Monthly Archives: August 2012

Influential Peeps

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I’ve never really taken the time to think about the people in my life who have helped shape me in to the person I am today. I guess the thought hasn’t ever crossed my mind, but for some reason, and only God knows why, this afternoon as I was folding laundry, I began to think of the different people that have had an influence on my life. I guess you could say that the majority of people we meet throughout our life have some influence on our life, but I’m talking about the ones that have said or done something that will stick with you forever. 

Mrs. Lynda Langland was one of the toughest ladies I ever had the opportunity to know and love. I can’t even begin to count the hours that I spent at her house talking about anything and everything and she never sugar coated a thing. Whatever came out of her mouth was straight forward and to the point but you always knew that she said it out of love and a genuine care for your well being. If I was doing something dumb, she’d tell me. But she always took time to praise the good in what I was doing as well. I have a sticky note on my mirror that says, “Everyone has redemptive quality.” This was something Lynda truely believed and she drilled in to me and all the people dear to her. Another thing she always said was to give 100% NO MATTER WHAT you were doing. If you were mopping a floor, you better be giving 100%. She was full of a lot of wisdom and I miss her and the belief that she always had in me. See you on the other side, Lynda. 

Mr. Randy Dunn is probably the best teacher I have ever had. I hated (loathed is a better description of my feelings) math and didn’t care too much for science, either, until I had him as a teacher in college for both subjects. Mr. Dunn broke things down into such a practical way that I understood and his passion for both shown through so much that he made everyone in those classes WANT to learn. I actually looked forward to being in class and learning because it was fun. If a person in class didn’t understand, he was so patient in trying to reiterate in a different way what he was trying to teach. I can only hope I’m as engaging and understanding as he was. 

My aunt Roxanne was another person that influenced me tremendously. Her love and passion for life was so evident and her love for people was such an inspiration. Watching her genuinely take time to nurture each relationship in her life is something that I noticed from early on in life. She noticed the little details and took note of them and remembered them. She would go out of her way to make someone else feel special or important. I loved that most about my aunt Roxanne. I can’t wait to see her again in Heaven. 

Jorge Zapata was my Animal Science teacher many moons ago and at the time, I was walking through one of the lowest points of my life. As a teacher, he took time to notice that behind my smile, there was something much deeper that I was battling within and his kindness during that semester was the life line that I needed. It’s been a while since he was my teacher but we’ve stayed in touch and I’m happy that he is now a friend of mine. I drop by his office from time to time and bug him to death with all the goings on in my life, because as you all know, I lead such an exciting life and I know he is just dying to get caught up on the big scoop. Thanks for being a teacher that cared!! 

My parents really do deserve an award when it comes to teaching the lesson on putting others first. I know I’m not always the best at putting my needs on the back burner and making sure that others are taken care of, but I will say that I do give it an honest effort. I know my parents play a huge role in this. My mom was a teacher my entire life and even now as a principal, she has such an incredible love for her students. There were countless times while growing up that we would have one of her students move in with us because they had no where else to go. My dad would give the shirt off his back to anyone in need. That’s just the kind of guy he is. I’m thankful I grew up in a home that taught the importance of giving and putting others first.

Tony Lourenco is a very special person to me. I know a lot of people would consider it odd to say that an ex played a significant role in your life, but to me, he will always be someone dear to my heart. He’s so much more than an ex. While we only dated a short amount of time, about four or five months, it was in that time that I learned one of the most valuable life lessons. Tony is also another great example of putting other’s needs before your own. Tony and I met at an interesting time in my life. I had only been single for about four and a half months and, although I knew that I would never go back to the prior relationship, I hadn’t allowed myself time to heal and I had not dealt with a lot of the bitterness and anger in my heart from my past. Tony and I meshed perfectly, but my heart wasn’t whole and he knew it but he continued to care for me through patience and complete understanding. When Tony and I decided that I needed to take time to take care of me, he was so understanding and willing to do whatever it took for me to be a better person and I am so grateful that God allowed me the opportunity to see that I was worthy of being cared for in a genuine way. Had it not been for Tony, I can honestly say that I would probably still be questioning my self worth and and hiding behind the bitterness from my past. He’s the one that pushed me to the edge of the limb and told me to learn to fly on my own. And he did all this selflessly. He did it while he loved me and didn’t want to let me go but knew it was what I needed. It takes a very special person to do this and I am very grateful for those months I had with him. He’s a great friend. 

