OK, so I'm still on hiatus, but I'm definitely excited about where my blog is going in 2010. New things planned, but I'll blog about that later (January 1st). So, my main purpose of posting today is to say that I've decided to buckle down and join the 2010 Debut Author Challenge. This just means I vow to read (and review) a certain amount of books from YA/MG authors debuting next year.

The Story Siren

I don't have a complete list of TBR, but here are a few:

  • The Body Finder by Kimberley Derting
  • A Match Made in High School by Kristen Walker
  • The Dark Devine by Bree Despain
  • The Mark by Jen Nadol
  • Eighth-Grade Superzero by Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich
  • The Cinderella Society by Kay Cassidy
  • Princess For Hire by Lindsey Leavitt
  • Escape From Camp David by Dee Garretson
  • The Unidentified by Rae Mariz
  • The Good Girl's Guide to Getting Kidnapped by Yxta Maya Murray
  • The Rise of Renegade X by Chelsea Campbell
  • Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready

This is my list so far. I'm sure there will be more books as I LOVE to read. I'm especially looking for more debut authors of color, so if anyone has any ideas, I'd love to hear them! See you in 2010!



Ok, I know I said I'm going on a short hiatus, but I just had to post this!

Talkin bout creepy!!! 'Kay, now back to my regularly scheduled hiatus...



Life is kind of getting busy for me at this moment. I'm taking a short (kinda) hiatus for the rest of the year (7 weeks) so I can get my head together. Next year, I have some fun things planned for my blog and I need to get ready for that among other things. I may blog every once in a while during the course of the 7 weeks, but, for the most part, I'll be taking a much needed break.

See you in 2010!


Tickle-Me Tuesday

  • I told my wife that a husband is like a fine wine; he gets better with age. The next day, she locked me in the cellar.
  • Girls are like phones. We love to be held, talked too but if you press the wrong button you'll be disconnected!
  • When I die, I want to go peacefully like my Grandfather did, in his sleep -- not screaming, like the passengers in his car.
  • Behind every successful man is a surprised woman. - Maryon Pearson
  • You laugh because I'm different...........I laugh cause I just farted!
  • What are the three words guaranteed to humiliate men everywhere?'Hold my purse.'
  • Men are like bank accounts.Without a lot of money they don't generate a lot of interest.
  • Last night I lay in bed looking up at the stars in the sky and I thought to myself, where the heck is the ceiling.
  • Son, if you really want something in this life, you have to work for it. Now quiet! They're about to announce the lottery numbers. - Homer Simpson
  • Energizer Bunny arrested, charged with battery.


Inspirational Sunday

"And God took Israel's troubles to heart."
Judges 10:16b (MSG)

Rae's Thought: There's a major misconception that God is a holy tyrant who enjoys seeing His people suffer, especially if they deserved what was coming to them. Some people have a hard time believing that He actually cares. God couldn't possibly waste His time caring about us little people, right? Wrong!

God cares...more than we could ever imagine. Did you know that, when you hurt, He hurts - even when you've brought the troubles upon your own self? The Israelites had brought their own destruction upon themselves. He'd warn them about what would happen if they turned from Him and worshipped other gods. In fact, He warned them repeatedly. Did they listen? Maybe for a little while, but then, the temptation to stray proved hard to resist. What happened? Exactly what God said would happen. They were overtaken by other nations. They cried out to God. His first answer was, "Go and cry out to the gods you have chosen. Let them save you when you are in trouble." (Judges 10:14) They cried out again and even got rid of the other gods. Finally, God moved on their behalf.

Verse 16 paints a totally different picture from the uncaring tyrant some believe God to be. He couldn't bear seeing the Israelites in misery, even though they'd disobeyed Him over and over again. He couldn't stand to see them in pain. William MacDonald (Believer's Bible Commentary) tells us that this verse "gives us some insight into the Lord's great heart of tenderness. Like a father, He was moved by the plight of His wayward children. Their misery called for His mercy." God is not the cold and unloving being people paint Him to be. He doesn't find delight in seeing His children suffer. He doesn't enjoy watching us go through the fire, nor does He take pleasure in punishing us when we disobey. His attitude is not, 'You deserved it, so you deal with it'; it's 'You deserved it, but I'll deal with it.'

Personally, it's awesome to know that I serve a loving and caring God - one who, even when my struggles are of my own doing, is merciful and willing to move on my behalf.


Tickle-Me Tuesday

More musical stylings of Sid Weakly, future rockstar.


Random Thoughts Thursday

The spirit of Michael Jackson lives on in my 5 year-old nephew, Sidney, future rockstar!


Tickle-Me Tuesday


Too cute


Inspirational Sunday

You're the only one that knows me.
Love it when you hold me.
I'll never find a love like this.
Now I'll never be lonely.
Look at what you've shown me.
I'll never find a love like this.
Natasha Bedingfield

Rae's Thought: This week's quote comes from one of my favorite songs, Love Like This, by Natasha Bedingfield. Although it's actually a secular song, I think it describes perfectly the love God has for His children.

You're the only that knows me. In John 10:14, Jesus describes himself as the good shepherd who knows his sheep. Second Timothy 2:19 tells us 'The Lord knows those who are his.' Now, you may say, "Sure God knows me, but is He really the only one that knows me? I mean, my family/friends/significant other knows me too." They may know you, but God knows you. He knows you down to the very fiber of your being. He knows every cell, every DNA strand, every hair on your head. Psalm 139:15 (Msg) says, "You know me inside and out. You know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, how I was sculpted from nothing into something." God knows you even better than you know yourself! He knows how you think, what you're gonna do years from now...God knows EVERYTHING about you. He even knew you before you even existed.

Love it when you hold me. So, you may wonder how on earth can the Lord hold you? Psalm 73:23 tells us that He holds us by our right hand, meaning He guides us. But He does so much more than that. Isaiah 66:13 says, "As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you." When God comforts His children, it is equivalent to Him taking us in His arms and holding us. There's just something about being able to rest in God's arms.

Now I'll never be lonely. Once you join the family of God, He's with you forever. He promises, in Joshua 1:5, that He'll never leave us of forsake us (forsake: to leave someone who needs or counts on you). That means He'll be a constant in your life. Friends and family may leave you, but not God. He's there through good times and bad. Feeling lonely? Well, have you asked God to fill that loneliness with His presence? Try it and watch Him do just that.

Look at what you've shown me. Taste and see that the Lord is good (Psalm 34:8). Being children of God opens our eyes to things that nonbelievers don't get to see (unless, of course, God gives them a glimpse). We look at the world differently, seeing it through God-inspired glasses. And when we look - I mean, really look - we notice how the Lord truly is good.

I'll never find a love like this. As much as your family, friends, spouse, or significant other may love you, their love can't touch the love of God. In her book, Praying God's Word Day By Day, Beth Moore states "The child of God who trusts God's love possesses security in salvation. We can know the Father will not reject us." I believe if people really knew and understand how much God loved them - if they truly experienced His love - we'd have a lot more people experiencing true freedom. He delights in His children. Out of all His creations, we're His most cherished. God is so in love with us, y'all! He longs for us to be in relationship with Him. 'How priceless is your unfailing love!' (Psalm 36:7) Unfailing, meaning He will always love us, no matter what. We may disappoint God with our actions, but we can never make Him stop loving us. Absolutely NOTHING can separate us from His love (Romans 8:38-39). You know what's awesome? He knows you - the real you - and He still loves you. He loved you enough to sacrifice His only Son so that you may have eternal life. He knew you'd sin and hurt Him - knowingly and unknowingly - yet He chose to love you anyway. I agree with Natasha Bedingfield: we will never find a love like this!


Fitness Friday

So, I've decided instead of checking my progress every week during my 50/50 Challenge, I'm gonna check once every 5 weeks.

This is the end of week 5. I should've lost 5lbs...but, I didn't. I lost 3lbs, though, so I'm not complaining. I also lost a total of 4 inches, including 1.5 in in my waist!

Hopefully, the next 5 weeks, will be even more successful.


