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, October 21, 2013

LIPOSUCTION!!!

Gettin Ready For The Procedure!
I sat in a daze as I listened to Dr. A. and Dr. S examine my face. Dr. A. had called Dr. S. into the room to take a look at my face for both a professional, and a woman's, opinion. Dr. A's German accent came through soft spoken and authoritative at the same time, "I don't think she really needs anymore," he said to Dr. A. "Maybe a little here," Dr. S. pointed to right under my eye, "but she's fine without it,' she added.

They continued to talk to each other as I sat waiting for the bottom line. "I think if we could get rid of her chin, Dr. A said, while pulling back his own chin to illustrate, "I think she would be perfect." Dr. S. started examining me closer as Dr. A. started explaining to me what he and Dr. S. had just concluded.


My Chain A Week ago in The Gym!
Dr. A. had been giving me Sculptra injections since February and this was my last and final round. I didn't think that my HIV face, as I call it, would ever get any better. The shifts in my body fat have been my worst nightmare. The extra fat in my stomach, back and under my chin...and then the lost of fat in my legs, thighs, buttocks and checks has been the pits.com. Read Older Blog Post On Lipodstrophy HERE!

HIV Lipodstrophy transformed my body without my permission well over 12 years ago. The cupcakes, stress eating and lack of exercise only made the stomach and back worst. It's been the one thing that has caused on-going emotional baggage for me.

It has been the one thing that has made me feel unattractive with HIV. Having HIV never made me feel unworthy, but how HIV reshaped my body, for sure, made me feel ugly and caused me a lot of doubts.

Sculptra
I didn't think anything would ever be done, until my HIV doctor refereed me to Dr. A., who is a medical dermatologist that sees patients in the HIV clinic where I receive my care. My HIV doctor told me that Dr. A. was doing great things for people with HIV. I thought that I had nothing to lose, so I made an appointment.

When I saw him, he thought that I was a candidate for Sculptra. The drug Sculptra builds collegian in your face. Many women use this drug for vanity purposes, but the pharmaceutical company has been giving compassionate use to people with HIV Lipodstrophy. More on Lipodstrophy HERE!

The first time we applied for Sculptra, I was declined. You talking about being disappointed and sad, man oh man, but Dr. A. didn't give up, and they finally said yes.
So, on this last round of Sculptra, I sat and listened to the medical dermatologist examine my face closely. We could see a difference for sure in my face. I'm not as sunken as I was before I began the Sculptra injections.
Two rounds of Sculptra, but that chin.
The problem was, this darn chin of mine. As Dr. A, talked about wanting to get rid of my chin, Dr. S. said, "You know, I think we should check to see if she is a candidate." My face lit up, huh, what? LIPOSUCTION!!! I started praying right then and there, LOL, but for real y'all. 

Dr. A. whipped out a camera and took a picture of my chin as Dr. A. explained that there might be a slim possibility that they would be able to give me liposuction. You should have seen my inner light beam. Not in my wildest imagination, or dreams, did I think it would be possible.

My chin outlined for the Procedure
They took the picture and promised to get back with me on Tuesday. Four long days, and I couldn't wait for Tuesday, but as 4:00 P. M. turned into 5, and 5 into 6, and I hadn't heard from Dr. S., I started to lose hope. Then, as I settled into my bed about 9:30 on Tuesday night with a book and a cup of tea, I checked my e-mail, and POW!!! An e-mail from Dr. S. was waiting, "It's a GO!!"

The Fat they Removed From My Chin!
So on this past Thursday, I had LIPOSUCTION!!! They removed 20 cc's of fat from my chin. I was awake during the entire procedure. There was no pain during the procedure, but I could feel Dr. A. pushing the fat into the syringe and the pressure from the suction. Afterwards, I was swollen, but that has gone down a great deal. I was in pain over the weekend. There is still some mild pain and I'm still really sore, especially to the touch.  I'm sure time will make it all better. 
Right After!
WOW!! I'm still basking in this blessing. I have to wear this pressure gauze for two weeks and you better believe I'm following directions. If I don't wear this gauze I stand the chance of the skin under my chin sagging. This is a blessing that I do not intend on messing up. I never understood people that are given a breakthrough with their health and then turn around and mess it all up again. No, the gauze ain't cute, but neither is a sagging chin. There's no way, that will I trade a fat chin in for a sagging chin. People can stare all they want!!!
Headed Home!!
I go back for my follow up visit on Thursday. I have a stitch at the lower part of my chin where they inserted the needle. As it stands now, I think I'm done, but they want me totally healed before they decide. The bandage under my chin, I was able to remove on Sunday. The stitches will come out on Thursday!
As you can see in the picture on top, I'm a new me! This was taken Sunday after I removed the bandage. The picture below, is a side by side. Someone at the knit shop took the picture of me in the grey sweater two weeks ago.

