Miscellaneous Monday

this is what happens when you have too many things going on in a week.

i wrote the words below last Wednesday, and then life took over and i never got the chance to post it.

i said to my husband on Friday of last week that i am so glad most of my weeks and days are not like they were last week. i felt like i was going in 100 different directions on Friday and it was all good and great and i don’t regret any of it. but, truth be told, i don’t ENJOY the busy-ness of life when it’s too much. when i’m home only long enough to grab something and get right back out the door to the next thing. when i’m buzzing from one thing to the next and feeling like i barely give my best efforts to anything.

this week looks much more manageable in most respects and for that i am glad.

i guess the too-busy weeks help me appreciate the ones that tend to be more even keeled.

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i was supposed to be over at the children’s school this afternoon, but i’ve been coughing my head off today, and i’m pretty sure none of the school kids were going to learn anything from that, so i stayed home.

Kate is down for her nap, not sleeping yet, but in bed.

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the sun is shining so beautifully, and i would really love to be outside, but (see first paragraph about coughing my head off all day.)

i cleaned the boys room this morning. i certainly should have documented that occasion with a photo. but, no worries. i will surely be cleaning it again all too soon.

i baked three quiche this morning too. we all love quiche and it makes the best grab-and-go breakfasts for our before school mornings that are less than calm and serene.

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i ordered 16 boxes of tissues online and they came today. if i was going to hashtag that moment it would most definitely be #idespiserunningoutoftissues

the floor was just mopped and i’ve long been justifying my having to sit down in the living room by starting to mop the floor at the other side of the room and then i am forced to take a break. from the chair i’m sitting in, this is the exact view at the moment:

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i also ordered a new, 8 quart crock pot from Amazon and it came yesterday. it’s currently cooking two pork roasts for supper.

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and, a two random things that are speaking to me right now…

this song:

these words:

“Prayer is not an escape from responsibility; it is our response to God’s ability.”

//hope your week gets off to a great start and that you can enjoy whatever each day holds.//

R

 

 

 

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shifting seasons…

am i the only one who can hardly believe that this is the last day of the year 2015?! time just goes fast and faster, doesn’t it?

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although the days and weeks and months and years march on, there is a constant pulling within my heart to seek out what God would have for me in each and every new day. some days, some weeks, this seems easier to discern than others. of course the demands and needs of my family determine a lot of my time and i know this is God’s plan for my life. some days, in all honesty, i’m more okay with that truth than i am on other days. 😉 i guess that would be a bit of growing weary in well-doing, right?

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i’ve been thinking so often the last while of the seasons of life. how i’ve been in so many different seasons in the course of my life and how in some respects they are the same from year to year, but in other respects they are very, very different.

some seasons of my life have been longer than others. some have been more intense, some a little less.

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it seems i was JUST in the season of newborn babies and changing diapers and nursing and no sleep. (truthfully i’m still in the season of little sleep, but that’s irrelevant.)

and, it seems like yesterday that we were in the season of being ‘new’ to Kansas and now, almost two years have gone by since we moved here.

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i’ve been in seasons of  ‘pastors wife’ in years past, i’ve been in seasons of ‘familiar’ with friendships established and comfortable.

maybe it’s because i’m in a ‘season’ of unknown and unsure in so many ways, and trying to find my place as an almost 40 year old that these thoughts are forefront in my mind.

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or, maybe it’s because the reality of seasons hits me anew because i’m taking a break from gardening which is one of my favorite pastimes.

i’m so enamored with how gardening is so seasonal, and how times of rest and reprieve are crucial to the whole process of gardening and growing.

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i coaxed lettuce and kale along in my garden until well into the month of December and then suddenly it dawned on me that i needed a break from this thing that i love so much.

i needed to step back so that i wouldn’t become burnt out on something that i love.

i needed to step back so that i could plan and regroup for the next spring season.

i needed to give the earth pause so that it refreshes and renews.

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it gives me pause to see how God has so divinely orchestrated each of the seasons of nature and how the seasons of my own life are not that different from this divine appointment.

while none of my seasons are as predictable as the way our four seasons run, they are in fact as real to me.

as we enter this new year of 2016, i am so excited to see where God takes me.

