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, March 16, 2011

Are We The Balm In Gilead?

So yesterday I started IV medication yet again. And yes, it's everything it promises to be. A really aggressive treatment that kicks my ass. Last week I spilled the beans and revealed that I have drug resistant herpes and that is the reason I have had to have this aggressive IV treatment over and over again. You can find the full story here. It's worth reading. I disclose my journey and my shame around being diagnosed with herpes; and I make the connection to herpes and HIV/AIDS.

Yes, in disclosing there was a weight lifted off my shoulders. But even now that the cat is out of the bag, there is a part of me that wonders if people have less compassion and sympathy for me while I'm going through this treatment because this infection happens to be sexually transmitted. It makes me wonder if people Tweet one thing but underneath it all, they are shaking their heads at me and the choices I have made. That's the little girl, always seeking approval. But the woman knows that people are gonna talk, judge, cast stones, and I can't do a damn thing about it. The fact of the matter, I did make choices years ago that have left me fighting for my life, pride, and dignity for the rest of my life. I can never change that fact!

But I also wonder, if in all the judgements, which actually help to cause the shame and stigma, can we instead create an environment where people can heal and grow in grace and peace? It's one thing for me to come to terms with myself, accept my culpability and deal with the fact that I could have made a different choice that would have rendered me a different outcome.  Coming to Terms with oneself is hard enough, but when people continue to throw stones we only get new wounds, and healing becomes hard, if not an impossible task. Christians often ask, "Is there a balm in Gilead?" But I'm gonna ask, "Aren't we Gilead? The community of God? And aren't we all called to love? Can we help heal Gilead?"

So as I heal from this herpes infection that has taken an incredible toll on my body and spirit, I ask for your prayers and understanding. But what I really ask is that you read my journey and ask yourself hard questions about your own life and life choices. That you see in my journey how choices can impact your life and health for the rest of your life. And that you help to create an environment of healing and love. Are we the balm in Gilead?

Post Script: I will have a 6 hour IV treatment, once a week for 4 weeks. The first was yesterday. The antiviral medication that I am taking is extremely aggressive and toxic. The side-effects are extreme fatigue, nausea, dizziness and renal failure. So I am also taking medication to protect my kidneys while I am taking the IV treatment which also has a list of side-effects of it's own. I'm moving a lot slower and at least the day of and the day after, I'm shut down. Why I'm writing a blog right now is beyond me. #Overachiever. This infection happens to be extremely aggressive and my pain level is about a 9-10 all day, every day. But you know me... I'm yet holding on!

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