Happy Birthday to Me!

Today is my 34th birthday. No, I didn't celebrate it in a big way...although my sis did through a surprise party for me Sunday. I know. Awesome little sis, right? I'm just happy that God has allowed me another year. This just means He's not done with me yet. I still got work to do for His kingdom!

Now, 35...that's another story. If God allows me to see my 35th, I'm doing it big. I'm going to start planning early. The way I look at it, when I turn 35 next year, I can either stay at home, lamenting over the fact that I'm only 5 years away from 40, OR I can celebrate the fact that I'm alive. I choose option b. I'm okay with aging. I think I'm getting better in everything with age. I like where I'm at in life. I mean, there are some things I'd change, but overall, my 30s have been pretty awesome. So, I won't complain about being another year older. I'm just gonna live it up!


Wannabe Writers #35

Wannabe Writers is a writing group for the un-published started by Sarah at Confessions of the Un-published. It's a place where future authors can ask questions, share stories, and get feedback. Interested in joining? Click here to find more about how it works.

Where I am in the writing process: Writing novel #2, Who's Got Tha Moves. I'd originally planned on plotting novel #3, Harmonie's Song, but I'm heeding to the call of novel #1, tentatively titled, The Incredibly Rocky Life of Zachary Barnes. It's been put away for about a year now, so I think that's more than enough time to come back to it. So, I'm writing Who's Got Tha Moves and revising TIRLZB.

My Current Problem(s): Oh how I long for the day I can afford to write full time...or at least have my own business so my schedule can be flexible. Right now, as a substitute teacher, I have the flexibility I desire, but not the finances. My sis and I are going the entrepreneur route, it'll be another year or two (or three) before we can leave our jobs to focus full time. I don't know. Sometimes, after work, I'm too tired to write. I have all these ideas in my head, and would love to write them out. Alas, since I can't afford to write full time yet, I'll settle for writing during the snatches of time I can get. I think if I can take a week-long retreat some time, I'll be good.

My Question this week: Am I the only writer who dreams of writing full time? Does anyone know of some relaxing, affordable writing retreats I can take? Or even ideal places for a writer to get away from the hustle and bustle of life just to write?


Random Thought Thursday

Speak Loudly. Last Saturday, a man by the name of Dr. Scroggins, wrote an editorial about how parents need to speak out about what their children are learning in schools. I'd agree with him if his comments were so off-based.

  • Sex Education. I'm not sure how they do it where in Republic, Missouri, but in the district I work in, kids are taught about reproduction and the body in about 4th or 5th grade. This is no cause for alarm, though, because letters and permission slips are sent home before, letting parents know. If parents aren't comfortable with their child learning about reproduction from the school, they can choose "I do not allow my child to participate" option. It's not forced on the children. Now, in my opinion, if parents don't want their children learning about reproduction, the body, or sex in school, they had better be teaching it at home. Why? They're gonna learn it from somewhere. What better place to learn it than home? If parents keep their heads buried in the sand and refuse to talk to their children, they'd have no right to be upset if the child ended up a mother or father-to-be. If you're not telling your kids about the right and wrong way to touch, how will they know if a family member, friend, or even stranger, is touching them inappropriately? And kids are learning things earlier and earlier. I've heard kids in 2nd grade talk about what they plan to do with their boyfriend/girlfriend after school. I'm sure some are talking about it earlier than that. Sad? Yes. It's very sad. Some of these parents need to take off the blinders and stop saying, "Not my child." I'm all for parents choosing whether or not their kids have sex ed at school, only if the parent is giving them sex ed at home.