My grandma was a foster-parent most of my life. I remember her taking in kids that no one else wanted and she never questioned their background. She just loved them. She loved on the kids that needed it the most. Looking back now, I realize that had it not been for my grandma opening up her home, there are a lot of kids that wouldn’t have had that second chance at life. She has a big heart. And I love her dearly. 

I’ve got a lot of girl friends in my life, too many to even begin to name, that have been so influential. I’ve said this before, I’m one lucky woman to have so many Godly, loving, fun girl friends in my life who help keep me grounded and who look me square in the eyes and tell me when I’m being stupid. I’m blessed and I know it. 

I’m sure I’ve missed some people and more will come to mind later. But these are the ones that I thought of while I was putting away my laundry so they must mean something, right? I love ’em all in different ways and I’m so thankful for each one of them. 

Over and Out, 

~Rach

Why Ya Gotta Go And Do That For?

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One of my favorite spots to be is my parents’ porch. I love to sit and watch the sun set through the trees and, even though their house is barely outside city limits, the trees give it such a country feel. And as you know, I love the country. The last four or so years, I lived in the middle of nowhere, had to drive a quarter of a mile down my drive way just to get to the house. There were trees everywhere and when I looked out my kitchen window, all I saw was pasture full of horses on my left and pasture full of cows on my right. I loved that view. I loved sitting on the deck in the evening and listening to the sounds of nature and I especially loved when we’d let the horses out in the yard and they’d join me up around the deck and nudge me with their nose until I scratched them right under the neck. Yes, I love the country. So needless to say, when I made the move back to Mom and Dad’s, I knew I was going to miss the country life but having all the trees and the serenity that they brought made it a tad bit easier. This was my view a few evenings ago as the sun was starting to set:

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At the beginning of the summer, the city decided they were going to put in a water line in our neighborhood and three weeks ago, the process began. We chose to stick with our well water, but even so, the water line still had to go in. Which consequently meant that all the trees along the entry way had to be cut down. Can I just take a moment to cry?? This is now the awful view that I have from my parents’ porch:

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My heart is broken. I’m in mourning. Can I protest before they cut anymore down? This is enough to ruffle my feathers. Please excuse me while I go stomp my feet and pout in front of the men chopping down my trees. I’ll be back momentarily.

A Dolla Makes Me Holla

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I don’t know why I used that as my title. But I did, and I’ve just learned not to question some of the things that I say or do. It makes life so much easier for myself.

I have a problem. Apparently I have fat thumbs. That or when I get excited, the speed at which I text dramatically increases and I forget to proof read what I have written before I hit the send button. And as you know, once you’ve hit send, there ain’t no going  back, my friend. In the past couple weeks, I have sent two texts to two different people (both great girl friends of mine, thank GOD!) that were so embarrassing and completely inappropriate all because the slip of my thumb. Just like that, no going back……but luckily they were both sent to people who have a sense of humor. Starting today, though, I’m gonna start proof reading. I think.

I wore camo for the first time last week. It was also the last. I went to a birthday party for a family friend who just so happens to be a fanatic when it comes to hunting so his wife had very strict instructions for everyone to wear camo to the party. The only problem was I couldn’t see anyone…………………..Okay fine, lame joke, I know. But I laughed out loud at myself so get over it.