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there are some big milestones on the calendar for me, for our marriage, and our family… and while those numbers make me feel a tad ‘old’ i’m more grateful and hopeful than anything.

i’m excited about some experiences we have planned, some travel we look forward to and i’m even very excited about the common and ordinary things that we will be doing in each of the coming seasons.

and, while i still wonder where and what God has for me as i try to find my way in this ‘season’ of life, i know i can trust Him with it.

because He is faithful.

so graciously faithful.

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to 2016!

love,

Rachel

 

 

on rain and knowing your place….

truth be told, i could tell you more about rain than i could knowing your place.

although both subjects are close to my heart right now, talking about rain is easier.

because, sometimes knowing your place takes a lot more time and effort than you (i) want to put into it.

but, strangely enough, i feel like the two subjects go together for me right now.

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you see, out here, rain and weather and the skies are a big deal.

when a storm is in the forecast, you sit up and take notice.

you watch the clouds, you notice the wind direction, and; you pray.

when we were at a recent community gathering, i sat back deep in thought as the speaker made an announcement about the dire forecasts for the afternoon, and how that could affect the events planned.

it was with a sense of reverence that every head was bowed and the prayer of ‘protect us from harmful weather’ was agreed upon.

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while it may not affect others in this way, and maybe it’s just where i’m at in life right now, but it moves me deeply to come together in prayer and recognize God’s control and sovereignty over our lives as we ask Him to protect us from danger from the skies above.

maybe it’s just this thing of how the weather it is a common bond that unites us whether we want it to or not.

or, maybe it is a thing of recognizing that our place here on earth is only as God sees fit and in our recognizing His control over the weather, we in turn submit to Him for our very existence.

i think it’s both actually.

it brings me to a place of reverence and awe to hear people praying to God about the weather and the rains.

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i haven’t lived here long enough to feel like i know my place in every area, but i’m starting to see that maybe, we are bound by elements as simple or as complex as the weather and in that, we truly find our place.

because i haven’t lived here long, i feel like i need to earn my right to pray for God’s protection from harmful weather and yet i know i don’t.

God hears me from any place i’m in and for that i am grateful.

His grace is not dependent upon my knowing exactly what my place is.

and, His mercy is new for each day of pleasant or harmful weather.

maybe it’s ‘out there’ to think of being reverent and awed by the weather to you.

it’s mystifying for sure.

but, when you’ve sat there and watched heads bow and know that many of those heads have seen things from the skies that i have not, and that many of those heads bowed have a livelihood that depends upon what God gives thru the weather, it is humbling.

it calls me to respect the Giver of rain and storms and to respect the years of experience that call upon a Mighty God to protect us from harmful weather.

the rains have been coming and watering the earth here and in turn we thank God for his provision.

and, so, as we do thank Him for providing, it seems to me that it helps us, me, find a place.

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a place of belonging to a God who made not only heaven and earth, but each one of us.

may we ever know His sovereignty and greatness as we see Him not only in the sunshine but in the rains too.

He is indeed a God of wonders.

 

 

 

 

 

random retrospect…

you know what they say….’hindsight is always 20/20′.

but, what i’d like to know is this: when is it that we really come to the place of hindsight?

i tend to think that it varies.

i’m ruminating on these sort of things because it’s been a year of living in Kansas for our family, and there are some things i see clearer than i did one year ago, but i can’t say that everything is 20/20.

i think i can see a lot of the answers to why we are not where we were, but maybe the answers to why we are here seem blurry still.

i’m truly okay with that.

it’s a funny thing to look back on this past year of Major Change.

in some ways it feels like such a short span of time, and then in others ways, it doesn’t.

