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, September 5, 2013

Create Unexpected Joy!! Give Forward!!

When I got this text message from my girlfriend Dwana I was like, "Ohhhh D.. What have you gone and done now?"  She's always doing something about me. Always trying to help me grow physically, emotionally, spiritually and of course, she has been a BIG supporter of my brand. I met Dwana on Twitter when I was first thinking about blogging. A blogger herself and the managing editor for Chicagonista , I couldn't see at the time what she knew would be a success. She has pushed my work in Social Media and for that I'm grateful.

Dwana has this soft way about her that makes you say, "Okkkkkkk D, I'll try it." I'm going to the chiropractor, Dr. Rosen because of her and he has been a God sent. Just the energy alone when I walk into the room with him gives me life.

Anyway, over these five years of friendship Dwana has been a big supporter, she's purchased bracelets, she's brought groceries and she's been an ear.

So Dwana decided last week that she was going to do something about my horrible finances. My speaking engagements started to dry up about 7 years ago. It has been a slow and painful process. HIV/AIDS is NOT a sexy topic. The fact that people are living longer has made it a less important topic. My other good friend Luke, thinks that some of it is age discrimination. The people that do get the gigs tend to be younger. Yet, I continue to press my way. I have a lot of experience and wisdom when it come to this disease.

But every 10 minutes a person because infected with HIV in the United States.

CDC tweeted last week that African-American women are 20X's more likely to get HIV! The stigma and shame around HIV is running rampant, still in the 21st century -33 years into the pandemic.

There is still work to be done, and I'm never giving up on my ministry. God gave me a mission and I intend to carry it out. That's why I went to Social Media. It's a free forum to educate, inspire and bring hope. Everything I do, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pintrest and Blogging is work for me. I do it 24/7 - when I don't feel like it physically - and when I feel like I'm about to loose my mind emotionally. I just do it because to whom much is given, much is required. God didn't bring me this far to sit on my tail and whine. I've lived 30 years with HIV and 21 years with AIDS, thats a blessing and I dare not squander it. 

So Dwana started this fundraiser for me on "GiveForward." I've been very honest and public about the fact that I'm struggling over here. I've even blogged about it. I'm not sure how I've lived these last 5 years except but by the grace of God. I've sold my clothes on Ebay. In fact, I have a Ebay store active right now. I even have some clothes at Luxury Garage a popular resale store here in Chicago at this moment. No shame, that my church brought me groceries from our food pantry this summer and a couple of really good friends have helped every month with something. Dwana, brought meals two weeks ago, and it just goes on and on. Tiara's grandmother has sent cooked meals over a few times since I've been too sick to cook. Lord knows I'm grateful for all the blessings that come my way. I'm grateful that people love me and believe in my work to sow into me.

Getting IV medication this summer.

People buy, hit or miss, and people always want new stuff. The fact is, we are heading into the middle of September and I still haven't finished the Fall Collection because my health has taken center stage for the better part of 2 months. This means sales are slow and slower. 

So when, Dwana text me that she started this fundraiser for me I was like oh nooooooo D!! I never want people to think I'm begging. Over the years people have offered to have an "event" fundraiser and I've vetoed them - point blank. But this time I said 'O. K.' My impulse was to say NO,  but my spirit said yes. It feels right. I heard God saying, "Don't mess around and miss your blessing child." It does not matter how much is raised, because five bucks is more than you have, it is the thought that counts. 

This is how GiveForward works. It's a public fundraising site for people with "health related issues" and individuals that who are a "rare breed". I fit both categories. LOL. GiveForward is great! Unlike other fundraising sites it allows you to help individuals. Also unlike other sites you get what you've raised, you don't have to meet the goal to get the money. Dwana set the goal of $20,000, but if she raises only $5,000 I still get it.

It's a four month campaign and at the end of the six months they write a check minus 7%. They keep 5% and the other 2% goes to credit card processing. You donate safely on the site though check or Paypal, and with Paypal you can use any credit card you want. 

To date Give Forward had raised $60,512,106 for causes. I figured I had nothing to lose. I'm so grateful for Dwana for thinking enough of me and my work to try to help make life easier for me.

Please consider donating to my GiveForward Fund. And please keep me in your prayers as I muddle through these new set of Heath issues. My spirit has been hit really hard this time around.  Thanks Lovely's!!  It does not matter what you donate!! It all adds up the same way! CLICK HERE TO DONATE...

And here's the URL if you want to donate at. Later date..
(https://www.giveforward.com/fundraiser/wrz2/rae-lewis-thornton-life-fund)  You can also go to GiveForward  GiveForwd.Com and just type in my name  Rae Lewis-Thornton and my page will come up. 

Thank You!!! #ICannotdoitAlone

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