Category Archives: Inspirational

Diva Living with AIDS Rae Lewis Thornton

rae lewis thornton hiv black women chicago
Educated, attractive, assertive and ambitious are just a few of the words used to describe Rae Lewis-Thornton. In 1986, during a routine blood drive visit at a Washington D.C. Red Cross, Rae received news of another word that would soon be used to describe her health and future. At the tender age of 23, Rae Lewis-Thornton was diagnosed HIV Positive.
Despite her present day status of having full-blown AIDS (ACQUIRED Immune-deficiency Syndrome), Rae Lewis-Thornton leads her own unending crusade to educate and challenge young and old audiences to take control of their own bodies, futures and health. Rae uses her life as an example that AIDS is a non-discriminatory disease. She challenges the most common myths and stereotypes surrounding who and how one can become infected with the HIV virus that most often results in AIDS and death. In doing this, she incorporates her own oratory skills, personal experiences and unyielding honesty to create and disseminate her critical and deadly message of her own day by day, personal destruction by AIDS.
Rae uses all forms of media to convey her message. In less than a year Rae Lewis-Thornton has made her mark in Social Media. She is the recipient of the British Academy Golden Tweet Award in Public Service for 2010 and The 2011 CBS Chicago Most Valuable Blogger in Medical, Health and Fitness. She uses Twitter effectively to continue her crusade to educate, reduce the spread of HIV, as well as to challenge stigma and shame around HIV/AIDS. She held the first HIV/AIDS Tweet-up in the US in July 2010 and is now taking her Tweet-up’s nationwide. In December 2010 Rae organized a Twitter Book Club, RLT Reads. Along with Twitter, she uses both of her Facebook pages as a daily platform to educate both on HIV/AIDS generally and her personal struggle of living and managing HIV/AIDS.
Rae Lewis Thornton’s gift is to help people get passed their pain and live a healthy balanced life. For the past 19 years she’s done that through speaking, press interviews, tv, radio, print and most recently in her blog. In January 2012 she is expanding her work by giving people the opportunity to have her expertise one on one through life coaching RLT Inspiration. The areas of life coaching are confidence, balance and relationships. RLT Inspiration will utilize her life experience and her seminary training. She received a Master of Divinity degree from McCormick Theological Seminary in 2003. She was licensed as minister over 12 years ago. Rae has done her PhD studies at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. Rae graduated Manga Cum Laude graduate from Northeastern Illinois University. Rae is very proud to have received the 2011 Distinguished Alumnae Award from her alma-mater Northeastern as well as, deliver the 2011 Commencement Address. Rae has received literally hundreds of awards for her work in HIV/AIDS in the last eighteen years – and I encourage you to check out her blog DIVA LIVING WITH AIDS!

Ambulance Wish Foundation made the Farewells Possible


The man above , Mario (patient last name withheld), is a 54-year-old volunteer who worked with the Rotterdam Zoo in the Netherlands for years. He has been diagnosed with a terminal brain tumor and had one wish: To say goodbye to the animals he had cared for.

Thanks to a Dutch organization called the Ambulance Wish Foundation, Mario is one of a few lucky people that are granted a final wish when they are terminally ill. The photo, which was shared on the AWF Facebook page Thursday morning, shot to the front page of Reddit only a few hours later. Much like the American organization Make-A-Wish, AWF operates thanks to the kindness of volunteers that work together to bring people’s dreams to fruition.



Target is Worried about Unions and Paying Employees Decent Wages


EMPLOYEES  deserve a fair wage!

Like Walmart, many of Target’s employees are underpaid, forced to work part-time schedules and are forced to resort to safety nets like SNAP, housing assistance, Medicaid, and EITC while shareholders reap the benefits of their hard work and Target’s CEO, Gregg Steinhafel, makes almost $14,000 per hour–(that’s $3,000 per hour more than Walmart CEO Mike Duke)

So naturally TARGET, like corporate welfare queen Walmart is TERRIFIED of unions coming into their stores

Now, Target has updated its anti-union training video that every Target team member is forced to watch–and it’s one of the worst things you will ever see.




Resale Store Refuses to Give Homeless Man a Coat, Woman Opens Free Shop in Response


A little store in a Hollister, Missouri shopping center is offering the basic needs — clothing, hygiene items and baby supplies — at incredible prices. They’re all free.

The shop, called Selfless Blessings, was started by Andrea Berdine after she witnessed a thrift store turning away a man who asked if he could have one of their coats.

“He wasn’t asking for money,” she told KY3 news. “He was cold, and he was wet, and he needed a coat.”

Like many of us, Berdine was compelled to act. “I found him, gave him a coat… (and) told him how sorry we were, couldn’t believe that happened in our community,” she says.

After posting her frustration on Facebook, a new group was born, wanting to do good for those in need.

Now she runs a shop of her own where people throughout the community come to drop off bags of used clothes and household items so Andrea and her volunteers can give them away.

“We have supporters come in and drop a $10.00 donation and leave with nothing but a hug,” Andrea told the Good News Network. “We have others who come in and leave with bags full of food and toiletries and pay nothing, but a thankful hug.”

