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, December 12, 2011

Monday Reflection: Moving Toward 2012: Silence Your Worst Critic!

Can you imagine the Angel of the Lord coming to you and predicting your future? Like #ForReal Telling you this thing is going to happen beyond anything you could have ever thought for yourself. I know I've said it often, if God had told me that my life would be what it is today, I would have told God to go sit down somewhere with that craziness. For Real! This is especially true when I made a transition to AIDS and there was no hope for a future.

 Live past the 3 years most people with AIDS died? Nope, I couldn't see that for my future. Covers of magazines, an Emmy Award and a ministry that enriches lives? Nope, I wouldn't have thought it! "Why would God use me?" Is what I would have asked.

 Come on, you can be honest, if an Angel sat in your living room you probably would have thought you were going mad. Well, so did Zechariah when the Angel visited him about the birth of his baby boy John the Baptist.

 Can you imagine? Here Zechariah is old as dirt and the Angel tells him that he and his wife Elizabeth are going to have a child. Now at 90 years plus, Zechariah knew his penis was dead. I mean he's been looking at it for 90 plus years and he should know if his penis works better than anyone right? And even if there was Viagra, which there wasn't, what about his wife Elizabeth?

Come on, let's be for real, she couldn't have a baby when she was a young sweet thang in those child bearing years. And now she hasn't had a period in over 30 years, how the hell is a baby going to happen?

 Zechariah asked the Angel of the Lord, "How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along years." But I'm sorry to say that Zechariah was his own worst enemy. God had sent a gift and he just put his big foot right into his mouth, just like many of us do.

Yep! Sometimes we are our own worst enemy. We speak negativity into a situation before it can even blossom. We doubt our abilities before we have even given them the chance. Sometimes we just need to shut it down and that's just what God did to Zechariah, he silenced him.

Yep during the time of Elizabeth's pregnancy Zechariah couldn't talk. The Angel said, "I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God... I have been sent to tell you this good news. And now you will not be able to speak until the day it happens because you did not believe wife my words." Luke 1:18-20

Now to be authentic to the story, there was at least one time that God gave Zechariah  his voice, and you know, it was simply to say something positive and then he silenced him yet again until the birth and naming of John. Luke 1:67-75. It reminds me of the saying, "If you can't say something nice, then say nothing at all." But don't you know this saying can also apply to your own life?

 Sometimes we are our worst critic and we do more emotional damage to ourselves than necessary . We internalize the negativity. Yep! We start thinking and before we know it, we've mumbled it to ourselves and even mumbled it to someone else, things like this: I couldn't possibly do that... There's, no way I can make that work... That's not enough money... That's not how it's typically done... I'm not good enough, even in relationships, How can you love someone like me, I don't deserve you, I'm not capable and so on.

 We kill in our spirit all the reasons why that good thing that God has or wants to bless us with can happen.

 The Bible says, "As a man thinketh so is he...  And it also says, "Life and death is in the power of the tongue." Practice speaking goodness into your life... Start believing you can do that thing... Start thinking you're worthy... Don't be afraid of the gifts and talents that God has given you and you have taken the time to develop over the years.

Without Chance There is No Opportunity!  Rev. Jesse Jackson taught me a valuable lesson during his bids for the president. He would always say, "If you don't run, you are guaranteed to lose." There is so much truth in this statement and I remember this in every venture I go into. You must be willing to take a chance. You cannot allow the past to hinder your future.

In order to take that chance you must silence your internal critic that says no! Most often it runs on autopilot because you lean on it like a crutch. Shut Sybil's Ass Down!!!

You see, your inner critic speaks from your past and selectively calls on those things that went wrong.  From A to Z...  Your inner critics thinks it's keeping you safe from future failures so you don't trip up.

In reality what it's doing is treating you worst off than if you had pursued that thing. It's like this, instead of actually keeping you safe, your inner critic makes you feel even more miserable and it stifles your growth by paralyzing you in fear and negativity. You cannot determine your future by your past. That's a set up waiting to happen.

Tomorrow is always another day with fresh possibilities!

This is what I want you to practice as a way to help silence your inner critic.  When the inner critic says no you can't do that... Remember what happened the last time?

I want you to actually sit down and write out what happened the last time. Then I want you to make a list , one with the good and the one with the bad from this particular experience and I promise you that there will be a good in what you thought or actually was a bad.

There is always something you learn from every situation that will help you in the next situation.  It does not even matter if there was only one good thing, or one lesson, every lesson is valuable.  It's about how I can use yesterday's experience to help further tomorrow, rather than not have a tomorrow. God wants you to soar, and there is nothing from your past that says you can't.

Allow your inner voice to speak life into your future! Once and for all, put Sybil to rest as you move into 2012! Silence Your Worst Critic, YOU! 

Post Script: Please visit the other post in this series
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