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, July 5, 2013

Some Days I Want To Give The Fuck Up!

Some days I want to give the fuck up and that's some real talk right here. I've lived with HIV for 30 years and I've known my status for 27 of those years and this has been one fuckin hard ass journey and that's for real, for real. My pill load, the ups and down, the infections, the fatigue, the judgements, the doctors, the endless tests, the stigma, the side-effects from the medications, the trying to keep health insurance, trying to keep me alive, the growing old with a disease that's younger than me, all of this is enough to make you want to just stop!

On top of HIV/AIDS I've had to figure out my way in this world a lot sooner than I should have had too. As a child growing up, I had to try to out think Mama to protect myself from her, which no child on this planet should have to do.

Little Rae
At the same time, I learned all this self-destructive behavior that I thought was normal because the abnormal was normal.  Men who should have been protecting me, instead violated me and that was a way of life. I've literally been putting food on my table since October of my senior year of high school.

I was 15 minutes late for my curfew and Mama told be to go back where the fuck I had come from. For real! The next day I called home and she said, "Come get your shit bitch!" And that what that. She was mad that her husband was mad and he left. In my assessment, he was mad because I was old enough now to protect myself, since Mama had clearly failed to do so the 5 years that we had been a family unit.   

Then I  had to learn what normal was and apply it to a life that was abnormal. Don't you know it's easier to do what you know over what's right. My life has been a fuckin hard ass mess. But I never quit even when I wanted too. I got 27 years of education with honors, I've worked tirelessly my entire adult life to help the human race live and have a better life. I never quit in all the madness I've been faced with. 

Then I got Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. trying to tell me that I'm not good enough for them anymore after 12 years of service to them and a life time to the human race. Women are still gossiping about me, trying to explain to themselves and justify the rescinding of my honorary membership. Shit, they should give me a fuckin crown for the shit I have overcome and achieved in spite of. If I'm not an example of a strong black woman, whose fidelity is stronger than her pain, then I don't know who the fuck is. Oh, I forgot, I curse and I'm vulgar and that's an embarrassment  to Delta Sigma Theta. 

(If you want to get up to date on the Delta drama read my book, The Politics of Respectability, You can get it from Amazon  Click Here paper and kindle or you can order from my website for an autographed copy, Click Here)

So here I am at 51 years of age still trying to keep my head above water. As of late I've felt more overwhelmed and my crisis management skills have short circuited. I'm back on IV medication and this one is not a false alarm. For sure I'm having a herpes outbreak because the pain to my Clit is almost unbearable; yes I said Clit! When I feel that pain I wish to hell I had never opened my legs. But some shit can't be undone, you just have to face your culpability  in your pain and git and bare it. (You can search Herpes on my blog to get background on why I have to do IV medication.) The bottom line. I have drug resistant herpes that is complicated by AIDS and the only treatment that will make me better is IV medication. 

TUE Getting IV Medication
 I decided to do the IV medication at the clinic instead of at home because I didn't have it in me to deal with my mediport drama. And no they have not fixed the problem because two nurses tried to access it on Tuesday and couldn't.

So it seems that the only person that can access the port is the chief of (IV) Intervention Medicine at RUSH Presbyterian Hospital and he keeps telling me that there's nothing wrong with it. Sigh. Click Here for background on the Mediport

It's a once a week IV infusion, every Tuesday in the Chemo Clinic. I probably have at least two more rounds. This medicine is a bit more toxic than the one I have at home. I have to take medication to protect my kidneys while I'm on it. The side effects to both is a nightmare

So I started IV med on Tuesday. It's about an 8 hour day and a 5 hour infusion. I've spent the last 3 days sick as shit in bed and today is the first day of any work this week. Projects and commitments have gone the fuck out the window. I'm sad to say that Bracelet orders are packed and sitting at the door to be mailed and I'm depressed at shit. On top of that, business has been painfully slow and  I'm not sure how I'm keeping the lights on and the phone bill paid. It has been a day to day thing in the last few months and that's for real. 

And I tell you what, it feels like I've reach some kind of limit. I'm on over the fuck load. Most days I'm trying just as hard to figure out how to pay a bill equally as much, to not let depression take me the fuck out of here. I mean, I don't think it would be a cute look to let depression do what HIV/AIDS hasn't been able to do in 30 years. I'm just sayin...

So yes in all honesty, some days more of late, I feel like I want to give the fuck up. Then I start thinking about Sophie and she needs a Mommie. Then I start to think about the people who love me and the pain I would cause them. Then I think about God's plan for my life. The Bible says, "I formed you in your Mothers Womb." Really God? So you knew all along?

Sophie has been sticking to me like glue these last few days!
 Like when I think about it, I spent 6 months in my mothers womb sucking an umbilical cord laced in heroine and God keep me alive for this hard ass journey. Like are you kidding me God?

But at the end of each day, I get it! That God's master plan for this universe is for the goodness of God's people.  That means that God can take my nasty ass life and use it... Use it for someone other than me... Use it for the goodness of others. Use is for those who feel like they can go on because I do. 

 In my heart I have to believe that God's plan for my life is bigger than any one thing that I'm facing. So I don't quit even when I feel like I can't go on, I just do. I do because a selfless life is a life well lived. If God loved me enough to keep me here, then I have to love me enough to keep me here. So I muddle through these painful, difficult days, one day at a time. Now what's so amazing  to me is that God continues to show me the wonder of His/Her miracles. When the phone bill has been extended and the cut off date is fast approaching, even as close as a day before, from somewhere I get a small miracle. 

So I keep going because God's plan is bigger than my pain. I keep going because even small miracles come from God. We keep waiting on the pie in the sky, when God sometimes only gives fresh mana for the day.

In the end, all we can do is to keep moving. There is life in movement. For me, it's walking Sophie when I don't want to bath. It's reading a book, exercising my mind even if I don't want to move my body.

Sometimes it's moving from the bedroom to the living room with the big picture window so I can be reminded of God's wonder, the trees, the birds, the flowers, the sounds, the people, even living in a modest building amongst 4 million dollar houses make me smile. All these things remind me that I am alive. There is hope in being alive because I understand that life means that I'm still a part of God's earthly plan.  So I don't give the fuck up, I just keep going with the understanding that God's plan is bigger than my pain.

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