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, November 1, 2010

Monday Reflection: Fight Forever More....

My resilience was born and raised out of my pain, this is an undeniable fact. And over the years each new hit has helped to shape the woman that I am. Lately, my resilience has been put to the test. But the fighter in me won’t let me quit, nor will it let me wallow in that which I can do nothing about. My chance to redirect my destiny was well over 27 years ago. Now I have to shape the course of my future with that which lays ahead.

HIV/AIDS has become an integral part of my life and there is no way around it. All I can do is coexist with it. For me, to coexist means that I do not allow total domination, to not allow it to consume all of me, mind, body and spirit. So I take all of my hits standing and I never fall down.

I fight with all that I have within me in order to maintain my dignity in the midst of it all. My fight strategy is diverse like in all successful battles. Some days it’s something as small as taking a shower and putting on fresh PJs when I’ve been sick in bed all day. On other days, it’s getting out of the house, even when I don’t feel up to it. Like yesterday, I took my doggies Treat or Treating with my girlfriend and her daughters. My dog Sophie loves that the children love her. And she is so cute speaking to all the kids. It makes me smile. It’s a small thing, but the small things add value to my life. Lately the fight has been mostly limited to the house. Shower and fresh PJs and sipping on perfectly brewed tea with gourmet cupcakes. I am sick for sure right now but I know it will get better. All I have to do is keep on fighting. I might be bloody some days, but I am certainly unbowed. No matter how hard AIDS hits me, I will continue to fight.

Health Update: I started the IV medication two weeks ago. There is still a national shortage of the preferred medication so I’m taking the one that has more dangerous side effects. The good thing is that the IV infusion is only once a week for 5 hours. Tomorrow will be week three. But on the other side of the coin, it’s a very difficult medication to take. The days immediately following the infusion I am extremely wiped out. So much so that I can barely hold my body up; I’m weak, dizzy and nauseous. I also take 8 pills on the same day of the infusion to protect my kidneys from the IV medication. The side effects of that medication are tough on me, but I’m hanging in there. I’m not sure, but it looks like I will have two more weeks on the IV medication.

Stomach: I think in my last health update I was headed for an endoscopy. Well, I had it and they also took 4 stomach biopsies. The results are back and I have a bacterial infection. I started treatment on Friday. It’s five different medications totaling 16 pills a day. Yep, on top of my 15 HIV pills and on Tuesdays the extra 8 pills for my kidneys. The side effects are dizziness, weakness, loss of appetite, diarrhea and nausea, and I experience them all throughout the day. They took one more test last Thursday. It was a five hour test to see how I digest food. I’m waiting on those results. For background on my tummy issues check my last three Monday Reflections. Bottom line... It has been very tough on me. I’m tired, but I’m still fighting. Yep, and I will fight until the day I die...

P.S. I'm sorry that I have been away for two weeks. I will try to do better even during this tough period... Just keep me in your prayers and please don't stop supporting my blog.. Hang in there with me....  #IcannotdoitAlone

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