The Girl On The Train

It was a breezy Sunday morning. A rain storm welcomed the blinding sun that was trying at best to peek through the iridescent clouds. The sky painted a colorful picture with hues of pinks and blues. It was stunning after a treacherous storm as a reminder that dark skies and loud booming can actually serve as an indication that beauty lies ahead, and adversity is for a greater purpose. However, not everyone sees it that way. God knows she didn’t.

“What is it?”  He asked. His eyes fixed on her in a silent cry of desperation and hope for rekindling what could have been.  Staring blankly out of the window of a moving train, she didn’t physically acknowledge him, but his question pierced her heart like a dagger.  She heard him loud and clear. The red stain from her lips gave the charcoal tea cup she grasped in her hand some personality.

Deliberately getting lost in the trees and rivers as they were passing through as if to deter him.  She needed something, anything just to avoid answering his question, as if it wouldn’t come up again. “Look at me.” He demanded. “I can’t. Not right now.” She darted back, still avoiding eye contact.  

It had never been easy for her to hide things from him, let alone anybody.  Eventually convincing herself that this will soon be nothing but a memory, a bad nightmare, all forgotten; blind to the fact that past events have a funny way of repeating themselves.   Perhaps not right away, but the good Lord does have an interesting sense of humor and sometimes does bring us back to what we ran so far from, left unresolved, and maybe even feared the most.  

He walked through the divider straight to the second sleeping car just to collect his thoughts.  Deep down he knew the truth. A certain truth he avoided confronting at all costs. He knew where this was headed.  As the famous quote says, “Rome was not built in a day”, well.. neither was a broken relationship torn down. That doesn’t happen overnight, it’s a gradual fade.  Sometimes you’re not even aware that it’s happening, because sometimes people are really good at hiding!

She thought she dealt with it, only for this to resurface yet again in such an unforgiving way.  It feels like a tsunami with no warning signs or time to take cover, and you’re lucky if you can stand on your own two feet again.  Over and over again, the waves crash and take you under. Each time you stand again you gain new strength, but it still hurts. The pain of a lost love.

Deep breaths, mind pulsing, heart racing.  All she could do to extract herself from the pain was to use any distraction as her aid, her saving grace; which was her involvement with him. He was an honest man.  A good man. A great companion. He was a faithful man, but he was not who she truly loved.  

“How did we get here?”  A repetitive dialogue between her and herself that wouldn’t quit.   She knew that love was a choice, not some butterflies or endless feeling of bliss you get. She was also wise enough to know that you can’t let anything hold you back from living your life, but she also felt trapped because there was much conflict inside of her.  “What does it all mean? Is there a bigger plan? A brighter picture ahead different from what I see now?” She kept asking, desperate for an answer.

The difficult part was accepting her truth. She said goodbye to something she knew in her bones wasn’t right, but couldn’t understand why.  He was the calm after a rainstorm. A soothing balm for her broken heart. But that was all. She craved something more, and she knew it existed because she felt it once. Almost like divine alignment.

In preparation for the plans that lie ahead, it required her to kiss the present goodbye, because it wasn’t meant to follow her into the future.  It was one of the hardest decisions that’s ever been made, but she knew it’s what needed to be done despite what others thought or said. She wanted to feel something again.

She learned a lot through being with him and has no regret.  The memories will last forever, and that’s what makes it beautiful. Some master plan will continuously be revealed with each step of faith she takes.  Throughout every season she’ll endure, a passage of time shines like a beacon of light.  A hope for the love she so craves and prays for.

She doesn’t always know where she’s going, but has enough faith to get through the darkest of nights. Every storm that rears its ugly head won’t break her. The coldest morning that awakens her will be nothing but inspiration for her to keep going because of the fire that burns inside. She knows that beauty lies ahead, even when she can’t see it.

~Xo, Rachel.

