Thursday, December 31, 2009

My Totally Attainable Resolutions



I've never been one to do New Year's Resolutions. I think it's because I have always felt that many people set too high of goals and never actually attain them. And honestly, I just can't deal with that kind of disappointment.

So today I am making a new tradition:

My Totally Attainable Resolutions
1. Change 1000 diapers
2. Learn the names of all the trains on Thomas and Friends
3. Get a lot of slobbery kisses
4. Eat Chocolate (I might check that one off tonight...)
5. Have a Pajama Day with the boys
6. Finish unpacking
7. Go one day without getting spit-up in my hair (this one could prove more difficult)
8. Read a book that doesn't rhyme or have big pictures in it

I'll keep you posted ;-)

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Freedom for Christmas


It's christmas time again. I've been really busy this month with projects (pictures to come when I get my camera from my parents). I made all our gift sacks from scrap cloth my mom gave me, made several hand picked herbal teas, and made felt food for Boots and all 3 of my nieces.

We're celebrating Christmas as a family tonight, since we will be leaving town when Mr. Reliable gets off work on Christmas eve. We will exchange gifts, eat pizza (family favorite), drink hot chocolate, and pick someone to help. This year it's with the International Justice Mission. We can choose to designate our money to a certain area or to a specific need (rescuing trafficked women, freeing slaves, justice for the sexually abused, or protecting widows and orphans). If you are not familiar with the IJM it's worth checking out! They work on the whole picture, investigating possible crimes against humans, rescue and aftercare, and prosecution of the people who commit the crimes. The website is www.ijm.org Can you imagine giving someone freedom for christmas? Merry indeed. That's the kind of stuff Jesus does.

Have a happy holiday.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

goodbye fall...

I can not believe it's December. I love everything about Autumn- the smells, the crisp air, the beautiful leaves, plus we have our birthdays and anniversary.

I am realizing I love it so much that I'm missing out on 3 other seasons! I spend the first part of winter wishing it were still fall, then finally resign myself the the fact that it's over and suddenly spring has arrived. Spring is pleasant, but I can't help finding myself wondering why the budding of a tree's leaves isn't nearly as beautiful as the way it parts with them. And summer begins, the heat reminds me why I love the fall and I dream the summer away with thoughts of cool evenings and pumpkin muffins.

What a waste!

I can't help thinking that I live most of my life the way I think of the seasons; how many beautiful opportunities am I missing?

So, in honor of the change in my viewpoint on life, I am going to embrace the season! I am trying to think of fun things to do with the boys that will highlight the wonderful things that happen in the winter.

...I'm not coming up with much (I've had this habit way too long!) Any suggestions?

I guess while they nap I better look for a less "Fall-themed" blog template too!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

moving sale


A month or so ago, I helped my grandma with her moving sale. A man came in and was standing in the kitchen, obviously wanting to talk, so I give him the necessary half-smile to acknowledge his presence and the conversation begins and goes something like this:

Man: "Well, I just got home from a retreat, so I'm wearing my casual clothes"
I nod my head
Man (in a voice of importance): "You know, a pastor's retreat. It was good. Then my wife wanted to take me around to all these sales"
Me: "Oh"
Man (with pride swelling in each word): "We like to go to these sales to buy things for the church. Everything we buy is for the church. Well, and for my grandson and his new wife. I married them at the church I got married at."
Me (in the flattest tone I could utter): "That's nice."
Man (as proud as a man can get): "Yeah, they didn't want anyone else to marry them, I'm a pastor, you know."
That is when I exited the room and left him standing there by himself.

Leaving was the ONLY thing I could do!!!

He then entered the living room to spread his "christian love" to the rest of my family and the shoppers.

I can not figure out what the man wanted from me!?!? Did he want me to treat him special? Give him a discount? Ask him to pray for me? Beg him to anoint the house with oil?

I don't know what he wanted, but I sure do know that his behavior has caused me to cringe at the idea of being labeled a christian.

Jesus was kind, humble, and loving. And love is not boastful, proud, or self-seeking. Jesus is somebody I can follow.

PS I just love this picture from the city we used to live in's celebration of the "Year of the Cow" Yes. That cow is mooning you.

***edited to add the (emotions)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

hope

3 things in particular have given me hope lately.