All and all, this is pretty remarkable! I'm happy, happy, happy! I thank God for doctors who really want to treat the whole person. Thank you Dr. A. and Dr. S.!!!! I'm feeling really blessed right about now!!

Now that the chin is gone, watch me get rid of the body fat in the front and back upper parts of my body. I have already lost 13 pounds since I began my year long body transformation in September. CrossFit will do the job, but for sure it's not for the faint at heart!

I keep telling people with HIV to just keep on living! What may seem your worst nightmare today, may end up being a blessing in years to come. All you have to do is just KEEP ON LIVING!!!


SALE! RLT Collection Sale has been extended until October 31st! 15% off Coupon Code at check out Oct2013. SHOP The new AIDS Awareness/Tea Snob mugs have arrived!!! This is your chance to get them at 15% off!!

Front!

Back!


Friday, October 18, 2013

RLT Collection 3-Day Sale!!

#RLTCollection is having a 3day Sale! 15% off!! Coupon code Oct2013 sale new Sunday at midnight!! 

Shop!! http://www.rltcollection.com

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

No Excuses!!

No Excuses!!

RLT Collection! Pre-Order AIDS Awareness Mug!

I do all this promoting and pushing everyone else tea and mugs that I've decided to enter the ring myself. I've been wanting to do a mug for a long time, and yesterday as I was sitting on the sofa looking at Instagram I took the plunge. This AIDS Awareness/Tea Snob mug is a fundraiser for ME!  It's an 11 oz ceramic mug in white. One side of the mug is my Tea Snob logo and the order side has an AIDS Awareness Ribbon. It's not super fancy, but you have to start somewhere.

I debated about putting my URL on the mug, but this first round I just couldn't see myself without adding it. My brand is my brand. Don't want anyone to take my logo. But overall I think it's toooo cute.

The order was placed yesterday and they should arrive in 10-12 days. You can pre-order and I will ship them out the day after they arrive. I'm to excited!! This is my first design, but rest assure that more is coming.

And Yes I'm working on a couple of tea blends also. No, I won't be the one making the tea,  I may be Super Woman but I stay in my lane.  I will be working with a teaologist to create the perfect blend! I'm Growing Baby!! SHOP!!

The Front!
The Back!
I also have AIDS Awareness  and other Tea Balls to brew your tea. They have been on my website for a while. I have to new designs and I hope to add to the designs this week.
Tea Ball!

Tea Ball!
Tea Ball!
PS... I'm introducing infinity scarves and finger gloves by December! Yes, hand knitted by me, I told you that I was Super Woman and I can knit my tail off!!  :) Stay Tuned!! SHOP!






Saturday, October 12, 2013

My You Tube is GROWING! POW!

I've been off my You Tube Game!!! So today I took a look at my Channel and to my surprise, I have had 195,685 views.

Now this is remarkable given the fact that just last May, that is May 2012,  I only had about 3,000 views. I have grown is such a short period of time... Thank you so much for your support.

I  was overwhelmed to learn that I have 903 Subscribers, WOW... All I can say is that God is using me and I'm doing the work... So, as of this week, I will be back on my You Tube weekly with both words of wisdom and updates on my journey.

If you have not subscribed, I would love for you to become a part of the family Click HERE!


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Tea With Rae: Three Green Greats!

It's been no secret that I'm partial to black tea, but lately it seems that I've been sipping on more green tea than black tea. Well, since I'm on this get fit and then stay healthy kick I've been trying to do the things to help me be the healthiest I can be. If you've been following my CrossFit post you know that I'm all in.

