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

 

 

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growing and changing…

it seems like i say this all the time; ‘my kids are all just growing and changing so much these days!’

and, it’s so true.

our lives have been drastically redefined since we moved here to Kansas in March of 2014, and while i’m sporting a few more grey hairs and wrinkles than when we first came here, i think that my kids have had the most changes.

they’ve all made new friends, grown to love their family out here and they have just CHANGED.

i think about it when i look at each one of them, but in different ways.

with my oldest i especially think of what a great, great young man he is becoming.

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i know he’s going to tell the story of life pre and post Kansas differently than what i will, and i’m okay with that.  as i’ve seen him go through all these changes, it’s been hard to watch at times. hard because i couldn’t ‘fix’ it and the hard times were caused by the decisions his father and i have made.

he’s dealt with things in his own way and his own time.

he’s spent lots of time outside with his dog and his gun.

and, a few weeks ago, i decided i wanted to go out with him and get some pictures of him going about his favorite activity.

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he spends hours out in the pasture with his pellet gun and his dog.

he’s a great shot with that gun and his dog is quite loyal toward his loving master.

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it’s been so great to watch him become a ‘farm boy’. he has enthusiastically embraced the outdoors and the cowboy boots and hats and the bill caps and ripped up jeans.

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none of us wants to be one of those parents who are nonstop bragging and boasting about their kids, so it’s a fine line to talk about my kids in a gushing way….but, i look at this oldest son of mine and just feel so grateful that God put him in our family. i feel so glad that i get the chance to be his mom. i feel so grateful for the young man he is becoming and i pray every day that God will continue to lead and direct in his life so that he grows up to be a man after God’s heart. the thing about growing and changing is it’s not just a physical thing; i see God growing and changing my son and that, is the most exciting growth and change that a mom’s heart could ask for.

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♥~R

 

 

 

 

from scratch

after being M.I.A. in the blogging world for what feels like a really long time, how do you come back?!?
why even bother?
i’m asking the same old questions, over and again, aren’t i?
i know.

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so, because i’m sick of asking them, and you are probably sick of reading them, how about if we do a ‘start from scratch’ here on this little blog.
a ‘let’s start and tell the story of me, of us, from this point onward, but including the pieces that got us to here’.
ok?
okay!
i remember the very thing i wrote about when i published my first blog post 7 plus years ago; i wrote a fictional little saga based on a ‘mouse in the house’ experience we were in the midst of in our home at that time.
why on earth i did that, eh, let’s just call it water under the bridge and don’t look back! =)
today i am:
Rachel.
a wife, mother, daughter, sister, aunt, friend.
and, while i’ve noticed it seems popular to say; ‘i am a daughter of the King’, and yes, i am, i think that more than i want you to read that about me, i want to live that with all that i am.
in 2013, my husband and i made the life-changing decision for our family that we would step out in faith and lay down a role of leadership in a church we really loved, we would put our house on the market, and lay a fleece of ‘we are willing to move to Kansas Lord, if this is what You want, and we will do it when You say.’
(i wrote about that part of our story here.)
Five months later, we had packed up all of our earthly belongings, driven 1,300 miles and were residing in Kansas.
there are many, many things i could tell you about this piece of our story, and some days, i think i should tell this story.
but, most days, i just ponder it in my heart and feel like the timing is not right and i’m not ready to tell all that i could.
maybe someday i will, or maybe i won’t.
our coming to Kansas was both bitter and sweet.
bitter in that we left friends and family that we had been with for the entire 13 years of our marriage and it was the only home our children had ever known. leaving those dearest to you is undoubtedly never an easy thing.
being here has been sweet in that we now live close to all but one of my siblings and my parents are 1 1/4 miles down the road from us and there are cousins and aunts and uncles that before we would see maybe once a year.
i think it goes without saying that when you make a radical life-change there are bound to be adjustments and hard pieces.

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(^^all the colors of the rainbow for a girl turning 8!!)
it’s one thing to move you and your spouse 1,300 miles and start life anew, but factor in 4 children doing it with you and not only do you have your own things to work through, you have theirs to help them through….
what mother’s heart doesn’t just ache when her children are struggling?
a lot of this year has been that for me.
not all of the time, and not all of the children at once, thankfully.
but, there have been many a time when i just wanted to undo all of this and make things like they used to be so that my children wouldn’t have to hurt and feel displacement.
i’ve wanted to just ‘fix’ the ache and homesickness they were in the midst of.
and, yet i can’t.
i can’t do that for myself, let alone them.
because i’m a mother, it seems that my days are consumed with the well-being of my family and while that is my story, the way my children are reacting to this and how they are dealing with this is largely their story.
i struggle to know where the line is in that part of life, but i do feel strongly that the way they will someday tell this story and the way i am seeing them live it out may very well not be one and the same.
i am really okay with that, and i want to protect their privacy and guard their hearts as much as i can as i talk about how life is for us here.
it’s taken me back in time over and again too.

