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, September 27, 2013

Thank You!!! 95 More Days!! Give Foward Fund!!

I just want to say Thank you to everyone that has donated to the GiveForward Life Fund on my behalf so far! Im touched beyond belief. Honestly, any amount that is raised is more money than I had. The fact of the matter, I'm touched that people think enough of me and my work to donate.

There are 95 more days to donate. Over the years people have asked, "How can help you?" The Givefoward life fund on my behalf is one concrete way. You can read all the details about the Life Fund for me HERE.

If I have touched your life in anyway, please donate. This Fund will help me to live as I continue to do the work that I do through Social Media!  Click HERE to Donate!






Thursday, September 26, 2013

Sex, Self-Respect and Loneliness...

I haven't been on a date in about 3 years. *Sigh* I haven't had sex in, ummm, like 4 years. *double sigh* Now don't go getting super-saved on me. Like who doesn't want the feel good of sex? Shoot, the experts say the more sex you have, the longer you live.  Sex is a great benefit to life. The End!

In all honesty, while I haven't had any opportunities for dates, I've had more than my share of opportunities for sex. Nope, I haven't found any men who want to take me out to have a wonderful dinner and make me laugh with great conversation lately. And the last one that took me out for a wonderful dinner and great conversation was on some bullshit. I've had to learn that a wonderful dinner and great conversation don't always add up. I'm so glad I didn't let him bed me. For sure everything I've learned about him since that date has been disappointing to say the least. So don't get a great date confused with love.

For sure in these last 4 years I've had plenty to ask to bed me and thus, spend a wonderful time getting lost in ecstasy. I opted out. Well, the last man that bedded me was married. Yes, I said married! Child please, that Negro was all of that and before he ever touched me I was so deep in it that it took God to pull my ass out of that it. Now that one is COMPLICATED? I touched on it in another blog and got unfollowed on Twitter ... self-righteous black women. Or maybe scared black women. If you are married, then I've become your enemy because you now know that I'm at least capable of bedding a married man and most importantly, that a married man is willing to have sex with me knowing that I have HIV/AIDS. You can read that blog HERE.  

Now, he was living with his wife when I met him, but he left her and we became a new family. Then he left me and then he came back and then he left again. RIGHT, it took God to get me out of that one. His mother and sister still love me, and I them, but at the end of the day I'm glad God did for me what I wasn't able to do for myself. GET ME OUT! 

Ok, so now that you have some back-ground, lets tackle the right now. I think my dating problem is simple, I don't really go to many places where the opportunity arises to meet men. I just spend an awful lot of time alone. Not by design, but by design. Let me explain. It's not that I want to isolate myself, it's just that I've never been a club/bar girl. Even in my twenties I didn't do much in the way of partying. I don't drink, basically because I don't like the taste of alcohol. So with no need to visit clubs or bars, that particular way of meeting men has been ruled out for me most of my life. The other thing is, I'm a really overly serious gal, I say that to say, I'm not so much of a frivolous conversation gal. So how men approach me on the top end determines the length of the conversation.

So I do spend a lot of time alone. Some of this is only child syndrome. I even learned to play Monopoly by myself. The other end of this is my health. I spend a lot of time managing my health hit after hit. When I'm down I'm down and when I'm trying to make it back up I'm spending my time playing catch up with work, blogs and bracelets. Often times it takes a lot to get it through the day so I don't want to rock the boat and make matters worst by hanging out because often times there is still work to be done. If I hang out too tough, then I'm wiped out the next day and then there goes work. But then where does a girl go to meet men when she isn't into the bar scene, Starbucks? Humm, now that's an idea so don't be surprised if I tweet I'm having tea in Starbucks, LOL. But ummm for real, for real.

Now, the sex thing is easy but hard at the same time. Yes, I want to have sex. I like sex. I happen to not be an uptight gal. I enjoy every minute from the beginning, the foreplay that begins with the mind right down to the orgasm. Remember, I did say that I'm a serious gal, so if the mind is not stimulated my body will not respond. I don't care how good looking a man is. I much prefer brilliant and well dress any day over fine. And shit, honestly, I want to be the one looking in the mirror all the time, for real, for real. 

