Bazinga! 39 x 39 – Day of Rae, My Blogaversary and An Announcement

Hi Loves!!

How are you?  Today is my birthday aka #Raeday!!!

Bazinga!!!!

Wooooh!  I’m thankful and excited.  I love birthdays.  It’s an honor and a privilege to see them.    *cue “Never Would Have Made It by Marvin Sapp.  It also happens to be my two-year blogaversary!!!  Which I can’t really believe.  From Rae with Love, the Little Blog that Could, is two years old.  It’s been two years!  So much has happened since I first began writing From Rae With Love.   Funny enough, I’ve only shared a handful of the stories with you.

In my very first post this time two years ago, I shared some lessons I’d learned as of my 36th birthday and then I wanted to share a few thoughts I had on turning 37.  This year, I am going to do something a little bit different.  I want to share 39 things I want to do before my 39th birthday.  Not only does the number of years I’ve spent on this earth astound me, it’s also interesting to see how others handle and deal with it as well.  I’ve been watching people who are farther(further? why worry) along on their journey.  Some of them are handling the aging process better than others.   Mostly I think many of us just weren’t mentally prepared for how the time flies.  Not to mention, according to so many others and the rhetorical bullshit that spews out of someone’s mouth, as we approach 40 that’s supposed to mean we’re old? I don’t buy into it.  I never have.  Aging and growing older (and hopefully wiser) is a beautiful process.  From what I can tell, it’s about how we each choose to see it.

I have a who shitload of stuff I want to do over the next year.   They haven’t been listed in any specific order.  Each of them is critical to me and the next year.  Without further adieu, here’s the 39 x 39:

  1. Use the mixer my mother got me last year – more..which means I’ll be baking, or making pasta, or grinding meat.
  2. Create a series of You Tube Videos.
  3. Submit these short stories for publishing in literary journals.
  4. Write the short stories I mentioned in #3.
  5. Relocate.
  6. Take more photos.
  7. Lose 20% of my current bodyweight.
  8. Purchase a DSLR camera.
  9. Create a short film.
  10. Write a script for a show treatment.
  11. Tour DC with my friends and act like a tourist.  [I’m wearing the colored protective visor and Tevas and shorts and shit]
  12. Increase my income by 50% + get a new job.
  13. Eat from 30+ new restaurants (read includes dives, mom & pop stops and food trucks – that’s where the best food is)
  14. Take a series of photos worthy for a gallery exhibit.
  15. Add 1000 new followers on twitter.
  16. Create a new series of blog posts.
  17. Bake from scratch.  [I owe a series of zucchini loaves to a very close friend]
  18. Cook 25 new dishes I’ve never cooked.
  19. Purchase and successfully meal plan around a crock pot.
  20. Journal.
  21. Buy new furniture that meets my actual home-style now.
  22. Build a home theater system.
  23. Create a logo for the website.
  24. Attend a writers workshop.
  25. Research (info, interviews etc), write and publish an article or podcast for a major publication.
  26. Get a tattoo.
  27. Participate in new twitter chats.
  28. Have a conversation with a published author I admire.
  29. Publish a series of stories on Amazon.com.
  30. Be consistently happy.
  31. Be less fearful of trying new things.
  32. Publish one blog post that scares the shit out of me.
  33. Be on a major panel as a guest.
  34. Live. Like really have more to tell you so y’all can be all up in my business.
  35. Be able to achieve certain yoga poses.
  36. Write handwritten letters and notes to my close friends and family.
  37. Sew three (3) new projects and create a few new pieces of jewelry.
  38. Him.  [Redacted No. 38 about Rae’s love life]
  39. Pray more.  Hear more.  See more. Be more. Love more.  [I cheated here but IDC]

Whew!!! There it is – my 39 x 39.  Doable?  Yes.  Now let’s see how much of it I can get done effective immediately.  It’s not just about a mad rush of checking things off of a proverbial list, it’s about living and improving my quality of life.   There are also so many other things I plan to do within this next year – like buy some skates and roll around the city!!  Which brings me to my next announcement…..

I need to take a creative hiatus (aka a creative furlough, a creative retreat).

Relax.  Don’t freak out on me and get crazy.   The blog isn’t going anywhere.  I’m not really going anywhere.  I just won’t be posting for a while.  For the record, I don’t exactly know how long a while means, however, I do know it will be through the summer.

When you have a personal blog, it becomes increasingly difficult to share certain things.  Hills, valleys, good news, life changes and events and whatever else may come along means life tends to take over.  Life has taken over which means, I need to just live.  That’s what’s most important.