Random Thoughts Thursday

This past weekend, I went to Chicago to celebrate my 33rd birthday (which was this past Monday). I had an AWESOME time! For those who don't know, Chicago is my hometown - lived there the first 8 years of my life. When we go back to visit, we usually don't get a chance to visit and enjoy downtown. This weekend, my sister and I were able to do just that, as well as relax and not think about issues or problems we may have faced at home.

First of all, our friend and her hubby live in one of the downtown high-rise condos. The view was SPECTACULAR!

So, Friday night, we went out to a restaurant called Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion Cuisine. Since we were celebrating my bday, the menus at our table had this:

Cool, huh? I definitely felt special. I ordered one of the Prix Fixe meals: appetizer was Thai Spiced Shumai Meatballs on a sugar cane stick; entree was the Pulehu Sirloin, Potato Croquette, and Cauliflower Gouda Gratin; and dessert was Roy’s Melting Hot Chocolate Souffle. The meatballs weren’t really appetizing to me, but the entree and dessert were mouthwatering, delicious, tasty, & whatever other good adjective you can think of. My meal is the one pictured in front of the woman with the red dress (me).

Here’s another pic of the first night.

Our Saturday schedule looked like this:

  • wake up at 8:30
  • eat breakfast (pancakes, bacon, pineapple chunks, orange juice)
  • walk to the Navy Pier

  • go to yoga class
  • get a 30 minute massage (heavenly!)
  • manicure/pedicure
  • spend hours walking downtown, enjoying the sights
  • go home and rest
  • go out to eat dinner

Sunday, we went to church, ate White Castle (a MUST when we go to Chicago), then went to the airport.

So, yeah, I enjoyed my time in Chicago!

More Chi Town pics:

10 Things I learned in Chicago:

10. Airplane seats are NOT made with curvy chicks in mind. If you happen to have hips, sitting on the airplane can be quite uncomfortable.

9. Roy's Melted Chocolate Souffle at Roy's Hawaiian Fusion Cuisine is the best chocolate cake EVER! The cake was flourless and the melt-in-your-mouth kind. OMG, I've gotta find that cake! Sadly, the closest Roy's to Houston is in Austin or close to Dallas. Might have to make the trip!

8. The sounds of downtown Chicago are oddly calming. We went to sleep every night with the patio door opened (she lived on the 53rd/54th floors) listening to those sounds.

7. Despite the cool weather, you may still see women wearing short skirts or shorts.

6. Although my sister and I look almost exactly alike, people still have to ask if we're sisters. Sometimes, I was tempted to sarcastically say, "Nope. I've never seen this chick before."

5. If you're gonna spend hours walking downtown enjoying the scene, do NOT wear flip flops. Gym shoes (tennis shoes) are more sensible. Our enjoyment of the scenes was cut short (although we spent hours walking) because my sis and I had flip flops on.

4. If you plan to have a nice leisurely lunch outside to enjoy the beautiful weather, make sure you have something to keep your food from flying away. They don't call it the Windy City for nothing!

3. I want to live in a high-rise apartment downtown 2 miles from the lake. Seriously...or at least someplace with a view of a lake or ocean.

2. Plan to buy more than one bag of Garrett's Caramel Popcorn (or the Chicago mix of cheese & caramel popcorn): one for while your in Chicago and another for when you get home. I only bought on bag the day before we left, thinking it'll last me til I got back to Houston. It did not.

1. I MUST make it a point to get a massage at least once every 3 months. Massage+Calming Music=Pure Bliss!!!


Tickle-Me Tuesday



Random Thoughts Thursday

America's Best Dance Crew. Sad to see Massive Monkeys go, but at least We Are Heroes are in the finals. They had the best performance of the night last Sunday. They are America's Best Dance Crew. Afroborike shouldn't have gone this far, imho, but whatever. I mean, they're good, but not the best. If you watch most (if not all) of their performances, you'd see that their routines are very sexual (proof that sex sells). Whatever. I'm hoping Sunday night will find We Are Heroes as the winners. They've been one of the best groups this whole season (besides Rhythm City).

Dancing With the Stars. Oooh! Another dance show. America's Best Dance Crew, So You Think You Can Dance, AND Dancing With the Stars? I'm in heaven! I missed most of the men's performances Monday cos it came on at the same time as Heroes. Out of the women, I think Mya and Joanna will be the ones to beat. Lyn was so wrong for giving Mya a five on her waltz, but who am I? I did think Kelly did good on her waltz. It was kinda cool seeing her all dolled up and graceful. She just might surprise us. I have to see the men dance again to see who I'd think would make it. I missed yesterday's show. I'm not surprised Macy Gray left first. Did you see her relay dance? At least she tried...

Season Premieres. They're baaaaack! I'm so glad my shows are back, despite the changes. I think I enjoyed CSI Miami the most. Did you see Horatio? He finally showed emotion. Like real emotion. He didn't show that kind of emotion when his wife, Marisol, died. Oh, but when Eric was touch and go, Horatio broke down. Very emotional episode. It doesn't help knowing that Adam Rodriguez is leaving the show. And The Great Sunglass Mystery of CSI Miami has been solved. Those sunglasses that Horatio wears in, like, every episode? Yeah, that was Eric's doing.

Sadly, I missed the season premieres of Law & Order SVU and Criminal Minds (I had a class to go to at church...more important than TV, I know, but still), but I can catch them online. New shows that I may like: NCIS Los Angeles and Flash Forward. Season Premiere I'm still looking forward to: Ugly Betty, which will premiere in about 2 weeks.

Happy Times. Well, Monday is my 33rd birthday! Thank God for letting me live to see another one (assuming I don't die within the next 3 days). And to celebrate, I'm going to Chicago, my birthplace and home for the first 8 years of my life. I leave tomorrow, which reminds me, I have to finish packing. Of course, I'm bringing my camera, so pics and stories will be posted when I get back. Two things I'm seriously looking forward to? White Castle and KarmelKorn. My mouth is watering at the thought of being able to eat these. Here in Houston, we have White Castle freezer food, but it is NOT the same as the real thing. And KarmelKorn...let me stop before I start drooling, which would be gross and unladylike, but given the fact that it's KARMELKORN I'm thinking about, I'd say I have a good excuse.

So, I'm off to pack now. I'm so excited about this trip!


Tickle-Me Tuesday

Here's an email I received:

Girlie Wisdom!

  • A friend of mine confused her Valium with her birth control pills… she has 14 kids but doesn't really care…
  • One of life's mysteries is how a 2-pound box of chocolates can make a woman gain 5 lbs.
  • My mind not only wanders, it sometimes leaves completely.
  • The best way to forget your troubles is to wear tight shoes.
  • The nice part about living in a small town is that when you don't know what you are doing, someone else does.
  • The older you get, the tougher it is to lose weight because by then, your body and your fat are really good friends.
  • Just when I was getting used to yesterday, along came today.
  • Sometimes I think I understand everything, and then I regain consciousness.
  • I gave up jogging for my health when my thighs kept rubbing together and setting fire to my knickers.
  • Amazing! You hang something in your closet for a while and it shrinks 2 sizes!
  • Skinny people irritate me! Especially when they say things like...'You know sometimes I forget to eat!' .....Now I've forgotten my address, my mother's maiden name and my keys, but I have never forgotten to eat. You have to be a special kind of stupid to forget to eat!
  • The trouble with some women is that they get all excited about nothing and then they marry him.
  • I read this article that said the typical symptoms of stress are eating too much, impulse buying, and driving too fast. Are they kidding? That's my idea of a perfect day!


Inspirational Sunday

"Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands."
Deuteronomy 8:2

Rae's Thought: After leading the Israelites to their freedom, you'd think God would lead them straight to the promised land, right? I mean, He did deliver them out of Egypt for that reason. He promised them a land flowing with milk and honey. They wandered around the desert for 40 years, experiencing many difficulties, before God led them across the Jordan River to their new home. I've often wondered why. Why would God make the Israelites wait 40 years before reaching their promised land? Deuteronomy 8:2 answers my question.

