9.01.2015

True love is not blind

True love is not blind.  It can see most clearly, for to truly love is to see and know and be aware of a person’s flaws - however great or small - and still choose to love them.

True love is indescribable.    

But if I could try painting pictures of it, it'd be something like this...


True love is not only loyal, it's respectful.

True love is thinking of more ways to love them and not even minding if the love is reciprocated or not. 

True love is compromising on things that you never thought you would.

True love is being happy when they are happy simply because their smile brings you more joy than being happy yourself.

True love is a sense of peace that you get at just the thought of them.

True love is asking yourself 'Do I really love this person?' in the middle of a fight with them...and saying 'Yes' every time.

True love is not about making the person a better human being, but challenging them to be a better version of themselves.

True love is being the utmost vulnerable because you know you will still be accepted unconditionally.

True love is when he is all sweaty and smelly from working hard but you love to hug and kiss him anyway.

True love is when she broke out really bad, is on her period, and acting very grumpy, but you think she's still the most gorgeous human being ever.  And you drive to the store at midnight just to get her some chocolate and flowers.

True love is sticking by that person's side even when it gets hard - and it always will.

True love is walking beside them during difficult times in their life.  And being willing to carry them during the most painful times in their life.

True love is not being ashamed to talk about your newfound person all the time, to anyone who will listen.

True love is remembering the details - rather big or small.  It's about remembering the location of the first date, what she was wearing, how his hair was styled, what she ate, what he drank, the first time you called him 'babe', the first time you kissed her.

True love can seem invisible some days.  Especially those days when you're at odds with your significant other.  They continue doing things that annoy you to no end.  They don't seem to change.  They don't seem to care.  But true love is trusting...and knowing that what they've told you is true.  They love you too.

True love isn't about being monumental.  Words don't mean much when it comes to love.  But love can be summed up pretty well in just being content in the pure assurance of knowing that they are yours.

---


“I don’t think love is blind.  True love is probably the most clear-eyed state of being there is.  Maybe you’re right.  Maybe with true love, you see and you love anyway…”
- Marisa de los Santos, Love Walked In

8.31.2015

Music Monday | Some Favorite Album Art

Below are just a few of my favorite album cover artwork.  Not listed in any particular order.

---


Fall Out Boy's 'American Beauty/American Psycho'

Oh and here's a fun little interview with the model.



Fall Out Boy's 'Save Rock & Roll'

I just love the absolute contrast of culture in this one photograph.  It's striking.



Taylor Swift's 'Speak Now'

What girl doesn't love that dress...and those curls...and that lipstick?



Ellie Goulding's 'Halycon'

I love photograph captures of someone's hair being waved around.  I bet she had fun during this photoshoot.  I love the color flow too.




One Republic's 'Waking Up'

I have always wanted to hang a white cotton sheet up and attach balloons full of paint to it and then throw darts and yes the first time I saw this being done was in Princess Diaries.  Well, when I saw this cover of OneRepublic's album, that's the first thought that came to mind.  And I love both versions.



Tenth Avenue North's 'Cathedrals'

Cathedrals.  Stained glass.  The end.



Owl City's 'The Midsummer Station'

We can always appreciate Adam Young's beautiful brain - through his songs or his album covers.  This is ingenious.  Who wouldn't want to go visit this place?!



Christina Perri's 'Head Or Heart'

This photograph is simple, yet stunning.  Basically only two filters were used.  And Christina isn't wearing a whole lot of makeup (which I always admire in celebrities).  I just really like this album cover.



Panic! at the Disco's 'Vices and Virtues'

I must confess that I haven't heard much music from these guys, but the album cover alone makes me want to go listen to one of their songs!


---

What are some of your favorites?  Am I missing any specific ones that are kind of no-brainers?  Comment below!

8.29.2015

God’s Sovereignty In Your Singleness




A friend of mine texted me the other day and asked “Why do you think I’m almost 23 and still single, Raquel?”  
I've also had single girls email me and ask "Why does this always happen to me?  I like a guy, we start talking, but then he leaves.  Why am I not enough??"

Gosh, how do you respond to something like that? 

First of all, I really wish I could tell you a-b-and-c of why this 'always happens to you'.  But I don't know.  I don't know God's plan for you.  

But [secondly], I do know that you are enough.  You are so much more than you even think you are.  And you're 'enough' for the perfect plan He has for you.  AND the person He has waiting for you too. - who, by the way, might just be experiencing the same feelings that you are right now.  