“A lot of people told me I was crazy, but crazy has turned into a perfect storm of giving,” she added. “There have been trials as far as funding, but it always seems to come out in the wash.”

The Facebook group is open to all at SelflessBlessings.

(WATCH the inspiring video at

DONATE: (Selfless Blessings, Inc. has applied for, but not yet received, 501C3 non-profit status):

– 153 1st Street, Turkey Creek Junction, Hollister, MO. 65672

– Make cash donations through Paypal or credit card at

– Anyone wishing to receive a written acknowledgment of your donation will need to ask for the same at the time of the donation.


How to Live Passionately when Life Punches You


Motivational author and speaker, Shawn Anderson, has interviewed hundreds of people who have experienced tragedy, failure and setback. He’s also been witness to many who have walked through their toughest moment only to make it to the other side with an increased passion and purpose for living.

“It’s inevitable that at one time or another life will punch us hard in the gut; no one is immune to experiencing tragedy or failure,” Anderson says. “But when it’s our turn to feel life’s stomach blow, how will we handle it? Will we ‘go the extra mile’ and passionately keep on living, or will we just give up and go through the motions?”

In his interviews, Anderson learned that extra-mile people who transition positively through life’s toughest moments practice at least one of these seven regrouping strategies.

1. They don’t quit on life. “Tragedy might have happened, huge mistakes might have been made, but the world continues. People who have walked successfully over life’s hot-coal moments always keep going. They never quit living,” Anderson shares.

2. They live day-by-day. “It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the ‘What am I going to do now?’ feeling, but extra-mile people focus on the now. They don’t let thoughts of how they’re going to deal with tomorrow defeat them,” Anderson says.

3. They find support. “By forging relationships with positive, move-forward type people, survivors trigger positive energy to flow back into their lives,” Anderson points out.

4. They get involved again. “Extra-mile people transcend life’s tragedies by not choosing isolation when life knocks them down,” Anderson shares. “It’s easy to want to hide in a cave after something bad happens, but the longer we stay in the cave, the more challenging it is to ever leave it.”

5. They remain optimistic. “Extra-mile people support themselves with their own words and actions. They don’t let negative self-talk rule their brains, and they make sure not to surrender to negative, self-defeating emotions,” Anderson says.

6. They trust their faith and look for a higher purpose in their loss. “Extra-mile people believe that there is a stronger power at work in the world. Faith in a higher power…and yourself…works miracles in overcoming bad events,” Anderson quotes.

7. They seek to add value to the world. “People who have weathered a life storm recognize the opportunity to re-evaluate their own contribution to the world. They use their event not as a forever defeat, but rather as an igniting spark to do something meaningful,” Anderson says.

The author of six motivational books, including A Better Life: An Inspiring Story About Starting Over and Extra Mile America: Stories of Inspiration, Possibility and Purpose, Anderson is not only committed to support others in overcoming life’s toughest moments, he is also a leading voice on “going the extra mile” in order to maximize potential and contribution. Last year, his Extra Mile America organization led 444 cities to declare 11/1/13 as “Extra Mile Day”… a day recognizing the capacity we each have to create positive change in ourselves, families, organizations and communities when we “go the extra mile.”

“When something bad happens, we have the choice to either throw our hands in the air and give up or ‘go the extra mile’ and keep giving life our best effort. When we achieve that extra-mile distinction, we change our destiny.”


TRANShumanism…Discovering Humanity’s Potential

At its core, transhumanism is about discovering humanity’s potential, an
idea that’s been around for centuries. Yet at times we’ve also done the
opposite by selling our species short and throwing in the towel early.
Towards the end of the 1800s, for example, conventional wisdom suggested
that all the great scientific discoveries had already been made and
that there wasn’t much left to do beyond some “tidying up” of existing
As Charles Duell , commissioner of the United States
Patent Office, boldly asserted in 1899, “Everything that can be invented – has already been invented.”



Only Make Believe Continues to Bring Laughter to Children in Hospitals

 Only Make Believe is the New York City and newly, Washington D.C., based
non-profit organization that brings laughter and imagination to
children suffering from chronic illnesses and disabilities. 
1999, this organization has brought interactive theater performed by
professional actors to over 35,000 children and families in 52 hospitals
in the NYC metro area and 3 hospitals in the D.C. area. 

With celebrity
support from Jude Law, Mike Myers, Sir Ian McKellen, Julia Stiles, Rachel Weisz, Alan Cumming, Kathie Lee Gifford, Chistopher Meloni, Petra Nemcova, and
more, Only Make Believe has brought joy and hope to the hearts of
families and children facing hard times. With the recent opening of
their Washington D.C. sector, they have already brought the healing
power of laugher to almost 300 children in Washington D.C. within one
year and do not plan to stop now! For more information on the
organization, please visit:  


Dena Hammerstein founded the non-profit Only Make Believe in 1999 in memory of her late husband, Broadway producer and director James Hammerstein, son of Oscar Hammerstein part of the legendary musical writing and composing duo Rodgers and Hammerstein.
The organization was created to bring live interactive theater
free-of-charge to children living with chronic illnesses and
disabilities. Only Make Believe provides theatrical workshops
conducted by teams of professional actors, once a week for six weeks,
free-of-charge to hospitals and other medical institutions.