When I Realized That I’m Selfish

You know what can bring the absolute worst out of you? Relationships. Now I’m not just talking about dating here, I mean ALL kinds of relationships. Every dynamic possible; which there are many. What is it that requires all of them to flourish and function properly? Work. Relationships take work! However I will point out, It’s also the little things that can bring you one step closer to betterment, or two steps further from it!

Little things. Ah, the little things! Little things such as telling them how much you love and appreciate them for who they are. Taking out the trash. Doing the dishes or laundry so they can just come home to a clean house and relax.

Okay let’s be real.. I’m nowhere near always doing what I just described! If you are, then more power to you! I’ve learned that when you truly love someone, you’ll want to do everything in your power to somehow contribute and make their life ten times better and easier. You don’t just focus on your needs and wants anymore, but you take them and their needs into consideration as well.

Okay, story time! It was a gloomy afternoon, and I had just got off from work. I usually arrive home a couple hours before my mom. We’re like best friends, but still have the mother/daughter dynamic. I love her so much. Side note; I know that finding your own place can be a process, but if you’re over eighteen and living with anyone in your family, monthly payments should be a no-brainer! Just felt the need to throw that out there. (Don’t hate me lol.)

I hung up my keys, dropped my workbag on the kitchen chair, and hightailed it to the bathroom. I did my skincare routine, drew a hot bath, lit a few candles, and eased myself into the tub. Following that I cleaned up around the house a bit, and started to make dinner. The smell of zesty chicken parmesan permeated throughout the house; or whatever I had that night- who knows.

I made enough for just me, and gleefully walked into the living room to eat and watch Netflix. Typical American, huh? About thirty minutes later the back door creaked open, and the chill from the cold air outside swept throughout the kitchen. The sound of heels clomping across the echoing floor caused me to get up to greet her. As I made my way into the kitchen she paused, looked at the empty plate where my dinner used to be, and then shot a glance at me. The look she gave me was so cold, it could have shattered ice. “Thanks for making dinner for me, Rach.”

I couldn’t believe it, she was fluent in sarcasm! My heart dropped into the pit of my stomach, because I had realized that what I did (or didn’t do in this case) was a total act of selfishness. I hadn’t even thought to make dinner for her! After a long day of work she had, why hadn’t I thought of it? Am I only thinking of myself? In what other areas of my life could I be affecting people like this and not even knowing it? Scary stuff, man.

My mind began to go one hundred miles per hour trying to figure out why I didn’t think of anyone else at the moment! I apologized, and am now aware that I just honestly don’t think sometimes. It doesn’t come out of resentment or the wanting to be selfish, I just honestly don’t think sometimes! I catch myself doing it still, so I’m working on it. I’m far from perfect, but I’m grateful in hindsight for this situation, because if it hadn’t occurred, I’d be walking around with bloody blinders on! Did you hear that last part with a British accent too? Just me?

Anyway, I hope this little story can teach you something. Are there areas in your life where you tend to be a bit selfish? Well the first step is to acknowledge it, and the second is to keep working on yourself! Let’s remember that it’s not all about us, and happiness is definitely a team effort.

~Xo, Rachel.

The Subtlety Of Love

I don’t like kids. Oh, so you have a new little baby you say? Aw.. so cute! ..Don’t mind me, I’ll just be on my way rather quickly in case you ask me to hold it. *Runs away.*

You know, it’s funny that I’m not a “kid” person, because I actually want a few of my own one day! ..How does that even work? Anyway, I’ve never been one to want to voluntarily and enthusiastically interact or play with kids; it just wasn’t something I enjoyed doing.

A couple of months ago, I agreed to watch my three year old nephew for the night. Usually my mom is the one who watches him, but this time it was aunty’s turn! Now while I love him, he can be a bit obnoxious at times..just like any other little boy! I guess that’s what I call kids who like to run around and smack their head into walls, throw tantrums for absolutely no reason, and pick their nose. Let’s be real, little boys can do some of the nastiest things ever, am I right!?

After playing a few games, I put in a movie for us to watch and eased myself onto the sofa. To my surprise, he quietly yet efficiently walked towards me like he was on a mission. He meant business, people. He made his way over to me and perfectly positioned himself on my lap, then pressed his head against my chest ever so gently.

