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, October 5, 2015

Monday Reflection: Get Up From The Table When Shit Is Being Served!

Everybody got some "thing" going on in their life most of the time, if not all of the freaking time.

Some "things" cannot be helped, like an illness you didn't see coming. Like last year when my Sophie was diagnosed with cancer on Wednesday and on the following Monday I had to put her down.

 Like a job that ended unexpectedly, death in the family, someone hitting your car, without stopping and you are left with the task of getting a new one.

Like a person betrays your trust and your life is changed without your permission. Like recently I met a guy who had been in a monogamous relationship for five years, so he thought. After a few years of condom use, he let his guard down and now he is living with HIV. Just that quick, someone else made a decision to do something with their life and it changed both lives.

While some "things" are out of our control, there are "things" in our life we help create. Like that boyfriend that continues to disrespect you whether it be small or big, (by the way a lot of small adds up to big)  yet you just keep hanging on. Like the friend who treat's you like shit, but you keep sitting at the table where the shit is being served.

In both of those cases the fist time was on them, but everything after is about how you decide to deal with it. When shit is being served and you hang around, you tell that person, just by your presence that its O.K. It does not matter what comes out of your mouth. Action always speaks louder than words and your participation creates that "thing in your life, i.e. the stress and chaos.

Now, there is some "things" we can avoid altogether, like when you have just enough money to pay your bills, but you purchased that new "thing" that you convinced yourself was ok, instead of paying all of your bills  and now you're stressed cause the bills are pass due. I know how this can be, a couple of months ago I broke one of my cardinals rules "don't spend money that I don't have in my hand."

It does not matter that I'm expecting money to come in, I just don't over extend myself on the front end anymore. I learned that lesson so many times and I know better. Well, my fur needed to be repaired and put in storage. The furrier wanted upfront money that I didn't have. Because he respects what I do for a living he allowed me to pay installments.

I made a commitment  to pay something that day, which I did; Pay something the following  Monday because I was expecting a check that Friday and then to have the bill paid in full by the end of August. Needless to say, that check didn't come in for over a month and then everything that could have gone wrong did, and I lost control.

First off,  it made me look like a lair and  because my word is my honor I became stressed trying to keep the commitment that I had made.  I gave him money that should have gone to other bills, just to keep as much of my commitment as possible. You talking about stresssssssseddddd OMG!  Just waiting on money to come in became stressful.  And to make matters worst, everything I thought would happen the way I thought it would happen, didn't.  Even paper work to process a check got crazy and I got crazier.  This was a two month long drama that I had caused. I should have taken my fur back home until I had the money to pay for it.

Yep, we all got some "thing" going on in our life whether it's of our own making or not. At the end of the day though, it's not about the "thing" per say, it's about  how we deal, what we learn and what we do next. You all know that Sophie's death sent me into a serious year long depression. I was in it before I even realized it, but once I accepted that truth, I started the hard work of climbing out of that darkness.

 No, I didn't look for the light at the end of the tunnel to rescue me, I started crawling in the darkness searching for a way out of the tunnel. Sometimes you have to do the important work in the darkness.

Even in the fur situation, I had to accept the reality. I didn't have the money, I broke my word to the furrier and all that I could do was make good as soon as I could. Those last two weeks before I paid him off, I decided to buy groceries instead of giving him all that I had. Lesson had been learned, don't break that cardinal rule again for something as frivolous as getting a fur repaired.

You can't always change that "thing" in your life, but you can determine what happens at the end of that "thing." Like the guy who ended up with HIV. He said after some destructive behavior of his own, he literately uprooted and changed his environment. Today, he is living the best he can with what he has to deal with. Ex-Boyfriend gone, no more binge drinking, he accepted HIV because it ain't going anywhere. He's taking his medication, his viral load is undetectable and he has excelled at work in the last year, more than he had in the past 5 years.

I don't think life is about the "thing" that happens to us, the "thing" is just the middle, its what happens at the end of that "thing" that helps to shape who you are.  It's about finding yourself, finding your voice and even finding your purpose.

As you go through your "thing" remember it's not about that "thing" it's about how you deal with that "thing."

No matter how difficult it might be, you have to get up from the table where shit is being served, whether it's your shit or someone else's.

My depression hit me hard, but I decided it didn't have to hit me forever. I got up from the table and started working with professionals that could help me, help myself. That's how you live your best life. You take charge of those things that you can. You don't let that "thing" control your life forever. With every "thing"you have the power to empower yourself, even in the darkest of "things."

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