Monthly Archives: February 2013

Just A Day Dreamin’

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The only thing this disgusting weather has done for me is fuel the fire of a southern desire inside my heart. For two days now, I’ve been holed up in my house, refusing to wear anything except sweat pants and an over sized sweatshirt with fluffy socks. I hate the snow but mostly, I hate the ice that lies underneath. I suppose if I lived in a part of the US that got more than two inches of ice covered with half an inch of snow, I might be able to tolerate the cold. Wait. That’s a lie. I despise the cold. I hate walking outside and being so cold that my bones literally ache. I long for the days of summer when I step outside and instantly start sweating. I dream of summer evenings on the front porch, iced tea with lemon slices in one hand and the other holding a good book that has nothing to do with work or school. Sigh.

Sometimes when I close my eyes, my mind begins to paint a picture of what I wish my life was like……a nice sized front yard with a weeping willow tree and a cute little flower garden that wraps all the way around my house into the back yard leading to my garden full of fresh veggies. I’d have some sort of goody baking away in the kitchen, the windows in my house would be open and the curtains would be blowing in the summer breeze as I sat curled up on my porch, waiting for my babies to wake from their nap. I’d probably be dreaming up what to make for supper, taking in to consideration that my TALL, DARK HEADED, ROUGH HANDED, cowboy had just mentioned he was craving my homemade lasagna. I’d be able to look to my left and to my right and see pasture that spread for acres and acres and my nostrils would be happy and full of my favorite smell…..cows. Is this really too much to ask for? Because I really want it to be more than a day dream. I don’t want to live in town. I want to hear my husband’s truck coming down the gravel drive instead of thousands of cars rolling down a highway that stretches for miles. I want to hear my babies laughing as they roll around in the yard with our dogs. I want a red front door and a porch with hanging ferns and wicker chairs. And I would not be opposed to this dream coming true in the south. Sigh.

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In It, Not Of It

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First of all, I’m having chest pain as I type. It could be heartburn from the chili I made earlier, cause ya’ll know I like to spice it up. Or it could just be from me getting all worked up over something I read on Facebook earlier this evening. Either way, I’m a tad bit uncomfortable and I hope this isn’t any sign of how the rest of my night is going to go. I need to be able to catch some serious Zzzzzz’s here in a little bit.

Anyway. Speaking of what I read on Facebook a few hours ago….it really got my blood pumping and I got kind of worked up over it and had to cool myself down (with some ice cream slathered on my pecan pie). As I was scrolling through everyone’s statuses, I came across one that really disturbed me. I won’t go in to a lot of detail because I have no idea who reads these blogs and I don’t want to offend anyone but let me give you a little sneak peak in to what this person had to say. It went a little bit like this (and I’m toning it down): “if you don’t love Jesus, if you cuss, if you put anything bad on Facebook, do me a favor and delete me off your friends list because I’m offended.” Come again….say wha?!?!? First of all, let me just say that I do see the point this person is trying to make. But for real, people. If this is your mentality, you’ve got it all wrong. Haven’t ya’ll read the verses in the Bible that talk about Jesus Christ himself associating with sinners? I’m not saying we have to conform to sinful ways, but hello, it is our DUTY as Christians to show the love of Christ to those who don’t know Him. And if someone on Facebook is writing things that you don’t agree with, I highly doubt that by you getting on there and calling them out about it is going to make a dang bit a difference. And here’s some food for thought: instead of calling them out on your status, why don’t YOU start posting something that shows them the love of Christ? Why don’t you put an encouraging verse or quote as your status and start changing the atmosphere of Facebook for yourself? And furthermore, if their negative status updates really offend you that much, then hide them. Oh and one more thing: if a cuss word is causing such an uproar in your life, I’d hate to see you try to function in the real world outside the sheltered bubble that you live in. Jesus called us to be IN THE WORLD,  but not of it.

