Monthly Archives: December 2012

Unfailing Love

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It never happens the same way twice. You never love someone the way you did the last. I never really thought about it, because let’s face it, how many guys have I really loved? Maybe two. I’ve never been much of a dater until this year, honestly. I dated the Marine off and on for a few years. Then I dated the Doctor for almost five years. I guess you could say I loved them. I don’t know. And there was the Teacher. Oh and I guess I did date the Dairy Farmer for a couple seconds way back when. But whatever. Was it ever really love, though? I mean, looking back, I know I cared deeply about each one of these men. Some more than others. I mean, obviously, I spent 4 years (give or take) with the same guy so I had to care on some level, right? I think my idea of love was kinda twisted though. One thing I do know is this: you never fall in love the same way twice. And that’s the dadgum truth. Even if it wasn’t necessarily love, per se, there was a level of emotional investment that can’t be denied.

The Marine: We grew up together. Friends for the majority of our lives. Kind of like “The Boy Next Door” kinda guy. He was a simple, small town, family loving, kind of guy. We had fun doing anything and everything, whether it was going to the drive in movies or just laying in the floor watching Dumb and Dumber, eating PB&J sandwiches. When he was 18 and I was 16, we started spending just about every waking second together and became really good friends. He graduated from high school at semester and left immediately for boot camp. He wrote letters to me quite often and I always wrote back right away. He even got to call me one night close to his boot camp graduation and, I’ll admit, my heart was going pitter pat the whole time. But I dismissed those feelings as just being excited to hear from him!! The night he was supposed to be home from boot camp, I was waiting at his house. Something went wrong with his flight, though, and it was going to be really late when he got back so I decided I’d just wait until the next day till I saw him. Then, sometime close to midnight, just as I was about to crawl in to bed, I saw headlights coming down my drive. I just knew it was him. He hadn’t even gone to his house yet. He had his mom drive him straight to my house. I remember seeing him standing there in uniform and thinking, “Oh. My. Gah.” And the rest was kind of history from there. We spent every second together while he was home. Then he left for Fort Leonardwood but we continued to talk every day. One night, he sent me a text that said, “Roses are red, violets are blue, if I asked you to be my girlfriend, what would you do?” All I could think was “be still my heart….” So this went on for a while. He got sent to Japan. We stayed together. But in the end, it just didn’t work out. I moved to Dallas for two years when I turned 18 and we didn’t speak at all for those two years. Then I moved back home right around the same time he did. We ran in to each other in town and decided to have lunch. It was like we’d never skipped a beat and we dated again for another year but once again, things just didn’t line up and that was that.

The Doctor: I met the doctor at work. I’d been single for a month and in my stupidness (cause there is no other word for this situation), I gave him my number. The Doctor was 20 years older than me. Okay, let me just say that, in my defense, he didn’t look 20 years older. I thought maybe ten. So we went out a couple times. I knew he wasn’t a long term player, but I didn’t really care. I was still on the mend after the break up from the Marine, so I was just gonna do whatever I wanted. We started hanging out in September of 2007 and by February 2008, we were living together. I know. I was an idiot. But life was glamorous. I’d been to Vegas, I had a trip booked to Mexico, I was livin’ la vida loca. And then reality set in. And I was like, “Oh _______. This just got real.” Life wasn’t so glamorous anymore. And I wanted to leave, but I never could. I NEVER stayed for the money. In fact, I always paid my own bills, the entire time I was with him. But he had me pretty convinced that I’d never amount to anything without him so I stayed for way too long. In January 2010, I decided I was leaving, though. And I kinda sorta did…..

The Dairy Farmer: So, I had just left the Doctor in January 2010, got my own little apartment on The Square downtown, was feeling pretty good about life and the decision I had just made. I was standing in the barn at the college one afternoon, about to palpate a cow, when my phone alerted me that I had a friend request on Facebook. I had to ignore it, though, because my hands were kind of preoccupied. So after I had been elbow deep in the uterus of this cow, I was able to see who in the heck had added me as a friend. I didn’t recognize the name so I had to do some investigating. We had no mutual friends. I knew nothing about him. So I sent a private message and asked who he was. He apologized and stated that when he sent the request he thought that I was someone else but that it was a pleasant mistake because he thought I was really pretty. Well, that’s all it took. I agreed to meet him. The first night we met, it started snowing very suddenly and he had to go right away to check for any calves that might have been born in the last hour or so because they had to be taken to the barn. So. I went along for the ride. And that was the first of many calf checks that I assisted in. He was a nice guy. He liked my family. He had cows (which was a HUGE plus for me). But, I wasn’t done with The Doctor. After about six or seven months with The Dairy Farmer, The Doctor convinced me that life with him had been much better and that if I would come back, he’d change his ways. So I milked my last cow, said my final goodbyes, turned in the keys to my apartment, and in August 2010, I was right back at square one with The Doctor.

