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, September 24, 2012

Monday Reflection: Change Your Location

I love when I get an Aha Moment about something at the least expected time. That's what happens when you are open to the unexpected. Yesterday, my Pastor  L. Bernard Jakes was preaching from a familiar scripture; Habakkuk 2:1-3. I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower, and will watch what he will say unto me. Pastor J wasn't preaching about God's answer to Habakkuk's prayer about the condition of his people, but about what Habakkuk did in the waiting process.

Key to Pastor J's point was location and posture and that thang hit me hard. Often times we want something for our lives, but we don't create the best environment to receive that thing. Pastor J said that the spiritual and the physical must line up with God when you are seeking from God.

Me and Luke on my B-Day Vacation!
But the same thing applies in our daily living from dating to careers. Let's take careers first. I remember when my BFF Luke was working at MTV as a production coordinator. He kept saying that he wanted to move into producing and hard news, which was actually the center of his college education.  Everyone in news knows it's a hard field to crack. Moving into hard news was especially difficult because he had spent the last 7 years at MTV doing production, he was paid well and it became comfortable.

The older he got, the more he talked about making that change, but he stayed stuck and did nothing to advance his future. He would start complaining and I would ask, "But Boo, when you gonna start looking?" and he would say, "Yeah, well, you're right," and with that dismissal he stayed in the same place with the same complaint. That is until Viacom had to crunch their numbers and laid off hundreds of people a few years back; Luke was apart of the layoff.

BET News Team with First Lady Obama Luke, Angela, James, and Lola
That was a difficult period for Luke, but being laid off from MTV was the best thing that could have happened to him. That moment when he was forced to change his location, he began to change how he saw his future.  He finally completed his news reel after 3 years of complaining. It took a year for his dream to come true, but with hard work he did it. He is now the News Manager for BET.

In this last year, with a wonderful new team in the news department, they are changing the face of news for BET. With the special on Whitney Houston, and especially the news coverage around the Republican and Democratic Conventions we can see BET News creating a new era. Luke is a part of that team. In fact, James Blue the executive producer and David Scott the New VP are all apart of this team. The change of location for them all helped to create a new vision. I can't wait to see what they will do on Election Night Coverage.  Side Bar:  For you who continue to complain about BET, why not watch the good stuff they are doing and help the ratings so they can do even more relevant programing, instead of watching reality TV in other places and talking crap. Just change the channel and be a part of the solution... #JustSayin That's what Luke did. From the start he told be that he wanted to go to BET and help the news department be the best it could be. Even in those long conversations while at MTV he had that vision, but that vision could not manifest, stuck in another location.

For growth, you have to be willing to change your location. You can't here from God, bumping and grinding in a club. You can't see the end of the tunnel if you don't keep walking toward the light. You must be willing to move. You can't lose weight talking about how much you need to lose, but you can if you move. Even if it's one step at a time, 15 minutes at a time. You must start somewhere. Growth can only come when you change your location.

I know that moving is hard. Yes, moving means that you will have to leave some people behind, but you can always say hello to them on Facebook. For Real. You can't expect life to change for you, if you are not willing to make some changes in your life first. The Bible says, "Knock and the door will open." (Matthew 7:7) You have to be willing to do something to get something.

But typically people are not willing to take chances. We tend to cling to what's comfortable. We keep waiting on the right conditions, when in fact, sometimes we have to create the right conditions. We have to be a part of the solution. This is the 21st century and Manna is not going to fall out of the freaking sky people, You reap what you sow, but for sure, God can bless your crop. But you must first be willing to plant in order to grow. That's what Habakkuk did; he planted his seed in prayer and changed his location to hear best from the Lord.

Some of us want deliverance but we stay in the very same sex pool, we praying to be set free from. Some of us want a different life but  are not willing to put in the work to get it. When I first started speaking, I quit my well paying job in politics, with no speaking engagements set up, no brochure, no direction on how to go about getting another speaking engagement beyond my one free gig I had 3 weeks earlier and I was two paychecks from homelessness because I use to over spend.  But God planted that seed in my spirit and I knew the only way that it would grow was to shift my location, both physically and mentally.

A year later, I became the first Black Woman to tell my story of living with AIDS on the cover of a magazine. But be clear, it was hard and that very same month I couldn't afford to pay my rent.  I got paid nothing for being on the cover of Essence, but I was walking in the vision that God had purposed for my life. Change is not easy, but it will place you on a path of wholeness.

Yes, sometimes we have to change our physical location, but also sometimes, we have to change our thinking. The change of mind will change your behavior. That's a fact! The Bible says, "As a Man thinketh so is he." (Proverbs 23:7)

But ummm for you carnal thinkers out there, like my first love use to say, "Free your mind and your ass will follow!"

 You can't think clearly about your situation, when the people in that situation has more space in your head, then you do. They say in AA  and A-Al-anon, "Don't let people take up rent in your head, evict they ass!" My Al-anon sponsor said to me once, "The one you think most about is your God." That thang hit me hard. I was so busy trying to keep my ex clean from drugs, that I had stop living for me. Instead, I was living for his sobriety.

Changing my thinking was hardddddd, mainly because if I changed my thinking, I knew eventually I would have to change my location and I couldn't image life without that man.  But I had to change my thinking, because I had become sicker than the addict. I had to accept that his sobriety was his issue not mine and in that shift I began to live for and in my purpose again. For sure, I had stop doing me because I was doing him.

What am I saying? My bottom line is this, You must be willing to make the changes in your life to get to that next level. Just like Habakkuk, you must be willing to change your location and your posture. You cannot continue to live in the sameness and expect newness. Albert Einstein put it this way, "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Stop living in insanity and change your location both physically and mentally.

Post Script: Part Two Coming Tomorrow.... Yes I'm going their, dating and relationships....

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