It's easy to think of ourselves as 'the problem'.  We're quick to blame ourselves for still being single and that we ourselves are the reason everything turns out wrong.  Even then, even when it feels like everyone is discarding you along the road, you know Who you can trust.  You know that God's timing is perfect - even though it's really, really, really hard to believe that sometimes.  And to wait.  (Honestly, the waiting part is probably the suckiest...)

If you believe that God is sovereign, you are acknowledging His sovereignty over EVERYTHING.  You can't say 'Okay, God, You're sovereign over my day-to-day activities, my meals, my friends...but not my singleness.  Cuz being single sucks and I want to have a boyfriend/girlfriend already.'  That's not how it works, peeps.  He's either sovereign over everything or nothing.  

Is God sovereign in your singleness?  Have you entrusted that part of your life to His care?  Have you given up trying to find the right one on your own and trusted that He will help you find the right one in His perfect timing?

I know it's hard.  Being single can be really difficult.  For me, it was pretty darn fabulous once I got past the pity-party stage.  Seriously.  Single life rocks.  (You're probably sneering at me right now.  I can almost see it.)  But I promise that once you give over your life - your WHOLE life - to God and trust that everything will fall into place according to HIS timeline (sorry, not yours), you'll have a whole different outlook.  On everything.  

Nothing is wrong with you.  
You are not the problem.  
You're single because you're meant to be single right now.  
And when that guy or girl comes along, you'll know.
How?  Because they won't be perfect, but they'll be perfect for you.

8.27.2015

When You Don't Feel Forgiven


Many times we fall short of the glory of God, and after asking Him to forgive us, we don't feel forgiven.

As a child, I was raised to ask someone to forgive me - not say 'I'm sorry'.  And I was taught to say 'Yes, I forgive you' when someone asked me for forgiveness.  But when we pray and ask the LORD to forgive us of the sins we commit against Him, we don't hear His audible voice saying, 'Yes, I forgive you'.  

During a very dark time in my life, when I was trying to push my past completely behind me, I continually asked God to forgive me.  Over and over and over again.  But each time, I would feel like nothing happened.  Nothing changed.  Sure, the Bible says He forgives me, but how do I feel forgiven?  How do I know?

Not knowing, not choosing to believe is doubt.  And we doubt God's love and forgiveness because we have an adversary who uses every little offense to accuse us that we are unforgivable.  The enemy constantly reminds us of our short-comings, our failures, and how often we ask God for forgiveness. 


'You're good-for-nothing.  You can't do anything right.  How could God forgive someone who screws up as often as you do?'

Sound familiar?

I've had that nagging voice tell that to me before too.

But guess what?  We have an Advocate, a Savior, a Friend, named Jesus Christ.  He is more powerful than our enemy.  He has cancelled out the debt that we owe God for our sins.  He has forgiven our past, secured our present, and already forgiven our future.  No matter what we do or in what circumstance we fail, God still loves us.  He is our Father.  The best Parent in the universe.  When one of His children falls, He picks them up, loves them, and accepts us as His own.  


'Knowing that you are forgiven and accepted as God's child sets you free to face reality and choose the truth.'
- Neil Anderson

Falling hurts.  And the pain is sometimes, seemingly, unbearable.  But when you fall, you have the best Healer to pick you up.  Someone who loves you so, so dearly that He is willing to pick you up, hold you, caress you, to tell you that He loves you no matter what mistakes you’ve made.  No matter how much or how many times you’ve failed.  God will never NOT be there to pick us up.  He will never get tired of us asking for His forgiveness.  Granted, that doesn’t mean we should continue on in whatever we’re doing.  But if we make a mistake, He is faithful and just to forgive us.  In fact, He already did.  A long time ago, when He felt three spikes being driven into His wrists and feet.  As He hung there - bleeding, in pain, and suffering from feeling all the dirty sin that He had never, ever felt before.  He felt the wrath of God His Father being poured out on Him, killing Him.  For my sins.  For your sins.  For all the mistakes and failures that you and I will ever make in life.  All of that has been paid for, covered by His blood.

So the next time you don't 'feel' forgiven, try to imagine the pain He felt FOR you to be forgiven.

"Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole Roman cohort around Him.  They stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him.  And after twisting a together a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand; and they knelt down before Him and mocked Him, saying, 'Hail, King of the Jews!'  They spat on Him and took the reed and began to beat Him o the head.  After they had mocked Him, they took the scarlet robe off Him and put His own garments back on Him, and let Him away to crucify Him..."
- Matthew 27:27-31

8.25.2015

I swear I lived

Today was a laid back sort of day.

I woke up, ate a blueberry bagel, drank my jasmine tea, and did a load of laundry.

I introduced two of my sisters to one of my top 5 favorite movies (The Patriot)...and kinda went on a movie spree because we watched two episodes of Leverage after that.

And then I spent time with Jesus.  I read Hebrews 11 (a post coming soon about that).  And I prayed, and I talked to Him about what's been going on lately and how difficult life has been, but how I know that He loves me.  And that will never change.

Today I filled my car's gas tank (my car's name is Oliver, by the way), and I met two girl friends for frozen yogurt, then went shopping at Ross.  I didn't intend to buy anything, but I ended up leaving the store with a new hoodie, a new sweater, and a new shirt.

Afterwards, I talked with my pastor, took a friend home, chewed on a piece of gum, called Ryan, and drove back home.

I decided not to take a shower tonight, and instead, changed into my pajama shirt, fed my bunny, ate some meatballs, rice and green beans at 10:25 p.m. and then crawled into bed.  I finished writing a movie review for Brave, checked my email, posted a status on Facebook.

And I wished at 11:11.

I'm going to end this post and publish it, knowing that it is probably THE most random thing I've ever written on my blog (and two posts in one day?!  WHAT IS THAT??), and then close my laptop (her name is Skeeter), and be on my social medias via my phone for a while before I actually decide to fall asleep.

Today was a laid back sort of day.  I didn't do a whole lot, but I didn't do nothing either.

I breathed, I moved, I laughed, I talked.

And all that matters is that you take one day at a time.  Especially when things are rough.  Just take one day at a time.

And live.

This Is Why Girls Are Confusing


Hey to all the guys out there!

I'm sure you've all had instances in your life where you're just like 'Oh my gosh, why are girls SO confusing?!?!'

I won't deny it.
We are.
We can be.
We are sometimes very hard to understand.

Maybe you've had an argument with your sister.  Or your mom tried to explain something but it made absolutely no sense.  Or your girlfriend is just acting really weird...

Any of those sound familiar?  Even slightly?

Well, here is why girls are so confusing.

Because we are very emotional creatures.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with being emotional.  You just need to learn how to control your emotions.  And for girls, this isn't always easy.  We have all these emotions and feelings and thoughts rushing through our brains and hearts - most of the time ALL AT ONCE.  So it's kind of like a tsunami of emotions waving through our entire body.  Just think on that for a second...

Because we feel more than we think.
It's true.  MOST of the time.  But sometimes, we think...and tend to OVERthink.  And that, my friends, can be very confusing.  For both parties involved.  But because we feel, more than think, we are more in tuned with the emotions and stress levels of those around us.  Try dealing with your own crap and then having ten other people's dumped on you.

Because when we think, it's very rarely about ONE thing.
Guys have the capability of thinking about one thing AT A TIME and one thing ONLY.  Girls don't.  We can be thinking about 10 different things all at once.  Pretty cool, huh?  It can be.  That's one reason why we're such great multi-taskers.  But at the same time, it's kind of annoying cuz it's like 'Okay, I need to write that email...and do a load of laundry...and charge my phone...why is my boyfriend acting like this?...my friend in New York needs to read this book...I wonder if rabbits have feelings...this pillow is super comfortable...tomorrow I'm going to a wedding...where on earth is my other shoe?'

Because we have very strong intuitions.
Some women are more 'in touch' with their senses than others.  But regardless, we all can sense things.  And try to explain WHY we don't like that person, or WHY we don't think you should go there, or WHY driving on this particular road at this particular speed is a bad idea.  I know it doesn't make sense when we say 'I don't FEEL right about it...', but just trust us.  Okay?

Because we have periods.
Okay so once a month, our uterus sheds its lining so that the eggs descend into...

Yeah, I'll stop there.

AND KUDOS TO ANYONE WHO KNOWS WHAT MOVIE I JUST QUOTED.

