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, October 7, 2013

Monday Reflection: Living In Your Life!

Have you ever stopped to think about how you are living your life? No, I'm not talking about being alive, I'm talking about living. Being alive and living are two different things. Life is a gift, but living is a challenge.

 We are all faced with the challenge of living every single day. Some of us have a harder challenge than others. It seems to me that my challenges overall have been enough for two people. I struggle with the challenge of living everyday.

Like yesterday morning when I woke up. I thought about this one thing, about living; No, not being alive, but living. My health has been more than a challenge to say the least these last three months. I think I'm literally on, shit-no shit overload.

So yesterday morning I was feeling particularly bad, and my impulse was to give into what I was feeling. When I say feeling bad, this is what I was feeling, my back, lower abdominal and side is in some kind of constant pain, I'm nauseated all the time and I'm bloated beyond understanding because I'm not using the bathroom. What do I mean by bloated? Well, if I eat one egg it feels like I have eaten five. So yesterday morning that is what I was feeling. Now I knew I needed to eat so that I could take my morning medication and head to church, but I had/have no appetite and just the thought of eating makes me even more nauseated. 

So, when I woke up, I was actually aware that I was alive. I mean my body was screaming bloody murder, how could I not know? But then I was faced with how I was going to live in the life that was sitting in front of me. For the past three months I've been passing up church on Sunday morning for the comfort of my bed and the New York Times. When you are hurting physically it's easy to surrender into that pain, but yesterday there was something inside of me that wanted more for myself at that moment. So I made my way out of that bed and starting pulling myself together for church.

 Now for sure, I almost quit in the process. Every move was an effort from make-up to hair to my Spanx, but I kept right on moving. When I made it to church, already in full force, I was overwhelmed with emotion. Not just because I am alive having lived with HIV for 30 years and AIDS for 21, but because, I've not given my life over to this horrible disease. Now for sure, some days I do nothing. Right, I listen to my body and understand my limits.  But  don't you know that doing nothing is also living. Everything you do is living. From sitting still to doing jumping jacks. For me it's about living well from, what I put in my mouth to what I keep out of my month.

Yesterday, I was struggling to get to church, but something inside of me said that I needed to be there and I was right on point. I needed the hugs and laughs that I received after church. I needed Pastor Jakes sermon, "Don't Stress." All that I received yesterday was what I needed to jump start this new week in spite of the health challenges. The thing about living is choosing to live well. Self-Care and Self-Love of course being at the top of the list. I'm on a mission to get these twins Care and Love right for me. I'm grateful for the gift of life, but there is a special gratitude I have for the ability to live in my life. What I know for sure, life is a gift and living is what you do with that gift. Living is putting the gift of life into action. What are you doing with your gift of life?

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