When I published my last post about my questions I was really nervous about the response I might get, but I really wanted an outlet to be real and say what I was thinking. And I am so glad I did. Several friends have shared that they are in the same place and many more, who may not be the that place, just gave me the freedom to be real and to wrestle through this.

I recently read a book called "A New Kind of Christian" by Brian McLaren. It was really good. It asked a lot of the same questions I have been recently facing and it did so gracefully, sans the twinge of cynicism that my questions have been coming with.

I also saw the video below a couple of weeks ago; it is possibly the most beautiful and hopeful thing I have seen in a really long time. I really identified with it.





When the country we lived in hosted the Olympics, they built walls of lovely fake buildings and homes to hide the slums that could be seen from the highways and trains. Tourists were satisfied by the fact that they didn't have to face the reality of poverty, even though they knew it existed. I find hope in the fact that I'm not the only one who can no longer live with the paper-thin wall of religious answers constructed in front of the slums of reality. If there are people writing books and making films like these then there is a movement, and on the edge of the movement is the possibility for real, lasting change.

Monday, November 16, 2009

What's for dinner?

I used to DREAD this question. Especially when we lived overseas... because most days I only began thinking about it when the question was asked (you know, right before Mr. Reliable wanted to eat...)

In the last year I have discovered 2 miracles: Planning and the Crock-Pot.

Now I plan our meals on Saturday or Sunday, writing down each meal and making a list of all the necessary ingredients as I go. I plan our left overs for lunches or for other meals (like I'll cook ground meat on Monday for chili; use half and freeze the other half for a pasta sauce on Friday). I guess lots of people are smarter than I am and have been doing this forever, but since I picked up I am SO much less stressed and it saves us money since I go to the grocery store knowing exactly what I need.

We eat 3 to 5 meals a week out of our crock-pot. Seriously. I can do all of the prep work in the morning with Boots helping stir and measure and Snugs napping. Then at 5:00 all I have to do is toss a salad or make some rice and we're ready to eat! It may sound silly, but it brings so much peace to our household when I'm not rushing around to get dinner on the table, while Mr. Reliable, tired from a long day's work is having to half-heartedly and hungrily tend the the boys!

Okay... I guess that's my mama talk for today...

Thursday, November 12, 2009



This is what I woke up this morning. And so far that's been the best part of the day. But tomorrow's a new day.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

lucky


Mr. Reliable and I have just recently admitted to each other something that both of us have been thinking for a while. We got lucky. Our story seems somewhat exciting and romantic (young missionaries meet on the other side of the world and fall in love! awww!), but honestly we married out of convenience. We barely knew each other, but we were on the same team and were serving the same people, plus he was cute and he thought the same about me. We both followed Jesus, so why not? So we got married. We had a lot of learning to do that first year. And I got pregnant really quick, so my sweet Mr. Reliable was trying to get to know his new bride, but I was a crazy, emotional, pregnant mess. Really I'm pretty glad he doesn't believe in divorce, because I'm sure I was making him crazy. Thankfully we survived!

We both recently come the the realization that we are so lucky that even though we jumped into a marriage the way we did we love each other. We have met other couples who married for the same reasons and were not so lucky... and that makes me take note even more how much I love him.

Mr. Reliable is a good man, he's so funny and wonderfully supportive in all of my new pursuits and interests (even when in means no more Twinkies and little Debbies). He's handsome and strong and an awesome daddy to our little men.
And he's my best friend.

Happy Anniversary Mr Reliable!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

when i started asking questions

I grew up in a fairly conservative home: went to church camp every year, learned to memorize religious acronyms like f.a.i.t.h., and could beat any "sinner" over the head with the bible.

A few bumps in the road mellowed me out a little bit: I mean, I still knew that I was right and you were wrong ,but at least I wasn't as verbally aggressive.

