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

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Trying To Out Run AIDS...

I have a big ass problem. It may seem like a small thing to some people, but its major to me; My inability to rest. I don't rest. Yes, I sleep, but I just don't rest. Now that my health is better, I see myself falling back into the same pattern. Keeping a break neck schedule.

No, I'm not on the road speaking, my gigs are still far and few in between these days, but all the other work that I do. My Social Media work, i.e., Tweeting about my life as a way to educate as well as, answering the tons of e-mails and Facebook messages I get, designing and making bracelets trying to keep RLT Collection current  and food on my table and let's now forget trying to get my house back into shape, it went to the dogs in these months. I have so much filing to do its crazy. The list goes on and on.

Since speaking engagements dried up in the last few years, I'm at home, finding new ways to educate, inspire and up lift and at the same time, keep food for me and my baby girl Sophie. Working for yourself is a non-stop job, I gotta make it happen or I'm not going to eat. Working from the house, doesn't make it any better because there is no proper division of work and rest.

I was talking about it on Twitter yesterday and my friend and fashion Blogger Kim suggested some set hours. I thought about it and agreed. Well, I adjusted what she had suggested by an additional hour and half and added some work hours on Saturday, but in the end I thought it was a good idea.

Now I've always been this break neck work alcoholic, overachiever trying to prove Mama wrong. Yep, I was gonna work my ass off and prove to her that I was better than, she declared that I was. The problem is, Mama is dead and gone and I'm still pushing myself to the limits. BTW, Mama never said that she was proud of me, not even before she died.

Well, this morning when I woke Kim sent me a daily devotions and it was so on point!

Thought about you when I read this:

For all who have entered into God's rest have rested from their labors, just as God did after creating the world. So let us do our best to enter that rest. But if we disobey God, as the people of Israel did, we will fall.

Hebrews 4:10-11 NLT
Are you well rested? We can enter marathons of work, projects and even emotional hardships. You may feel invincible at times and take on more than your body can handle. But remember that God made us in His image and we should rest just like He did. Firmly set aside a day or two after any intense period of work to replenish yourself.

After I let it sit in my spirit for a second, it hit me like a ton of bricks. God spoke to my spirit loud and clear, "Daughter, it's ok to rest, stop trying to out run AIDS."

WOW.... That hit me right in my gut. STOP trying to out run AIDS! The fact is, no matter how hard I work, AIDS is going nowhere and as sure as I'm typing at this very moment, I will get sick again and I will shut down yet again. There is nothing I can do to change that fact. This is my life with AIDS. It is what it is and I cannot change this fact. Acceptance is half of the ball game.

Somewhere in my head I have this crazy idea that if I work like a mad woman until I get shut down again then it balances out the time that AIDS shuts me down. This is some mad thinking.

I tell people all the time, there is no glory in being some self imposed martyr. Ain't NO glory in that madness,  just MADNESS! The Bible says, "The race is not given to the swift or the battle to the strong.... But time and chance happen to them all." (Ecc 9:11) I have to let life play itself out. I cannot change the course of events in my life, there are some things that cannot be undone. HIV/AIDS is one of them. No matter how long or hard I work, HIV/AIDS is not changing.

I talk to my life coaching clients all the time about balance. The best person you can be is the most balanced person you can be. You have to take everything in your life into consideration and live your best life facing it all.

There is no victory in this break neck schedule I keep. Just fatigue and exhaustion both mentally and physically and that does more damage to my health and gives AIDS fuel to attack my body. HIV fatigue and my broke down immune system don't need any help from me by adding fuel to the fire and herpes is just waiting to attack my stressed out body.

So I'm going on record TODAY! I'm creating balance in my schedule. Time to work and time to renew. I know at first it may be difficult, but I'm keeping to the work schedule even if I have to leave the house to do it; Go to the gym or take a walk with Sophie.

YES! I'm giving myself permission to rest. I thank God for my discussion with Kim. Certainly she was a vessel for me to get at the root cause of some of this madness.

 Glad I tweeted my need to rest, glad she was their on the other end and allowed it to resonate in her spirit.  The devotion that she sent me this morning was so on point; Even God took time to rest. 

 It reinforced in me that I'm made in God's wonderful image, even with AIDS.  There is no need for me to prove that I'm Greater Than AIDS, God proved that when I was created! All good and perfect things comes from God and when God made Woman and Man, God said, "It is good."

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