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, August 1, 2011

The Promises We Make.. And the Promises God Keeps...

How many times do we make promises to God and find ourselves right back where we were in the beginning, often forgetting the promises of yester-years? We all do it, but this morning I was shaken back to conviction. As I lay on my sofa hurting, in so much  nerve pain that I can't think straight;  I had decided not to write a blog today. The fact is, I couldn't think pass my pain. But then one on my followers tweeted to me: My Monday dedication goes out to a phenomenal woman and she linked a song by Tramaine Hawkins. And when I clicked the link I was taken back 31 years. WOW.... And that was what I needed to get me out of this pity-party that was holding my day hostage.

At 18 I was living on my own and my life was a mess of a mess. It's hard taking care of one's self and trying to finish high school and be in love all at the same time. I found myself at the end of the school year in shambles. My relationship with my first love was crumbling. I discovered that he was a dog of a dog. But at 18 having dated a man 10 years older than you for 3 years, where do you go? On top of that, the hour plus commute to school had gotten the best of me and I wasn't as disciplined as I needed to be and I flunked senior English and didn't graduate.

Well, let me be honest, some mornings I spent in bed with my man rather than go to Senior English. Now let me also say, if he knew I was skipping class he would have kicked my ass out of that bed. But I always had some excuse and how would he know the difference, he was 28. Ain't that some shit, he was concerned about my education but not my heart, Anywho....

But now he was gone. I had flunked out of school and my life was a freaking mess. I knew that I was in trouble #ForReal but I didn't know just quite how to pull me together. So one Sunday morning I crawled myself out of bed and made it to Grandmama's church. I hadn't been to church in months. I was to busy lovin on the one hand, and surviving on the other.

It was everything I needed and so much more. When I left church I had a bounce in my step. I knew I could make it. Nothing like some good preachin and singin to renew one's spirit. On the way to the train I started planning my future in my head. I knew I had to do what I had to do for my future. I was renewed.

I couldn't wait to get home to lay out  my new plan. At the top of the list, night school in the fall. I had to graduate.

As I made my way up the stairs to catch the train, a man pulled a knife on me. What started as a robbery, became my worst nightmare. He put the knife in my back, took me to an abandoned building and raped me.

I laid on the damp floor of this abandoned building for a long time. I  had never experienced terror as this before.  I was afraid to move. Afraid that he would follow me home and know where I lived. Afraid... Afraid... Afraid...

Eventually, I got up, put my panties on and made my way to another train station to get home. When I walked in the house, I told my step-sisters I had been raped as a matter of fact and went to the bathroom and made me a bath. Of course they called the police and I didn't get that bath until after the hospital, rape kit and the police station to look at mug shots. (No he was never caught)

That night I bathed over and over and over again and in between baths I listened to Tramaine Hawkins Holy One over and over agin.

It seems that these words both comforted me and gave me my charge.. Charge to do better.. Charge to  be better... The Day is Almost Night, I don't want to lose this fight... I've fooled around much to long. 

NO!!! I didn't think then nor now that the rape was my fault. But it was a wake-up call to shape up my freaking life.  But I do believe that the pain and trauma of the rape forced me to sit still and ask the hard questions of myself. What the hell was I doing with my life? How could I go from honors English to flunking out of English. Where had it all gone wrong?  When Mama put me out the house 7 months earlier, she told me I was never gonna be shit and from her vantage point I was proving her right.

That night God provided me with comfort and answers through this one song Holy One... Tramaine's voice was melody to my heart and soul...  I was so traumatized.  I couldn't even open my mouth to pray...  but it seemed that the prayer was there... Give me the strength I need to be able to succeed..

That night in the dark I made my promise to God in the words of this brilliant song. And I will heed to Your every command.. And to everyone I'll show my purpose and my goal and in You, Ill be able to STAND..

And from this song I got enough courage to go back to night school and graduate and I never looked back. And while I continued to make messes because life ain't that simple. It took years of therapy to clean out the garbage can in my life. But over the years,  I never forgot the promise I made to God... And every chance I get I try to make good.  And I will heed to Your every command.. And to everyone I'll show my purpose and my goal and in You, Ill be able to STAND..

The most difficult part of this song is the verse.... Holy One I Never want to let you down...I never want to let you down no more, because life is not that simple. And we are human. I'm always amazed at the super-saved people who profess to be living just right.  How do they lie to themselves and to us just that easy? And as quiet as it's kept, that kind of bolstering is a sin in and of its self...  But that's another blog

The fact is, we make promises to God... And as humans we should do our best to keep those, but whether we do or not, God keeps His. That's what's so awesome about our relationship with God, in Jesus, it has no over reaching demands, only that we believe. 

But each day, you should want to do better and be better. And each day you settle for less than your best, YOU then hurt you more than any one person ever can.  Freewill is an awesome gift from God that we can either use for the best or for the worst.  That's why I got off my tail today and wrote this blog. God has given me another day of life when the doctors said I should be dead, and each day is a new day to do better and be better. I wrote this blog today because God has given me an awesome gift, how dare I squander it stuck in self-pity.  Think about it on the surface, God gave me the gift with AIDS, that means I'm supposed to use it with AIDS.

So as the sprit led through an unexpected inspiration from one of my followers.. I did just what I said I would do.... I will heed to Your every command.. And to everyone I'll show my purpose and my goal and in You, I'll be able to STAND..

Yes we make promises...  And we should do our best to keep them.. A person's word is their honor... But the most awesome thing about this journey, even if we don't keep ours, God Keeps His...

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