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

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Moving Toward 2012: Action, Not Avoidance!

Yesterday when I arrived home from running errands, as usual, I took my coat off and reached for the TV remote control and the cable was not working. My tummy sank as I made my way to the bed room. I peeked over the bed and yes all the lights were off on the internet box.

I walked back to the living room and started roaming through my unopened mail on the counter. "You have got to stop this," I mumbled to myself.  My internet and cable are connected to the phone and now they were all gone. I sighed.

 I found the disconnection notice and made that call.  Of course the telephone company has new hours so I only got automization. Yep, there will be no service tonight.

I sighed to myself, "This is not healthy Rae. How can you expect people to do better, if you're not?" I immediately took control of the situation. It wasn't that I didn't have the money to pay the bill this time and even if I didn't, all I had to do was call and get an extension. As I paid ALL my utility bills, I started to think about what I needed to do to change this very thing. It was clear at that moment that this is a systematic problem that I must address. My cell phone was turned off two weeks ago because I had neglected to pay the bill. I have got to STOP this! Just STOP it! In the last six months it has happened more than I would like to admit.

I understand the core of the problem. In the last few years my finances have been tight. Actually, my income dropped to about 30% of what I normally expect in a given year. As a result I started making it one bill at a time, one day at a time. There has been very few months when all of my bills were paid for the month in a given month.

Somewhere along the line I got frustrated and despondent and I started to make the madness worst. Not intentionally, but through  my continued avoidance. I just didn't deal. It went something like this: I only checked my mail box once every week and sometimes every two weeks. "No point in looking," I rationalized, "It's only bills.  Mostly medical bills, but also utilities.

Then when I did get the mail, I would let it pile on the counter unopened. Generally I know when my bills are due, but never when they are in final collection.  If my funds are low, I just do nothing.

 Like two weeks ago when my cell was cut off, I had about $30 more than the phone bill and there was a part of me that just didn't want to let it go. I knew that disconnection was soon and I needed to find out when, but I kept putting it off and putting it off.  To see myself with only $30 was depressing as hell. But then I created a larger problem, now I have to pay the re-connect fee on my next bill.

Avoidance only makes the problem worst. There is no need in digging any deeper, no need. You have to face the issue head on or it will only get worst. It's like a bad sore that never gets attention, eventually it festers, and then it runs.

Action is required even on those things that seem hopeless and overwhelming. There is always a plus to addressing the bad, if at the very least you have a clearer picture of where you stand. Even if it's a BIG issue, you begin to pull down the layers and with each layer gone, the problem will get smaller and smaller.

It's like unpacking a freshly moved in place.  I remember when I moved in my studio  from my three bedroom place two years ago. I had so many boxes I literally had no space to walk. It was overwhelming for me and my dogs. But my poor  Nambi was blind and she started to panic. I knew I had to tackle the problem head-on, if not for me, for her. I stacked everything as high as I could and I unpacked one box at a time, and in time all the boxes were gone.  And yes my little Nambi was able to develop a new routine now that the boxes were gone.

Likewise, if I had simply opened my phone bill I would have known a disconnection was around the corner. But somewhere in my mind I was buying time until I got off the road from World AIDS Day and I would actually have a check in my hand, which made paying this bill an easier task emotionally. When in fact, all I really had to do was call for an extension if that was my ultimate goal.

In the meantime, because of avoidance, all the work that needed to be done last night regarding my bracelet line sat because my avoidance in one area had now affected another area of my life.

 OK, can you see the picture? I've created a greater problem because I'm not addressing the problem at hand. I cannot run a business this way. I work from my home and I need my telephone, both cell and home and my internet. Last night when I hung up the phone from AT and T I had a lot of time to think about what can be done differently, there was no TV, so no Law and Order for me tonight. Just me and fixing the problem at hand. First step was admitting there was a problem; And no it wasn't with AT and T it was with me.

 I accepted that I had made a total mess of this situation and that it needed to be corrected. No need in beating myself up, just move forward and that's just what I did.

I think I've come up with a good plan.  No, my finical situation has not changed just YET, but I've got to live in balance even when the check book balance is low.  First, I have to do a budget. Now I've tried 6 months budgets and they don't work for me. So, I'm going to do a monthly budget until I have mastered that and then continue up the ladder, two, three, four and so on.

Secondly, I will check my mail every day.  Third, within 24 hours all mail will be opened and placed in its proper category. Medical bills, well at this junction there are no funds to pay those so they stay in an  organizer and together.  But my day to day living is a whole other thing. It's around 10:00 A. M. as I write this blog and you have better believe that every piece of mail I have has been opened and categorized and all of December bills are paid. As soon as I finish with the pressing work of RLT Brand, then I will work on my January budget.

Do I feel better this morning, YES? Knowing where you stand in a situation is actually liberating.  There is an ease that I have that I haven't had in months. My continued avoidance held me hostage and made my situation worse than it was.

Taking action is always the better route.  Not taking action does not always solve the initial problem, if I had no money, I couldn't pay any bills that's an undeniable fact, but I understand that action is relative, with relative outcomes. In this case, taking action up-front would have been asking for an extension;Who knows what tomorrow holds. The fact of the matter, you can only do on today what you know for sure.

I don't care what the core issue may be, avoidance will make the issue worst than if you had taken action. It's just that simple! As you move into 2012, Practice Action, Not Avoidance.

Post Script: Please visit the other post in this series

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