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

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Naked Before God...

Last night I had a complete and total meltdown. One that forced me to become naked before God.

It is no secret that this week I have been sad beyond all of my understanding and all the positive thinking quotes and scriptures I could muster up. No matter how hard I tried to call on Super Woman, she just wasn't rising to the occasion.

It is no secret that these last few months have been harder than usual. Shoot, if I'm real honest about it, this year has been a blessing and a curse all wrapped into one. I defied the odds and lived to see 50 years of age! I should have died in my 30's; and be clear, at one point I was sick enough to die. But with God as overseer, a great doctor, a will to live and doing everything medically possible I made it.

Then in the midst of the countdown celebration I got sick and ended up on IV medication. Then to add to my injury, my honorary membership in Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. was rescinded over tweets I made 14 months prior. And it was done in the coldest and cruelest way, with no warning, preparation or defense. That made me physically sicker and I ended up on IV medication for 34 days instead of 20. But I seemed to keep it moving.

While I hurt, Super Woman came through for me. I wrote a book, The Politics of Respectability in 22 days and I was still able to get my Summer 2012 RLT Collection completed and on the website in a timely fashion.

Yep! Super Woman was in rare form and I didn't miss one beat. Then the fall came and my world started to fall apart. I learned that one of the closest persons in my life was an altered reality; everything I knew about them was a lie. I had been living in their lie for almost two years. That betrayal made me sick and I ended up on IV.

It was beyond anything I could have ever imaged and some Lifetime Movie shit. And honestly, I'm still not over this betrayal. Everyday I discover something new that makes me ask myself, how did I miss it? And makes it even clearer how disturbing it all is.

My world started to crumble. I went from herpes and IV medication for 19 days, to serious nerve pain in my back, face, and legs that shut me down, then a serious cold that shut me down.

 In the meantime work was lagging. I'm still trying to get the new designs for RLT Collection completed and that's been a lot of pressure because with no new bracelets on the website, there is no money coming in. Shoot it's bad, I got a sell last night and I wanted to hug and kiss that customer, #ForReal

 Email's and Facebook messages are piling up and I seem to be falling down like dominos, one at a time.

Then to add to my injury, I developed another herpes infection. That's some shit! I've only been off IV a little over a month. The doctor was even stuck. She couldn't even believe it, so I had to go and get a couple of cultures to just make sure. But one look made it clear. Yep, I have herpes.

And the herpes I get is on steroids or something. I typically get one lesion on my clit area that grows into some super sore.

But occasionally I get more lesions on my vulva and it's like someone just took pilers and pulled layers of skin. Yep, each day since Monday I have gotten a new infected area.

What a Mediport looks like...
I will start IV medication on Thursday. I'm waiting on my appointment to get a mediport placed. I've had so many picc lines and there's so much scaring on my left side veins, that I need to receive the IV medication in a different route.

The decision to get a mediport was the best decision, but it felt like I had been crushed. A permanent line in my body makes this aggressive herpes so permanent. In the last 5 years I kept hoping that we would be able to get a handle on it and I wouldn't need to keep going on IV medication, but that is not the case. That was a devastating realization!

So as my infection grows, I wait to be treated. You get the point! I got so much shit pilled on top of shit, I feel like I'm about to lose it.

So last night it all came to a head. I was really hurting both physically and emotionally.

 I called one friend and they didn't pick up. I know I could have called my BFF Luke, but he's been holding me up all week and I wanted to give him a break. I can't tell you the aloneness I feel sometimes with no family at all.

As I sat in bed listening to Walter Hawkins Pandora, (my fav) Byron Cage song, "Broken, But I'm Healed," came on. Tears started to flow.

I started listening to this one song over and over and over in my iTunes and the more I listened the more the tears flowed.

Super Woman was nowhere to be found. It was just me, Rae Clara and God until 3:00 A. M. this morning.

Broken, I became naked before God... Then this morning it hit me! God wants us to want Him. Matter of Fact, God wants us to understand that there is nothing we  can do without Him. The sovereignty of God is Gods gift to us. However, when you are so use to being in "control" you develop this false belief of  who really is in control. We begin to think that our free will is God, when in fact, even our free will is a gift from God. I was reminded that I am nothing, nor can I do a thing without God. My resilience is even a gift from God. I was so busy trying to conjure up Super Woman, when I should have been calling on God.

It's amazing how we begin to think more of ourselves then we really are, when in reality, we are because God is!! All of our greatness is because of God's plan for our life.

The more God blesses us, the more we seem to forget the sovereignty of God and that arrogance becomes our God.

The first step in Alcoholics Anonymous and Al-Anon is to admit that we are powerless over alcohol/drugs and our lives have become unmanageable. Mainly because the addict thinks that they can out think the drugs and those affected by the addict think that can out think the addict. When in fact, the drugs becomes the addicts God and the addict becomes the God of those impacted. Whoever, whatever you think  and talk most about is your God.

The second step is to believe that a Power greater than ourselves can restore us to sanity. It says, I am not God, but there is a God who can. Both of these steps are critical to a better life and can be applied to every aspect of life issues, not just drugs and alcohol.

Often times we try to assume the roll of God in our lives, when God just wants us to depend on Him. So I'm surrendering! I can't do this on my own. The more I try to be all that, the more insane I become.

What I know for sure is, I can do nothing outside of God's Grace. But I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Even my ability to think is a gift from God. Sometimes we become to smart and to great for our own earthly good.

In my brokenness, I became naked before God. When we strip before God, there is healing for the mind, body and spirit. I'm Broken, But I'm Healed!!!

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