Everyday Blessings // 41

>> spontaneous roadtrips to the beach
>> running out onto the beach in a rainstorm
>> crashing at a friend's grandparents' house to dry our clothes
>> discovering new coffee shops with friends
>> getting another job (second job...as a barista;)
>> moving out
>> moving into a house built in 1904 and having fun roommates
>> lunch dates
>> working 9-hour shifts and all my favorite customers stopping by
>> starting to get involved with the local House Of Prayer
>> meeting a customer who has an amazing voice and figuring out a which song to cover-duet together
>> random SUPER sunny and warm days
>> new sunglasses
>> morning shifts at work
>> catch up with an old friend and her new baby
>> black cherry ice cream cones
>> revamping my music Instagram - check it out!! @raquelmusic_official
>> shopping at Ross
>> coffee dates
>> Jesus talk
>> crashing a random youth group's worship time
>> watching the Blazers win a game
>> editing baby photos
>> going to visit my family (it's so weird to say that now haha)
>> having enough money to pay bills
>> exciting news for the relaunch of a website (psst, you probably can guess which one I'm referring to;)


What have you all been up to?  How has February been for you so far?


They Were Coming For Us

They were coming for us.  They were closer than they had been the day before.
The warehouse was full of refugees from the entire state who had come to seek shelter and protection from the hoard of overtaking monsters.
Yes, monsters.  We had no other name for them.  Honestly, none of us had even seen one up close.  They're huge enough to see from a distance and the few we've seen, we've been able to take down pretty quickly.
But now, there was more than just a few.  And we would be squished like bugs in this warehouse if we stayed for much longer.
"Everyone to the parking lot! Grab a car if you can and drive to the west side of the city! If you can't, just start walking!"
The announcement from one of the leaders came over the loud speaker and chaos immediately ensued.  Family's were huddling their children together and gathering bags.  Others started grabbing whatever supplies they could find or wanted from the many warehouse shelves. I quickly ran through the aisles, helping whoever I could.  I knew my mom and brother were more than likely safely outside already so I just worried about myself and helping others.
As I helped an older woman fill up an abandoned shopping cart with goods, I caught movement out of the corner of my eye.  A guy, about my age, was wearing a large grey sweater.  Too large for him.  It was bulky.  And he was walking a little funny.
"Hey," I called to him.
He turned to look at me and I saw a quick flash of fear in his eyes.  I knew immediately that something was up.  Not only because of that look, but also because who wears a thick sweater in a seventy degree warehouse?
I started slowly walking towards him, trying to appear as casual as possible.  All the while my thoughts were churning like crazy.
It has been known that the monsters capture a select few humans and brainwash them somehow, then send them back into civilization to carry out certain plans.  Plans that would help the enemy in overtaking us.  We had no idea how or why they did this.  As far as we knew, they weren't intelligent monsters.  And we had no way of knowing how they captured humans without harming them.  These brainwashed people we called Fixtures.
Suddenly a hand grabbed my arm. I turned. It was Will.
"Hey where are you going? The exit is that way."
Will was one of the leaders of the whole rescue mission.  He was taller than me, kind eyes, thick shoulders and arms.  We had basically grown up together.  He was like another brother to me.
My face was slightly turned away from the guy with the bulky sweater so I took a chance.
"Will, I think that guy is a Fixture."
Will took my cue of being calm and nonchalantly glanced over at the guy. He had barely moved, which was another clue.  The Fixtures seemed to be kind of like zombies.  They could think and communicate clearly. But they didn't move much.
Will nodded. "I think you're right. I'll take care of him. You get outside. I mean it."
"I need to help people!"
"Then help them but make your way towards the exit, you dufous."
"Okay, okay, I'm going."
He gave me a brotherly peck on the forehead then pushed me in the direction of the large door that led to the parking lot.
A flood of people were slowly making their way out too and I quickly got lost in the mass.
I looked back for a second to see if Will had apprehended the Fixture but couldn't find him in the crowd and dimly lit building.
Once outside, some refugees were trying to find any abandoned cars that still worked.  Mostly dads of large families.  I saw two vans leave the parking lot and a suburban.  They were all headed west.
To the right of the parking lot of care were the ones choosing to walk on foot.
I climbed onto a car and shielded my eyes from the late morning sun.  I couldn't see any of our leaders. There were four of them.  Will, Max, Charlie and Jed. None of them were out here.
A chill of panic ran down my spine.  They were all still inside.  There was no way these people could make it to the next shelter without at least one of the four leaders.
I jumped off the car and started back towards the exit.  It had cleared a lot, since most of the people were already outside.
An older man, standing to the right of the opening, grabbed me by the shoulders. "Don't go back in there, missy. They found a Fixture."
"I need to. My brother is still in there."
"Who's your brother?"
"One of the leaders? He's fine, miss. He told me not to let anyone back inside while they're figuring out how the monsters sent that Fixture back. And with what plan in mind."
The old mans intensity and crazed eyes made me think better about not going back inside. But I couldn't help but worry.
"Okay," I said, as I turned away.
I was determined not to leave with the rest of the refugees though.  There was no way that I was leaving Will behind.
As I headed towards the trail that the mass of people had begun, I caught sight of my brother, Noah, and his best friend.  I jogged over to them.
“Hey Noah,” I called.
“What’s up, sis?”
“Dude, don’t tell anyone cuz I don’t wanna cause a panic but…all of the leaders are still inside.”
He stopped and looked over his shoulder at the large building.  It seemed a lot smaller from up where we were.
“All four of them?” My brother’s best friend, Seth, asked.
I nodded.
“What’s up, guys?  Why aren’t you walking?  Or driving?  Should we steal a car?”  Seth’s brother, Shadrach, asked as he walked up just then.
“Trying to figure out what to do,” I said.
“About what?” he asked.
“She says that all four of the leaders are still in the warehouse.”
“We need to wait for them.  There’s no way this mass of people will know where to go once we reach the next town,” I said.
Noah shrugged.  “Dude, we’ll be fine.  And the leaders are fine too.  If they’re still in there, there has to be a reason.”
I debated whether or not to tell them about the Fixture I’d spotted.  I decided not to.
“Well it doesn’t matter.  Will is in there.  And I’m not leaving without him.”
Noah smirked at me and turned away.  “Whatever.  You can wait here for them.  I’ll let mom know so she won’t wonder where you are if you don’t join up with us by this evening.”
Seth and he walked away, laughing.  I felt my face start to tense up with anger.  How dare they.
“Hey, I’ll stick with you,” Shadrach said, placing a hand on my shoulder.  “What did you have in mind?  Like, where are we gonna wait for them, I mean.”
I looked around for a place to hideout.  The building was behind us, to the left was the parking lot, and to the right was the trail of people.  Straight ahead was nothing but hills.  The warehouse had been built on the outside of town specifically to be away from civilization.  It was in the middle of nowhere.
“The hills, I guess.” I pointed.
Shadrach nodded.  “Might as well see what’s over them, right?”
“Lets go.”
“Do you have a backpack or anything?”
I shook my head.
“Well, I have mine.  And I have some snacks in it, an extra hoodie, a few knives and three guns.”
He was definitely prepared.  “That should be fine,” I said.
He hefted it onto his shoulder and we started off.


