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, June 6, 2011

Monday Reflection: Lives Can Be Changed Through Pain...

I have so much on my freaking mind, it's just racing around and around in my head. And yes, I want to share it all with you, every single bit. Well, not every single bit but mostly every bit. But today I'm just gonna tackle one thing. Last night I got the biggest Aha Moment of 2011 to date. For Real... For Real....

So I was in one crappy ass mood all day yesterday. I mean with the sun shining through my picture window, it still seemed like darkness had invaded my living room, my heart, my mind and the very essence of who I am. And then in the middle of telling my male friend, in so many words, I didn't really want to hear about his bad day or week, shit my day is bad and getting ready to get worse. Yep, on Tuesday I'm going on IV medication for the eleventh time in 3 1/2 years, to treat this damn drug resistant, aggressive ass herpes that AIDS won't let me fight off.

I was like are you fuckin kiddin me? Huh? Don't you see that I need you? Then he said to me, "Stop it! Many people see your fight and your strength during this fight and say, if she can fight that then she can fight and handle anything with ease. I have been guilty of that with you from time to time."

I just broke down and cried... I cried for the truth of that statement and I cried because these truths didn't take away my pain... I cried for the woman who's pain is a Living Testament to God's Word. I cried because my pain cannot be changed, but lives can be changed through my pain.

And then I started to really think about my friend. He is going through some challenges now and I have been his number one cheerleader, that is, when I'm not bitching about my shit. But I came to this place of peace and understanding after a good Cry, Tea, a More Black and White Cupcake and Godiva Truffles My life is a ministry in it's entirely! While I want private space and should have private space, ministry does not mean that you shut down in that private space. If you can't minister to those closest to you, then who can you minister to?

No, it doesn't mean that my needs and concerns get overlooked, it just means that my comfort is not at the sacrifice of another's comfort. Ministry is what it is. God has not gifted me to squander these gifts stuck in my pain. To whom much is given, much is required.

There was never a time when Jesus didn't minister. Remember, after he preached to the five thousand, the Disciples wanted to send them away. The people all tired and hungry and the Disciples didn't want the responsibility, but Jesus didn't give it a second thought. After he had fed their spirits he fed their stomachs. And the text never said that Jesus and the Disciples ate with the multitude. He must have been hungry and tired too, remember this was Jesus in His human form.

So I got it... I got it... I got it...  Ministry never stops no matter what's going on in my life. Does it solve my problems? Does it ease my pain? No! But I gotta know, that I know, that I know, that if I stay about the business of my Father, my Father will take care of His daughter. And what's so amazing about God is that He will come in the least expected ways and at the most unexpected time. He never sleeps nor slumbers; He just does things His way. Yesterday, I was looking for comfort one way, and was reminded that the ultimate comfort comes from God; His way, His time and His space.

So as I go into this next 4-6 week journey on this IV medication, which will surely attack both my body and my spirit, I will remember that my pain cannot be changed... but lives can be changed through my pain.

And btw... that fellow, well my compassion, ministry and strength are the things he finds the sexiest about me, that is, next to my eyes. So why stop being who I am in private? Maybe when we meet a man we have too many expectations... And lose are freaking mind... I mean we forget the strong woman we were before he knocked on that door. Just sayin... Being strong might be the thing he loves the most about you...

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