My starting point is important, but most importantly, I just ain't giving any more men my innermost self in chances where my self-respect is lost. There is no sex worth my self-respect. FACT! This means what it means; I'm not giving myself up at any cost, so I keep myself to myself. Plus, I've been fucking since I was 13 years old and at 51, I'm not lacking in the sex department. And let me go there, I'm not scared to pleasure myself; and keep your super-saved opinions to yourself. The Bible does not mention masturbation. I prefer to love myself while loving myself then to give myself to a men who do not appreciate my worth. 

Now, for sure it has taken me years to get to this place and I'm not going to sacrifice this growth on a fuck. Now my ex, the one that was married understood my worth, the problem was he didn't understand his worth. The End! But if I had to do it over again, ummm I ain't gonna lie, I'll do it over again with him. But only at the beginning, because now that I understand who he is, I could never go back. For sure that was a painful lesson to learn, even in love. My bottom line, you have to love yourself more than you love him. That was almost lost in that relationship. Thank God for almost.

With all of this stuff I know about me, being a loner, being serious about life, maintaining my health, loving me more than idea of having a man, all of this, the sum total of who I am, for sure has to be factored into my dating life or lack thereof. For sure I'm lonely, but at sometimes more than others. But I will never, ever jeopardize the love that I have for myself. I want to die liking me, not loathing me.

I wonder if I expand my dating boundaries to men of other races how that would work. Now for those of you who don't know, I'm plain old mulatto, that means for me that my mama is white and my daddy is black. So technically I would only be dating the other half of my race, but that's another topic. I'm not sure if I subconsciously keep myself closed to the idea because, at 51, I'm still stuck somewhere with how white men typically approach black women, or should I say ME, back in the day, either as a whore, or my "white side" was in some way appearing. They would say stuff like, "So who's white in your family?" For sure that's a freaking turn off to a black woman reading Dr. Martin Luther King's, "Why We Can't Wait" and Stokely Carmichael's "Black Power" at 18. 

So here I am, 51 years of age and lonely. I'll keep you posted on that Starbucks idea *wink* 








Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Tea With Rae: Green Tea Weight Lost Series-Tazo Zen

Now that I'm really on this weight lost/get healthy way of life, Green Tea has become increasingly important to my daily routine. In the past, I drank maybe a cup of green tea once every few days. Now I'm stepping up drinking at least a cup or two a day. Now green tea is tricky. Fist off it's not always to best tasting tea, and if you brew it incorrectly, it is even worst.  While I have matters the tea making part, I'm still looking for Green Tea's that I love. I don't take anything in my mouth they my taste buds don't like, unless it is mandated by the doctor.



Let's review weight lost and green tea first, then I'll tell you bout another green tea winner.  Green Tea comes from the same plant as black, oolong and white tea (Camellia sinensis). While all tea groups have some benefits what makes green tea special is a couple of things. One, it is not fermented before drying and steaming, which allows it to keep more of it''s antioxidants. Secondly, green tea is a rich source of polyphenol catechin.

Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) is the most active form of catechin responsible for green tea's anti-inflammatory, and metabolic effects. While green tea is light in caffeine, it is there and that helps EGCG assist the metabolism and body fat accumulations.

In a nut shell, it stimulates the body to burn calories and decreases body fat, epically the waist line. Green tea also lowers cholesterol, which I'm putting to the test. My bad cholesterol is very hight right now.

Green tea also fights, cancer and heart disease. It is the highest in anti-inflammatory properties. of the 4 tea groups. Studies have shown over and again that green tea is a factor in weight lost. However, you must drink at least 4 cups of green tea a day to benefit from the metabolic effects.