For the first time in my life, I felt such a strong flood of emotion, love and warmth that flowed directly from my heart and transpired into the atmosphere. I wrapped my arms around him and nuzzled him as if I was protecting or comforting him. We stayed like that for the whole movie.

Even though I’ve never really enjoyed little kids, I’ve always loved my nephews, because they’re family. They’re great kids too, but that subtle gesture of affection and vulnerability opened the eyes of my heart to discover that the wall that had separated me from liking kids began to break down piece by piece. I call it subtle love. It usually comes in unexpected ways, with unsuspecting outcomes.

~Xo, Rachel.

Why I’m Waiting

Wait, wait, wait. Is she really going there? Uh, yep! Best believe I am!

To start this off, FIRST AND FOREMOST: my intention is not to harm or offend anyone who may be reading this. These are my beliefs, and I’m not forcing them on anyone, nor trying to. Okay, great. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s go!

If you don’t know me well, I’m not shy at all when it comes to much. Especially when it comes to talking about some things that may be labeled as “taboo” or “non-accepting” for the “nice, average Christian woman to talk about.” While I may be nice, I’m not average. So allow me to break that awkward, shameful stigma for a hot minute; because to me, it really is weird! And sad.

Sex! It’s literally everywhere. Movies, social media, music, and our minds. Pardon my bluntness, but if anyone tries to act like a self-righteous individual who thinks they’re a person of moral superiority to others, they may say that they’ve never had any impure thoughts or emotions.. and I’m calling them out! I don’t buy it at all. Although I will admit it’s more of a desire and temptation for some than others, it’s still a natural craving that’s both normal and healthy. God is a God of intimacy and love, and that’s beautiful.

Growing up in my world, sex was not a taboo/shameful subject at all in my family! I had a hard time comprehending the reality of two people having a deep connection with each other as a result of love. The reason being, I never witnessed true love and affection between my parents, because they got divorced by the time I was just four years old. So the idea of a man and woman coming together because they truly loved each other was just a fairy tale that I saw in movies. Since I didn’t see it in my own home, a part of me denied it’s existence as a whole even at a young age.

I was taught what sex was by the time I was in fourth grade …isn’t that insane!?! So, I brought it up to my mom and dad. They smiled at me with a look of calmness, and told me that it’s a beautiful gift God designed to be shared just between me and my husband. They shared personal stories of how sex outside of marriage actually caused pain, because it’s not God’s will for us. That’s the truth ladies and gents- it sucks sometimes, I know!

I was able to understand what they were talking about. I also thankfully had mentors and spiritual leaders who straight up said at team leaderships, “Sex is awesome!! But it’s even better when you’re in a covenant (marriage) with the one God has for you.” So at a very young age, I decided to make a promise to God, myself, and my future husband that I would wait. I’m now twenty-one, and still waiting.

Have there been times where I’ve wanted to give it up? Uhhm duhhh! I’m gonna be real with you, okay. Waiting is extremely difficult. Have there been times where the opportunity presented itself? Absolutely. But even science backs up the fact that during the act of sex, hormones are physically released from our bodies that helps strengthen the bond/connection between you and your person. The thought of having several connections with different people is disheartening to me, because I don’t believe that’s what we were designed for.

But Rachel.. you have to test drive a car before you drive it…?

Well, actually.. no. Today’s generation neglects to recognize how deep and meaningful sex was designed to be. Good sex comes with good connection, communication, learning about each other’s bodies/desires through time, and giving your undivided attention. The wanting to give of yourself and make your spouse feel as good as possible as opposed to being selfish with it makes a huge difference. You have to be a special kind of stupid if you think that marriage will always be a bed of roses, because it won’t! That’s why you have to keep working on your relationship and placing Jesus at the center of it. Also, since God created sex, why would He not bless you tremendously in that area if you’re following Him? Hello..?