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(^^a picture i took of my sister and her family)

two things that stand out to me about this past year are lessons of trust and grace.

trust in that there were (and still are) days where the questions are clearer than the answers for a lot of the why’s of our being here…

trust in that we’ve had to tell our children to trust us when this experience has been HARD on them and even as we tell them that we quake within ourselves because we don’t really know what we are asking of them in that…

trust in that i know it is a Great God who knows all of our days and He has ordained them all and in that i can find rest even on the days when i fear the unknowns…

grace in that i have had, and most definitely am still learning how, to give myself grace when everything in me wants to strive for something else…

grace in that i’ve had to learn how to extend that in new ways toward others that relate and are different than i…

grace in that we’ve had to learn how to give that to each other as we have all gone thru this change and have been affected in just as many different ways…

grace in that i have had to accept that from the Lord as i have wondered what my, our place is here and He is, ironically, again, asking for trust.

the two undoubtedly go hand in hand.

i’m not sure if you can have grace without trust, or if trust can take root in a heart without grace…

either way.

retrospect is to look back on, contemplation.

our lives are defined by events that change our course.

for the good or the bad.

how the events of my life change me for the good or the bad….again, grace.

and, when i think about it like that, it is so what i want to extend toward others.

because, really, we are all on a life-changing journey every day.

the events may seem small and insignificant, and some are, but they all add up to a life lived.

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(^^last summers blood moon.)

moving on to other things about the change of life…

life in Kansas is vastly different than life in Pennsylvania was.

things are much slower here.

there are way less people.

making a living thru agriculture is the norm here.

those three things i absolutely LOVE.

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we live on a dirt road that sees so little traffic.

truth be told, i would say that there are more pieces of farm equipment driven past our house than there are vehicles.

our children are learning that you tell directions not by turning left or right, but by going east or west.

on our 7 acres we have more outbuildings than i ever dreamed we could have.

our children literally spend entire days outside in imaginary play.

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i now see the need for each of them to own a decent pair of cowboy boots as more practical than a decent pair of sneakers.

instead of planning and caring for a large flower garden as i did in PA, i am now planning and starting a large vegetable garden in our back yard.

i ordered seeds from a catalog for the first time in my life and am so anxious to get them all started.

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we built a cold-frame two weeks ago for the purpose of starting vegetables and i’m excited to see how it will also serve me year round here.

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we spend our weekends working around our homestead….with all our outbuildings and pasture, there is much that can be done.

one thing that i have realized i’ve let go of since moving onto our homestead is that i take less pictures.

which, i really do not like.

this is most definitely a stage and time in our families life that i want to remember, and i am going to have to purpose to get out my big camera more. it takes time and effort for me because i can always be busy and about something here, but in the midst of that, there are many things i want to document and remember thru my camera.

i MUST do better in that.

our home is a continual work in progress.

we kind of hit the brakes after we moved in here last October.

we recently started scheming and dreaming about how to update the bathrooms.

i’m not even kidding when i say they are tiny and FAR from what would be ideal.

they work, and i’ve had worse.

but, still.

they leave a lot to be desired.

it all takes time and money, and sometimes you just come up short on both, ya know?!

i’ve  recently become obsessed familiar with Joanna Gaines and her HGTV show Fixer Upper, and her blog Magnolia Homes. watching her show has encouraged me to think outside of the box even more. and, i LOVE her style in her Texas farmhouse. it’s a bit too white on white for me, but the overall style i really find inspiring.

i wish i could pick her brain on our bathroom situations.

but, in the meantime, i guess i’ll keep watching her transform homes and draw inspiration from that.

anyhow…

this week our kids have spring break and it’s so awesome to have a more relaxed way of starting out the mornings.

today the kids are going to have chores to do around here so that we can do some other things the rest of the week.

work first, play later.

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i better scoot along.

thanks for stopping by, and skimming thru this random post.

i hope to be back soon.

love,

Rachel

 

my worst performance…

i’ve been thinking about performance and acceptance.

how, being in a relationship where you are accepted based on your performance is so hard.

how, noone wins in that kind of thing.

how, If your acceptance of me is based on how well i perform, our relationship will only be as good as my worst performance.

