Sundays With Rae

a blog for women by a woman who is trying to get her life together while still loving Jesus

To Raynard

One of the greatest feelings I’ve been able to experience is the joy that comes from watching my friends dreams come true. Raynard, we are learning together that they do indeed come true. Those dreams we’ve dreamt together that seemed so far away, almost out of reach, now have a face and a name with the promise of forever.

We have walked this single journey together and I am thrilled to see it coming to an end for you. I have watched an intentional, surprising, confident love blossom. This love has shown us what it means to live out Hebrews 11:1 (“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”). This love causes us to reflect on 1 Corinthians 13:13 (“Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.” – NLT). This love brings to our remembrance Ephesians 3:20 (“Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us”).

I use the terms “us” and “we” and “our” and “together” because Raynard and I are a package deal. It’s not something many people understand and we’re okay with that but I’m grateful his future bride has welcomed me with open arms. I’m grateful he has someone in his corner who will always be on his team, who he can share his hopes, dreams, and fears with, who will love him through his high highs and low lows. She is someone who will elevate his already successful ministry, and again, for that I’m grateful.

There’s so much more I want to say but I’ll save it for the wedding! CONGRATULATIONS!!!

Proverbs 18:22 Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the Lord

#meetthebrants

The Compliment: It Was Alright

I started this month off talking about celebrating my friends and the importance of acknowledging their wins (click here). However, this past Thanksgiving, my sisters brought to my attention that I struggle to give them compliments. I literally laughed out loud because they were right. Out of the three of us, I come in last when it comes to passing out compliments. If I have on a nice outfit, my younger sister will say, “Ok, I see you!” If my older sister enjoys a post, she’ll text me and say, “You did that!” If I enjoy a meal they prepare, my response? “It was alright.”

They slightly overexaggerated because every once in a while, I will acknowledge something they did well. And to tell you the truth, they were complaining but I think they enjoy my usual reaction. I say it was alright, they call me a hater, I say whatever, they say I never have anything nice to say, I agree with them. It’s a whole thing we do. I’m good at celebrating their big wins, but the daily, mundane things, I would rather be a jerk about. Is it right? Eh, I guess not. Is it something I want to change? Not really. Is it something I should change? Maybe.

I know all siblings have unique relationships and this is the relationship I have with my sisters. If I’m being honest with myself, this is the relationship I’ve had with most people in my life until recently. My younger sister has told me for years that my expectation of people is so high and I can be hyper critical if things are not my idea of perfect. So, I have tried to be more intentional about pointing out the little things that I do like when I’m among friends and not just waiting for the “big” stuff, but this has not quite transferred over to my sisterships. Although I like the pattern I’ve settled into with my sisters, I do plan on adding a few more compliments throughout the year (not too many though; have to stay true to who I am lol).

Maybe you always give compliments. Maybe you’re like me, and when you give a compliment your friends and family think something is wrong. Whichever category you fall into, this week, take the time to compliment someone you don’t normally compliment. Or give someone a compliment about something you often overlook. Tina your hair looked nice last weekend. Lethee, I liked your maroon swimsuit. Savor these until March or so because until then, everything will be “it was alright” 😊

Proverbs 15:4 Gentle words are a tree of life; a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit. (NLT)

December 2019

Celebration Time

Romans 12:15 says “Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.” Lately I’ve found myself doing a lot of the former. A while ago, I wrote about standing with your friends while they’re in the fire, but I’m learning how important it is to stand with them when the sun is shining on them and the breeze is blowing just right. With life still being what it is, it makes me feel good to know people are still out here accomplishing goals and just being happy.

Whether it’s a new job or a new relationship or a new apartment or a new move or new book or a new LLC, it doesn’t matter, rejoice with your friends! Send a congratulations text, take them out to dinner, send them Uber Eats, be one of their first customers, give them a book to put on their coffee table, share their post, celebrate your friend. I don’t consider myself to be very celebratory but I’m trying to be more intentional about acknowledging other people’s wins. Sometimes we have no idea how impactful a few words or a small gift can be, but it truly is the thought that counts. It’s also important to note, that it doesn’t have to be limited to close friends. Maybe you all only know each other through social media or maybe you went to high school together and haven’t said much to each other since then, but you can still reach out to them and let them know they’re seen and celebrated. A “like” or “love” reaction, a comment under their post, a picture with their product, it doesn’t have to be anything extravagant.