Back to The Doctor: From August 2010 to October 2011, I seriously might as well have lived in Hell. I would have had a better life rooming with Satan himself. The Doctor got me back, just like he wanted, and while he had promised change, it definitely wasn’t in the way I had expected. I mean, it wasn’t all bad, only about 95% of it. But I left in October 2011 and I’ve never looked back. Smell ya later, dude.

The Teacher: We met in February 2012. On Valentine’s Day to be precise. He was tall, dark, and handsome and I couldn’t stop staring. He was dreamy. I wanted to feel his biceps. And then, when I did feel his biceps (in the parking lot of Sam’s Cellar to be exact), I absolutely knew I had to see him again. We started spending basically every second we possibly could together, just laying around watching Golden Girls and starting traditions of Taco Tuesday. He was great. My family LOVED and adored him. He loved and adored my family. We had a lot of things in common. But the differences far outweighed the common interests and life views. And I knew I had to end it.

Basically, all this to say that even though things didn’t work out with the marine, or the doctor, or the dairy farmer, or the teacher, I am sure of one thing: I trust in His unfailing love; my heart rejoices in His salvation. He has been good to me (Psalm 13:5-6). I honestly can’t help but laugh when I look back over the last ten years of my life. Oh Lord. But at least I can laugh, right? Each person was different. Each person brought out something different in me. I loved or cared about each one of them differently. And you know what’s really cool about never loving the same way twice? When the good Lord does decided to bring The One in to my life, it’ll be brand new. He’ll be the first person I love in the right way and he’ll be the last.

See ya on the flippity flop! ~Rach

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Let’s Be Real

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I’m all about honesty and I’m known for wearing my heart on my sleeve. So sue me. I don’t think it’s a bad thing, really. I mean let’s be real. I could be known for a lot worse things. So I’ll proudly wear my heart on my sleeve and I’m not afraid to put my life on blast. I do it in hopes that someone, somewhere will relate to my stories, my life experiences and see that if I can make it out alive and in one piece, they can as well.

