I'm always striving for...
X-cellence: Had to get creative with my 'x' word. I was raised not to be satisfied with the mundane. Because I am a child of God, the sky's the limit when it comes to my dreams. And when I'm going for my dreams, don't just settle at being good. Doesn't mean I'll be the best. There's always someone better than me. I just have to strive to be the best that I can be. Strive for x-cellence. That's what I'm doing. And if I fail, I get right back up and try again.
Youthfulness: No, this doesn't mean I'm looking for the fountain of youth. I'm actually ok with aging. I do not want to lose my child-like imagination. I do not want to become a grumpy old adult. Children can find pleasure in the simplest of things. Even the little things tickle them and make them smile. I don't ever want to be so busy that I don't stop and take the time to appreciate all that's around me. I want to be able to always smile and find pleasure in the simplest of things.
Zeal: And last but not least, I want to go for my dreams with all I have. I want to have a passion for life and live it to the fullest!
I'm always striving for...
What's an A to Z blog challenge without a post about yours truly? I know you wanna know all about me. Go on. Admit it. You're dying to know, "Who is Rae? Who is the girl behind the blog?" Well my loves. Your prayers have been answered. I'm posting 25 things about me. How wonderful of me, right? Yes, yes. I know.
- I'm a lefty. And proud of it. Despite the fact that the world was made for the less fortunate (aka right-handed people), being a lefty is awesome.
- My favorite color is pink. Sure, pink is a girl color, but HELLO. I'm a girl. In case you hadn't noticed.
- I'm claustrophobic. I hate feeling closed in. Elevators are cool when they're big and practically empty. It's the small, full elevators I can't stand. I tend to pass them up. If I do get on a full elevator, I have to stand at the front. I'm definitely not a fan of crowds. When I feel closed in, I have a panic attack.
- I was born dead. My mom was sick, so I ended up coming one month early. You know how babies come out crying? Yeah, not me. I was stillborn. Not breathing. As quiet as can be. The doctors did their thing and, by God's grace, I lived. Obviously. Cos a dead woman blogging would be so creepy...
- I'm shy. I know it's hard to believe since I'm such a great conversationalist here in blogland, but alas, it's true. In the real world, I'm quiet unless I'm with family and friends. If you get past that barrier of mine, you see the real Rae. I don't let just anybody in. In my eyes, you've got to earn it.
am obsessed withhave a crush on Laz Alonzo and Adam Rodriguez. I know I've said this before, like a bagillion times, but these men are gorgeous.
- I'm an analfectionator. I'm an anal perfectionist who sometimes procrastinates, hence the word "analfectionator"...a word I and my dad made up. Did I mention I have slight OCD and ADD? Sounds like I need professional help, huh?
- I am a closet adrenaline junkie. Bunjee jumping? Skydiving? Ziplining? Yes please! I haven't done any of these as of yet, but I do plan on it. I can just imagine the rush! I LOVE roller coasters. The faster and scarier, the better. And wouldn't you know it. The world's fastest roller coaster (the Formula Rossa) is here in Abu Dhabi. This summer, I am so there...front row!
- I'm allergic to seafood. Terrible, right? I LOVE seafood but I can't eat it. I can eat tilapia and tuna fish. I can even eat Long John Silvers or fishsticks. But for the most part, I have some kind of allergic reaction if I eat seafood. Most just makes me nauseous, puke, or my throat itch. Not Perch fish. Remember that scene in Hitch where he eats seafood? Yeah. That's me if I eat perch. My face swells and my airways close in. If I'm not careful, perch fish can send me to my grave.
- I hate clowns. Never liked them, especially Ronald McDonald. They're just...creepy. Remember, Stephen King's It? *shudder* My children will not be having clowns at any of their parties. If so, Mommy's gonna have to retreat to her bedroom til they leave. Not that I'm scared of them or anything. Cos I'm not. Really, I'm not.
- I'm a nerd. And proud of it. I've always been a nerd. Always will be. I have no problems admitting this. Nerds rule the world. As a teen, I preferred staying in my room to read and write over going outside and playing like normal kids. So much so that, the few times I got in trouble, my punishment was to go outside or call friends. And yes. To me, that was a fate worse than death.
- I'm a 5th generation first-born female. My great great grandmother, great grandmother, grandmother, mother, and I are all the oldest child in our families. I just think this is so cool. I wonder if I'll have the 6th generation first-born female or will I be the one to break the cycle and have a boy as my first born. No pressure, right?
- I collect angels. Anything that has to do with angels. I've got angel figurines, angel pillows, angel hats, etc. It all stems from my great grandmother, GaGa, who saved me when I was a baby. You can read the story here.
- I'm Chi-Town born, H-Town bred, and AD led. I was born in Chicago. Then, 2 months before my eighth birthday, we moved to Houston, where I was raised and have lived most of my life. Now, I've been led to Abu Dhabi, where I currently reside. I still have Chicago in me (I say pop instead of soda), and Abu Dhabi is an absolute beautiful place to live, but my heart will always be in Houston. I love my city.
- I love to bake. It's actually a stress reliever for me. Cookies, cakes, brownies...you name it. I get in that kitchen and all my worries/stress melts away. And I'm good at it, too. I get my love of baking from GaGa. Of course, I try not to be overly stressed. Too much baking is so not good for the hips.
