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

Friday, November 30, 2012

I Got Your Whore....

I was in a deep sleep when I heard a male's voice say, "You fucking whore," and then a door slammed. It was coming from the girls apartment over me. I started thinking and couldn't stop.

There's no way at 50 years of age that a man can lay in my bed and then get so fucking mad with me that he calls me a whore and storms out of my house. Especially not at 3:00 A.M, after I have given him my innermost self.

Whatever it is, if we can't talk about it like adults then we can't talk at all. I can't be mad at something you're said or done and then talk to you like shit, or shut down on you and not talk to you; not answer your calls or your text. Which by the way, is the same thing as treating you like shit; and another level of emotional abuse.

 Adults should be able to agree to disagree but most of all, if we really care about each other, we should be able to talk about it with mutual respect. How do you say you love someone then don't talk to them? How can you grow and heal if you don't talk? How can someone know how to be better to you if you don't tell them what hurts you? It's crazy, we will tell a person how to give us the ultimate sexual pleasure, but not the ultimate emotional pleasure?

For sure, a man calling you a whore is a level of emotional abuse that seeps into the very core of your soul. You can't see the scares like when he hits you, but they remain deep within you, chipping away at your self worth.

I was so proud of her when he came back 20 minutes later and laid on her doorbell. She didn't let him back in. I don't know what was going through her head at that moment, only mind. And mine said, "Get a fucking life other than me! I got your whore." We teach people how to treat us! And for sure if they do it once, they will do it again. But this understanding didn't come over night. I had to learn it through the school of hard knocks.

I'm not gonna sit here at 4:45 in the morning and pretend I've been this self-esteem/self-love guru all my life. In my 20's I would have opened that door and then put some lovin on him he would never forget. It took years to learn that fuckin a man crazy won't make him love you, nor treat you with the respect you deserve.

Can I talk to some real people today? For Real!! Sex ain't love and just because the lovin is good don't mean that they love you or will love you. It took years for me to get that lesson too. But I got it and I have no desire to journey back into my past. Knowing better and doing better are two different things that don't always come together.

Often times our desire to be loved over powers self love. The shit we take just to have a man is beyond my understanding. The shit we do to see if he's faithful to us is beyond my understanding. This is for real. we have done some crazy shit, me included. I have no idea why I allowed myself to get caught in the madness. I done it all! I mean all! Search his house, listen to his voice mail, sneak by his house in the middle of the night and I didn't even drive back then. In the days before emails and cell phones you had to be creative to spy. it was madness at its best!

But by the time emails and cell phones had come around I was starting to love me more then wanting to be love. I refuse to troll your facebook and twitter pages. I refuse to debase myself to have any man in my life. If you don't know my worth, then you ain't worth me. Fuck YOU!! I'll be by myself forever and fuck myself rather than be fucked over! I like me and I like being with me! While companionship is always nice, and the feel of a man next to me is wonderful, I'm not one track or one dimensional.

There is nothing like a good book or a great meal and I can do both of them by my damn self. I so enjoyed myself last night at the World of Chocolate event for the AIDS Foundation of Chicago. Who knew that you could get such a high talking to strangers and eating chocolate.

We give up to much of ourselves to have someone in our life. If you can just learn to love you and hold onto you, then someone will love and hold onto you. For sure, it starts from within and steams outward. When I think about all the emotional abuse I took from men just to have a man.

When I think about how much of me that I gave away trying to get something; When I think about all the wear and tear that comes with being in and out of relationships looking for the right Mr. Right; When I think about how I wasted the best of me..... When I think about it all, I know that enough is a enough. I plan to hold onto the rest of me for me. So yeah, I got your whore, and she don't live here anymore...

Thursday, November 29, 2012

RLT Holiday Gift Guide: Fight HIV Stigma

I'm kicking off the first installment of my Holiday Gift Guide with HIV/AIDS Awareness product. It's so important to support the cause.

When you use a mug at work that has an AIDS Ribbon on it, you are taking a public stand in support of people living with HIV/AIDS.

You have no idea how a mug could have such power. You have no idea who is infected or affected around you. When you wear or use products that display the Red AIDS ribbon you send a message loud and clear! There is no Shame, Just Compassion!

Stigma around HIV/AIDS has caused so much shame and hopelessness in people living with this disease. Your support means a lot, but your support visually helps to fight sigma. Just think how much further alone we would be if the Red Awareness Ribbon had the same popularity as the Pink Awareness Ribbon.

