Monthly Archives: September 2012

My Plans vs. His Plans

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I could seriously move to Maryland tomorrow and never even think twice about leaving Missouri. The scenery is gorgeous. And it’s so rich with history. We went to Gettysburg tonight and standing there at the battlefield absolutely took my breath away. I stood at the top of the Gettysburg Memorial and imagined all the men that fought and lost their lives during the Civil War. Gives me chills as I type this and it also made me realize I wish I was a history teacher instead of having an emphasis on science.
Anyway, I love it here on the east coast. I wish I never had to leave. My devotion this morning was one of those eye opening experiences that make you really reevaluate life. It was about Jonah (I’ve been hearing about him a lot lately) and how when he ran from God’s plan for his life, he probably felt like he’d escaped an undesirable assignment from the Lord. Rebellion never makes life easier, though. In fact, it creates an unpleasant situation. It’s easy being a Christian when you think things are going your way, YOUR plans are being lived out, but when God asks you to do something differently than what YOU had planned, thats when your faith and devotion to Him is really tested. When we resist what God is asking us to do, we allow a storm to rage within our soul until we finally submit to HIS will. I often times find myself being upset or sad about MY plans not working out and I question if I made the wrong decisions in my past and if so, is that why things ended up the way they did. BUT I’ve been realizing that when I’m upset about the way things turned out, I’m saying that I’m upset with God’s plan because He has orchestrated every step of my life. It’s not like He’s surprised with where I’m at. He put me right where I’m at. When we resist God’s will, He tends to put pressure on us until we return to His plan. He put pressure on Jonah by allowing him to be thrown to sea and swallowed by a big fish. It might sound crazy, but that big fish, the pressure that God put on him, was his saving grace. That’s how important we are to God.
I love that even in our rebellion or lack of faith, God is still faithful to us. Even when we doubt our own ability to live out His plan for our life, He continues to love us and He never gives up on those plans. I’m still trying to figure out just what it is He has planned for my life but I have no doubt that whatever it is, it’s something great. He wouldn’t have saved me from my past if He didn’t have a plan that was beyond my wildest dreams. The pressure that I felt, the things I went through in order to return to my First Love, those were all placed strategically throughout my life so that His will could be lived out through me. He’s a gracious God. I’m glad I know Him.

Baltimore or Bust: Part II

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It’s Thursday, September 27, 2012, and here I am again at Gate 82 in the Kansas City International Airport. My destination is the same as it was a little over a month ago and I’m just as excited this time as I was before. Maybe a little bit more, if the truth be told. I, of course, arrived at the airport two hours early, much like my previous flight, but this time found the $6 parking opposed to the $25. That makes my heart happy.

I wish I could adequately put in to words how excited I am to eat fresh sea food while in in Maryland. I’ve tried forming a sentence but no words come close to expressing the happiness that I feel. On a slightly more serious note, I’m also ecstatic for the Honey Boo Boo marathon my cousins and I have planned. Yes, one whole evening devoted to nothing but those crazies from the south. I. Can. Not. Wait.
We are planning on going to Oktoberfest this weekend and I’m really excited to try German beer. But I’m mostly excited about the food. Is anyone else seeing a pattern here? Food+Rachel=tru luv 4eva.

I listened to a lot of Blake Shelton on my drive to the airport. He’s so dreamy. There’s just no way around it. Yum. See, there I go again, interjecting a food word. Yum? Really?

My mom is so special to me. It doesn’t matter where I’m going, even if it’s just a short trip or one like this one to Baltimore, she always prays for me before I leave. This morning as I was curling my hair, she came in to the bathroom and put her arms around me and prayed for safe travels. I’m so lucky to have a prayin’ Mama.

I wish you guys could see inside my carry on. I’m the worst packer on planet Earth. I didn’t want to check a bag, so I literally crammed 5-6 days worth of clothes AND SHOES in to a small carry on. I had to sit on it for it to close. If I’m ever required to open it for a security check while I’m in the airport, these people better back on up unless they wanna lose an eye or other vital parts of their body. The second this thing is opened, objects are gonna fly like a Jack-in-the-box doll popping out after its been wound up tight. I’m gonna have to call in Special-Ops just to open it for me once I get to Maryland.

