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, August 12, 2013

Monday Reflection: Keeping Perspective!

Enough is enough already! I mean really enough! That first week going into the  BlogHer conference I was on a roll with this blogging thing, at least I think I was. Then I tried to get right back in the groove after BlogHer and my health took yet another dive. I had only been off that last round of IV medication for a week.

One freaking week and then my health took a freaking dive. Well, actually it never really got better. Yes, the herpes from hell healed, but I was still having other heath problems, even during BlogHer. I looked Fab and I was tweeting all day, but I was struggling throughout the day. I was even taking pain medicine and laying down for an hour in between events. I'll get into those details on my health later this week.

So I was sitting in bed last night thinking that my health has been all consuming. All fucking consuming! To the point that it has interfered with my life in it's entirely, from sending out bracelet orders to writing my blog.

I was thinking, that I'm not liking how this is feeling, not one bit. I'm not liking the fact that it feels like I have lost control over my freaking life. This feeling can lead to depression, so when I become this overwhelmed I have to step away from that one thing that is causing the most chaos. Right now, that thing is my health. In reality I can't really walk away from my health, but I can sit it at the bottom of that list floating through my head. Its like this, if you put that one thing at the bottom, then you can see the rest of your life. The other stuff moves up.

When I become this desperate, I get out of myself and start to tally up, the truth that is! In reality I haven't lost control, it just feels that way because Super Woman had to take a back seat! Yes, some bracelet orders were sent out far later than they should have been, but I did eventually get them all out last week. That was a major accomplishment for real, for real. Then my intern, Tiara and I organized my beads.

When I tell you I had beads from one end of my living room to the next, I am not lying. It took us a few days, but we managed to get it done just in time for the cleaning service to come and get my house clean. I've been so sick I haven't been able to clean and my BFF paid for a service to get my house together. Now, Sophie and I can sit in the living room and people watch from our big picture window and not be embarrassed to have the curtains all the way open. 

No, I haven't answered one e-mail. No, I haven't followed up on anything to do with BlogHer. Yes, there are some product reviews, all around good information and a few giveaways that are coming. I have at least three books that I have finished reading that needs to be reviewed, as well as some great new teas to tell you about.  

 No, I haven't finished my fall bracelet collection. Now that's the one that makes me real nervous. When people come to a store they want to see new product. That is a bottom line. No new product, no sales, no sales, well that cuts into Sophie's Dingo treats and my overall livelihood. BUT keeping perspective, all is not lost.  Today, I was able to get closer to the finish line and I'm about 80% done with the fall bracelets and I competed all the new bracelet orders and they are going out in the mail tomorrow. Finally, tonight, I am getting this blog completed that I started earlier. 

This is my list, the true tally. I had to go down the list to keep it all in perspective. The overachiever started to feel like she had failed at everything. That feeling of failure can paralyze you and truth be told, I don't need another thing to slow down my progress. Perspective is everything! 

I must also remind myself that I am sick. I know,  I know, I don't look sick to most people and for the most part, people typically see me on Social Media and "assume" I'm good. The fact is, Social Media is work for me. It's where I minster and educate so when you see me there I'm doing what I am supposed to be doing. Yep, I'm actually keeping it moving in spite of how I feel. In reality, I've only missed a few days from Social Media and that was when I came home from ER last week. I needed to wrap my head around the new health information that I was getting. That's one more thing I can put in my plus side, I've been keeping up with my Social Media.

Yep, perspective is always good!! Once I started to list in my head, what I had accomplished in the last two weeks, after BlogHer, I didn't feel so hopeless and overwhelmed.

I try to always measure my life based on the totality of my life. The fact of the matter , I do have AIDS. It does affect my life. It is one unpredictable illness that is for sure. It cannot  be denied and I promise you it will not be ignore. If you ignored AIDS, it will take your tail right out of here and I'm trying to live as long as I can. I mean, I still have that Herems Birkin Bag to get!

The bottom line is this. When we are faced with challenges we must measure our life with honestly. No matter how consuming one thing may be, you cannot allow it total control.

That serenity prayer is a powerful, on point prayer... It is a prayer that should give you the strength to keep perspective! With perspective, the monster is not as big and bad as it may seem. With perspective you create room to celebrate the goodness and the good things in your journey. With perspective you can tackle the chaos one issue and one step at a time. Perspective allows you to get from A to B while headed for C. Perspective is God's' wisdom to keep you on the journey one day at a time.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference. 
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