- I'm a vampire. Ok, not really. But, like a vampire, I can't stay out in the sun for long. If I do, I get sick (migraine, hard time breathing, hives). It drains me of energy. On days I go to the beach or chill at the park, when I get home, I'm done for. That's it. I'm no good afterwards. I think it has more to do with the heat than the sun itself, though. This is why most of my Abu Dhabi summer days will be spent inside rather than outside. It gets CRAZY hot here in AD.
- My favorite animal is the white tiger. I LOVE white tigers. They're beautiful and rare...just like me. I had a pet one named Sasha. Well, not a real one. She was my stuffed animal. I let my nephew have it when I moved to AD. He begged me for it. I admit. It was hard to give her up, but I did. Now, some of the sheikhs' sons here in the UAE have pet white tigers. If I could own a pet tiger, I so would. But alas, it wasn't meant. They were meant to be out in the wild.
- I have an irrational fear of cockroaches. Especially huge FLYING cockroaches like the ones we see in Houston. I can't stand them. At. All. These things should not have wings. They just shouldn't. I'm not sure what God was thinking, giving them wings. Thankfully, I haven't seen any in Abu Dhabi.
- Mulan is my favorite kiddie movie. I loved everything about it. The soundtrack. The characters. The storyline. EVERYTHING. Mulan is a perfect example of a strong, yet vulnerable female character. And that Li Shang. Whew!
- I'm a sarcastic person. Shocking, right? You're like, "Seriously, Rae? I hadn't even noticed!" I know. But yes. Sarcasm is my friend. We go way back. I think this is part of the reason why my favorite age group to teach is junior high. They are terribly sarcastic. They so get me & I them. Actually, my whole family is sarcastic. It takes special people to hang with us.
- I'm slightly clumsy. Ok more than slightly. I'm very clumsy. Extremely clumsy. Embarrassingly clumsy. Like one time, I was so busy reading my Nook while walking to my room, that I ran right into my door, head first. Proof that reading while walking is a dangerous thing.
- I LOVE my curves! But it wasn't always like this. In high school, I went through an anorexic faze, where for six months, I either didn't eat or I ate very little. My parents caught on, though. Thank God. I didn't get scary skinny and I didn't do any damage. But that's only by the grace of God. Now, I love being full figured; wouldn't change it for the world. Being voluptuous and curvy rocks!
- I actually prefer action movies over romantic movies. Yep. I may be the only woman who feels this way, but that's me. Don't get me wrong. I love romantic movies. I just love action better. I think this may a result of my being an adrenaline junkie. Movies like the Bourne series and Mission Impossible series are my favorite to watch. I also like the XMen series and the like. I so can't wait to see the Avengers!
- I have two tattoos & a nose piercing. A peace sign on my ankle and the word "virtuous" written in Japanese on my right shoulder blade. I got them to celebrate turning 30. This summer, I plan to get one of a butterfly to celebrate stepping out of my comfort zone & moving to Abu Dhabi. I'd like to say I've come out of my cocoon and am now a butterfly. My nose piercing actually closed when I moved here. I wasn't sure if they frowned upon nose piercings at work, so I took mine out. I know now that it's fine so, I plan to get it re-pierced this summer.
- I'm a child of God. I'm totally, irrevocably, madly in love with Jesus Christ! I believe in the Holy Trinity (the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). I believe in the existence of heavenly angels as well as fallen angels (demons). I believe that Satan and his demons are real and are causing havoc on the children of God. I believe that Jesus died & rose for my sins and, because of this, I have victory over Satan. I believe that Jesus is coming back again at a time unknown to man. I believe that when I die, I will spend eternity in paradise with God, Jesus, the angels, and all my loved ones who died before me. I am not perfect...will never be perfect. But I do strive to become the woman God has called me to be. I will not apologize for my beliefs. Yes, it is my job to tell unbelievers about Christ, but I do not believe in beating it over their heads. My life speaks just as powerfully as my words. I try to practice what I preach. When people see me, I want them to know I'm different. There's something about me that separates me from others. And that "something" my loves, is God.
Ok, so yes I'm cheating. This week has been...draining to say the least. I just didn't have the energy to even think about blogging. So, I ended up getting behind in my posts. To catch up, I have to put a few of the letters together. Mafi mushkila, right? BTW, "mafi mushkila" means "no problem" in Arabic. See, I'm learning a little something something while living here in Abu Dhabi.
Anywho, on to my post...
I'm going to visualize what I want my life to be like...where I'd like to see myself in 10 years. Of course, God has the final say, but He gives us the desires of our heart (if it's according to His will), right? So, here it is. In 10 years, I see myself...
- Married to a wonderful, God-fearing husband who loves and cherishes me. He's the head of the house, but he doesn't mind me being me cos of course, that's who he fell in love with. I see us as sort of a power couple, only for the Kingdom of God. Everything we do, whatever job we have, will be for the glory of God. And people will see Christ through us. Will our marriage be perfect? NO. I have a feeling God is going to send me someone who's the opposite of me, so I'm sure there will be some head-bumping going on. But after all is said and done, we'll work our problems out. I know this can happen cos my parents have done it. 35 years of marriage - 39 years of being together - and my parents are still together...still in love.
- A mother to wonderful children, including twins. Honestly? I'd love to have a set of boy/girl twins and be done with child-bearing. Not so far-fetched considering the fact that my dad was a twin (she died at birth, though). So, it's quite possible one of his children will have twins. I've discussed this with God: boy/girl twins then I'm done. But of course, God may decide to give me more. Or less. My children will not be perfect, but who is? But my husband and I will be rearing them with God's help.