Got it!! Got it!! So green tea is good for weight lost. Now, typically when I'm on the go, after my morning tea at home, I grab Earl Grey tea, but lately I've been switching it out for a Vente, Zen Tea @Stackbuks. Zen is a wonderful blend of green tea, lemongrass, peppermint. This is also a great winter tea for colds and sore throats; the peppermint sores the throat.

Now, brewing, most green teas should only brew 2-3 minutes. Zen Tea is brewed for 3 minutes. If you brew it lower, you will get a bitter taste. Likewise, green tea's should be brewed at a lower temperature than black tea, otherwise you will burn the leaves.  At home, I let the water stand for 3 minutes before I brew it.  I really like Zen Tea. I drink it on the go and in the evening when I want a lower caffeine tea than black tea. Happy Cuppa!!


Monday, September 16, 2013

Monday Reflection! Can You See The Ram?


People are always looking for that, "Ram in the Bush," just like Abraham, me included. For you church goers, everyone knows the story of Abraham and Isaac. As the story goes, God told Abraham to sacrifice his only child Isaac on the altar.

 So Abraham took Isaac to the altar and just as he was getting ready to make the sacrifice, he saw a ram in the bush that could be sacrificed instead of Isaac. Now I have to be honest, I don't know about you, but if God asked me to lay my little Sophie on the altar, I just may lay down and die; that's a whole lot of faith and a whole lot of obedience. 

My Sophie...
Honestly, when you kept hoping for that "break through" and all you get is life moving alone, you do begin to wonder if God has a ram in the bush for you. You wonder, is my faith big enough? Do I need to have Abraham size faith to get the breakthrough that I'm hoping for?

 When think  of all the challenges I've had with my health over these years, combined with all my financial issues these last 7 years, I've learned to look at this idea of the ram in the bush in a different way. 

For me, I've had to deconstruct this concept and then reconstruct it to actually fit the reality of my life living with AIDS. I had to think about the sum total of my life, not just my right now. I think applying your own faith and your own circumstance, to your own life, makes for a better life emotionally and mentally. 

Now in the scheme of things, I'm an optimist. I believe that God wants the best for us and with hard work and perseverance that best happens. The problem is everyone's individual interruption of the best. In the age of Gold Card Christianity on the one hand, i. e. I want. What I want, when I want it and I expect God to deliver it and on the other of Pinterest Boards, where we create the most elaborate weddings, future closest and homes,  I wonder how grounded we are in reality. I also wonder if our wish list for better, blinds us from seeing the real blessings in our life.

Now I don't know if my faith could measure up to Abraham's; I mean for real for real. But for sure, I hold my own in the faith department. Remember, when I learned my HIV status, it was so early in the pandemic that the HIV anti-body test was only two years old and AZT was on the horizon in the near future and then that was all we had for some years, but I never gave up or in! 

For sure taking 600 mg of AZT was like the kiss of death staring me in the face. I was so sick all the time. Then eventually they reduced my dosage to 300 mg, but I never stop being sick.

 For 5 long years I suffered through the side-effects of AZT, but at the time, it was my ram in th bush. Then more medications came.  Lord knows I thought nothing could be worst than AZT but I was sooooo wrong. DDI was a nightmare. Grinding those to alker seltzer size tablets and mixing them in water was nasty.com then apple juice, more nasty.com. I don't drink apple juice today because of DDI. There were days when I would hold that glass in my hand for a better of 10 minutes and will myself to drink it, but it was my ram in the bush and I did it.


By this time, I had made a transition to AIDS and the life expediency was 3 years back then, at most, so my ram in the bush became 21 pills a day. A three combination of Anti-Viral; I took DDI, AZT and 3TC. Then there were the medications that I had to take to prevent opportunistic infections, I took something to prevent MAC, Yeast, Herpes, and PCP, that was my ram in the bush. But then I still got PCP, 3 times because bactrim the best medication caused me to have a burning rash and the other medications for PCP didn't work for me.

 I saw death starting me in the face. Yep, my T-Cell count had made it to and all time low of 8, I was a size zero the quality of my life was an equal zero. I was speaking non-stop and when I got off the road I would crash until it was time to hit the road again. My ministry didn't stop because I was dying.  

