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

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Living In The Light and Darkness of Life...

Two days ago I wanted to blog about living life to the fullest! Yep, I still have dreams at 51 having lived over half my life with HIV. Then, this morning when I woke, I wanted to blog about drowning, that is, feeling like you're drowning in the shit called life.

Then, as I laid in bed trying to face another day with another headache from one of my HIV medications, of which I've had for the last 3 days, I started thinking about how one can have so many emotions wrapped up into one being, one existence. But that's how life is, a lot of grey and the black and white tend to be that, two very different shades that renders two very different outlooks. Even when you wear all white or all black, they do different things and both speak volumes with just one look.

So how does one live with purpose and dreams when it feels like you're drowning in shit? I tell you how, one day at a time and even sometimes by the hour and minute. Like yesterday, I was so overwhelmed; overwhelmed with the fact that my head won't stop hurting. Days like that make me hate HIV medication.

Overwhelmed with the fact I feel like I'm sleep deprived, but yet I've had at least 9-10 hours every night this week. Days like that I hate HIV. 

Overwhelmed with the fact that I've invested everything I have into RLT Collection and I mean every penny, even to the point of reducing my life style luxuries, like I turned my cable off. Yep, I thought what's the point when I'm always reading anyway and I typically get all of my breaking news from Twitter new's feeds so I turned it off last week. But for sure, I miss the luxury of turning on TNT and watching Law and Order whenever I want too.

I stopped my Sunday New York Times delivery and Lord knows I enjoy sitting in bed on Sunday before church sipping tea and reading the book reviews they send with the paper. I reduced my landline phone service, don't use it anyway. I stopped my water delivery, sad about that one and ummm the list goes on.

So I'm trying to build this business and sales have been very low in the last few months. The two have not been in sic, Investment and Sales. Now I know that slumps happen, I just have to weather this storm.

Overwhelmed is not the word for me right now, with literally no eggs in the refrigerator and the headache from hell. 

Yet,  I'm also overwhelmed by the good things that are happening in my life because the bad things confuses the good things and place you in some weird kind of limbo.

Like I know I'm moving toward some kind of breakthrough with RLT Collection. In the last 16 months, minus the last few I've grown by leaps and bonds. My Instagram account is growing daily, thank God for the help I have running it daily.

I'm in the process of designing some pieces for Quad Webb-Launceford, from Bravo's Married To Medicine. Today I officially launch necklaces to my collections and I'm actually talking to a department store about a trunk show, which takes over a year or more sometimes to happen. So I know I'm on  the verge of a breakthrough, my HARD work will pay off, but when you have nothing to pay the bills in the right now, the blessings of tomorrow seems so out of reach.

How do you stay sane, long enough to receive your miracle, your blessing, your breakthrough? You remember that each day is a miracle, a break thought and a blessing. Most importantly, you keep living in your right now! It's not enough to be alive and muddle through life. When we only do that, we squander the gift of life.

Honestly, I do little things to find solace in the mist of chaos. I read for example. A good book takes my imagination and spirit to a new place. In the pages of a good book, I don't have to think about the headache that I currently feel. It doesn't cure me of my headache, but it cures me of the stress of the headache.

I take it one day at a time and like I said earlier, some days one hour. It's like this, one hour I read and then another hour I bead. Can't let all my hard work on RLT Collection go to hell with a headache.  I may not be able to do detail work on my bracelets, like wire wrapping or knotting, but I can put beads on stretch and that gets that bracelet one step closer to being finished.

I don't surrender to the darkness! The key to my life has been finding the balance that is rooted in both my hope for a better tomorrow, my faith that God has promised me better tomorrow's, patience and understanding that God's tomorrow is not on my time frame and the absolute understanding that I live in this life because in the face of light and darkness, today is the guarantee of God's blessing on your life.

How do I know, just do this simple thing right now, put your hand in front of your mouth, now blow. You feel the hot air? Awwww that's a blessing from God! The two sides of life has a way of overwhelming us in our right nows, but as long as you remember that there is a blessing in all things, you can go on with what you are facing in the right now. 

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