I’m still going to be here.  You can still find me on twitter @fromraewithlove.  I’m on twitter daily.  Otherwise, catch me on the Facebook page for the blog or if you really need to get deep, you can email me at fromraewithlove at gmail dot com.  So see, it’s not really that bad.  I can be located.  I just won’t be blogging.

So you’re wondering what am I planning to do with all of the time I don’t spend blogging?  I still plan to write.  I have a number of writing projects I need to complete.  I have new projects that are just taking off, that I can share later this week.  I’m also on the Dr. Vibe show monthly.  A few of my blogging friends and I have started a series of Google Hangouts. In other words,  I’m still here.

I know I’ve slowed down in the last months.  That’s mostly been because I am at a crossroads as a creative, as a writer and as a woman.  I’m not in a space to post everything.   I also have so many other things planned for the blog, for my life.  So basically, it’s time to live and get some things done.  Where else do all of these wonderful posts come from?  LIFE.

As the good 39 x 39 list reflects, I have a lot of work to do, a lot of living[loving] to do and quite a bit to organize, shift and put into motion.

Check in with me.  I still need want to hear from you.  I love emails and tweets.  See info above….

BTW, I’m always watching.  Trust and believe.

Mother loves you,

Rae

Why It’s Important to Invest…In Others (and Yourself)

 

Lately I have been thinking of what it means to invest in others.

Sowing, good soil…

I cannot say this enough – it’s important for us to build relationships and connections.  It’s important to lift others up.  We should be working on this daily.  It’s not a one off situation.  It’s something happening daily.  Although we’re in a recession and many of us are short on extra cash it doesn’t  mean our resources are short or slight.  This isn’t a season of lack, it’s a season to examine the real bounty in your life and set yourself up to be in a better position.  It’s a season to be creative with the resources we’ve been given. Remember the parable of the talents?  The Master of the household gives three men the same amount and asks them to do what they will with it (Matthew 25: 14-28 NIV).

  14 “Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. 15 To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag,[a] each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. 16 The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more. 17 So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more. 18But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.

   19 “After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. 20 The man who had received five bags of gold brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five bags of gold. See, I have gained five more.’

   21 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

   22 “The man with two bags of gold also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two bags of gold; see, I have gained two more.’

   23 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

   24 “Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25 So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’

   26 “His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? 27 Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.

   28 “‘So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags. 29 For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. 30 And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

So in other words, whatever you’ve been given – work to multiply it.  Work to increase what you’ve been given.  Burying what you’ve been blessed with doesn’t do any good for you or anyone else.  Seriously.

And what about the Parable of the Sower? (Mark 4:3-9)

3 “Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. 8Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times.”

 9 Then Jesus said, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.”

This is the season of talents.  A season to sow.  Are your actions falling on good soil? How creative can you be?  Can you use the resources at your hands in order to make some things happen?  Of course you can.  It isn’t always about money.  So one of the things I do – and try to do it on a regular – is invest in others.  Let me tell you what this looks like:

  1. Encouragement to those around you.
  2. Being fully present and able to listen.
  3. Lack of judgment for how others are living their lives (unless of course they are on a Ricky Bobby fast-track to the invisible fire – you may want to intervene then).
  4. Cooking a favorite meal to comfort someone.
  5. Anticipating someone’s needs before they have to ask me to do something.
  6. Giving a gift without expectation of anything in return.
  7. Lightening someone’s load – this usually comes in the form of good deeds, random acts of kindness, etc.

Sowing. This is where you’re really working and cannot exactly see the pay off now, but you’re delaying gratification for a better tomorrow. Let me also say this specifically can look like all of those difficult things and tasks you have absolutely no desire to handle.  This is more like an investment in yourself.  It may also appear as investment in others at times (because investing in others is investing in yourself and your future). You have faith that by creating a storehouse you’ll be able to use it one day.  You’ll have need for it.  You are in fact creating a surplus.  Momentum.   What does sowing look like?

