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 10, 2012

Monday Reflection: He Told Me Everything I Ever Did...

I met a man who told me everything I ever did, is a well known scripture. (John 4:39) It's a Bible verse set in the backdrop of a Samaritan woman who meets Jesus at the well in Samaria. They have this conversation and Jesus then ask her to go get her husband. She replies, "I have no husband." Jesus then replies, "You are right when you say you have no husband. You have had five husbands and the man you now have is not your husband." (John16-18)

Rev. Bernard Jakes preached from this text on yesterday and gave us many wonderful insights on conversion and one's ongoing relationship with God.

However, after I got home, I was simply stuck on that one verse, "I met a man who told me everything that I ever did." Wouldn't it be great if when you first meet someone, you knew everything about them? I mean everything, even the things that they never say. It would be cool if you could touch them just like Spot on Star Trek and know everything they are thinking in matter of minutes?

Wouldn't it save us all a lot of pain if we could even determine if what they do say to us is the truth; If we could unmask them and cover our hearths in the process.

The fact of the matter, we cannot! And to do so would put us in the realm of supernatural and we are far from that. So us humans have to go through the motions of life and learn by trail and error. Time becomes our best educator.

This is not just true when it comes to dating relationships but also with girlfriends and buddies that we hang with like gorilla glue.

We meet people and we really don't know who they are. We only really know what they tell us and what we see.

But in the age of Social Media, the access people have to our lives is massive. This has been true for me on so many levels. My life is an open book on Twitter and this blog. I share things that most people would never share, even with their closest friends. But that's the core of who I am, it's the epicenter of my gift; sharing my life in such a way that it enriches the lives of others. So I've opened my life up and that has left me vulnerable.

Last week my world shattered as I knew it and I learned what I thought I knew about a person was not true. In fact, I had to accept the fact that I didn't really know them at all. Then I was faced with the dilemma of do I run and hide or do I continue to stand tall in my gifts of transparency.

This scared the living shit out of me and I considered shutting down my Social Media life. But it's the core of my work. It's my place to minister and educate, so I have to rest in the fact that God is all knowing and that in the knowing their lies my protection.

People lie and when they lie, they alter your reality and make you live in their lie. I can't explain why people lie. I can't explain what causes a person to live in their head and not in reality. Typically it's some trauma in their past or some chemical imbalance or both.

I wish I had the answers, just like I want to know why there is evil in the world or why bad things happened to good people. I just don't have the answers to these complex questions. But what I know for sure, is that lying is dangerous for you and for them.

Today, as I put my million little pieces back together again, I also know that we can't stop loving and living out of fear of the possibility of hurt. We cannot let fear paralyze us. What would be the point if you can't live and thrive in your life?

So I rest today in the song, "I don't believe He brought me this far to leave me." I rest in this idea that there is one who knows all and will cover me daily.

But I also rest in years of wisdom, that when a person shows you who they are, believe them... Don't explain it away. Don't make excuses believe it!
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