I don't quite remember when I fell in love with tea but I do remember the most special moments of me drinking tea. I was eighteen years old and I went to live with my biological mother for four months. I had just met her months earlier and it was awkward for both of us. She and her ex-husband lived a very quiet life in Boulder, Colorado. He was a professor at one of the universities and she was a housewife. After years of drug addiction and being in and out of jail, she deserved the break. I was homeless so she and her husband agreed to let me come live with them. Each evening my mother and I would find a spot in the living room with a cup of tea and a book.

Now, years later, I'm a self proclaimed tea expert. I start each day with a wonderful English Breakfast tea to get me going. As the day progresses, who knows what wonderful tea I will crown queen. But for sure, I have at least three cups of tea a day. And yes, when I can, I have tea everyday at about 3:00 P. M. I love to invite my friends over for tea and cupcakes and so far everyone thinks it’s a delightful experience. I am always in search of the best blend of tea. Yes, I’m a tea snob, I prefer loose tea but I do like some bags also. I have learned not to judge a book by it’s cover. Some bags can be quite nice. And yes again, any Diva knows, what you drink your tea out of is very important.

Tea for me is a way of life. It's wellness for the mind body and spirit. Here, I will explore every expect of tea possible, with a high concentration on wellness. I will review the best teas, the best places to have tea, the best ways to brew tea, the best tea accessories, what tea goes best with what foods, and the list goes on and on. I plan to share my passion for tea with you. And I've been told, nothing I do is ever boring so be prepared to go on this tea journey with me.

RLT Collection Tea Ball Frosted Clear Beads!

Mint Medley by The Persimmon Tree Tea Company

About This Tea:

Until recently I had never drank Peppermint Tea made with loose leaves. And Honestly, I will probably never go back. The freshness of loose Peppermint Tea cannot be denied. When I open the can of Mint Medley, From The Persimmon Tree Tea Company, I feel as if I stepped into a garden of peppermint leaves. It is a perfect blend of organic peppermint and spearmint leaves grown in the US.

Mint Medley has become a favorite and I find myself reaching for this tea tin almost everyday. It is great for on-going nausea. The health benefits and endless. It relieves muscle aches, headaches, migraines, stress. And now that it feels like someone is sitting on my chest and I have a mean cough, I'm sure it will help to relieve some of this congestion in my chest. Mint Medley has been in my tea cup more than any tea as of late. It has really helped with my winter cough, congestion related to this bout of pneumonia. You can read my full review on The Persimmon Tree Tea Company Mint Teas.

RLT Collection AIDS Awareness Tea Ball!

Welcome to my world of books! As an pre-teen books changed my world. I fell in love with the writers of the Harlem Renaissance period and the more I read the more I wanted to read. The fiction of this period was powerful and empowering all at the same time. It spoke to my own degradation and gave me hope for a better tomorrow. It gave me purpose for my own life and the courage to fight the good fight and never surrender.

I love to read! Inside a book I escape into someone else's life. There is something wonderful about turning to the next page of a wonderful story. Something intoxicating about the smell of the book and the story it brings to life. Reading brings me joy, and these days with my health in the balance, I find solace in my books.

I spent hours in my bedroom sequestered with the door closed reading the classics from the Harlem Renaissance, Hughes, Larsen, Hurston, Wright and Baldwin. Books became my escape and my salvation. The fiction of this period was powerful and empowering all at the same time. It gave me purpose for my own life and the courage to fight the good fight and never surrender.

Reading is the one thing that the pain of my life could never take away from me. It was the thing that helped to make it better. And even today, living with AIDS, books continue to be the safest place for me. It’s the one thing that belongs to me that AIDS cannot take away from me.The RLTReads book club will be books that I choose. It’s me sharing a part of me with you that has nothing to do with AIDS. It’s actually in spite of AIDS.

The RLTReads book club will be books that I choose. It’s me sharing a part of me with you that has nothing to do with AIDS. It’s actually in spite of AIDS. I have read hundreds of books from many different genres and I will pick the best of my reads over the years. I warn you, it will not be exclusively white or black, male or female, fiction or non fiction, it will be all of them.

I’m so excited and I’m grateful to everyone who wants to be a part of this venture. We already have 110 Book Club Members. You can email me @ RLTReads@raelewisthornton.com. The Twitter hashtag is #RLTReads. We can make this book club as wonderful as we want to make it. Who says that Oprah has to have the only ownership to a wonderful book club?

This Month We are Reading In My Fathers House by E Lynn Harris

Read along and join our discussion July 19th at 7 pm CST

For more Tea with Rae "Vlogs" Click here to visit her youtube channel

Monday, March 17, 2014

Pushing Through The Inferno

Last week I felt like I was stuck in Dante's Inferno. It felt like I was going through 9 levels of hell here on earth and the inferno of hot flashes was an allegory of my life.