Make Believe’s interactive live performances encourage children to
participate and perform alongside actors, transporting them from a
hospital to the enchanting world of make believe. Director of Child Life
at New York Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center explained, “It
was truly wonderful to see the patients clapping, singing and dancing to
the music when often times we just see them lying in bed.” While Only
Make Believe does wonders to help bring happiness to the lives of
children suffering from chronic illness and disease, it also helps to
bring joy back into the hearts of parents. One parent explained, “After
each play, I feel like a new person who’s ready to face life. This show
helps me gain my sense of humor again.” For children and their families,
Only Make Believe strives to uphold the principle that
freeing a child’s imagination is a valuable part of the healing process.


For more information, please visit:



Blackfish – the Movie Sea World DOES NOT want you to See

We have talked about THE COVE – where A group of activists and filmmakers traveled to the small village of
Taiji, Japan, to secretly obtain footage of a heavily guarded operation
that captures  dolphins for SEA WORLD  and then  kills the rest of the captured  dolphins to use as meat. Meat full of MERCURY that is now killing people that eat it. 
NOW Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s documentary Blackfish
follows Tilikum, the orca responsible for three deaths while in
captivity, including the 2010 death of Dawn Brancheau, a 40-year-old
trainer at SeaWorld, which made headlines around the world. It looks
devastating to an entertainment industry bent on putting these creatures
in tiny pools, and should be.

The documentary premiered at Sundance and is due for theatrical release next month.

See part of THE COVE

$25 Can Go A Long Way

I’m a Kiva lender. I work with to
help alleviate poverty through micro-lending. I’m one of 700,000 who
have made investments as little as $25 in food shops, vegetable co-ops,
child care centers and the like, in places like Congo, Tajikistan, and
Cambodia. It’s a way to help bring political stability and quality of
life to developing parts of the world, and do so with kindness instead
of guns, drones, tanks or rhetoric. 

nothing can stabilize life more than grassroots economic empowerment.
Take the economic leverage out of the hands of dictators and put it in
the hands of the people. Then see what real, honest democracy looks

Simply put,
Kiva … works. Those seeking loans apply and submit their stories.
Local orgs coordinate with larger orgs to complete the loan process and
fund the recipients. They sign repayment guarantees on their honor in
front of their families and communities. 

As a
lender, you don’t earn interest on these loans, but you have the
tremendous satisfaction of knowing you’ve directly and vitally changed
people’s lives for the better. As a person of faith and follower of the
Golden Rule, that’s all the interest I need.

And I’ve
had great success with Kiva! Since 2008, my Foundation and I have made
twenty-one loans to small groups and individuals. 
Most of the
loans I’ve chosen to fund are to women, or groups headed by women, and
in countries and regions where women are typically oppressed or whose
voices are not heard. I believe that when we empower women in this way,
we make the world a kinder and better place.

As of today, every cent I loaned has been repaid. To me, this is
remarkable — think of the default rate in most lending situations. The
result is that I currently have funds sitting in my Kiva account,
waiting to be re-invested. I’d like you to help me choose where to allocate it. 

Here’s what I’d love you to do:

  • Visit and look at the current loan requests. These are heart-rending stories of real people who want to get ahead in life.
  • Leave the name of the person or group who most appeals to you as a comment on this blog. Include a blurb about why it appeals to you, if you like.
  • I’ll pick the top three and make the investment on your behalf with my dollars. 
  • If you are as inspired as I am by the whole process, you may become a
    Kiva lender yourself. It just takes a few minutes to sign up, and you
    can loan as little as $25.

I am really excited to see how this will go. PLEASE participate. It costs you nothing, and can help change lives!

Amanda Palmer – the art of asking

This is so inspiring…so thought provoking. 
Why you should listen
to her:

Amanda Palmer commands attention. The singer-songwriter-blogger-provocateur, known for pushing boundaries in both her art and her lifestyle,
made international headlines this year when she raised nearly $1.2
million via Kickstarter (she’d asked for $100k) from nearly 25,000 fans
who pre-ordered her new album, Theatre Is Evil.
the former street performer, then Dresden Dolls frontwoman, now solo
artist hit a bump the week her world tour kicked off. She revealed plans
to crowdsource additional local backup musicians in each tour stop,
offering to pay them in hugs, merchandise and beer per her custom.
Bitter and angry criticism ensued (she eventually promised to pay her
local collaborators in cash). And it’s interesting to consider why. As
Laurie Coots suggests: “The idea was heckled because we didn’t
understand the value exchange — the whole idea of asking the crowd for
what you need when you need it and not asking for more or less.”

Summing up her business model,
in which she views her recorded music as the digital equivalent of
street performing, she says: “I firmly believe in music being as free as
possible. Unlocked. Shared and spread. In order for artists to survive
and create, their audiences need to step up and directly support them.”