It was a test. God wanted to humble the Israelites and find out what was really in their hearts. I'm sure there were many who talked the talk (Oh the Lord, my God, is so mighty. I will serve Him for the rest of my life), but did they walk the walk? All throughout the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, we see the Israelites constantly complaining and whining about their hardships. Some even went as far as worshipping idols (golden calf, anyone?), rebelling against Moses - which, if they were smart, they'd have realized that they were actually rebelling against God - and disobeying God. Yeah, they praised God when things were good and He performed wondrous miracles, but, as soon as the going got rough, they complained, whined, and blamed Moses (and God) for their difficulties. Thousands of Israelites died in that desert, never getting the chance to see God's promise come to light. God made it to where only the ones who passed the test got a chance to move into the promised land.

What does that have to do with us? Well, think about it. Has it ever occurred to you that the difficulties you're experiencing right now might be a test from God? FYI (for your information): Not all difficult experiences come from Satan. Yes, Satan often comes and throws an obstacle in your path, but there are times when God decides He needs to test you to see what's really in your heart. Rick Warren discusses this in his best-selling book, The Purpose Driven Life, a book I strongly urge you to read. He says, "God continually tests people's character, faith, obedience, love, integrity, and loyalty...You will be tested by major changes, delayed promises, impossible problems, unanswered prayers, undeserved criticism, and even senseless tragedies." Some of us, like the Israelites, talk the talk, but are we walking the walk? You may say that God is good and able, but do you really believe that? And what if God led you to straight to your promised land? Would you get the big head and automatically forget about Him? Unfortunately, it does happen. God goes and blesses someone, tremendously, and they end up forgetting who gave them the blessing in the first place.

If what you're going through is actually a test from God, how do you think you're doing? Are you passing with flying colors or failing miserably? You wanna know one of the awesome things about God? He actually wants you to pass the test! It isn't in His will for you to fail. "No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he'll never let you be pushed past your limit; he'll always be there to help you come through it." (1 Corinthians 10:13, MSG) God gives us so many ways to do well on the test. The question is, are we using them? All tests are open book, for goodness sake! When you're experiencing what you think might be a test from God, all you need to do is, (a) ask Him, then (b) read His study guide, the Bible. The answers are in there, I promise. You just have to know where to look (and really, if you ask God, He'll gladly show you). And, if, for some reason, you fail the test, do NOT beat yourself up. God still loves you. He even gives second (and third, fourth, fifth, etc) chances. Just ask Adam & Eve - who failed the first test in history - and David, who, although he failed several times, God called him a man after God's own heart.

I like to think of it this way: After God tested the Israelites for 40 years, where did they end up? The promised land...a land flowing with milk and honey. God's tests are taking me one step closer to my very own promised land. I'm not only talking about my heavenly home, though I know every time I pass His tests, He sets rewards aside for me to receive in heaven. I'm talking about a promised land here on Earth, also. God has some special blessings in store for me, but He must test me before I can receive them. He needs to see if I can be trusted with what He plans to give me. He needs to know will I be loyal to Him after He's blessed me, or will I forget all about Him. He wants to keep me humble because He has something great for me and I can very easily get the big head and say it was my own doing.

When God tests you, study up on His word. Talk to Him. Instead of asking, 'Why', ask, 'What do you want me to learn from this'. Instead of complaining about it to Him, thank Him. Yes, you read it right! Thank God for testing you. #1, it'll get your mind of your problem(s), #2, it'll help you pass your test with flying colors, and #3, your test may mean you're getting closer to your very own promised land!


Random Thoughts Thursday Part 2

Fall TV Season. In less than one week, the season premieres of most of my fave shows will come on. I'm SO excited (yeah, I have no what). CSI Miami, Heroes, Ugly Betty, CSI New York, Criminal Minds, and Law & Order SVU. Add Glee to that and you've got a happy Rae. There are slight changes that can mess me up, though. Law & Order has been moved to Wednesdays. Why is that a problem, you may ask? IT COMES ON AT THE SAME TIME AS BOTH CRIMINAL MINDS AND GLEE!!! Why, oh why, did they move it to Wednesdays? I was perfectly fine with it being on Tuesdays. See, last year, I had Mon-Thurs set. Mon = Heroes & CSI Miami; Tues = Law & Order SVU (& occasionally, NCIS); Wed = Criminal Minds & CSI New York; and Thurs = Ugly Betty. Now, Mon stays the same, Tues = ?...maybe NCIS & NCIS Los Angeles; Wednesday = Glee, Criminal Minds, Law & Order SVU then CSI New York; Thur = ?; Fri = Ugly Betty. Now, I have to decide what to do about 8 pm on Wednesday nights. *sigh* Tragedy, I tell you...Tragedy!

Adam Rodriguez. So, about 2 months ago, I heard that Tyler Perry had a new movie coming out. Now, I love TP's work, so I knew I wanted to see it, but when I heard that Adam Rodriguez was going to be in it, I knew I had to see it. I've had a 'grown up' crush on AR since watching CSI Miami for the first time years ago. In fact, he was the reason I first got hooked on CSI Miami. I needed my weekly dose of Eric Delko. Now, of course, it's not about Eric, I actually like the show. So yeah, I had to go see I Can Do Bad All By Myself. I'm so glad I did. To me, it was one of TP's best movies. And Taraji Henson is such a talented actress.

Okay, back to AR. I've found out that, after this season, my beloved Delko, will be no more. *sigh* I knew it, when I saw the season finale. It's a good thing I actually like CSI Miami, cos clearly if I didn't, I'd stop watching it (but I do, so no worries). On an awesome note, AR will be on 5 episodes of Ugly Betty with the possibility of staying longer. Ugly Betty is, of course, another one of my must-see shows, so I'm good. He moved from one fave show to another.

Mission Statements. So, I'm reading The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey.

I'm on Habit #2: Begin With the End in Mind. One of the things we're supposed to do is come up with a mission statement. I've finally come up with mine (after about 2 weeks). I wanted to add scriptures to my statement to know where I got the idea from. Like me, this state is a work in progress.

My mission in life is...
  • To serve God, glorify Him in all I do, and love Him with all my heart, soul, and mind (Deuteronomy 6:5; Deuteronomy 6:13; Romans 15:6)
  • To let God, my family, my friends, and the kids I work with know I love them through, not only my words, but also my actions (1 John 3:18)
  • To use every gift, talent, and ability God has given me to fulfill His purpose for me (1 Peter 4:10)
  • To educate, enrich, and inspire youth and help them realize their full potential in God (Mark 9:37; Mark 10:14)
  • To live a bold and abundant life through Christ (John 10:10; 2 Corinthians 3:12)
  • To take good care of my temporary home, Earth, just as God has commanded us (Genesis 1:28)
  • To use my words and actions to build people up instead of tear them down (Proverbs 20:11; Romans 12:18)
  • To let my 'Jesus' light shine for the world to see (Proverbs 13:9; Matthew 5:16)


Random Thoughts Thursday Part 1

I've spent most of the day outside enjoying Houston's beautiful, breezy fall weather. Now, I'm paying for it cos my allergies have gone haywire. Ugh! Anyway, my thoughts for the week:

ABDC. NOOOO! My top groups went home Sunday! BOOOOO! It's bad enough this season isn't as good as the previous ones, but now, one of the best groups is now gone. *sigh* So, here's my pick for the remaining three: 3rd place, Afroborike (really, they shouldn't be here over Rhythm City, but whatever); 2nd place, Massive Monkeys; and 1st place: We Are Heroes. I guess we'll see. I'm so disappointed...

VMAs. This year's show was very interesting to say the least. To me, the best parts were the MJ tribute, Beyonce's performance, and Jay Z's performance with Alicia Keys (minus Lil Mama...wth was she doing on the stage). Lady GaGa was mildly disturbing all night from exiting the limo with Kermit as her date (Publicity stunt, I know...I refuse to think she's really that cookoo) to her choice in outfits (What was up with that red number?).

And her performance? *shudder* I totally get what she's saying about the paparazzi, but, gah! That ending...smh Can you say nightmares?

And let's not forget about Kanye taking the mike from Taylor Swift during her acceptance speech and declaring that Beyonce's vid was the best of the year.

While I agree that Beyonce's vid was better - I mean, I LOVED Taylor Swift's vid, but it wasn't better than B's - I don't agree with what Kanye did. Poor Taylor. At least winning her first VMA will be memorable. And what Beyonce did at the end was classy. Say what you want about Mrs. HOV, it was really big of her to give Taylor Swift a chance to finish her acceptance speech on her (B's) time.