It’s really weird for me to look back at where I was exactly one year ago. To be honest, I almost don’t believe it myself. And I can truthfully say that if it weren’t for the grace of God and a very supportive family, I probably wouldn’t be where I’m at right now. My heart was all kinds of screwed up. A year ago, I was actively searching out someone to just take my heart and love it, someone to “complete” me, someone to make me happy. I was looking for someone that would make me feel better about myself. And, to top it all off, I was looking in all the wrong places. Don’t get me wrong. I’m all about wanting to have someone in my life that can turn a bad day into a good one. I want someone who can look at me and just melt my heart with his smile. But a year ago, my priorities were all wrong. I thought I needed someone in my life in order to feel like I was worth anything. I needed the validation of having a boyfriend. I just wanted to have a boyfriend for the sake of having a boyfriend. I had just left my boyfriend of almost five years. I didn’t have the slightest clue as to how to be single and enjoy being single. I didn’t know what to do with my time. I hated it. I hated every single thing about being single. I was a mess. I met a guy at the gym who I agreed to go on a date with, knowing full well that guys like him were NOT my type. I spent quite a bit of time with him knowing that he was far from anyone I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. So why was I so upset when he suddenly decided he didn’t want to see me anymore? Oh, I suppose it was my pride, partly. Because even though I knew I didn’t really like him like that, it nearly killed me that he didn’t like me. What was wrong with me?? Then I met a guy through some mutual friends. We went on one date and I knew right away that I didn’t like him. The entire meal was awkward and he was super hairy. But when he didn’t ask me on a second date, you would’ve thought my life was over. It was end times, or so I thought. It didn’t take long, though, until I had moved on. I started talking to a tall, dark headed cowboy. And I just knew-he was it. That lasted about a month. We spent a weekend in Tulsa. Had fun. Well, what I remember of it anyway, and then we parted ways and never talked again. Keep in mind, all these prospects were within a two month span. So, in these two months, I had allowed my heart to get invested (on some level), and was feeling really crappy about myself because I couldn’t figure out why in the heck these guys didn’t like me. Then, about a month later, after I had decided my life was in ruins and I was just gonna write the whole dating thing off, I met one of the sweetest guys that has ever walked this earth. For real. And I fell fast and hard. We dated for three months, give or take, and I couldn’t find one single thing about him that wasn’t admirable. He was perfect in so many ways. But, he wasn’t perfect for me. And it was killing me. I could not figure out why I had this feeling in the pit of my stomach when I thought about life with him forever. I had never in my life met a more loving, more understanding, more patient person. He was the total opposite of any guy I had ever even thought of dating. Still, I knew he wasn’t the one. So in June, I ended things with him and let me tell ya, that was the hardest thing I had done in a really, really long time. I knew I hurt him. And I second guessed my decision for a long time. I even acted like a freaking crazy ex-girlfriend for longer than I’m willing to admit. But in the back of my mind, I absolutely knew he wasn’t the one for me. I was so confused. I didn’t really question whether I was good enough in this situation because I had been the one to end things, but still, I didn’t understand why he wasn’t just chasing after me, begging me to come back. So. July rolled around and I met the Bull Rider from the South. Can we all just have a moment of silence for those southern drawls?? Thank you, Lord. Oh my. There ain’t nothing sweeter, more appealing, than a man in jeans, boots, cowboy hat, and a southern drawl. And boy was he a charmer. We exchanged numbers the night we met, but I didn’t think I’d ever hear from him. He proved me wrong there, and we kept in touch almost every day for quite a while. I’ll admit, I looked forward to the times he’d call me because nothing makes my heart go pitter-pat like a southern drawl. But that gradually tapered off, and there I was, alone again. No man to talk to at night before I went to bed. No man was texting me first thing in the morning to say that they hoped I had slept well. No one was telling me I was pretty. No one was making me feel complete. And I freaking hated it. I thought I was gonna lose my mind. Then one day, sometime at the beginning of October, I was really feeling sorry for myself and I thought I’d give the whole “talking to God” thing a try. So after I’d had one of those really ugly cries, you know the one where you have snot in your hair when it’s all said and done, I just said, “God, I give up. I’m done looking. I’m done feeling this way.” And I meant it. I really did. I started really taking time every morning to read my bible and I found a devotion for women that has so much truth in it. And as I began to throw all my attention, my longings, my wants in to developing my relationship with Christ instead of with a man, I realized how much happier I was. I began to see that no man was ever going to complete me. I know this may all sound very cliché, but it’s the truest I’ve ever been. You know, it was getting exhausting, being on that never ending search for Mr. Right. And then the heartache that I felt when things didn’t work out was really starting to wear on me. I cried a lot of stupid tears that I shouldn’t have over guys that weren’t worth my time. Or over guys that moved on faster than I did. I had let a man abuse me in so many ways for almost five years and I  just wanted someone (more specifically, a man) to heal my heart of all that. In October, though, I’d had enough. I was done pursuing. I was done looking. If I was going to date anyone, they were gonna have to pursue ME. Instead of looking forward to a text message in the morning, I chose to start getting up a little earlier than normal so I could start my day off with God. And I found my days were better. I found that my priorities were changing. Don’t get me wrong, it hasn’t’ been a perfect three months, I’ve made some mistakes, but they are fewer and far between. I’ll never be perfect. I’m human. Some time after my birthday, Cowboy Number Tres came two-steppin’ in to my life and it kind of caught me off guard. I’d known him for years and years and never in my life looked at him as more than a friend. I had ZERO interest in dating him. Honestly, I ignored a lot of his texts because I cared that little. Then one night, I gave in and hung out with him and was really surprised at how much fun we had. The more we hung out, feeding cows, taking the truck out at night, looking at stars, doing all the simple things in life that I love so much, I started to think I might just be able to like this guy. And then it hit me like a ton of bricks. I DID like him. I liked that he was texting me in the morning. I liked that he told me I was pretty. I liked that we had simple fun together. I liked that he wanted to spend time with me. There really wasn’t a whole lot that I didn’t like. And then, after some time,  it happened. He said those dreaded words that no girl who is totally infatuated wants to hear: THIS JUST ISN’T GOING TO WORK. Well. What could I do? I had to suck it up and just keep right on living life. The crazy thing this time, though, was that I wasn’t just absolutely a big huge mess of emotions. I wasn’t even that mad, really. I mean, don’t get me wrong. My pride was a little bit hurt. He had pursued me pretty hard so I was upset because I felt led on. BUT, I found myself being more sad for his heart than for mine. I know he’s been hurt in the past and he’s jaded and more than anything, I was hurt for him. It didn’t even dawn on me until it had been a few days that he told me it wasn’t going to work that I realized, “Oh hey. It’s different this time. I’m not freaking out, wondering what I did wrong. I’m not blowing up his phone with messages, begging for him to have a change of heart. “ Instead, I just trust God that He always, always knows what’s best and apparently, he has something better in mind for me. And I’m okay with that. I will admit that just today, I was a little bit upset. Not about me, though. I was upset that someone could have no remorse for their behavior. But I’m over it. I really am. That’s not something for me to worry about. I have to continually trust God and His plan for my life and one of these days, Mr. Right will come riding up to me in cowboy boots and a hat. But until then, I choose to keep my heart and my mind focused on developing the one and only relationship that really matters at the end of the day. And that is the one with my First Love. I can’t wait to see what this next year has in store for me!

