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, February 20, 2012

Monday Reflection: Weathering The Storm...

Well it seems that I have weathered the storm yet again. The herpes has gone into hibernation. I'm off the IV medication and the picc line came out of my arm on Saturday.  Of course I say hibernation because the herpes virus never really leaves the body and I have no idea when it will rear it's ugly head yet again.

After  being on IV foscarnet for 49 days, 2 hours a day, 2 times a day, I welcome any break.  It seems that this is what my life with AIDS has become. My doctor and I were talking about it last Wednesday, that is, for people like me, who have lived with HIV/AIDS for so long; We just don't have any real idea as to what this should look like. It's like, as I live, I am a walking experiment. By the way, I've been infected for 29 years and I've had AIDS for 20. I have known my HIV status for 26 years.

The other thing, we just don't know what the long term impact on the body is for people like me who took the first generation HIV medications, Nucleosides. They were so very toxic, but they were all we had. And I took them all, AZT, 3TC, D4T, DDC, DDI, Zert. I took them as mono therapy and then as a combo therapy, including  Ziagen, Epivir,Viread in that same category. Of course as time went on they started treating us with combo's of other classes of HIV medications.  I've also taken, Norvir, Emtriva, Viramune, Sustiva, Crixivan, Kaletra, Prezista, Viracept, Fuzeon and Isentress.

Yep I've taken 19 of the HIV medications in some form or the other, not to forget the host of medications I took in those early days to prevent AIDS related Opportunistic Infections, like chronic Yeast, PCP (Pneumocystis Pneumonia), Wasting  Syndrome, MAC and  Herpes. At one point I was on 33 pills a day. I mean I took  a lot. I took 4 different types of medications  just to try and prevent PCP. They were, Bacterium, Dapsone, Atovaquone, Pentamidine aerosol and eventually Pentamidine intravenously because I still got PCP 3 times. By the way, PCP is the number one infection that kills people with AIDS.

Yep, I would say, I've weathered the storm, over and over and over again. My T-Cell count was as low as 8 at one time. We have no idea what the long term impact of that has had on me either. I mean, for ones immune system to be at the bottom of the road. What permanent damage that's been done is an unanswered question.

Yep I'm a walking experiment. This is one reason why we think I can't fight  off herpes no matter what we try, (other than IV foscarent) damage was done that cannot be reversed and while HIV medications give me a boost now, they can't undo what's been done.

But now that treatment has advanced so much and my T-cell count is 586 and Viral Load non-detectable, I still seem  to be stuck in this place I've always been, fighting to keep my head above water. Now don't get me wrong, I love my freaking life! I love living! As long as I got breath in my body, I'm gonna fight this bitch AIDS; And while I know there is sun behind the rain, the storm is a bitch to pass through. I never understood those weather people who chase storms. Who in their right mind would give up calm for chaos?

But I've learned to take it all in stride. This round of IV med's kicked my ass; Straight-up, with no chasers. No matter how hard I tried to keep it all together, there were days, when I thought I couldn't take not another day. But in the end, I somehow found a way to make it through that moment when the storm seems to be worst, waiting it out until is slowed down to a drizzle.

I've learned waiting it out is key. It does not matter hard dark and hopeless it may seem in that moment, there is always a tomorrow and if you just hold on long enough, the sun will break through the clouds.

So here I am again, done with IV and trying to play catch up on all the things that were so very much neglected from my blog to cleaning my house.  Yes, I'm still struggling with some other health issues that have added some drama, but this I know for sure... If I weathered the last storm, and I did, I can weather them all.  So I press my way each and every day, knowing that God created the rain and the sun and everything God created is good... Without a doubt, I know that each storm will pass over to make room for the sun.
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