Green Tea is certainly one way to be healthy. There are so many benefits of green tea among them is weight lost. 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.

Now that we know why we should be drinking Green Tea. Lets talk about the new green teas from Adagio Teas I've been sipping lately. First up is Citron Green. I typically drink this tea as my second cup of the day. I will always be a strong black tea girl in the morning. I like this tea because, it's not fruity sweet. It has the right balance of lemon and lime that renders a fresh crisp taste. Citron Green is made with Green tea, orange peels, natural orange flavor, natural lemon flavor and Marigold Flowers.

Calypso is a new tea from Adagio and it's a wonderful journey to the Caribbean. Made with green tea, apple pieces, orange peels, dried coconut, marigold flowers, natural passionfruit flavor, natural peach flavor, natural coconut flavor, natural orange flavor and mango pieces it has all the flavor of the Caribbean. I'm not big on fruity teas, but this balance is perfection. 

Speaking of fruity teas, I fell in love with Adagio, Mango tea just last night. The manager gave me a sample when I was in the store yesterday and I fell in love.  I guess I do like some fruity teas after all. Its perfect for that after dinner dessert pick me up! Last night I wanted some dessert but fault the urge. This tea certainly filled the void. It's made with green tea, natural mango flavor, apple pieces, mango pieces and marigold flowers

Adagio Tea is a Chicago based company and I like popping into the State Street store in River North after I leave the gym. They have loose tea and bag tea. You can also take a cup to go, hot or cold. I like their teas because they are very fresh and reasonably priced. They will fix you up a cup of any of their teas to sample in the store, just ask. The bonus, they have wonderful tea accessories. They also have an online store check them out HERE! I highly recommend these three Green teas and I recommend Adagio Teas! Happy Cuppa!!!!






Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Happy Birthday Rev. Jackson!!


Today is Rev. Jesse Louis Jackson Sr. birthday and I honor him with a this blog post that  I originally wrote in on Father's Day three years ago!

 I never knew my father. He was shot in the back of his head by his first cousin when I was a three years old, so I was told.  When I was 11 years old my mother hooked up with a man that she later married. But he was never a father. He spent most of his time terrorizing me. And when I told my mother that her husband was grabbing my breasts, she told me, “Bitch, I’m ain't gonna let you fuck up my shit.”

So I never had that loving family and for most of my life I was void of positive male influences, that is until I went to work at Operation PUSH. Mrs. Jacqueline Jackson took me under her wings and she and her husband, Rev. Jesse Louis Jackson, Sr., nurtured and helped to shape me into the woman that I am. I became a part of the family, even living with the Jackson clan at different periods of my life. I worked in all of his organizations and on both presidential campaigns. I was the Deputy National Youth Director for the '84 campaign and the National Youth Director for the '84 campaign.

Today, the Jackson’s are a major part of my support system. There is nothing Mrs. Jackson wouldn't do for me. I know that I will never be homeless or hungry as long as they both have breath in their body. There are many things that I can say about Rev. Jackson, but I will share a few from a tribute that I wrote for a book celebrating his 65th birthday. I went to work at PUSH as an intern when I was nineteen years old and stayed.

By the time I was in my mid twenties, Rev. Jackson had helped to shape me and my journey. He taught me to stand for right in the face of wrong. With a deep understanding I learned that God could use the least to do the most. His tutelage was the catalyst for my groundbreaking work around HIV/AIDS. I could hear him loudly, “If not now, when?” “If not you, who?" These words embedded in me gave me the courage to stand tall. His impact on my life reached far and deep. His impact on America can never be erased!

But the truest test of the man, the leader, the mentor and the surrogate father came for me in 1992. I stood in his kitchen and told Rev. Jackson that I had AIDS. I had been diagnosed with HIV for almost seven years and had never disclosed my status. My failure to disclose was mainly out of my shame and my own culpability in my infection, and of course, fear of rejection. But now I had AIDS and the secret was written all over my thin frame.

