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, May 11, 2011

Accept the Miracles As They Come!

Let me tell you a story.. This is my reality and my truth... A month ago when I finished up my IV treatment for my Herpes infection things were great! That Tuesday, I was beat down from the treatment but other than that, things were wonderful; There was no herpes to be found.

All cleared up, I was one happy camper! I went on the road to speak at Indiana University, then to Indianapolis to spend a day of R and R with my good friend Pastor Mike. But when I woke that Friday morning I was in pain and discomfort. Are You Kidding Me?!?!? Was my first thought. 

I called the doctor and she said the same thing, but took it a step further. She said that it very unlikely that I would be having a new herpes infection again so soon. In fact, she said, the IV medication Cidofvir is still in your system, "No Way! It must be some kind of irritation.  So Mike and I had a blast and I put it out of my mind.

But sure enough on Monday, I had an open raw sore that was growing it seemed over night. So we, me and my doctor made plan.  The following week I would have yet another biopsy on my clit... I couldn't do it that week because I was on the road both Tuesday and Wednesday, which are our clinic days. I went  on road and the herpes lesion grew and grew. And to make matters worst, I didn't take any pain medication because I wanted to be on top of my game, speaking and traveling by myself. And I forget the oral and topical medication to give me a tad of relief. But I kept it moving. I spoke in St. Louis, Visit a wonderful Tea Shop to blog about and fellowship with fellow blogger in pain beyond explanation. 

I arrived home on late Thursday evening. That Good Friday, I could barley walk. The herpes virus was working helvic on my nervous system.. That's what it does, and there is no pain worst than nerve pain. That shit wears you OUT!  I stayed on the sofa all day and by 7:00 p.m. I was already in bed. As I tweeted throughout the day and really that week, my followers keep me lifted in prayer.  But I knew that I knew that I would be back on IV that Tue, just a week after I had ended the four week treatment.

But then I saw a miracle before my eyes. Saturday morning it  started to clear up and when I got to the doctors on Tue for the biopsy, she said that it looked like healed herpes and there was no need to biopsy or go back on IV... WOW!! It was my Easter miracle and I was grateful. All I could say was that prayer changes thing.

But then a week later I had another tiny sore in a new place on my vulvar. I went into the doctor last Wednesday and she took three very painful cultures. But from the naked eye, it was clearly herpes. 

My doctor sat there puzzled. There is no way.. No way.. No way I should be having another aggressive infection just two weeks off of the IV medication.  And to make the confusion worst my T-Cell Count and Viral Load is wonderful. Why I continue to have this particular Opportunist Infection is beyond anything they understand; But so is the miracle of my life. I should have died 15 years ago, with a T-Cell Count of 8 and 3 rounds of PCP, the number one infection that kills people with AIDS, but I didn't

As I as work though what's next, of course I feel like I'm at the end of the road. For Real.. I'm tried.. I'm tried of being n pain all the time... I'm tired of being reminded by AIDS that I made choices that has left me jacked up.. I'm tired of IV treatment and creams and drops and doctors looking, cutting and poking on my vulva Im tired. And I wonder if any man will look pass my physical and see any worth in me. No one wants to be alone for the rest of their life. 

But like I told the graduates at Northeastern on Saturday. There are consequences for every choice you make in life. All I can do is be a woman and except the choices I made about my life and body. Even though my critics have said I was "veil" for telling them that!  Deep....

But  anyway...Being tired does not mean I want  to quit. The contrary, I want all the miracles I can get in my life. I know, that I know, that God is moving in my life so I just hold on with as much Grace  and dignity as I can. Even if a man never see value in me, I'm so grateful that God can.

But at the end of the day, with a pain wrecked body,  I accept the miracles as they come with gratitude. If this week it seems like my world is about to crumble... I  will hold on to the miracle of  last week... It will keep me grounded and remind me that God can!

Post Script: Right now, we are trying other medication with a prayer that they work. But mostly, I think my doctor is buying time because she doesn't want to put me on IV again just four weeks out. In the meantime, she is reaching out to other doctors across the country to see if anyone else has the any answers for me. Please keep me in your prayers.. BTW... If I did not have HIV, I would NOT have aggressive herpes like this.. AIDS is no joke.. Keep yourself safe...

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