  • Book Ban. Ok, I get it. There are some books that some people feel isn't appropriate for kids to read. I agree parents need to be more aware of what they're kids are reading in school. What I don't agree with is comparing the books he listed to soft porn. I mean, really? I've read both Sarah Ockler's, Twenty Boy Summer and Laurie Halse Anderson's, Speak. Twenty Boy Summer is basically about a girl dealing with the death of a loved one. Speak is about a girl dealing with rape. How he compares it to soft porn is beyond me. And thing is, he has disputed comparing the books in that manner. Some of the comments I've read is saying he didn't compare them that way. He said, and I quote, "In high school English classes, children are required to read and view material that should be classified as soft pornography. One such book is called "Speak."" Those were his exact words. Sounds like comparing to soft porn to me. And really, there's something seriously wrong with people who'd think rape scenes are like soft porn. And I'm sure both books have helped teens across this country...maybe even the world...through some very difficult times. Through Speak, victims of rape have a voice, which is normally silenced. So parents, yeah, be aware of what your kids are reading. Speaking as an educator, we need parents to become involved in their child's education. Instead of banning the books, read them with your kids. Discuss the book. Talk to your kids.

In the name of Christianity. I am a Christian. I'm in love with God, believe that Jesus died on the cross for my sins and believe that He'll be coming back again. I believe that Jesus is the only way to heaven. I read my Bible daily (seriously, I do) and I am very active in my church. With that being said, I am so sick of people doing and saying things in the name of Christianity. I don't know about the god some of these people serve, but the God I serve wouldn't be happy with some of these goings-on. I do not profess to knowing what goes through God's mind - no one knows what goes thru His mind...that's why He's God and we're not - but I do read and study my Bible. This allows me to catch little glimpses of His personality. I honestly believe that He'd be disappointed in what some of these peeps are doing in the name of Christianity. Some of these people are painting the wrong picture of God and who He is.

Temporary Insanity. I can't believe this article. I mean, really? REALLY?


Writing Wednesdays

I've tweaked my Writing Wednesdays a little bit. I will make Sharing the Spotlight posts only once a month. Other Wednesday posts will be all about...yep, you guessed it. Writing. Whether I find a helpful article, blog post, etc, on the web or I'm updating progress on my current wips, these posts will be on Wednesdays.

I added 2 word count meters to my blog so I can keep track of my writing. Who's Got the Moves is the novel I'm working on now. I hit a snag cos of summer (thought I'd get a lot of writing done, but I didn't), but I'm over the snag. Note to self: update word count meter. I thought I'd get started on novel #3, tentatively titled, Harmonie's Song, but I'm feeling the need to get novel #1 (no title) out and revise.

I love writing!


Tickle-Me Tuesday

Funny Facebook statuses found here.

  • Look at your status. Now back to mine. Now back to yours. Now back to mine. Sadly, yours isn't mine. But if you stopped posting about other things and made this your status, yours could be like mine. Look down. Back up. Where are you? .........You're on Facebook, reading the status your status could be like! Anything is possible when your Facebook status looks like this one...
  • This just in... Apple has just hired LeBron James to fix the iPhone signal problem!
    knows how to stop the BP Oil leak from putting out... Just put a giant wedding ring on it!
  • is wondering if you choke a smurf... what colour would he turn?
  • hates it when people say stuff in their status updates that you really didn't want to know? I hate that. Anyway, I gotta go poo.
  • is wondering on which day God created Justin Bieber... couldn't he have rested on that day too?
  • just found out that the next Hannah Montana will be played by Justin Bieber.
  • sometimes runs up to strangers on the street and yells "YOU'RE IT!!" and then runs away.
  • is a little down since nobody wished her a happy birthday today, which isn't surprising really, since it isn't my birthday.
  • can't go out this weekend... I'm babysitting Justin Bieber
  • What can you write in 140 characters? How about the memoirs of Justin Bieber?


Man-ificent Monday: Derek Ramsey

This week's cutie pie is 30 year-old, Derek Ramsey. Ramsey is a model and actor from the Philippines. He's also a former VJ of MTV Philippines.

Word(s) to describe: Wow!


Inspirational Sunday

"I lift my eyes to you..."
Psalm 123:1

Rae's Thought: Have you ever been anxious or worried about something? A few weeks ago, I'd been anxious about a financial issue. I spent a week worried about where the money would come from. One whole week, gone and wasted because I was worried. I had a "to do" list that I didn't even complete because I couldn't focus on anything but my financial woes. Needless to say, I was extra hard on myself for wasting a week.

