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

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Hardest Part of AIDS II

Literally, I fucked and got HIV. There is no other way to slice it... dice it... or cut it... That’s the hard core fact that I have to face every single day. My freaking choice about my life and my body, has left me fighting for my life for the rest of my freaking life. And that for me is the one of the hardest things about having AIDS. My own culpability in my infection. The shame, the guilt and the daily struggle that it has created in my life are the hardest.

On days like today, connected to an IV, I take a long hard look at what got me to this place and I don't like what I see. I know that I could have done something differently that would have rendered me a different outcome. That is a bitter pill to swallow that I cannot and should not avoid. For Real....

Yes, I've been told by many a therapist to give myself some slack. As the saying goes, if I knew then what I know now, clearly applies to my life. Even when I consider the fact that when I became infected with HIV, it was brand spanking new (I was infected in 1983 and CDC recorded the first cases in 1981), it does not ease the fact that I made a choice about my body. I will say it again, I could have made a different choice that would have rendered me a different outcome.

Facing your own demons is hard, facing that demon publicly is even harder. They say that you are only as sick as your secrets and I’m declaring war on anything that makes me sicker than I already am, both emotionally and physically.

So yes, I fucked and I got HIV and now I have AIDS. At the time I was young and fine and looking for someone to love me for the rest of my life. Don’t be confused, I wasn't a straight up hoe. I had requirements: Fine, Rich, Educated and Christian. I had standards for myself. No sex on the first date was at the top of the list. You know, we all got that list, everything he has to do or be or you believe him to be before you give up your innermost self.

But that stupid ass rationalization will not keep you safe. You are kidding yourself every time you lay down with a man and you think the love that you have or want to have with him will keep you safe. The choices that you make about your life each day must come out of a reality of “What I know for sure.” Anything beyond that is Russian roulette.

I know this so very well, when you make decisions out of how you want it to be, rather than what it really is, you leave yourself vulnerable for tragedy and hurt. I have to face this demon head on... over and over again if I am ever going to have any inner peace. In many 12 step programs, you are constantly re-working the steps to help you be a better person to yourself and everyone around you. So I face this demon head on yet again today.

After years of therapy, I have forgiven myself, but forgiveness does not ease the mess I helped to create. Nor does it change the fact that my life has been altered forever. There is no turning back the hands of time with some choices. It is what it is... All I can do each day is face it head on. Find a way to live with the painful reality of it all. I say it every time I speak and I will say it today, the best thing that I have going is that I am trying to maintain a little dignity in the midst of it all...
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