I’m grateful I’ve had people who were with me at my lowest of lows, who showed up for me when I was a complete mess. I’m also grateful I don’t have to enjoy my highest of highs by myself. It makes those special moments even more special when I am able to share them with others. So that is my goal with the people in my life: make the special moments more special by celebrating them.  

October 2020

30 is Almost Here…

Last year I created a list of 29 things I wanted to accomplish by my 30th birthday (click here). Well, I didn’t get everything done but…

1. See Kirk Franklin in concert

My only goal was to go to Kirk Franklin’s concert but an opportunity presented itself in June to hear him speak, then I waited in a lonnnnngggg line to take a picture with him and it was amazing. I went to his concert in July and my sister and I met his tour manager, randomly, who gave us a heads up that Kirk Franklin would be taking pictures with fans after the concert. So, right before the concert ended and they announced to everyone what would be taking place, we made our way to the line and that’s how I became best friends with Kirk Franklin!

June 2019

 

July 2019

2. Go to Poets in Autumn

This has been a tradition for me and my friend Kahri for the past 5 or so years (although I abandoned her in 2018, a little bit lol).

October 2019

3. Go to the beach

I went to the beach quite a bit my 29th year of life which makes me smile.

December 2019

4. Get a massage

I also got a few massages this past year and they were well needed.

5. See Alvin Ailey Dance Company

I’m honestly sad I didn’t take pictures at this event. But it was such a great experience.

6. Go to a karaoke bar

This almost didn’t take place but a wonderful person made sure it happened. I wasn’t nervous about it until I realized I was really doing it and I’m so glad I did. (this is a screenshot of the video)

March 2020

 

7. Go to a vegan restaurant

It was edible. I’m glad I was able to support a black business and that a black business offers food options such as this. Nothing I would eat on a regular basis though.

October 2019

8. Get laptops for my class

I was able to do this because of my wonderful friends and family and I’m grateful for them all!

9. Be featured on someone’s blog/vlog/column

My best friend, Crystal, launched into the blog world this year and I’m so proud of her. She gave me a shout out on her Valentine’s Day post. Click to read all about it!

Is Love Possible For You?

10. Go to therapy

Crystal also encouraged me to go to therapy. When I initially put this on my list, I was in a different emotional place and I actually tried one therapist and it didn’t work with that one. By the time I talked to Crystal about therapy again, some time in November, life wasn’t terrible but I knew it could be better. I wrote about my experience here.

11. Get my hair done consistently

Consistently is a strong word. I got my hair done more than I usually do though, so go me! Shout out to my stylist, my sister, Jalethea.

June 2019

12. Go on a hike

So I’m going to be honest, I don’t remember going hiking but I’m pretty sure I did so we’re just going to say I did.

13. Go to a house warming

My friend Gary got his own place and I was fortunate enough to celebrate with him!

14. Meet someone new, who I know will be a lifelong friend

I’ll write more about this at some point but know that God will send you who you need when you need them and it’ll be life-changing.

15. Go camping

This counts. I was in a tiny cabin in the middle of nowhere. It counts.

July 2019

16. Hold a conversation with someone I don’t know but look up to

At the Kirk Franklin concert I got to talk to Ezekiel Azonwu, one of the poets from Poets in Autumn who I believe is one of the masterminds behind the tour. I was able to tell him how much I enjoy his work and how I appreciate his dedication to his craft and it shows in the quality of his content. It was a great moment.

17. Show up for a friend who really needs me

I was blessed to show up for a few friends this year and I’m grateful.

18. Take my goddaughter to a tea party

This wasn’t an actual tea party but we did go get tea together from a tea shop. She wasn’t a big fan but I was happy to be with her. (she also stepped in dog poop that day so I got the pleasure of cleaning that. Precious memories.)

September 2019

 

I have a day to get the rest of this stuff done…

1. Go to a dance class (If not for the Coronavirus…)

2. Perform at an open mic (And yet again, the Coronavirus…)

3. Do at least 3 Testimony Tuesdays (I did do one)

4. Buy another book bag (someone’s getting this for my birthday)

5. Go to Colorado (I was supposed to go on April 9 but the… yea, you know)

6. Write a full song (I wrote lines for multiple songs)

7. Pet a monkey (I did see them!)

July 2019

8. Read 10 books (I read 3)

9. Write a happy poem about my dad (this might happen tomorrow)

10. Finish one of my book ideas (I have started the first chapter)

11. Speak at an event (not including my local church; I was actually supposed to but we ran out of time)

My 29th year of life was AMAZING. I accomplished so much, went to so many places, and enjoyed the company of so many great people. I don’t know what 30 will bring but I pray you’ll join me for the ride! HAPPY (early) BIRTHDAY TO ME!!!