Yes, I get this isn’t how life always goes. Sometimes love isn’t shared with just one person for the rest of your life. Some people split up. Some people choose different paths than what God may have desired for their life. Some people have several sexual partners. Everyone has a past, but God is a God of restoration, healing, and hope for your future if you choose to give it to Him. Also, remember that you can always draw a line in the sand and say, “look, I may have messed up, but that doesn’t define me. Now, I’m choosing to walk a different path because this is God’s will and desire for my life.”

To close it, the decision is to not only honor God with my body, but also my husband. It’s funny because I say my husband, even though I’m nowhere near having one. If and when God decides to bring the man He has for me, I want to be able to give him all of me. My everything. To be able to share, cherish, and appreciate a deep type of soul connection predestined by the author of love is one of the most amazing things I can’t even comprehend. I’m choosing to believe that a love like this can exist, and I hope you do too.

Whether you agree with me or not, I hope you get blessed. I’m willing to share this because I feel that we as a people need more of it. I try to be as authentic as I possibly can with the hope that it would reach someone out there and encourage them.

~ Xo, Rachel.

A Time To Reflect

Hey you, I hope you’re doing great. Whatever chapter or adventure you’re on in life right now, cherish the good times and learn from the bad. Your perspective and the way you handle things will greatly impact who you become. Will you allow events that take place in this life to change you for the worse, or for the better? Who do you trust with your life? Who do you love right now? Is it time that you take more control, or give more of it up? What will you do today to help position you on the right track to a better tomorrow? Take your time. Breathe. Remember to love each day. Hugs.

I want everyone who reads this to peacefully sit down with yourself, and truthfully answer these questions. I sense that our culture has become so overwhelmed, distant, and distracted with the constant buzz that flows in-between social media, work, and trying to pursue the passions they love. Many of us don’t take the time to just be still, and reflect. Believe me, I’m very guilty of it!

Nothing is wrong with the three things I mentioned. It only becomes a problem when its all you focus on 24/7. You can always make money, but you can’t always make memories. You can always see what your friends are up to online, but when is the last time you texted or called them to really ask how they were genuinely doing? Let’s face it, social media is kind of a joke; you only see the highlights. It’s great to have a passion, so are you going to impact and uplift others by doing it?

Whatever you do and whoever you build relationships with, be sure to keep your heart honest, and loving. Be a person of quality rather than a person lacking substance and depth. The more you’re able to develop your character through both storms and breakthroughs that life has to offer, the more depth and character will be built and reflected off of you.

~ Xo, Rachel.

Care About You

You can’t fill someone else’s cup if yours is empty.

We live in a fast pace culture whereas it can be difficult to find five or even ten minutes to just breathe! I get it, we need to keep the house clean, we need to make money, we need to keep going to keep going. It’s admirable to have a good work ethic in everything, but when is the last time you’ve truly taken time for yourself? How do you speak to yourself? How do you think of yourself?

It’s so important to take time out of the day to care for yourself in whichever way suits you best! Life can sometimes make it tough to keep a smile on. You may work with people who love to suck the energy and positivity right out of you. Maybe you just haven’t been feeling yourself lately for whatever reason. In the midst of it all, remember that you’re stronger than you give yourself credit for, and you should reward yourself to keep going! Practice self-love. I simply can’t stress enough just how beneficial it is to truly care for and nurture yourself.

I’m still very young, but thankfully I grew up in a positive and encouraging environment that I’m forever grateful for. My parents repeatedly drenched me in affirmations to the point where I started telling myself the same things! This was not out of pride or arrogance, but simply the fact that I started to look at myself in a positive light. I want everyone who is reading this to come to the point where even in spite of knowing your flaws and insecurities, you accept and love yourself.

It can be difficult to truly lift and encourage others up to full capacity if you yourself aren’t encouraged; hence my very first sentence at the top! If you aren’t sure how to care for yourself, I’ll give some examples that you can start to practice! Remember that it’s a journey. Self-love typically doesn’t happen overnight, but there are steps that will bring you closer.