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(Thanksgiving at my parents^^)

my own childhood had several major life-changing events that were not fun or easy for me, and i now know that those events had to have been even more difficult for my parents as they walked this same road of ‘major change’.
the road of ‘major change’ is not a smoothly paved surface nor is it always a straight line.
but.
in and through it all there is good.
lots, and lots of good.

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the longer time goes on, the more i feel at home here.
we are, after a longer than anticipated segment of time, in our own home!
i cannot tell you how good it feels to be ‘home.’
the first 8 months of our being in Kansas, we lived in a house that we knew from the start was temporary, and because of that, we put nearly all of our belongings into storage.
i feel so carnal to say this, but; i missed our stuff!!
i told myself many times that this was really the best deal for the time being, but i just missed not having familiar things around us.
i missed not having the opportunity to create.
it honestly felt like a large part of my life was on hold for over eight months.
when i unpacked my good dishes two weeks ago, i realized that they had all been packed since right after Christmas last year.
because of things like that, of course i am more grateful than ever to be where we are going to stay.
and, because homemaking is what i do, it is so good to be back in my little element.
we are working at things as we can here in this big old house and it is so rewarding to see the change take place. there are enough projects on our list to keep us busy for many years to come, and we are just fine with that.
i have more dreams for this place than i’ll probably ever be able to realize, but that’s okay.
we have lots of time.
God willing.

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so….
this will be it for now.
if you continue to follow along here you can expect to find me documenting this old house, our family, recipes, sunsets and sunrises and the usual miscellaneous that i have always found rather easy.
thank you for stopping by!
love,
Rachel

just a few things…

can i be in love with a tree?

it’s not that i stand around hugging it or anything….

i just rather love this tree.

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if you are thinking about driving out to Colorado, and you want to pitstop in Kansas…

can i just say we love company?

and, when it’s company from far away, company that you don’t see often, it’s even more special.

this outstanding family here, they stopped in for supper and a couple of hours of visiting. it was short, but it was definitely sweet.

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Ava has loved this little flip camera.

she’s made plenty of goofy nonsense movies with it, but she’s also branching out into making short intelligent ones.

she also got some pretty cool shots the other night when we were out driving the countryside.

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these two snuggling on the chair together…

we’ve had a lot of long days and late nights the last while and i think it’s caught up with most of us today.

everyone is lying down as i type this.

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when sweet little friends from back East send mail to our girls…

such a highlight on this ordinary Tuesday.

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we took the kids to the splash park the other night.

after frolicking and playing in that for a long while, they were happy for the playground adjacent.

this shot of Ava doing the monkey bars…i kind of ♥ it.

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and all four of them.

a rare moment of pause.

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thanks to my kind and loving husband, we now have two big boxes of pears ripening in the laundry room.

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and, lastly, the sky on fire.

if only those power lines were not in the middle of the picture….

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i hope your week is off to a great start!

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

 

friend visit….

when one of your dearest friends calls on a Monday and wants to know if you are available to pick her up at the airport the following week, and you are left speechless and yet so very, very excited…

yep.

this past week was packed with good times and fun experiences shared.

i’m still just sitting back in awe that she was here and left already.

not to mention missing her.

but, while she was here, we did our best to show her a good time.

her and i are both lovers of flowers and so, a trip to Botanica, the Wichita Gardens was a perfect fit, not just for women, but for families too.

the garden has a very large section that is designed with children in mind and it was perfect for our crew.

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some of the features in the children’s garden….

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they had a rainbow theme throughout the children’s garden…

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Eric Carle’s ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’…

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a wonderful treehouse…

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lawn games…

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a butterfly sanctuary…

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tranquil water gardens…

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just a lovely, well-spent evening…

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there are not millions of things to do out here on the plains, but we did enjoy what we could with the amount of time we had.

we also took in an afternoon at the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center, and that was enjoyable…for the most part. a certain little girl was in desperate need of a nap, so that added an element of….something. 😉

because Kansas is known for it’s sunflower fields, and because it is my friends favorite flower, we found a field and took some sunflower selfies…

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my brother showed Lori a good time in the sprayer early one morning…she even saw a jackrabbit!!

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and, since these Kansas sunrises and sunsets are my favorite, we jumped in the truck one evening and drove West.

dirt roads, windows down, country music, and wide open spaces with the sunset show…

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^^those pictures…no filter, just an awesome Creator’s handiwork.

it was truly a great week.

i was reminded of the blessing friends are, and inspired by her in so many ways.

i was indeed honored that she took away from her summer vacation, by herself, to come to Kansas, of all places. =)

and, now, it’s back to the grind.

the grind of laundry and cleaning and cooking and baking and gardening.

the grind of life.

happy Wednesday, folks!

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