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

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Crafting Our History: Part Two

On Monday I wrote a blog about how we recount our history. I used a few examples based on my own history and did so without any quantifiable statements, to do so would have defeated the purpose of the blog; that people tell their story in a way to meet other people's approval rather than in the hard cold truth, there by distorting history and leaving no space to either heal from the past or learn from the past. (Part One Read Here)

For the most part, I expected to receive the criticism that I received. I didn't expect people to just outright attack me, but it is what it is. Overit.com  One woman even unfollowed me on Twitter because I dared to admit that I had a relationship with a man married to another woman. While she "like" my work for the most part, my admission was over the top and she was outraged that I would admit such a thing and said it made her think about own marriage and created some kind of fear in her. I guess that fear is what made her lash out at me. Looking at my truths made her think about her own and who wants to think about truth? So instead I was attacked....

My friend Peter was here visiting me for a few days, he is a pastor in the Methodist Church and he said to me, "Baby they are reading your blog between your legs and not from your head," and that struck me as another truth that made me say, "Damnnnnn." The other observation he made, was that my most vocal critics are Black Christian Women, and he ventured to say, that most of them are single. That observation gave both of us something to think about, especially because he pastors.

I wanted to talk about remembering our history from our heart also, but before I go there I want to explore Monday's blog topic some more. No, today's blog is NOT a quantifying blog either. I will not explain my relationship with my former lover so that you can like me or feel differently about me. If that one admission changes everything then so be it. It is my truth and I live in truth, if my truth is too much for you then very well.  If I should ever talk more about that relationship one day, it will because I was led there by a greater force than you and that there are other lessons learned that I need you to get.

At the end of the day,  some of you proved the very point that I was trying to make. I'm sure there were others who felt the same way as my Twitter follower, but didn't voice it to me.  I found it interesting that only one person said to me anything about the example that I used recounting a part of one my childhood history of molestation, where I said that, "I wiped semen off my 9 year old vagina and didn't understand what it was." No one voiced their concern over that example but did over the married man and that was also telling, especially for the ones who came to my blog  and made comments in the name of Christianity.  So what is it about a person(s) that devalue molestation over and above their concern for adultery? I'm not going to try to answer that question either in today's blog, but I will come back another day.

 I'm a story teller and it occurred to me even more so after Monday's blog that in the past I have in many ways told my story in such a way that would make it easier for people to like me or find me appealing in some way. Yes, like Markeeda says, I tell everything, but it's the how that I'm tackling today. I've always had the need to say that I never had a one night stand nor had sex on the first date; yep quantifiable statements. About two years ago, I wrote blog about how I came to a place in therapy where I had to face the fact that I had dated men that I loved, but also some that I wanted to love me.  (It was pulled from the blog for my new book.)

While I had been able to make that admission, there was still a part of me that was spinning in such a way for you to still like me. Just recently it occurred to me that I hadn't really moved beyond the fuck as I thought I had; that in someway, I was still trying to convince you that I wasn't a hoe. In that blog last week, Moving Beyond the Fuck, I said that I don't intend to quantify that any more either. I had sex, I started having sex when I was 13 and it is what it is.

What does it matter if I contracted HIV on one fuck, two fucks or three? Does the number of fucks determine if you will have any compassion for me? And if so why? Especially if you live by the agape love we claim our Christian faith to be rooted in? Or are we playing Christianly? But I'll move on because today's blog isn't to beat up on Christians either, it's to ask the simple question; Why is it important for people to craft their history in a pretty package to meet the approval of others? 

I will not give you answers today, but I have many questions for you to ponder. You must come to your own answer.... I don't live inside of you and I would never be so bold as to try to tell you about yourself. 

I am asking you to ponder on these;

1) What do we miss if we live in a world of half truths?

2) Do we ever live whole or do we compartmentalize our life for the rest of our life? There's a saying, if we don't know our history we are bound to repeat it. Buddhists believe that in reincarnation we re-live that thing over and over again until we understand it, but how can you understand what you never face?

3) What does that mean for a history that is distorted?  Who learns?  Do we not cheat society? Cheat ourselves?

4) If we can't speak the truth then how do we grow?

5) What lessons do we learn if any, if we are not honest about our journey?

6) What power do we surrender when we fail to be honest?

7) Is the love of others more important than the love of self?

8) And if we cannot be honest in this space how can we be whole in this space?

9) Are we doomed to live in silence for the rest of our lives in order to live in community? And does not the community live whole because I live whole? Martin Luther King, Jr. believed that society was connected as one and when there was an injustice of one it affected the whole. In this way, does not growth of one effect the growth of others? Why are we afraid to rise above community for the betterment of both community and ourselves.  King writes in the Letter From The Birmingham Jail, "Jesus Christ was an extremist for love, truth and goodness, and thereby rose above his environment." When are you willing to rise above your environment for love, truth and goodness?

10) Why is Respectability and decorum more important than the truth?

11) Why do we strive to be the second best of someone else, rather than the best of who we are?

12) And even if we are not willing to face own truths, why do we object to others speaking their truths?

13) And why is it more important to cast judgment on someone else's journey, rather than look at our own journey?  What need is there in you to tell someone else how horrible of a person they are?

An author Hillary McFarland and friend of Peter's sent him this message to him Facebook to give to me, "For Your friend Ms. Thornton, It is a grave disservice to the heart, soul, body and spirit of a woman when she is given the subtle message that the truth of her own pain is not as important as the reputation of the ones who inflict it." "Quivering Daughters"

I will ask again, what truths in your life are you denying so that you can meet the approval of others and live in community, rather than live whole

As for me, I would prefer to live whole on a Island with nature, rather than live in community broken. 

Why don't we peel the layers off our souls and look in... and then be honest with what you see. Growth will only come through honest introspective of one's self...
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