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 27, 2010

The Hardest Part of AIDS....

I sat in the back of the taxi yesterday as the tears flowed from my eyes. “Pull it together girly,” I kept telling myself. But no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t. “Here I go again. Here I go again,” I mumbled through my tears. I had just left the hospital having a PICC line placed in my arm and no matter how often I’ve had it, I never seem to adjust. For me it is the signal of the grueling task ahead of me: intravenous (IV) medication for however long it takes. The last time, just 3 months ago was for 23 days.

It’s the world of AIDS that is hidden by my fancy clothes, my hard hitting message and my overachiever attitude. But no matter how hidden the pain of it all may be, for me it’s the hardest part of having AIDS. Yes, I Facebook and Tweet about being on an IV, but I sometimes even wonder if people really understand. This time, when I discovered that I was going back on the medication, I decided that I wasn't going to talk about it publicly. Not that I was ashamed or anything, but I’ve been working on a social media project and pitching it to sponsors. I didn’t want them to stumble upon a tweet and think that I was too sick to deliver. Then I thought about it. I am sick whether I’m on IV medication or not. I have AIDS! And I also have an awesome ministry wrapped around this horrible disease. For me, there is not one without the other. If I'm going to get sponsorship and support, they can’t have the glamourous AIDS Activist without the AIDS.

So today I will begin blogging about the Hardest Part of AIDS for me and chronicle my journey on this IV medication. It began this morning when the home health nurse asked, “And why are you on this medication?” I explained that I have an infection that was resistant to oral medication, so this is my last resort. “I see,” she said. “And why is this infection so resistant?” She asked slowly. “I have AIDS,” I said matter-of-factly. And then it came, the look that said, “How did a nice girl like you, living on the Gold Coast, end up with AIDS?”

I bet no one ever had that thought about someone with diabetes or cancer or lupus or heart disease. Exactly! But nevertheless, we are so quick to compare HIV/AIDS to any other illness. Implied in that comparison is this: Having AIDS is no harder than any other illness, so what’s the big deal? But if we are honest about it, HIV is not just like any other virus and AIDS is not any old other disease. They both carry a social stigma that weighs down heavy on ones heart and spirit. It’s enough to have to deal with the daily routine of managing ones health but to be weighted down with the stigma of it all is all too overwhelming.

So this morning I gave the nurse no room for discussion about my life. There was no defense against her silent moral judgments that spoke loud and clear through her mannerisms. Today was not the day!! When I awoke, I was so fatigued that I didn't want to brush my teeth, and that was after 11 hours of sleep. I had a very sore arm from the PICC line placement and my skin around the bandage felt like I had second degree burns. I knew what was ahead of me, a two hour IV drip this morning and another two hour drip tonight. It would also be the beginning of side effects like nausea, diarrhea and more fatigue. I decided to save what energy I had for me.

Today I choose NOT to defend the incredible Black woman that I am. As the nurse was walking out of my door, with her eyes wandering around my apartment, she said, “Your art is beautiful” “Thank you, I've been collecting for about 20 years now," I said to her. She paused expectantly. I knew that she wanted more, but today was not the day...
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