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, April 20, 2011

It Begins At Home: The Good; The Bad; The Ugly!

I was trying as best as I could to make this a family. I was trying my best not to let my fear of him get in the way of how a family was supposed to be. It was crazy that at 13, I was trying to make a family from out of a mess. But I was a child living in chaos desperate for a "normal" life. So that day, I gave him another try. Try to be a father, that is.

I was having problems with my camera so I went to ask for help. To my surprise and delight he took the camera to figure out the problem. As he worked on the camera, I stood at a safe distance because his history had taught me that was my safest place. But this time it seemed different. "Maybe this could be a family," I thought as he fumbled and fumbled with my camera. 

Then finally he solved the problem. He said, "See, this was all that needed to be done." I moved in closer to see how he had fixed the problem I had been trying to solve all morning. WOW! "This may be ok after all," I thought to myself. A smile came over my face. I stepped in closer and within an instant he had grabbed my breast and started rubbing it. I jerked back in horror, turned and ran straight for the door. 

I ran down those three flights of stairs as fast as I could and I didn't stop until I was blocks away from the house. That summer day I stayed in the park with friends until I was sure Mama had made it home from work. I remember walking down my block looking for Mama's car like I was looking for dear life. I was tired and hungry and I wanted to go home. 

When I saw her car I knew I was safe. I turned my keys in the door, slipped into our apartment and went straight to my bedroom and closed the door. That's how it was in my house. My bedroom was the safest place for me. It was not a normal family no matter how hard I tried or wished it to be so. It was a family soiled by abuse. At times Mama wasn't even safe. She had already told me when I told her that her husband was grabbing my breast, "I'm not gonna let you fuck up my shit." 

The funny thing is, Mama was my safety in his presence. I knew that he would never touch me around her. It was ironic that out of her own selfish need to have a man, she kept me in an environment where there was no protection, but yet at the same time, her presence provided some protection.

Growing up in this chaos and trauma it's a wonder I'm not any more crazy than I already am. No child should have to live under the circumstance in which I lived. 

In our families, we need to begin naming the abuse and protecting our children. Hurt children grow up to be hurt people. In the end, we either hurt ourselves, others, or both. Half of this destruction that our young people render on society and themselves, like drugs, alcohol, sex, gangs, violence, is rooted in lack of love and protection in our families. Saving our children begins at home! All of it, the good, the bad and the ugly.

When we see violence in our homes we must tell our sister, brother, aunt, cousin, even our friends, that the violence must stop! If we are going to raise a generation of young people who love themselves, we must first love them!

Post Script: We are wearing dark blue again this Friday. Tweet, Facebook or email me a picture of you supporting the cause in your blue. 

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