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, March 31, 2014

Monday Reflection: The Hardest Path- The Clearest Way..

I was reading in The Book of Awakening, that salmon make their way up stream by bumping repeatedly into blocked pathways until they find where the current is strongest. The rush of water for them means that there is no obstacle. For them, through the hardest going, the way is clear.

It made me think about us humans and all the things that we avoid because avoidance requires less work. For me, though, even when I have no gigs and I'm not sure how I'm going to manage the month's bills, I know that this is the path I am suppose to take.

My blog makes me no money, but yet, last month, I had 54,000 views. Doing the work that I do is the clearest way, but it's the hardest way and that's how it has gone for the last 21 years as an AIDS Activist. I was telling my BFF Luke the other day, the month that I was on the cover of Essence Magazine, the AIDS Housing assistance program paid my rent. I was just that broke, but yet that cover was the most talked about in Black America.

Also, for years after, in the area of love relationships, I wouldn't rock the boat because I didn't want to be alone. For sure that was connected to a deeper issue of self worth. Even claiming my worth was a hard road of therapy, self-reflection and eventually application. 

Knowing better and doing better are two different things and it has been one of the hardest part of my growth. Walking away from men or saying no to men that do not appreciate my value, over and above being alone is still hard. For me, it's the clearest path. Yet, on the other side of the coin, there are some who would prefer loneliness over the risk-taking that it requires in building something solid.  

I believe that all good things require work. Oprah says that luck is when opportunity meets preparation. There is no such thing in life as a free ride, not in career paths or love relationships. You must ask yourself if you want to spend the rest of your life downstream, being content with being content.

I know that my BFF is going through this now. Luke is an incredible, gifted producer. Almost a year ago, he left a well paying salary job to freelance. Freelancing has been the hardest path but it has been the clearest way. 

He has worked on some awesome projects in less than a year, the most successful season of Real Housewives of Atlanta, the BET Nelson Mandela coverage, he interviewed Spike Lee for BET's Oscar special and he was a part of the team that interviewed Lupita Nyongo for that same special. 

He has opened his own production company and is working on an awesome project for me, details later. He has been talking about doing this with me for years and I must remind him, if he was a staff producer at a network, he would not have had the time to work on this project. Producing is his passion, his gift and while its the hardest path, it's the clearest way. We always expect the pie to fall out of the sky, when it reality all things in life require work.

Doubt comes when you are in between your next gig. Doubt comes when you can't see clearly how it will all work out. Doubt comes when the checking account is low and you are deemed broke. Doubt comes when their are no new gigs. Doubt comes when you have your first bump in the road.  Doubt comes when you are missing him.  

 I dare venture to say, when seeking the hardest path, you may be broke financially speaking, yet rich in purpose. While you may be lonely, you love you for demanding respect of you. I believe its better to live with purpose and self worth than to have all the riches of the world.

Yet at the end of the day, I think that we should all be more like salmon and face life head on, and move our whole being through the hardest path to  the clearest way. 

  • Take a moment and center yourself 
  • Ask yourself what are you avoiding in your life?
  •  Identify the resistance what part is coming from you and what part from others?
  • Look for your truth and let that guide you through the hardest path to the clearest way.

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