  • Read a book you like!
  • Watch your favorite movie!
  • Go to a coffee shop and chill!
  • Clean your house / get organized!
  • Read God’s word, and talk to Him!
  • Call your friends up and get together!
  • Light a beautifully scented candle you love!
  • Purchase tickets to see your favorite artists!
  • Put on a face mask! – The best feeling in the world.
  • Update your wardrobe / look and splurge on yourself!
  • Tell yourself that you’re beautiful and deserve the best.
  • Listen to podcasts / music / vlogs that make you feel good!
  • Take a nice walk outside and take time to appreciate nature!
  • Write down five things you like about yourself- can be anything!
  • Make a list of everything you can think of that you’re grateful for!
  • Brew a cup of tea- you know those teabags that have little positive quotes and encouragements on the paper attached to the string? I love those!

In time, you’ll find what works best for you!

~ Xo, Rachel.

The Truth About Heartbreak

Millions of songs are written about it. Countless books, magazine articles, and *ahem* blog posts are being written every single day! You’ll most likely experience it in one way or another in your life. It doesn’t always have to be about a person! It could be as simple as losing a pet, or losing a dream you’ve had for so long that doesn’t seem to touch the surface of reality. Whatever it is, heartbreak is heartbreak- no matter how “small” or “insignificant” it may seem to others. If it matters to you, it matters!

The most common form of heartbreak however is typically over person you really cared for, or even loved- (there’s a difference).! Maybe they didn’t reciprocate the same feelings. Maybe you two changed over time and drifted apart. Maybe they fell in love with someone else. Maybe they just chose to take an exit from your life without explanation. Whatever the reason, it still hurts! Like a lot a lot.

Now the thing I HATE most is when you’re going through a really hard time, and the people around you say, “It’s gonna be okay, you’ll find someone else, God still has a plan, in time you’ll get over it.” I CANNOT stand these words in the midst of the pain, because honestly in my opinion our minds aren’t working properly while trying to process and figure out what to do with all of this emotional stress and hurt. I only speak for myself, but if I’m going through a really tough time, I will block out every single person who tries to comfort me with words that people feel obligated to say because they don’t know what else to say.

So I’m going to be honest and tell you the truth, k ladies and gents? Depending on how deep the wound of your heartbreak is, and the story behind it, results may vary! First off, you might start playing out in your mind how everything went down, until it’s stuck on loop- just like your feelings you probably still have for this person. You might convince yourself that you’re better off without them, but then an hour later you can’t stop thinking about how much you miss them and want them all to yourself. You’re not gonna want to get out of bed sometimes. You might try to replace them with somebody else only to find that when you wake up, you wished it was them laying beside you instead. You might start to feel like you got played and toyed with. Certain songs or movies that connected the two of you will suddenly start to play at your work, or the grocery store, and you might get a little triggered! You might start thinking of all the things you should have said or done differently that could have possibly changed their mind. You might explain your pain and say the same exact words to your close friends until you sound like a broken record. You might make the saddest playlists on the planet. The pain might be so intense that you can barely breathe, and you can feel it in your chest. The dream you saw of the two of you being together is now torn a part, and you don’t want to believe it. You might cry a lot and ask what you’ve done to deserve this. You are going to hurt for what will seem like forever. You may even tell yourself that you don’t want anyone else, and you’d rather be alone than without the one you love. It may hurt for months, it may hurt for years. And that’s okay. It’s all okay.

Please please please, don’t think that anything is wrong with you for feeling these things, because if we saw half of what happens behind closed doors, we probably wouldn’t think we were crazy anymore. We’re all human, and we all handle great pain differently. Don’t ever judge anyone else and most importantly, yourself for feeling all of these things. You need to feel it, no matter how much you may wish you could go numb. Let me tell you, going numb is actually much worse than any measure of pain that you could experience. In time, it will make you a stronger, more experienced individual.

