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

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Counting Down To 50!

Today Marks 50 days until I turn 50 years old! I NEVER thought that I would have made it! Like #ForReal #ForReal! I've been living with HIV for 29 years. Just think about it, HIV is only 31 years old. That means that I've lived almost the entire AIDS pandemic with this disease and over half of my life!

I've lived with "full blown" AIDS for 20 years. That's a term we don't use anymore, but it's a real term. At one point my T-Cell count was 8 and I had 3 bouts of PCP. I saw death staring me in the face. I was a size 0 and there was no hope for my survival. The life expectancy for someone with AIDS back then was 3 years. I remember when I did the Oprah Show on AIDS Long Term Survivors, I had been living with AIDS then for 7 years. Look at God!

The way I see my life is simple, at least to me. God kept me here long enough to benefit from the advance treatment for HIV/AIDS. I had a doctor that knew what the heck she was doing and I did EVERYTHING I was supposed to do, no matter how sick the medications made me, no matter how tired I got. I just kept on living, taking it all one day at a time. Now here I am! In 50 days, I'm turning 50!

I'm grateful and humbled that God turned my mess into a ministry. I've been doing this work for a long time and I've touched a lot of lives. Thanks Be To God. In many ways I think my survival is connected to my ministry. God has blessed me out of my obedience. The Bible says, obedience is better than sacrifice.

As I count down these next 50 days, I ask that you count down with me. I will be blogging everyday for the next 50 days. Not sure about what, well like usual, however God leads me.  I hope to give more reflection and insight into my life.

I also ask that you support me. I've never been one to beg. LOL I've never had a fundraiser. I don't get grants or have some big pharmaceutical
 Company sponsoring me. I've been a one woman show on this hump.

So I'm asking that you sow a seed into my ministry and life.  The Bible also says, we have not because we ask not. So I'm asking. Support me no matter how big or small.

My bracelets are one way you can support me and they are FAB!  I would be honored if you sported my bracelets! My website is http://www.rltcollection.com 

Another way you can support me is to make a donation. There is a donate button on this blog. Even if it's $5.00, it's a seed that can grow.

Cover of Washington Post 1998 After Speaking!
Other ways you can support me, is to share my blog with others. The more traffic I get, the better position I will be in to get sponsors. Lastly, keep me in your prayers.

I seem to keep it all together, but this life is hard. AIDS is not cute or easy, but Thanks be to God, that I understand my life is worth living, so I keep it moving, as best as I can.

I thank everyone, who come to my blog, buy my bracelets, follow me on Twitter and Facebook,  share my work through social media and yes, for all of your prayers and encouragement, through a Facebook post, a tweet and your private emails; They help to keep me going, especially on those dark days

We are counting Down!!!

Post Script: I've been asked where cards can be sent... my mailing address is  Rae Lewis-Thornton, 47 W. Division, #412, Chicago, IL 60610
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