The last year absolutely destroyed the framework of my faith. Mr. Reliable and I had 10 deaths in the course of a year, including the murder or some of Mr. Relaible's childhood friends. Then there was a mentor that we were sure God was going to heal, and we knew that even if Orv did die God was going to raise from the dead. So when he died, we prayed. We waited for God to do what we knew he was going to do for us. And He didn't. Orv was gone. And with him went our confidence in all we knew. We lived on the opposite end of the world from our friends and family, so as our pain mounted we began shutting down. I hid and Mr. Reliable got angry. The winters in our area were cold and I was caring for a baby and pregnant, so no one expected me to go out. Poor Mr. Reliable and the sweet little local woman who helped me this our house became my contact with the outside world. We were miserable. We were full of the questions that your not supposed to ask, you know, the ones that real christians don't ask. Like, "Why do really horrible things happen to people?" and "Do they really go to hell to suffer forever after they have lived a miserable existence?" among many others. Every story we read online about child soldiers and women bred to be prostitutes, every little old beggar woman on the street corner, and every time we saw a young illegal child (we lived in a country were population was restricted, leaving an entire population that could never legally get jobs, medical care, or a legitimate lifestyle) we were reminded of our questions. We would get well-intentioned emails from friends telling us just how proud they were and how they wished they could do what we did... and our questions grew. Our love for the people around us was beginning to drown in our every growing sea of questions. So we did the one thing neither of us expected: we packed up our things and left. Not to go to a more remote area or a more needy people, no, nothing so exciting, we took our 5 suitcases and a couple boxes containing all our earthly possessions and settled in the American suburbs.

Here we have the freedom to ask our questions without quite the same amount of pressure. So far, through my wonderings and questioning the only thing I feel confident about is Jesus and the things he said. I don't know about heaven and hell, about why people suffer, or about why most christians are just so damn mean (but that's a question for another day...). But I know that I like Jesus, and I want to do the kind of things I saw him do.

Monday, November 9, 2009

The death of channel surfing...


My little man loves to sing and dance. I mean he loves to sing and dance. One of the first things he does after breakfast every morning is to ask me to turn on the "meamu" so he can dance. He's at the age where he picks up on everything and he has just realized that the songs on the radio have real words to them. We do a lot of channel surfing in the car, because like most people, we hate commercials! So we tend to stop on anything that has a decent beat... that's officially over.

Saturday night we went to some friends' house for dinner. They are great friends, but definitely fall on the more conservative end of the spectrum. As we were all enjoying our dinner, Boots decided to share his vocal stylings with us: "Good Night... Tonight Good, Gooooood Night, Good Night! ("Tonight's gonna be a good night, Tonight's gonna be a good, good night...") " We laughed and explained that it's a song on the radio that Cyrus really likes. Before we could finish our explanation he bursts out into his rendition of Gwen Stephani's "Hey Baby." Yep. They understood him. "Is that 'Hey Baby'?" that asked. And my cheeks got red. There died our channel surfing days. RIP.

Boots really is an awesome boy with such a fun personality. He has a special song that he made that he likes to sing throughout the day and always before bedtime. It goes like this: "Jee-jaa, I wrike Jeja" Translation: "Je-sus, I like Jesus" It melts my heart. And helps me to get through the "hey baby" incidents.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Line-Up



I spend most of my life with my family. They are who I think about, so naturally they are who I write about...
Here's the line-up:

Me- I'm Rachel. I'm not really sure how to introduce myself, but I'll get there eventually!


Mr. Reliable- My wonderful husband. We met overseas doing the same work and have been married 3 years now. Mr. Reliable is a good, hard-working man. He's compassionate and loving, but not the romantic type. He thinks in lines and patterns, cause and effect, you know the type. He's pretty predictable (but don't tell him I said so :) ). He's a good lookin' man (and he's looking really good now that he's started doing a more physical type of job!) and I am crazy about him!

Boots- Our toddler. He just turned 2 and is really struggling into independence. He is SO much like his daddy (thinks in lines and patterns), but a little more artistic. He loves to sing and dance. And he is too smart for his own good.

Snugs- The baby. He's 6 months old and is our people person. Look at him and he'll smile and coo; don't look at him and he'll squeak and yell until you notice him so he can smile and coo.

Snugs is squeaking and Boots will be awake soon, I hope you are have a restful sunday afternoon!

Friday, November 6, 2009

My first post as a blogger...

Wow.. here I am... with a blog of my own! I have to admit that starting this blog has a little to do with the fact that I wanted to enter a contest on another blog... that coupled with the fact that a wonderful friend of mine just started a blog made it too good to pass up!
I'll be posting the introductions soon (just in case someone other than my Family and Brandi is reading!); until then have a happy Friday!