  1. Tackling those things that are most debilitating.  This could be dealing with your credit (amen…Lord bless my credit), this could be handling debt, clearing away clutter from your house.  In other words, all of the work I’ve been putting off – this is part of what I consider sowing.
  2. Studying and perfecting a craft or hobby and turning it into a profession, a side hustle an income winning, way-making force.  I’m writing.  So how can I improve it?  Take a seminar?  A class? Teach another person? Blog in other places? Send those pitch letters I’m scared to send? Write when I’m reaaaaallllly not in the mood? Point is, butt in chair even on the days I’m not feeling it.  It will look different for you, but it’s always the same concept.  We often think we have to “be inspired” or “feel up to it” or have those ideas.  Those are lies and foolishness.  Do the work.
  3. Saving money.
  4. Learning how to do something that you know is important for your life and the way you live it.  Ex. cooking, budgeting, being kind to older people.  Pick an area you know you need to improve in.  And you better not tell me there’s no area where you need improvement.  You do.  I do.  We all do.
  5. Putting things in order. I know this is vague, but I mean it to be broad.  This may mean re-organizing your house. Changing the people you spend time with.  What’s important – most important to you and your life? What’s most precious to you?  Order your steps accordingly.  If you don’t know, pray and ask for the Divine Inspiration to assist you.  Trust me.  You’ll realize it.
  6. Making good on your promises.  To yourself, your loved ones.
  7. Reconnecting with the right people.  Aligning yourself with the ones that are the difference makers in your life.
  8. Ability to be honest with yourself and have honest conversations about 1) where you are at this moment and 2) where you want to go.  If you have no idea what your position is, how do you know which direction you’re headed?  If you’re not sure what you want or where you’re going, it’s hard to ask for directions.

All of the things I’ve listed above are things I am trying my hardest to work on.  It’s a lot.  It’s overwhelming some days.  Some days I make no progress – or what appears to me as no progress.  But I am here to tell you some days progress is just honoring where you are, yourself and your loved ones.  Being able to be good to them.  There are different seasons in our lives and each season calls for a different way of investing.  This may be a season where you need to focus on yourself to be the best person you can for your family – to improve their lives.

The love of my life often tells me it’s important to communicate how you’re feeling (I struggle with this – getting better, but Jesus be a fence). I add this piece because people need to know where you are in your life.  Maybe you need to cut back on all of the altruistic gestures?  Maybe you should buy yourself a nice lunch, that fancy typewriter you’ve always wanted, set up a special area in your house for yourself to work, get that pedicure, take those few days off on a vacay with yourself.  I’m not an expert, but I think you get the idea.

So are you sowing this season?  Think you can live up to your own talents?

I believe you can….

Love,

Rae

Giving Up to Get Up Part III: Giving People the Gift of Goodbye When Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow

Juliet:
‘Tis almost morning, I would have thee gone—
And yet no farther than a wan-ton’s bird,
That lets it hop a little from his hand,
Like a poor prisoner in his twisted gyves,
And with a silken thread plucks it back again,
So loving-jealous of his liberty.

Romeo:
I would I were thy bird.

Juliet:
Sweet, so would I,
Yet I should kill thee with much cherishing.
Good night, good night! Parting is such sweet sorrow,
That I shall say good night till it be morrow.

Romeo And Juliet Act 2, scene 2, 176–185

Relationships are at the forefront of my mind this week as I try and really work through some things.

I started out discussing my six-month dating challenge.  I’ve also talked about a few things I learned from my exes.  Today I want to talk about the “Gift of Goodbye.”

I’ve been thinking about people I’ve said good-bye to over the years.   Some who have said good-bye to me.  Some have had to watch me leave.  Others I haven’t even had the time to bid adieu properly.

There have been some seriously difficult days, albeit weeks, this year when it comes to being able to let go of people who either walked away or I needed to walk away from.  It hasn’t been easy.  Especially when you love them.

I had to woman up a few times and just accept that:

It’s difficult.

It’s hard.

It’s painful.

It’s gut-wrenching.

I’ve had to lay in bed a few days sometimes over these good-byes.

I’ve shed tears and did the ugly cry.

The housework has gone undone (I don’t recommend this, but you get it).

I’ve let phone calls roll over because the number I saw didn’t belong to the one I was pining over.

Then one day, a little elf visited me and gave me my happy back.  I was glad I didn’t have to deal with the rigmarole that some people bring.  All that foolishness that people tend to bring with them when they’re not whole people. Not to say that any one of us is whole.  Most of us are broken.

We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves. 2 Corinthians 4:7

We all have cracks.  We’re all jars of clay that have been cracked and resealed and repaired at some point.  I am.  It’s a part of the human condition.  However, some folks – well, they just aren’t whole nor do they choose to be.  You end up with all of the pieces in your hands, maybe even being blamed for the break.   Which is when you know it’s time to split ways.

The good-byes of my life turned out to be blessings in disguise.

