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, December 27, 2010

Monday Reflection: Accepting The Bad, For Your Good

As the year is coming to a end one can’t help but to reflect on the last 12 months. For me, it was one hell of a year. There’s some stuff I want to tell but I think the best place to spill my guts on that madness is a therapist's office. For Real!

Sometimes shit happens and you get caught up in trying to figure out how the hell you got there. And the recovery from it all is worse than the original fallout. Can I get a witness? From my mess though I've learned a few things. One, I’m stronger than I think. Two, no person or thing is worth compromising your values. And lastly, sometimes God does for us what we are unable to do for ourselves. For Real.

So don’t get stuck in the pain of it all falling apart. Sometimes what we want interferes with God’s plans for our lives. Grandmama used to say, "God takes care of fools and babies." Looking back, I’m coming into acceptance of this very fact and taking that fact into my new year. I’m remembering the good and acknowledging the bad as a way to move on. And I am moving on!

What’s the point in staying miserable another year? One should be able to grow from every darn experience we have. When you get stuck in the mess, it takes on a life of it’s own. I don’t know about you, but I got enough stuff going on in my life to hold on to baggage that can’t be unpacked. So I’m leaving the suitcase with all that shit right on the side of the road and moving on. You gotta know when to hold 'em, you gotta know when to fold 'em. For Real!

You also gotta come to an acceptance of the things you cannot change in your life. My love life, well I can change that. On the other hand, my health is another can of worms. And this has been one of the worst and complicated years I’ve had in a long time. My doctor even said so a couple of weeks ago. It’s complicated, more so then any man I've ever loved.

My t-cell and viral load is great. So on the surface I should be great, but I’m not. I've had to have IV medication to treat a recurrent infection four times this year. To make matters worse, this problem I’m having with my stomach seems to have a life of it’s own. First, it was some kind of viral thing/food poisoning. Then I had to have a drug holiday because my stomach was so sensitive I couldn't even smell food without getting sick and my HIV medication made it worse. At the end of the month long holiday, I still had to have an endoscopy and three stomach bioscopies. They discovered a bacterial infection that required me to take 16 pills a day on top of the 15 pills of  HIV medication I already take, for 14 days. By the time I finished it all, I was physically and emotionally exhausted, but my stomach was not that much better. Which is where I’m at now; at a stand still.

I have non-stop nausea, no appetite, and when I do eat, no matter how little, it feels like I've eaten 20 times more. I have on and off diarrhea that comes from nowhere. And to make matters worse, I don't always make it to the bathroom in time. The GI specialist is saying that my brain is not telling my stomach what to do, so my GI tract is not working properly. It's called Functional Bowel Syndrome. I had never heard of such a thing.  But it’s a fact that the stomach and mind are connected. My regular doctor says she’s not surprise. I’ve been under so much stress with my health that now I’ve become sick as a result of being sick. And if the truth be told, I'm sure all the other crap in my life, on top of my health has only added to my stomach issues. Stress is not good for anyone. It is especially not good for people with a weak immune system. And that's another good reason to leave the bag on the side of the road.

But back to my health, they started me on some medication, but basically, it is not that cut and dried. Over time, they say I will get better. So with that knowledge I’m accepting what I cannot change and trying to get to a place where I can function. Feeling sick all the time ain't cute, but it is what it is. As always, I will continue to work on my projects. I mean can’t change how I'm feeling. I have the best doctors on top of it. I’m doing what they have requested, the rest is up to time and God. No point in adding more stress to something I can't change. Plus, I never understood people who become so miserable because of their health, that they make everyone else around them miserable.

Yep, this has been one year full of difficultly. Let’s not even get on the fact that I have had almost no speaking engagements. I don’t get it. Speaking has dried up at a time when more African-Americans are even more impacted by HIV. In the larger picture, when I’m not speaking, money is not coming in and my financial stability is threatened more and more each day. I think this has been my worst year financially since I was 17 and homeless. But I’m accepting that too. Adjusting to whatever changes I gotta make. Not spending money I don't have. Move past the shame of telling a friend that I can’t afford to go to lunch or dinner. There should be no shame in the truth. I have also learned that you can make it on less than you ever thought you could.

Yep, I have had one tough year! Without a doubt, the bad tipped the scales, but it didn't kill me. I’m still standing!!! And more than standing, I’m living in my life, the good, the bad, and the ugly. As I go into 2011, I'm coming into acceptance about the things I cannot change. Making the necessary adjustments to make the best out of what stands before me. We all should do that! 
Next Monday, my Reflection will be on my new chapter. Taking the good from this past year and building on it. Accepting the bad for what it is. In the end, I will use it all for a better year ahead. No point in reflecting if you aren't gonna use it to #doBetter.

Don't forget to check out Friday's Blog "Tea With Rae," and enter the raffle to have tea with me at the Peninsula Hotel. Also Tea With Rae Logo T-Shirts are available.
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