with HIV. I have been speaking for 18 years; And in these years I have created a rich legacy. The first Black woman to tell my story of living with AIDS on a cover of a national magazine - Essence, December 1994.

I received an Emmy Award in Outstanding Feature Series in Hard News for my first-person news reports on my life, Living With AIDS. I have crisscrossed this country telling my story with the prayer that it will help to change a life. Challenging stereotypes and myths around HIV/AIDS. To be a voice for the voiceless. And in the last year, I have done some groundbreaking work, using social media as a vehicle to educate around HIV/AIDS.

So here's to me and my work! Last year I honored Hydeia Broadbent with the Hydeia Bracelet for RLT Collection. I underwrote the cost and shipping of the bracelet and still gave her half of the actual price of the bracelet. I did it from my heart. Thanks to everyone who purchased the Hydeia Bracelet.

teamRae Bracelet!
This new Diva AIDS Awareness Bracelet for RLT Collection is a special fundraiser for me. I am making 100 teamRae Bracelets. On May 22nd I will be 49 years old. My life is a miracle. By medical standards, I should have died 16 years ago. And make no mistake, at one point I was sick enough that I should have died. But God's plan was bigger then AIDS could ever be!!

The teamRae Bracelet is a celebration of my life and my work around HIV/AIDS. The cost is $49.00, one dollar for each year of life that God has blessed me with.

I am asking 100 people to purchase the teamRae Bracelet to support me and my work in a practical way. My goal is to sell all 100 teamRae Bracelets by my birthday on May 22nd. It's a lofty goal, but I believe that there are 100 people who will sow into my life and work in the next 54 days.

I am even asking my personal friends to buy this bracelet and proudly wear it to show their support for the work that I do! And wear this bracelet to challenge stigma and shame around HIV/AIDS. Yes, this is a fundraiser. And yes, there are many people who support me in many different ways. This bracelet, however, is a public expression of your support for me and my work and at the same time a practical way to support my work.

I am planning to make a collage of everyone wearing the #teamRae Bracelet. The collage will then be turn into my 2011 Christmas Card. Im excited!!  I can't wait for you to post your picture wearing the teamRae Bracelet on my Facebook page or Tweet it to me so I can Retweet. Thanks Lovely's for all your support, #IcannotdoitAlone. I hope to see your picture in the collage! *smiling*

Post Script:  Everyone knows that I love blackThe #teamRae Bracelet is designed with 8 mm black onyx round smooth gemstones and a 12 mm round onyx center stone with rhinestones down the middle. The back of the bracelet has an 8 mm red rhinestone bead for AIDS awareness. This is the perfect bracelet. It has just enough bling. And it can be dressed up or down and worn with other RLT Collection stackable bracelets. 

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