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, October 24, 2011

Monday Reflection: God Will Bless Your Work!

I must admit I've been a late comer to Oprah's Life Class. I'm not sure why, but I just never tuned in until my BFF Markeeda commandeered the remote control last Thursday. Of course I stopped in my tracks because one of my favorite celebrities, Paula Deen was her guest. I LOVE Paula Deen! I mean everything Paula, from her story, drive, spirit and yes her dog gone recipes. I have NEVER had a bad recipe. OMG!

Paula found herself a young divorcee with no money and turned her one skill and passion into a million dollar empire. She went from $20 to $20 million.  Oprah asked her how she do it. And Paula said the most profound thing; And that has stuck with me all week just like gorilla glue. She said, "I did the hard work and God blessed it." WOW! How profound for an era of microwave and quick fixes to almost everything.

The Bible says that God will make room for your gift and I know this to be true in my own life. But how can God bless your gift if you never use it? I've simply had it with all this name it and claim it jive that floats in our world today, especially in these prosperity Churches. Yes there is some validity to blessing the church and the man and woman of God... But to make that the primary connection to one's blessing, is just not right nor is it Biblical.

There are so many Biblical examples of God blessing a person because they put some effort into it. From the lame man on the side of the pool made to walk, to the woman with the issue of blood, who risked everything going out in public and touching Jesus to get healed to the parable of the talents.

 The way it goes, Jesus  gave one person 5 talents, another 2  talents and another 1 talent, each according to his ability. The person with 5 talents worked all talents and gained 5 more, the one with 2 talents worked them both and gained 2 more, but the person with 1 talent buried it and gained nothing as a result. Nothing rendered, nothing gained. Even Jesus often performed a miracle with something. He turned the water into wine. He fed the 5000 with the fish and five loaves of bread. We always ask, What Would Jesus Do?  Well there are many examples, of putting what is before you to work.

Paula Deen had a gift for cooking and instead of hiding her gift as she did herself with agoraphobia for many years, she used what was before her.

Yes, she was afraid of leaving the house, but that didn't stop her. She sent her sons out with bag lunches and from that she grew an empire.  She even remembered that her lunches didn't look like much, but they tasted good. I submit the more she cooked, the more she grew her skill.

RLT Collection F/W 2011
I feel that way about my bracelet collection. The more I design and craft the better they will become. Over these last three years I can even see the the sophistication in my designs. And the more I design, the more I want to design. The more I design, the more sales I will get.

Paula Deen was so on point, God will bless your work. You cannot be afraid to step out there. Often times people are stuck in fear, afraid of failure, afraid of what people will think of you, just afraid.  There are no quick fixes in life.
In truth, you pay for everything you get in life, one way or the other. There is no pie in the sky, no gold at the end of the rainbow, no prayer cloth, or a minister that will make you rich. You have to do something for yourself.

So what everything isn't the way you want it, to make that move. In honesty, life will never be perfect, nor will the conditions that you think you need to follow your dream. Remember, Paula was afraid to leave the house; stuck in her own skin, but not in her gift. Ain't that something, this woman didn't allow the fears in one area of her life to carry over into other areas of her life. She used what was before her.

What's your excuse for NOT using all the talents that God has given you, not only for your own goodness, but for the goodness of others?

 I will stand by this idea that God will give you all that you need to make the most out of your talents, but you must be willing to use them. Paula said it best, "I did the work, and God blessed it!!"

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