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, May 1, 2014

Separation of Opportunity: Reflection On Delta Sigma Theta Sorority.

Today marks two years since my membership in Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. as an honorary member was rescinded. I'm not going to rehash any of those gory details you can read all about it here and here and here. The pain that I felt  three years ago seemed insurmountable. Even last year I was still hurting far more than I would have wanted to admit.

I look back over being kicked out of Delta Sigma Theta, Sorority and think it a blessing that I can now fully embrace. For sure, I'm wiser, stronger but most importantly it sent me on a journey of self understanding that had been waiting in the wings to happen.

Two years ago this was a crisis that consumed my life, every part of my being, my body, heart and soul. Yet reflecting today, it also presented me with an opportunity. Sue Monk Kidd in her book When the Heart Waits would have seen this crisis as a "separation of opportunity." The greek word crisis derives from the Greek word Krisis and Krino which means "a separating."

This separation made me reexaime myself. The woman I had become and the woman that I'm seeking. 
At the end of this road, through all the hurtful tweets, facebook discussions, comments on my Youtube and my blog, from women who once called me sister and praised my advocacy in HIV/AIDS, and stood in my honor at official meetings when I enter the room, I learned, in spite of what was said about me, I like me! And I like me so much I don't feel the need to defend who I am.

I mean, I really, really like me. That would translate into loving yourself. When you can say you like who you are, what you do, how you do it, what you wear or don't wear, how you live your life, without limitations on what others think of you, you have reached that place of self-love.

Delta helped me to be even more  unapologetic about who I am. My authentic self has grown by leaps and bounds. It recently gave me the strength to walk away from my leadership positions at church without defending my right to do and live as I please, in spite of what people may deem "proper" for an ordained minister. It has made me live out loud without regard to the issues of "respectability" that I highlight in my book, The Politics of Respectability. My life is uniquely mine and to live your life for the validation of others would be to deny who God created you to be., that uniqueness.

Delta, even created space for me to move through this profound spiritual journey that I just began with confidence that my "seeking" does not conflict with my Christian beliefs but enhances them. Sue Monk Kidd would say "In order to follow the inner journey, we need to leave behind those things that are deadening the loyalties that no longer have life for us," When I read that I said yesssss, my separation from Delta released me of loyalties that hindered my authentic self.

When I look back over the sacrifices and loyalties I kept to "belong" all the money I spent on red St. John Knits to "fit in" with the upper crust of leadership. All the times I spoke for Delta events for a potion of my speakers fee, so that I could be the "liked" honorary member and show that MY sorority was doing something on HIV/AIDS. Even coming to one convention {because I was told repeatedly that honorary members "never show up"} instead of staying with my mother who was in the last weeks of her life, I know that I am released from loyalties that hindered my authentic self.

This has been a long two year journey, but I can look back and say, that Delta did for me what I was unable to do for myself. In Delta I was still the "little Rae" seeking approval half/in and half/out of my authentic self. 

Those tweets that day was my authentic self, but the rejection that I felt over being my authentic self was "little Rae."

As I reflect, I had to examine what was it in me to cause me to be so wounded by Delta's rejection? But the larger question and most importantly, why would I want to below to any organization that could not validate and support my authentic self.  Why would I want to belong to  women who one day called me sister and the next called me demon?  I had to take a long look at myself, not at Delta Sigma Theta for those answers. 

This separation from Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, was a Separation of Opportunity for it sent me on a journey of reexamination. It helped to heal the "little Rae" always seeking approval, always half/in and  half/out of my authentic self. 

Today, What I know for sure, I'm the authentic version of me, living out loud in the spirit that God create me to be. 

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