Each time I’ve said good-bye or someone has peaced me out, it’s made me stronger.   It’s caused change.  It’s caused me to love more.   It’s made me a better woman.  It’s made me thankful.  It’s made me appreciative.  It’s shown me who is in my corner.  It’s made me learn to “measure twice and cut once” as the old folks used to say. I’m a better version of myself.  A stronger jar of clay this time.  If I get dropped, my cracks are sealed quicker.  Some hardcore realizations come about too.

Despite the pain, it’s the right thing to do sometimes.

It’s the best thing I can do sometimes.

It’s the only thing I should do other times.

Sometimes the goodbyes were mutual.  Sometimes I was at fault.  Sometimes one of us changed our minds.  Sometimes I chose to walk away.  Sometimes it was just time to split ways for whatever reason. It never made it any less painful.  Whether a good-bye is my choice or not, it can still be heartrending to say the least.

The point is, these are people I loved and I believe loved me.  This isn’t just applicable to men I’ve dated.  I’ve lost a friend or two along the way and it was just as painful because it was still someone I loved.

Then I realized, good-bye really isn’t all that bad.  It’s really a gift they can give you or you them when there’s nothing else left to give.  When all of the good times, respect, kindness, patience and love have left…guess what?

Bye bye baby.


And he says in the prologue on the song – not to look back right? Just kiss and say good-bye.  *As a side note I need one of those jumpsuits and to get my hair pressed and flipped like that. (#random)

So sing the song if you need to baby, but just be glad it’s over and say good-bye.

TD Jakes has a sermon called “Let it Go” and gives the best three-minute talk you’ll hear ever on the subject:

Today, I encourage you, if you’ve had to walk away, run away, or someone has walked away from you, quit you, fired you, broke up with you, betrayed you, broke your confidence, hurt you, I offer you hope.  Like the man said, your destiny is not tied to the person who left.

Give yourself the gift of knowledge it was just time.  Get home this evening, get yourself a good dinner, take a shower and have a glass of wine –  and understand although it may not feel this way today, and could likely not feel great for some time (sorry, sometimes it can be months), it will feel right when you get your wits about you and realize they weren’t meant to be there and aren’t tied to your destiny.

Good-byes don’t always warrant an explanation.  I learned that this year when someone walked away from me without one.  Sometimes, people will say good-bye.  Sometimes they won’t say a word.  Sometimes, you’ll just notice they aren’t there any more.  I’m here to tell you it’s okay.  They weren’t meant for you.

So, sometimes, parting is sweet sorrow.  Sometimes, it’s inevitable.  I know many times, I have been so hesitant to walk away from a relationship only for it to blow up in my face.  But, as a good friend said today, there’s no need for placating.  I figure it might as well blow up sooner rather than later.  It will save everyone time and heartache.  Everyone isn’t meant to be in the closest of your circles, or your best friend, husband, wife, boo, business partner, lover, boyfriend, girlfriend or whatever other label we’d like to give them.  Remember, there is a reason they or you said good-bye in the first place.  Some people who’ve left me…they will be left right there in the past.  No love lost.

The fact is, if someone is consistently hurting us, and it’s hurting us while loving them; if we find we’re not better persons or better off overall because they’re in our life, then we need to check ourselves and make sure we learn how to just give the gift of good-bye or accept the gift of good-bye.  Parting may be sweet sorrow, but it’s better to part,  than allowing someone to cause trauma to your spirit or overall being.  Learn to part ways.

As Kenny Rogers once said, “Know when to fold ’em, know when to hold ’em..Know when to walk away, know when to run…”

With that, I will part with Mr. Rogers’s wonderful performance with The Muppets no less….

I’m on a roll today with this music right?

(as I put my cowboy boots on and my hat and dance my line dance)

Love y’all,

Rae

Giving Up to Get Up Part II aka What’s Out the Window for 2011…Dating

“This life is what you make it. No matter what, you’re going to mess up sometimes, it’s a universal truth. But the good part is you get to decide how you’re going to mess it up. Girls will be your friends – they’ll act like it anyway. But just remember, some come, some go. The ones that stay with you through everything – they’re your true best friends. Don’t let go of them. Also remember, sisters make the best friends in the world. As for lovers, well, they’ll come and go too. And babe, I hate to say it, most of them – actually pretty much all of them are going to break your heart, but you can’t give up because if you give up, you’ll never find your soul mate. You’ll never find that half who makes you whole and that goes for everything. Just because you fail once, doesn’t mean you’re gonna fail at everything. Keep trying, hold on, and always, always, always believe in yourself, because if you don’t, then who will, sweetie? So keep your head high, keep your chin up, and most importantly, keep smiling, because life’s a beautiful thing and there’s so much to smile about.”  ~ Marilyn Monroe

I wrote about giving things up a couple of weeks…ergo…months, here.  Leave it to me to be right back here to have to talk about just that.  Kinda funny how that works out right?