Have a wonderful weekend, ya’ll!! ~Rach

These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things..

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Sunday dinners. A three day weekend. Fresh berries and cream. The first morning of spring. Music in the park. Corn on the cob. A moon on the rise. Making breakfast together. Hiking. Sitting Indian-style at sunrise. Wrestling in our pajamas. Waking up on Saturday with no agenda. Heading off to nowhere in particular. Sharing secrets. Growing tomatoes. Loving the place we call home. Sleeping under the stars. Picking flowers. Eating watermelon and watching fireworks. Making every moment count. And for the record, I won’t settle for anything less.

Real Eyes Realize Real Lies

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As a lady, I find myself constantly picking apart my appearance, pointing out my imperfections, hating on my love handles, trying to hide my flaws……and it’s silly, really, to be so concerned at times with the way I look. I mean, let’s be real. I think it’s important to be presentable, but a lot of times, I place way too much value on my outward appearance. Okay, let’s back up for a minute. I haven’t always been this way. Anyone who knew me as a 7th grader, well let me just apologize for those Rubber Ducky sweatpants I used to wear in public. And for not figuring out that just a little bit of eyeliner and mascara would eliminate the bug-eyed, lizard look I had going on. I just didn’t care. Well, let me rephrase. I DID care, but my insecurities typically would override putting forth any effort. I didn’t really feel like there was anything that would make me pretty. So I just didn’t try. Fast forward a few years. I finally discovered mascara and lip gloss and while these things did help a little bit, I never really felt confident in myself and like I was one of the “pretty girls” in the room. I wasn’t turning any heads, let’s just put it that way. And truthfully, it bothered me. I wanted to take someone’s breath away. But you know what? I never loved myself. I never saw myself the way Christ sees me. Instead, I’d spend hours in front of the mirror pointing out every flaw (and I’ve got a lot of them) and I’d make lists of things that I’d change if I ever won the lottery and could afford surgery. Obviously, I was smokin’ some sort of plant because that’s just dumb. I mean, at the time, it made sense to me. But looking back, I just wish I had seen myself as the person that Christ sees me. A person that has so much to offer. I guess it wasn’t until this past year that God really began to show me these things. I’ve always been a people person, I can get along with just about anyone. And I hid behind my humor a lot because I figured if people didn’t like me because I was ugly, well, they’d have to like me for my jokes, because who doesn’t like a funny person, right? I guess all this is to say that it wasn’t until I began to make time for Christ and I began to crave a more intimate relationship with Him that I began to see myself the way that He sees me. Don’t get me wrong, just today I stood in front of the mirror and wondered if there was another person on this planet that has legs that look like sawed off tree stumps. Seriously, some days I feel like an Oompa Loompa. Five foot, one inch is not where I wanted to stop growing. Some days I look at the gaps in my teeth and feel like I’ll never open my mouth again because I don’t want anyone to see them. But that would mean that I could never smile again and God gave me a beautiful smile. So screw those dumb gaps. I’m gonna smile. The bottom line is this: real eyes realize real lies.I never saw myself with the true beauty that God created me in. When I began to see myself with “real eyes” (or through the eyes of Christ) I began to realize the lies that I had fallen for. I don’t know why I’m writing all this tonight. Maybe I’m just rambling. But whatever. I just hope and pray that if you’re reading this, you can begin to see yourself as beautiful. You have to love yourself first. There was a time when I wouldn’t even look in a mirror because I hated everything I saw. But now, when I see myself, I see a woman that God created in His image. I may not be a perfect person, but I don’t have to be because I’m exactly who He made me to be. And that’s what really matters.

