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, April 16, 2012

Monday Reflection: Back To The Basics!

On Saturday I was searching for something to make me feel better, something to take me away from it all. If I had some extra money I probably would have gone shopping in spite of the fact that my body is to broken too be out and about shopping; I know I don't need a darn thing and in the end, I know it's gonna make me feel worse feeding my old behavior. Yep, just cause you know better, don't always mean you to better.

Ummmm, can I be honest? My spirit was broken and I wanted a quick fix. I crawled myself out of bed and walked to the bead shop. I thought there should be at least one thing that I can buy that will make me smile.  Ha, there was nothing new since two days ago, so with no purchase and a sad face, I walked to the yogurt shop.

 I tasted 3 flavors  that I already knew, searching for that perfect thing. I finally decided on a peach swirl and yes I got a ton of toppings, thinking the joy must be in the toppings.

With yogurt in tote I made it half way down the block before I turned back to get a lid and a bag. It had become clear after a few spoonfuls; whatever I was looking for was not to be found in my yogurt cup.

I made my way to Walgreens to get the dish washing liquid that was badly needed to rescue my sink from dirty dishes. While in Walgreens, I walked up and down the candy aisle. I picked up, put back and picked up candy that I knew I didn't need over and over again.

With full hands and arms I made my way to the aisle with the chips. I was so intent on finding that right thing to ease whatever this feeling I had, I almost forgot the original purpose, dish washing liquid.

By the time I made it to the, "Do it yourself check-out counter," that I hate, my tummy started to talk to me and I could feel that poop was getting ready to come.  My Irritable Bowel Syndrome was acting up, but no wonder, stress is a major cause for some. I became nervous and anxious trying to check out  that I got confused. "Lawd, please don't let this happen," was all I could think. I had on wide legs pants with no panties; Yep because they hurt too much to wear these days, so all I could think about was poop coming down the legs of my pants onto that floor.

I started to talk to myself and to the check-out counter, yes I said the counter, about why it was not cooperating with me. Yep, I was in real panic mode. Thank God the young clerk came over to rescue me. "What's the problem," I asked, "I'm trying to enter my rewards number." The young man said, "We don't have," and before he could finish,  I said,  "Damn it!  I'm Crazy, this is Walgreens not CVS!" By that time I could feel the poop starting to seep. I was desperate!

"Baby I'm about to use the bathroom on myself," I said to the clerk, "Do you have a public washroom?" He gave me directions and just I sat on the toilet, it came. A deep exhale, "Thank God," I mumbled.

I was really disoriented, couldn't figure out what the hell was going on with me. I walked home and crawled straight into my bed.

A nap was all I needed for clarity! Yep, when I woke my right mind was kicking in. I looked at all those things I purchased and shook my head at $17.00 worth of  junk, with money I really didn't have to spend.

A deep sigh, in my head. I  bought all that junk to give me a feel good away from my health madness and I didn't even get a chance to see if it would work because another health issue took center stage. *SMDH*

Ha, wasn't that a lesson?!? When I layed down that Saturday night I decided that I needed to spend some time getting ME back together; finding myself because I was clearly lost.  I needed to get me back before I start this journey today; Picc line placed this afternoon and I start IV meds tomorrow.

When I woke on Sunday I turned to my music and looking though the list I decided to play a hymn that I had download but never played. I had been tweeting with Jennifer Holliday, so she was in my spirit. I clicked, her version of It is Well With My Soul and good LAWD, it gave me life!

It reminded me of the Apostle Paul who declared, no matter what season, I've learned to be content. Rich or poor, hungry or fed. Paul, who had a health issue that God refused to heal. Paul, who did some of his most profound writings while in prison.

He was content with a thorn in his flesh, he was content in prison, it didn't matter what season he faced, he understood God's love for him was greater than anything he faced and he never stopped the work that God had place before him Phil 4:2-10.

I played Jennifer over and over and over again. Shoot, Ima be honest, I played it for at least 8 hours yesterday. And each time I heard her voice,  and Lawd that testimony she gives in this song, it all renewed my spirit and gave me the answers that I so needed. I started hitting the devil 3 times in my head, just like Jennifer, one for the Father, One for the Son and one for the Holy Spirit.

I took the day away from Social Media, no tweeting, just the tweet that said, "It is well with my soul." But by then, I had played that song at least 10 times.

While I allowed Jennifer and this song minister to me, I did some work. I have life coach clients, so I had to prepare myself for their phone sessions and I had other pressing things I needed to do before the hospital today.

After I finished with my clients last night. I turned right back to Jennifer and then added some of my other favorites to the playlist and as the music ministered to me, it became clearer and clearer.

Sometimes we get so caught up in life that we forget the basics. We look in so many places for those things to help ease our pain, to make us forget. Yep, shopping, food, drugs, drinking, sex all those things that in the end make you even emptier then when you first began. Turning to those things, you now have to face the shame and guilt in the over indulging, and be clear, that just adds insult to injury and takes you further than where you wanted to be.

As I got ready for bed Sunday night, it occurred to me that I've been so busy being sick and trying to keep it altogether that I have neglected a vital part of my survivor.

My fellowship with God. So I'm getting back to the basics! The best time in one's life is time spent with God! There is no greater love or relationship you can have.

Now don't miss what I'm saying. Yes, I love the Lord, my faith is solid and I have an awesome ministry as unorthodox as it is. I also know that there is nothing that can separate me from the love of God.

But I had to think about it. When was the last time that I sat still in the presence of God? When was the last time I read a meditation or even opened my Bible to read the word of God to keep me grounded?

Yes, I open the Bible to minister to others, but not so much lately for myself. Yes, I know that God renders an Aha moment each time I read His Word.  Yep, Yep,  there is new revelation every time I open the good book. So what the heck have I been doing? *blank stare* Or should I say, why haven't I been doing what I know for works for sure?!?

I've been so busy trying to prove to AIDS that it can't take all of me, I've neglected the most important part of me. I've been so busy trying to bless the people of God that I've missed my blessing. Just like you come to my blog for renewal and insight, I go to God. I hope you do to. I hope that my blog is a blessing to you, but I hope that your relationship with God is also a blessing to you and that I am second on your list.

Yes, I know where my help comes from but somehow I've lost sight. Yes, God has been watching over me, but I have not sat down with God in a while. I've been passing God up, busy fighting AIDS and doing the work of God.  This morning's mediation made it ever clearer,  Paul says in Philippians 4:4

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with Thanksgiving, present your request to God. And the peace of God will guard your hearts and your minds in Jesus Christ

How Powerful is that? Now don't be confused. Paul does not say that your petition will be granted, but he does say, you will have peace in your situation.

So I'm going back to the basics!  Not one blog will be written in the morning, nor one tweet, until I've had some time with God; Time for fellowship and renewal.

La Masion! Best Chocolate On The Planet!
Allowing Jennifer Holliday to minster to me in song gave me more peace then the best chocolate on the planet could have.

You don't need a lot, sometimes it's a Bible verse, a simple song in a quite space, and you don't need any fancy words just tell God what's on your heart and open up the word of God and read a few verses and ask God to give you understanding.

Now, remember, I'm not saying that whatever you're facing will disappear. Sometimes it what it is. Some things cannot be altered. Sometimes, time, space and circumstance dictate what it is. But I am saying that time with God will give you both peace about your situation and strength to endure.

Like the song says:
When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say

It is well, it is well, with my soul.
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Get back to the basics just like me! Put God on your to do list each day. You can't buy, sex, drink, drug or eat to get the peace that comes from God.

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