---

Originally published on Thought Catalog

8.22.2015

44 Things I Wish I Had Been Told As A Teenager


1.  Ask yourself 'Will I still like this in 10 years?' before you lay hard-earned money down to buy something.

2.  Practice with the eyeliner, and use it minimally until you get it right.

3.  Listen to that gut reaction.

4.  God gave you a conscience for a reason.

5.  Call your grandparents - just because.

6.  Don't be passive aggressive on social media.  It's immature.

7.  Don't ever tell your parents that you hate them.

8.  You can wear a regular bra with a cross-backed shirt, but never wear a cross-backed bra with a shirt that doesn't cover it.

9.  Some people will just plain never like you.  Don't let it ruin your life.

10.  Kill people with kindness.  (The whole 'heaping coals of fire on their head' thing really does work.)

11.  Don't yell when you're angry.  You hurt more people than you will realize.

12.  You were beautiful before that guy told you.

13.  Don't let others define you or make you think they know who you are better than you know yourself.

14.  Invest money in a good car, not a fancy one.  All you need is for it to get you places.

15.  Don't let one mistake define you.  But learn from your mistakes and move on.

16.  Learn to cook.  And eat home-cooked meals.  They are literally the best.

17.  Your brother can see a crappy boy before you can.

18.  'Fun' doesn't have to include alcohol or smoking or drugs.

19.  Friday nights are 99% more fun if you stay home, have friends over to watch a movie and eat ice cream.

20.  It's only a bad day.  Not a bad life.

21.  Tell your parents 'thank you'.

22.  Learn to apologize...and to forgive.

23.  Learn to be humble.

24.  Sex does not make you mature or an adult.

25.  Treat others the way you want to be treated, including while you're driving on the freeway.

26.  Keep a journal.  Write in it as often as possible, but don't beat yourself up when you don't keep up with it.

27.  Listen to a song before watching the music video.

28.  Read a book before watching the movie its based on.

29.  Stop pretending to be someone to impress people and make them like you.

30.  You'll regret spending over $20 on a piece of clothing.

31.  I know sugar and chocolate make you break out really bad, but just eat the dang candy bar.

32.  Pray for your future husband.

33.  Ask your grandparents to tell you stories every chance you get.

34.  Learn languages.

35.  If you have a presence on social media, expect to get haters.  It's just how it works.

36.  Write thank you notes for everything.

37.  If you want to be treated like an adult, act like one.

38.  Travel.  As often as you possibly can.

39.  Get a job that you will enjoy doing.  Don't accept one that you'll be complaining about all the time.

40.  You can't fix people.  You can only love them through their difficult-ness.

41.  You can't make people understand what you're saying.  You can only hope they listen, not just hear you.

42.  There will be people in your life who change drastically - for the better and for the worse.  Learn about them.  And don't ever forget to love them through their stupidity.

43.  Ask God to show you the plans He has for your life, but don't expect Him to drop a How To manual from the sky.  Go out and search for opportunities.  Go until He shuts the door.  Run until He holds you back.  Always be in tune to His voice.

44.  Life really is beautiful.  It really is.  Sometimes you need to look for the beauty, but I guarantee it is always, always, always there.

8.19.2015

Little Bookish Ltd // Giveaway


Who wants to win something from a lovely British shop in Brighton, England?

Who is a writer?

Who loves literature inspired items, such as...

$12.85


$12.85


Gina sent me a lovely item of hers to review.  She included a small token of thanks (see below) that included some delicious chocolate!

The item she sent me to review is the 'Writer In Residence' Plaque.  I ab-so-lute-ly love it.  I now hang it on my door whenever I'm working on something so that little siblings know not to interrupt my train of thought;)

She packaged everything with this simply elegant newspaper wrapping and stamps and ribbon.  So classy.


Here are the ways you can enter to win your own 'Writer In Residence' Plaque!

---

>> c o m m e n t  and tell me your favorite design in Gina's shop and/or a suggestion for a new design
>> f o l l o w  It's Just Raquel blog {mandatory}
>> h e a r t  Gina's Etsy shop
>> f o l l o w  Raquel on Twitter
>> f o l l o w  Gina on Twitter
>> f o l l o w  Raquel on Instagram (@itsjustraquel)
>> f o l l o w  Raquel on Pinterest
>> s h a r e  this giveaway post on your social medias (Share buttons are below.  Comment the link to your shares.)
>> c o m m e n t  on any other post here on It's Just Raquel
>> c o m m e n t  any blog post requests or questions (I may or may not have a vlog in the works) 

---

 Winner will be drawn August 22nd.

---

Good luck!:)