And the hoopla about President Obama calling Kanye a jack***...#1, the convo was supposed to be off the record, so it shouldn't have been tweeted (but from what I read, they say it was a misunderstanding). #2, The pres only told the truth. Sunday night, Kanye West did, in fact, behave like a jack***. I know he's since apologized, but that doesn't take away from the fact that he went too far. President Obama only said what other peeps were feeling.

Jay-Z. Made history with his 11th album, Blueprint 3, which pushed him past Elvis Presley as the solo act with the most top albums. Jay Z + Hip Hop = Pure Awesomeness! I guess you can tell I'm a MAJOR fan of Jay!!!


Tickle-Me Tuesday


Inspirational Sunday

"Who among the gods is like you, O LORD? Who is like you - majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders? In your unfailing love you will lead the people you have redeemed. In your strength you will guide them to your holy dwelling."
Exodus 15: 11, 13

Rae's Thought: This week's inspiration solely focuses on celebrating God and His greatness. Too often, we focus on what we need and want from God, that we forget to focus on how amazing He really is.

Who among the gods is like you, O LORD? I can answer that question easily: no one! There are literally no other gods (notice the 'g') like the God (notice the 'G'). The Greeks, who believed in gods like Zeus, Poseidon and Aphrodite, and Romans, who believed in gods like Jupiter, Venus and Apollo, both believed that their gods were powerful beings. I believe my God is a powerful being. So what's the difference? #1: Greek/Roman gods were born...they were created. God was not born. He was here before everything else was. He is the creator. #2: Greek/Roman gods pretty much left with Ancient Greece/Rome. God was, is, and always will be. He'll be here even after the end of the world. #3: There were many Greek/Roman gods. There is only one God.

Some people worship gods that are statue form. They can see and touch their god. Although I can't see or touch my God, He is definitely NOT a statue, nor is He inanimate. All five of my senses are engaged when God is around, which is all the time. I see Him when I look up and see the white, cotton-like clouds lining the sky. I can see Him through breast cancer survivors whose cases were written off as hopeless, but, thank God they've survived! I may not be able to see Him physically, but all I have to do is look around me to know He's here. I may not be able to touch Him, but I can feel Him. I can also smell, taste, and hear my God. I repeat, there is NO other god like my God.

In your unfailing love you will lead the people you have redeemed. In your strength you will guide them to your holy dwelling. I am one of His redeemed, therefore He will lead me, and, you know what? I will gladly follow. Notice it says 'unfailing love'. Isn't it awesome that, in God, you can experience a love that never fails? Absolutely nothing will separate me from the love of God (Romans 8:35). NOTHING! It lasts for an eternity. Even the person who loves you the most can't love you for an eternity. I find comfort in the fact that God guides me where I need to go. It doesn't matter if I can't see the road or if I don't know how to navigate through rough waters. It is in His strength that I find guidance. He can see that road. He not only can navigate through rough waters, He's the one that made the waters! God is a bazillion times stronger than the strongest man or woman - or both put together - on Earth. I mean, you have to be strong in order to be able to hold up this and the hundreds (possibly thousands) of other galaxies.

Do you believe that God is amazing? If you do, why don't you take the time out to thank Him just for who He is. Just for a moment, don't think about this recession and how you're gonna pay the bills. Don't think about that scary diagnosis the doctor just gave you or the pink slip you've just receive. Forget about that house you've been eyeing or the kind of lifestyle you want God to bless you with. Think only of Him and His awesomeness. Think of how holy and majestic He is. Remember the wonders He's already performed in your life or even the lives of others. Think of His strength and His unfailing love. Once you realize how glorious God is, you'll realize that He's bigger than any problem, trial, or heartache you're experiencing right now. Everything else PALES in comparison to the God I serve. God is truly an awesome God!


Inspirational Sunday

We fix our eyes not on what is seen, but what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:18

Rae's Thought: There's a story about a retiring missionary coming home to America on the same boat as the president of the US. As they got off the boat, cheering crowds, a military band, a red carpet, banners, and the media welcomed the pres home while the missionary slipped away unnoticed. Feeling self-pity and resentment, he began complaining to God. Then God gently reminded him, "But my child, you're not home yet."

Children of God tend to focus on acquiring things like wealth, recognition, and status during our brief stay on Earth. The more awards you receive; the more money you have; the more people you know, the better off you'd be...or so we think. Second Corinthians 4:18 tells us that, instead of focusing on earthly treasures (things seen), we need to focus on our heavenly treasures (things unseen). Everything we accumulate here will perish, but what we've accumulated in heaven will last for an eternity.

Feel like being a Christian isn't as rewarding as you thought? Tired of living a godly life yet slipping away unnoticed? Take heart! God is watching everything you do. Every gift you've given; every smile you've shown, every door you've opened; every time you turned away instead of fight....God is making a note of every reward-worthy thing you do here on Earth. Keep working to bring souls to Christ. Keep giving from your heart. Keep living a godly life.

Can you imagine what will be awaiting you when you get to heaven? I can. I get chills thinking about it. I see a huge crowd made of angels and loved ones, cheering me on. I can hear their cheers, claps, and whistles. I hear the heavenly music playing as I walk down the golden streets. Ah! Beautiful, peaceful music - unlike any I've ever heard. I look in the crowd of angels and see my grandparents, great grandparents, and ancestors, smiling and waving. I finally get to meet GaGa, my great grandmother/guardian angel. But the best part? At the end of the parade, I see the Father and Son, holding their arms out, waiting for me with huge smiles on their beautiful faces. When I reach them, they wrap their arms around me and say, "Welcome home, princess." As I inhale their sweet fragrance and bask in their love, I realize that living the godly life on Earth - and focusing on things unseen - was totally worth it.


Fitness Friday

I know it's a day late. Yesterday was a rough day, so I didn't do ANYTHING...besides workout. So today marks the end of week 1 of my 50/50 challenge. It was a little difficult - boy did I want to guzzle down a Pepsi each day - but, I'm happy to say I've succeeded in losing one pound. It may not seem like a lot, but remember, this is a pound in a week...the safe way to lose weight.

Next week, the real challenge begins. I'll (hopefully) start substituting consistently. Teachers usually don't need subs til, like, the 3rd week of school and on, so I'll be busy soon. The challenge is whether or not I'd feel like working out. I'm not worried, though. I have God, who'll give me strength and my inspiration board, which will give me inspiration.

I can't see the difference (I mean, come on, it's only 1 pound) but I can feel the difference. I haven't checked the inches yet. I'm so excited and can't wait to get to weeks 5-50, where I know I will see the difference. Can't wait til my clothes start feeling loose. Ooh, can't wait to hear, "Your blood pressure's normal, Ms. Weakly." Oh the joy!

So, yeah, I'm a happy camper. Go me!


Random Thoughts Thursday Part 2

Laser Eye Surgery.I've been so busy, that I'd forgotten that last Tuesday was the 4-year anniversary of my Lasik eye surgery. Doesn't matter to you, but it matters to me. I'd only worn glasses for 5 years before my surgery, but boy was that enough. They were annoying. It was a spur of the moment thing, I went to see if I qualified, I did so I signed up. 20 minutes (10 on each eye) and $3000 later, I donated my glasses. No pain - well, except from the pain of having to shell out $3000 - and no regrets. I am SO glad I had the surgery.

California District Closes Libraries.Wow. What's next? Closing down the schools?

Toy Commercials.Is it me or are there not a lot of commercials advertising toys anymore? When I was a kid, there were commercials about Barbies, My Little Pony, GI Joe, etc. Now, I don't see them advertising toys that much anymore. Now, it's all about the video games. Are there ANY children who still plays with toys?

Reading Workshop.So, I read a NYT article about reading workshop and letting kids pick the books they have to read instead of forcing them to read the classics. While I agree children should be exposed to all types of literature, including the classics, I don't agree that these books should be the only books student read. We wonder why we have so many aliterate children (those who read, but choose not to). If you ask most teens, or even any adults, who hate reading, and they'll tell you, part of the reason why they can't stand to read is because of the books that were shoved down their throats in school. I LOVED this article. This teacher went against tradition and is making a difference. Some of her students who hated reading previously are now reading...and liking it. Why? She let them choose the novels they were to read.

