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 23, 2012

Monday Reflection: Being The Best You!

Being honest with yourself is hard. Especially on those things that are not cute. Those things that seem to nag and tap away at you and leave an ounce of insecurity. If we are honest about it, we all have something. Maybe it stems from childhood or maybe it's something that developed over the years, but we all have that one thing and some of us have more, that just eats away at us and when people start touching on it in some kind of way, we get defensive, we shut down, we cuss and we hide. Your personality type typically determines how you react.

Yep, I'm a living witness. For as strong and self assured that I am, I have them too. A biggie is that Hoe thing. You know, "She must be hoe because she has HIV and herpes," and my type A personality gets people right straight with that shit. "Aint nobody giving away no pussy over here," I say boldly.

Yep, I say, "I was doing it in the name of love," when in honesty, it doesn't matter how you doing it, you are still giving that person a part of you that you can never get back.

Some how I've comes to terms with it over the years. I'm solid more or less. Maybe because I've shared so much of my dating and sex life with the public, it has had some kind of liberating affect on me. As it stands now, I'll share just about anything and not think twice. So when people go there, I  more or less use it as an educating opportunity for me.

Yep, we all have them, those things that will get us hot mad if a person even goes there, even get near there. Now that the sex thing seems to have less of an impact on me these days, the God thing certainly takes center stage; And I get HOT MAD!

Yep, that God thing. If someone questions my faith or even come close to it, I get them right straight, with my hands on my hips. Now, I understand that my ministry is unorthodox, but God can use anything and I wish everybody could see through my lenses or read some of the heart warming e-mails I get about how my tweets, my speaking engagement and my blog has touched them, changed them, made them better and I'm using their words.

 But people don't see those and they tend to judge  by their own history and journey. Yep people say to me all the time, You call yourself a Christian the way you cuss; You call what you do ministry, you don't act like no minster; You call yourself a Christian and you were fornicating, thats how you got HIV.

And truth be told,  I'm still kinda sort of fornicating, but not in these days with a broke down vagina and a commitment to only be with men who value me and not just what's between my legs.

I haven't had sex in almost two years now and the last guy I was with, I thought for sure, I would be his wife, but ummm, he didn't see himself as God intended and with that fact, I had to move on with my life.

Yep, some of you will even have contention with what I just said. I call yall the Super-Saved Christians always putting lifestyle in front of salvation. But I'm not defending my faith today, I'm talking about a larger issue. Moving past your issues, to be the best person for you and each person you encounter. Ok, I'm being honest here and some of you still may have an issue with what I'm saying, *shrugs* I'm making the first BIG step of releasing it and maybe you should too.

Let me tell you how I got here:

About a week ago, Sophia, a writer who follows me on twitter Retweeted my, Cant Take Back The Sex blog post. As a result, I received this tweet from another woman and it said:

This article is powerful. As a health professional I agree. As a Christian woman--I am saddened. Bless you Rae

Now it seems like she was saying something nice to me, but Ima be honest, I didn't understand the Christian thing, like why had she singled that out? So I tweeted her for clarification:

I would like to understand what you mean, "as a Christian woman," because I'm one too.

Then I followed up:

In fact, I'm a minister with a Master of Divinity Degree.

The lady didn't respond, but her daughter did. SHOCKED! The woman Sophia who originally tweeted my blog was the daughter of the woman who had tweeted me. Never know who the heck you tweeting. Yep, just as I was sort of getting claifiation to defend my honor, she was sort of getting clarification to defend her mother.

Sophia Tweeted:

Hey Rae you are addressing my mom there. She was simply saying that she as a Christian woman was sad this happened two you.

Her Second Tweet:

Here we go giving our credentials. #SistersHeal good grief-always ready to POUNCE no one is questioning your faith sister.

Now I have to also admit  Twitter can get you some kinda mad at a person. In 140 characters a tweet can be misinterpreted quickly. So I backed away from it, basically because I like Sophia and ummmm this was someone's mother, someone's grandmother, so basically I said, blame it on Twitter not my heart and honestly I didn't take ownership to my POUNCE.

In reality it was a combo of both. I mean this is someone's grandmother, she's not Twitter savvy like some of us so what she tweeted in kindness, I interpreted in judgment.

On the flip side, Sophia was letting me know, back off, this is my mother, and at the same time trying to balance what she said with her work around sisterhood. Now, I wasn't totally happy with her tweet either, I played it over in my head what her mother had tweeted and it still kinda had me ruffled up and her thing about my credentials *shrugs* but I backed off and we kept right on tweeting each other.

Then yesterday, I read an article that Sophia Nelson wrote for Essence.com and Get Lifted Sisters: It's Time To Let The Healing Begin and I had the BIGGEST Aha Moment. It's worth the read, there is great advice from some phenomenal women. Click Here To Read

While I already knew many of the things in this particular article, in fact I use these ideas with my Life Coaching clients, there seemed to be a disconnect in my own life around this particular issue of my faith and my work.

Reading Sophia's article made me face the realization that I had not faced the realization that I have insecurities about how other people see my work. I'm provocative and unorthodox and that has left me at the scrutiny, judgment and even wrath of others and that has left me in defensive mode.

I have threatened to write a many a blogs defending my work. I even have one written in response to someone's comment on my blog months ago, but I didn't post it for fear of even more judgment.

I've been harboring all these bad feelings and that is not good for my health. Yep, holding onto how I feel about people telling me that I am "ungodly" and that my work does not represent the best that Christ has to offer.

So today I'm taking the first step at healing. Some time today, I will post my one blog that I wrote months ago but never published, about my faith and my work and I'm done. I am releasing this to God.

I want nothing to interfere with how we should  truly treat one another. I want to be able to approach this and every topic in a conversation rather than confrontation.  Now, that does not mean I will change my methodology, provocative is what I am. But I want to change what's at my core driving the ugly. I want to have a clear heart about all things in my life. I'm trying to be the best me that I can be as I move into this next decade.

I understand that when you are the best you, then that's what you give to others!!!

Post Script: I ordered Sophia Nelson book today... Can't wait to read it. Yes, I will give you a review... Black Woman Redefined: Dispelling Myths and Discovering Fulfillment in the Age of Michelle Obama... Click Amazon Here To Order

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