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, May 13, 2013

Monday Reflection: The Power of Knowledge!

 Knowledge is a powerful thing. We can use it for greatness or use it against the natural order of the life that God has given us. That's with every single thing in life. Just because you know how to make a bomb, does not mean you have to use it to destroy others. Nope, even the "baddest" technology can be for a greater good.

Now, my issue today isn't that complicated. In fact, in the scheme of the universe it's a small issue, but for me, it weights heavy on my heart and in my freaking back, tummy and arms. Two weeks ago, I made a declaration about my weight. I laid out a good argument on why I need to hit the gym. I was good that week and then last week it went to hell in a hand basket. CLICK Here to Read!

My nights were so sleepless last week that I was dragging and cranky all week. Everything I did was a struggle because of sleep deprivation. That's why I didn't blog last week. I was too tired and cranky to even think. Menopause is kicking my tail. I guess they call it pre- menopausal. I haven't stop my menstrual cycle just yet, I have one every 2-5 months, but these night sweats and mood swings  have been all consuming.  Let me tell you, waking up from sleep in the middle of the night because it feels like you are on fire from the inside is not pretty. Waking up twice in the middle of the night is like a nightmare from hell.

When I made it to therapy last week, I thought that I was losing my mind. We tried to unpack this issue as best as we could. The fact of the matter is I have a lot of discipline and I do every single thing I put my mind to, so what is the darn problem?

The size 2 suit is to big. Look at the looseness in the arms.
Maybe there are a few issues. One problem I think is that somewhere deep inside, I'm feeling a tad defeated by HIV in the area of weight. I started out 20 years ago in a size 8 at my lowest, a steady 10 and a 12, when I was eating more than moving.

Then I made a transition to AIDS and in 4 months I went from a 12 to a 10, to a 8, to a size 6. Then I went from a size 6 to a 4 and stayed there a while. And then I went to a size 2 to a 0. I stayed there for a while and that's when I started to see death staring me in the face. Every time I looked in the mirror, death said to me, "I'm waiting." I'm so glad that God has power over death.

Then I started the new HIV medications and I went back up to a size 6 and I stayed there for almost two years. Then after a couple of years on the new HIV medication my weight shifted. I woke up one morning and I was a size 14 at the top part of my body, a 8 at my waist line and a 2 at my thighs. I was a hot freaking mess and I cried all the time. HIV lipodystrophy  is a trip. You can read an older blog post about it HERE!

Can you image the clothes drama that I have had with all these size changes with HIV?  Can you image what it's like to go from magazine cover ready to photo shop ready?

At one point after my weight shifted, I was able to get it under control. I met this trainer Cornell McCleanen and working out became a way of life.  I was able to get the top part of my body to a 8-10, and the waist down to a 4 and build the bottom up so I didn't look so freakin disproportionate.

 Then drug resistant herpes came and I spent more time in bed then walking. For sure, working out was not on my agenda cause ummm it hurt too bad to walk.

Working out had became a way of life life  for me and it was taken away right before my eyes, without any recourse. You can read about my Herpes drama HERE! The doctors are clear that the damage done to my immune system in those early day has made it possible for Herpes to become this aggressive nightmare for me today. (There are other post on herpes just search the labels)

A week of IV medication! 
BUT... I have not had an herpes outbreak in 3 months that means NO IV medication! I thank God everyday, but underneath I'm holding my breath, crossing my fingers and prying that it stays away.

The point is, right now I am healthy. I have no barriers to working out. Even my therapist thinks it's a good idea. She said that working out regularly works as well as antidepressant for mild depression.  Menopause does cause depression and mood swings that is for sure.

So with all this knowledge about how good working out is for me, and my success in the past with working out, what's the freaking problem? Why can't I use this knowledge for my good and wellness?

Sigh.... I have to come to terms with the fact, that
I can only control what I can control for the time that I can control it. I may never get my body to shape exacty how I want it. Lipodystrophy does not stop because you work out. I have to work extra hard to see some improvements and I then have to work to maintain those improvements.

And guest what? Herpes still may come back and then I will have to start over again.  It is what it is... You can control what you can, with the knowledge that you have, while you can control what you can.

I have got to come to terms with this.  That's it.... Oprah says often, "When you know better you should do better. "I say often, "Knowing better does not mean that you do better." Sometimes doing better means letting go of the easy, the familiar and the possibility of failure.  In the end, as powerful as knowledge is, we render it powerless when we don't act on the goodness of what we know.

Bracelet of The Week! Neon Glam! This bracelet says Summer Fun! We LOVE LOVE LOVE these Neon Beads.

 Perfect for Stacking!! This Neon bracelet is a beautiful orange 12-13 mm glass beads that have been rubberized. I am so fascinated with this rubberized glass. They take glass beads and rubberized them;how cool is that? SHOP HERE while supplies last! All Bracelets of the Week are very limited!

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