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

Thursday, September 13, 2012

You Live To Learn.. You Die To Forget...

Picc line last time I was on IV Meds.
I started this blog post at 3:30 this morning at home, worked on it at the hospital and now I'm back home from the hospital from getting my picc line placed. Yes, I'm going on IV this evening. For those of you who need to get caught up to speed. I have drug resistant herpes. Which means, none of the oral medication will treat my strain and only sometimes do the topical work.

I contracted herpes in college before HIV, but now years later my immune system is so shot to hell, it can't fight off the herpes. The herpes also attacks my nervous system and cause me to have pain in my legs, feet and back. It feels like someone is sticking pins in them all day long. This genital herpes I have is mostly on my vulva. One sore this time that feels like someone is pouring alcohol in a open wound all the time. This drug resistant herpes I have began about 4 years ago. The doctor's only conclusion, is that there is a part of my immune system that won't repair itself nor will it fight this particular strain of the herpes virus off.

Remember all AIDS really is...is having no immune system. You get sick basically because your immune system can't fight whatever attacks it.

A Week of IV Meds.
The fact of the matter, while I have genital herpes as a separate infection, it would be much more controllable if I didn't have AIDS. Also, there is a large chance that herpes could still attack my body without having contracting genital herpes. No, I wouldn't have the genital herpes, you have to be exposed to that specifically, but herpes zoster i.e. shingles, and the forum of nerve pain I have is probable. Also CMV which causes people with AIDS to go blind.

For many people with AIDS, herpes is what we consider an opportunistic infection. For many people with HIV and genital herpes it can become a nasty combination for our health.

So here I go again. I will be on a 2 1/2 hour drip 2 times a day until the sore on my vulva totally disappears. The last time I was on IV medication, it took 34 days. Remember, the stress around my Delta membership being rescinded affected my healing. The side-effects are nausea, diarrhea and extreme fatigue, but I'm going to keep pressin as much as I can.

In many ways I'm grateful because it's been 5 months since the herpes has come back. But two weeks ago this herpes outbreak was triggered by a chain of events that I had no control over. I learned a person who was very close to me wasn't the person I thought they were. I discovered a year and half of lies that sent my stress level to its max and stress is the number one enemy of herpes.

So here I am trying to put my million little pieces together. I feel like Oprah talking to James Frey, going through his book saying, "Is this true?" That day as I watched, I felt so sorry for James Frey sitting their being grilled by Oprah. For years I was mad at Ms. O. "How could she kick his ass so hard on national TV?" I thought. But I get it, the avid book reader she is, she had believed every single lie in his book. She him cheered him on and cried for and with him. Shit so had I, then to learn later that he had lied about his life. We all had bought the lie hook line and sinker.

Lies are dangerous for the person who tell them and the person that believes them. Its a distortion of reality and when the truth is finally revealed its a hard thing to process and honestly you don't know who or what to trust.

When people lie they alter your reality and force you to live in a lie. I'm just grateful that God has always got my back. For sure no lie can live forever! I think that  God has a funny sense of humor sometimes. His methodology is WOW. He fixed that thing for my benefit and I didn't even see it coming, but you better believe I'm listening. Isn't it wonderful how God can do for you sometimes what you can't do for yourself? Now that God has set me free, I don't intend to go back into that prison.

So here I am, putting me back together again. All I can do is move forward. First step for me was believing the truth over and above the lies and manipulation. Then I had to take my control back! Take my reality back!

Now, that I've accepted it for what it is, I must accept my own culpability!  Ownership is a mother. My BFF Luke and I reflected on this earlier today. We both wanted so much to have more support for me. Support that I could depend on. Yep, I participated in the lie. I know right off, I'm always looking for family. So I brought the lie hook line and sinker. Even in those early days when I had doubts, the person in me wanted to believe in the goodness of human nature, not taking into account emotional instability.

They provided what I needed very well, but the person that I thought had become my family was a lie. When I really think about it, I have no idea who they are. NONE!

But now that I know the lie, I cannot under any circumstance allow myself to live that lie. My entire life is about being authentic, it's God's gift to me, to give to you.

So here I am putting my pieces back together and trying to manage my stress level so I can heal quickly. This is not what I wanted for my life, but it is what it is. I hate most when other people's behavior alters your life. But all you can do is learn the lesson and never forget. Pastor Jakes said to me when I sought him out for counsel over this matter, "You live to learn, you die to forget." I count it another lesson learned!

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