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, May 30, 2011

Monday Reflection: Embrace Your Season

For everyone there is a season: A time to laugh and a time to cry. A time to live and a time to die. A time to root-up and a time to plant. A time to keep and a time to throw away. I need not go on, you all know this Bible scripture. Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, it's one of the most quoted scriptures in the Bible.

At 49 years old I have come to understand that the truths in this text will surely come to pass and acceptance is half the ball game. Not only that, with acceptance comes so much more joy. And when we fight what should come to pass, we create chaos and problems for ourselves. Like yesterday, my friend and confidant, Markeeda and I had plans to hit the Mag Mile and check out the shops. Of course we did. Any good hostess would take her out of town guest to Chicago's premiere shopping area and any Diva would want to go.

But as the morning progressed into the afternoon and the afternoon into the evening and the evening into the night it became clear to us that what was planned was not supposed to come to pass.

I mean every time we looked out the window and believed the rain was going to pass and our plans would be put into action it started to pour like the sky was mad at the earth. I mean really! There wasn't a sprinkle to be found just a constant pour. And when it finally stopped raining and the sun came out there wasn't a store open if our life depended on it.

As we surrendered into the calm of our day something magical happened. A friendship blossomed into something beautiful. And that would have never happened if we had forced the plans that we had for ourselves rather than accept the season that God placed before us.

Think about it, we probably would have spent most of our time complaining about the rain, frustrated that when we were ready to leave one store we were stuck. And for sure, one of those unexpected, nowhere pours would have caught us.

At the end of the day we would have found ourselves wet and our spirits dampened. Yep, if we had fought it, we would have missed those special moments of laughter, those beautiful moments of silence, those profound discussions and those expressions of love that came in the form of a meal, a cup of tea and a cupcake. And equally as important, we would have missed out on a day of peace and tranquility that was needed for both of us.

But I think it's like this in all areas of our lives. Our failure to embrace the season that we are in leaves us unfulfilled and even broken in some cases. We spend so much time fighting the right now, we not only miss what God has for us next, we miss the goodness in the right now. We are so blinded by our own desires, we miss the blessing that God has crafted especially for us out of the current situation. We want the season to change before it's time. But it's true, April showers bring May flowers. Without the rain, there would be a drought and we would wither. There is goodness in every season that God created.

This is true from dating to our jobs. We stay in relationships far longer than we should. We try to make relationships work that died long ago. I mean we kill it over and over again trying to keep it alive. And in the process we kill a part of our spirit that cannot be regained. And we miss the blessing stuck in the madness.

On the one hand, we don't give our seasons a chance and on the other, we try to hang on to the summer when it is clearly winter. Like with jobs, instead of putting the time in looking for what's next, we stay until our ass is kicked and our spirit is broken and we find ourselves fighting to hold on until we can find what's next. Sometimes it's so bad coming to work makes you sick, you want to kick someone's ass every day and you are over it long before the clock strikes lunch.

But it could have been avoided when God spoke to your spirit and said it's time to move to what's next, or God is talking to you in so many ways, you need to stay still. We reject the season before us for the season we want.

For me, I'm learning to accept the seasons of my life. To embrace the beauty and blessing that lies within. For there is something wonderful in every single season. Even in friendships there are seasons and God knows what you need. Joy and even peace will come when you can truly become content in whatever season you find yourself in.

Like the Apostle Paul: I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  (Phi 4-11-12)

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