- As Dr. Raenice B. Weakly, EdD. I will finish my doctorate. I'm determined. I had to take a break because of financial hardship, but I will go back. Soon. Prayerfully, if all goes well, I'll be back in school this summer. And since I'm on that final leg of my program - my dissertation - I can be finished by sometime in 2013. My degree will be used more for research purposes. I'd like to research reading education. I'd especially like to research aliteracy, which is when people know how to read, but they choose not to. My main focus will, of course, be on kids - teens to be specific. I've heard of so many tweens/teens who hate reading. They don't do it. Unless they're forced and that makes them hate it even more. I want to research ways to get children and teens into reading. Being a total book nerd myself, I can't fathom people NOT liking to read. I just can't.
- Successful entrepreneur. I'm still panning out the details of my business, but I know I plan to open an enrichment center for youth. I've had this idea in my head since I was about 14 years old. It was an old Cosby show episode - the one with Theo working at a community center - that planted the seed. I saw the kind of work and the difference he was making at this center, I knew that's what I wanted to do. It wasn't until 2 years ago that God reminded me of my dream. So, one of my goals while here in Abu Dhabi is to come up with a business plan and afterwards, start looking for places and funding. Whether or not the enrichment center becomes a franchise, I'll leave up to God. But I plan to do big things and make big differences through my center(s).
- Best-selling author. Notice I didn't just say author. I said best-selling author. I know God blessed me with a gift of writing. Not everyone can create stories - not everyone can create good stories - so, I treasure my gift. And I plan to share it with the youth of this world. I'll start out writing tween/teen novels. Eventually, I can venture out to other genres...mainly women's fiction and Christian non-fiction. Before I leave Abu Dhabi, I have to have 2 novels written and revised, possibly out on agents'/publishers' desks. I've completed and revised one novel, set it aside, and will bring it back out to make changes. I'm working on novel #2. I have a bagillion other stories just waiting to be written. Perhaps, I can even dream that my books become money-making movies?
So, there it is. Well, the gist of it anyway. There are other details, but these are the main ones. The awesome thing is, I can ask God for all of this and not feel like I'm being too picky or selfish. He wants His children to ask for what we want. And I'm sure He wants us to be specific. I love that I can come to Him with my dreams, hopes, and aspirations and He won't laugh at me or think I'm crazy. I can't wait to see what He will do for and through me. He's got something big planned for my life and I plan to buckle up and enjoy the ride!
Genre: Fiction, Children's Novels
Release: September, 2011
Description: This year, instead of celebrating Thanksgiving in the family's traditional way by eating pizza in their pajamas, nine-year-old Katie wants to create the perfect holiday and be just like a "real" family. But by Thanksgiving Day, Katie has invited guests Dad didn't expect, festooned the house with what may be poison oak, and set the sweet potatoes on fire. Ultimately everyone sits down to a most unusual dinner--one that succeeds because it comes from the heart.
Review: Nine year-old, Katie, does not have what we'd call a "normal" family. Her mom is off chasing her country star dreams, so it's just Katie, her dad, and her three year-old brother, Tyler. It is a tradition in the household to order pizza, stay in their pajamas, and watch football all day on Thanksgiving. The perfect Thanksgiving for Katie until now. Her supposed best friend, Claire, who lost her mother in a car accident the year before, keeps bragging about how she and her dad were going to have the perfect Thanksgiving. Suddenly, pizza and football doesn't sound so perfect compared to what Claire says they'll have. So, Katie works to come up with a perfect and normal Thanksgiving. But the more she thinks of, the more her plans go awry. Will Katie's Thanksgiving turn out to be the best - or worse - Thanksgiving?
WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE
- Claire was annoying, but that's how it was supposed to be. Her character fit in.
- I liked how the single dads were represented in this book. There are plenty of children's books with single moms, but not enough with single dads. It was awesome to see them well represented.
- I liked the message - that because your family may not be a "normal" family doesn't mean it isn't a real family.
- I loved the family tradition of pizza, pajamas and football! Sounds awesome.
- I can picture what was happening in the book as well as feel what Katie was feeling.
Author: Jennifer Rogers Spinola
Genre: Fiction, Christian, Romance
Release: October, 2011
Description: Ride the rollercoaster of Shiloh Jacobs’s life as her dreams derail, sending her on a downward spiral from the heights of an AP job in Tokyo to penniless in rural Virginia. Trapped in a world so foreign to her sensibilities and surrounded by a quirky group of friends, will she break through her hardened prejudices before she loses those who want to help her? Can she find the key to what changed her estranged mother’s life so powerfully before her death that she became a different woman—and can it help Shiloh too?
Review: Shiloh Jacobs lives in Japan where she has the perfect life, perfect job, and perfect fiance. Sure she overspends to keep up an image, causing her to have stacks of credit card bills, but other than that, life is good. Until her mother back in the States dies and leaves her house to Shiloh. Shiloh was not close to her mother. At all. Yet, she goes to Staunton, Virginia to the funeral and to sell the house. While there, Shiloh loses both her job and fiance. Life couldn't get any worse. Only it does. Her hopes for a quick sale are dashed. God has funny ways of getting your attention and this is His way of getting Shiloh's. So now, Shiloh's stuck in Staunton, surrounded by her mom's friends, people Shiloh thinks are rednecks. What Shiloh doesn't realize is, these "rednecks" are teach her about true friendship, happiness, and most importantly, God's love.
WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE
- The beginning was a little slow. It picked up more after she receives the call about her mother's death.
