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, November 14, 2011

Monday Reflection: Everyone Has A Purpose!

Washington Post Picture of Me
Some people live a lifetime and never really know their purpose in life. While others second guess themselves every step of the way; And others know in their hearts that their life should take one direction, but the fear of failure or of what people might say stops them in their tracks.

I've never been one of those people. From the very beginning things seemed to fit into place. Early in my life, I knew Social Justice work was what I was supposed to do. I had a well laid out plan and the overachiever in me didn't miss one beat, or so I thought. But when I made a transition to AIDS almost 20 years ago, the bottom fell out of my world as I knew it.

 I saw my career as a national political organizer slip away from me and there was nothing I could do. The type of high powered  political work I did required 10, 12 and even 14 hour days, but AIDS was not having it. The fatigue that I experienced was all consuming and most days, it took everything I had to wash my body and my work became sub-standard.

I went into a deep depression and  mourning for all I had known since I was 19 years old. But God always has a plan. The Bible says, "Man Plans, Then God Plans." I know this to be true in my life and I also believe it's true for every single person on the planet. Everyone has a purpose! EVERYONE!!

The problem is, we either don't believe or we are too afraid to step out there. I remember my journey like it was yesterday. I got a call from a person who wanted me to go speak at a high school and I told him, "NO!" Not really taking no for an answer, he convinced me to call the teacher and at least hear her out. I also told her, "NO!" Stand before young people and tell them I have AIDS, "They must be crazy I thought." I had just started telling my friends. But this teacher would not take no for an answer and before I hung up, I was scheduled to speak at her school for two days.

Those two days were magical; And at the end of the second day, a young girl came up to me and said, "Ms. Lewis, I know you said you're not a public speaker, but you shouldn't stop, because the Lord is using you." Now y'all know I looked at that child like she was crazy. In my head I said, "What the hell this baby know about the Lord using somebody."

But after that day, I just couldn't shake it. I thought about those young people every single day for about three weeks. Often times we hear God speaking to us, even sometimes in small ways but we ignore it. Yep! But I couldn't shake this from my spirit and honestly, talking about it was the only joy I had in months. My sad face lit up every time I talked about those two days. I knew in my heart that God was trying to tell me something.

I became still in that space where God speaks to us. For you it could be in the shower, but for me it's in the early morning. And one morning it was as if God had sat at my bed side and spoken to me in the flesh. Tell your story, my daughter there is healing in your story. And I promise you, I called my boss before I dressed and asked for a meeting.

I was working for a mayoral candidate at the time. I was  second in charge and very well paid. But if the truth be told, I was barely hanging in. Some mornings I could barely get out of bed from the fatigue.

That day, I quit my well-paying job, with no new speaking engagements, no brochure and truthfully no direction on how to even get another gig. Some of you would have asked God to show you another sign. Stepping out on faith is scary.

Of course people thought that I had lost my mind and said so. Even my boyfriend at the time didn't approve. I thought for sure he would be on board and support me. I mean, he was a principal and was always looking for ways to empower young people.  I was sure that he would be my main resource, connecting me to his colleagues. But instead, he said you me, "Why would you want to tell young people all of your business?" And when that didn't deter me, he said, "You know young people are mean. You couldn't pay me enough to do that. They will not be nice to you Rae."

Damn! I was so shattered. That's why you have to be careful who you tell your dreams to. People will bust your bubble, out of a whole host of reasons, from jealousy to even fear that somehow your  new life will meet up with theirs. That was his issue. What he really meant was "Why would you tell my business?" Speaking publicly about having AIDS would mean that everyone would finally know that he had been dating a woman with AIDS for the last 4 years. But I  didn't let him stop me. And as I ventured into this new thing,  I started to clean house from the things on my desk to the people in my life.

Remember this, everyone can't be on that journey with you. NOPE! Some people you have to leave right where you found them. While everything ain't meant for everybody, I wouldn't let anybody stop me from that thing that God has for me. Everyone has a purpose, but you are the one that must put God's purpose into action. This I know for sure,  As long as you sit still, so will your purpose. There is Joy in Fulfilling One's Purpose. It is God's reward for your action. 

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