So anyway, I run my 15k with Christin and Kyle in exactly one month. I’m ready for it. I’m excited. I’m nervous. I’m scared. I want my mommy. Notice how I so quickly went from confident to freaking out? Yeah, that’s how race day is gonna go. I’ve signed up for a race every weekend except for one until race day so hopefully I’m prepared. Tomorrow I’ll do my long run in Baltimore and hope that I don’t get lost.

Well friends and family, it’s about that time. I’ll be boarding my flight momentarily. Pray my bag doesn’t explode midair.
Mom, Dad, Jeffery, Rachel, Isaac, Nathan, Ashleyanne, Gramma: I love you deeply and if my plane goes down, my clothes and shoes can be divided among the girls. Sorry I left them scattered all over my bed. For real though, I love all of you!

See ya on the flip side! ~Rach

Change Isn’t Easy But It’s Simple

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Patience is bitter but the fruit can be sweet. ~Benjamin Franklin

As humans, we are naturally creatures of habit. I find myself going way out of my way at times simply to avoid change. Often times, the process of avoiding change is way more strenuous than the change itself. Change can be scary. It’s hard to wrap my mind around doing things differently than what I’ve done for years and years, but just like the quote says, the journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. I think we get distracted by the thousand miles that are stretched out in front of us rather than having the mindset of “one step at a time.” The exciting thing about change, though, is that when patterns are broken, new worlds can emerge.

 Attitude plays a rather large role in the change process. Whatever we accept and believe determines how we behave and how we behave determines what we achieve (or don’t achieve). It’s so important to surround yourself with people who are in your corner, too. Find people with the right attitude, commitment and understanding of the change that’s being made in your life. When you decide to make changes, most of the time you have to make some changes in the group of people you spend most of your time with. You become like the top five people you spend most of your time with so make sure that these people are like-minded. When I chose to make some changes in my life, I had to begin surrounding myself with people who were uplifting and supportive of the change that was being made. This is not to say that you won’t run in to the critics from time to time, but this is even more reason to have those strong, dependable people in your life.

 When you see that change needs to be made, do it immediately. It’s like buying a “fixer-upper” house. If you don’t immediately begin working on the things that need fixed as soon as you buy the house, you’ll get used to stepping over the “dead body in the living room,” no matter how disciplined you are. When you don’t start making immediate changes in your life and begin to clean house, so to speak, you continue overlooking the things that need changed and you allow them to keep living rent-free even longer. Either we manage change OR it will manage us.

 Change involves risk. You can’t steal second base and keep your foot on first. Change takes time to take root. Don’t pull up the roots before the process has matured. It will destroy what has been started. When you plant a bamboo seed, you will water it for four years before it ever breaks ground. Once it does, though, it grows 60 feet in the next 90 days. Don’t give up; don’t give in.

 There are no shortcuts to any place worth going. In times of change, we have to remember that mistakes are going to be made. We don’t always have a choice when it comes to change but we do have a choice in how we react to change. Don’t try to speed up the process of change. Plant the right seeds, respect the growing process and watch as great things happen. Patience is bitter but the fruits can be sweet. Enjoy the ride, learn from it. Don’t forget that it’s all the letters after A that get you to Z. Change won’t happen on its own. You have to have a plan in place to make it happen. It takes tremendous discipline to keep the train on track. 

*Some quotes were taken from my devotion today. Not all of these were my original thoughts but I felt like they were worth sharing!! 

Thanking God for Broken Hearts and Closed Doors

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I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born……..Isaiah 66:9

At church last night, we talked about what prayer really means. There are a lot of definitions but what it all boils down to is communication with Christ. I think a lot of times we become overwhelmed with the thought of prayer because we feel like we have to be in the right place at the right time with all the right things to say. But really, it’s quite simple. A lot of times when I pray, I talk to God like I would talk to one of my family members or one of my friends. I don’t ever feel like I have to use fancy words or have to be kneeling or standing a certain way. Sometimes when I’m driving to work in the morning, I’ll use that time to pray and ask God to be with me during the day. My prayer might sound something like this: “God, I’m in a really bad mood this morning and I’m gonna need you to be extra patient with me and throw in some extra grace while you’re at it. Thanks.” It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant.