My pastor made an interesting point a few Sundays ago. He was talking to the teenagers and he asked them, “If Jesus walked into a basketball game at your school, which crowd of people do you think he’d sit with?” Well, naturally we all kind of assume we’d find Jesus kickin’ it old school style with the Christians. But you know what? We’re wrong. Jesus would more than likely walk in to the game, throw the peace sign to the Christian kids and he’d make his way straight to the crowd of non-Christian kids. Wanna know why? Cause that’s who needs Him the most. All of us Christians, we’re a bunch of stuck up idiots most of the time and I, for one, am sick and tired of it. How in the heck do we except anyone to know the love of Christ if we aren’t willing to share it through our actions and words and lifestyle?? Let’s just be real, you guys. I have something like 385 people on my friends list on Facebook and I can promise you that there are people who post things that have cuss words in them and things that don’t comply with what most Christians think is right. But guess what? You won’t see me asking them to delete me and I certainly won’t delete them because it is my mission in life to make sure that everyone around me knows the Jesus that I know. I’m not going to shove it down anyone’s throat and I won’t look down on anyone who doesn’t choose to live exactly the way that I do. It isn’t my place to judge. All I know is that grace has been shown to me in moments that I never ever deserved it by a Man that lived a sinless life and died so that I could be forgiven. So who am I, who are we as Christians, to ask someone to delete us off Facebook or ask them to step out of our lives just because they don’t have Jesus Christ hash tagged in every status update? And quite frankly, if you feel like a cuss word in a status update is going to make you stumble or waver in your relationship with Christ, you may want to reevaluate where you stand.  Anyway. Rant over. And I leave you with this:

Colossians 4:6 Make the most of every opportunity. Be gracious in your speech. The goal is to bring out the best in others in a conversation, not put them down, not cut them out.

My Song

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I love to sing. Music plays so many roles in my life. When I exercise, I like to have something upbeat playing that will keep me motivated to work out. When I’m getting ready for work every morning, I have Pandora set to a Kari Jobe station. When I’m driving, I typically have my iPod set to shuffle on my country playlist. Or when John is in the car with me, it’s always, always Miranda Lambert or Rascal Flatts.

I think every person, whether you can actually carry a tune in a bucket or not, was born with a song inside of them. I know I was, anyway. And there have been a lot of times I’ve tried to sing that song for the wrong people. I was driving down the road the other day, the radio was completely off for some reason (very rare occurrence) and I just started humming my own song. It made me think. How many times have I opened up to someone and tried to sing them my song only to have it fall on deaf ears? You know that feeling you get when you hear a song that you feel was written just for you? Whether it be the music itself or just the lyrics, it was written for you. Then there are songs that make you change the radio station the second you hear it. I feel like a lot of times, I’ve opened my heart, or my mouth so to speak, to sing my song, but whoever was standing in front of me, whoever I was trusting with my song, changed the station without allowing it to get to the good part. Does that even make sense? I’ve got this song inside of me that I’ve been singing for all the wrong people and as I was driving home the other night, in silence, it dawned on me: I don’t want to be the type of person that will sing my song for just anyone. I don’t even know if this makes a lick of sense to anyone except me. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I know God designed me for a specific reason, for a specific person, for a specific time, for a very specific plan and I’ve jumped the gun so many times in life, I’ve tried to sing my song before it was completely written, and I’ve been singing it for all the wrong reasons and to all the wrong people and at all the wrong times.

Some songs are written in a day. Some take weeks, months, even years. But no matter how long it takes, a song that is going to stand the test of time is written out of passion, love, emotion, vulnerability and for a purpose. You’re probably not going to see a song at the top of the charts that was never finished being written. I highly doubt I could walk in to a producer’s office and hand them a half written song and them agree to put it on the radio with nothing but a verse and maybe half the chorus.

I pray that as my song is being developed, I will remember it is being written for an audience of One and He is writing every word upon my heart.

