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 9, 2012

You Still Dating That Person Cause Why? Change Your Location-Part 2

I spent almost 5 years with that man waiting on him to marry me. And looking back, I can't blame nobody but myself. I should have changed my location but I stayed stuck out of my own insecurities. I saw the signs well into the second year, but I kept hoping for change.

He was 25 years my senior. The first three years I thought he was only 12 years older than me. He really did look younger than he was, even though the numbers weren't adding up. Like his education with how long he had been in his field. I remember one day I said, "Man you were doing that thang early. Makin it happen for you." He just nodded.

The numbers just weren't adding up. But I kept dismissing it, that is, until I learned by accent one day. NEVER dismiss your gut, your inner voice. It's God whispering to you.

*SMDH* I wasted my freakin pretty hoping that he would do right by me and marry my ass. I mean, he sure fucked me every chance he got. If he loved the pussy that much, I kept thinking he would love me enough to marry me. I kept thinking, "He certainly can't be ashamed of me."

But looking back, I can see how his relationship with me was easy. Easy because I was so willing to accept whatever he gave, no matter how unbalanced it was, no matter how he controlled my life and he did, with my permission. And even the HIV was easy, condom's do prevent the spread of HIV and we used them religiously. My HIV status was a well kept secret. Back then, I had only told like 4 people that I had HIV. He didn't have to worry about people knowing he was gettin it with a woman who had HIV.

I was in my mid-twenties and I didn't want to press my luck. He was handsome, drove a Mercedes Benz, had a lake view from both his bedroom and living room, he was educated, and successful in his field, I never came out of my pocket for a meal, ever. What more could a girl want? Especially a girl with HIV. It was some crazy thinking. But for sure I was plagued with the need to be loved. I wanted to be loved more than I loved myself.

That sickness, the need to be love more than self-love came long before I was diagnosed with HIV. HIV just helped the tumor to grow inside of me. Be clear, the tumor of low self-worth didn't change over night. I was well into my 30's when I began to understand my worth and in my 40's when I started to protect my worth. They both took years of therapy, prayer and hard work. I had to first learn what healthy was, what caused me to live unhealthy, morn the lost of what I never had, i. e. a healthy life and and then apply all this newness to my life, It was a long and emotionally painful journey and I did it by trail and error, one freakin day at a time. It was the rehabilitation that saved me from myself.

I know you asking... So given the fact that I didn't understand my worth and it took years to protect my worth, how was I able to change my location?  How was I able to move by ass out of that relationship that was killing what little self-esteem I had left, after learning my HIV status. Glad you asked.

You see, it was like this. After feeling a certain way for so long, you must get tried. Only for so long can you live in a relationship that is suffocating you before you need to step out of it to get some air. It's odd that I didn't understand that he was killing my self-esteem, but I understood that he was killing my spirit. I was sad more than I was happy and I drew the conclusion that I might as well be sad by myself. I was smart enough to know that you shouldn't be sad with a man. Shit, I can be sad all the freaking time by myself! For Real.. For Real...

But let me be realllllyyyy honest. Even though I knew that relationship had run it's course, I stayed stuck until another fine ass, upward mobil man, who was closer to my age and didn't give a damn about my HIV status or the man currently in my life, started to pay me some attention.

Now, I've never been one to step outside of a relationship.

Just on some practical shit, I just don't know how to lie. Also, I don't know how to pretend. If you mess around and get some sex that's better then the sex you gettin, then you in straight trouble. But Lawdddd this man worked my ass. In fact, he saw a worth in me that I didn't see in myself.

I surrendered and Lawd, Lawd he did things to my body that hadn't been done in years. But most importantly, he listened to me. He respected me and my knowledge about politics. At the time I was a senior staff person working on Senator Carol Mosley Braun's first senatorial campaign.

This new man was what the doctored ordered. I started to find myself, the independent woman that had surrendered her life over to the control of an older man, right down to the type of panties I wore. *SMDH*

 It was also a critical time in my life. At the end of the Braun Campaign, I was making a transition to AIDS. The man that I had been with for 4 years had a hard time dealing with me going public. Me being HIV was OK when it was a well kept secret, but speaking at local high schools was out of the question and my conversations with him became more demobilizing each day.

The more I saw the other man and the more I started to understand that God had crafted a new plan for my life, i.e. this work that I'm doing now, the easier it became to walk away from him.

I wish I can tell you that I was a bad bitch and I left before he "kilt" my spirit, but I can't. This is the real world and my journey had shaped the woman that I was then. By the way, it has also shaped the woman that I am now, just in better ways.

But back then, the need to be loved was more important then love of self. Back then I understood my life in terms of a man and the change of location was hard, very hard.

What I know for sure is this; you must ask yourself the hard questions. Does this person add value to my life? But central to this is understanding your own value. If you are not there yet, then ask yourself, Am I happy more than I'm sad? Does he/she makes me smile more than he/she makes me cry. Am I laughing more than arguing? Do I spend more time with them or looking for them? Do he/she supports the things in my life, my goals or do they tear me down?

Love at the cost of you, is not love that is worthy of you... Change Your Location!

Part One: Change Your Location! LINK HERE

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