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 12, 2011

Monday Reflection: I Wanted To Give Up.. But God And Twitter...

Last Night there was a part of me that wanted to give the fuck up! Now don't get me wrong, I didn't want to die, but I wasn't sure if I wanted to live in my life. I'm being straight honest. Last night I was in such a dark place I didn't know if I would make it till tomorrow or even if I wanted a tomorrow, at least as I know it.

I understand how someone can punch out of living and push a cart for the rest of their life. It's the easiest way to stop living in your life. There are no expectations of yourself or from anyone else, you just go with the flow.  Yep, I was a complete and total mess. Physically I was at such a low point I couldn't even think clearly and that created an environment for the real warfare, not for my body, but for my mind and spirit.

You see, no matter what happens to the body, if a person's head is clear, then so is their spirit. It's the spirit that makes you want to live and participate in life. What you think undergrids your spirit, which gives life to what you do. The Bible says, "As a Man Thinketh so is he."

But last night I was so lost in the physical effects of my IV medication that I couldn't think clearly. Yesterday was day 11 on this IV medication and I can't even describe with justice how it affects me physically.

The nausea NEVER leaves and the fatigue is so intense, the simple act of getting out of bed makes you want to lay right back down. And the nausea adds a weary element to it all. It's a crazy cycle that goes like this: I need to eat to help curb the nausea, but I'm to weak to make food, yet I still crawl out of bed to fix the food and that makes me even more tired and within 30 minutes of eating I'm nauseated again. Weary ain't even the word for it!

So I laid in bed all day yesterday and muddled through. I had beads in my lap, working on bracelet designs for my new collection most of the day; Hoping that it would take my mind off  how I was feeling and at the same time, try to fight back, if only in a small way.

But by 8:00 p. m., I seemed to have lost all hope. I started to cry. A darkness swept over me and I started to cry out. But I didn't know what to say to God, so I just moaned. It was time for my next IV infusion and I honestly didn't know how I could go on.

In all of my anguish, as usual, I picked up my IPad to Tweet that I was getting ready to get connected to my IV when I spotted one of my followers, 100 Praying Women and in a second I had just enough clarity, I Tweeted to them, Please Keep me in your prayers. I'm on day 11 of this IV med and I'm so sick.. This struggle is major. And before I knew it, my timeline was tending with prayer request and prayers for me. They then put out a call to World Prayr who also put out a call for prayer on my behalf. Twitter World was praying for me, all over the World.

Grandmama use to sing a song, I'm so glad they prayed... I'm so glad they prayed... I'm so glad they prayed for me.
I connected to my IV and laid down with some meditation music and a calmness came over me. None of the physical issues changed, but I was able to rest my body and wake this morning with a clear mind and now I'm back at it.

You see, all it takes is a moment of clarity. And in that moment you have to act; Its God's voice guiding you to the light. I could have allowed my pride to get in my way. I mean everyone thinks that I'm Super Woman and can do anything and withstand anything. I've been such a trooper living with HIV/AIDS these 28 years that there is this expectation that I will never stop marching.

But I get weary just like Moses and in that time I need an Aaron's to hold up my arm as the battle goes on.  Last night, there were many Aaron's that held me up, when I was so tired I didn't even know how to pray.

If I had held my pain to myself, no one would have known that I was hurting, people can't help if they don't know. Yes, there was a part of me that wanted to give up, but in an instant God gave me clarity, I acted on God's voice and that  has rendered me strength for another day. Thank God They Prayed For Me...

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