The one about herbs.

My favorite bible teacher preached a sermon where he said, “discipline isn’t our punishment. It’s our reward for producing fruit.”


Where we live, this winter has been very mild. So mild, in fact, that several of the herbs in my tiny garden have voted to skip dormancy this year.

The ones that have really caught my attention are my rosemary plants. Over the past few years, I have planted several rosemary plants, and most of them are lively right now. But, one of them is triple the size of the other ones.

Now, I’m no master gardener. So I probably did something wrong to cause most of the other ones to be so small still.

But, whatever the reason, I have this one that continues to mature faster than the others.


If I’m honest, I’d have to say that I don’t know if discipline is a reward for producing fruit. I don’t know much of anything. Maybe discipline is simply a part of life that everyone eventually goes through. But I know this: as a novice gardener, I keep pruning the plant that keeps growing.


It seems to be a cycle. I prune it, so it grows. So I prune it, so it grows.

A Charlie Brown Tree in a Pinterest-Perfect World

Hi. I’m Rachel and I’m an addict. I’m addicted to all things beautiful and ugly that have been perpetuated by and, at minimum, highlighted from the monster that is Pinterest.

Those things include having an organized home, everything DIY, cooking, baking, health and fitness, home decor, holidays, and more. And also, taking pictures of all the things you do that look pinterest-y (yes that’s an adjective now) and then posting them on other social networks that are also infiltrated by the new pressure-filled, Pinterest-Perfect lifestyle.

What.is.the.point.

It’s exhausting. It’s ridiculous. And I need help. And I know a lot of YOU do too.
So here’s my plan:
STOP THE MADNESS.

If you’re like me, you’ve been on Pinterest for years now. Years.
And changing habits takes time.
Lasting changes don’t happen overnight. They happen gradually.

So this year, I’m resisting the urge to have a perfect tree.
It’s a little bottom heavy. It’s real- so it’s uneven. It has no garland. And the ornaments are partially homemade. There is no theme (gasp?!).
And I love it more than all the trees of years past.

I’m not against pretty decor. I like a beautiful house just as much as the next person.
But I’m seeing how easy it is to start to idolize something as simple as a nicely decorated home. And I’m over it.

Lord, remind me why we celebrate in the first place.

And show me what I love more than you.
‘Cause if we’re honest, there’s tons of stuff.

R.

“Any half-awake materialist well knows – that which you hold holds you.” Tom Robbins

16 year old me

Dear 16 year old me,
Since it’s been a decade since I’ve seen you, I thought I would write you to let you in on some things. These are some things that I really want you to know. Oh, how I wish you knew..

You are so beautiful. No, really. I’m not being arrogant. You are truly beautiful. But, beauty isn’t at all what you think it is.

It’s being able to see beauty in those around you.

Beauty is the joy in you.

Beauty is when you are kind to strangers.
It’s when you tell people how great they are. You see it in them. But, sometimes they don’t. You have to tell them what you see.

Stop looking for love.
You know love. And I’m not talking about a boy- although you will find him too.. next year. CHILL OUT. You meet him next year.
I’m talking about your maker. He loves you so much. And in 10 years, you still will barely know how much.

Oh, and Rachel, you will have daughters. I’m serious. At least two, maybe even more later.
And they need to know what true beauty is. They will look to you to learn about body image. So quit hating your body. Please. Just stop.

Another thing, most of your friends now, you won’t even talk to in 10 years.
But, want to know something crazy? Some of your best friends, will be your best friends forever. So treasure those friendships. Those girls who don’t care if your hair is fixed and don’t make you feel insecure.. you will get married together, have babies together, talk, laugh, and cry with them for years and years. Love them well.

One last thing, Rachel, you will meet your husband really soon. I know that sounds crazy, but you will. And he is amazing. Actually more amazing than you are able to understand right now. He is funny. And brilliant. And strong. And so hot- like the hottest man you will ever meet (although that is NOT as important as you think).
Anyway, what I want you to know is that love is not like the Disney romance you imagine. It’s hard. And you will cry a lot. And you will lose sleep. And sometimes go to sleep mad. And he doesn’t ride in on a white horse. (he will get a Jeep wrangler at one point=basically the same thing)
But, it is worth it.
So don’t quit.
Pray for him every day… oh, how I wish you could learn that now..

