23 Things To Do Instead Of Getting Engaged Before You’re 23

So interesting

Wander Onwards


As 2013 wraps up, I’ve been noticing more and more people getting engaged and/or married under the age of 23.

I get it.

It’s cold outside… you want to cuddle and talk about your feelings… life after graduation is a tough transition… so why not just cut to the chase and get married, right?  It’s hip. It’s cool. You get to wear clothing that wouldn’t normally be socially acceptable at the dive bar you frequent with the $5 beers.  Eff it. YOLO. YOMO! You only marry once…

Oh wait.

The divorce rate for young couples is more than twice the national average. Divorce is no longer a staple in a midlife crisis, but rather, something that SEVENTEEN Magazine should probably be printing on. Headlines could read,

“How to budget for your prom AND your wedding in the same year!”

“What’s HOT: Kids raising Kids.”

“Why your Mom doesn’t really…

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Happy 2014

Hello bloggers!

It has been a while and a lot has been going on but I wanted to take a moment and wish everyone

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I am curious to know what everyone wishes to accomplish this year. I don’t really have a resolution this year. I think my goal has been to put me first lately so I will put myself first until my “mini me” gets here…

My wish for everyone is that you…positive-quotes-0

Happy New Year!!

‘Everything will be ok. I love you.’ Parenting after Trayvon

Funny that Parker (11 years old) and I (20 something years old) had the same thoughts… I am glad that the upcoming generations are educated and aware. I also thought about moving that night (not to another state but to another country) but let’s face it, racism is everywhere which is why everyone should get involved.

On the topic of love

Sometimes when I am bored or I just want to exercise my mind, I google random stuff. Now, for the past few weeks, I have been reading Paulo Coelho and he talks a lot about love and he got me thinking about it. So I googled “what is love?” Did you know that what is love was the most searched query on Google in 2012? Well, I learned that in the article that I am going to discuss.  I believe that the article published by The Guardian sums things up. It discusses five theories:

From the physicist point of view:

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From Google Images

“Love is chemistry” says Jim Al-Khalili. I found it interesting when he stated that from an evolutionary perspective, love can be viewed as a survival tool. 

From the psychotherapists point of view

Google Images
Google Images

Philippa Perry argues that “Love has many guises”  She talks about Philia, Ludus,Pragma,etc… But obviously, I liked that she mentioned Philautia which is self-love and she mentions that it is not as selfish as it sounds: “As Aristotle discovered and as any psychotherapists will tell you, in order to care for others you need to be able to care about yourself.”

From the Philosopher point of view:

Google images
Google images

Julian Baggini says that “Love is a passionate commitment.” I don’t know about you but I am exhausted just reading that definition, love sounds like a lot of work in philosophy. But I liked the fact that he says that we nurture and develop love.

From a Romantic novelist point of view:

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Google Images

Jojo Moyes says that “Love drives all great stories” … And I agree…

From a religious point of view:

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Google Images

Catherine Wybourne, a Benedictine nun states that “love is free but yet binds us.” I think I agree with this much more although there is truth in all other four theories. Catherine Wybourne states that: ” Love’s the one thing that can never hurt anyone, although it may cost dearly.”

My conclusion: 

“Nothing is mysterious, no human relation. Except love.” Susan Sontag

Now since my inspiration was Paulo Coelho, I want to share one of my favorite quotes from him: “Love is an untamed force. When we try to control it, it destroys us. When we try to imprison it, it enslaves us. When we try to understand it, it leaves us feeling lost and confused.” 

What do you think?

I’ve Got The Joy in My Heart

This is how I feel right now…

Looking For My Burning Bush

Dec 13, 2010 –Sunday


I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy
Down in my heart (Where?)
Down in my heart (Where?)
Down in my heart
I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy
Down in my heart (Where?)
Down in my heart to stay
And I’m so happy
So very happy
I’ve got the love of Jesus in my heart (down in my heart)
And I’m so happy
So very happy
I’ve got the love of Jesus in my heart !



8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” 1 Peter 1:8-9




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When I started blogging, I named my page “Raya’s growing happy” because I thought “since I am working on it, I am growing happy.”

Then I learned so much through reading and writing. I found that if I believe in the quote “happiness is a way of travel not a destination” then I need to find a way to be happy with what I have now, in the present. So I named it “Raya is Happy.”