I'm not planning to go back to the classroom, oh, but if I did, this would be one thing I'd be doing...going against tradition. As you can see, reading motivation and aliteracy is very near and dear to my heart. I plan to do more research on this, starting with my dissertation (which is on hold). I want to find out why kids, especially teens, aren't reading and what can we do to stop them from becoming aliterate adults.

Los 25 Hombres Mas Guapos.And I'm ending my 2-part Random Thoughts Thursday on a high note: CUTIE PIES! I'm a visual visually pleasing stuff and men are no exception. I got my People en Espanol in the mail (I get it to practice my Spanish) and imagine my delight when the cover story was Los 25 Hombres Mas Guapos - the 25 most handsome men. Visually pleasing indeed! Here are just a few:

Pedro Moreno: the whole reason why I got hooked on El Rostro de Analia.

Jencarlos Canela: the whole reason why I watch Mas Sabe el Diablo

Jencarlos again cos he's just so dang gorgeous.

Juanes: love his music

William Levy

That is all.


Random Thoughts Thursday Part 1

I've had a lot on my mind, so RTT will be split into 2 posts.

ABDC. Ok, I'm all for diversity, but why in the h@## is Vogue Evolution still on ABDC? Am I the only one NOT crazy about them? They've had some pretty good moves at times, but they weren't dynamic. I mean, Artistry in Motion was better and they're no longer there. And We Are Heroes was in the bottom 2 last week. WTH? Next week, either VE or Afroborike should be going home. This season PALES in comparison to the other ABDC seasons. I'm still waiting for them to wow me. Anyway, my vote goes to Rhythm City - with We Are Heroes (or maybe Massive Monkeys) being 2nd place.

Movies. What's with the remakes of old movies? Do we not have writers with enough creativity to come up with some ORIGINAL movies? I mean, come on! Karate Kid, Wizard of Oz, Halloween 2...the list goes on. They're even remaking The Last Dragon! A classic (yet cheesy) movie. The Last Dragon is one of my favorite movies. And just who will they get to play the main character, Bruce Leroy (yeah, the name's cheesy, I know)? Who's fine enough? Who's athletic enough (in martial arts)? Who has the cheesiness/innocence that Bruce Leroy had? Not even Will Smith (a very talented and good looking actor) can play BL in my eyes. Personally, I think they should've left The Last Dragon alone, but who am I. I'd go see the movie just out of curiosity, in hopes that they would not mess up a classic. I'd be SO upset if they do...unless Taimak (man who played Bruce Leroy) is in the remake, too. Then I'd love the movie no matter how sucky it may be.

Here's Taimak then

And here's Taimak now. See why I wouldn't mind seeing him in the movie?

Speaking of remakes. I am looking forward to seeing Fame. It's just that I LOVED the TV show...the few times I watched it when I was younger. Remember, I wanted to be a dancer when I was a little girl, so I loved any show with dancers (Solid Gold & Fame being the top). And speaking of movies with dancing...I was hoping Bring It On: Fight to the Finish would be at Redbox. I know, they shoulda stopped at the first Bring It On...& this movie may suck, but I wanna see it (remember I like dancing movies...which, they are cheerleaders, but they dance too). Redbox is the only way to guarantee that I won't be so upset with wasting my money. It costs $1 to rent from Redbox.

And, I went to see District 9 this past weekend. Didn't like it much. It took too long to get to the point. By the time it got to the action, I was ready to go. And the fact that the aliens looked like giant cockroaches messed it up for me. I HATE cockroaches!

The First Lady's New Do. OMG, who cares whether or not she cut hair? Obviously, they've run out of newsworthy stories (don't see how that happens, though). Get a life! And she didn't cut it, her hair is pinned. *sigh* She's still elegant and classy as usual.

Duggars 19th Child. WTH? 19 kids? More power to them, I guess. I, on the other hand, only want 2...3 if I must. 19 kids...smh.


Tickle-Me Tuesday


Inspirational Sunday...

will return next Sunday.


It's Baaaack! Fitness Friday

So, it's the end of summer vacation. Time to leave the days of lazin around behind and get back to work.

Um, right. Like I had those kind of days. I worked this summer and I worked hard.

Which is why I'm so excited about next summer. God willing, I'll be a travelista next summer, traveling both in the US and out. I plan to work my @$$ off this school year so I can afford to chill next summer instead of I can, you know, actually vacation during my summer vacation.

This brings me to my plan I'd like to call my 50/50 challenge. What is the 50/50 challenge? I'm so glad you asked! :) Starting Sunday, I'm gonna attempt to lose 50lbs in 50 weeks (hence 50/50). This means, I'm trying to lose one pound per week. Can this be done? Sure it can! This is actually the safer way to lose weight - 1 to 2 lbs/week as opposed to say, like 20 lbs/month. Besides, earlier this year, for a blissful month and a half, I was successful at losing a pound a week. Then I hit a wall. I've been this weight for the last 4 months. I guess it's good cos I haven't gained any weight. *shrugs*

So, how will 50/50 work?

Of course there's making healthier eating choices. For me, this means eating more than once a day. The surprising thing is, it's easier for me to exercise than it is for me to eat 3 meals a day. Weird, right? I don't plan on totally eliminating certain things (junk food, pop, chips). Eliminating them never works for me...I only end up eating more after a while. So, instead of getting rid of my weaknesses, I plan on eating less, maybe even using them as rewards when I've had a good week. I'm all for rewards, you know.

Exercising isn't really a problem for me...unless it's on a day where I'm just too tired to do anything. Even then, I have a plethora of exercise DVDs or I'd just do DDR, which is a fun way of working out. My top choices of workouts: walking, Tae Bo, DDR, volleyball, and dancing. 5 days/week - 6 if I'm feeling ambitious - of cardio/strength training.

The last, and most important, component to the 50/50 challenge is God. Earlier this year, I'd asked God to take control of my weight-loss journey...and He did. He talked me out of many unhealthy decisions, especially when it came to Pepsi, which is my number one weakness. Seriously, I can do some damage with Pepsi - like at least a bottle/day. My mouth is watering now to feel the burn... Anyway, whenever I feel like piggin out on junk food, guzzling down an extra bottle of Pepsi, or skipping a workout, I'll have to remember to ask God for help. And you know what the cool thing is? HE'LL ACTUALLY HELP! I honestly don't know why I hadn't thought of asking God to take control of my weight-loss/get-in-shape journey in the first place. It's like, duh! I ask Him to help me in everything else, why not this, right?

I'm SO ready for this challenge! I even have a special journal, complete with a special pen (did I mention I'm obsessed with stationary stuff) to track my progress. I have my inspiration board up on my bedroom wall with pics of beaches, swimsuits I'd like to wear, words, etc. My main reason for this is NOT looks. Of course, I always like to look good, but I'm more concerned with my health. I'm not trying to have high blood pressure and have to take pills for the rest of my life. No thank you! And, not only do I work with kids, but I also have 2 VERY ACTIVE nephews that I'd like to run around and play with without, you know, feeling like I'm gonna die from extreme exertion. Also, I believe God is about to take me places and I need to be physically, as well as spiritually and mentally prepared.

Fitness Friday blog posts will be dedicated to keeping up with my progress. I figure, the more people know about this, the more accountable I'll be held. And you can join me, too, whether you want to lose more than, less than, or exactly 50 lbs. I'd love the company.

So, Rae's 50/50 challenge: from Sunday, August 30, 2009 - Saturday, August 14, 2010. Ready. Set. GO!


Random Thoughts Thursday

School. If you've visited my blog a few times, you'd probably notice that I am in school for my Doctor of Education (EdD). I was hoping to become Dr. Weakly by next year. Unfortunately, because of financial issues, I'm having to withdraw from school. The bad news is, this will delay me in getting my doctorate degree. I SO want this to be done and over with. The good news is, if I can come back within a year, I won't have to start all over. I can start where I left off. This is AWESOME news to me because, if I had to start over, I don't think I'd be able to do it. I mean, 3-4 more years of school? No thanks!