Then, I realized I was stuck....kinda like being stuck in quicksand - the more you struggle, the more you sink, right? Well, the more I thought about my finances and my wasted week, the more I sunk. When I came to that realization, I asked God for forgiveness (my focus was on the wrong thing) and vowed to move on. If God was gonna bless me with another week, I didn't want to start it off with negativity (beating myself up over past mistakes) and anxiety.

As a teacher/tutor, my heart smiles when a kid finally gets a concept I'd been trying to teach them. This is how I believe God felt after I'd finally gotten it and asked for forgiveness. You see, He doesn't want me to stay stuck on "coulda, shoulda, woulda." He wants me focused on Him and moving forward. If I lift my eyes to Him - and keep them there - everything else will be taken care of. asking for forgiveness, vowing not be anxious, and refocusing on God was the lifeline I needed to get outta that quicksand.

Thank God for being a God of forgiveness and second (and third, fourth, fifth, etc) chances! If your focus has been off because of struggles you're having, ask God to forgive you, and then refocus your attention on God. It's only when our eyes are lifted to God that we can move forward and live the abundant life He's called us to live!


Random Thoughts Thursday

Quran Burning. So, Pastor Terry Jones has decided not to burn the Quran, because the Ground Zero mosque will be moved (a fact that the group building the mosque denies). I'm wondering if he's reveling in the attention he's gotten from the media. Don't get me wrong, I have no doubt he would've burned the Quran. I just think the media attention didn't make things any better. Now that I think about it, does it (media attention) ever make things better when something negative is showcased? I really think part of this is for attention...and he got just what he wanted. I will be surprised if his church membership doesn't increase after this. smh

And what about him representing all of Christianity?! I'm a Christian (very faithful and active in my church; in love with God) and I do NOT agree with the burning of the Quran. Do I agree with the Muslim faith? No. But do I believe I have the right to judge Muslims and go about burning the Quran? No. As Christians, our job is to tell people about Jesus and let them make the choice. Whether they choose Jesus or not, we're supposed to love them anyway. How is burning the Quran spreading the love of God? Yes, people around the world probably burn Bibles everyday, but two wrongs don't make a right.

And blaming the whole entire Muslim faith cos of the 9/11 attacks is pure insanity. So, I guess that means African Americans can blame the whole entire white race cos of slavery and the injustice our ancestors suffered, right? Or Jews can blame everyone of German decent because of the Holocaust. Maybe everyone of Native American descent can blame anyone of European descent cos of Christopher Columbus and others following him took their land away. Am I the only one seeing the silliness of this?

Willow Smith. I have mixed feelings about Willow Smith signing on to Jay Z's label. I'm hoping and praying she doesn't grow up too fast. She's only 9. I'm a firm believer in letting kids be kids. On the other hand, I'm kinda feeling her song. I love the beat. It's a great dance song (and I love dancing). Plus, if this is really her singing, she has a nice voice...very Rihanna like. I'd have to hear her live to make sure auto tune didn't doctor her voice up. Judge for yourself.


Writing Wednesdays: Sharing the Spotlight

August 23

Niki: Gonna stick with the '140 characters or less' theme here:

  • 1st day of skool-high on my "Best Day Ever" list. I have an awesome bff, gorgeous bf, e z classes, & did I mention I'm a SENIOR? Life is gd!

I figured today would be like all the other first days of school I've had. I mean, why break the cycle, right? I wish! For the last 2 years, my first days of school went a little like this: Meet up with Ari, find lockers (usually next to or near each other) and compare schedules (usually the same or close). The rest of the day felt like I was on a cloud. Today went like this: Meet up with Ari, find lockers (mine in the senior hall, hers on the other side of the building), and compare schedules (number of classes The rest of the day felt like I was on a roller coaster.

The most embarrassing part of the day was first period, which is Spanish 3. FIRST PERIOD! My brain has a hard time functioning in English that early, much less another language. I made it through almost the whole period thinking it wouldn't be so bad. Then I had to mess it up.

  • Senora Lopez: Senorita Blake?

  • Me: Si, Senora?

  • Senora Lopez: Como se dice, 'I can't find my comb' in espanol?

