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

Friday, October 14, 2011

Step Into Your Greatness!

I was working on another blog this morning that I was struggling with and because of the struggle, I spent most of my time watching one of my favorite television shows, House.

I love that guy because he's wonderfully complicated, just like life. And while most of the time he seems to be black and white, there is a lot of grey area in between the black and white. Unfortunately, people don't always see the in between because they are so busy passing judgment on the black and white.

Well, this morning's show really moved me in a very special way and so here I am writing about that one thing instead of the thing I thought I was going to write about. I'll get to that blog on trust, just not today. I typically go where the spirit leads.

 I must have been off my House game because I missed him going to jail. Apparently he ran into a wall with a car and just like him, he didn't hire a lawyer and so now he's in jail. The thing is, House doesn't think he deserves anything good, so jail is a sort of self-imposed prison. I wonder how many of us, live in a self-imposed prison? Not one with real walls, but invisible walls that limits the good things that God has in store for us. We don't see ourselves as God intended for us to be so we sabotage every chance we get. 

I dated a guy, I think he was the love of my life. For Real!  For Real!  But he could never see himself as God had intended.  He spent 20 years in prison. While in prison he earned 92 credit hours. He served his time, got out and couldn't finish 33 hours to receive his BA. Life in prison determined the boundaries of his expectation for himself out of prison. It was easier earning those credits that could never be used than earning credits that required action. He is one of the most brilliant minds I've ever met, but because of the bad he rendered upon his life and others, he doesn't believe he deserves any good. But God is ever redeeming. He's just waiting on you to forgive yourself, just as He has forgiven you.

I wonder how many of us have that prison mentality. We are afraid of failure so we sabotage, relationships, careers and growing in those special gifts we have. We don't think we are good people because, Mama, Daddy and the people we know said so.  Or even because we have already had to face failure. So we stay stuck, rather than meeting our full potential.

We even stay in bad relationships because that's all we know. I've known women who have stayed in unhealthy relationships because they had Herpes, HVP or HIV and believed that was all they deserved on one level, and all they could get on another. We are afraid of failure so we don't follow our dreams and on the other side we are also afraid of hard work; The time that is required to make that goodness a reality.

Since I've launched my bracelet business I've invested hours of time searching for the best gemstones, designing, and all my extra money and some of my bill money in  trying to making RLT Collection a success. Sacrifice is often required to get where we need to be, but on the short end sacrifice seems harder and the pay off too long.  Some are even afraid of success, because with success there becomes an expectation. To whom much is given, much is required.  Life sometimes seems easiest without excpectations. In prison, you are told what to eat, when to stand and when to sleep. He told be it was like being in a coma; Walking Dead.

But what I love most about House is the dichotomy that he lives. While on one end, he punishes himself, on the other end, he never lets his personal mess interfere with his calling. Yes, in his personal life he is a complete and total mess, but on the other end, he is so totally good at what he does and is willing to take risk. Yes his character is so wonderfully complicated. Risk taking on the one hand and sabotage on the other.

At the pivotal  moment in this particular show, he risked going into solitary confinement and his parole to save a life of a fellow inmate. The jailhouse doctor says to him, "Why would you risk it?" He turns and looks her dead in the eye and says, "I have a gift." That stopped me dead in my tracks.

It's a powerful thing to know that you have a gift, it's even more powerful when you are willing to use that gift, no matter what the outcome for you may be. It must be a living hell too know that you have a gift, but are too afraid to use it; To afraid of failure on one end, and success on the other. What people think of you should not determine in any measure what you do with your gift. 

I love House's I don't give a fuck what you think of me attitude, I am who I am, accept me as I was molded by life's journey or not accept me. One thing is for certain, and I know this  to be true in my own life, God will make room for your gift, if you are willing to use it.

Yes, this episode of House had so many life's lessons, whether it is in your personal life or your professional life. You were created in God's perfect image for a specific purpose on this earth. But first you must see yourself as God intended for you to be, on the one hand and be willing to step into that greatness on the other.

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