As I've said before, I've been in school since I was 2 years old (got in preschool early cos I knew how to count, say my abc's, was potty trained, etc). I took a 2 year break between Bachelors & Masters and another 2 year break between Masters & Doctorate. This means I've been in school for 27 years! When I tell you I'm just about sick of school... But, I get to take a short break then come back to finish this thing. Of course, I'd rather be done in 2010, but, it can't be helped...unless God performs a miracle (which I know He can). So, instead of becoming Dr. Weakly in 2010, I'll be Dr. Weakly in 2011, God-willing. I'm ok with this.

ABDC. Finally, I agree with the judges decision! I'm glad Rhythm City didn't go home. They're one of the best groups. I'm still waiting on the groups to bring it, though. This season is missing the...umph, that other seasons had. My favorite groups? Rhythm City and We Are Heroes.


Tickle-Me Tuesday

In honor of the many teachers and kids starting school this week:

1. I was working with a small group of 4th grade students creating word lists for their writers’ notebooks. One list was titled “Scary October Words”. I asked a girl to give me a scary word to write on the list to which she replied, “report cards!”
2. I teach high school, but a good friend of mine is a kindergarten teacher. One day a little boy tattled on another, telling my friend the other student said the "B" word. Wondering exactly which "B" word, she called the boy over and asked him to repeat what he had said. He did not want to repeat it for the teacher, but after some prodding he finally admitted to saying "Bagina".
3. At Math time, I told the kids that we were going to talk about Even and Odd. One boy yelled out- "I know that story. It's in the Bible! " After I quit laughing, I said- "I think you mean Adam and Eve. "
4. I was a teacher in a tutoring center and at the end of every session, we would ask the students quiz questions for extra tokens. I asked, "What are the three primary colors?". One of my students said, " I know- black, white, and Mexican!!" I laughed so hard, I gave him 2 tokens.
5. One teacher I had for Biology had a special way to remember Kingdom Pylum Class Order Family Genus Species. Her way we found out was King Phillip Came Over For Really Great Spaghetti. But, she was a bit flustered that day and instead of saying King Phillip Came Over For Really Great Spaghetti, she said King Phillip Came Over For Really Great Sex.
6. A teacher friend of mine does a survey with her 8th graders on future jobs. One young man stated he wanted to be a garbage man because they only have to work on Thursdays.
Have an awesome school year!


Inspirational Sunday

Worship the LORD your God, and He will bless your bread and your water.
Exodus 23:25

Rae's Thought: This verse can be taken in two ways:

1. Serve the LORD and only the LORD, and He will give you what you need. God wanted the Israelites to know that He and He alone was able to provide for them. Later on in this passage, He tells the Israelites about the other nations that He'd planned on driving away. God tells them that worshipping the other nations' gods will be a snare (trap) for them.

This message isn't only for the Israelites in ancient Bible days. It's for all of God's children in present day. The worship of other gods does not only pertain to the statue gods that others may worship. As soon as something becomes more important to you than God and your relationship with Him, it becomes your god. Something other than God filling your every thought? Then you've placed whatever it is higher than God. People today worship money, materials, jobs, status, and so much more. They even worship other people. God wants us to know that He and He alone can provide for us (our bread and water). Nothing and no one can give us what we need. Serve the LORD - and only the LORD - and He will bless your bread and water.

2. Worship the LORD always, and He will give you what you need. So many times, when we're going through difficulties, we completely forget to continue to worship the Lord. Our minds are so focused on what's happening and the pain we may be feeling, that the thought of worshipping and praising God never crosses our minds...or it does cross our mind, but we ignore it (I mean, come on! Worship/praise insinuates happiness and I'm so NOT happy right now!).

Worshipping the Lord takes our minds off our problems. Right now, as I write this, I'm experiencing financial difficulties, like so many other people. I don't know how I'm going to pay the upcoming bills and I'm living from paycheck to paycheck. I can choose to worry about what's going to happen or I can choose to worship the Lord and trust that He will give me what I need. I find that, nothing good comes out of worrying. I only end up overwhelmed, worrying myself sick, snapping at my family, complaining to God, or forgetting about God altogether. Oh, but when I'm worshipping God, my focus is taken off my problems and put on God. I'm given such a sense of peace when I worship Him. I close my eyes, lift my hands, and, with all that is within me, I worship. My favorite worship song is, How Great is Our God, by Chris Tomlin. Even now, I'm listening to and singing this song, tears (of joy) running down my face. 'Name above all names. You are worthy of all praise and my heart will sing how great is our God!' God is so awesome! I can sing it over and over, worshipping my Lord... Oh the peace! The joy! And, after all is said and done, I'll find that, just as He's promised, God has blessed my bread and water!

God provides for and takes care of His children. He always has and always will. What do you stand in need of? Worship the Lord, your God ALWAYS, and He will bless your bread and water.


Random Thoughts Thursday

America's Best Dance Crew. Yay! Another dance reality show that I'm addicted to! Although this season hasn't proven to be as good as the previous seasons, I'm determined to see it through. Now, it's only been on for two weeks, so, maybe it's too early to judge. A salsa/hip hop group, a group of gay men & a transgender, groups with "thick" women, group of country hip hoppers...this season definitely has the diversity it was looking for.

I don't agree with who went home, though. The first week, Fr3sh ended up going home, but they were better than the other 2 groups who did battle with them (Beat Ya Feet Kings and Southern Movement). The ONLY reason why they went home, IMO, is because they didn't break it during the battle. Last Sunday, the groups did dances from Beyonce songs. The group that went home was Artistry in Motion. I think they had one of the harder tasks, but they did well with what they were given. All the members had to hold on to the chain throughout most of the routine...and they did it, while still dancing well. The group they did battle with, Afroborike, the salsa/hip hop group, had an easier task. They performed to Beyonce & Shakira's Beautiful Liar. Their task? The belly dance routine in the video. Come on! While I love salsa, I think they should've went home. Which group(s) do I like? I think I'd choose Rhythm City or We Are Heroes. Guess we'll see...

Dancing With The Stars. Seriously? Tom Delay? Shouldn't he like, be in jail or something? And where is the eye candy for women?

Michelle Obama's Shorts. So, I've heard little rumblings about our First Lady wearing shorts to a family trip to the Grand Canyon. WTH! Do we have nothing else newsworthy that we have to report (and whine) about the fact that she's showing her (awesome) legs? I swear, this country (that I LOVE so much)...My reaction to her wearing shorts? SO WHAT?!! So she's showing a little leg. Arizona is probably hot as hell right now. What do you expect her to wear, pants? This is just another reason why I love and admire Michelle Obama. She's not worried about y'all and your reaction to what she's wearing. She's fist-pounded her hubby, worn sleeveless dresses, and, now, she's wearing shorts. From the looks of it, what she has on is still tasteful. To anyone whining about what she's wearing (Oh, the scandal! She's showing skin!) I say: IT'S THE SUMMER PEOPLE! GET A LIFE! Now, if this 'outrage' is fake and just journalists attempt to report news, I say to those journalists: GET A LIFE!

Jordin Sparks' Nose Ring. It's amazing what you notice when you're really paying attention to a video. I'd always admired Jordin Sparks' nose ring. I thought it was cute and small...the kind of ring I'd want. Well, last year, while watching Jordin Sparks & Chris Brown's No Air my sister noticed that, on some of the scenes, Jordin's nose ring was on while it was gone in other scenes. Oh the horror! Her nose ring - the one I'd previously been admiring - was fake. *sigh* Oh well, it's still cute.


Tickle-Me Tuesday

Pics that have that 'aw' factor:


Inspirational Sunday

"I don't wanna box you in. You've been doing big things since the world began. Sometimes I just don't understand that you're big enough, but you're big enough, Jesus."
Ayiesha Woods

Rae's Thought: This week's inspiration comes from one of my favorite contemporary Christian songs, Big Enough by Ayiesha Woods.