You Were My New Year

As I was recounting the past year, I realized that all the memories I held closest to my heart were ones that contained you.  Your words, your smile, your touch.

We were inseparable.
A unique bond.

And even though you have slowly faded from my life
Not by choice, but by demand
There is one thing that will never change:

You were my new year.

When we first became acquainted with the others' existence - exactly a year ago today - it was as if two sparks met and started a flame.  Together.  And that flame burned long into the year.

Everywhere I turn, every thing I touch, every thing I wear, every song I listen to...
Everything holds a memory.

I can still hear you.
And see and feel you.

I can still taste your mouth on my lips.

It hasn't faded.  Even after a year.  I still feel the whole zoo trampling in my stomach when I see your face or hear your name.  Not just butterflies.  Because you were more wild and mesmerizing than to make me feel just butterflies.
You were a raging ocean of magical waves, a sky full of starlit diamonds.
And when you looked at me, nothing else in the world mattered.
Absolutely nothing.
I was content in just watching the way you held my gaze and the way you looked at me and knowing, with absolute certainty, that you loved me and I loved you.  And that was enough.

You were my new year.

And you were the best one I could have asked for.


This was a random little piece I wrote before the beginning of 2016.  I should've posted it a month ago, but figured better late than never.  Hope you enjoyed it:)


Advantages To Wearing The Color Black

1.  Dirt doesn’t show up on it easily

2.  It’s easy to wash

3.  Goes with anything

4.  Classy

5.  Can be worn at any time of day/season/event

6.  Doesn't show sweat

7.  Always looks sophisticated without being loud

8.  Professional

9.  Easy to match with all the other black pieces of clothing you own


Comment more advantages and reasons that YOU wear black!


What A Writer Should Write

If your writing isn't affecting the reader someway, somehow
Then your writing is all wrong
Maybe your words don't form eloquently
Maybe what you write about is something from another realm
Maybe it's not supposed to make sense
And that's okay
That's perfect.
When it comes to writing 'correctly',
There's no right or wrong
You write what you want to write
No one is to say if it's good or bad
And if the reader finishes reading your words
And asks 'What in the world did I just read?'
You have succeeded.
If they say, 'This was beautiful'
Or 'This was sad'
Well done.
For in all these instances,
You have made them feel.
And as a writer,
That is - and always will be -
Your greatest goal.
Your greatest accomplishment.
Your greatest reward.


10 Ways To Scare Off A Guy

The following tips are news flashes to the girls who mean well, but are actually scaring guys off.
You're doing it all wrong, ladies, and maybe if you simmer down, you can find some love.


1.  Not giving him space.
So he's out with the guys?  Let him have a dudes night.  Don't call him 25 times.  Don't text him 58 times.