Here are my recommendations:

I simply Love this mug and have ordered this year for myself and as Christmas gifts. The proceeds goes to support AmFar, which is one of the oldest HIV/AIDS organization working in this cause. When you purchase this mug through West Elm, they will give 50% of the proceeds to AmFar and shipping is FREE!  Click Here

Next up, are designs by Emmy Award Winning AIDS Activist Rae Lewis-Thornton from her RLT Collection. When you purchase her product it helps her to continue the work she personally does in the fight against HIV/ AIDS. Especially her work in Social Media, since she does not have sponsors.  That's me :)

People always asked me to support events that raise money for other HIV organizations, but never consider that I need funds to continue the work that I do, this is one way to support me.

First up is my AIDS Awareness Tea Ball for the lose tea drinkers of the world, it matches the mug up top perfectly.  Made with Fire Polish Czech Glass and adorned with an enamel AIDS Awareness Ribbon. Click Here!

Let's Not Forget my  RLT Collection Diva AIDS Awareness Bracelet Designed with Freshwater Pearls and a pave' red AIDS Awareness Ribbon encamped in Sterling Silver. Click Here!

Newly Designs Spiritual AIDS Awareness Necklaces

Before anyone was making AIDS Awareness Jewelry, Until There Is A Cure was the long Solider in this fight! While I love my designs, I also love Until There's Cure for their commitment and the designs are great.

This is the original Bracelet that I own and wear often! It comes in 5 different types of metal with a wide variety in price. This is the Sterling Silver with a 18kt Gold AIDS Awareness Ribbon Click Here!

What I love about Until There is a Cure is they continued to evolve with the times. I love this craved bracelet. They also have other awareness bracelets you might like. Take a peek!

This bracelet is hand-carved in the Ovahimba tribal tradition by villagers in Namibia, no two African Art bracelets are alike. Each bracelet features a representation of the AIDS ribbon, and each is a poignant work of wearable art imaginatively and resourcefully crafted from recycled PVC pipe. 

Your purchase of this unique bracelet provides care services, food, and schooling for children of this Namibian village and other areas of Africa ravaged by AIDS. Click Here!

To broaden your mind, pick up AIDS Activist, Actress, Author Sheryl Lee Ralph's new book, Redefining Diva!

She has been in this fight a long time, first with her longest running variety show fundraiser each year and now with her one woman show Sometimes I Cry. Sheryl Lee should be supported for her unyielding support in this HIV/AIDS Fight! She's had great reviews and I'm just picking it up to read it for myself Click Here!

Lastly, The Politics of Respectability! This is my latest book and everyone who has read it, couldn't but it down.

For an Autographed Copy Click Here:
The Kindle From Amazon Click Here
The Paperback from Amazon Click Here
Happy Shopping!

Prima Donna No More: Facing HIV Discrimination

It felt like he had just slapped me in the face. His words hit harder than my Mama’s worst beating. I stood there frozen with this blank stare on my face. Awkward silence filled the air. He spoke again and it snapped me back to the reality of it all. “Uh, let me go double check with the tattoo artist,” he said nervously. “OK,” slowly came out of my mouth.

 As he walked away, I began reading the consent form that he had set in front of me. When I reached number three on the form, my eyes were glued to that spot. I read it over and over and over. It did say what I thought it said: “I agree that I do not have HIV.” “But I do have HIV,” I whispered to myself. 

The guy behind the counter who was waiting on me returned and snapped me out of it yet again. “Yes miss, the tattoo artist said NO. We don’t tattoo people with HIV.” He gave me back my driver’s license, picked up the consent form and gave me this silly “I’m sorry,” he said, "I’ll shred this.” Clearly this guy had no idea who I was and frankly at that moment the rule was the rule. We DON'T tattoo people with HIV.  Rae Lewis-Thornton and all I have HIV so a name meant nothing to him at that moment. 

I turned to my friends Deidre and Jason looking like I had been crushed. I could see by the expression on their faces that they had overheard the conversation. Shame swept over me, but I whispered to them anyway, “He told me that I couldn't get the tattoo because I have HIV.”

