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

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Hurt People Hurt: Breaking The Cycle!

Hurt people hurt people is a true reality. Sometimes we do it intentionally. Someone does something to cause us pain and our first impulse is to say,"I'll show them." And that becomes our motivation. And you've allowed them to put you right in the gutter with them. I say often, don't let people make you something you're not.

 And other times someone hurts us unintentionally, they don't give us the answer we want to hear, or they say it in such a way that our demons take control. Yes, everyone has them, but we also have angels. One's life is filled with the good, the bad and even the ugly. And most of the day it dictates our behavior both good and bad.

 I inherently believe that no one is born evil, even sociopaths are shaped by their environment. I say often, our sick ass parents grow us up to be sick and then we have to figure out what healthy is on our own. It's like growing up all over again.

 Someone does a thing or says a thing that sets off every worst feeling that you have and you lash out. Yep, we may not always say it, but we act on it and before you know it you've kicked someone straight in the gut. And I gotta say it again, the first impulse is to lash back because you want them to feel a ounce of what you felt.  But often times you  simply want to stop hurting and you think  lashing out is the way to achieve that goal. So the cycle of hurt people hurting continues to be KING.

 So I asked the simple question, when does the cycle end? Or better yet how do we stop the cycle? I've given a lot of thought to it. At the core of it all is the demon that runs our life. At some point we must stop holding on to him like a crutch. Yep, we hold on; Stop lying! We hold on because in some ways it's the easiest thing to do, and in other ways it's all we know, and we know him best so it becomes our defense mechanism.

 In my own life I started out on a journey to live healthy about 7-8 years ago. Through therapy and prayer I had come to understand the central cause of my demons and I started undoing years of unhealthy behavior by doing it right, even when it was painful to me, I knew in the long run biting the bullet now will have more of a positive impact on my overall emotional well being.

 Oprah says often,when you know better you do better. But I think that's too simple. Knowing does not always translate into doing. Unhealthy cycles takes on a life of it's own and it requires work, painful work. Its like undoing years of learned behavior.

 Unless you are a sociopath at their core, no one really wants to hurt someone they love and care for, so how do we change this? I don't have all the answers, but I will give a few ideas.

 At first glance is this thing called forgiveness. Forgiveness is a powerful tool that will get us far. As a child when I first heard the last seven words of Jesus I was amazed by his prayer for those who killed and taunted him. "Father Forgive them, for they know not what they are doing." Wow for even a murderer there is forgiveness.  Why are we always talking about what Jesus would do, and yet not make that central to what we would do?

 So why is it so hard for us to forgive for unintentional mumbled words? Why do we hold onto how we felt about the words? Why do we allow the words to control our very being? What will it take for us to say enough is enough. When will we at least start to take baby steps to make the change to live beyond our demons?

 Have we considered stepping back and journal... Maybe just jot some notes down. What did this person really say to me and what did I hear them say? Based on what they said, how does that fit into who this person is and what they are to me?

 Has their action toward me been loving and caring? Is this thing I'm feeling worth hurting them because I'm hurting? The Bible says treat people how you want to be treated. Then ask yourself, is this how I want them to respond to me in the same situation ? And most fundamental, why do I feel this way over what they said or did to me? Why is it important to me?

 Now of course some people hurt and it's the meanest shit on the planet. Now those people are a different kind. Those are the people you forgive, forget and keep it moving. Yep, when someone show's you who they are believe them.  Don't explain it away nor make excuses, just keep it moving or keep getting hurt. That's what we often do in relationships and by the time we leave, we are bitter and mad. When you could have left at any point.

 But for those relationships we value, we must say enough is enough and begin to take steps to do better and be better, even if it's baby steps. While it is difficult to undo years of unhealthy behavior, it is not impossible. No, you may not get it right every time, but sometimes is better than none at all. And the more you do it, the more it becomes the norm.

 It's up to us to stop the cycle of hurt hurting hurt...
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