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, March 27, 2013

No Easy Way Out...

If never fails, every time I try to take a shortcut in life, it ends up being a bad decision that cost more then it would had I just gone ahead and not tried to find an easy way out!

How many times have you gotten off the express way to get out of traffic to discover that the side streets were a pain in the behind?

I do that a lot with my beads. I live in a one bedroom apartment and my workshop is right here with me. Maybe one day I will be blessed with a studio, even if it's just a second bedroom; but until then, my bracelets are designed and made in my private space.

Well, in the 3 years since I've launched RLT Collection, I have accumulated so many gemstones that it seems that I'm running out of space. Recently, I acquired a couple of pieces of furniture to store my beads and needless to say, it's been a job organizing hundreds of loose beads. I got a system going, but every so often, I lose patience and try an easy way out and before I know it, beads are rolling all across my living room floor. Then I have to start over again, but first I have to spend the time collecting the beads that are rolling under my sofa.

In this microwavable society we want everything quick and we certainly want what comes easy.

I know I'm at fault too. I've stayed in unhealthy relationships because they in my mind, were easier than the work required to develop a new one.

 I've even gone back into unhealthy relationships because it was easier than being alone. Now that is the saddest of all! You free yourself from the madness, to back into the madness because it was easier than being by yourself. Easy ain't always right, nor is it always good.

We take shortcuts every chance we get disrupting the natural growth of life. Have you ever noticed a short cut to a building? We have one over by my HIV Clinic. Instead of walking around, we have created a shortcut right through the grass. But our easy way, has destroyed the grass to the point that it won't even grow on the path anymore.

I know a drug dealer that did the same thing. He disrupted the natural order of his life and his dream of working with children never grew. With a college degree in tote, he started selling drugs for some easy cash. He liked how easy the money came and kept telling himself that he was going to quit once he had saved up enough money. But the more money he made, the more he wanted. It was never enough.

Before long he was a major drug dealer and as they always do, he eventually got caught and served some time in federal prison. That original goal of working with children was destroyed from the greed of quick and easy cash. He has had to create an entire new life for himself with a worthless degree because no school will hire a convicted felon. Seeking easy wealth made life harder than he ever imaged and most importantly, harder than it should have been had he not been looking for easy cash.

What he think is easy is not always best. My gemstones has taught me that lesson over and over again.

Yesterday I got it! As I was shifting beads around to get to that bottom container I was on the verge of insanity yet again; doing the same thing over and again and expecting a different outcome.

 I wanted to get to the bottom container of beads ASAP and as I was trying to lift too many containers at one time to get to the one I wanted. I caught myself. "Rae," I said to myself. "Haven't you learned this fuckin lesson enough?" I looked down at the four containers stacked on top of each other in that tight spot by my curio cabinet. There was a natural order and I was in the process of a major disruption. It was an, "Aha Moment," that hit me in my face hard just like Chicago's wind at -15.

There is no easy way out! Shortcuts are created in the idle mind of the devil's workshop. Shortcuts disrupt the natural order of life whether it's with people or things. They get in your way and they get in God's way. When you take the easy way out, God has to rework God's plan for your life and often times you have to work harder to get to your destination.

Lesson Learned! I unstacked each container one by one and placed them where they wouldn't topple over, until I got to the container that I actually needed. When it was all done, I realized that it was painless. But most importantly, I didn't have to take a detour from my original project to pick up spilled beads and I learned that doing things in their natural order really is the best and easiest way to live. Go ahead and try it! I give you permission, to put one foot in front of the other; for that is how God created us to walk.

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