 

Proverbs 31:10 Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies

Do Your Own Work

You all remember in school when the teacher allowed you to work in pairs but said everyone had to show their own work? If you had a good partner, you all collaborated, both contributed ideas, worked together to come up with an answer. If you had a not so good partner, either they waited for you to do all the work then copied your answer or they were unwilling to let you do any of the work and insisted you copy their answer. In both cases, both parties didn’t do their own work. Too many times in relationships, whether they be romantic, friendships, parent/child, coworkers, we’re unwilling to do our own work. It’s always someone else’s fault that we are the way we are. We take what others give us, and don’t contribute our own ideas and thoughts to the situation. We think we know it all, and won’t allow the other person to have a voice.

You may have had a rough childhood, but it doesn’t give you the right to be a rude adult. You have to do your own work and stop blaming mommy and daddy. This may mean going to therapy and figuring out how to break the cycles you’ve found yourself entrenched in. Maybe she cheated, but you made the choice to stay, so now you do the work of helping to mend the broken bridge and not look to her to fix it all. This may mean saying less and listening more or speaking up for yourself when you notice things getting off track.

As believers, we can’t have good relationships if we don’t have a good relationship with the Father. He’s already sent His son to do the work, it’s up to us to do our part. I don’t know about anyone else but when me and God aren’t on the best terms, I’m very difficult to be in a relationship with. I’m not as kind, as patient, or as understanding as I should be. I say mean things and I’m not sorry about it, I’m just not nice. Me, myself, and I have to not only make it right with God, I have to be accountable with the people here on earth that I call friends and family. That could mean praying more and reading my bible more often. It could also mean apologizing to my friends and family and not passing it off as, “they know how I am.” And part of this work, is taking steps to keep from making the same mistakes. This could come in the form of keeping that mean thought to myself or speaking up for myself when my needs aren’t being met.

I’m learning that I can’t look for other people to maintain good relationships with me. If I’m choosing to be in relationships, I’m choosing to do my own work. And I’m also learning that not everyone wants to do their own work and I’m unwilling to let them copy mine.

July 2019

Say Something

Per usual, I was having a conversation with a friend about grief and I told her that healing doesn’t mean not feeling. I thought about all the times I walked around not feeling anything because I didn’t have the energy or time to do so. There was always something more important to focus on. Work, church, family, friends, always something. I didn’t realize my cup was full and this grief was spilling over into every area of my life. I didn’t notice how many plans I cancelled or didn’t bother to make. I didn’t notice how careful my interactions were with others, afraid they’d ask too many questions. I didn’t notice how quiet my dreams had become.

I told my friend a lot of stuff that she probably already heard or wasn’t interested in hearing, but I wish I told her about Job. When my dad passed, I turned to the Book of Job, for what I thought would bring me hope and solace, after all, growing up in church I always heard how Job was faithful to God even after he lost everything… That’s not exactly how the story went. Job was not praising God all the day long while he went through. He wasn’t pretending nothing was wrong. To put it quite frankly, Job was not here for what God was allowing him to go through and he didn’t mind telling his friends and God about it. Maybe Job didn’t curse God, but he cursed the day he was born. He had no problem displaying his grief by tearing his clothes and shaving his head. In fact, in Job 7:11, Job says he won’t be quiet, but he’ll talk about his anguish and he’ll complain from his bitter soul. Job refused to suffer in silence like so many of us do. We think we’re doing everyone a favor, including ourselves, by not grieving so loudly, but it’s killing us softly. Job was as faithful as they come, and even he acknowledged the pain he endured.

Everyone’s process is different but I’m of the belief we can’t talk grief out in our heads. For some it means going to counseling, for others it means going to lunch with a friend, for others talking to God out loud, and still others it means writing a book about it. Or you may be like me and have to do all of the above (a lot of times). Just because you can’t “feel” grief or maybe you ignore it, doesn’t mean it’s not there, begging for your attention, wanting you to share it so you don’t have to bear the load by yourself. Your display of grief may not be as elaborate as Job’s, but its affect on your life can be just as impactful. I’m going to tell you like I told the little girl at my school who wouldn’t speak up for herself: “you better open your mouth and say something.”

Chicago, IL (April 2019)