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

Monday, July 29, 2013

Monday Reflection: Gratitude-In Spite Of!

I heard the birds singing and I opened one eye to see if the sun was out. I could barely move from exhaustion from the BlogHer Conference and the nerve pain medication that I'm taking, which makes me groggy, but as I lay in bed this morning my heart was filled with gratitude. I could hear and see and in spite of my exhaustion and pain level, I could even move. I opened both eyes to check on my baby girl, and Sophie was buried in the pillows next to me sleeping like a wild child and probably happy to be home from the four night stay in the hotel this past week.

I checked my phone for the time, it was 5:30 A. M. and I crawled out of bed to use the bedroom. As I laid back down I remembered out the blue the time I woke up in a hotel room and I couldn't walk. I had to crawl to the bathroom and back to the bed. I was on the road planning to speak at the University of Illinois in Champaign and overnight, I developed Herpes Zoster (Shingles). The pain was so intense walking was near impossible. It was an event for Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and I was determined to not leave my "Sorors" hanging. My doctor wanted me to come home immediately, but with a hard head and determination I stayed.

By that evening I had sores from the top of my butt to the bottom of my feet. My Godchild, Toi,  took the bus down to be with me and that night she had to help me get dress. That night I stood by the grace of God for almost two hours in 4 inch heels. Toi drove me back to Chicago, me laid out in the back seat of my car. When we arrived home in the middle of the night, I had to crawl up the two flights of stairs to get to my apartment and crawl back down that morning to go to the doctor. Recovery took over a month. I couldn't walk and morphine was the only thing that relieved my pain.

No matter how I look, or how active I seem to people, I understand clearly, with AIDS you can get hit from nowhere and it is what it is. Most days I get hit actually, it's just some days I get hit harder than others. Somedays I smile through it, other days I cuss through it.

Because this life of AIDS is unpredictable, I never take it for granted. Now don't be confused, there are days when I think I've had enough. Days when I want to cuss, fuss and rant through it and do, and a smile is foreign to my face. Days when I want to say enough is enough. 

Like these past three weeks on IV medication, I was so sick I couldn't  think straight and I had a funky attitude to go right along with how I was feeling. People don't understand the drama one is faced when a medication that is making you better in one area but it also makes you so sick in another. For sure, for me there is a hopelessness I feel. Its like being stuck between a rock and a hard place. Especially when I have no control. It makes you lose perspective, the larger picture.

Yet at the end of the day, I understand that life is a blessing. I get it! I'm alive!  This is my life, my struggle, but yet I still have gratitude.

So this morning when I heard the birds signing, telling me that it was a new day, I was overwhelmed in my heart and my spirit. 

Today, I had perspective and with perspective, I could smile, smile because I could hear the birds singing, see my baby girl laying peacefully next to me. I could walk to the bathroom on my feet and despite all I've been through, I still have my right mind. I was filled with nothing but gratitude this morning in spite of my lie with AIDS.

Post Scrpit: I'm looking for a blog editor send your info to Rae@raelewisthonton.com
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