We walked out in silence and Deidre gave me a tight hug and whispered, “I’m sorry.” Jason and I got in the car and I drove in silence. After about 5 minutes I said “J, that’s weird. I went into the tattoo parlor on 12th Street and they told me that they do tattoo people with HIV all the time.” Jason felt helpless he could see my pain, but he just didn't know and he said so. 

My mind starting racing and silence filled the air yet again. In that five minutes of silence,  Shame, Confusion, Disappointment, and then Anger built up inside of me; but Anger pushed the others to the side.

“J,” I broke the silence again, “I think they just discriminated against me.” He said hesitantly, “You’d know better than me.” Then he suggested, “Let’s call some other places and see if you can get it somewhere else. "To hell with them!" He added. That was a good idea, so we both started calling other tattoo places and asked, If a person has HIV could they get a tattoo? After calling three tattoo parlors we received the same answer, “Yes, come on in.”

Driving down Chicago's Lake Shore Drive, I became a MAD BLACK WOMAN. All of my political fight came over me. I had not lived this long with HIV to get kicked in the gut. And to think I picked this African-American owned Tattoo Polar just to patronize them. Deidre had been talking about the good work that had done on a piecing for her, so I decided to give them a try.

I felt this uneasiness inside of me and I needed to know the truth. Had they broken the law or where they just some discriminating ass-wholes? 

I called information and got the telephone number to the AIDS Legal Counsel. I told the receptionist what happened. I was then connected to a lawyer. After I described the incident, she confirmed that I had indeed been discriminated against. They had violated the Americans with Disabilities Act, Chicago Human Rights Ordinances, as well as the State of Illinois Human Rights Act.

She then asked my name. “Rae Lewis-Thornton,” I mumbled. “Excuse me?" She hollered with excitement.  "Rae Lewis-Thornton the AIDS activist?” “Yes, that would be me,” I mumbled.

“WOW!” Ann Hilton Fisher exclaimed, “You have got to file a complaint! We need you on this one.” “Are you kidding me?” I thought. She had just hit me with a curve ball that I was not ready for. She could sense my hesitation. Ann started talking again, “You know Rae, you have been a prima donna with AIDS. Everyone likes you because you are on TV and the cover of magazines. Welcome to the real world.”

This was the real world. The new discrimination is covert, small things that people take for granted every day. Like getting a tattoo or having a massage. I understood what she was saying, but it was a lot to think about. Getting that tattoo was something very personal. I didn't really want anyone to know, now I was being asked to go public. I went home and curled up on the sofa and cried until I couldn't cry anymore. It was all too overwhelming.

By 11:00 that night my head was pounding from crying and my spirit had taken a beating. I had to Man Up and face a realization that day. Being on the cover of a magazine and having an Emmy Award couldn't change the fact that I have been discriminated against, just like many other people living with HIV/AIDS.

This is still a reality in the 21st century. It was my reality just a few years ago. But somewhere between mourning the prima donna, and wallowing in self pity, super woman kicked in. I picked up the phone and called Jason, “Hey, let’s go to Jade Dragon.” “Tonight?” he asked? “Yes, tonight! I am not going to let them win. We made our we to the other tattoo parlor and Jason held my hand. Midway, the pain was so great I wanted to quit, but now I needed to prove a point.

The next morning me and my sore backside made it to AIDS Legal Council and began the process of filling a complain. They had messed with the wrong person. I was mad as hell!   When I walked out of the law office that afternoon I was so proud of myself and I wanted to tell all my friends. As the day went on, my bubble started to burst. So it seemed that many of my friends thought I was in the wrong to file the complain. "Well Rae, blood is present when you get a tattoo," was all  that I heard, all day long.

I started to feel isolated....

To Be Continued :)

RLT Collection is Evolving! #GrowingRLTCollection

Taken For Heart and Sole Magazine
I've been asked over and again to design necklaces for RLT Collection While I'm certainly capable, I didn't want to take away from my absolute gift and expertise of bracelets; but time has a way of changing things. 

I had already decided to add 3-5 one of a kind necklaces s to my Fall/Winter Collection (Going to the photographer this week) *fingers crossed*  The necklaces will be simple but drawing from the gemstones in each collection. I am also introducing a line of Pearl Necklaces- Integrity. Yes Pearls stand for integrity. 
In the meantime, I was asked to design an AIDS Awareness Necklace for an organization who wanted to give them as gifts. In the past, I've designed an AIDS Awareness Bracelet for them and being a great customer, I didn't want to turn them down.

