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, May 25, 2015

Monday Reflection: The Problem With Pride and Shame

Pride and Shame will kill you and your spirit this I know to be true. And it does not matter the circumstance, these two emotions have the ability to create chaos in your life from your health, to your job, and dating. These two will lead you down a path that add's absolutely no value to your life.  It's like this, for years I kept my HIV status a secret because I didn't want to be judged. I was more afraid of what people thought of me, over and above trying to live my best life with HIV. 

Shame dictated all of my behavior. For example, I didn't read about HIV because I didn't want anyone to catch me reading literature about HIV and draw the conclusion that I was HIV positive. This behavior left me in a state of ingorance about the disease. By the time I transitioned to AIDS I had no freaking idea what was happening to me. Honestly, I didn't even understand what a T-Cell count was. By then I had been going to the doctor for almost five years and had never bothered to ask or read on my own. I was living in a state of abysmal.  Even after it became clear that I needed to understand more about HIV, I would hide the AIDS Treatment magazines deep in my handbag. Once home, I would keep them out of eye sight. I put more energy into shit that had no positive outcome to my life, but only added stress and misery. I was focused on the wrong thing. 

My health was failing and I didn't have the courage to save myself. I allowed shame and pride to hold me captive. For sure, I was a complete and total mess. I was afraid to seek all the help I needed for the best outcome because of my captivity to the least important, less relevant things of all. 

Over the years, I've allowed shame and pride to dictate my path, which also dictated the outcome. This has been true for my health, my lifestyle and also in my relationships. How long have you continued to hang out with your group long past its value to your life? In fact, you often ask yourself, "Why the fuck do I keep hanging with this group or person, when I feel more pain than joy every time we are together?" But nonetheless, you stay locked into the madness because you don't want to be called the "trouble maker" so you make face value peace with your presence, but the inside of you feels like it's under attack over and again.

Yep, how many women have gone to the altar dispite the fact that their soul told them over and again  that this was the wrong path. It does not feel good, but you get more and more locked in, out of pride and shame and before you know it you are in a marriage that is chipping away at your very core. Once I stayed in a relationship hoping that he would marry me and when it became clear that he was never going to marry me, I continued to stay because my pride didn't want to admit to the outside world that I had wasted my pretty year in and year out.   

I can give many more examples of how we allow pride and shame rule over and above making the best decision for our life at that moment in time. I'm so glad that I've turned that chapter in my life. I'm at such a good place. I'll continue to say it over and again, I like who I have become. I mean really like me, who I am, what I do or don't do and even how I do it.  I've been so liberated from people's opinions of me, but I've also been liberated from the negative committe in my head. I have euthanized that bitch. 

Today, I live from the place of my soul, not my head. Let me tell you, the head will create more problems for you then your soul ever will. The head will have you married to a man with two children and a dog and brotha man ain't thought past your vagina. The head will make you buy a car your paycheck cannot afford. It will make you stay in a relationship that sucks the very life out of you. Yep, the head will make you think you are in a relationship with a man who has clearly told you that he is not in a relationship with you, for real for real.  The head will mess you up so bad, that you miss the blessings that God has for you. Yep, God always gives us what we need, it's the head that tells us that it's not enough, or you want it in a different package.

I want to utilize everything God gives me for my journey. I will never look a gift horse in the mouth. God has arranged the Universie in such a way that everything works in your favor, even the fucked up in the end will be a footstool to a better you. Remember the Bible says, that the rejected stone became the cornerstone. That's real, I've lived that in my own life. 

Today, I'm not letting anything interfere with me living my best life. I take what I have to work with and use it for my good, without the burden of the judge and jury that lives in my head or on Facebook. For example, everyone knows my finances have been non other than scares these last five years.

 I've stop bitching about it because I honestly haven't missed a meal, even when the refrigerator has been bare. It's like this, about a month ago, my case worker suggested that I apply for the food pantry. Yep, it's been that bad. And without any hesitation I said yes. And when I get approved I'm going to put on my red lipstick and walk right in that place and get me and Chloe food.

 I'm not confused that God has arranged everything in my favor to get me to what's next. The Bible says that God will provide your every need. I've concluded that my soul wants me to be here to do the work that I was called to do and I'm listening loud and clear. So shame, pride and the judgments that come with it has been put to rest. Your Soul is pleading with you to live YOUR best life, not the life your head made you believe or the life that others deemed appropriate, but  the best life that God designed just for you. Listen to your soul, it will point you in the right direction. 

Post Script: Thank you for all the wonderful birthday wishes!


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