I remember it was like yesterday, I said, "Reverend, I need to talk to you.” We stood in his small kitchen. He shot me that fatherly look and said, “You’re pregnant." “No, not that,” I mumbled. And after a pause I said, "I have AIDS." "You mean HIV?" he asked, "No, I have AIDS," I mumbled again. Back then AIDS was a death sentence. He was trying to make sense of the fact that I just told him that I was dying. He looked straight at me, digesting the information. His silence made me nervous so I started rambling. He stood and listened with this blank stare, I couldn't read it to save my life. I gave him seven years of information in three minutes.

But he was never one for a lot of small talk  and true to form, he stopped me and simply said very matter of fact, "Rae, I loved you before AIDS, and I love you with AIDS.” Then he grabbed my hand and said, "Let's pray." We prayed together in his kitchen that day and made our way to the Dinning room to tell Mrs. Jackson together.

That day Rev. Jackson validated for me the measure of a man. He was not only the first presidential candidate with an AIDS policy who spent nights in AIDS hospice with strangers left by their families to die, he was also one of the first African-American Leader's from the old guard to take a solid stand in this HIV/AIDS fight. Yes, his training and nurturing helped to shape who I am and that became a catalyst for the work that I do around HIV/AIDS and my public ministry. But most importantly, he was consistent. He and Mrs. Jackson have made themselves perfectly clear, you do not have to do it alone!

Rev. Jackson’s influence on my life reached deep within my soul. I am a better person because our destinies are bound together. I thank God for his place in my life. 
I thank God for his place in history. Happy Birthday Rev. Jackson!



RLT Collection! New Bracelets of The week!

Jade! 
Check out the latest Bracelets of the Week from RLT Collection. These bracelets are extremely limited editions at a great price. Sometimes I run across a gemstone that I really like that does not fit into my regular collections. The latest ones are mostly smooth round Jade that I love. I ran across these wonderful German Silver and Copper beads that I've paired with the gemstones to complete the look.
Shop while bracelets last... Remember once a bracelet is sold out its gone forever! SHOP HERE 

I love this rubberized glass bead...!
Agate Gemstones paired with copper center
Jade Gemstones!
Jade Gemstones
Harmony! Self Love! Russian Jade!
Mix! Match! Stack!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Monday Reflection: Living In Your Life!

Have you ever stopped to think about how you are living your life? No, I'm not talking about being alive, I'm talking about living. Being alive and living are two different things. Life is a gift, but living is a challenge.

 We are all faced with the challenge of living every single day. Some of us have a harder challenge than others. It seems to me that my challenges overall have been enough for two people. I struggle with the challenge of living everyday.

Like yesterday morning when I woke up. I thought about this one thing, about living; No, not being alive, but living. My health has been more than a challenge to say the least these last three months. I think I'm literally on, shit-no shit overload.


So yesterday morning I was feeling particularly bad, and my impulse was to give into what I was feeling. When I say feeling bad, this is what I was feeling, my back, lower abdominal and side is in some kind of constant pain, I'm nauseated all the time and I'm bloated beyond understanding because I'm not using the bathroom. What do I mean by bloated? Well, if I eat one egg it feels like I have eaten five. So yesterday morning that is what I was feeling. Now I knew I needed to eat so that I could take my morning medication and head to church, but I had/have no appetite and just the thought of eating makes me even more nauseated. 

So, when I woke up, I was actually aware that I was alive. I mean my body was screaming bloody murder, how could I not know? But then I was faced with how I was going to live in the life that was sitting in front of me. For the past three months I've been passing up church on Sunday morning for the comfort of my bed and the New York Times. When you are hurting physically it's easy to surrender into that pain, but yesterday there was something inside of me that wanted more for myself at that moment. So I made my way out of that bed and starting pulling myself together for church.

 Now for sure, I almost quit in the process. Every move was an effort from make-up to hair to my Spanx, but I kept right on moving. When I made it to church, already in full force, I was overwhelmed with emotion. Not just because I am alive having lived with HIV for 30 years and AIDS for 21, but because, I've not given my life over to this horrible disease. Now for sure, some days I do nothing. Right, I listen to my body and understand my limits.  But  don't you know that doing nothing is also living. Everything you do is living. From sitting still to doing jumping jacks. For me it's about living well from, what I put in my mouth to what I keep out of my month.