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because really, it’s not my best performances that set the standard for your acceptance.

you’ll want to accept me on my good performing days, and it’ll make me feel less edgy.

but, on those days when my performance is lousy and your acceptance is gone…unfortunately, those are the days where reality lives.

the reality that i will not always be able to please you and that i will never be able to ‘live up’ to the standard of your acceptance.

i think about this because i’m muddling my way through something like this.

and, maybe you can relate.

and, maybe you cannot.

either way.

it seems to me that it’s not a new thing to wrestle with performance based acceptance.

it happens in our marriages, our families, our friendships, our work relationships, our churches.

it takes on a form all its own in our minds when we feel like God doesn’t love us unless we do ‘such-and-so’.

but, that’s the very place where we should never even once have a thought of performance based acceptance.

because if we truly embraced and accepted and understood God’s great love for us, we would know with all that we are that this is not a valid concern.

in all honesty?

this is mind-blowing for me to even begin to understand.

and, sadly, i think it’s because i’ve been trapped in the snare of performing for acceptance.

not in all areas, and not in a lot of levels.

but, in just enough areas of my life that it’s become confusing to how i relate and react.

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so, i’m sitting back here thinking these things and looking at my stuff and saying ‘i’m just broke.’

broken feels like of little worth, like giving very little effort.

and, this song…

this song that really is about broken in a marriage relationship, rings in my head over and again.

this song that talks about disappointment and forgiveness and wishing for less scars and more grace…

and how we are not meant to be complete on our own.

maybe it’s that we have to let all of the ugly, broken, all of the fight and all of the shattered dreams fall together for a more beautiful picture.

maybe letting go of the hopes and wishes, the hurts and disappointments will bring us together.

maybe it won’t be in the time table that we would wish for.

and, maybe it won’t be in the way that we wish.

but, maybe, together looks different when it’s broken.

maybe broken looks whole when it’s together.

i like that picture.

that picture where even though things are ugly and disappointing and broken, if it’s brought to Jesus, if it’s brought together in Him, it’s whole.

broken together seems so contradictory on the surface, but deep down, or maybe even just below the surface, it’s no contradiction at all.

and, so, while i know that God sees me for more than my worst performance, the reality is His acceptance is always the same no matter my performance.

my worst, broken performance garners His unconditional acceptance.

oh, for Grace to trust Him more.

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with love,

Rachel

i’m a loser…

for real.

a big ol’ loser.

i could probably create my own reality t.v. show having to do with being a loser.

it’s this little game i play where every.single.time. i play, i lose.

big time.

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(^^that one time i tried to let them play in the rain, but it was way too cold, and they came in two minutes later)

it’s this game where i play solo and yet, still come out as the biggest loser.

it’s the game of comparison.

the game where i look around and compare and just plain old lose.

maybe you are familiar with this game?

or, maybe you’re not.

either way.

what got me thinking about it was this:

i recently heard someone stating their disappointment with what someone else was doing, and i sat back all smug and thought to myself ‘YOU compare that and yet, look what YOU are doing that is not any better?!’

and, then i was so taken aback at my own ugly, sinful tendency to do the very same thing.

in way, way too many areas of life, i play this game.

maybe not all the time, and sometimes more than others, but still i end up playing this losing game.

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i play it within my mind when i wish circumstances would be otherwise and i assume that it’s just me who deals with whatever the matter may be…

i play it when i wish my kids would be better, be more, be less…

i play it when i wish i was a better wife, a better mom, a better friend…

i play it when i wish i could look better, have a different outfit, less grey hairs…

i play it when i think about blogging and why do i bother…

i play it when i think someone else thinks something of me and mine and the truth of the matter is, it’s all just between my ears since i’ve not had any validation to the crazy thought process where i compare their thoughts toward me and what i think of them…

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i’m serious.

it is just a lose-lose game.

so,  this game can be just played alone and maybe noone is affected by it besides myself.

maybe that’s true.

even so, i am losing as i play it alone.

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it’s this thing of thinking that i can play this game and it’s okay when really, i’m playing it out and therefore letting it affect way, way more of life lived with others.

it’s this thing of playing it out in my mind and in the letting it affect other areas of life, i become a loser by choice.

i could be wrong, but it seems to me that the devil likes to see me play this game and lose over and over.

it’s this game that i don’t even have to turn in chips or pay dues, i’m just robbed blind by choice.

by choosing to play this game, i let myself, my life, my happiness be affected and ROBBED of so much peace and joy and acceptance and love.

i think about how as a parent, i want to teach my kids to be good losers, to play fair, to let others win.

but, in this game…i just want to teach them to not even play!

i want them to know that it’s a game that is not worth playing and, yet….

