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 4, 2011

When Things Fall A Part...

Life really is how we view it. Taking the good with the bad is no easy thing, but I believe that it must be done in order to live in some level of peace.

I was asked yesterday by a good friend how I was doing. I brushed him off.  Then he paused and said very slowly, " No, how are you really?" I had to admit that I have taken some incredibly hard hits in all areas of my life these past few months. 

My health took center stage and everything important to me was affected. Right before I got sick I invested financially into my bracelet business RLT Collection and haven't even been able to bead or add new items to the website or even promote my bracelets. So that investment is sitting, gathering dusk and bills still need to be paid. My Blogging and Social Media around HIV/AIDS has been muddling along and I've been trying my best to not let it all fall totally apart.

Yes, in these last months things have fallen apart and honestly some days it was all so overwhelming and I felt like my life was in shambles, just a freaking mess.  #For Real!

But the other truth is, as things fall apart, things also remain the same. Over the years living with AIDS, I've had to come to terms with this idea that the glass is always half full. And let's be clear, I'll take half full any day over empty.

There is no hope in anything empty. It feeds no one, it nurtures no one, it adds no value to ones life. Empty is a permeant nothing.  But when you can see something, it can become a gateway for more. Like when Jesus took the fish and fives loaves of bread and fed the multitude. I find it interesting, while Jesus was capable of making a miracle out of nothing, He chose to be resourceful. Maybe like Jesus, we should be a tad more resourceful. Look around and see what's before us before we give into the doom.

Its like we live in this world where nothing is really all that it seems. I can make a list of every bad thing in my life no matter how long the list and still have something good on the other side. That's how I'm choosing to see my life. While some things have fallen apart, I don't get stuck in the pieces. Pieces call be sharp and if you linger too long, you just may cause more damage than has already been done.

That is certainly what I've tried to do in these past months; Not allow the darkness and ugly parts of my life to consume me. Yes, it's hard, but it must be done. Otherwise there may be more collateral damage.

Lets take my life in a nutshell. I've woken every single morning in some type of physical pain in the last three months. The genital Herpes was no joke, but then Herpes attacked my nervous system and I had nerve pain it seemed everywhere, head, face, back, legs and even between my legs. Finally, after a total of 13 long weeks of anti-viral medication, administered intravenously, I am healed from both. This was the last week of IV med's.  #HappyDance

Yes, I am one happy camper. But then during this entire process, a new medical condition was added. That's how AIDS works, it just hits and hits and hits. I also have an extreme case of peripheral neuropathy; My hands and feet hurt. Walking is very painful and using my hands is not only painful, there are some things  I can barley do, like opening a bottle of water.

So right now I have two choices, I can dwell on the fact that I am still in some kind of pain, or I can celebrate that both the original pain caused by the herpes and the aggressive treatment that I had to undergo to heal me are gone.  In this situation, the glass can be either half full or half empty and only I can make that decision.  But for sure, whatever I choose to see, will determine my state of mind.

I believe that life is a dichotomy, two mutually exclusive and contradictory parts, but how you choose to view it will determine your peace of mind and your happiness. Some situations in your life cannot be avoided; It is what it is. But how you journey through it, I believe is the most important part.

For me, even when some things are falling apart, I know that some things are remaining the same. I know that while some things are bad in my life, there are also some good things in my life. I know, as long as I can see that goodness, there is hope for my future. Like Jesus, I will use what's before me as a catalyst for more, no matter how small it may be 

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