  • Me, laughing inside at how easy this is: No puedo encontrar mi pene.

  • Senora Lopez (double blink): Perdon?

  • Me, thinking maybe she has problems of the mental variety: No puedo encontrar mi pene.

I couldn't, for the life of me, figure out why Senora Lopez had turned red. Why was everyone laughing? Ari leaned over and whispered, "Um, I think you just said, 'I can't find my penis.'" So, apparently, in Spanish, comb is 'peine' and penis is 'pene'. How was I to know? They sound so much alike.

Unfortunately, my fellow classmates didn't forget about my little slip up like I'd hoped they would. Instead, they blabbed it to their friends, who blabbed it to their friends. Even Senora Lopez couldn't resist telling other teachers, which explains the little smirks I got when they called my name. Even Niki couldn't resist. I think I've heard enough penis jokes to last me a lifetime. The only highlight of the day was volleyball, which I have for last period. Did I mention that coach made me team captain? Woohoo!

My day may have began crappy, but it ended on a high note. Will the rest of the year be like this?


Tickle-Me Tuesday


Man-ificent Monday: Bow Wow

This week's cutie pie is 23 year old, Shad Moss aka Lil Bow Wow aka Bow Wow. I have to admit, when he first came out at the age of 13, I thought he was a precious little...girl. I know I know. It was the long hair that did it. Bow Wow has released 7 solo albums, and 1 collaborative album (Face Off with Omarion), as well as acted in several movies (Like Mike, Roll Bounce, and The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift to name a few). His recent movie, Lottery Ticket, was released last month. I'm not a cougar, by the way (he's 11 years younger than me), I just appreciate good looking men! What captures my attention? His smile and his eyes!

Word(s) to describe: Cute. Charming. All grown up!


Wannabe Writers #32

Wannabe Writers is a writing group for the un-published started by Sarah at Confessions of the Un-published. It's a place where future authors can ask questions, share stories, and get feedback. Interested in joining? Click here to find more about how it works.

Where Am I in the Writing Process: Unpublished. Writing novel #2, Who's Got Tha Moves.

My Current Problem(s): Shutting off my inner editor/critic. I hear writers say they just write and revise later...I have such a hard time doing that. You see, I'm a perfectionist, so I have to get things right the first time. I write something that my inner critic doesn't agree with, she lets me know. "Um, you're really gonna write that?" or "Yeah, that doesn't make sense." Perfectionism comes in handy at times, but it can also be SO annoying!

This week's question: How in the world do you shut your inner critic off?


Inspirational Sunday

"Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, 'Go south to the road - the desert road - that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.' So he started out..."
Acts 8:26-27

Rae's Thought: Can you imagine Philip's surprise when the angel told him to go to the desert? The verses before show Philip preaching in Samaria and, as a result, a spiritual awakening occurring. So now, God asks him to leave this place of great revival to go to the desert, for a reason unknown to him. Again I ask, can you imagine Philip's surprise? He may have wondered, "Why in the world is He sending me there" but he did something extraordinary: he went. Instead of complaining or begging God to allow him to stay and revel in the revival, Philip obeyed. Despite the weirdness of it, Philip "started out..."

What is God telling you to do that feels so off the wall? Maybe He's telling you to do something that seems so out of character for you. Maybe He's just telling you to do something that seems impossible. Whatever it is, do it. What happened with Philip? At the same exact time he reached his destination, a caravan passed by with an Ethiopian eunuch. This eunuch happened to be reading the book of Isaiah and stuck on a prophesy of Jesus. Philip witnessed to the eunuch and told him about Jesus, which caused him to become a believer and get baptized. This eunuch no doubt went back to Ethiopia and told others about Jesus. Awesome, isn't it?

"We must learn to obey whether or not it seems to make sense" (Avery Willis, MasterLife: The Disciple's Personality). Obviously God knows what's going to happen, even when you don't. He's confident that things will work out, even when you're not. Remember, His calling you isn't for you, but for the ones you'll touch and, ultimately, for His glory. When God leads you to do something, be obedient and watch God work!