My dad is so weird. He was born and raised in Texas so of course, we traveled there quite a bit to see family when I was growing up. Without fail, every single time we would cross the state line in to Texas, my dad made everyone in the car cross their heart with their right hand and then salute the Texas flag. Then when I was 18, I moved to Texas and I swore to myself that I was NOT going to cross my heart or salute the flag because, how would my dad ever know? He wasn’t in the car with me. But just like when I was a kid, I had to do it every time because I just knew my dad would have a tugging in his heart and he’d know that I hadn’t done it. I still go to Dallas at least once a year to see friends and every time, I cross my heart and salute that stupid Texas flag, not because I love Texas but because I just know my dad will feel it in his heart if I don’t………So I guess that makes me weird, too.

“I before E except after C.” Weird. Do you ever wonder why it’s so hard for foreigners to learn how to read and write our language? Even we can’t follow our own dang rules.

In case you are wondering, this really is how my mind works. If you will notice, none of the above paragraphs have anything to do with each other. Sometimes, I just sit and think and one thought leads to another and then to another…..For instance, the first paragraph about the embarrassing text made me think about wearing camo because I sent one of those embarrassing texts the night of the party. The camo then made me think of my dad because hunting season is just right around the corner and he’ll be wearing nothing but camo for the next few months. And then thinking about my dad led me to thoughts of the English language and how differently we speak in all the various parts of the US. Example: my dad does not say pole. My dad says “po.” My dad does not say hole. My dad says “ho.” Do not let his Texas accent fool you, though. He is quite intelligent. And before I get started on more random thoughts, I am going to call it a night.

Sleep tight, you guys…..or ya’ll….or whatever you say depending on your geographical location…….~Rach

Sunday

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Matthew 6:33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.

My favorite day of the week is Sunday. Hands down, it’s the best. Every Sunday, my mom makes a home cooked meal and my whole family comes over after church for lunch, and a lot of times, we have some stragglers, too. I love that about Mom and Dad’s house.

Sunday means it’s the beginning of a new week. To me, it’s like life is handing you a blank canvas and giving you the opportunity to make the most of the next seven days ahead of you. Then it starts all over on the next Sunday. I am blessed to be part of a church that helps in that rejuvination as well! My pastor always brings a message that is relevant and right on point for my life. Today he asked the question, “What does God do when we take His BIG plans for our life and make them SMALL things?” He read scripture from Haggai 1. God had asked his people to rebuild His temple. Instead they became focused on their own homes while his Temple layed in ruins. His BIG plan had become unimportant to them. In verses six and seven it says that they had planted much but harvested little. They ate, but never had enough. They clothed themselves but were never warm and the money they earned was “put into a bag with holes.” When we don’t place Christ as the center of our lives, everything else is in vain. God, and His plan for our life, have to be first and then all the little things begin to fall into place. God’s promises are many. I think a lot of times we lose sight of the promises that He speaks over our life because they don’t happen immediately. My pastor talked about Abraham this morning. God promised him that he would have so many decendents that they would outnumber the sand on the shores. Abraham was over a hundred years old and it took 25 years for his son, Isaac, to be born. But was God’s promise fulfillfed? Yes, it was. It took a while, but it happened. In the book of Ezra, God promised to return his people to Jerusalem and take them out of captivity. Even though they knew God had promised them this, a lot of them stayed behind because they were comfortable in the slavery. They knew the journey would be long and not easy and in their complacency, chose to stay behind. They chose to stay in their bondage. They lost sight of the BIG plan that God had for them. His big plans for their life became small in their eyes. I know that in my own life, at times I’ve been comfortable and settled for less than the promises that God had for my life. It’s easy to do. It’s easy to get distracted by things and by people in our life. But it’s never too late to return to our First Love. And you know what is so incredible about God’s love for us? In Matthew 6:25-34 it talks about how much our Heavenly Father cares for us. It says “Look at the birds. They don’t have to plant or harvest but they’re fed by our Heavenly Father. How much more does God love us and care for us?” It goes on to say that when we begin to seek the Kingdom of God first, when it’s His will that we are striving to live, then all the things we need will be given to us. It’s that easy. He’s writing our story. Matter of fact, He wrote it long ago. My pastor said today, “Not only does God KNOW tomorrow, He HOLDS tomorrow.” It’s up to us, though, to make Him the center of our life and then watch as His plans begin to unfold.

