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 21, 2011

Monday Reflection: With Gratitude...

I woke up to this mess! Ugh, my toilet was running over and I grabbed all the towels I could. The water was an inch deep and it was a total mess; What a way to start the beginning of the week. Ugh!!!

 It's funny though, right before I got up, I was in bed cuddling with Sophie, Tweeting and talking to my girlfriend Markeeda all at the same time; And all seemed right with the world.  But in a matter of minutes, I was facing chaos. While stepping in ice cold water I was thinking, "What in the world?"

It's interesting how one thing can change everything. This morning it was the toilet running over, last week it was the reality that my chance to get out of this financial crisis I'm in had slipped right out the window and it caused me to have a complete and total melt down.

But just like that instant changes everything for the bad, it can also change things for the good. And while you are deep in the bad, underneath there is always good. I mean, while you are facing some stuff that throws you for a loop no matter how big or small, simultaneously, there is always good; Something to be grateful for even while in the chaos.

And no I'm not talking about the obvious, like living. Personally, while living is a good thing, I hate when people throw that one in my face. I could be sick as shit, and while it's true, telling me that I could be dead don't take away the pain I'm feeling at that moment and it sure doesn't change a damn thing about my crisis nor make be feel all giddy inside.

Instead, I'm talking about the things we take for granted, some big and some small.  For example, It's no secret that I have no biological family and spend many holidays at home alone. Last Thanksgiving my BFF Luke came to Chicago and spent it with me. This year my other BFF Markeeda is coming to hang out with me.  See, it's little stuff like that we take for granted.

Then honestly, one of the comments in last weeks Monday Reflection humbled my tail and made me think about gratitude in a way I had never before. One of my Twitter followers talked about being homeless, but never giving up, even though she had to send her child to live in another place.

Now I've never  been one to measure people's pain. Don't get  me wrong. One person's mountain is another person's valley. You never know what people can withstand or not. Like getting my ass kicked by my mother and raped by the men in my family helped to shape this super women, over achiever  person that I am. While for others, it sent them straight to drug use. Don't mean that this kind of abuse didn't hurt all of us, just means we coped differently.

But for me, that one comment knocked my tail straight down to the gut and made me stop and think about gratitude differently.  Yes, I'm in debt and can't seem to crawl out from under it to save my life. But I have a home. A place that I can call my own.

And while every bill I have under the sun in past due, my rent is paid. And speaking of the sun, I can feel it on my face;That's a blessing too.  And yes my cell phone was disconnected today *sigh* and it drained my bank account to get it turned back on, but Thank God I had that.  Can't get stuck on what you don't have, instead be grateful for what you do.

No, I'm not suggesting denial either. We must face our issues head on, but also understand they aren't everything that's going on it our life, even if it seems like it at that moment in time.

Like this, I have Sophie, who wakes every morning and goes to bed everyday giving mommie kisses.

And yes I had to give my car up  two years ago because I could no longer afford it, but at least this week I will be test driving a Buick LaCrosse and blogging about it. So Markeeda and I won't have to push cart the Thanksgiving groceries home.

(You can follow me and this LaCrosse on Twitter with the hash tag #RLTDrives) I'm soooo excited to be off the bus!

See, there is a lot to be grateful for. I'm even grateful for all of you who religiously read my blog and share it with others. By doing so, you will make me one day marketable for sponsors. So please keep coming back. But I recognize that there are some blogs that don't see the volume in 2 years that I get in a month. And I can go on and on about the things I can be grateful for that I never really think about daily. The small things that are over looked.

Oprah had a great idea once, a Gratitude Journal. So how bout we all give it a try. Get a NEW Journal. Make it pretty, #AlwaysaDiva and at the close of each day,  get a cup of tea and take some time to reflect on the day. Use this as a time of peacefulness. A moment to reflect on that which is good in your life.

 1. Write those things in your Journal!   It doesn't have to be in detail, it could just be short sentences. I say that, because everyone isn't big on journalling, Im not; But I'm going to give it a try.

2. Send me pictures of your journal.  You can E-mail, Tweet or Facebook a picture of your journal for me to share. Tell me briefly why you chose this particular one. I will also make a Facebook album of our journals. How cute is that!

 I will be picking one up today and Tweeting and Facebook it to you..

3. Send me some of your journal entry's. I will make Sunday Gratitude Day on my Blog and share with my readers what you are most grateful for.  

Now I don't need your entire journal, just pick something weekly what you would like to share with me and others. And let me know if I should use your name or notThey should be e-mailed to me no later than 8pm on Saturday evenings. 

You can e-mail your entries to me at rae@raelewisthornton.com  You can e-mail, Tweet or Facebook a picture of your journal to me. I will be picking one up today and tweeting and Facebook it to you.. I start Gratitude  Sunday this week!

I'm excited. We start today!!  So go pick yourself up a journal. Hey if you can't afford one, a notebook will do just fine. The first entries will be on this Sunday!

PostScript: Black Friday has begun! All RLT Collection is 15% off.  Even my beautiful Tea Balls are on sale. The coupon code at checkout is Blackfriday2011 http://www.rltcollection.com Happy Shopping. My collection will make a wonderful gift!

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