Le sorry for the length of time. It’s been a rough time. I don’t post in the midst of crises or very difficult periods or else I may find myself amongst those who are apologizing and trying to explain themselves on CNN days later. (Shout out to CNN!!!!)

Actually, explaining myself on CNN probably wouldn’t be bad, and I subscribe to the theory that I would rather ask forgiveness than permission.  However, being a publicity nightmare isn’t on my list of things to do.  Come to think of it, I wouldn’t mind being a guest on CNN – hey Anderson and Piers! I’m not trying to end up on there for mayhem and foolishness.  But I can show up on there all day and dish! I mean, Anderson loves Nene.  I’m not boss like Nene (yet) but I will take my yellow arse right on up and through there and dish nonetheless.  My Mom would be proud.  She’d say that she always knew I had IT in me (not sure exactly what she’d also add) and she thought she had raised me right and wasn’t sure where she had went wrong.

I digress.  I always digress.  What else is new?

I’m here to discuss the shit things that we often have to give up (or not) to move ahead (or not).

Here’s the skinny (or the fatty depending on your preference) :

I am giving up dating for six months.

You read it right.

Yes…six months.

Clutch the pearls! Stop the presses!  Heavens to Mergatroid!  Oh hell naw! (hears cars screeching and record players scratching stop everywhere).  And yes, I am perfectly in my right mind.  As right for me as I’m going to be anyway.

Correct – yes, me, Rae, the one who absolutely without any shadow of a doubt would give up the Park Place real estate on her ring finger for The One.

Not dating.

Not going out with anyone.

Not accepting offers.

I am having a seat.

Not even a date with my dream guy ….

I am on lay-a-way for six months.

Yup.  This is an official sabbatical.

I’m not bitter.  Maybe a little bruised up but that tends to make the fruit sweeter right?  I’m still sweet.  I’m still excited about the possibility of love.  I still love seeing two people in love.  I support all of the people who are in love, loving, happy and all boo’d up, all of my newlyweds, those newly engaged.  I’m a lover of love.  Love didn’t put me in this place where I need a break.  Making bad choices, allowing the wrong people into my “Circle of Trust” – that’s what put me here.

I always remember:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.I Corinthians 13: 4-8

I’ve always appreciated that verse.  It tells the truth right?  I just need to make sure I’m in a place where I can receive what’s in this verse as well as provide what’s in this verse.  I find I’m not there anymore.

I am handing off the torch on this relay.

After what I like to refer to as a Lemony Snicket aka “a series of unfortunate events” in my life over the last two years, I absolutely decided and needed take a break.  I had been tossing the idea around in my head when I was reading The District Diva’s website and a challenge for a Six-Month-No-Dating Pledge.  It spoke to me.  Directly.  The sort of direct where you know the message is meant for you.

As my friends will remind me, I have mentioned doing this before.  But this year’s events alone have been enough for me to challenge myself and honor this commitment.  It may not be easy.  When is something worthwhile easy?

Sacrifice + discipline + hard work + prayer + miracles = the recipe for success.

I’m a self-proclaimed nerd and bibliophile so of course I ended up reading the book, Knight in Shining Armor by PB Wilson and the deal was sealed for me.  You can laugh at that title if you want to, but the book means business.  I mean, the sister talks about even putting a wedding on hold if you’re engaged in this book to make sure you’re in the right space and have made the right decision.  So, you know she’s speaking tough love in this book.  There were many “ouches” and “damns” while reading the book. Things I wish I’d have grasped years ago.  All of the things she speaks about in the book – well, I learned them and have the lessons to be able to teach an entire course.  I have an honorary PhD on the course.

I will also confess, I remember seeing the book some years ago, thinking it was going to be really Jesus-y – I know that’s not a word, just saying.  Now, I am a follower of Jesus and I adore Him.  I do.  Sometimes though, when you’re trying to get a breakthrough you need to know HOW and WHY these spiritual things apply things when all you think these are just rules to hold you back.  You’re not trying to hear all of these don’ts without any principal behind them.  Years ago, I was afraid the book would be “you can’t do this, you can’t do that.”  In some ways – it is.  I just wasn’t ready to give in – being the hard-headed and stubborn cuss that I am.  But honestly, from a Christian perspective, the book is breaking things down in a way I had never paid attention to before.  Lights were coming on and alarms were sounding.  Of course this means war.

