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

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Just Keep Walking

AIDS is a dark disease that takes me to a dark place some days. I try my best to be better than AIDS but some days are harder than others.

I never know what will trigger an emotionally bad day, but I look up and its just there. These last couple of days have been darker than usual. Now don't be confused, I kept it moving. I went to church on Sunday and worked on the Fall/Winter designs for RLT Collection all day yesterday, but it felt like I was dragging chains on my ankles.

When I first started speaking over 20 years ago, I would say that I was learning to co-exist with this disease. For sure this has been the challenge of my life.

Trying to keep the pretty in my life, while living in the ugly is some hard shit. Living with HIV/AIDS has been the dichotomy of a lifetime. But yet I know that light and darkness does co-exist, just like good and evil co-exist.

It's a complicated balance that I wish I could master. But if I could master it, then I would be like God. God I'm not. Shoot, I'm just grateful that God loves me in spite of me.

God's wonders are awesome. Isn't it interesting how we have just enough sunlight to the right amount of darkness? God does things so out of our reach. That's what make's God, God.

I find it equally interesting, that when you are going through your dark moments you feel all consumed, then something wonderful happens, the sun start to rise and you can see some light. Now be clear, you can hold onto the darkness and let it consume you and never see the light. You can be blinded by darkness if you stay to long.

Coexisting is something powerful. It says I will not allow you to take all of me. Some things can't be undone and for sure HIV is one of them. For sure HIV will take what it can; what you have no control over and even the things you have control over, if you allow it.

You have to fight for your spirit! You can't surrender all of you to that thing, no matter what it is. Your dark moment may not be HIV. I never try to equate other peoples pain. Pain is pain and what is a cake-walk for some, maybe a crawl for others. But I know for sure, no matter what darkness that swoops into your landscape, you can be the master of your garden.

This blog post started out as a pity party and in that instant I started to get it! I thank God for Aha Moments and I don't ignore them. 

Control those things that you can, those that you can't don't even try. Some things you have to give to God and let God be God.

And in the spirit of being human, whatever valleys you are walking through, just keep walking. It does not matter the pace, what matters is that you are moving toward the light.

What I know for sure is that stagnation will chip away at everything wonderful in your life. If you stand still in the darkness you will cut off your ability to even see a glimmer of light. The darkness will blind you to the goodness up the road.

So keep walking no matter how hard it gets... Keep walking no matter how dark it gets... Keep walking, Keep walking... Keep walking... Don't just walk physically, but walk mentally. If you are moving your body but not your mind, you are no better off. Find somethings to help free your mind. Something to take you to a space of newness.

 I read, knit and design bracelets and now I'm starting to workout.  For sure today is better then yesterday... So I'll keep walking until I get to a better place... Another day of bracelet designs for me. If my mind is on my creations, then it can't be consume with darkness. I search for a balance, a way to co-exist, both in light and darkness, ugly and the pretty.

 Each step is a new location. Sometimes, we just need to change our location... Keep walking... Keep walking... Keep walking

I wrote this one for me too! Love y'all!

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