Do you realize that it is impossible for us to truly understand the total Being that is God? Our small minds wouldn't be able to fully grasp just how big and awesome He really is. Our heads would probably explode if we tried to figure God out. It just can't happen. And you know what? I'm glad it can't. I'm convinced that when we try to grasp the total vastness of God, we end up putting Him in this neat little box in our minds, which puts a limit on Him and what He can do. I don't know about the god you serve, but my God is limitless; He's never ending. Like Ms. Woods said, I don't want to box God in.

Since we can't really grasp how big God really is, let's just imagine. He is the creator of all that was and is in existence: the heavens, our solar system, galaxies beyond ours, etc. What does this mean? It means that God is pretty big...huge...ginormous...bigger than we could ever imagine. And, truthfully, that's all I need to know.

This, my friends, gives me comfort. The problems I face, the trials I go through, the obstacles I come up against always seem big to me. The thing is, when I put them up against my Almighty Father...well, they seem like little ants next to Him. Even Satan is minuscule compared to God. This changes my perspective on situations that normally would cause me to worry and be afraid. Hello! I serve a God whose greatness can NOT be measured by human means. There is no person bigger than the God I serve. There is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING greater than Him. Nothing! When I think of it this way, life - and all the problems that come with it - doesn't seem so bad.


Tickle-Me Tuesday

Emailed to me. Too cute:

A doctor went to the country to deliver a baby. There was no electricity. When the doctor arrived, no one was home except for the laboring mother and her 5 year old. The doctor instructed the child to hold a lantern high so he could see while he helped the woman deliver the baby. The child did so, the mother pushed, and after a little while, the doctor lifted the newborn baby by the feet and spanked him on the bottom to get him to take his first breath. The doctor then asked the 5 yr-old what he thought of the baby. The boy said, "Spank him again. He shouldn't have crawled in there in the first place!"


Inspirational Sunday

"Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today...The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still."
Exodus 14:14

Rae's Thought: Have you ever tried to get an antsy or hyper child to stay still? Let me tell you, it's not an easy task. You may succeed for a few seconds, but then, they go right back to moving around. It's like they absolutely cannot stay still.

The Israelites were a little like antsy kids, but in a slightly different sense. Their antsy-ness came in the form of worrying and complaining. During their exodus out of Egypt - actually, a little before they left - they complained constantly, forgetting about miracles God had just performed earlier. God succeeded in keeping them still for a little bit, but every time they came up against a major obstacle, what did they do? Worry and complain. They have just witnessed the 10 plagues and are set free after years of slavery. They're celebrating and praising God. Much to their chagrin, Pharaoh has changed his mind. He and his army go after the Israelites, ready to bring them back into slavery. They've got Pharaoh and his mighty army behind them, desert on both sides, and the Red Sea in front. A major obstacle, wouldn't you say? They can go towards Pharaoh and end up slaves again. They can go sideways and end up starving in the desert. They can go forward and end up drowning. What did they do? Complain. This is where Exodus 14:14 comes in.

Like an antsy child, it's difficult for humans to be still. We live in a time when everything is about movement...we're always on the go. We live very fast-paced lives and can't stand anything that slows us down or, worse, makes us stop. Even when some of us are faced with obstacles, we either try to figure things out ourselves or constantly worry and complain. Be still? Impossible! And yet, in Exodus 14:14, God tells us all we need to do is be still.

What happened when the Israelites stayed still and let God be God? He made a way for them by parting the Red Sea. They were able to walk across the sea floor - on dry ground - with the sea on both sides. It wasn't some small pond they was a sea: miles and miles long, thousands of feet deep. How awesome is that? And, as soon as Pharaoh's whole army was on ground, God allowed the waters to come crashing back.

My brother gave an illustration today that I thought was just awesome. He said one day, while walking, he looked by the bayou and saw white birds (maybe swans) standing near the water. Fish and tadpoles swam by them, but these birds did not move. What were they doing? Waiting til the food (fish and tadpoles) came to them. When the food came, they ate then went right back to standing. They weren't running around going after the food...they just stood there and waited.

Sometimes in life, we have to stand and wait, like those birds. When the birds stood still, the food came to them. What could have happened if they'd run off, worrying about how they'll eat? They could have ended up missing out on what God had in store for them. We have to be still, knowing that God will fight for us. Refusal to stay still could result in our missing the miracles God has in store. When an obstacle comes your way, don't be afraid or complain. Be still and get ready to receive your victory in Jesus Christ.


Random Thoughts Thursday

Success! Two weeks ago, I mentioned the controversy surrounding Justine Larbalestier's book, Liar. The controversy stemmed from the fact that, Micah,the main character in Liar, is an African American teen with short hair. The cover model was not. People complained. Publishers listened. They changed the book's cover.

Original Liar Cover
New Liar Cover
See what can happen when people join together against something that's not right?

Boohoo! So, if you've read my blog for a while (is anyone really paying attention to me?) you know that I've wanted to go to Puerto Rico since high school. My sis and I'd planned on going this past Spring Break, but money - or the lack thereof - kept us from going. We shook it off and planned on going in December over the Christmas holidays. Unfortunately, the lack of funds is winning out once again. *sigh* I SO wanted to go. So, I'm thinking, I keep having to put my trip to PR off, which means, when I do get a chance to go...oh, you betta believe I'll have the time of my life. It'll only make my trip that much sweeter.

All's not lost, though. In December, we'll go to South Padre Island, a beautiful island (so we've heard) near Corpus Christi, Texas. Since SPI is about 6 hours away, we can drive, cutting out the high cost of airfare. So, here's a pic of SPI. Not bad, huh?

Spring break 2010, we're hoping to be in Hawaii. All we have to worry about is the flight there (have 4-days/3-nights free) , which helps us BIG TIME. Summer 2010 will see us worldly least on this side of the world. Our fam (immediate + extended) is taking a cruise with ports in Grand Cayman and Cozumel. My sis and I are working on plans to travel quite a bit during that time (first the cruise, then Miami & eventually PR). We're still working on it, so more to come later. I'm actually excited about next summer. One thing I know, I won't be working. I'm determined to save, save, save. Looking forward to it!

Research. In novel #2, Who's Got Tha Moves, the dance reality show that Treasure is participating in is filmed in Miami. Since I don't actually live in Miami, and I've only been there once, shouldn't I research it some more? Sure I do. So, what does that mean? FIELD TRIP! That is the reason we're going to Miami next summer...well, you know, besides the beautiful beaches, awesome scenery, and muy caliente men. I'm absolutely positive I'll be finished with draft #1 (and maybe @ least #2) by that time, but I can still research the city. It's quite possible I can be on final draft by then. So, yeah. I'm looking forward to "researching" Miami next summer.


Random Thoughts

Joy Ride. So, you've probably heard about the 7 year-old boy who decided to take his parents' car for a ride so he wouldn't have to go to church. Sad. Thank God it wasn't more serious. He could have easily harmed himself or others. I think it was last year when another kid did the same thing, but because he was mad. I'm really wondering what goes through these kids' minds when they do stuff like that. Did he realize that what he was doing was wrong...really wrong? I know psychologically they say kids this young don't really know what they're doing, but, come on! Some of these children know exactly what they're doing. And they know the difference between right and wrong.

And the really sad thing is the child and his family were flown to NY to appear on the Today Show. I don't agree with that. What does that say to other kids? Sure, children. Steal your parents' car; put your life and the lives of others in danger; lead the police on a low-speed least you'll be invited to appear on a big-time TV show - in front of millions of people - where everyone will 'oh and ah' about how cute you are. Just my don't have to agree with me.

Serious Issues. I'm not going to say too much about this subject because it just hurts my heart. A San Antonio mother decapitated her newborn, ate parts of his body, including his brain. She said someone or something told her to do it. Some reports say she said the devil told her to do it. This is sad, disgusting, appalling, etc. They say she wasn't in her right mind to begin with (duh). My heart hurts for that poor baby. That's all I'm going to say about that.

Happy Birthday. Ending today's post on a happy note. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY BEAUTIFUL MOM. SHE'S THE BESTEST MOM IN THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD. I thank God that He's allowing me another birthday with her (cos I know our days are not promised and we won't live forever). She's the best. Love you, Mommy!


