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, January 27, 2014

Monday Reflection: When God Shows Up!

A woman came up to me after the MLK Prayer breakfast in Atlanta and said, "You know, Rev. Lewis-Thornton, by making yourself so vulnerable, you attract people who feel they can be vulnerable with you."

I know this to be true. My transparency either makes people love me or hate me. I remember after one blog post, were I admitted to dating a married man, a woman unfollowed me on Twitter because, as she put it, "I can't believe that you would admit to such a thing." I told her, "Don't make me lie or hide from my truths because you don't want to face yours head on." I speak truth to empower and be a tool for healing.

Outside of my review of products, which are not often, my blog posts are what God has laid in my spirit, typically rooted out of my journey from past to present. I'm just crazy enough to be obedient. Obviously, I'm so past the shame of it all. My life is a lesson learned for me, and for you and so I'm transparent, no matter what people think of me.

My transparency also makes people latch on to me. Over the years I've been a magnet for people who need something from me. I remember a friend that I met the month that I was on the cover of Essence magazine. She tracked me down and I opened my heart and ears to her story. She was a young doctor who had just finished her residency, was ready to practice medicine, had a six figure job offer and instead of making the welcome reception she was  rushed into the hospital, diagnosed thereafter with AIDS. Her world was shattered. She had given up hope, she told me, "She didn't want to live." Her husband, who was not infected, came home one day and put Essence Magazine on the table.

Then came me. After months of sowing into her she slowly started to tackle the world. Eventually, she took her medical boards and went looking for a job. I remember us having a conversation about her other friends and how they kept asking questions about how she actually knew me.  You have to remember this was at the height of my popularity. Over time, she became better and better ... and the better she became, the more she withdrew, until calls just stopped.

I have so many of these situations that I could write a book on the topic. I have helped people get to a better place and to get stronger, from  HIV/AIDS to issues of childhood sexual abuse. I remember one day a woman just sent me a direct message on Twitter and explained that she was at her desk crying. She started to explain that she was an adult survivor of childhood sexual abuse. She told me her story in countless messages because you know Twitter only allows you 140 characters. When she had told me her story, her last message said,  "You don't have to answer me back I just knew that you were a safe place to tell my story."

Whew! There are more and more of these stories from e-mails, Twitter and Facebook to side conversations after I get through speaking.

For sure I believe my transparency has shaped my ministry, which has shaped my life over these years. And while I'm humbled that God has gifted me and I use this gift tirelessly and unselfishly, it sometimes leaves me empty.

I remember a few years back a suitor asked, "Rae you take of everybody, who takes care of you?" My answer was 'me and God'. I give unconditionally because I don't know any other way to be.

Over the weekend I had some stuff occur  that made me come  to understand more and more ... and left me with very opposing emotions. On the one hand,  I had an overwhelming sadness, one rooted in aloneness but then on the other hand,  an overwhelming peace. A peace that say's that this is your life girly, the one that God has designed just for you out of your painful journey ... and while it has been painful, it has been blessed.

How awesome is that, but then just because you know that God is doing an awesome thing does not always elevate the low points in your life, especially the aloneness I sometimes feel. Then I received this wonderful message from Rachel who frequents my blog. It was as if God was speaking to my low point right at that moment.

 I continue to tell people, all you have to do is what God has called you to do, then God will show up in the least likely way and give you peace above all understanding. So whatever I was feeling about my pouring out, was chilled by this wonderful message sent by Rachel.

I got it, God will never forsake me, no matter what human form comes or goes. No matter what goes my way or not. Just keep doing what God has called you to do and continue to be the person that you are gifted to be.

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