“This Is Where The Healing Begins” – Tenth Avenue North

Now it happened. So you have to deal. People talk about how you’ll be okay, but not the steps you might have to take to get there, so I’ll give some suggestions! Write a song or a whole album even. *ahem Taylor Swift.* Take long walks with good music. Make personal videos explaining your story and how you’re feeling/what you’re thinking. Pray and cry out to God, and ask Him to heal your heart. Sing your heart out. Confide in friends who have your best interest at heart, and who will keep listening to you say the same thing over and over again. Take good care of yourself, and make an effort to always look good even if you still feel like shit. Don’t jump into a relationship with someone else, because that will most often hinder your healing. Type documents that only you can see expressing your raw self, holding nothing back. Make playlists filled with music that stimulates your mind, and lets you know where your heart is at. Watch sad (or) happy movies with ice cream, pizza, and maybe a few drinks. (I don’t recommend getting drunk, you don’t need to wake up feeling worse about yourself, okay.) Forgive the other person, as well as yourself. Be friends with the idea that you might always have feelings for them, and that’s okay. Give yourself time to heal, and love yourself always.

Listen, I don’t care if you have to do all of these things ten thousand million bajillion times! No one can judge you, because they haven’t experienced what you have. Don’t let anyone hinder your healing, It’s good to get it out somehow- especially if you can no longer contact them and express your feelings and pain to them. In all honesty, you’re unique and can’t be replaced. Maybe they weren’t the right one for you. Maybe the timing was no good. Maybe you have some growing and learning to do before something real really happens! Maybe the other person has some growing and learning to do! If you’re not ready for it when it comes, you will lose it. Trust in the process, and know that your time will come. My pastor always tells me that whatever is meant to be yours will be yours. I’m still working on believing that, but I do know that God loves you too much to not give you His best. Just ask for His will to be done, and don’t rush into anything that isn’t meant for you.

~ Xo, Rachel.


Why You Need To Stop Trying To “Fix” Them

You’ve finally found the one. Your heart pounds outside of your chest whenever they’re near, and it’s as if someone has shed a light that you’ve been searching for quite some time now! They’re perfect. Your playlists subsequently turn into perfect love songs, and you’re on cloud nine! …Until reality sets in. Time passes, the honeymoon phase is over, and those little tiny annoying habits and quirks that you never knew about begin to surface.

He neglects to put the toilet seat down and leaves it up no matter how many times she tells him not to, while she isn’t very organized and likes to leave things laying around. Now where did these things come from? They weren’t there before?! Hate to break it to you, but they absolutely were. The more comfortable you become with someone else is typically when you slowly let down your walls that cover up the not-so-hot parts of you. These walls only display your best features for the most part. You know, the ones you automatically put up when you first started dating?

While little habits like leaving the toilet seat up or leaving a mess may be easier to fix, traits that have been internally developed over time are not. “Why can’t he be more affectionate with me? Why is she so stubborn? I’ll bet I can change them for the better.” WARNING!: that is a very slippery slope you do not want to ski down my friend – so take off your snow boots, pop a squat by the fire, and listen. When it comes to inner turmoils such as feeling incompetent, problems displaying affection, etc. you’re dealing with something totally outside of your hands. These things are like breathing. You’ve been doing it so long that it becomes second nature to you.

It can take a whole year to be at that place where you know what makes him feel appreciated and desired exactly the way he wants it. It may take a whole decade to get to the root of why she still has trouble trusting 100%. Movies and social media have really sensitized some people into believing that if any deep issue comes up, it means that there’s something terribly wrong and you’re doomed to fail whereas in reality, the issues are not even half of the problem! It’s all about how you better deal with them without judging or making the other person feel anything less than loved, accepted, and chosen.

Simply put, we’re not perfect. We all have our own little habits and defects we need to work on, but something that’s been with you for a long time doesn’t just suddenly disappear all because someone you love brings it to acknowledgement. I am in no way justifying anything, but I do want to remind you to have patience and grace with one another, because there will be plenty of times where you’ll also need grace. Lift each other up, and always encourage. You’re a team.

1 Peter 4:8: “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.”

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Xo, Rachel.