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, September 19, 2011

Monday Reflection: God's Perfect Plan In Rain and Shine

Have you ever seen the sun shine bright during the rain? It's such a wonderful sight full of joy and pain. As a little girl I wondered with awe how they do that?

As I grew up, I was sure scientist had some complicated explanation that I never bothered to learn because even as a child I instinctively knew that it must be God making miracles. I mean only God can bring sunshine in the midst of pain. That's exactly what God did in my life last week. Last Sunday I was at the darkest of dark places both physically and emotionally; And honestly I couldn't see my way out.

Last Monday's Reflection talked about how God delivered me from that dark place emotionally with a lot of prayer. But honestly, I was only lifted from the dark of darkest, but the overall emotional pain of managing my health these days didn't go away.

But it was like a film was lifted and I could see through the fog. Of course the physical pain never went away. But that lifting was just enough to get me out of bed and press my way, muddling through as best as I can. Yes, I was still in the fog, but I could see images of something better, as I pressed my way. Sometimes all you need is just a little relief to keep you moving.

As I was moving through the fog some wonderful  and unexpected things happened to help further along the work that I do. My Blog, won the Peoples Choice Award for CBS Chicago Most Valuable Blogger. I was so excited, humbled and grateful. It was the boost that my spirit needed.

Not even two years old to think that my blog would receive such an honor. But I'm clear, your support is the fuel behind the engine. There are days when I don't feel well enough to blog, and then you tweet me and ask am I blogging today, and I press my way. You read it religiously, you share it with others and equally important, you thought me worthy enough to cast your vote, some even countless times. THANK YOU!!!

Yes, God knows how to throw a little sunshine our way, even during the rain. As I press my way, I understand that you may never get what you want all at once. We live in such a Gold Card world in which, Name it and Claim it Christianity has helped to give people the impression that it will happen all at once, the way you want it. But the Bible says that God's time is not our time nor are God's ways our ways.  But one thing is for sure, God's plan for our life is shaped to perfection for all that we are, and all that we need. 

Now let's be clear, God didn't give me HIV that created my situation.  I made choices with the free will that God gives us all and HIV was the consequences of how I used my free will.  But what's so awesome is that God had a plan even for the choices I made; And as I try as best as I can to cope with the ugliness of HIV/AIDS, God is also making the best out of  my bad situation. God has given me purpose an has rewarded me for my obedience.  It's true, God will lift you up and elevate you even in your bondage; And don't be confused, only God could do such a thing. 

 Remember the three Hebrews who refused to obey King Nebuchadnezzar over breaking God's Law? They were thrown into the fiery furnace and God delivered them out of their obedience.

But check this out, it's even deeper than you think. God delivered them from the furnace, but they were NEVER delivered from bondage in Babylon. Instead they were given a special place in their bondage. Yes, only God can lift you up while in bondage and that's like the sun shinning while it rains. 

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