Well, RLT Collection is evolving! I loved the necklace design I created for them so much, I decided to add a similar one to my collection. 

With the Fall/Winter Bracelet Collections I'm drawing on the metaphysical meaning of gemstones so I decided to start with my AIDS Awareness Necklace.

Introducing Spiritual AIDS Awareness Necklace. There are two designs. One with a little bling and one with a lot of bling. 

 So Let Me Explain What They Mean!

Red is the color of HIV/AIDS Awareness! Red is the color of power, and for sure, it is the color of blood; which has a strong symbolism of life and vitality. It brings focus to the essence of life and living with emphasis on survival.

Coral will give strength and willingness to meet challenges and critical situations. Coral is also good for spiritual balance in jewelry.

Quartz is the most powerful, versatile multi-purpose healing stone, particularly regarding self esteem.

Quartz will not allow you to wallow in self-pity over from those things you can not change! t amplifies the energy of all other stones and increases your emotional energy.

This stone amplifies prayers, wishes and positive visualizations. Quartz keeps you in touch with your spiritual side, and reminds you that you are a spiritual being, having a human experience.

RLT has combined these natural elements to gain the metaphysical properties of Coral and Quart Gemstones.. This necklace has a red Coral chuck pendent. Each Coral chuck is different and has natural inclusions.

For the ultimate Diva, it is paired with an red pave' crystal ADS Awareness ribbon, encamped in sterling silver. They both dangle from a leather cord.

The back closes with a black crystal claps and a perfect, faceted 10 mm round Quartz Gemstone. RLT combines sterling silver, copper and gold filled metals in this design.  Check them out HERE!

I've done my best to keep both necklaces affordable, but don't forget that Sterling Silver is at a high price point right now. And some of the other jewelry designers that make these type of necklaces like Sundance charge from  $150-$495 for a creation similar. I hope that you will support my necklace venture. I've been wearing the Diva Necklace since I made it on Monday. Bling Baby!

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...

Monday, November 26, 2012

Health Update! The Diva Is Back!

Last week I was MIA.... Life and health got the best of me. But I'm back!!! I will be blogging and video blogging all week long, as we move into World AIDS Day 2012 on Saturday.  I have a lot going on in my head that I want to share. I also want to do some reflecting on the topic of HIV/AIDS.

I don't have a speaking engagement, go figure. I guess the Lord knew my health would be doing the most and I would be trying to hit the road IV and all.

So I will be using all the veichels I have this week to address the issue of HIV/AIDS as the world shines a light on this disease. I'm getting better, but the side effects of the medication are doing what they normally do, get on my last freaking nerve. Sophie and I spent Thanksgiving in bed and thank God we had a couple of plates dropped off. I was touched. Anyhoo, my IV is done for the night and I'm going to sleep...  I miss blogging. Glad to be back. It feels right as I type. Someone once told me, that God's people are starving when I don't blog... They certainly have a point.

I will also be giving you my Holiday Gift Guide Ideas for the next couple of weeks, and starting this Sunday, I will resume my tea reviews... :) Also as a result of the Blog Her Conference I will be during product reviews from time to time and offer some raffles :).

I wanted to give you an health update so here's a short video...

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

RLT Collection 1st Annual Black Friday Sale!

I wanted to say thank you and this is the best way! I have pulled together a ton of bracelets that I can sell at a GREAT price! I wanted the Fall/Winter to be up by now, but my health has interfered with everything in my life. In the meantime, I have a Black Friday Special section and all of the bracelets are $23.50.

They are mostly new designs that are not in any of my current or soon to be current collections, and a few in pass season collections. But for sure, they are some great bracelets at a great price. I suggest that you also chose First Class Mail so that you can save even more.

Happy Shopping in the First Annual Black Friday SALE For RLT Collection!! The Sale will last until all the bracelets are gone! Click Here!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

I'm Over This Day Already!

I'm over this day already and it's not even noon. I just had the most intense moments trying to begin the IV medication. It was an #epicfail that caused pain and tears. I so need to get my life back!

This mediport has been an ordeal to say the least. First off, I understand now why I have been in so much pain. The scaring under my bandge was intense and when I saw what was there, it made me faint and caused me to throw-up. From my neck to my breast I'm red and bruised.

