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

Thursday, August 18, 2011

We Never Know A Person's Head, Heart Or Capacity...

A couple of nights ago Russell Armstrong, the husband of Taylor, from Real Housewives of Beverly Hills committed suicide. That was incredibly sad. You never know what someone else is going through.

I must admit this is the one and only reality show that I'm an avid viewer. And from the tweets each night the show airs, Russell seems to be the husband that was most disliked by the public of all the husbands. People thought that he was way too controlling of his wife Taylor, there were even rumors of physical abuse, but nothing confirmed. Honestly, he was also the most introverted of all the husbands, and that made him appear a bit aloof. But, honestly, some people also thought that Taylor was a piece of work. They both took a lot of public flack.

It's interesting, we look at someone's life from the outside and we make assumptions about them as if they are hard core facts. And quite often those assumptions determined how we treat them.  And from the outside looking in, we even make judgements about people's journeys and that also dictates how we respond to them. And I know for my own self most of these assumptions and or judgments are based upon ones value system. How we see life becomes our baseline for how we view and treat others.

When I first started speaking people would come up to me to share bits of their life and they would often start by saying, "My situation isn't as bad as yours, but." Then they would go on and tell me what they were dealing with and I could see the pain in their face as their story unfold.  And it hit me, that pain is pain. What might be one person's cake walk may be another person's mountain.

You never know what's in a person's heart or head. Nor one's capacity to deal with issues that they face. My biological mother attempted suicide in the most horrible way and survived it. I thank God that she never tried again, but she never really recovered emotionally. And no matter how hard I tried, I could never wrap my head around the blood splatters that I saw in her apartment. What would make a person do that to herself? I had only known my mother for five years but by then and from my estimation, I believed that a person could handle anything. I mean at 23, I had already been to hell and back and never really wanted to do anything but live.

But older and wiser, I understand, that a person's pain is a person's pain and it is most unfair for me to measure my pain against theirs. I even dislike when people try to encourage me, by comparing my life to other people with HIV. Don't tell me I'm lucky or fortunate when I have been hurting for months and can barley walk from a neurological issue triggered by AIDS. Tell me to hold on or that you will keep me in your prayers. But don't compare my pain based on your assumptions about my life. If truth be told, if I'm at an emotional low point you really have NO idea what could send me over the edge.

We all struggle in life and have struggles with life. I get that. Some people can breeze though some shit like it don't even stick, while others can't get pass the smell.  We have to be sensitive to people's journeys.

There is no one way for a person to deal with tragedy and hardship. Yesterday morning I had a complete and total breakdown, but as the day progressed, I reclaimed that part of me that holds me together. Some people need more time, some people need help, some people never get there. I understand, We Never Know A Person's Head Or Heart or ones Capacity. 

As you journey through this life, be sensitive to other people's journey. 

Post Script: May Russell Armstrong rest in peace and my Taylor and their daughter find peace.. Amen..
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