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

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Rejected Stone Became The Corner Stone...

Today I turn 49 years old!! I've lived more years with HIV than not. I've lived over half of my life in public service and for sure I know that my life has been shaped by both. It's not particularly the life that I would have chosen for myself, but it is the life I have accepted gracefully and boldly. And today, I wouldn't take nothing for this journey nor where God has placed me in history.

I am acutely aware that my life is not my own. That it was shaped for God's purpose. I had no plans for HIV, abuse, or rape of my own, other than to fight for my life as hard as I could, but thanks be to God, He can create a plan out of what seems worthless and even unworthy.

Some  people live a lifetime and never know their purpose. While some run from their purpose and others shape their purpose for acceptance and validation. But I have not only embraced God's purpose for my life, but do so with only the validation of God as my only concern. For I know that if I am faithful to God, He will make room for my gifts.

As I move into the next half century of my life, I can see God taking me to the next level and I'm not only excited, I'm committed! To some my ministry is powerful, cutting edge and provocative and to others my truths are ugly, vile and some say ungodly. But my ministry was shaped out of the ugly vile and ungodly.

Once while hospitalized, I became impacted. I was in severe pain and the only solution was for the nurse to put her hand in my ass and pull the shit out. She did this over and over until it was all gone and my pain was relieved.

It was uncomfortable for both of us, but to give help and get help sometimes you must pull shit out at it's source. You must be willing to dig deep in places and spaces. You cannot help the hurt, wounded and broken if you're not willing to meet them where they are at, rather than where you want them to be. Nor can you help to save lives with lies, half-truths, misinformation and sugar coated shit. And by the way, shit stinks no matter how much perfume you put on it...

My ministry was shaped for me. It's mine!! And the gift of my life against all the odds of an AIDS death is under girded in my acceptance of God's earthly plan for my life. I'm going on record today--- I don't apologize for one thing.. Not one tweet, Facebook, blog or what I say in any speech. If it is too much for your sensibilities then maybe it wasn't for you, *shrugs* you figure it out or not. But I'm not gonna spend any time trying to make you see... Nor will I allow you to interfere with someone else's blessing cause you can't see past what you know and think you know about how God works, and who God works through and what God works through.

At 49... I'm spending this year committed to and guided by God's plan and purpose for my life. I'm walking boldly into the next half century of my life knowing my living is not in vain... God's plan for my life trumps everything and everybody! What an awesome covering to have in one's life!!!

Thank you Lord for keeping me against every earthly odd... Thank you for taking my shit and shaping, molding and making it something worthy... It's so true... With God... the rejected stone became the corner stone..

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