- It was slightly stereotypical of the South, but not enough not to like the book.
- The cover and title immediately grabbed my attention! I mean, come on. "Southern Fried Sushi"...what a cool title. The cover is colorful and the mix of cultures is evident (Japanese dress & fan with cowboy boots).
- I loved Shiloh's character. Throughout the book, you see her growth and will be rooting for her by the end.
- The secondary characters are pretty awesome, too. They're well-rounded, three dimensional characters, just like Shiloh. Her mom's friends all have their little quirks that makes them endearing.
- The message of God and His love is written in the story without being too preachy. It's subtle, but...obvious. I know that's an oxymoron, but that's how I can describe it. It's not the "beat you with the Bible" type of message, but a "Let me tell you what God has done for me" type of message.
- I love that Shiloh did not automatically accept Christ. Had she immediately accepted Him, it wouldn't have been real. She struggled. Thought about it. Then struggled some more. It makes the book more authentic.
- There's a little romance in it, but that's not the focus. The focus is more on Shiloh and her growth as a person. But Ms. Spinola does add a splash of romance.
Today's post is dedicated to my name. My mom had special reasons for both my first and middle names.
Raenice. My mom wanted to give me a name that would give me the nickname, Rae. In her mind, she saw me as an adult; a businesswoman. She said she imagined a room full of men waiting for a businessman named Ray to make an appearance in the meeting, but in walks this sexy businesswoman named Rae. The men's mouths would hang open and they'd all be enamored by my beauty and sexiness. I see where I got my imagination from. I'm so gonna use this set up in a romance novel sometime in the future. Anyway, so her middle name is Denise. Add Rae to the last part of her middle name and you get Raenice (pronounced "Rae-niece"). My name is actually spelled Rae'Nice, but I don't use the hyphen. Maybe I'll use it when I'm a best-selling author. Hmm...
Beatrice. This one is not as "glamorous" as my first name, but it's just as important. I was named after my great grandmother, GaGa, who died seven months before I was born. Remember, she's the one who saved my life when I was a baby. If you didn't read the story, you can read it here.
I love names that mean something. Since Raenice is made up, it doesn't really have an official meaning. I say it means "unique" cos it's not a common name. Beatrice means "voyager of life" and "blessed" (source). It also means "she who makes happy" and "she who brings happiness" (source).
So there you go. Raenice Beatrice. A unique voyager of life, who's happy, blessed and brings happiness to those around her. Yep. That's me.
I love my name.
I've got a story for you.
It's about a couple and the night they almost lost their baby girl.
One cold winter night, this couple slept in their bed while their baby girl slept in her crib close by. Sometime during the night, the woman noticed her grandmother standing in front of their bed.
Her grandmother had died the year before.
The woman didn't think it weird that her dead grandmother stood in front of her. She was just excited to see her. The woman and her grandmother were so close and she missed her so much. Unfortunately, the grandmother died before she even got a chance to meet the baby girl. The woman excitedly told her grandmother about her new life.
"GaGa! You've got to see her! She's so beautiful."
All GaGa said was, "Check the baby."
"Yes, but GaGa, I'm so excited. You should see her! She..."
"Check the baby."
This went on for a few minutes before GaGa started to fade away. The woman cried, "No GaGa! Don't go! I miss you so much! And the baby...you've got to see her!"
"Check the baby."
Finally, GaGa was gone. The man heard the woman call out for GaGa, but he didn't see GaGa. He shook the woman awake and asked what was wrong. The woman described what happened and her excitement at seeing GaGa again. Finally, she told him all GaGa said was, "Check the baby."
The both decided to see what GaGa was talking about. When they checked the crib, what they saw made their hearts stop. Their baby girl was blue in the face...not breathing. Scared and alarmed, they rushed her to the hospital where the doctors worked to bring the child back to life.
They succeeded. The couple breathed a sigh of relief.
GaGa saved their baby girl.
The ghost of a dead woman saving a great granddaughter she never met. Sounds fictitious, doesn't it? Like a supernatural, out-of-this-world kind of story?
It's a true story. It's my story. I was that baby girl. My mom was the woman, and my dad was the man. I've never met GaGa. She died seven months before I was born, a victim of a robbery gone bad. But almost a year after her death, she came back, if only for a few minutes, to save her great granddaughter. The doctors told my parents that, had they come even a minute later, I would've been gone...a victim of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), also known as "Crib Death."
One of the current popular trends in YA is angels. Lots of fiction with angels as main characters. Are angels real? What about ghosts?
I believe they're real. First of all, they're in the Bible and I believe the Bible to be truth, God's Word. The Bible tells of both heavenly angels (like Gabriel, Raphael, and Michael) and fallen angels (Satan and his demons). Yes, I believe there's a spiritual realm that we can't see, with angels - both heavenly and fallen - roaming the earth, in the midst of a spiritual war...a battle for our souls.
But I also believe angels are real because one saved my life. I believe God sent GaGa's angel to my mom to save my life. He knew that my mom wouldn't be weirded out by seeing GaGa. He knew my mom would've listened to GaGa. God tells us in the Bible (Psalm 91:11) that He sends His angels to guard His children.
Because God sent GaGa's angel, I am alive today.
My name is Rae and I'm a Pepsi-holic.
I can't remember a time when I wasn't all about Pepsi. It seems as if I've always been addicted. But if I had to choose a time my addiction worsened, I'd say in adulthood.