Trust and Obey

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According to my parents, when I was just a small fry, I never really got in to any trouble. Dad says that in the rare case that I ever slightly acted out, all he had to do was give me “the look” and I’d start to cry. Now, as I got older, I’ll be the first to admit that I gave the parental unit a couple sleepless nights but for the most part, I was always too afraid of getting in trouble to do anything really bad. So, it’s not that I have a problem with following the rules….so long as they’re easy to follow. See, that’s the kicker right there. I’ve been reading out of The Power of a Praying Woman for the past month or so and this week has been directed towards obedience. When I saw the chapter title, I didn’t think much of it. Like I said, I’ve never really had a hard time following simple rules. I never broke curfew as a teenager. I always checked in with Mom and Dad. I never talked to strangers as a little kid. All of these rules were simple. But as I’ve been reading about obedience this week, I’ve been reminded of how incredibly difficult it is for me to be obedient in all areas of my life. I’m just being real with ya’ll. As many of you know, back in January I resolved to give up dating, thinking about dating, dreaming about dating, anything to do with dating for six months. Well, let’s just be real. I’ve sucked at keeping my end of the deal. I haven’t dated at all, but the opportunity also has presented itself. But boy have I sure stressed over it. I’ve thought about it constantly, totally opposite of what I said I was going to do, which was place my future in the hands of God. I know that God has plans for me, and not just any ‘ol plans. They’re bigger than what I could ever dream. He is preparing me for my future right now. BUT-and this is the hard part-I have to be obedient RIGHT now in order to get to that destiny that He is preparing for me. And even harder, I have to trust that He knows the way and He won’t allow me to get hurt in the process (Stormie O’Martian). When I committed to no dating, it was for one reason and one reason only: I wanted six months of total surrender and devotion to falling more in love with my First Love. I’m not doing this just so that God will bless me with a tall, dark headed cowboy. I have one agenda and that is to grow in my relationship with Christ. But in my humanness, I’ve failed miserably at trusting Him. I’ve been afraid that if I’m not at least “looking” (not necessarily dating), then I’ll never find The One. Like I told Christin, I stepped on to the treadmill but I’ve yet to turn it on and start walking, let alone running. How will I see improvement or transformation if I’m just standing there? I have to remember that when I made this commitment, it was because I genuinely felt like it was what God was asking of me at the time. And for some girls, it may not seem like a big deal at all. Six months of no dating might be a piece of cake for some. But for me, it’s hard. I’m just being real. I have to remember, though, that when I obey, I have clarity. When I don’t, I have confusion. He already sees my heart and He knows what I want, but most importantly, He knows what I need and this six months is such an incredible opportunity to draw closer to Him. When an athlete has an event they are competing in, they don’t just train for one or two days before the competition. Well, not if they want good results anyway. They train for months, sometimes years, so that when the time comes, they are at their best. And for most, it’s a lifestyle, not just something they do for six months, compete, and then quit. So as I walk this six month journey, I pray that living an obedient life and trusting that God always has my best interest in mind will be more than just a six month journey. I pray that it is something I live by daily, well after June 1, 2013 has passed.

You never know when you will step into the moment God has been preparing you for. 

Goodnight, my lovelies. ~Rach

Oh Hey There

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If you were sitting inside my brain right now, snacking on some popcorn, scrolling through my thoughts like you would do on Facebook, this is what you’d discover:

I feel like I have a really small head but a rather large body. I just kind of came to that conclusion today.

I wish my nephew would stop growing.

I also wish my waistline would stop growing.

I could put a serious hurtin’ on some Chinese food right now.

If you are over the age of three, you should not be a loofah for Halloween. Actually, no one should ever be a loofah for Halloween. Just sayin’.

Paige and I took “before” pictures in the gym last night. I’d like to make a public apology to anyone who may have seen me without a shirt on. Just give me a couple months and it won’t be as scary.

Speaking of. Time to go pump that iron.

Bye.

The Valentine’s Day Teacher: Part Tres

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**I hesitate to publish this because what I’ve written below is raw, unfiltered, uncensored, and my heart completely laid bare. These are very real feelings, memories, and emotions that risk being ridiculed and/or misconstrued.

Spring is my favorite time of year. I’ve always loved Spring because it means that new life is emerging, the colors are so vibrant, and the evenings are perfect for walking. The Valentine’s Day Teacher and I walked almost every evening. When I first met him, he was living in a duplex near a fabulous walking trail and I was beyond excited when he told me that the house he was buying was in the same neighborhood. A typical evening with The Teacher consisted of dinner, maybe a little bit of kissing thrown in there (!!!!!!), and then we’d hit the trail. He had a dog that he’d rescued as a puppy and so the three of us would walk until she had sniffed every inch of that trail and got her bluff in with the other neighborhood dogs. We hadn’t been dating long when The Teacher and my mom had to take a trip to Jefferson City for work. He needed someone to watch his dog so I volunteered. I sent him a picture of his dog curled up in bed with me that night before falling asleep and he said something about missing us both and that he would see me in less than 24 hours. And then he said, “Look at me counting down the hours till I see you again….” I smiled because I knew he missed me and it had only been a day.