Then as death was really calling my name I got yet another ram in the bush, protease inhibitors the fist major breakthrough in HIV medication came and I took 21 tablets of Ritonavir  (Norvir) a day combined with other HIV medications and the medications to prevent opportunistic infections  and I felt, if AIDS didn't kill me, the medications would.

 I was so sick from the side-effects that I didn't want to go on. But there was yet another ram in the bush waiting for me. After spending 6 hours on the bathroom floor shitting and throwing up, I called my doctor and announced, "I quit," My 5 feet, maybe a 110 pounds wet doctor, Mardge Cohen screamed life back into me that Sunday. Yep, she was my ram in the bush on many days in those really bad years of AIDS.

So I held on, believing that something better would come and it did, one development of HIV medication after another, I just had to keep holding on to receive it. See, action works really well with faith. If Abraham had never made the deliberate action of sacrificing Isaac, he would have never seen that ram. So I apply this concept to all aspects of my life not just my health. Especially to my finances, I have no money, well I put my clothes, handbag and shoes on Ebay, that becomes my ram. I change my lifestyle.

 I recently disconnected my cable since I almost never watch TV anyway. I stopped my Sunday delivery of the New York Times *tears*  My monthly book budget got squashed. I can't buy a new book until 2014 *tears* but I need to workout so my funds are shifted to the gym. Sometimes the ram is just a matter of making hard decisions about your right now. It's ok to not have everything you want to have the things that you need.

Certainly this GiveFoward Fund for me is a ram in the bush and I thank God for Dwana for starting it and for every person who has donated in the last week. It's blowing my mind the comments alone. Its good to know the impact that I have had on people. Its like the GiveForward Fund is a chance to have my roses while Im still yet alive and with depression setting in thick, the comments are giving me new life.


 My bracelet business is yet another ram. God gave me a design talent and I utilize it with each bracelet I design and I'm always working on better and better and better. When I started my bracelet business I had friends to actually ask, "Who's going to buy them," I didn't let their pessimism on the front end stop me and now 4 years in, some days bracelet sales is all the money that I have. I wonder how many of you have talents that are not being utilized. Your gifts for sure are a ram in the bush.  

I have so many rams in the bush from so many different areas of my life and we all do, we just over look them.

We spend so much time waiting on that pie in the sky breakthrough when we miss the ram lurking around waiting on us to have vision grounded in reality to recognize that God always has a Ram in the Bush... Can you see the ram? 




.  

A Big THANK YOU!

A BIG THANK from Dwana and I to everyone that has donated thus far to my GiveFoward Fund.... I am overwhelmed by your love and generosity. The comments along have touched me. I wasn't sure who would donate when Dwana got this Fund started for me but sure is great knowing that I have touched so many lives over these years.  What I know for sure, that even small donations add up. To learn more about my Give Forward Fund Click HERE.. Smooches!!!


Monday, September 9, 2013

Monday Reflection: More Than Silver And Gold


A couple of weeks ago one of the HIV Peer Educator's at my HIV Clinic spotted me in the lobby waiting to see the doctor. She approached me with a BIG smile and just began talking, pointing to her chest went straight to the point,
 "I never take it off."  
"Really?" I questioned.
"Yep, I wear it to bed. 
"I take a shower in it."
"It's always right here."
"Its special to me,"  she said pointing to her chest.
 I was sitting there like I had lost my best friend, drowning in all the madness of my new health issues, then suddenly, I lit up like a Christmas tree.
"Awwww," I started beaming. 
"When I first got it," she continued.
"My mother said its spiritual, so I should keep it close," talking about the AIDS Awareness necklace from my collection. 

I have been designing  bracelets on and off for a women's HIV study since I started my collection four years ago. I'm also in this study and have never missed an appointment in over 15 years. I participate in this long term study looking at how HIV progresses in women because we have to understand how to care for women with HIV. For sure, there are differences in disease progression of men and women.