I got to the point where I had to have a Pepsi everyday. I couldn't function without the burn of the yummylicious carbonated drink. I've discovered that, instead of being an emotional eater, I'm an emotional drinker (of Pepsi...not alcohol). Stressed? Drink Pepsi. Had a bad day? Pepsi makes it all better. Celebrating? Have a can of Pepsi.
I thought moving to another country would help me. Perhaps the UAE would be more into Coke, a drink I can't really stand. I was so wrong. They're into Pepsi. In fact, there's a Pepsi factory two minutes away. TWO MINUTES.
I know Pepsi is bad for me, but it's soooooo good! All other pops - or sodas, as some of you say - pale in comparison.
In my defense, though, Pepsi-holism runs in the family. My great great grandmother, great grandmother, grandmother, and mother were and are Pepsi drinkers. See? It's hereditary. So, really it's not my fault. I was doomed from the start.
So, is there a cure? Will I ever get over my addiction? I sure hope so. I've actually gotten better. I don't drink it as much as I used to. Of course, this tall, glass of Pepsi I have in my hand right now may say differently. But it's the thought that counts, right?
TUPAC RISES FROM THE DEAD TO PERFORM WITH DR. DRE AND SNOOP DOG!
Ok, so it was only a hologram of the late (and much missed) rapper, who died almost 16 years ago, but seriously? How cool is that? I miss Tupac. One of the best hip hop artists ever, in my humble opinion. I loved how the image is so realistic.
Wouldn't it be funny if, one day, communication among other things, went to holographic images. Like, instead of Skyping on the computer, we'd Skype with an image...making it feel like the person you're skyping with were really there with you. I wouldn't be surprised at all. It's coming. Mark my words...
OMG, this is so cool!
I must warn you, there are some profane language.
I do plan on visiting other blogs and commenting. I just haven't had the time or the energy. But I will soon.
N is for...Natural
I have an anniversary coming up.
Next Tuesday, April 24th marks the one year anniversary of my being natural. This means I have not put a perm in my hair for almost a year.
I didn't think I could do it. My hair is crazy thick. The perm not only straightened it, but it also made my hair more manageable. My mom first put a perm in my hair when I was a little girl...about five years old. So, for about 30 years, I'd had permed hair. That's a long time. Last April, I'd decided maybe I'd try the natural thing. But I didn't think I'd last (I'd tried before, but just couldn't do it). Then, I was hired to work in Abu Dhabi. I honestly didn't think they would have perm here. And I don't trust just anybody to touch my hair, so that counted beauticians here out. I figured I'd keep doing the natural thing.
And now, one year later, I'm still a naturalista. I love it! Not having to stress about whether my hair gets wet...not worrying about "sweating" out my perm when I exercise...not taking forever to style my hair...being able to wash and go. My hair is even thicker without the perm, but I don't have to spend a long time to style it.
I did the "Big Chop" this past January. For those who don't know, the big chop is when you cut the rest of your permed hair off and become 100% natural. One day, I just realized how tired I was of having two textures of hair (permed vs natural). I took a pair of scissors and started chopping. I still call it temporary insanity cos it wasn't until I was about halfway through when it occurred to me: "I'm really cutting my hair." Yes, I panicked a bit, but by then, it was too late. I don't regret it, tho.
It's funny because my hair seems to be a source of fascination for my students. It's like they try to figure out how my hair is the way it is. They have a habit of touching it...or trying to. Like I said, I don't trust just anybody to touch my hair.
I enjoy watching my hair grow and seeing my natural curl. I can't wait to see what it will look like when it's long. It may not be as easy to maintain then. For now, I'll enjoy the low maintenance of having short natural hair.
|This is a pic of my hair combed out into an afro. Feeling a little Pam Grier-ish. Lol.|
|Same style pulled back.|
I have a twin.
Well, not really, but you may as well call her that. She's my sister, born six years after me. But we may was well be twins.
We look alike. We think alike. We even sound alike sometimes. It's kind of creepy how much alike we really are. People are always getting us confused. I don't see how they can confuse us, but they do. I mean, if we really wanted to, we could play some serious tricks on people (insert evil laugh). But we wouldn't do that. Hehe.
This is our relationship in phases:
- Mother/child: When she was a baby, I treated her like she was mine; helped take care of her.
- Big sis/Little sis: As we got older (when I became a teen), she was like a typical little sister, always following me around, wanting to be and do whatever I was and did. She was my mini-me.
- Besties: As adults, we grew even closer and she became my best friend. This is where we're at now.
I'm blessed to have a good relationship with my sister...with my whole family, actually. I have a tight, close-knit family and I am so thankful for that. Not everyone is close to their fam. And not every woman has a sister they can call their best friend. So yeah. I'm blessed.
I am a woman on a mission. That mission - should I choose to accept it (sorry couldn't resist) - is to become multilingual. Knowing only one language is so...blah. Knowing more than one language, tho, opens up a whole new world.
Right now, I'm working on mi español. I can understand Spanish. I can even read it and pronounce it correctly. It's the responding in Spanish that I'm struggling with. Years ago, I worked in an area that was predominantly Latino, so I was able to use my Spanish. But after I left that area, my Spanish left me. Or so it seems. It's somewhere stashed in the recesses of my mind. But I'm slowly getting it out. It helps that my sister is fluent. She usually speaks to me in Spanish and forces me to answer back. And watching telenovelas helps BIG TIME. That's actually how I started learning Spanish: by watching the Spanish channel on Saturday mornings. I do not like American soap operas, but I get so addicted to telenovelas. I start out not knowing what they're saying, but after a while, I get it. With a bit of practice and help from my sister, friends, and telenovelas, I'll become bilingual in no time.