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From Google images

 Now this is the most challenging part, especially when you feel like everything and every one that you ever care about is out to sink you deep into darkness… It is exhausting fighting with one’s self and it doesn’t become second nature just because you want it. In my case, I spent 22 years of my life thinking horrible, horrible things about myself. And when I learned that I have to take a stand against myself, I thought “huh! that’ll be easy… I can convince myself to put myself first.” But then I realize that

  1. if I put others first for 22 years and it’s become second nature to a point where I don’t think I can live without people who treat me like a dirt bag…
  2. It will not take me 2 years to train myself back to a point where it becomes second nature to put myself first and say that I am worth every good thing that comes my way…
  3. So the take away message here is to never give up… why? Because I am worth it!
Google Images
Google Images


I graduated this past January and I started applying for jobs months before I graduated, through hurricane Sandy and all, yet I still am not a full time employee. On days like today: I waited for 2 hours only to be told that I don’t have experience and I received another rejection letter. In addition to all that, I had to deal with a whole lot of stress… And I won’t lie, I had my short period of “God why? why me?” but then I took the train, and this young man came in with a little boy in a stroller, he is homeless, sick, no food to eat and he is a single dad. I asked myself if I really have the right to sulk right now and the answer is evident right? So here goes my little poem…


Google images
Google images

Air in my lungs,

“lub dub” melody of my heart

warmth of my blood

Afro on my head

images through my sight,

family around me – although always bickering

Friends that care

Strangers that smile

life around me

Happiness is…


Enough to bathe,

Enough to eat,

Enough to drink,

Enough to walk,

Enough to smile,

Enough to say God I thank you for this…


Hope in a brighter tomorrow,

Hope in Love,

Hope in happiness…

Happiness is today

Do I want more? Yes! but do I have enough? Yes!

Dear Daughter…

African Mother by Denise Cummings
African Mother by Denise Cummings

You are not conceived yet but I already love you and I am already mothering you…

When you are my little girl,

My sweet and innocent girl, I want you to remember this

I will set the bars high, I will push you hard, But I will always be

Proud of you because you will keep your head high

you will look at yourself in the mirror and see God’s beautiful creature

you will remember that mama’s got your back

And no one can make you feel any less than my little princess

Now don’t get me wrong, I won’t be a perfect mother. I won’t always remember to tell you all this

that is why I am writing you this letter.

I know that when you are born, I will be too busy worrying about a roof over your head, a quality education for you,

a good healthcare and most importantly, enough resources available for you to be nothing and I repeat nothing but a child

And when you reach puberty, I suspect that I will argue with you

chances are we won’t see eye to eye because I am already “old school” now and it won’t get any better

But through the silence and the distance, I want you to remember

that mommy loves you and she will always be there for you

you see, you and I are together for better for worst

And so when you fall for the wrong guy, I will take you in my arms and we will eat ice cream together

We will trash talk about guys and even plan revenge schemes

When you meet that guy that makes you smile like a silly girl, the guy that will be genuine enough to make you believe everything he says, I doubt you will ask me “mommy can I sleep with him?” but if you do, I hope that I will tell  you: “Baby if it feels right, you can never go wrong  but protect yourself”

Protect yourself from diseases, better be safe than sorry

protect yourself because people will come and go in your life

And you cannot take them for granted honey, so protect yourself…

But through it all, remember this baby. Please remember this because it is very important.

People will treat you the way you let them treat you. So have standards and stick to them.

And after you’ve grown and moved on, I have no doubt that I’ll be proud of you

and you’ll be a phenomenal woman, I know you will, because I’ll raise you.

You will not repeat my mistakes because I will teach you to make the right decisions for yourself but to also live and make mistakes and learn from your mistakes. Everything will not be perfect but you will manage better than I do because I will teach you to plan for gray area.

As a woman, as a beautiful woman and as my daughter, remember this…

People will watch you for every mistake you make, you will never be good enough for them,

I have a feeling that I will sound like you will never be good enough for me either, if I do, please forgive me!

Darling, put yourself first. I promise to remember to ask you in every situation whether you are happy or not…

Because, that is all that I will care about at the end of the day.

When in doubt, call on God… Repeat Psalms 23 and the serenity prayer

they will give you the warmth that I might not be able to give you

And the tenacity that no supplement can provide you

Baby, what even I cannot do, he can… So keep him close by.

Be proud! Apologize to no one for wanting to be happy and stay true to your principles.

Your health is not just physical, it is mental and spiritual

So nurture your body, your soul and your brain.

Finally, I will remind you, and I know you won’t always like it when I say it but baby remember that


From Shades of life by Thea Burger
From Shades of life by Thea Burger

Welcome 2013!

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Hello my fellow readers!

“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment” Buddha

I decided to start 2013 with this quote because 2012 has been a challenging year but hey! We made it. I did all my introspection the last week of 2012. Yes! I did take big steps and I stumbled multiple times. There were times I felt like superwoman, there were times I cried while striving and there were times when I just threw in my towels and moved on.  But I am proud that I did not dwell in there.

Do I have dreams? Don’t we all? I dream of peace around the world. Peace and love among people. Equality among all races… But I won’t spend the whole year dreaming, I will focus my mind on the present moment.

In the present moment, I am content. I got a lot going on and the world is not crumbling around me so I am grateful. One advice that I intend to take very seriously this year is to start every day with a goal and end my day with gratitude.

What about you? how do you plan on dealing with 2013?

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