Yesterday, I was struggling to get to church, but something inside of me said that I needed to be there and I was right on point. I needed the hugs and laughs that I received after church. I needed Pastor Jakes sermon, "Don't Stress." All that I received yesterday was what I needed to jump start this new week in spite of the health challenges. The thing about living is choosing to live well. Self-Care and Self-Love of course being at the top of the list. I'm on a mission to get these twins Care and Love right for me. I'm grateful for the gift of life, but there is a special gratitude I have for the ability to live in my life. What I know for sure, life is a gift and living is what you do with that gift. Living is putting the gift of life into action. What are you doing with your gift of life?

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Just Arrived! Breast Cancer Awareness Bracelets!

Just Arrived!! Beautiful Rose Quartz Breast Cancer Awareness Bracelet! This bracelet is designed with 8 mm Rose Quartz Gemstones and paired with a Sterling Silver Awareness Charm with and a pink crystal! SHOP HERE



Please keep my girlfriend Alicia in your prayers. She recently had a mastectomy and is preparing for chemotherapy. This is he second round with Breast Cancer. Follow Alicia on Twitter as she shares her journey.  Read about Alicia Journey HERE!


Acceptance...

I was sitting at the knit shop the other day and the owner asked, "So how is speaking?" and I mumbled, "not good." We sat quiet for a while and then she said, "Maybe it's finished." That sank in like a rock on my ankle and me going down into the deep of the ocean.  She broke the silence, and the battle going on within me, "It was a good run," she said, then added," how much can you do?"

I sat allowing those last words to sink in while fighting the battle within. Her words stayed stuck in my spirit all week...into this week. The other night I got up to use the bathroom at 2:30 in the morning and I couldn't go back to sleep. I could hear my conversion with Betty all over again.

"Maybe it's finished." "It's finished," sounds so absolute. I mean for real y'all! The idea of me not speaking is scary, yet I have to be honest, it only scares me because it has been the bulk of my money for the last 20 years. It's how I have survived since giving up my career in politics when I transitioned to AIDS 21 years ago.

Now for sure, I'm not bothered by the lack of gigs when it comes to the work itself. My ministry is thriving to say the least. I've used Social Media as my platform these last 3, almost 4 years, very well. It's been an unconventional method to minister to people, but I'm not going to criticize my methodology, it works. I thank God for all the people who reach out to let me know that my work is worth the work.

My Diva Living With AIDS blog gets about 30,000 views a month. My blog is also syndicated on thebody.com, which is the largest on line HIV Resource in the country...and I'm quite popular might I add. Recently, I started syndication with Poz Magazine. com, which is the oldest, and largest HIV magazine in the country. My popularity is rising there as well. I've won two blog awards, CBS Most Valuable Blogger in Health and Wellness and WeBlack Blog Awards in Health and Wellness.

No, I don't have any big sponsors, or earn money from my blog...God knows I wish that I did, but I've accepted that it just hasn't happened, in spite of my popularity.

I have had over 190, 000 views on my Youtube  channel. I have over 8,000 followers on Twitter, my personal Facebook page has over 5, 000 followers, my Facebook fan page  has 8,100. My Instagram has 2000 followers and there are over a 1000 on Pinterest. Recently, I've expanded my question and answer chats from Twitter to Instagram and had over 90 comments/questions. I even won the British Academy Twitter Award in Public Service

So the work has been done with even a far greater reach than speaking. My reach in Social Media is far greater than standing before a single audience. For sure though, speaking around the country all those years, opened the door for me to transition how I do my work today

Now the lack of funds because of lack of gigs is something I'm still trying to make sense of. Until recently, I always had slumps, periods where speaking wasn't as good as others. For example, the summers are basically horrible because college students are mostly gone therefore programming is light, but it was never this bad. Gigs came, especially in those important times of the year for speakers. For me they are Black History Month and Women's History Month. Then on those important AIDS Days, like World AIDS Day, National Black AIDS Awareness Day, The Week of Prayer for the Healing of AIDS and Women and Girls AIDS Awareness day.  For sure I would speak all week.