When I thought about it, being alone for six months sounded amazing!  I never in a million years thought I’d feel this way, but well, the idea has grown on me.  It was time.  Given the serious nature of what it means to be married and to make a decision to spend your life with someone – what’s the rush?  It should be done in such a way where you know to the best of your ability what and who you’re getting yourself into.  You need to know yourself, what the commitment really means and the other person as much as possible.

I think I can take six months to do think things over.

The fact of the matter is when you’re finally ready to move to another level there are things you’re going to have to do, not do, give up, speak up about and get to business on.  There’s no in-between. Like Yoda said, “Try not. Do or do not.  There is no try.”

I am stepping down and officially having a seat.  Getting closer to God and having a series of conversations with Him.  Getting closer with myself.   Getting a fresh perspective.  Healing.  This is a win-win situation for everyone involved!  God gets the time He wants.  I get the time, the space and the respite I desperately need.

There comes a point when you have to realize you’re missing the mark.  Not hitting the target.  Sometimes I think God sets it up so we get to come right home to Him.  So that’s one thing I realized I needed to give up.  Get to the things I’m supposed to be focused on and should have been doing in the first place.

June Carter Cash had this to say about the relationship between her and Johnny Cash:     I chose to be Mrs. Johnny Cash in my life. I decided I’d allow him to be Moses and I’d be Moses’ brother Aaron, picking his arms up and padding along behind him.

Shouldn’t it be this way?

(has a seat)

I’m going to write about my six-month hiatus over the next few months.  I’m a few weeks in.  Already, there have been some serious changes and challenges.

I’m not sure where all of this will lead and what will happen,  but I will offer this quote by Joseph Campbell that gave me comfort I was on the right path:

If you can see your path laid out in front of you step by step, you know it’s not your path. Your own path you make with every step you take. That’s why it’s your path.

Which must mean I’m on the right track.

Are you ready to move to the next level?  Is there anything you need to give up or take a break from?

*Hint: from experience, it’s normally the very thing you don’t want to give up

I’m excited about hearing your comments and thoughts!

Love you!

Rae

On Bullshit, Mediocrity and Other Important Matters

I had really planned on writing long before now.  However, I have been on some shit – as sometimes is the case, and well, things get slack around here for that reason.  Hence this post.  This post is about being on some shit and realizing that and being able to call yourself out and get yourself together.  I have to tell you though, this year has been challenging.  I will have to go over a recap of events more towards the close of the year.  Right now, it’s too much to update at one time.  And truthfully – it will get better, it has gotten better, so the story is not over.

I wanted to talk about bullshit (herein referred to as BS for general purposes) today.  And how I’m tired of it.  Mostly tired of my own.  Mostly because I find I procrastinate like hell and then things turn to shit.  Do you know what I mean?  I mean, when you don’t really pay attention to things and ignore them and well, things just go wrong.   Like that parking ticket that you ignore and it doubles or a project at work that goes all wrong or that person you were meaning to call and never do and then before you know it, well, you can’t reach them. Or being late to work, or not really paying attention to the people around you that mean the most.

I really had to ask myself – What is the foundation of mediocrity? I mean, where does it come from and why is it we find ourselves settling into it? Not doing our best, not giving our best, accepting less than we should, not thinking highly of ourselves or other people?

Note: Clearly, when you even get tired of your own BS then you know a breakthrough is right there staring you in the face.

What brought me to this point?  Other people’s BS –  mostly in how they handle their lives and business.  Here I am getting upset with some of the things people do – especially when it involves me and then I had to take a look at who and what I’m allowing into my space.  In other words, I’m allowing for people and their BS to take up all of that space.  It stops.   I do control all of that right?  Sure I do.  I really had to take a deep look and get it together.  Authors note: I have also had to take a deep look and set some people straight aka the Rae-get-u-in-line-convo. More on that later.

I know now it’s really a matter of reaching the point where you can’t stand your own mess anymore.  You get tired of hearing yourself say the same things and giving the same excuses.  I also know deep down – not only do I deserve better, but I can do better.

Really, that’s what it’s about.  Getting up during the day and finding yourself in a place where you’re ready to approach things from a point of excellence and not some half-assed, half-cocked idea of just getting by.

What’s this mean?  Glad you asked (smiles at how willing you are to read further).