 I was honored when they agreed to give my bracelets to the women in the study as a Christmas gift one year. Well, last year, the director Kathleen, asked, "What about a necklace?" and in an hour I had designed this spiritual AIDS Awareness Necklace. I liked the design so much I decided to add it to my AIDS Awareness Collection. The necklace is a simple design with lots of symbolism. 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. Red brings focus to the essence of life and living with an emphasis on survival. Coral gives strength and willingness to meet challenges and critical situations. Coral is also a good stone for spiritual balance to be worn in jewelry. 

When I tell you that my conversation with Ms. P about the necklace made what was in all other ways, a shitty day, I'm for real, for real. She continued telling me about her adventures with her necklace. She had lots to say, I sat there and laughed through most of her animated conversation. Ms. P,  as I will call her, was a breath of fresh air. Just what the doctor ordered! 

"Yes, people have tried to buy it off me."
" For Real?" I questioned.
"Yessssss," 
"I told them that this was a GIFT!" she patted her chest proudly. 

I didn't have the heart to tell her where to tell other people to get the necklace. I didn't want to steal her joy. For sure I need sales. I explained that in my last blog on the GiveFoward Fund my friend Dwana started for me. But at the end of the day, some things are worth more than silver and gold. 

She continued, her body language exhibiting the same joy coming out of her mouth and through that big smile on her face.

 "I tell them they have to be in the study to get this"
"They ask me, can they be in the study."
 "I tell then NOOOO it's for WOMEN!!" She and I  laughed so hard.
"Thats right!" I said, the women in the study are special, and they are. The fact that they are willing to go through this half day of test and questions for the sake of other women, every six months.

 It created a joy inside of me that I cannot explain. I wanted to share it on my Social Media sites but didn't want to disclose Ms. P's status, that not my right to do.  I asked, 
"Can  I take a picture?" She beamed proudly as I pulled out my phone. I took it chest down and showed it to her for approval before I put it on Instagram. Then we started talking about this new guy in her life that's real cool with her HIV status. 

I started designing my bracelets originally to spread awareness to HIV/AIDS, then I branched off into fashion bracelets. But still people tell me that they wear all my bracelets with pride. They tell me that they feel like they have a part of me with them when they wear my bracelets. One of the ministers at my church said, "I got you with me Rev. Rae everywhere I go." She said, "I don't take it off!" 

Opening this bracelet business was a big step for me. I am not an entrepreneur by nature. I have spent my entire young adult, and adult life, trying to bring about change for the betterment of people. First, in politics and now as an AIDS Activist. For sure the bracelet business helps me to live. Especially since speaking engagements are far and few in between. I haven't had a gig in almost six months.

My bracelet business makes it possible to eat and buy Sophie dog food, to have internet and mobile devices so that I can continue to do what I do daily through social media and blogging; a free forum to educate thousands in minutes. I had my first Instagram chat, "Ask Rae" last week and there were over 90 total comments in the dialogue - that was amazing. That work comes first! For sure I love designing, and I work at being an  entrepreneur, but honestly, I don't know how to hustle that way. LOL! 

But Ms. P, reminded me in an unexpected way why I do what I do. Even my bracelets, and now necklaces, those with AIDS ribbons and those without, spread Awareness in some way. Think about it this way, every single person that goes to my bracelet website, will be reminded of HIV/AIDS. I do not hide my identity in this entrepreneur venture. So each person that buys a bracelet says I'm not afraid or ashamed of HIV/AIDS. That for me is worth more then all the silver and gold in the world. 


Thursday, September 5, 2013

Create Unexpected Joy!! Give Forward!!

When I got this text message from my girlfriend Dwana I was like, "Ohhhh D.. What have you gone and done now?"  She's always doing something about me. Always trying to help me grow physically, emotionally, spiritually and of course, she has been a BIG supporter of my brand. I met Dwana on Twitter when I was first thinking about blogging. A blogger herself and the managing editor for Chicagonista , I couldn't see at the time what she knew would be a success. She has pushed my work in Social Media and for that I'm grateful.