And with that, I’m headed to my comfy, down-feather bed to enjoy a relaxing Sunday nap. Just another reason to love Sundays.

Much Love, Friends……~Rach

Coffee Thoughts

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You know what I love? My internal clock. Oh, and today is opposite day, so not really. Every day, I wake up around 5:30 for work and I wish that on days like today my body would just stay asleep. Instead, I am wide eyed and bushy tailed, whatever that means.

 

Last night, Julie and I went to 609 for dinner. I am so lucky to have her in my life. She’s one of the best girl friends I could ever ask for. She makes me want to be a better person. And we seriously laugh non stop when we are together. She’s good for me. She moved from Maine to Oklahoma several years ago and then ended up in Missouri and I could not be happier that God allowed our paths to cross. She calls us “parallel friends” because it seems like we are always walking through the same things at the same time. Oh, and we both love cowboys. But that’s neither here nor there. I love her. She’s a blessing for sure.

My nephew will be two in a few days. How is that even possible? How can he be a toddler? How can he go from a tiny little bundled up newborn to a never ending toddler full of energy? Part of me is sad because I miss when he’d fit perfectly on my chest and he’d lay there, so peaceful, and I could just watch him sleep and now the kid never stops moving. I love his obsession with his John Deere tractor and horses. We are so blessed to have a healthy, lively little man in our family. He’s my pride and joy. I’m a daughter, a sister, a granddaughter, and an aunt and I can honestly say being an aunt is my favorite. It’s such an honor.

A few days ago, I mentioned wanting to move from southwest Missouri. While I love the little town I grew up in, I crave something new. I thought about going north but I’m not sure I’d be happy in the winter. I thought about going south but I’m not sure I’d be happy in the summer. So basically what I’m saying is, I’m probably here for the long haul. I just can’t shake that feeling of wanting to be somewhere new, though. I want to be somewhere that isn’t more than a days drive from my family but far enough to where I’m pushed beyond my level of comfort, outside my familiar little world I’ve been in for 26 years. I feel like I’m so limited here. Don’t get me wrong, this place will always be home to me. But everything in me wants to leave…….

Isn’t it funny how we get ideas in our head as a child and some of those ideas never change? Maybe ‘funny’ isn’t the right word but you get my point. I can remember drawing what I thought was my dream home when I was probably only in third or fourth grade and that image is still in my mind. There’s a home in the next town over that looks like it came straight off a southern plantation and it’s been my favorite house since the first time I laid eyes on it. I’ve always wanted a house set away from the road with a long driveway. I’ve always wanted a house with a big yard for my babies to play in. I’ve always wanted a home that was inviting and one that whoever walked through the doors felt welcome. I want to be in the country. I want to be one of those moms that always leaves notes in my kids’ lunchbox and one that is able to be at every activity or sport they are involved in. I want to be totally devoted to my family. I hope that the house I bring my babies home to after they are born is the home they grow up in. I want them to know I will always be their biggest fan and that I love them more than any human being will ever love them. I already love them. I think God gave me a mother’s heart long, long ago. I’ve always wanted to be a mama. I’ve always wanted a family. There have been times in my life that I’ve almost settled for less than the desires of my heart, but thank God I did not. One of these days, I’ll be making supper for my little family and my husband will walk through the door after work, he’ll pick our babies up in his arms and hug them while he leans in for a kiss from me. Such a simple life. That’s what makes my heart happy when I dream. That’s all I want. Just a man that loves the Lord, me, and our kids. I want a man that works hard to provide for our family and makes sure we are always taken care of and in turn, a man that I can help be successful and do everything in my power to make sure HE is taken care of. I don’t think that’s asking too much.