I think we had been dating, or at least “talking” for a little over a month when I was driving to his house one afternoon. I was kind of frustrated, a little bit upset because The Teacher hadn’t even tried to do anything more than kiss me. I remember thinking that there was absolutely no way he liked me because he had been able to resist me for this long so it must have meant that I wasn’t appealing to him and that he didn’t find me attractive. I had never been in a relationship that didn’t require a foundation built on anything other than the physical so I was totally thrown for a loop by his explanation as to why he hadn’t given in to that side of our relationship. I remember telling him how I felt and he just looked at me and very simply said, “But Rachel, I want to get to know you.” I think I just stared at him, I was speechless, because if the truth be told, I didn’t want to be in another relationship that didn’t have a solid foundation built on something other than sex. It wasn’t that he didn’t want every part of me. It was that he wanted to know ME in ways differently than any other man had ever cared to know me. For the first time in my dating life, I didn’t feel like a slave to a relationship and the duties that had been given to me prior to knowing him. He valued my heart, my feelings, and my mind enough to protect them through telling me no. And then when the timing was right, it was more than just another encounter with a man. For the sake of keeping that moment reserved for only us, I won’t say any thing more except that he never once turned those special moments in to a chore, a requirement, or an expectation. He was truly a gentleman in every sense of the word.

He was the exception to every rule I had grown accustomed to before him. He broke all those rules and showed me that you never fall in love the same way twice and that together, we’d make our own set of “rules” and our love was custom built for us. He taught me a valuable lesson, one that I didn’t realize I had learned until I had been without him for a few months……He showed me that when two people love, it doesn’t matter if you like all the same things or even have the same hobbies or past times. I highly doubt I would have ever developed a passion for remote control airplanes, but he probably wouldn’t have ever wanted to scrapbook with me, either. And that’s okay. We didn’t have to be carbon copies of each other so long as we shared a common goal. He didn’t have to love horses and cows as much as I did because I can promise you, I was never going to be a Trekkie or learn all the words to those ridiculous 90’s rap songs that he could quote word for word as we painted his house. What was important was that I knew all I had to do was look at him and say, “Hey, let’s go to Scronic,” (as he called it) and off we’d go on a little afternoon outing, not a worry in the world cause we were together. A simple kind of love.

I could sit here and try to explain the reasons why I drove away that afternoon in June. I could pull my heart out from underneath the cuff of my sleeve just a little bit more, exposing my intentions and areas that would cause everything to make sense. But I won’t because in the deepest part of my heart, I hold on to this tiny little fragment of hope that one day I can give that explanation to the person to whom it would matter the most.

The Valentine’s Day Teacher: Part Two

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One afternoon, The Teacher and I decided we were gonna hit up some local flea markets so we grabbed some coffee, hopped in the car, and were on our way. We started out at a place called Connie’s Antiques and about halfway through our picking, I spotted a picnic basket that made my heart almost stop beating it was so cute. He must’ve known how much I loved it because he immediately offered to buy it for me. I told him he didn’t have to do that, but he kept insisting, but still, I wouldn’t let him get it for me. So, we continued browsing, went to a few more stores and then went home. The next day was Sunday and by this point, it had become tradition that we have lunch with my family every Sunday, so when he walked in around noon that particular day, I didn’t expect anything to be different. He came in (he was wearing his glasses that day, which I freaking LOVED), and he said, “Hey, did you know there’s a package for you on the front porch?” I thought this was weird seeing as it was Sunday and deliveries aren’t usually made on Sundays but I ran outside to see what it was. I’m getting choked up as I write this because I remember exactly the way I felt in that moment. I walked out on to my porch and there sat the picnic basket that I had been drooling over the day before. He had gone back later that afternoon and bought it for me. I remember thinking to myself that I was the luckiest girl on earth because he wanted to do whatever it took to make me happy.

