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, December 30, 2013

Spreading Ignorance With Authority *SMDH*

Last night, as I was busy taking care of my sick baby, I got a tweet that made me want to cuss. At the time, however, my baby girl was the focus. No sooner than I dismissed it from my mind, my girl Dwana, responded to the woman and set her straight in her kind, gentle way. The woman should count her blessings that the first response was from Dwana and not me.

This is what happened: Dwana tweeted about the GiveForward Life Fund she organized on my behalf. Then someone tweeted to me, and Dwana, that HIV/AIDS has practically been eradicated. My gut reaction was a curse deep within but I let the moment pass and this morning I tweeted in response to her misinformation and I didn't curse!

But, I wonder how many people share this woman's view. I wonder, how many people really think that HIV is no longer a big deal. I wonder how that affects behavior and if that is a factor in the continued new infections globally. People think either, they won't get it or if they do all they have to do is pop a pill.

Setting this thought aside for the moment, the thing that really left me puzzled about this woman's tweet is that her Twitter profile says that she is an advocate for Autism; her son is Autistic. This is a woman who deals with health challenges everyday. So why would she dismiss someone else's pain and write their illness off to simple pharmaceutical companies profit? I wondered what portions of the medical community benefits from her son's condition and how she would feel to be dismissed as simply a profit. I've never been one to dismiss someone else's journey. Pain is pain no matter how different the pain may be. Then I wondered did she even click on the link that Dwana tweeted about me and the GiveForward Fund or did she just casually tweet Dwana.

I wondered if she had read about me and my work if she would have had a different opinion ... or maybe she did read about me and still had the same narrow opinion.

Then I wondered who on her timeline agreed with her tweet. I've learned that like-minded people tend to follow each other on Twitter. As the saying goes, 'birds of a feather flock together'. I don't know this woman but I know that she is ignorant to the facts of HIV/AIDS. Maybe she spends so much time dealing with her son's health, she doesn't have time to read. But you would think that if a person really doesn't know what they are talking about they would keep their damn mouth closed.

I utterly dislike people who spread ignorance with authority. The fact of the matter is, every 10 minutes a person becomes infected with HIV in the United States. The fact is, CDC estimates 47, 500 new cases of HIV in the United Sates in 2010. The fact is, each person living with HIV has their own health struggles with this disease. While there are similarities, there are also extreme differences. For example, some people take one pill a day, others like me, take 15 pills a day. The fact is, 15, 500 people died in the United States from AIDS in 2010 and CDC estimates 635, 000 have died since the beginning of the pandemic. Worldwide there were 2.5 million new cases of HIV in 2011 with about 17 million deaths in 2011 and an estimated 34 million living world wide.

The fact is, in addition to the health issues that come with HIV, people living with HIV have to deal with the shame, isolation, stigma and discrimination; I will never forget being denied that tattoo 7 years ago because I have HIV. We have to deal with fear of rejection and yes, actual rejection - not just the fear of it, and we have to live with being dismissed by people like Ren Cook every day of our lives.

Finally, I think people living with any health condition deserve to be loved and validated rather than dismissed simply as a payday for pharmaceutical companies. I think the world would be a better place if we validated people's pain with the love of God and help to make life better for them, rather then dismiss or judge them. #justsayin

Post Script: There are 15 more hours to donate to my GiveForward Life Fund. The fund will end at 12:00 Midnight today. Again, I receive all the funds less 7% in 5 days. 5% goes to the GiveForward for operations and 2% goes to credit card fees. Again, thanks to everyone who has donated so far. I'm touched by your sacrifice - but your comments have made my life sacrifice even more meaningful. Thanks for sharing... Click Here to Donate!

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