I was so overwhelmed by these hot flashes that my life spiraled downward as the week progressed. I can't even began to explain how stressed I was.

It's like when we say in Social Media "My current situation," for me is was burning from the inside out with no relief in site..

Nothing was accomplished, I didn't workout, work on bracelets, even the two blogs that I did post were written on last Sunday and scheduled for Monday and Tuesday.

Last week I couldn't think beyond my right now. After 4 weeks of literally operating on less than 4 hours of sleep a night, I knew that a change had to come. I was back and fourth to the doctors the last two weeks trying to be cleared medically to take Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT).

This perimenopause I'm going through has been no joke. The hot flushes were so bad I started to have heart palpations. Every time I tried to dose off, I would get this overwhelming feeling of anxiety. I thought that I was loosing my freaking mind. You talking about scared and feeling helpless, that's exactly how I felt. My super woman cape was in the trash bin looking up at me helplessly. I didn't know how to deal with this lack of control that I was feeling and that added more stress.

I felt abandon, alone and crazy but I know that I wasn't. First off, God has got me in any situation that I face. I know this in my heart of hearts. God will never forsaken me, even if in that moment I feel alone. All I got to do is hold on until my change comes. No pun intended. The fact is, I didn't lose my mind last week because of God's covering.

Then those who care about me were at least checking in regularly. Tiara kept in close contact while vacationing in Vegas for  spring break. She kept my mind occupied by sending me text's of her shopping spree and other interesting sites in Vegas. The same for Luke. He was on his birthday holiday in Miami, but he reached out daily, always hoping for a better day. And my friend forever, Keith called helpless and all, but he was at least there with an supportive ear. No one knew really what to say, or how to make it better, except to say, hang in there, it will get better, we are here for you. That went a long way in not feeling so isolated.

By Wednesday, which was week 4 of  this madness, I was so sleep deprived and hot flashed out of my freaking mind I knew I needed more help.

It took everything in me to ask, but I knew that I was not going to sleep on my own. Then this anxiety I'm experiencing is scary, so my doctor prescribed me something in the Valium family to calm me down and help me rest. I also started a high dose of Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) on Wednesday. I slept off and on Thursday and  on Friday, back from Spring Break Fun,  Tiara came to stay with me.

But the hot flashes are not letting up. Me and Tiara were in the cold to the store at 11:00 on Friday night getting me some frozen fruit bars.  For Real... She is such a trooper. Side bar: I'm so glad that I spoke at her school last year and our paths crossed. She is such a blessing to me.

I'm flashing day and night. I'm trying everything I can to adapt to this current situation. After only a few days of HRT, I'm still waking up in the middle of the night from the flashes, but the Valium is helping me to go right back to sleep.

Yesterday morning when I got up, I took to the internet to read as much as I could about
perimenopause. I had already read some on perimenopause in HIV infected women. We tend to have more serve hot flashes and other symptoms, but I need solutions!! You can read last weeks Blog Here where I talk more about HIV and menopause.

Right now I'm operating on the reserve in my empty gas tank but I'm on a mission. This is a new week, with new possibles!! I'm freaking tried of feeling helpless and out of control. Between the hot flashes, the night sweats, anxiety, mood swings, sleep deprivation, lack of productivity, simple decision making hard, exhaustion, sleeping nude, sleeping with no heat, sleeping with the window open on a Chicago winter night, taking my temperature because I think I have a fever, parched lips, eating popsicles, I'm over it!!

Now that I am medicated, I'm hoping to play catch up with life. I'm off to the gym this morning to see if I'm able to keep up. But most importantly now that I'm at least starting to be in my right mind with some sleep from the Valium, I'm on a war path with this menopause. I need to make sure that I'm doing everything I can to get me through this journey. I ordered some books and can't wait to dive into it.

By weeks end I'm hoping to be off this valium. The tricky part is that I'm on the road this week speaking. I hate to be this stressed and medicated on the road, but I got do what I gotta do. This program at the University of Arkansas has been scheduled for months, so I'll keep it moving

I'm hoping that Hormone Replacement Therapy  (HRT) is working by then. The only possible snag is that HIV antiviral medications reduces the strength of HRT, so I may have to increase the already high dose that I'm on, but the doctor wants to give this dose at least a couple of weeks.    And thanks to everyone that has suggested some of the herbal treatments. I can not take natural herbal supplements because they interfere with HIV medications.

I am on a mission, seeking out the things that I can do to reduce some of theses symptoms. I'm not at a good place right now. I'm in the middle of my own private hell, but you better believe that I'm going to do everything possible to push my way out of Dante inferno. My Super Woman Cape is waiting on me!
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