Aunt Roxanne’s Legacy of Love

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First things first: so far in this life, I have yet to find anything I love and enjoy more than being an aunt to Isaac Ray. I can tell you that, hands down, there isn’t a thing in this world that I love more. And I love a lot of things. I’ve never held a hand as precious as his. I’ve never been given sweeter kisses. I’ve never heard my name spoken with another voice that melts my heart the way that his does. And that boy may never know how much he’s helped me through some of the loneliest times of my life. Tonight as we rocked together in the recliner, I thought about how much I cherish those moments and how I wish that I could just capture each one of them in a photo so that when he outgrows wanting his aunt Rachel to rock him, I’ll always have those memories. I’m notorious for always having my camera out and ready to capture each memory, each precious smile, every thing that he does to make me fall even more in love with him.

This is my favorite time of year. Starting at Thanksgiving, all the way to New Years, I look forward to every second I get to spend with my family. Today my aunt Roxanne’s family came for a Christmas breakfast and although I loved everything about today, there was still an aching in my heart. The lady that taught me everything I know about how to love as an aunt should wasn’t here with us today. I look back to this time last year. She was spending her first evening in Little Rock at the hospital there and I never dreamed that one year later, we’d be celebrating Christmas without her. I know that she was smiling down on us today, but I’d give anything to have her here with us. One of my favorite things to do with her was to sit at the piano while she played and we’d sing together with my mom. She knew all the old hymns and she sang like an angel. Today, mom sat down at the piano and my cousin, Travis, and I sat down beside her and sang some of aunt Roxanne’s favorites. And we sang a very special song that she had written years ago. Needless to say, it was hard to choke back tears. She taught me so much about life, but most importantly, she showed me how to love without any limits. When I look at my nephew or when I think about the nieces and nephews I’ll have in the future, all I can hope is that I show them the kind of love that my aunt Roxanne showed to me. Her love is endless even after death.

Tonight after I gave Isaac a bath and put his jammies on, he crawled up in the big recliner with me, we covered up, and we “wocked.” He put his little hand in mine and for a minute I just prayed that time would stop. I looked at my brother and I said (with tears in my eyes), “When Isaac is old enough to understand (and then the tears were flowing pretty hard at this point), I’m going to have to tell him just how much his love has pulled me through this past year, through some of the loneliest times of my life.” And it’s true. He can turn any crummy day in to a good one. He can put a smile on my face when no one else in this world can. When he looks up at me and gives me that mischievous little grin and says “WESTLE” I can’t even help but feel overwhelmed with love for him. And knowing that my aunt Roxanne’s legacy of love can live on through me is something I pray that I never take for granted.

I miss you every day, Aunt Rox. I can’t wait to see you again. Thanks for teaching me how to love.

Words of Wisdom

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I’m a sucker for quotes. I think I’ve said it before, but I am always looking for a quote or saying that sums up a place that I’m at in life. To me, they are motivational. Some days they bring encouragement and some days they are just small reminders of what’s really important in life. My aunt Roxanne was always sending me quotes and I think I must’ve gotten my love for them from her. Here are a few of the ones that I love and that have been a big help to me lately. Hopefully you find some use in them, as well!

