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

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

More Than My Vagina....

I broke my virginity two months after my 13th birthday. Looking back I'm not sure that I really wanted to have sex. Truth be told, at that time I didn't even realize what I was doing. All I really understood at the moment was that I didn't want James to stop liking me. I wanted the attention that he lavished on me to keep coming, and coming and coming, just like he did every time he got his 19 year old penis inside of my young vagina.

I didn't even particularly like sex, it would take another 3 years for that level of understanding, and a man by the name of Randy, for me to have that appreciation. What I did like was the attention that sex brought me. Sex with James meant that I had someone just for me and about me. I liked that James liked me and my young mind thought if I kept giving him the sex that he would like me forever. That is, until he took my girlfriend in the same room he had taken me. 

I sat stunned as she giggled her naive self right into the spot that I had been in the days before. As the door shut, his super fine, just as fine as he was cousin looked me straight in the face and said, "You gonna let them get away with that"? He reached for my hand, "I'm better," he claimed. I got off that sofa as fast as I could. By the time I reached the side walk tears fluttered my face. What I felt was a sense of lost, not one of anger.

I knew instinctively that I had lost two people that day, my boyfriend and my best friend. Mama had taught me one thing by the time I was 13, people are who they are. I didn't have the benefit of Maya Angelou's famous quote, "When people show you who they are, believe them." I had Mama and what I knew about her from the earliest was the same that I knew on day 13, that people is, as people do. On most days I didn't like the way Mama treated me, but I had no escape. With other people I understood that I didn't ever have to stay where I was mistreated.

What I didn't learn from my first sexual encounter was that available pussy, and even good pussy, didn't make a man stay, love, or respect you. I remember my last guy, Mr. Handsome. He said to me after a weekend together, "You know you can take some dick". Ha, the pussy didn't make him want to give a relationship half of a chance. That is a fact! Pussy does not make a man stay.  

What I  know now that I didn't know in my younger years is that a man wanting a relationship with you, or not with you, ain't always about you, it's usually about him. The most respect I have for Mr. Handsome is when he realized he preferred single over commitment, he was honest enough to admit it. The best thing I did for me, was to listen. I blogged about that once, when women hear but don't listen. Women could save themselves so much heartache if we accept what is, rather than pushing what we want it to be. I'm not the casual kind of girl. I gave that up. As a result,  I don't put myself in a casual position. 

But for years I thought  if I could whip "it" on him, he would love me forever. Then, for even more years, I though that my pussy must be magical.  I mean men still wanted me with HIV. This narcissistic, rooted in low-self-esteem understanding of safe, became especially true when married men, or men otherwise attached, wanted what was between my legs. Even men wanting and trying to have me without a condom gave me some misguided power.  "Girl," I  would say to myself, "You got some gold between your legs." For years my soul was between my legs. Every relationship I had began and ended just like the first one I ever had, between my legs. Interestingly though,  I never had a one night stand, every sex I ever had was in search of a love of my own, when that search should have started from within. 

I was in my late 30's early 40's when I stopped playing the pussy game. I can't believe it took well over 25 years from that first encounter with James before I understood that my value had nothing to do with my vagina. For sure though, once I learned that lesson it was one that I've kept close to my heart, even in the face of loneliness and being alone. 

To get to this place of wholeness I had to reduce the power of my vagina to increase who God created me to be. I had to hit the bottom before that lesson was learned. It took years of pain and self abuse to learn that I am  more than my vagina. 

Reducing the power of my vagina created space for me to value all of me. When I stopped focusing between my legs, I could see me in the fullness of Gods creation

Chicago!! I'm speaking August 13, 2014 in a panel discussion Cupcakes and Condoms!! Come hang out with me and engage in this important topic of women's sexual health, sex, love, dating and all of it!! The Little Black Pearl Workshop 1060 E. 47th Street. The event is sponsored by the Red Pump Project. Its free and open to the public, but they would like a head count RSVP HERE 

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