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 16, 2011

Monday Reflection: Live In Today Not Yesterday!

Sitting at home drinking some tea I started to think about my life eight years ago, right around this time of the year my doctor told me that there were no new HIV medications to treat me. My current antiviral cocktail was failing and I had developed a resistance to everything that was currently on the market. We could see clinically that my body was no longer responding to the current medication. There was a slow drop in my T-cell and a rise in my viral load. And it seemed like all hope was gone.

I remember that day like it was yesterday. It was just weeks from my graduation from seminary and I was planning to enter a PhD program that fall, but now I was doubting whether or not I could cut it. That day I was overwhelmed with sadness. I went back to school and sat through my classes and when I was done for the day, I hopped in my car and went straight to Ghirardelli Ice Cream Shop off Michigan Ave. I didn't have any answers, but I knew that a hot fudge sundae would make me feel better, if just for a little while.

As I walked into the store, I noticed this very attractive, petite Black woman sitting at the counter. She was very well dressed and sitting in her lap was an Hermes Birkin Bag, and a 40 inch no less! My dream handbag. So me being me, I walked straight up to this woman and said, "Hi, my name is Rae and I've never seen a Black woman with an Hermes Birkin Bag." She smiled very graciously, reached out her hand and said, "Hi, my name is Cathleen, have a sit." 

We got our sundaes and sat on the patio in front of Ghirardelli's. As we sat there making small talk Cathleen asked me what was wrong? She had no idea who I was, which was refreshing, but she sensed something was deeply wrong.

I sat there and spilled my guts to this stranger over a hot fudge sundae. She listened without interrupting. And when I was done, she said to me, "You cannot worry about tomorrow, you must live for today." That day, this stranger, who has become my friend, almost 20 years my senior, she's more like a tough love mother, gave me some of the best advice I had ever received. She didn't try to tell me it was going to be ok, she didn't have a crystal ball nor did she try to pretend that she had the answers.

I love that about Cathleen. She's probably one of the most pragmatic persons I have ever known, even more than me. Now, six days from my birthday, looking back, it was the best advice ever! I mean, I'm still here eight years later. And what I was worried about that day actually has had very little impact on my life in these eight years and what I hadn't even considered has had the greatest impact. In the end, I was worried about the wrong thing and my worrying couldn't change either.

I started school but it was interrupted, not because of lack of treatment for HIV medication, some new medications eventually came and turned things around. But then while my health was having a clear up shift, I began to have what seemed like from nowhere, an opportunistic infection (drug resistant herpes) which has had a major impact on my health and has changed my life drastically. Three hospitalizations and nine rounds of IV medication is no joke. It has altered my life in ways I could have never imagined.

Sometimes we make our own burden heavy by putting the emphasis on the wrong thing. None of us knows what the future holds. Today is today and tomorrow is tomorrow. Each new day is full of possibilities. And sometimes we bring yesterday's burden into the new day. Let the resolutions of yesterday stay where they belong. I heard Bishop Jakes say once, "When someone leaves our life, let them stay gone, we create our own pain and stress trying to hold on to what has already left."

Stop adding stress to your life today for yesterday's loss. And this isn't just about relationships, it's about health, careers and everything in your life. Don't get stuck in yesterday! Don't worry today about tomorrow... Take each new day as it comes, with fresh possibilities. And by doing so, you will eliminate unnecessary pain and stress which will give you even more clarity and strength to deal with the right now in your life. Tomorrow is gone and will never return. Let it go and live in today!

Birkin Bag!
Post Script: And school, well I've been on a long leave of absence both sanctioned and ummm, unsanctioned... and honestly, I can't get stressed about whether they will let me finish the program or not. All I can do is ask and all they can say is yes or no. And if it's a no, well, I can't do anything about it any how.

And I've come to a place in my life where I can't stress about what I have no control over. I've got to keep my energy for the things I can control.

And that Birkin Bag... Well I'm not gonna worry about that today either... I'm sure that it's in my future... But today I can't get stuck worrying about when... I'll just wait and celebrate it then!!

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