Since I live in Abu Dhabi now, I'm trying to learn Arabic. I'm not so sure I'll be able to read & write it. I mean, it looks so confusing! For example, the word, car, looks like this, سيارة (I got this from Google Translate, by the way). I learned that it sounds like sayara. I'm learning more and more Arabic words everyday. Not so sure about writing/reading it, but who knows. Hopefully, I'll be able to hold a basic conversation in Arabic.
I wish I'd started learning new languages as a kid. It's so much easier to learn when you're young. I see my students and how quickly they're picking up English within less than a year. They're going to be totally bilingual before they even reach the 6th grade! Unfortunately, I started in my late teens. But I started and that's what counts. I'm determined to be multilingual. And when the time comes for me to have kids, so they will be multilingual, too.
So, after I've conquered Spanish and Arabic, what language should I learn? Japanese? French? Portuguese? Who knows! The sky's the limit!
To be honest, I believe that they're the reason God has me here on Earth. I've known this since I was a teen. I may have even subconsciously known this as a kid. It started when my brother and sister were born. When I was seven, my brother three and my sister one, we played school in my room. They'd sit between my stuffed animals as my students. It was a game, but I taught them how to read, write, and count. They were the first children God used me to educate. After them, I kept going: working in the church's nursery before I was even 10; babysitting as a teen; teaching children's Sunday school & working with preteens & teens at church; tutoring; teaching...the list goes on. And now, I'm working on a writing career, mentoring program, & an enrichment center.
Everything I do will always go back to my purpose. My writing career? Children & teens. My mentoring program? For girls (ages 5 - 18). Enrichment center? Children & teens. When I graduate with my doctorate - prayerfully within a year or two - I plan to use it to do reading research so I can help better education for our youth. I even thought of becoming an advocate for youth who can't speak up for themselves.
Some people go through life never knowing their purpose. Why am I here? What should I do? I'm blessed to have had my purpose revealed to me at a young age. My mission is to educate, enrich, & empower children/teens. I have no doubt this is what God has called me to do.
No, this post isn't about the song by The Temptations, although I do love the song.
Nope. This post is about imagination.
As a kid, I had a huge imagination. I had imaginary friends (two, in fact) and I spent most of my time in my room, making up stories and fantasy worlds. My imaginary friends (Trevavay and I can't remember the other one) were as real to me as any living, breathing person. We were the best of friends. I even got mad at my dad once when he (unknowingly) sat on Trevavay. And though I loved reading, I loved making up stories even more. My siblings and I didn't always have the latest toy or game, so we made up things to play. I remember one time, we pretended to be angels in the land of Blue Crystal. Don't ask me where the name "Blue Crystal" came from. If I remember correctly, that's what our kingdom was made up of. We flew around our kingdom (i.e. the house) doing our angel duties, saving the people from peril. We even had a pet named Buttercup (a pink stuffed kitten). I think I spent most (ok, maybe all) of my childhood in my room, making up stories. The lands I made up, the characters that came to mind, they were real to me. I think that's the reason why Bridge to Terabithia was - and still is - one of my favorite kids books.
Even now, as an adult, I still have an imagination. I LOVE writing. Coming up with the stories; choosing characters; building the world. I love it all. If truth be told, the characters choose me. It's like I can hear them talking to me, telling me what they like and don't like; what they would do in certain situations. No, I'm not crazy (ok, maybe just a little, but let's not get into that). I'm a writer. Only writers would know what I'm talking about.
I love my imagination. I thank God that adulthood didn't take it away. I'm hanging on to my imagination, even when I'm old and wrinkly. It keeps me from turning into a sourpuss adult. It helps me enjoy life. It's cos of this God-given gift that I decided to become an author for children and teens. I think, if I really sat down and put my mind to it, I could write an awesome fantasy book, I have just that kind of imagination. But, for now, I'm happy with writing contemporary, realistic novels. But one day...one day, that fantasy book (or books) will come bursting forth.
I'm not published now but, make no mistake, I will be published one day. I truly believe that God has allowed me to keep my child-like imagination for a reason. I don't think He gave me this gift just to let it simmer in the recesses of my mind. He gave it to me so I can share it with children and teens. I can give them the same kind of enjoyment and satisfaction that authors of my childhood gave to me. So, you all might as well remember my name: Raenice "Rae" Weakly. Your children, students, nieces, nephews, siblings...they just may be reading my books in the future!
Genre: Fiction, Romantic Suspense
Release: August, 2011
Description: In the whole state of Montana, there's nowhere to hide. . .
Review: In Seconds is Ms. Novak's second book in her Bulletproof series (Inside, being #1). Where Inside focuses on Virgil, In Seconds focuses on his sister, Laurel, who now goes by Vivian. She's running from the gang called The Crew, set on revenge. She's left witness protection with her two kids and now live in a small town, Pineview, Montana. Her next door neighbor happens to be the town's sexy sheriff, Myles King. Laurel develops feelings for Myles, but she fights them, believing she can't trust anyone in law enforcement. Myles develops feelings for Laurel, but is still hurting from his wife's death three years ago. Will these two lovebirds be able to get past their hurts and mistrust? And if they do, will The Crew get to Laurel before they can get something started? You'll have to read to find out!
WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE
- The fact that I couldn't put the book down. This is only cos it meant I stayed up til all hours of the night trying to finish the book.
WHAT I LIKED
- The fact that I couldn't put the book down. You know the book's good when you absolutely must keep reading to find out what happens next.
- Ms. Novak paints pictures with her words. I can see in my head the scenes in the book.
- I didn't have to read Inside to understand this book. Though I probably would've understood more had I read Inside, In Seconds can be a standalone book.
- I liked the relationship between Myles and Laurel. They both feel something for each other, but they don't rush and jump right into bed with each other. They took their time. They both had children and they put their children first.
- The characters were realistic...not perfect; not terribly flawed that I couldn't stand them. They were just right.
I know I'm a day behind with the posts. No worries, I'll be all caught up by Sunday.
Today is my parents' wedding anniversary. Thirty-five years and still going strong. They're high school sweethearts, which means they've actually been together longer than 35 years. From what they tell me, their relationship started out as friendship and progressed into something more.
Thirty-five years is a LONG time. Not all couples make it that long. According to statistics, only 50% (or some high percentage like that) of married couples stay together. I am so glad my parents are a part of the group that has stayed together. Although their mushiness is something kids - even grown kids - would rather not witness from their parents, I'm glad to see they're still in love. I must admit, their mushiness is kinda cute. But don't you DARE tell them I said that.
They've made mistakes in their marriage; some I know...some I don't know. BUT I still consider them to be models for what a strong, godly marriage is supposed to look like. Watching my parents, I learned how important it is for couples to put God first in their relationship. I learned how a real man treats his wife and how a wife can be submissive without being a doormat. My father treats my mother like a queen. He's very protective of her...of all his girls (Mama, my sister, and I). My future hubby has some big shoes to fill. My mother knows when she needs to step back, but at the same time, she'll let Daddy know when he's wrong. She knows when to submit, even when she doesn't want to. We joke and say Mama is really the one who runs the house, but make no mistake. My dad is the head of the household as God intended him to be.
I pray that, when my time comes to be married and have a family, my marriage is as strong as my parents. No, each generation is supposed to be better than the previous, right? So, I pray my marriage is even stronger than my parents'...and that's pretty strong.
I absolutely adore my parents and am so blessed God chose me to be their child. My parents are all kinds of awesome and they deserve every good thing that comes their way.
I like listening to all kinds of music. Pop, R & B, Hip Hop, Spanish, Classical, Gospel, Contemporary Christian, Neosoul, old school, new school...the list goes on. My iPod has a mixture of music; from Jay Z to Taylor Swift...From Celia Cruz to Daughtry. If the song has a cool beat and gets my body moving, chances are I'll like it. This becomes hard sometimes when I listen to the lyrics. The beat is tight, the rhythm gets me moving, but the lyrics are all wrong. The lyrics may be too profane or just plain cheesy (like most of the Disney songs). Most of the time, I can ignore the lyrics and just feel the beat. Sometimes, I can not. I've been known to get the edited version instead of the explicit one.
Looking for good music? Music with both tight beats AND awesome lyrics? I have a close friend of the family, Lee-Lonn, who's starting his journey in the music business. I remember when Lee was a youth, he used to always sing. We always knew his voice was amazing. I'm so glad he's using the gift God has given him. When his cd comes out (not sure when, but it WILL happen), I'll definitely be one of the first in line. Here's a video of one of his singles, my favorite song of his so far. It's all him...background & lead vocals. VERY talented artist whom I'm very proud of. LOVE this song!
F is for...Fragrances!
I love fragrances! I'm not quite sure at what point did I become
obsessed with so into fragrances (perfume/cologne). I DO know how addicted to in love with fragrances I am. I can honestly go broke in a perfume store. And I don't have any one kind of scent that I like. Floral, sweet, fruity, soft...I love them all. I'm like a chameleon when it comes to wearing perfume. It all depends on my mood. I may or may not wear the same fragrance in a row. Bath and Body Works fragrances, Arabic fragrances, Baby Phat, Mariah Carey...my vanity is full of different kinds of fragrances.
I actually had way more than this, but I'd gotten rid of most of them when I moved to Abu Dhabi, eight months ago. And within that eight months, my collection of tantalizing scents grew. Again.
Don't even get me started on fragrances for men. I LOVE a good-smelling man! Seriously. I remember when I first moved here to Abu Dhabi, and an Emirati man passed me. I got a whiff of his enticing cologne; I had to do a double take. My nose said, "Follow that smell!" Of course I ignored it. That would've been creepy. And weird. And a bit stalkerish, perhaps?
You do not know the depth of my love for fragrances!
E is for Easter
Tomorrow will be one of the most important days in the life of the Christian. EASTER! I can't assume that everyone who reads my blog are Christians or know about the Christian faith. With that being said, for those who don't know what Easter is about, it's the day we celebrate the resurrection of our savior, Jesus Christ.
Here's the short story...
It the beginning, Adam and Eve disobeyed God, which introduced sin into the world and caused a rift between God and man - God's most cherished creation. God needed someone or something unblemished and sin-free to be sacrificed to atone for the sins of man. Regular humans couldn't do it. Only God's son, Jesus, fit the bill. So, God sent His son to Earth to live as an unblemished, sin-free human (while being still maintaining His deity).
