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, January 31, 2012

The God of Small Things...

Often times we go to God with the big things. We even tend to celebrate the big things that happen to us in life, in a big way. But I'm wondering how much energy do we give the small things? The little things that touch our lives and honestly, help to keep us going.

I know I know, everyone is always looking for that big payday, hoping, praying and wishing that God will come through. But the God of Big things is also the God of little things and the blessings of little things is still a blessing.  I've been thinking a lot about this lately.

I'm not sure why, but maybe because the big things that I'm hoping and praying for just aren't happening. In fact, it seems like God just shut down on my prayers. I mean, like He had a conversation with Satan, just like in the book of Job and I'm being put to the test on how much I can take.

I think when we feel that God has deserted us, even if our desert moment may be real, we just need to take a step back and give an honest assessment of our lives.

 Now that's a big thing for me to say because I HATE when I'm hurting and someone says to me, " Well you're still alive." While it may be true, it makes me feel like my hurt isn't important. What I really hear them saying is, "Get Over Yourself." Ha, easy for them to say, they aren't living my drama. And no I'm not trying to quantitate pain.

No, I'm not saying your hurt isn't important and the thing that you are praying for isn't important, at least to you. What you feel is what you feel and what is happening is real.

What I am saying is that the small things get missed sometimes in the despair and even the joy of the big things. Now, I don't know what your small things may be, but I know you have them, because I have them too.

Knitting is one of my small things. I only learned to knit about 7 years ago and if God had told me that morning, that I was going to learn how to knit, I would have laughed. For Real! I left the house to go shopping and when I went into Bravco, a beauty supply store on the Gold Cost, the girl behind the counter was knitting. I said to her, "I always wanted to learn how to knit." She responded, "Go down the street they will teach you." I dismissed it immediately, I don't have time for a class." "No," She said,"They will teach you right now." "How much?" I asked. It's free," she said.

My curiosity got the best of me and I made my way to We'll Keep You In Stitches on Oak Street. I walked into this tiny knit shop and all eyes turned to me. There were these little old ladies sitting at a table knitting. I froze, ummm, "They told me down the street that you would teach me how to knit." Oh Sure," Betty said and Ronnie chimed in, "have a sit." The rest is history as they say.

They have definitely kept me in stitches.  Knitting has been a God sent to me. It's one of those places I go and it's just for me, reading, drinking tea and designing bracelets are too. There is no pain, no despair, nor misery in knitting needles, just delight. That little spot became a safe place for me one year. Knitting and those old ladies helped me through a severe depression.

What I'm talking about isn't really about knitting per se, but about how God can bless your life and we never really take notice. Some of us aren't even open to the small blessings God have for us because we are so focused on the big stuff and then bitterness consumes us when it doesn't happen our way that we can't see the forest for the trees.

That day on Oak Street, I was open to the little God voice that said, this feels right. I had no idea that learning to knit or those two ladies would be a blessing to me. It's been no secret that life has been very hard for me in the last 3-4 years, but as I muddled through the darkness, I'm taking note of the small things that blesses me even in the darkness and brings hope for an even better tomorrow. Yes, God is also the God of Small Things. Don't miss it waiting and watching for the big things!

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