It’s been 14 years since my grandpa passed away. My dad has his hat hanging in the work shed. That man was such a story teller. I remember every Saturday we’d go to Neale’s Cafe on the square and he’d drink coffee and I’d have hot chocolate and he’d sit there and tell me stories that, looking back, I know were so far from being true but back then they made me think he was the coolest person that had ever lived. One time he told me there had been a wildfire in California and he was swimming in the ocean when a helicopter flew over, dropped a bucket to get some water to help extinguish the fire and that bucket scooped him up and dropped him right before it got to the fire. I never even questioned him. My dad said when my grandpa died he wanted to have the words “Here lies the truth cause the truth was never told.” inscribed on his tombstone. It’s the truth, that man was the best story teller. I miss that man. I wish he could’ve met my nephew. I remember him picking me and my middle brother up for pizza and Mom and Dad would make us promise we wouldn’t ask for quarters for the gum ball machine but he’d give them to us anyway. And he always, without fail, had the same knock. We knew Papa was at the front door when we heard that knock. My dad was his only child, I was his only granddaughter. And oh, how he loved me. Ray Morgan Cantwell. I miss that story-telling man.

My thoughts are so random this morning. My heart feels a tad bit heavy and I can’t quite put my finger on the reasoning as to why I I feel this way. It’s not a sad feeling or a worried feeling. I’m quite content in my world and happier than I’ve ever been. But there’s a tugging in my heart that I can’t quite explain. I suppose the Lord is working on my heart, preparing me for something bigger than what I dare to imagine. My prayer is that I’m always ready and willing and receptive to His plan for my life. If a grass hut in Africa is where he wants me to live instead of a house on a hill in the country, well then….so be it.

Time for coffee! Have a wonderfully blessed day!
~Rach

I’m Excited Because:

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1. It’s football season. I will admit I’m a little bummed that I’m not following Iowa this year, and A LOT of people have referred to me as a bandwagon fan, but whatever, it’s all for a good cause. I’m not sure who I will follow this year. There are several options where I live. OSU, OU, Mizzou (not happening), Arkansas….I’m thinking I’ll probably go with the Hogs but don’t hold me to it. I wish Missouri State actually had a football team that I was proud to call “my team” seeing as I’m a Bear and all, but yeah, not happening.
And then there’s the NFL. I’m still in a love/hate relationship with the Chiefs but excited for the new season. And I’m mostly excited about cooking on game days! That’s the best part! I’m already volunteering my house for football parties!

2. I have started the official countdown to my birthday. Every year on August 22, the countdown begins. It’s exactly two months until the big day and this year I have a lot more than my birth to celebrate. Although, it really just means I’m that much closer to 30, and that much closer to being a cat lady because, let’s face it, pigs are gon’ fly before I date ANYONE in my hometown. It’s slim pickin’s round here. I love my little life, though.

3. I’m really excited about cooler weather. I’ve been running at night again and I love the cool, crisp air that the end of August has welcomed in. Soon and very soon I’ll be able to wear scarves, which as you know, basically rule my world.

4. Another thing that really makes my skirt fly up, figuratively speaking, is that I’ll be headed to the east coast again this Fall. I’m mainly excited for the fresh seafood. Oh, and I’m excited to see my family, but mostly the seafood. I’m telling ya, when you’re from the Midwest, fresh seafood is like a rare delicacy.

5. I’m actually really looking forward to race day with Christin. We’re going to need all the support we can get, so come cheer us on. AKA, please have water and Gatorade waiting at the finish line. I don’t care who you are.

6. For the first time in five years, I’m not dating a duck or deer hunter. While this DOES make me kind if sad (because I’ll admit it, I did always get caught up in the thrill of it all) I will not miss the constant shrill of duck and goose calls being blown for hours upon end inside the house and I will not miss the bad moods that came with not seeing the “big one.” This time last year, I was pulling grass for a duck blind that would cover the boat and I admit I cussed a couple times because my hands were bleeding by the end of it all. But that’s just the kinda girlfriend I am. Oh, and if anyone needs me to assemble duck or goose decoys, I’m your girl. But please don’t ask. Oh, and the never ending amounts of camo and the piles of laundry that HAD to be washed with the Scent Block soap and, God forbid I screw up and throw in one of my lavender scented fabric sheets. Oh the stress that comes with dating a hunter. But yes, I’ll just say it…..it IS hot when a man kills his own food or can at least shoot a gun. Mmmm hmmmm.