It means the following:

  1. If you are not actively pursuing the things you want to do, then you need to get on it.  Time flies.  No more excuses.  Aren’t we all too busy, broke, lazy, caught up, or whatever? People who are succeeding aren’t making any excuses.
  2. If you hate your job and are doing a half-assed job AT that job you hate, you should get yourself together and do better.  It’s a job. No one ever said you had to like it, but you should be good at it. If you find you can’t pull yourself together to do this, find another one.  I also give the disclaimer that you MUST should find another one before leaving.
  3. You have to be willing to look at how you’re living.  Honestly. No holds barred. Are you content?  Don’t want for anything else?  Well, then maybe you’re ok.  But if you’re constantly talking about how much more you want and aren’t making any moves, well – clearly you’re excited to be in the current state of mediocrity.  You can’t complain and not make any moves.  It’s not logical. I found myself trapped in this cycle for years.  But when I started to get honest with myself, some real work was put in and changes have been made.
  4. The road to hell is paved with good intentions.  All the wishing and the intention in the world won’t get things done or make any changes for you.  You actually have to deliberately change and it means some actual work.  Better to start earlier with this than later.  It’s difficult & challenging – but not impossible, to break yourself from the hum drum mayhem.  It’s difficult to be extraordinary.  Some of it we receive as gifts.  Other things we work at.  True excellence requires hard work and time – gifts or not.
  5. Some self-defeating behaviors – may have to go or get set aside. I won’t even go into this fully.  It could be something like being late all of the time.  But if there is something you’re doing or not doing and it’s holding you back from everything else, then maybe it’s time to look at that and work on it or cut it back totally.
  6. Be prepared for the ugly.  in trying to make these changes and break free from sub-par-ness, you’re going to encounter a kick back.  Either from yourself or others.  Note from Rae: the haters will show themselves sooner or later.  Keep it moving! This is where a Rae-get-u-in-line-convo may be needed.  You’re either on my team or off the team.
  7. Hope. It’s the lack of vision or hope leading us right into a mediocre, just getting by lifestyle.  I challenge you to find it.  I always know I have hope.  It’s typically a small blue flame and not a roaring forest fire, but a blue flame is next to one of hottest right?  I’d rather have a powerful flame opposed to a lot of smoke.

I am openly challenging myself.  I challenge all of you who are reading this blog.  It’s important we come to a point where we decide how are lives are to be and we get deliberate about our business of living.

Love,

Rae

When Your Talent Isn’t Tangible

How are you darling?  What’s been up?  Over here we have been talking a lot about life’s purpose, what we all think we’re supposed to be doing, getting our shat together and trying to get some general act right in our lives.  During those discussions over life, love and the things we eff up, we end up talking about what each other’s talents are and how we can make those work for ourselves. A lot of times, we can see the things one another can do and not see our own talents all of the time. Other times, we look at ourselves and it’s not that we don’t think we’re talented (sidebar: because I think it takes a certain something just to be able to make it from day to day & week to week without going insane – especially in DC – but I digress) but because we cannot exactly quantify or put our hands on our talent.

Do you have people you admire from a distance that are talented?  What about the people around you – immediate friends – who are talented?  You know who they are – they flat out have it.  They can sing, dance, cook, style, sew, and get babies to hush.  They have a gift!  They are the ones who can turn a dime into a hundred dollar bill.  They can put outfits together, do make up, rearrange rooms, save the day, help you put your life back together (didn’t think that was a talent did you?).  The list goes on. . These people have the “tangible” skills.  Skills that are seen.  They show and prove.  Other people can see it.  It’s obvious.  I know you know what I’m talking about here.  The running back for the Saints – besides him being a running back, his ass is just fine. ((Throws e-love to Reggie Bush))  I mean hell, while we’re on Reggie, let’s talk about Kim K. – she turned nothing into something.  This is the sort of thing I am talking about here.  How to turn what you think is your “nothing” into “something.”

Hold up.  What about the rest of us?  Those of us who aren’t seemingly fabulous at anything.  Or anything tangible.  What the hell do WE do?  And a better question to ask is how are you measuring your talent?

You have talent.  Everyone does.  Don’t think so?  I beg to differ. I repeat: EVERYONE DOES!  I wanted to offer hope and a few suggestions on how to see your talent and put it to use.

