Blessings Come in Many Ways ...
By Rae Lewis-Thornton
January 26, 2011
Everyone knows that I simply love chocolate. So I was elated when I saw the Kilwin's sign go up in Old Town, not too far from my house. I waited patiently for them to open but it seemed like forever. They started construction that summer but didn't open until October 3rd.
But OMG the first time I bit into the caramel chocolate dipped marshmallow on a stick I knew my tummy had been blessed. But who would have thought this shop would render more blessings to me then I could have ever imagined.
After my second visit I discovered that the owners were African-American. I felt a sense of pride to learn that an African-American couple had opened a shop on the Gold Coast. They were so cool, and Jacqueline knew my story. She knew who I was and was excited to meet me. We bonded over small talk and samples of fudge.
As the fall left and the winter came I would drop in for my chocolate fix. The store was holding its own but there didn't seem to be a mad rush for ice cream and homemade chocolates. I'm sure that some of the neighbor folk who were not familiar with the Kilwin's chain clung to the historic Fudge Pot down the street. They opened so late in the season that it seemed to be affecting their business. But the tasty delights, the wonderful owners, and a desire to support them kept me coming back. And each time I dropped in I talked to Jacqueline about Twitter. You all know the Twitter addict I am thinks it's the 21st century solution to just about everything.
She was listening to me. She opened an account and I think I saw maybe one tweet a week. LOL! So last week I had had enough. I marched right in and told her husband we should do a tweet-up. Let people know that you are here and alive. My girlfriend, fellow blogger and Tweeter Dwana, and I had been talking about doing something together since forever and it seemed like the perfect fit.
The next day I went over there and Jacqueline and I sat down to make it happen. She was delighted to host a Tweet-up for National African-American HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. It was settled in 10 minutes! Carmel corn, fudge, brittle, hot chocolate and ice cream. Heart to Heart for HIV (#Heart2Heart4HIV). People could come and tweet to bring awareness to HIV/AIDS on this important day and have some wonderful treats at the same time. That's the perfect Tweet-up, something to munch on, tweeting, and conversing all at the same time and no one thinks you're being rude. But my sense of pride about the partnership is strong. People are always talking about what black people ain't doing about HIV and never about what they are doing. Dwana nor Jacqueline are obligated but they feel it's necessary and important!
On that day Jacqueline and I sat and talked for the next couple of hours. I had some delicious hot chocolate and gave her pointers to step up her Twitter game. We downloaded Twitter onto her iPhone and got busy.
Then, as it goes for women who connect, we shared our life stories. LOL! I told her about my lack of speaking engagements and holding on by a thread finical; And she shared with me the struggles of being a businesswomen. We also talked about Twitter and how I was using it for HIV/AIDS education and prevention. I also talked about the need to have the iPhone 4 so I could step up my Twitter game. But with no speaking engagements in sight, I didn't see it in my future anytime soon.
But in these last few years I've learned to live with what I got, not with what I want. But I've also learned you never know how God will bless you. I tell people all the time not to box God in. God's dreams for your life are much larger than your dreams could ever be. Be patient. #ForReal. God's time is not our time. I also say, it's just nice to be nice, you never know how, when, or why a person, even a stranger, will enrich your life.
The next day, Jacqueline tweeted me that she had a surprise for me. Yep, you guessed it! Her husband took me straight to the Apple Store to get me my new iPhone 4. I think I'm still in shock. It's been so hard for me in these last years. And many people who I thought would have helped me, punched out. But it's clear to me that God always fills the void.
Note: Next week a review of Kilwin's wonderful delights ... In the meantime we hope that you will join us on Feb. 7th ... Don't forget to RSVP.
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Rae Lewis-Thornton Speaks
Rae Lewis-Thornton is an Emmy Award-winning AIDS activist who rose to national acclaim when she told her story of living with AIDS in a cover story for Essence Magazine. She has lived with HIV for 27 years and AIDS for 19. Rae travels the country speaking and challenging stereotypes and myths about HIV/AIDS. She has a Master of Divinity degree and is currently working on her Ph.D. in Church History. Rae has been featured on Nightline, Dateline NBC, BET and The Oprah Winfrey Show, as well as in countless magazines and newspapers, including Emerge, Glamour, O, the Oprah Winfrey Magazine, Jet, Ebony, the Washington Post and the Chicago Tribune, to name a few. She earned the coveted Emmy Award for a first-person series on living With AIDS for Chicago's CBS News.
Rae is an active user of social media -- read "Long-Term HIV Survivor Discovers the Power of Twitter," an article on TheBody.com about Rae's social media activities.
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