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, August 20, 2012

Monday Reflection: Use What You Got!

Lawdddd knows I've been in the blue. Not the bright pretty color that makes you smile but the grey blue that makes you frown; where the possibilities for something better is there but it's overshadowed by shades of grey.

For the last two weeks I've been fighting this demon with all that is within me. I really have. But, no matter which way I turn, I seem to be reminded that life is hard for me, really hard.

I've been taking care of myself since October of my senior year of high school. I came home 15 minutes late for my curfew and Mama told me to go back where I had just come from and she meant that shit.

Having to put food on the table since I was 17 has been no easy task, but I've done it! Like for real.. For real... But lately I seem to never get ahead; not just financially, but also physically. There always seem to be something bogging me down. Something... I feel like I just can't get a break; and some days it's all consuming and the consumption is not healthy emotionally and bad emotional health is not good for my physical health. Then I start to stress more that the stress will land me back on IV medication.

I've got to find a balance in my life. I often seek God for answers and it's funny how God speaks through the least expected at the least expected times.

Like yesterday I was restless, just restless. So I decided that I would bake some cookies. Baking is another place of solitude for me. So I marched into the kitchen to pull all the ingredients together to find nothing that I needed to make any kind of cookies.

This of course created an overwhelming sadness in me. I can't remember a time in my life since those early days when I went into my kitchen and didn't have what I needed to bake. I'm the stock up queen. But for the last 3 1/2 years it's been hard, really hard. There has been very little for extra, the necessity has been basically it. Now don't get me wrong, I'm grateful for what I got because there are some that don't have what I have;But I've not lived this bare in years.

In that moment of realization there became a sadness that swept over me. I started to look through my cabinets. I needed some cook therapy even more so at that moment. To no avail, I couldn't find a thing, so I got back in the bed. Then out of the clear blue, I remembered that I had some unpopped popcorn and went searching on the internet for something that I could make with it.

I found a simple recipe, butter, sugar, water and popcorn and I added some shaved chocolate and it made a delish toffee popcorn.

After I had finished making my toffee popcorn, God spoke to my spirit loud and clear, "My daughter, use what you've got and see me work a wonder."

We spend a lot of time lamenting the things we hope for, but don't have. What about what we do have? God never really leaves us without, no matter how empty it may seem.

I keep talking about this, maybe because I really need to GET it!

It's interesting that I get it when it comes to my work. God calls and God equips! I may not be tracking the country speaking for large speaker fees right now, but I have thousands at my reach, daily through twitter, this blog, Facebook and my YouTube. I do the work that I was called to do in this most modern way, through Social Media.

In spite of my critics, I keep it moving with a gangster shrug. I dare not squander this gift I have. All this knowledge and wisdom that God has blessed me with, I wouldn't dare sit on it just because I don't have an auditorium to deliver it in. To do so would be way too arrogant.  So honestly, the little I do have often goes to making my Social Media better, because this is where I work; where I touch lives, and educate. Sometimes I pay my internet and phone bill before going grocery shopping because I gotta have a place to do the work. Just last week alone, most of what little money I got went  to creating a new face for the website, people may admire the work that I do, but they want to be paid for their services.  BTW.. Thank you again... for every donation and every bracelet sale... I cannot even begin to tell you how much it means to me and it is often ALWAYS on time.

But I gotta get over myself when it comes to my personal life. Get over the fact that you may not always get what you want, but you do get what you need. I must stay steadfast and so must you. When you wake in the morning you are still a part of God's earthly plan, don't squander today because it's not the life you thought you would have on yesterday.

We ALL have to learn to use what we got in ALL areas of our life and watch God turn your little into much!

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