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

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Facing Betrayal... Even Jesus, Why Not Us?

Betrayal is an absolute Motherfucker! I have nothing pretty or respectable to say about it. I don't care where or who the betrayal comes from, when it comes, it shatters a person's spirit. These last few weeks I've had to deal with betrayal in my own life and I can tell you for a fact, that shit has knocked me straight down to my health and wellness. I have been trying to make sense out of the senseless and that is madness at it's best. Now be clear, I try my best to exit from madness as quickly as I can, so that it doesn't control me longer than the lie and betrayal has controlled me.

Ironically, yesterday I received a message from a woman who is going through some betrayal of her own. Some real shit when you lay in a bed with a man every night to learn you don't even know who they are. It's some real shit, when you learn that the truth is a lie and everything is blurred, it's madness at it's best. Emailing with her, I had to move beyond my own bias. I had to get out of myself to minister to someone else about the very thing that I'm facing, lies and betrayal. Boy, God has a sense of humor. For Real.. For Real...

 It's some serious shit when you learn that the person you thought you knew best, turns out to be someone that you don't know at all. One thing can question everything that you ever thought you knew about them. It changes the relationship immediately and that can never be recovered. You cannot go back, only forward. The thing is, a person has the right to make a bad decision for their life that effects you negatively.

Speaking of their sister, someone said in my Al-Anon Group the other day, "A person has a right to be crazy!" That was truth at it's best! At the same time, you have the right to make the best decision for yourself in the face of what others do. These are both facts! But trying to determine the best decision for you is a hard thing because you still have the memory of who that person was before you learned the lie. While there is some goodness in that person, you also have to remember that the goodness was also in the backdrop of the lie. No matter how hard you try, the lie lingers like a fowl smell.

As I connected to my IV drip this morning, I was thinking, "I wonder how Jesus felt about His own betrayal?" The Bible doesn't give us any hint at His emotion around the betrayal from both Peter and Judas, only how He felt about His imminent death. (Matthew 26:20-56) He does however, give us a hint about betrayal, Jesus say's "Woe to the man who betrays the Son of Man." (Matthew 26:24b)  One Bible commentary suggest that "Woe, introduces a prophetic oracle, of lament or condemnation." So while Jesus tells us that betrayal is wrong, we have no glimpse of how or what Jesus feels about betrayal from the ones closet to Him.

As I reflect on the betrayal of Jesus, there are lessons for us. At first glance, the goodness is that the truth was revealed to both Jesus and the disciples.  God wouldn't have it so that you would live in ignorance. Operating in clarity is the best of life; clarity of self and of others.

The problem with clarity for many of us is the unwillingness to accept the truths in the face of the lie. We lend toward the half truths in the lie rather than taking the wrong of lying at face value. A lie is a lie, no matter how many truths it's colored with. Even when God reveals that thing we don't take heed. Often times we dismiss it out of some need to be loved. When someone shows you who they are, BELIVE them! Don't explain it away and don't make excuses. Operate in the truth!

Other times, we even try to play God and save them from themselves. You must remember, you can forgive a person, but you don't have to play baby Jesus. Let them do the work that they must on themselves.  You couldn't stop the betrayal or the lie, what makes you think you can change the person who did the lying? The fact of the matter, you can't heal holding open the wound. You must move on so you can live your best life.

This leads to another valuable lesson, Jesus didn't allow the information of His betrayal deter Him from His purpose. He just kept right on moving. Jesus was clear, the betrayal was not greater then what He was called to do. Sometimes, we give people who hurt us to much power over us. We spend more time lamenting the hurt that we can't heal. We stay stuck allowing that person to continue to effect us negatively.  You can't spend all your time trying to figure out why they are jacked up. Nor can you make there sickness about you. Now be clear, yes you must process and mourn this, but you cannot allow it to control your life the way the lie controlled your life. You can't control what they did, but you can control what you do next.

Now, trying to determine where that person fits into your life is the hard part. Yes, I believe in redemption. But Redemption does not necessary mean that you continue a relationship. That must be determined on it's own merits; one day at a time. Only you can asses the damage that has been done and the repairs if any that can be made. While nothing is beyond forgiveness in my opinion, some things cannot be repaired. Each of us must work through this for ourselves. At the very core is the hard question, "Can I ever trust this person again?" If so, with what parts of my life can I trust them?" Just because you can trust them with a hello, don't mean you can trust them with, sit for a while and sit a while, doesn't always mean, spend a night. All of this will take time, but for sure, you must make the best decision for the best of your well being.

The hardest part, is the love that you have for that person. How do you make the best decision for yourself, in spite of the fact, it may not be what they want. At the end of the day, you cannot be bound by there desires only your well-being. They in turn must accept the consequences of the choices that they made which altered the relationship. They must be honest, not just with you, but with everyone involved. I'm not gonna make this about what the other person should do. I cannot play God with someone else's life. I can only control me and how I proceed. You must remember this as you process the betrayal.

As cold as it may sound, you must keep your well-being in the forefront. Let them work out their own shit; that's between them, God and the therapist. The biggest thing I have learned in Al-Anon is that you cannot control someone else's life. Each of us have the right to make decisions for ourselves; good, bad and ugly.  FYI: The lie that you were living in with that person was a form of control. They altered your reality, without your permission. They took away your choice. NO person should ever have that must power over you.

For sure betrayal is a a part of life. It was even a part of the life of Jesus. The question you must ask is,  "How do I move forward in the face of betrayal?" I don't have the easy answer, shoot, I don't have any answers for you.

But what I know for sure is this---just like they had the right to make a decision about their live that ultimately impacted you negatively, you have the right to make the best decision for your life, even if it's not the outcome they want. I also know that you must find a way to heal. As long as you stay stuck, they continue to control your spirit.  Don't you think that they have already had more control over you then they deserve?

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