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, November 27, 2012

The Familiar is Within You...

Woo it's me! Yep that was me last week. I seemed to be stuck in this funk. Well sort of but not quite totally. There was always something to keep me from going over the edge. Something inside of me that said you are stronger than this, You are better than this. You are bigger than this. But I sure had my moments and I had a lot of them.

Now don't be confuse, I had more than enough reason to just get in bed, turn off the lights and pull the cover over my head. My health was doing the most to the tenth power! Like #ForReal #ForReal When I got this new herpes infection now almost a month ago I had only been off IV medication for about a month. Right after I got off that round of IV med's my Neuropathy flared up and the nerve pain in my back and legs shut me down. Then when that got better, I got a cold from hell that turned into bronchitis and then when that got better, I literary looked down there and herpes had joined the party yet again.

It was a big decision getting the mediport. It made the herpes seem permanent. In the four years me and my doctor kept hoping that somehow, someway we would get a handle on this. But sadly, nothing she could think of medically would stop the herpes from having a feasting party on my vulva 3-4 times a year. Nothing she thought of medically would make it go away except IV Foscrant. The overall conclusion: the damage done to my immune system in those early days of AIDS will not allow my body to fight herpes back.

And while herpes is a separate viral infection from HIV, if I didn't have AIDS, I wouldn't have herpes this bad. And to top it off, it made no sense at all medically that herpes would start to behave like this now that HIV is under control. My viral load is non- detectable and my t-cell count stays in the high 500-600 range. The fact is, the herpes from hell only came after my viral load was non-detectable, which could have been a by product of what we call, "Immune Reconstitution." Some people with HIV, after getting an immune boost from the HIV medication have some infection that is the long holdout and fights the immune system back.

A Week Supply of IV Foscarnet
So this has become a way of life for me. A thorn in my flesh that seems to not be going away. This shit is the infection from hell and the IV Forecast is a blessing and a curse all in one bag. The way this medication makes me feel some days I just want to quit! That's real talk!

For sure this drug resistant herpes jacks me up both physically and emotionally. So getting the mediport made herpes permanent. You see, I wouldn't need the mediport if I didn't need to receive treatment for the herpes.

But I did it; I made the best medical decision I could for my well-being. The mediport would make receiving IV Foscarnet easier. And what should have been a simple medical procedure became a production. The day after the procedure I felt like I had been hit by a Mack truck I was more bet up than what I was told I should be. And sure enough, it turned out to be some infection, either in the mediport or in the area of the mediport. Now how the hell I got that is beyond me. I then started an aggressive round of antibiotics. I then had to get yet another picc line because by now the herpes had gone untreated for 3 weeks and I wanted to cut my vulva out of my body from the pain alone.

The picc line was a production! No Joke! After an hour and twenty minutes of what should have been a thirty minute procedure they decided that I had so much scaring and my veins had narrowed so much from all the picc lines they couldn't get a line in. So, in a matter of seconds the doctor decided to do angioplasty on my vein and the anesthesia was the nurse holding my hand. No Joke Y'all.

Go on and say it!! Ima Bad Bitch!! I have a crazy herpes infection between my legs, I have an infected mediport both which is causing pain beyound my understanding and they bust through my veins with no anesthesia. Shit, it's a wonder that I didn't just come home and pull the covers over my head.

So my last two weeks was more than enough to break the spirit of the average person. But that's the key right there. I forgot that I am not average. That God designed me to withstand whatever comes my way.

Remember Job, God told Satan to shoot his best shot! God told Satan, do whatever you think you can to make Job quit, but just don't take him out. God knew that Job could take it because God is the architect of Job's design; from head to toe, from heart to mind. Isn't it interesting that God created one type of fish for fresh water and another for salt water and some for both?

And don't you know we are no different? I spent 6 months in my mothers womb sucking an umbilical cord laced in heroine. I weighed 3 pounds and stayed in an incubator for a month in 1962 before we knew what drug babies were. I came out of my mothers womb dripped in heroine.

Now how God gonna make me up to withstand all of that, just to see His creation torn to the ground? I must remember that I am wonderfully designed by God to withstand whatever comes my way. As long as I am breathing, I am still a part of God's earthly plan and need to carry on accordingly.

It is true, that God wouldn't put more on you than you can bear. Do you really think that your Father would abuse you? And to even suggest that whatever you are facing is out of your league, is to suggest that God don't know His child. God is the best parent any person could ever have. Don't be confused, God's Grace was built into your make-up.

God built you to walk, but He will never let you walk alone. Even though sometimes it may seem that way, I promise you that God has got you in ways you can't even see or image. While you are built to survive your journey, you have a two fold blessing, you are not walking alone. God didn't even bother with Paul's whining about His thorn, He simply said, "My Grace is Sufficient." Translation, just carry on Paul, I got this...

I understand this whole heartily and I'm working on balance. Going through it legit! I tell people all the time, don't ever minimize someone else's pain because only God knows what they can take or not take. All you really know is what you can take and what you think they should be able to take. p.s.... Stop trying to make people be you.

 The thing is, when we go through new territory we get nervous. It's like driving at night on an unfamiliar road. Even with directions or a GPS there becomes an anxiousness that you can't quash until you can see some light, some sign of life, something familiar. All these back to back hits, not getting a break is new for me. I'm use to being down than up, but to just take hit after hit is new territory for me. I'm learning to adjust to this newness as best as I can.

Until then, when I seem lost, I have to remember that the familiar is within me designed by God nine months before May 22, 1962; That God created me for this journey that is uniquely mine no matter what shape or form it takes. Remember that today... The familiar is within you designed the moment the sperm joined with the egg. Seek within to stand without...

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