Something that we talked about last night was that when we pray, we are to start out by being thankful. I know that I’m guilty of getting straight to business when it comes to prayer. I start out by laying all my needs down and asking God to do this or that and I have all these requests of Him and then I forget to thank Him for what He’s already done for me. There’s a quote that goes something like “What if you woke up today with only the things you thanked God for yesterday?” Well, I’m just gonna tell it like it is: I’d be screwed. I’m so guilty of forgetting to thank Him for all the things that He does for me but I’m so so so quick to ask Him to do things for me. And often times, we overlook the little blessings in disguise that He places in our life. Can I be honest with you guys for a second? My heart is super heavy right now. The last year has been the best, most healing time of my life. That being said, my heart is super heavy in this moment, though. There have been doors that were closed or that I’ve had to close that have really just broken my heart and hurt me to my core….I’ve been standing in the doorway, keeping the door propped open with one foot, just hoping that if I stood there long enough, it would eventually be okay for this door to be open. It hurts, you guys. A lot. And throughout this whole process I’ve chosen to look at closed doors as a bad thing. But last night at church, something was said that made me stop dead in my tracks and reevaluate my thinking: Closed doors are often just as important as opened doors. Holy cow. I had to really sit and think on that one for a few minutes. How often do we get down in the dumps when God closes a door in our life? Instead we should look at that closed door as God’s protection and preparation for something even greater in our life. He won’t allow pain without birthing something new, something better than we dreamed. That’s really hard for me to wrap my mind around right now.

So the whole point of this entire thing is simply to remind myself of one thing: I need to rethink the way I pray. I need to thank God for a broken heart and the doors that have closed. I need to thank Him for his protection and for allowing me this time to prepare for a future that is unimaginable. C.S. Lewis said it like this: “We are not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be.” Yeah, it’s a process, and a painful one at that. And God is so faithful to heal my hurt. This past year has proven that!!!!!! If I can survive the healing process from the last year, I can most definitely make it out of this funk that I’m in.

~Rach, the Work in Progress.

My Top Four Favorite Males

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It was not difficult for me to decide who I would choose to be on my Top Four Favorite list of males. So without further ado…………..drum role please……..in no particular order….my top four favorite males are: my dad, my middle brother, my baby brother, and my nephew. I know this may come as a shock to you, but it’s true. They are my faves.

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I love this picture of my brothers. I don’t know how many times I’ve said this before, but there is hardly a time when we’re all together that we aren’t laughing. Matter of fact, my sister-in-law just said the other day that she can barely keep up with my brothers and me because we are constantly feeding off each other’s crazy sense of humor. I love that we can joke and laugh and I also love that these two guys have become so much more than brothers to me. They are two of my best friends. It melts my heart when I see Jeffery with his son. Watching him turn in to a father has been something that I never knew could bring ME so much joy. He’s an incredible dad to my nephew. Nathan is, and will always be, my baby brother. Sometimes when I look at him, I can’t believe he’s 21 and about to be married in less than a month. I still look at him as the little blonde haired, big brown eyed, missing his two front teeth little boy. I’m so lucky to have these guys as my brothers. We may not see eye to eye on every thing, but at the end of the day, there’s no question, they’d go to the ends of the earth and back for me.

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I don’t even know where to begin when it comes to my dad. I’ll let the following photo of the flowers he got for me this weekend speak for themselves:

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The card said: You are the ONLY girl that will ever be my daughter. I love you and I’m proud of you.

I have the best dad ever. I really do. Had it not been for my dad showing me how I deserved to be treated like a lady, I don’t know what kind of men I would’ve fallen for. Now, that’s not say that I haven’t made a couple wrong selections in life, BUT, it always came back to me knowing that I deserved better because my dad made me believe that the entire time I was growing up. He has modeled for me how a man treats his wife in the way that he treats my mother. I clearly remember him sitting down on the edge of my bed one afternoon telling me that he would always be my date if I needed one. He’d take me out for a coke or ice cream whenever I wanted. He’s always made himself available to me and because of that, I know that if no other man on this earth ever loved me again, his love would make up for it. He’s one of a kind and God truly blessed me with him as my father.

I think it’s safe to say that if you are my friend on Facebook, you know I have a slight obsession with my nephew. But how could I not? The kid is amazing. He’s the light of my life. He’s my favorite out of the four I’ve mentioned but don’t tell the others. I could go on and on about how much I love him and why but then you’d be reading this until 2015 and………well, yeah, you get my point. Bottom line is this: I love being his aunt. I love everything about who he is. I love his little voice and I love when he takes my hand and when he looks at me with a grin in his eyes and says, “Rah Rah!” and I know he’s wanting me to chase him all over the yard. There’s not a thing about him that I don’t love.