From My Poz Blog
Over the years I prepared for that 3 month summer slump, but generally speaking, I didn't prepare myself to live. I was so sick back in the day that their was no expectation to live. I mostly moved in that space called life, day-to- day, watching death taunt me. This is also how I treated my finances, day to day.

I saved zero that means nothing. Back then, people with AIDS were selling their life insurance policies, money markets and condo's because they saw no life in their future. What was the point of having the things that represented a future when the AIDS had declare your future to be futile. Remember, the life expediency for AIDS was 3 years.


What was the point of saving with death staring you in the face? Then I didn't die and it became clear that I needed to get a grip. So about 13-14 years ago I started to be more thoughtful about money. I started to save. But by then this cycle had begun and I seemed to be stuck in the spin.

Something would happen, gigs would dry up yet again and my saving would eventually go to nothing. Like after 9/11. It was wired. The gigs that were on the books stayed in the few months following 9/11. But then no new gigs came. That was a year long painful slump before I knew it my saving was at nothing and I had to declare bankruptcy..

In the last 7 years I've watched this down spiral of my speaking engagements in disbelief. It's been dismal, and more dismal. I went from 2-5 a month to 5-8 a year. I've lamented this over and over in so many ways.

It's been a humbling thing selling my clothes, handbag and shoes to live. But then I learned that you don't need as much as you think you need. Seven years ago I moved from my 3 bedroom apartment into a studio. Lord, Lord that was some humbling stuff for two years. Then I was blessed with a one bathroom up the street same landlord. Honestly, I love my little place. Its perfect for me and Sophie. The point is, I've learned to adapt to what this new way of life looks like. 

Honestly, not having money is one thing, but not doing the work is another. Betty's declaration to me, "It is finished," has stayed stuck. God has a funny way of speaking to you and if you stay still long enough you can hear.

As I lay in bed thinking I gotta get up and get to CrossFit in a few hours and I can't be tried, God quiet the noise in my head and spoke to my spirit. Well,  honestly, I've been getting answers all week long. My girlfriend Veronica text me, "God is doing something new." I responded, "YESS I accept that," but I really didn't. That text came 5 hours before Betty declared it is finished. If I had accepted it, then Betty's declaration would have been conformation, not confrontation in my spirit.

Then yesterday when I woke up I had these comments on my Instagram and yet again God was speaking. Actually through my Instagram God had been speaking all week long, loud and clear, "Your ministry won't be over until you are dead and gone to glory Rae!" For sure God calls, God equips and God opens every door that you are supposed to go through. 

I am coming to some acceptance this week. I'm not saying that I won't speak again, I am saying that at 51 years of age having spoken at hundreds of colleges and university's, church's and high schools maybe it has run its course in this particular way.

Plus, the road is a hard life. I mean it really is, plane to hotel then back to the plane. Early morning flights, late nights and you are always on. The road don't stop until you make it back to the privacy of your home.  It's a hard life, but who knows but God what the future holds. Maybe a book tour, if I can ever get this memoir revised.

What I am saying is that I'm going to stop begrudging the fact that I am not speaking and embrace the fact that I'm doing the work every single day through social media, every tweet, every facebook post, every pinterest, every Instagram post and every single blog I write is doing the work. I don't know how many times God gotta show me.

At the end of the day, while I seem to be working on little, I never go hungry. I have the bracelet business and sales always come in the nick of time. I just finished the fall line a they are at the photographers. I'm working on ideas to expand my brand with my knitting. I never stop thinking y'all. My website/blog is getting a facelift.

If I stop thinking, moving and doing, I'm sure that I will die. Then I have a few really wonderful friends that help with the slack and now this Give Forward Life Fund. Whatever we raise I will be grateful, for sure, it will be more than what I got. Sometimes we have to accept where we are in life. Happiness comes with acceptance. And at the end of the day, the death of one thing, becomes the birth of another. Think about it this way, when Jesus was dying on the Cross, the last words He mumbled were, "It is finished." His accepting death, gave us life.  Now, that's the ultimate example of acceptance!

Post Script: If you would like to learn more about my Give Forward Life Fund Click Here. If you would like to donate to my GiveForward Life fund Click Here

 
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