Dwana has this soft way about her that makes you say, "Okkkkkkk D, I'll try it." I'm going to the chiropractor, Dr. Rosen because of her and he has been a God sent. Just the energy alone when I walk into the room with him gives me life.

Anyway, over these five years of friendship Dwana has been a big supporter, she's purchased bracelets, she's brought groceries and she's been an ear.

So Dwana decided last week that she was going to do something about my horrible finances. My speaking engagements started to dry up about 7 years ago. It has been a slow and painful process. HIV/AIDS is NOT a sexy topic. The fact that people are living longer has made it a less important topic. My other good friend Luke, thinks that some of it is age discrimination. The people that do get the gigs tend to be younger. Yet, I continue to press my way. I have a lot of experience and wisdom when it come to this disease.

But every 10 minutes a person because infected with HIV in the United States.

CDC tweeted last week that African-American women are 20X's more likely to get HIV! The stigma and shame around HIV is running rampant, still in the 21st century -33 years into the pandemic.

There is still work to be done, and I'm never giving up on my ministry. God gave me a mission and I intend to carry it out. That's why I went to Social Media. It's a free forum to educate, inspire and bring hope. Everything I do, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pintrest and Blogging is work for me. I do it 24/7 - when I don't feel like it physically - and when I feel like I'm about to loose my mind emotionally. I just do it because to whom much is given, much is required. God didn't bring me this far to sit on my tail and whine. I've lived 30 years with HIV and 21 years with AIDS, thats a blessing and I dare not squander it. 


So Dwana started this fundraiser for me on "GiveForward." I've been very honest and public about the fact that I'm struggling over here. I've even blogged about it. I'm not sure how I've lived these last 5 years except but by the grace of God. I've sold my clothes on Ebay. In fact, I have a Ebay store active right now. I even have some clothes at Luxury Garage a popular resale store here in Chicago at this moment. No shame, that my church brought me groceries from our food pantry this summer and a couple of really good friends have helped every month with something. Dwana, brought meals two weeks ago, and it just goes on and on. Tiara's grandmother has sent cooked meals over a few times since I've been too sick to cook. Lord knows I'm grateful for all the blessings that come my way. I'm grateful that people love me and believe in my work to sow into me.

Getting IV medication this summer.

People buy, hit or miss, and people always want new stuff. The fact is, we are heading into the middle of September and I still haven't finished the Fall Collection because my health has taken center stage for the better part of 2 months. This means sales are slow and slower. 

So when, Dwana text me that she started this fundraiser for me I was like oh nooooooo D!! I never want people to think I'm begging. Over the years people have offered to have an "event" fundraiser and I've vetoed them - point blank. But this time I said 'O. K.' My impulse was to say NO,  but my spirit said yes. It feels right. I heard God saying, "Don't mess around and miss your blessing child." It does not matter how much is raised, because five bucks is more than you have, it is the thought that counts. 

This is how GiveForward works. It's a public fundraising site for people with "health related issues" and individuals that who are a "rare breed". I fit both categories. LOL. GiveForward is great! Unlike other fundraising sites it allows you to help individuals. Also unlike other sites you get what you've raised, you don't have to meet the goal to get the money. Dwana set the goal of $20,000, but if she raises only $5,000 I still get it.

It's a four month campaign and at the end of the six months they write a check minus 7%. They keep 5% and the other 2% goes to credit card processing. You donate safely on the site though check or Paypal, and with Paypal you can use any credit card you want. 

To date Give Forward had raised $60,512,106 for causes. I figured I had nothing to lose. I'm so grateful for Dwana for thinking enough of me and my work to try to help make life easier for me.

Please consider donating to my GiveForward Fund. And please keep me in your prayers as I muddle through these new set of Heath issues. My spirit has been hit really hard this time around.  Thanks Lovely's!!  It does not matter what you donate!! It all adds up the same way! CLICK HERE TO DONATE...