Tickle-Me Tuesday


Inspirational Sunday (on Tuesday)

"Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don't try to figure everything on your own."
Proverbs 3: 5 (The Message)

Rae's Thought: This past Sunday, I watched as my sister played a little game with her Sunday school class. This game tested the students to see how much they trusted her to catch them. When it was their turn, they were to stand in front of my sister with their back facing her. When she said go, they spread their arms wide and fell straight back. Looking back or taking a step backwards meant they didn't trust her to catch them. She'd continually reassure them, saying she's got them, yet some still failed to trust her.

While watching this, I thought of the many times God has told me, "I got you, Rae" yet I still failed to trust Him. I'd either end up looking back by worrying myself sick, wondering if God will really take care of me, or I'd take a step backwards by attempting to take matters into my own hands, which would only make things worse.

God has told us many times in the Bible -including in today's passage- that we need to trust Him. He's continually reassuring us, saying, "I got you", yet it's so easy for us to worry or try to handle things on our own. Every time we look back or take a step backwards, we're not helping matters...we're actually making things worse. Jesus asks, in Matthew 6:27, "Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?" Tell me, what good does worrying do? Can you name some pros of worrying? Nope. Now, can you name some cons? I can: headaches, ulcers, sickness, high blood pressure, grouchiness, fatigue, lack of sleep, lack of peace...the list goes on.

I think of it this way: I collect dolls. They are one of my most prized possessions. When I was able to display them, I took very good care of my dolls. If I saw them getting dusty, I'd wipe the dust off; I made sure their hair was shiny and I straightened their clothes when needed. I found delight in taking care of them.

God loves us SO much. We are His children...His babies. If He takes care of His other creations, will He not take care of us - His most cherished creation? He finds delight in taking care of and providing for us. In knowing this, we can look forward, spread our arms wide, and fall back into His arms, trusting and believing that, no matter what our situations look like, GOD'S GOT US.


Random Thoughts

Liar Book Cover. So, there's been some controversy in the book world over the cover of Justine Larbalestier's book, Liar.

You may wonder what the big deal is. The cover looks good, right? Well, here's the deal: the main character, Micah, is an African American girl. Not only that, but her hair is so short, that people mistake her for a boy. As you can see, the cover model is neither African American, nor does she have short hair.

So, why did they choose to put this model on the cover? It could be one of two reasons. #1 - they didn't think an African American cover model would sell as well as a Caucasian one. This is the one that's causing the controversy. I hope and pray that this isn't the reason. We already have a sad representation of people of color in the book world - both as characters and as authors. What about all the African American teens who are just waiting for characters who look like them? It's funny. We now have an African American pres, yet, we can't get books with African American characters/cover models or written by African American authors. #2 - the character. Micah, is a compulsive liar. The cover can represent the fact that we don't know if she's lying about her appearance.

Which reason is it? Not really sure. Kinda makes me want to self publish my books so I can have more control over things like my covers. I do know one thing: this controversy will = more books sold for Ms. Larbalestier.

Oops! I Did It Again! I chopped my hair off again. Couldn't help it! I love the short and sassy look. Plus, it's too hot down here in Houston for long hair.



Twitter. So, I finally caved in and got a Twitter account. I'll see how it goes. Follow me @


Tickle-Me Tuesday

Joke emailed to me:

A mature (over 50) lady gets pulled over for speeding...

Older Woman: Is there a problem, Officer?
Officer: Ma'am, you were speeding.
Older Woman: Oh, I see.
Officer: Can I see your license please?
Older Woman: I'd give it to you but I don't have one.
Officer: Don't have one?
Older Woman: Lost it, 4 years ago for drunk driving.
Officer: I see...Can I see your vehicle registration papers please.
Older Woman: I can't do that.
Officer: Why not?
Older Woman: I stole this car.
Officer: Stole it?
Older Woman: Yes, and I killed and hacked up the owner.
Officer: You what?
Older Woman: His body parts are in plastic bags in the trunk if you want to see.

The Officer looks at the woman and slowly backs away to his car and calls for back up. Within minutes 5 police cars circle the car. A senior officer slowly approaches the car, clasping his half drawn gun.

Officer 2: Ma'am, could you step out of your vehicle please!

The woman steps out of her vehicle.

Older woman: Is there a problem sir?
Officer 2: One of my officers told me that you have stolen this car and murdered the owner.
Older Woman: Murdered the owner?
Officer 2: Yes, could you please open the trunk of your car, please.

The woman opens the trunk, revealing nothing but an empty trunk.

Officer 2: Is this your car, ma'am?
Older Woman: Yes, here are the registration papers.

The officer is quite stunned.

Officer 2: One of my officers claims that you do not have a driving license.

The woman digs into her handbag and pulls out a clutch purse and hands it to the officer. The officer examines the license. He looks quite puzzled.

Officer 2: Thank you ma'am, one of my officers told me you didn't have a license, that you stole this car, and that you murdered and hacked up the owner.
Older Woman: Bet the liar told you I was speeding, too.


Inspirational Sunday

"And He arose, and rebuked the wind and said unto the sea, 'Peace be still'. And the wind ceased and there was a great calm." ~Mark 4:39

Rae's Thought: There's a part in the movie, Perfect Storm, where Mark Walhberg's character is in the middle of the sea, struggling to stay above water. The boat he was on has gone down and he's surrounded by fierce, hurricane winds. He looks up and sees the blue sky. It's peaceful, despite what's going on around him. He's in the eye of the hurricane.

This week's scripture comes from the story of Jesus and His disciples in the middle of the sea. While Jesus was asleep in the stern of the boat, a furious squall (hurricane-like weather) came up. The waves crashed over the boat almost causing it to capsize. The disciples were scared. They ran to Jesus asking if He cared whether they lived or died. This is where verse 39 comes in. Jesus got up, spoke, and everything calmed.

The hurricane is one of the most destructive forces of nature with winds that can reach more than 155 mph and, yet, in the eye of the storm, it's calm with no thunderstorms and little to no cloud cover. It's the calmest part of the hurricane.

When I read this, I think of the hurricanes in my life - the troubles that come at me with the force of more than 155 mph. Every single person on this earth will experience life's hurricanes - some more destructive than others. The difference is the eye of the storm. Children of God can have the most destructive life-storm known to man, yet still have that peace of God that surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:7). We'd experience our very own eye of the storm. Because Jesus is the Son of God and is all-powerful, the clouds are unable to form around Him. Jesus is kind of like our umbrella. He protects and shields those who love Him. We may get a little wet from the storm, but we won't get drenched or drown in the waters. When He's in the midst of your storms, you can still see the blue sky. You can still experience that same peace as the character in Perfect Storm. You can feel that there is hope.


Random Thoughts

I'm learning that there's this misconception that all authors make so much money. There are quite a few authors who have a day job in addition to their writing career. Not everyone's making the big bucks like Stephanie Meyer, JK Rowling, or other big name authors.

I am not an author...yet (working on it), but I am a writer with a day job. I don't see how writers/authors with full time jobs and families do it. They're able to shell out these books while working and taking care of the spouse and kids. I admire that. I'm not married, nor do I have kids, but I do have a day job. I still find it difficult, at times, to write.

The really funny thing is, during the fall, I worked all day, came home and did my doctorate work, and was still able to write. The words came kind of easily. Now that it is summer time, it's like my brain doesn't want to work - on writing my book(s) or my dissertation. I guess I should be happy with the spurts I do get. Things are playing out in my head, but getting it on paper is another story.

Wanna know what I think? This may sound weird. Both sides of my brain have kinda been vying for attention. My left side - the analytical, detail oriented side - rules when I'm working on my dissertation. My right side - the creative, imaginative side - rules when I'm writing my books. So, I have both sides and my dissertation/books needing attention and now, both sides have decided to take a break - on writing & dissertation, not on thinking...clearly I need my brain to think. Anyway, I'm having difficulty working on both. Guess my brain's on summer vacation - which is so NOT fair, since I don't get a vacation (these pesky bills stop me from actually enjoying the summer like other teachers get to do).

So, what does this mean (besides the fact that I really need a vacation)? Maybe, just maybe, I need to stop forcing it. Maybe I just need to let it flow. Then, maybe, everything will start coming to me again. Also, I need to take a Me-day, where I'm not working or worried about bills. Come to think of it, I need the Me-day soon. Hmm...