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it seems like because we live in a fallen world, from the beginning of time really, we’ve all been playing it.

and, losing.

i think that yes, this is where grace comes in.

but, i also think that this is where we have to choose to let redeeming love and God’s thoughts of us override the desire and tendency to play along in this losing game.

so much of life and how i respond to it is directly affected by where, who, what i put my identity in.

coming back again and again to the reality that my truest, only meaningful identity must come from what He thinks of me.

“My salvation and my honor depend on God; his is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in him at all times…pour out your hearts to him for God is our refuge.” Psalm 62:7,8

“everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made….Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.” Isaiah 43:7 & 1

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i don’t know why i’m posting this, really.

certainly not because i’ve overcome the game of comparison.

nope, maybe i’m posting this just to get it off my chest.

and, sometimes when i type things out, i see it clearer.

maybe you’ll identify with some of this, and maybe you won’t.

either way.

my only advice is this:

try not to to play this game.

losing all the time isn’t worth it.

choose joy, not comparison when you want to win.

Look with fresh eyes.
Look without comparison.
Look for a sprinkling of beauty on a tough situation.
Look for a joy that doesn’t match your circumstance.
Look for the unexpected blessings.
Expect them.
God adores you, even when His voice is quiet.

(^^pinterest quote)

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have a good Wednesday.

love,

Rachel

 

Wednesday-ness…

this will be random.

because i do random pretty well.

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^^that $1 net from the yard sale=endless bug catching fun.

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first of all, today, my dear friend from Pennsylvania is flying out here to visit me/us, and to say excitement is in the air is an understatement!! she will be getting in on the real Kansas heat too; yesterday was 105* with a 115* heat index. ah yeah. Kansas in the summertime…

but, back to her coming! i am so excited to have our first company from our old home! we may not have much here, but what we have, we are so looking forward to sharing with her! pretty much everyone we meet hears about her coming and so, it’s almost like having a famous person come to visit. well, i’m imagining what a famous persons visit would be like and i think this is probably similar. in case you thought we have famous people stopping in all the time. =)

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^^we do lots of watering here in Kansas, so that we can eat fresh produce.  and, the sisterhood inspecting a new butterfly.

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while i wish the weeks would slow down for summer vacation, i also wish they would speed up so that we could move onto our homestead.

we have a tentative timeline of our moving and while i am more than excited and anxious about that, i am also trying to learn what i think God is teaching me here in this temporary home.

maybe i’m just a slow learner. or, maybe it’s just that i need to learn more than i think. i don’t know. but, i so do not want to have wasted these months where things were in limbo. i’m not good at limbo. but, i’ve gotten better at it, i think.

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^^littlest sister gears up for tractor driving.

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can i  brag on my husband?

good, because i’m going to!

our homestead kitchen is one big, open room.

big and spacious and yet, not much counterspace and no dishwasher.

so, my husband has drawn up and planned out an island he is going to make for me.

i mean, DE-TAILED drawn out the plans and it is going to be nice!

i will have a dishwasher again, AND, another sink in the kitchen, plus a breakfast bar on the island.

he is pretty amazing.

life out here where it’s all been new for him, i have been so awed as i’ve watched him pursue this dream of building me an island, and talk of other new things he could do…. i love seeing him broaden his horizons, and in turn, ours.

when i hashtag on Instagram with thisisournewbeginning, it is so much bigger than just a new house and address.

i love how God is bringing us closer together through all this new beginning. it’s not always easy, but it is GOOD.

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^^park fun with cousins on a hot summer evening. you didn’t know dragons spit water out of their noses? yeah, well, you learn something everyday.

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this song by Steven Curtis Chapman…

‘God’s plan from the start, for this world and your heart, has been to show His glory and His grace..’

yes.

brings me to tears when i listen to it and realize how it applies so much to my life, and, every.one.of.our.lives.

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^^he devoured that book. the skies!! and, scooters and books and pacifiers…yep. she’s two.

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and, now, i must run along.

enjoy the rest of this week.

love,

Rachel