1. You must make a decision that you are going to move on. It won’t happen automatically. You’ll have to rise up and say, ” I don’t care how hard this is, I don’t care how disappointed I am, I’m not going to let this get the best of me. I’m moving on with my life.” -Joel Olsteen

2. Be open to whatever comes next.

3. You don’t have to have it all figured out to move forward.

4. Don’t forget to fall in love with yourself first.

5. Nothing is impossible; the word itself says ‘I’m Possible.’

6. Life is better when you’re laughing.

7. Do not chase people. Be you and do your own thing and work hard. The right people who belong in your life will come to you and stay.

8. I loved you at your darkest. Romans 5:8

9. When you’re going through something hard and wonder where God is, remember the teacher is always quiet during the test.

10. Listen earnestly to to anything your children want to tell you, no matter what. If you don’t listen eagerly to the little stuff when they are little, they won’t tell you the big stuff when they are big, because to them, it has always been big stuff!

 

11. God doesn’t want something from us. He simply wants us.

12. The way we talk to our children becomes their inner voice.

13. Never chase love, attention, or affection. If it isn’t given freely by another person, it isn’t worth having.

14. Surely the thing God enjoys most about being God is the thrill of being merciful, especially to those who don’t expect it and often feel they don’t deserve it.

15. Our willingness to wait reveals the value we place on the object we are waiting for. (Do you trust God when He says, “Wait….” ??)

Have a fabulous Friday, my friends! ~Rach

 

A Longing for Intimacy

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Growing up, I’ll admit that I didn’t have the slightest clue as to what it meant to have a personal relationship with Christ. Sure, I knew every song by heart, I memorized scriptures so I could win a piece of candy in Sunday School, but to be completely honest, I didn’t know the first thing about truly believing God wanted an intimate relationship with me. I spent two years in a bible program, memorizing verse after verse out of the bible, spending countless hours on the road, spreading the word of this gracious, loving God that I truthfully didn’t know myself. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the Lord, I considered myself a Christian but that personal relationship was lacking. There was something missing. I could look someone in the eyes and tell them that God was merciful but I didn’t believe it myself. Instead, I lived in constant fear of screwing up. And then if I did slip up, I felt like it was all over. I might as well throw in the towel because how could a person like Jesus Christ forgive me? He was sinless. He was the only perfect being so how could he look at me with forgiveness in His eyes?
I’ve always had a longing for intimacy. I think that’s natural for most human beings and I truly believe that this longing is something that God puts inside us from the moment we’re created. A child longs for a mother’s touch, young children search for that adoring look in their father’s eyes, and as we grow, those desires for intimacy change. I see it all the time, young girls searching for approval or affection and looking in all the wrong places. I see it in guys, too. It’s so normal to crave that attention, that affection, that intimacy. Like I said, I feel like it’s something Christ puts within each of us. The key is this, though: those yearnings within us are our soul’s way of hungering and thirsting after God. But so many times we mistake those yearnings for cravings of other kinds and we pursue things like attention and flattery. And the sad thing about that is you usually end up with empty relationships or immoral behavior when you allow those longings to be satisfied with anything other than Christ. St. Augustine said it best: “Our hearts are restless until we find rest in Him.” I spent my entire early twenties trying to satisfy that desire for intimacy in all the wrong ways. I hurt myself and a lot of others along the way. It took me finally getting to a point where I knew everything I’d tried wasn’t working and I had no other option than turning back to Christ. I was skeptical and didn’t have much faith in finding the intimacy that I so desired. I didn’t think I’d find the affection that I needed. But when I made that total surrender and basically just told God that I was releasing all my desires, my needs, my wants to Him, it was then that I began to experience God in a way I’d never known Him. I began to see that it was more than just memorizing scripture or singing a song. It was more than taking communion just because everyone else was. I began to realize that when I drank of the cup and ate the bread, this was me acknowledging the hugest, most gracious, most loving act of sacrifice anyone has ever done for me. Jesus loves me so much that He DIED for me. There will never be a more loving, intimate act towards me. When I find myself lonely or longing for attention and affection, I can now remind myself of the love, the peace that passes all understanding, the grace, the kindness, the mercy that can only be found in Him.
For a long time, I felt bad or guilty for desiring this affection and intimacy, but knowing that it’s a longing that Christ has placed in my heart brings me so much peace. He is the Author of our desires. And He longs for us to draw near to Him. It’s up to us, though, whether or not we choose to allow Him to satisfy our longings!
I pray you have a blessed rest of the week! ~Rach