2.  Oversharing.
Because, let's face it, there are just some details that don't need to be spoken of.

3.  Being a drama queen.
Seriously.  He probably doesn't want to date a 20-going-on-5 year old.  He wants to be a boyfriend, not a babysitter.

4.  Over-complaining.
There is always gonna be something not going well or right and you just need to get it off your chest.  About your work, your parents, your siblings, your relatives, your dog, your cat, your makeup, your hair, you life.  But don't overdo it.  Know where to draw the line.

5.  Pushing for more.

6.  Talking incessantly about past relationships.
They're gonna come up, sure.  Memories will surface and you blurt out something about Ex #3 before realizing it.  But there are mistakes like that, and then there are continual talks and episodes about Ex #1 and #2 and #4.  Just don't.

7.  Saying 'I love you' too soon.
This scares guys into thinking that ohmygoshshewantstogetmarriedalready, when in reality, if you've only been seeing each other for a couple weeks, chances are he probably isn't considering marriage quite yet.  Let him make the first move on that one, okay?  I mean, unless, you've been dating for 4 years already.  Theeeeen, I'd say go for it.

8.  Being unreasonably jealous.

9.  Not eating.  
Eat food, okay?  Don't nibble.  Don't become a vegan overnight.  Be confident in who you are, what food you like, that you CAN actually stuff your mouth with a Chipotle burrito in front of the hottest guy you know.  Just don't look like a pig and use a napkin and you'll be fine.  I've heard - from multiple guys! - that a girl who eats well and healthy and has a good appetite is 'a huge turn on'.  So, I mean, c'mon, ladies.

10.  Being high maintenance.
Always asking him to buy you the newest fads.  Always wanting him to go shopping with you.  Always asking him to do things for you.  And making sure he knows that you're going to be like this for the rest of your life.  You need attention and gifts and to be spoiled.  And you make sure that you get the point across to him.


Then And Now

Things are so much different than I thought they would be.
When I was young, in my innocent little mind, I imagined life would be very much not the way I realized it is when I grew older.

I thought people waited until they were 21 to taste their first alcoholic drink.
I thought people didn't do drugs or smoke because they know it's bad for them.
I thought people waited till they were married to have sex.  And only had it with that one person.  And never got divorces.
I thought people met their soulmate at a young age, got married after college, and lived happily ever after.
I thought people who loved each other never got in fights, never said hurtful things, never lied, never cheated, never left.
I thought everyone went to college, but if you didn't, no one would bash you about it.
I thought your friends were your friends and they would stay your friends forever.
I thought everyone who said 'I love you' would mean it with their whole heart - like I did - and would prove it.
I thought when people said 'Okay', everyone would know and understand how much trust went into that four-letter word.
I thought heartbreaks were something in movies and books.

I think it's insane how innocent a young mind can be - full of love and hope and expectations.  But once you hit a certain age, you experience all sorts of different twists and turns and you finally have to realize that...this world is messed up.  It's broken.  And it's actually just life.  And you have to live it.

And you learn.  And you hurt.  And you might even break sometimes.  But never completely.  Because even when you feel broken, you need to remind yourself that you've survived 100% of your worst days, so you got this.  You're not dead.  You're just down.  And you need to pick yourself back up.  Be your own little hero in this world of villains.

And amidst the trauma and chaos, there will always be that innocent little wish for love and hope in this life.  It's small.  Like a little flickering candle.  Sometimes wavering, sometimes dim.  But it's there.  And it's something to always look for.  Keep wishing.  Keep hoping.  Keep praying.

Because I promise, God is still there too.


When You Need To Surrender

Believing that God is in control even amidst our anxiety, heartache or grief is, without a doubt, one of the most difficult places to be in life.  I have struggled with this many times, in many circumstances.  But in every instance, I have come to realize the truth of God's sovereignty in new and more intimate ways.  Each time, I had to decide if I would trust Him, even when my heart was aching within me.

Learning to obey God doesn't come overnight.  It's a process.  Just as is trusting Him.  We trust Him one circumstance at a time.  It's a choice we must make, otherwise our human nature will take over and our brains will burst into chaos.

"Trusting God is not a matter of my feelings, but of my will," says Jerry Bridges in his book 'Trust God: Even When Life Hurts'.

This statement is so true.  Our decision must be conscience-based, not emotional.

How many of you feel like letting go of what you're trying to handle or fix, and trust it all to God during times of great ordeal?  Uhh, none of us.  But you can choose to do so, even if you don't feel like it.  Jerry Bridges later says, "The act of will, though, must be based on belief, and belief must be based on truth."

Are you standing on His Truth?  On His promises?  Do you believe it?  Do you believe Him?

When you indeed surrender, God will ask you for your life.  For everything and everyone you love.  And you need to give everything over to Him.  Let Him strip you of all you hold dear.  And when you're left with nothing, you will see that He is all you need.

'We won't be fully satisfied when we get what we want.  Because God loves us and wants us to find our satisfaction in Him, He won't allow us to be satisfied.  To believe that we'll finally be happy when we get what we want is a lie.'
- Stephen Altrogge