Moments like this were not rare with The Teacher. The simplicity of life with him is probably what I miss the most. I can’t help but laugh when I think about the time we painted his entire house. I had never painted anything before but still I wanted to help him so he reluctantly handed me a roller and some paint. We decided he would take the top half of the walls and I’d stick with the bottom. So we turned on our 90’s rap music and started painting. I was feeling pretty good about life until we both stepped back to take a look at how far we had gotten. You guys, don’t ever let me paint your walls. Or anything for that matter. All we could do was laugh at how bad of a job I had done. Needless to say, I got stuck with taping off the walls from there on out. When the entire house had been painted and all the tape had been pulled off the trim, we did one final walk through to make sure we hadn’t missed a spot. We ended in his bedroom and as we stood there, wrapped up in each other’s arms, I noticed that we had missed the tape above his bedroom door. Seeing as I’m only 5”1” I couldn’t quite reach it. I don’t know why, but for some reason, we decided to leave that little strip of blue painter’s tape above his door. And every time I’d see it, I was reminded of the reason why I was falling in love with this man…..because for two solid weeks, all we did was work on fixing up his new home–cleaning, painting, hanging new blinds—and we had fun. It was easy. It was effortless. It was simple.

I have naturally curly hair. Actually, that’s an understatement. I have an afro that, when untamed, looks as though I have a mane. When I turned 19 or so, I decided I was going to start straightening my hair and for the last six or seven years now, I’ve straightened it nearly every day. One day last Spring, it was raining and I was running late and those two things combined forced me to wear my hair curly. I remember being a tad bit nervous for The Teacher to see my hair in its natural form, but there wasn’t a whole lot I could do about it. I was working across the hall from him that particular day and I remember around 4th hour, he walked into my classroom and handed me a piece of paper. Every student in the room was staring at me and all he said was, “I need you to sign this for me.” So I unfolded it, read the words on the page, and almost melted in to a puddle there on the floor in front of every last student. He had scribbled “You look so freaking hot today” on this piece of paper and I know my cheeks were every shade of red and pink you could think of. And there he stood, just staring at me, waiting for me to sign this piece of paper so all those students wouldn’t suspect anything. So I signed “Cantwell” on the piece of paper and handed it back to him and he turned around and walked out. I must’ve held my breath for five minutes because I couldn’t believe this was happening to me. Here I was, looking like Ms. Frizzle from the Magic School Bus, and he thought I looked hot. He asked me to start wearing my hair curly more often and even though I was hesitant, I did it for him, and he always, always complimented me. When he decided to introduce me to his parents, I wore my hair curly that day and I remember him actually thanking me later that evening because he said he loved it when I wore my hair like that.

One summer night, we were invited to some friends’ house for a BBQ. I remember sitting on the deck beside the pool, mindless chatter all around us, and he looked at me, winked, and mouthed the words “I love you” and everything else around me just kind of stopped.

Ya’ll ever heard of Pandora’s box? I think I opened it and I can’t seem to get the lid back on. I guess what I’m trying to say is that ever since I wrote about The Teacher a few days ago, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about him. I kind of feel bad about it, but for the most part I don’t because, well, screw it. What’s the harm in thinking about someone. He doesn’t know. It’s not bothering him. Other than running in to him this morning at work, I think he has probably forgotten that I exist. I wonder what he thought as he pulled that little strip of blue painter’s tape off the trim above his door? I wonder if it made him sad at all or if, like most men, he was able to block out all the emotions that were connected to that little piece of tape. I don’t think about him as much as I used to. Or at least that’s the answer that I give when I’m asked if I miss him. That’s what I’m supposed to say, right? That I don’t miss him and I don’t think about him anymore? I hesitate to even right these words because I know that there are people who will read this that know and love him and I don’t want to come across as one of “those girls.” But when I started writing last summer, I promised myself I wouldn’t filter anything and that this would be a place of safety for me, a place that I could let my mind be free. So, I’ll set my pride aside and at the risk of being labeled, I’ll lay it all on the line and just say it…..I miss him every day. Every date I’ve been on since him, I’ve wished he was sitting across the table from me. Every time I’ve gotten dressed up for drinks with a new person, I’ve imagined being in shorts and a t-shirt at the little taco stand or holding his hand while we waited for a table the night he took me out to celebrate making the Dean’s List again. I don’t know why I torture myself with these bittersweet memories. But I do know that as I passed him this morning in the hall, all I wanted to do was hug him. I wanted to just look at him and tell him how sorry I was and beg him for a chance to love him again. Instead I just kept right on walking, no eye contact was even made. He muttered something as I walked by and I turned, gave him a little smile, and felt my heart begin to ache. Life is a funny, funny thing my friends. And hindsight is always 20/20. Sometimes I wish I could speed up time and then make it stop so I could take a look around and just have a small glimpse of where life is taking me.

Have a wonderful weekend! ~Rach