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 9, 2012

Monday Reflection: Self-Love First!

Just because  you know better does not always mean that you will do better. This I know to be true in my own life. For Real... For Real... Can I be honest with you today? Let's take relationships as our starting point. How many times have you been in a relationship, done some stupid shit, vowed that you would never be there again, to end up right back in the same place yet again. 

Now it may not be the same exact situation, but it has the same outcome one way or the other, unhappy, stressed, de-valued, and disrespected. But yet you seem to be stuck. Yep, you don't like how he makes you feel. Well, if the truth be told, there is something about him/her that you like, but at the end of the day, the bad makes you feel really mad and when you are feeling bad you cannot feel the good, but yet you stay stuck. 

You know better, but you just can't get to that place where you can do better. You are paralyzed by the fear of the unknown. If you go, will you find someone else? How will my life change? And of course, if I just keep holding on, he/she will do better. So you sacrifice you doing better, with a hope and prayer that he/she will do better, but in the end, they proved to be the person they showed you they were months ago.

You know better, but you don't do better. Yep, you go into a relationship that you know from the very start is a lose, lose situation. They have a girlfriend/boyfriend or they are married, but you just keep on texting, Facebooking and Tweeting them all day long. Hum huh, you know that shit is wrong but you explain it away. 

Yep, you make excuses for it rather than take ownership for the fact that you are disrespecting and hurting the other woman/men and yourself. Yes, this is disrespecting and hurting you too, because you have decided from the beginning that sharing and all the drama with sharing is OK. Sharing is never OK! Sharing de-values the person that God intended for you to be. 

Not only that, you are setting yourself up for failure. Do you really believe that getting with someone that has someone will be good for anyone involved? And don't the Bible say to treat people how you want to be treated? I can't imagine that you want to be treated this way. Then in the end, if they cheat with you, won't they cheat on you with someone else?

I know this isn't my typical Monday Reflection, but I go where I'm led. This morning I got a tweet from a college student that heard me speak two weeks ago. She was working through her relationship with "him" based on some of the things I had to say to the young women about self-love. So here I am talking about being the best you, that you can be. 

Can we have some real talk on today's Monday Reflection? I ain't even gonna lie, been there, done that.   All of the above, knowing that shit was wrong from the get go. Knowing that I wasn't lovin me in the best ways that I can love me.  I was so caught up, you couldn't tell me shit. That man made my cooichie jump and my heart patter and in the end I thought that made it ok. Yep, I even had the nerve to justify my madness. And don't you think HIV has stopped one thing. Over the years, I have had more men who wanted to get "some" than wanted to be in a relationship with me. I had to STOP the madness; Cause as long as I was willing to open my legs, they were willing to dive in. 

Yep, knowing better don't always mean that we do better. You know he told you he didn't want a relationship, but you kept hoping that if you laid it on him every chance you got that it would change his mind. So you keep giving the best of you. Yep, just wasting your pretty and de-valuing your worth with the hope and prayer that he will want you in the ways that you want him. But in fact, if he really valued you and not just your pussy, then he would have NEVER asked you to de-value yourself.

Self Love should ALWAYS be your first love. You cannot depend on a man to love you more than you love yourself. Nor should you be willing to sacrifice all the beauty that God has given you for another. 

I'm laying it on the line! I know what its like to be lonely. I know what its like to want a "particular" man more than you want to breath. I know what its like to want to be touched and to have companionship. 

But I also know what its like to have that empty feeling when the sex is over and he's gone home. I know what its like to wait on a man to call and then waiting for him to love you the way you deserve to be loved.

I also know that God wants me to be the best person that I can be; To value and respect not only my own life but the lives of others. 

Fighting, Fussing, Cussing, Waiting and Wanting is NOT what God intend for our lives, not today, nor tomorrow. Nor is it your best you!

The question is, when are you going to give the best you a chance to thrive? When are you going to put yourself first over wanting and needing a man in your life? It has taken me almost 50 years to get to this place of true self-love. It wasn't easy, but it was worth it.  Putting me first has been one of the BEST things that I have ever done for myself. I can look in the mirror and feel good about the person looking back at me. I can even love her more and like her a lot. 

Today, I know for sure, that I know, that I know, that I know, there is no man worth my self-worth!  It has been one of the best things I could have done for myself, that is, put me first; When I meet a new man and it becomes clear that he adds more chaos than value, then I keep it moving. Doing better requires work, but I promise you, it's less sleepless nights and less heartache. When you de-value yourself, you attract people that will also de-value you.

In the end self-love will attract the partner in your life that values and wants the best for you. 
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