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

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Clean Up The Nasty Within: A Better You In 2013!

The house that I grew up in was a world according to Mama. She made all the decisions those spoken and unspoken. But New Year's Eve she spoke loud and clear. In this house we bring the New Year in with a clean house and washed clothes. Often times I set about early getting the job done because I never wanted to give Mama a reason to either beat my ass or curse me out.

This tradition of cleaning before the New Year has stuck to me like Gorilla glue. Often times, especially in these later years I found myself trying to wash cloths when I'm sick. I could always hear Mama's voice, "If you bring out the new year nasty, you will live the new year nasty." Here I am a grown woman but my head still jacked up trying to meet a woman's approval who made her way out of the living, well over 8 years ago.

This new year eve as I sat on my sofa reading a book and drinking tea, two of my greatest pleasures, the little girl in me started to hear Mama's voice about dirty clothes. I started to play it over in my head and give it some serious thought. Was I really going to interrupt my long over due me time to carry out this tradition of Mama's? I then started to examine my life then and now.

My entire childhood was nasty and there wasn't enough bleach to clean up the meanness that Mama willed throughout the year. The order and cleanliness that was kept in our home was for everyone to see, but Mama's nasty was deeply rooted in her spirit and shinned bright in the dark spaces of our home.

Looking back I don't think that Mama always meant harm, this was just the only way she knew how to survive, live and thrive. Like to justify staying with the husband that was grabbing my beast, she deemed me the tempest whore. I was the light skin bitch that threaten her marriage, it was that conclusion or face the fact that her self-esteem was so low, that she sacrificed the safety of her daughter for a man to lay in her bed.

No matter how often I cleaned the exterior, I could never reach the interior of Mama. With this understanding I started to think about all those traditions that started so long ago in Mama's house and their impact on my life. Like Mama always cooked black eye peas for good luck but as long at the bottle of Christian Brothers was in the pantry, there was no luck in my cards no matter how big the pot of peas.

Then I started to think about all the resolutions people will be making this mouth and wondered how much of this will be on the surface with the layer of dirt so imbedded in the spirit it will take more then surface cleaning, just like Mama. You see, you can clean the cabinets of all the cookies and potato chips, but if you don't tackle the why food is your comfort your diet has already failed.

You can delete him/her from Facebook and Twitter, but if you don't love you more than having someone love you, you will be right back where you were with him/her, or with someone just like him/her.

If you spent your last dollar on a new outfit for the New Year Eve's party, you need to tackle your need to look good before you can make a budget and actually stick to it.

Often times the things we try to clean up are not the things we ought to clean up. And even the things we try to clean up are often times for others and not ourselves. Looking good on the outside will get you shadow praise, but if the inside is bankrupt then you only deepen your debt.

So before you delete that man from Facebook or Twitter ask yourself some deeper questions; like why were you with him in the first place; why did you stay so long; what makes him different from the last man you deleted from Facebook or Twitter; what did you give up to have a part of him and why; what was so important about having him that you were willing to sacrifice your self for as long as you did?

So before you hit the gym, ask yourself why am I really working out? And for that fact, all those resolutions you made, go down the list one by one and ask yourself, why? Why is this on my list? Why is this important to me? Are these the things that you think you should be doing because of some article you read, or it sounds good, or that people will approve, or are they things to help make you a better you for you because of you?

Most importantly, don't derail yourself. Be honest about what lingers from within. The Bible says, "As a Man thinketh  in his heart so is he." Your worth and greatness should lie within you for you. It has nothing to do with any one else. No man, no friend or mother. All your resolutions should stem from the depth of your greatness not the glitter of popularity.

For sure, unless you clean the demons that lay within, the smell of the nasty will seep to the surface and spoil all the work on you over and over again.

It's like sitting on the toilet pooping with the doors and windows shut. It stinks don't it? Yep! Often times when we get off the toilet, we go and get the air fresher and spray to hide the stench, but in reality, all you really did was mix it up together and now it's air fresher with a hit of poop. Air Fresher is surface spray that never touches the core of the smell. Don't let your life be like air fresher.

For sure all the air fresher in the world will not transform your life. It's not until you open the doors and  the windows and let the bad oxygen out, that the new can come in and transform that very spot. Start deeper! Clean up from within....

Post Script: By the way, I opted to continue reading my book until I made my way to church for the New Year Eve's service. I'm cleaning up Mama's demons that have been embedded in my spirit, one demon at a time!

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