And here's the URL if you want to donate at. Later date..
(https://www.giveforward.com/fundraiser/wrz2/rae-lewis-thornton-life-fund)  You can also go to GiveForward  GiveForwd.Com and just type in my name  Rae Lewis-Thornton and my page will come up. 

Thank You!!! #ICannotdoitAlone






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. 



Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Queen Remembered..



I spotted a picture of Queen Latifah and Eazy-e on Queen Latifah's Instagram and I was excited and sadden all at the same time. It sent me into thinking overload and Lord knows when my mind get's going I dissect every angle before I'm done. It made me appreciate Queen Latifah even more than I already do, but it also reminded me of the shaming around HIV/AIDS still in 2013.

The posting of this picture on the Queen's account is significant. Significant because it gives voice to the voiceless, even in death. It sent a subliminal message that a person with HIV/AIDS's life still have worth, even in death. It said, I am not ashamed that Eazy-e died from AIDS. It said, I remember him and what he was to me and what he was to the world.

This subliminal messaging is important because still today the shaming around HIV/AIDS is alive and well, even in death. It amazes me how we have written off individuals who have made significant contributions to society that passed away from AIDS.

We have even done it in our families. I've met countless people in their 20's and 30's who told me that their mother, father, brother, aunt, uncle passed away from AIDS and how it's the family's, "Well kept secret."

One woman told me that her mother gathered everyone in the living room after her sister died and laid down the law, "We will NOT talk about this," Then, there are the families that just don't talk, like the college student that explained to me, that after 2 aunts passed away from AIDS, she said enough is enough and became a pier educator on her college campus.

We, have done it not only with Eazy-e, who is the father of Gangsta-Rap and also formed N. W. A., but with Rev. James Cleveland, the founder of contemporary Gospel music. He paved the way for the likes of artist such as, Yolanda Adams and Kirk Franklin. We have done it with Arthur Ashe, who paved the way in pro-tennis for the likes of the Williams sisters. We have done it with Max Robinson, the first Black national anchor man for national news. There wouldn't be a Don Lemon if there hadn't been a Max Robinson. 

Our silence  has spoken loud and clear. We will NOT talk about these people who have died from AIDS. We will not, because  we would  then have to face that, "Normal people," "Talented people," "Wonderful people," can become infected from this disease and that could mean me too. We will Not talk about this because it would mean that we would have to have an honest conversation about who is at risk, and how we are at risk. God forbid if we made the line around HIV/AIDS between them and us thinner.

We will NOT talk about them and let them shame our family and our community. At the center of this concept is how we view people with HIV/AIDS. At the center of this is an ugly stereotype of who and how one becomes infected with HIV. 

Easy-e made a significant contribution to the music Industry and help to usher in a new music form. His untimely death at age 31 was a shock to us all. I was already public and speaking at that time and he was the talk of town. People had questions. His death made AIDS real for that young generation. As did my infection for Black women and Magic's for heterosexual men. High School students wanted to know as much as they could about the how and why he died. His death brought a new conciseness to HIV/AIDS.

It also made clear the need to get tested for HIV. When he was admitted into the hospital, it was for asthma. Basically, he was having shortness of breath and difficulty breathing. However, what he really had, was an AIDS related Pneumonia, Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia, (PCP). The reality was, if Easy-e had known his HIV status, he could have taken medication to prevent PCP and his life would have been prolonged. His death made it clear the need for testing and early diagnosis of HIV

But today, no one really talks about him. I see all the pictures of other Gangsta rappers on Social Media on their birthdays and death anniversary all over Instagram and Twitter, but not until last week have I ever seen a picture of Eazy-e until I spotted that one on Queen Latifah's Instagram

That you Queen! Thank you for giving voice to the voiceless around HIV/AIDS, even in death

Post Script Are you tuning into The Queen Latifah  Show? I know that I am. It  premieres Sept 16th at 9:00 A. M. on CBS. I will be talking more about the Queen Latifah Show soon.  Click Here For More Details!




 
Clicky Web Analytics