I don’t know why the Lord chose to bless me with such wonderful men in my life, but He did. It’s gonna take someone special to live up to the expectations that these men have set for me when it comes to how I know I deserve to be treated. I love them deeply, each one of them, more than I have words to say.

~Rach, daugher, sister, aunt.

Peculiar Time

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The kids are at Specials. I’m craving a pot of coffee (read: I’m so tired). I’m glad the weather is crisp today. I’m glad Autumn is upon us.

Do you ever stop what you’re doing and think back to exactly a year ago? For instance, what were you doing on September 18, 2011? It would’ve been a Sunday. I think it’s safe to say I know exactly what I would’ve been doing. I was probably helping put duck blinds or decoys together, preparing for the several months of non-stop hunting. If I wasn’t doing something that involved duck hunting, I was probably doing something that involved bow season, you know, like retrieving arrows or something along those lines. What an exciting life I was living at the time. Please note sarcasm. I don’t know, there’s a part of me that misses all that. Maybe not so much the hunting in particular, I was never directly involved in the hunt, but I do miss the thrill of helping someone get ready for it all and I miss the happiness I felt that came with them being so excited. Now, I knew it was a different story if the hunt didn’t go well, but I also knew that my home made chili and cinnamon rolls worked wonders on a man’s broken heart after a day spent in the blinds or ice cold water.
I’m not feeling sad or sorry for myself. I’m not really sure what I’m feeling. I guess it’s just that when you become so accustomed to something and then it’s just no longer a part of your life, your left with a peculiar feeling. Your left with this thought of “I feel like I should be doing something right now but I’m not sure what it is…” and that’s just….I don’t know. Well I’m sounding very profound today. A lot of “I don’t knows” swirling around my brain. Actually, my brain kind of hurts. It’s hard for the rest of my body to keep up with a mind that is full of thoughts racing leaps and bounds ahead….
I wonder where I’ll be in one year on September 18? Who will I know? How will this year have shaped me into what I am a year from now? Who the heck knows?!?! One day at a time.
As for today, you won’t find me pulling grass on a duck boat or making any last minute trips to Cabellas. You won’t find me throwing decoys to Gus, the most gorgeous and hard working lab on earth.
Nope, you’ll find me right here, sitting behind a desk, wishing I hadn’t worn heels to work today.
–rach

Cowboys. Enough Said.

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Cowboys truly are a gift from God. There’s just something about a man that’s horseback, or even on the back of a bull, that makes my heart go pitter pat. Matter of fact, I’m in mild cardiac arrest as I type this just thinking about it. What is it about a man that’s in boots, jeans, and a hat (and chaps if I’m lucky), that makes me stop dead in my tracks and start to stutter when I open my mouth??? There’s something about their smile, too. You know the one…that half smile….ya’ll know the one I’m talking about!! Can we pause for a moment of silence, just to take in all the greatness of cowboys? Thank you, Lord.

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I went to the PBR tonight, which for those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, just rest assured: it’s the next best thing to Heaven. First of all, bull riding is my favorite event to watch (second would be team roping or steer wrestling), so having the opportunity to watch nothing but bulls is basically better than Christmas and my birthday combined. And you could probably throw in my wedding day or the moment my first born child enters this world, and it still wouldn’t compare. Of course I’m kidding. Maybe. Anyway. Tonight was a blast. Julie and I met Christin at the John Q. Hammons arena at Missouri State (shout out!) and for two and half hours, we watched (through our fingers at times) as one cowboy after another climbed on the back of a bull and tried to hang on for those long eight seconds. I looked at Julie after one cowboy got caugt up in the rope and was drug around the arena for longer than his ride and I said to her, “Can you imagine being that guy’s wife and how scared you would feel?” And then I realized how dumb that question was because Julie was “that guy’s wife” for ten years. She was married to a PRCA cowboy who rode broncs so she knows all too well the fear that runs through every inch of your body every time they enter the arena.

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Cowboys. Thank you, Lord, for that gift. Especially LJ Jenkins, our very own home grown cowboy (above)! Granted, I don’t know if I could marry a rodeo cowboy. They’re fun to look at and I do enjoy the view, but most of them never learned the definition of loyalty, therefore, most of them like to have their cake and…..well you know. That’s not to say they’re ALL like that…. But give me a ranch cowboy and I’d be on that like white on rice….well you know what I mean. I’m gonna stop now. I’m glad we had this talk.

Goodnight, you guys! ~Rach