The Bible doesn't say much about Jesus's life from 2 - 30. We catch a glimpse of Him as a 12 year old, but that's about it. His ministry began when He turned 30. For three years, Jesus went around preaching, teaching, and performing miracles. Of course, this ruffled the feathers of the religious community (the Pharisees/Sadducees). They disliked Jesus so much, that they plotted ways to make Him look like a liar. Eventually, they found a way to have Him persecuted.
Basically, Jesus, an innocent man, was crucified on trumped up charges, thanks to the betrayal of one of his disciples (Judas). Sounds horrible, and it was. They treated Him horribly...beat Him til He was practically unrecognizable, then killed Him in an inhumane way. BUT, this was all a part of God's plan. Though Jesus didn't want to go through the pain and humiliation (read about His Garden of Gethsemane prayer in Matthew 26:36-46, Mark 14:32-42, and Luke 22:39-46), He went through it because He knew without it, the rift between God and believers would remain.
Jesus was tortured, humiliated, and crucified on Friday (which is where we get Good Friday, which, really wouldn't sound so good), then three days later, He was resurrected...He came back from the dead. We celebrate Easter cos a dead Christ wouldn't have brought God and man back together again. A dead Christ wouldn't have provided victory for God's people. Satan would've won. Through Jesus's resurrection, believers can experience a close and personal relationship with God. Before Jesus, God's people needed a priest to go to God on their behalf. We no longer need that mediator; we can go to God ourselves. We celebrate Easter cos it reminds us of God's grace and mercy. We don't deserve His grace and mercy. Humans will always continue to sin. Sometimes we knowingly rebel against God. But He still shows grace and mercy toward us.
The Bible tells us, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16). This means ANYONE who believes that Jesus died for our sins and was resurrected three days later, will spend eternity in heaven with God. We will die here on earth, but our souls will remain alive in paradise. This is all because Jesus chose to die on the cross. He didn't have to. Just like us, he had a choice. He could've said no. But he loved us so much - before we were even born - that he sacrificed his life. Now, we can not only look forward to life in paradise after our earthly lives are over, but we can also experience freedom and live abundant, victorious lives here on Earth.
Jesus is NOT dead...He has RISEN! THAT is why we celebrate!
D is for Dreams
Do you remember the dreams you had as a kid, for your future? I remember mine.
According to the young me, I was going to be married by 25. By 35, I'd be a mother of 4. As far as careers go, I'd either be a dancer, singer, actress, teacher, writer, pediatrician, pediatric nurse, entrepreneur or a combination of any of the above. I'd be living in a massive mansion, have the world's best behaved and smartest kids, own a vacation home on the beach, and my life would be all kinds of awesome.
Did my life turn out the way I'd dreamed? That would be a very big, HA! At 35, I'm still single with no kids. I do not live in a mansion nor do I own a beach house. Out of all the careers I wanted, only 3 of them have already or will come true: teacher, writer, and entrepreneur. I'm currently a teacher with dreams of owning my own business (enrichment centers for youth) and becoming a published (best-selling, ahem) author of novels for preteens and teens.
Does that mean my life isn't all kinds of awesome? Nope. I still believe I have a wonderful life. I'm still looking to get married and have kids, but I'm in no rush. That will happen when God says it'll happen. And the huge mansion? I still want a big house, but the massiveness, not so much. I don't have a beach house, but I do live in a high-rise apartment only a 20 minute drive from the beach. As a matter of fact, I can see beaches from my window.
So, yeah. All my kiddie dreams may not have come true, but I still consider myself blessed. And at 35, almost 36, I still have dreams that I'm working on to see come true. Hey, you're never too young to dream!
Today's post is dedicated to my crushes. Yes, I, at 35, have crushes. Two in fact. I mean, there are other men who I think are absolutely gorgeous, but there are two that I am
obsessed with in total awe of. These two men are my adult crushes. If you've visited my blog before, you'd probably already know who they are: Laz Alonso and Adam Rodriguez. I'd go see them in any movie, any tv show, anything, I don't care if the movie flopped or not. Adam Rodriguez is the reason I started watching CSI Miami (of course, now I'm hooked on the show). My goodness these men are muy caliente! If I were to ever have the pleasure of meeting them, I don't think I'd be able to handle it. I'd try to play it cool, but, knowing how I've always been around attractive men, I'm not so sure. I'd probably get all tongue tied and enamored by their beauty. Laz and Adam are both gorgeous and have a swag about them. And Adam Rodriguez will be in a movie (Magic Mike) where he plays a stripper? I am so there! *swoon*
Don't take my word for it.
Drool over Look at the pics. You can't tell me Laz and Adam aren't beautiful!
Author: Fran Manushkin
Genre: Picture Book, Fiction, Children's Book
Release: February, 2012
Description: Becoming a big sister is an exciting time full of smiles, smells, hugs, and kisses. For ages 2-5.
Bringing a new baby into the home is a time of wonder and challenges. Author Fran Manushkin celebrates this special time with tales that emphasize that there is plenty of love for everyone, baby and all.
- The sentences were short and sweet...perfect for children since they're attention span lasts a short while.
- This book can help children appreciate and understand the role of a big brother or big sister. Children who aren't sure or too happy about the new baby can understand that they can become helpers for mommy and daddy. The book also gives it an "I'm the boss" feel to it.
- The illustrations are colorful and pleasing to the eye.
- It explains the joy of being the older sibling. Doesn't make it out to be such a bad thing.
- This book shows that just because there's a new baby, doesn't mean parents love you any less.
This was a cute book, not only for older siblings, but for younger siblings also. There's also a Big Brothers are the Best version too!