  1. First, recognize that all of us have a skill, a talent or something else. Who taught me this?  Winston aka Winnie bka Winn.  I love Winnie.  He’s a fat cat.  Literally.  See Winnie in action here:    But Winston has made a name for himself for being just that – himself.  A fat cat that loves bananas.  And guess what?  People love him for it. Winn doesn’t walk around wishing to be any different than he is.  He’s himself all day long.  Moral: Be yourself. All the time.
  2. Don’t compare yourself.  There’s no point.  I am one of the guiltiest creatures of this here offense.  It’s so detrimental.  There is no point in me comparing myself to let’s say Storm on X-Men.  Why?  Well she can control the weather.  Just because I can’t doesn’t mean I’m not awesome.  It just means I need to figure out what my special power is.  For me, I’m a nurturer, a teacher and a visionary.  I have other talents, but I tend not to discuss those because everyone needs a few secrets.  I promise to use my powers for good and not evil.  See how easy this is?
  3. Get out there and work.  Most of the stuff we’re supposed to be doing involves us actually going out and doing it.  So this means that you have to take off those new Captain America PJs you just ordered online, put the cereal bowl down and actually leave the house and go out and do shit.  I really don’t care what you choose to do as long as it’s not illegal (preferably) and doesn’t hurt anyone or yourself (preferably).  Do SOMETHING besides just going to work and coming home and stalking people on Facebook.  Choose a new route to go home.  Buy a new shade of lipstick.  Go all out and actually go to a different grocery store.  I know this is hard sometimes, but you never know what you’ll see that will inspire you or who you’ll run into.
  4. Volunteer.  This is key.  Don’t you have anything you’re passionate about?  Serengeti Lions, deep sea fishing, mace?  Music, feeding the homeless, playing your banjo and feeding the homeless?  I don’t know – go out, sign up and volunteer.  Your time is needed somewhere and the longevity of aforementioned Captain American PJs will thank you.
  5. Do things differently.  Take a new route home.  Switch up the brand of beer or wine you buy.  Go to a different grocery store.  Video tape yourself doing stupid stuff (if that’s what you’re good at – who knew Jackass would be such a hit? RIP Ryan Dunn).
  6. Ask your friends and family.  Mind you, I don’t mean calling up your ex to ask them what they think you’re good at.  Not only will you not get the answers you need, but it’s highly likely you’ll get cussed out.  At any rate, ask those tried and trusted friends and family members.  The ones who have seen you grow from ashy to classy.  Those who have definitely caught you on some of your worst days and still encouraged you.  Believe it or not, they have probably been waiting to tell you a few things (smirks).  It may come wrapped up in what I like to call a “get-your-ass-together” convo but as long as they do it with love, it’s still necessary for you to take notes.

If you need examples of how you can work out the intangible talent theory and make it work for you, I’m going to provide some inspiration for you.  I must also add, regardless of what you may think of these people here – these folks have managed to work their ten minutes or even their two minutes of fame and turn it into something for themselves and their families:

  • The Kardashians :: I love them. I really do. However, what are their actual individual talents? This is intangible talent working at its highest form.  However, I will admit I believe they truly know how to work whatever air time they are provided.  They know how to market themselves.  And really, it’s about being at the right place at the right time.  Appropriately dressed and with a camera crew (never hurts).
  • Antoine Dodson :: This brother right here.  All I can say is from a tiny little snippet on Alabama television he worked it and ended up with a spot on Lopez Tonight.  In my Murrland voice – wheredeydodatat?  Learn.
  • Amber Rose ::  La Vie en Rose.  She is beautiful.  I believe she’s intelligent.  She has managed to parlay herself into a career by…doing what? Again, can’t be mad.  Can only respect the hustle.
  • 80% of the “Real Housewives”
  • 98% of the “Basketball Wives”

So there we have it.  Let me add those that I list above – I am not judging.  In fact, I am damn impressed at how they have managed to work their own hustle and make it work for them.  I think that’s the point here.  Work with what you have and make it work for you.  We all have a talent, maybe multiple talents.  Figure it out.   Understanding your talent(s) and your purpose are the things you should be chasing after – with reckless abandon!

What are my talents you ask?  I have secret superpowers.  I nurture, I encourage, I run my mouth.   I have been walking over these things for years.  Using them for good instead of evil.  Nuff said.

Be encouraged.  You’re valuable.  Your life is a sheer miracle and well, you should get the most out of it right?  I believe that.  And really, what will you lose if you go out and try?  I challenge you today to figure it out.  Chase it!!  Your purpose is hidden in your talent.  Your real life is waiting for you.  Go get it.

Love,

Rae

“…Everyone has talent. What is rare is the courage to follow the talent to the dark place where it leads.” ~ Erica Jong