7. And honestly, people, I’m just excited about life in general. There’s a song that says, “This is my prayer in the harvest, when favor and providence flow. I know I’m filled to be emptied again, the seed I’ve received I will sow.” I love it. This past year has been such a year of growth for me, emotionally, mentally, spiritually….and I’ve now been given the opportunity to take what I’ve learned and sow those seeds within lives around me. I love that I’m able to use what a lot of people would call obstacles as stepping stones instead.

Life is a wonderful, beautiful thing! ~Rach

The Big Fish, God’s Provision

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First of all, a shout out to one of my dearest friends, Christin, who so generously sends me bits and pieces of her daily devotions and who has loved me through so many ups and downs this year! Looking back over the last several months, I can honestly say, she has been my logic (we joke about this, but it’s true), she’s been that person I can send a random text to at 3:30 in the afternoon that just says, “Today sucks” and she understands. She gets me. I get her. And I am so blessed to call her friend. Oh, did I mention we’ve been friends since second grade? Yeah, that was almost 20 years ago so I think it’s safe to say we’re in this for the long haul. Love you, Christin.

Today Christin sent a text that said this (I’m paraphrasing): Jonah was a pain in the butt. Something I never noticed was that God provided a big fish…hmmm…God’s provisions sometimes look like a big fish. It wasn’t his punishment, it was his salvation.  I read her text, but was then distracted by two of my kiddos who decided that eating the crayons was way more fun than coloring with them. I would say that I don’t see the logic in that but I’m sure my teachers thought the same of me when I thought it would be more fun to glue my hands together instead of work on the project like the rest of the kids. Paybacks, people. Anyway, back to Christin’s text. Tonight I got a wild hair and thought I’d try to run a 15k because that’s what I’m training for anyway. Christin and I are running the Tulsa race in October so tonight I decided, what the hey, I’m gonna just go for it. So I had a LOT of time to think while I ran. I started thinking about her text and how she said that we often times mistake God’s provision as punishment. I look back at where I was a year ago. I was so far at the bottom, miserable, hurting, dying inside, lonely, broken, aching, and I didn’t think there would ever be a way out. Then, on my birthday, of all days, one of the most devastating things happened to me. At the time I really thought, “Well, this is it. This is God’s punishment on my life.” I was 25 years old and had to call my parents (talk about embarrassing) to drive all the way to Iowa to pick me up and bring me back to Missouri because a person that I had given my whole life to had taken that life and killed every living thing inside my heart. All emotion, all self-worth, all my joy, all my life, I allowed him to take from me. The most devastating thing that had happened in all the years that I had spent with this person happened on my birthday and I thought it really was because I had run from God for so long. But looking at Jonah and how he ran from God’s calling, jumped on a ship instead of preaching to the people of Nineveh like God asked him to, then was thrown from the ship while in the middle of the sea only to be swallowed by a whale (or big fish as some versions say)…..Um hello…..are you seeing the comparison, too? I’ve always read this story and thought, “Well, that served him right. He shouldn’t have ran from God and he wouldn’t have been swallowed by the whale.” But you see, that whale was his salvation. That whale kept him from drowning at sea. That whale swallowed him up then spit him up on the shore. How many times have I heard this story since I was a kid? Hundreds. And I’ve never applied it to real life situations. When my heart was broken almost a year ago, I thought that it was my punishment. But looking back, I see the blessing in disguise. I see that it was my salvation. Had I not been hurt to my core, had I not had a family that was willing to drive all the way to Iowa to get me, I would still be running. I would still be hurting. 

Thank you, Christin, for that reminder. What are some “big fish” in your life? I love to hear stories of God’s provision. Love you, all. 

~Rach