I was excepting one cut not two. Not sure how I missed that they were going to cut me over my breast. But it is what it is... Can't change shit, just got to figure how to live with it.

The nurse accessed the port this morning, but it was the most intense pain that caused me to become nausea  and cry all over again. I took a moment to regain myself and then I connected the IV. You can see below the line is connected. However, within 30 seconds of the drip going I felt yet again more intense pain and burning. The long and short of it, the line is out. I need to heal some more before using the port.

 I'm over this day and so is Sophie. She didn't know what to do for mommie during those intense moments but look on....  I'm going to drink some tea, Cuddle with Sophie, take some vicodin, sleep on and off, look at Wedgwood Queensware China on Ebay and Esty... looking makes me happy even when I don't have money to buy... It's like antiquing online..

Sophie Looking On and feeling Helpless.

Today's Video Blog...

Friday, November 16, 2012

Ima Sad Sap... But I'm Alive.... Video Blog...

Ima Sad Sap... But I'm Alive.... 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Day After Surgery Video Blog...

Day After Surgery Video Blog...

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

At The Hospital Today...

I'm at the hospital today getting the mediport placed. It is a same day surgical procedure. While I will not have to go under anesthesia, I will have to be heavily sedated. As I've been explaining, ( You can back track on the last few blogs...  Naked Before God is a good one...

 I've had so many picc lines and that has caused so much damage to the veins on my left side that getting a more permeant method to receive IV medication just makes clinically sense; but honestly, it's very scary getting this permanent line.

And while I'm trying to be a trooper, I am very sad that this must be done. I wish there was another way, but it is what it is... Some things can't be undone. I tell young people every day, make sure that you know what you are doing because this shit is real!

I wish I could really explain how hard living with AIDS is. I smile through it. I keep moving through it, but I wish I could really explain how my heart hurts.

AIDS has caused so much ugly in my life, it's a wonder that I haven't lost my mind. I'm thankful for all the people in my life that are trying to keep me together during this difficult period. I'm even grateful for all the encouragement that I get through Social Media... Thank you...

Having no family is a real aloneness for me. Over the years I've had so many people make promises and commitments to support me who just left. I can only conclude that whoever suppose to be in my life is.... So thank you for every word of encouragement, every tweet and every prayer and to everyone who stay...  We try to justify lack of supporting people.. But in reality, we should support people because of who we say we are and who God has called us to be, not because of them. And if there's no threat to your person, everything else is just an excuse.

This is a dark period for me and I'm trying to hold onto some light in the midst of this darkness. I am thankful to be alive no matter how hard this living is, but don't be confused, I'm fighting for my spirit right now.

While it should be a pretty routine procedure, I do need to have the port place through interventional medicine because of the scaring I have in my veins.

If all goes well, I will probably begin IV medication to treat the drug resistant herpes on tomorrow. Please keep me in your prayers today.

Post Script:  For more background on the drug resistant herpes and why I have to keep going back on IV medication and it's relationship to AIDS just search herpes in my blog; there are many blogs on it. You can start HERE with the Blog Overcoming Shame.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Operate In Your GIft!!!

Yesterday I was on the road speaking to the students at Northern Kentucky University. I'm always honored to be asked to come. The Assistant Director of African-American Student Affairs, Tracy Mc Millan-Stokes heard me speak when she was in college at Wright State University over 15 years ago and now wanted to share my ministry with the students that she over sees. This touched me so much. It speaks to my work and ability to reach young people. Tracy could have chosen anyone, but I stayed with her spirit all these years; I'm humbled...

I'm really struggling right now physically, but I continue to press my way as best as I can. I fundamentally believe that life is a gift from God and we show our gratitude when we live in our life.

Sometimes when we are facing drama we have the tendency to shut down; shut down on people and shut down on living. I'm no exception. But I try my best not to let any crisis in my life, overshadow my life longer then it needs too. If you let the drama dominate your life, you surrender your control and your gifts to the darkness. I try to keep it moving and to operate in the gifts that God has blessed me with.

Video Blog....

Me and the Young Men of Alpha Phi Alpha at NKU! I always love when Brothers come here me speak and support me.. They purchased books too.. 

NKU Students in the Sister Circle.. I also had lunch with them to share a little personal wisdom.. I hope they heard what I had to say about Self-Love and begin to apply it to their lives...
Me and Candace Crenshaw an NKU Student!

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