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

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Here Comes The Shit: The Saga Continues

It was so wonderful to be done with laxatives after the colonoscopy. Surely I hoped that cleaning out my bowels would solve the problem, but it didn't. I didn't start to panic right away. I mean, when I hadn't used the bathroom on Tuesday, I reasoned that my system had been totally cleaned out and I needed time to create some new waste. However, by Thursday when there had only been one drop of poop, I knew that this was going to be a journey. Whatever was causing this madness was not going away easily.

The following Tuesday I had my follow-up appointment with Dr. Lee. "Your colon is beautiful," she said. "We don't see any cancers or anything bad." For sure that was a relief, but the glass was only half full.

"But Dr. Lee, I've only use the bathroom once," I sighed.

She is not sure what triggered this round of severe Irritable Bowl Syndrome (IBS). However, my active thyroid is low and that could surely be the culprit. Or, it could just be stress. She wants me to see an endocrinologist to investigate before she starts prescribing any medications. I have an appointment the first week of October. I was originally diagnosed with IBS 3 years ago. I had the same symptoms that I do now, except I was having diarrhea, rather than constipation

I've been so focused on the constipation, laxatives and pooping everywhere, that I haven't mentioned the other issues I've been having along with the constipation. Let Me explain. I'm also having extreme food sensitivity to the point that some foods make me sick to even smell. I'm extremely bloated with whatever I eat, no matter the amount. Three slices of bacon and 1 slice of toast feels like an omelet, hash browns and toast. All of these are systems are classic IBS. 

And what seems like the kiss of death, most sugar makes me sick to my stomach. I haven't eaten a piece of chocolate in 3 weeks nor had a cupcake - and that's major for me. Now people without HIV can get IBS. They don't know the cause of this illness, for each person it's different. My HIV doctor, who handles my primary care, speculates that mine is caused by all the years of toxic HIV medications. Who knows, but we do know that stress can trigger IBS. Lord knows I'm under a ton of stress. Trying to figure out where your next meal is coming from, will do it to you every time.

So here I am unable to use the bathroom and eating is tricky at best. Like the taste of turkey make me nauseous. Now for sure, I've had mild food sensitively and bloating off and on over these last few years. I've just learned to live so it, but I haven't had IBS this bad in 3 years. Click Here to read about my IBS flair up the last time. 

This has been crazy to say the least. My Gastroenteritis (GI) doctor's primary goal at this point is to get me regular again. She says that the more I use the bathroom, the more regular I will get. So, to stimulate my bowels, she has me taking Meta-mucil (fiber)  3 times a day, Miarlax which is a mild laxative and stool softer, 2 times a week and she has also prescribed a new medication that may help that I'm getting this week. 

I'm frustrated to the point that it is affecting me emotionally. I've had a ton of sleepless nights in the last few weeks, which, certainly is not helping the problem. My attitude sucks. I'm not at a good place right now, not at all. It's like as soon as I adapt to whatever the hell it is that is attacking me, something else hits and then I have to figure it out all over again to adjust to my new normal.

On top of all this I'm still having pain in my back and side. It could be all this constapation, but it feels like something else so, I'm having an MRI this week. For sure managing chronic health is a full time job. That's why I tell people that having HIV is more than popping a pill, T-Cell count (CD4) and Viral Load. It's a wonder that I keep me all together.

For sure, I'm never going to quit, no matter how much I feel like I want to. My perseverance is simple, when I wake in the morning, this means that I'm still a part of God's's earthly plan. This means that there is something I'm supposed to do with my life, so I keep pressin'. I press because the sum total of my life is greater than the sum total of my pain. 

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