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 9, 2015

Monday Reflection: Let Go Of The Rice...

Have you ever had a stupid ass conversation in your head that led you to do something stupid that then lead you to justify your stupid shit? I know I have, a thousand times over. 

Like being mad at a man because of whatever it was that he did you didn't like or maybe what he didn't do that you thought he should have done. You play it over and over in your head and by the time you approach him, you have written a play with 3 Acts and before you know it's something you never intended for it to be and now you gotta hold your guns whereby creating more of a mess and still have to justify that shit.

 I've come to learn in my old age, that sometimes when people don't measure up to what we want at that very moment, it may not even be about us, but about them. Sometimes we need to get out of our head and just be still. Let it all play out in real time, not imagined time. The ego can do a job on you, for real, for real. 

Like, have you ever purchased something that you really didn't have the money to do but you justified why you should buy it? I know I have twenty thousand times over. 

You tell yourself, it's on sale or, it might not be here when my next paycheck comes around, or I need to look fabulous for that event. And let me add, the last of these might be the only truth, you do want to look fabulous for the event and the people there of, and none of it has to do with you. But your ego has convinced you that this outfit will make you the belle of the ball. And then at the end the ball, as you remove all the glam, you realize that the same people who liked you before the ball still do and those that didn't well, still don't. 

But now the damage has been done in the short time of what 2-3 hours because of what you thought would happen, but didn't. 

At the end of the day you see how insignificant your new outfit was in the scheme of things. But you allowed your ego to talk you into spending what you really didn't have to spend and now you're stretching your dollars just to get to your next paycheck. Which means you're stressed more than ever and now you talking about, "Lord when will things change for me?" But the real question is when will you change for yourself? 

When things get hard we give God credit for stuff that ain't got nothing to do with Him. Free-will is a monster of a beast to manage. I know in my own life, I've allowed others to abuse me and I've abused myself in so many different ways willing my free-will like at a roulette table, taking a chance with each spin. And with each defeat, I lost a part of myself that could never be regained. Sometimes you even spin the wheel and your life is changed forever. 

Have you ever been mad at someone for something that they did to you in real time? But then long after it's been said or done you are still holding on to the mad? And then the mad takes on a life of its on. Oprah said that once she was so mad at a person, for well over 10 years, and then she saw that person walking down Michigan Ave laughing and going on with her life, while Oprah was holding onto the mad. We allow our ego to hold us hostage for something that cannot be undone. All you can really do is move on because holding on will imprison your spirit. 

Our ego spends a lot of time convincing us of this and that in some narrow context that we make ourselves believe. When in real time ,we need to step back and watch the ego jump the hurdles in our head and after it has finished, say "oh ok" and keep it moving. You are not your ego and you don't have to do everything it suggest to you. But you do have to become centered so that you can operate in the best of you. 

You can't allow your ego on one end and your low self worth on the other, which is still ego in reality, run your life. You have got to be willing to walk away from some stuff and let that be ok. You don't like how a man treats you, then stop participating. There are so many men in this world  that you don't have to stay stuck with the one that does not value your worth. 

You don't like being broke every pay period, then stop spending what you don't have. Figure out a way to make what you have work. Look, in these recent years I've changed up my outfits over and over with just a new blouse, or shoes or handbag rather than a new suit, blouse, shoes and handbag.

You don't like the hold others actions have on you, let it go. I recently had some craziness with my biological family, meaning the white side of my family, who I don't have a relationship with. I'm not going into details here, I'm saving it for the memoir. I was so fucking hurt by there actions. But I had to decide, I could let them make me bitter or I can keep going. The first thing I thought to myself, "I've worked so fucking hard to get through this depression, I will not let them send me back." I said it everyday out loud for two weeks and I said it to my closet friends, so that they could give me positive support. Sometimes friends can help to keep you in the chaos just by the direction of the conversation.  To not have a set-back, I knew that I had move to closure. So I signed their fucking document and kept it moving. Then I thought about it, they have done absolutely nothing for me in 52 years, why would I expect something now? People are who they are and you better believe that shit or you will allow them to hurt you over and again.

Sometimes the victory is just letting go of people, places and things. I've learned in these last years with my financial struggle that I didn't need all the things that I thought I needed. Life has a way of making you take notice. After I had sold almost all my designer handbags and most of my St. John Knits, I learned that I still had enough to look great every single day. I always make it work. 

I heard a story about how they capture monkeys that gave me an 'aha moment'. They put rice into a trap and when the monkey smells the rice he reaches in and grabs the rice. The rice becomes the prison of his own making. But the monkey has a choice, he can let go of the rice and be free or hold on and be imprisoned. Over the years I've held onto a lot of people and things and they have been the prison of my own making. I stayed way too long in unhealthy relationships. I've bought more things that I ever should have and the biggest prison of all has been my family. I became an overachiever for my Mama who raised me, rather than myself. I thought that she would shower me with love as I excelled, but she never did, not even as she was dying. She died how she lived, most people do. 

All these prisons that I made for myself year after year. Allowing my ego to convince me that my thoughts were my reality, when in fact my reality was my right now. If a man treated me bad, it didn't matter how well I sucked his dick, once I was done, he was the man he was before I began. It didn't matter how many clothes I had from the best designers, those who would love me, would love me in Walmart clothes and most of all, dressing myself  up on the outside did not change what I was on the inside. That took work, of which no amount of money could buy. 

Only when I let go of the rice, did I start to live my best life. These day's I practice watching my ego jump hurdles in my head and then say, "Oh Ok"  Sometimes, I win and sometimes I lose, but the more I practice, the better the person I am. 

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