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

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day Blog Winner!

The Winner of the Mother's Day Contest.... This is her blog post about her Mother unedited by me...

My mother had me when she was 22 years old. I was her first child. She has smothered me with love so much that for years, the only quality I thought I would desire in a mate was a man who would spoil me like my mother did. I had Clarks heels before I was eight and she made sure to dress me up fancy all the time. She says when I was a child, she spent most of the time knitting me gloves and socks and head socks and making sure I stayed on a mat so I wouldn’t get dirty. Even today, I see it in the way she buys me expensive perfume and make up and calls me up every other day to find out how I’m doing that she dotes on me.

We had our issues when I was a teenager but even then, I never doubted her true feelings about me.
When my mother was taken ill in May 2008 (she was diagnosed with HIV in 1996), I was scared but she was stronger than us and let us know every single day that the LORD’s promises did not include death at her age. This picture was taken on my visit to the hospital. It was not allowed for caretakers to share beds with the patients but we’d wait until after lights out so that I could climb in beside her. It was more comforting for both of us that way. And I was twenty whole years old!
Here she was struggling with nausea and her teeth enamel had been severely erroded by constant vomiting but she was still smiling for the camera (I took the picture). That’s Mama. Always calm in a storm. Her recovery took a long time, about half a year, and even then, she lost use of her legs. In this time, I have come to appreciate my mother’s strength of spirit. She still works extra hard at her sewing machine. She taught herself how to tailor, how to paint and has had several businesses wherever she has lived. She’s an enterprising woman. If you can see the plaits in her hair on the hospital bed, yeah, she taught me that too. I had uncountable dolls while growing up to practice with. She has had nine children and although she now remains with seven, I don’t know how she does it but everyone believes they are her favourite child. She dotes on her children and her husband and talks about God every day of her waking.

This picture was taken last year, a day before my graduation day. I was fresh out of a four hour bus journey from the town I was doing my internship and was trying on the outfit for the next day. She was working in her shop, as evidenced by the tape measure around her neck. She has since moved to a bigger shop and it’s business as usual. Mama had a government job before her illness in 2008. She lost it later but even that hasn’t held her back. She is self employed and takes making the most of everything to a higher level. My mother is a very special woman and I hope to God she knows it. Sometimes I don’t know how I can let her know this in words or actions. She’s beating AIDS, stress and work like the true winner she is. I love you Mama, and when I grow up (never mind that I’m turning 24 this May), I want to be just like you.

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