Hope this helps.
Love,
26 year old me

Marriage Letters: Alive

 

On the first Monday of every month, I am joining some friends who write letters to their spouses. This month the premise is “What Makes You Come Alive”.

 

Dear Adam,
When we moved to this tiny town, I thought things would be so different.
I’m not sure all the ways. But different, nonetheless.

I heard someone once say, as we come to know God, we become more of our truer self. As if, He made us to be comfortable in our identity. But, the lies and traps of the world convince us to be ashamed of who we really are.

Until we are set free.

Years ago, I would have said you were free. Not really knowing what that meant. And, maybe I still don’t.

But I was drawn to you because of freedom. For the hours of church attendance I had acquired, I had no understanding of grace. Of gospel. But you did. And I wanted what you had..

I wonder from time to time what exactly shifted in you when we moved here. I wonder if it was gradual. Maybe I was going through so much transition I didn’t see it when it was happening. I think about the prayers of the church when we came. I think about unleashing and warring and impartation. All of these and more are the culprits, I’m guessing.

 How I love you.

You are more yourself now than ever. You are more free now then you’ve ever been. I see it when you spend time with people who are hurting and broken and need more Jesus, which is really all of us, right? Oh, and how do you understand that so well, anyway? Man, I’m glad I get to be your wife.

You’ve come alive while loving the ones Jesus loves. I think being alive is like a disease.

And it’s contagious.  And it is awakening something in me.

Yours forever,

Rachel

Marriage Letters: Once Upon a Time

Dear Adam,
It’s coming up on our 5 year anniversary mark. I’m the one who likes to celebrate these things. I’m the one who keeps count like a little child excited for Christmas morning. Not because of presents, or a night away from the kids (Ok, you know that’s part of it) but because it means we have made it through another thing together. Another year.

Do you remember the letters you wrote when we started dating? My heart would pound in my chest as words poetically melted into each other. I daydreamed about when we would be married. And in my head, that meant days on end of happiness and cuddling.

People told us that it would be so hard. People who really knew. But, I didn’t care. I didn’t even listen much because I thought that if I got to spend forever with you nothing else mattered. No one else, nothing else, could make my heart burn like you did.

Well, big gulps.

I was a wee bit naive.

You still give me butterflies. More than before, even.

But some days are really hard. And we’ve learned that other things do, in fact, matter.

I’ve changed a lot. You made me a mother. And motherhood has grown my heart beyond what I thought possible.
Now, while writing this, I have cried twice just during the remembering. I’ve kissed a crying 3 year old with a toy box injury.

I’ve pulled dirt out of the baby’s mouth. I’ve started and stopped this writing so many times to get through the daily things that I’m not sure I’ll complete it. The things that wear and tear and bring so much joy.

And I anticipate your return more than I ever have. More than I ever did then. Not only because I feel like I can’t survive in the daily without you. But, mostly because you understand finding joy in the dish washing.
You helped me seek Jesus at the beginning of us.
But, you show me Jesus now in the dish washing. And my heart burns so much more.
I’m always yours.
Rachel

 

On the first Monday of every month I will be writing letters with Amber Haines’ “Marriage Letters” series. Go check out her most recent post!

 

Rant about the Internet & Parenting

Looking back on this post, it reads really blame-y and argumentative. It’s worth mentioning that I am, in fact, its intended audience.

 

Something that has confused me lately is how quickly people (myself included) rush to Google when we have a question about parenting. Or about ANYTHING, for that matter, that we aren’t fully versed in.

The internet is full of different people’s thoughts and opinions.

You might be surprised to hear this, but some of the advice is.. [wait for it…] bad advice. (gasp. I know, right?)

Continue reading “Rant about the Internet & Parenting”

attempting the impossible

Sure enough, as soon as I said I’m going to try to take things slow this summer a million and one things started running a hundred miles in my direction. As much as I would like to say I kept peace in the storm, that would be a bit of an overstatement.
One thing that I’m being reminded of right now is that major life changes don’t usually happen over night. They happen after disciplining yourself and implementing them over and over. So for me, I’m taking this thing one day at a time. Learning as I go. And learning that failure is acceptable.
Thank you God for grace.
(and thank you husband for patience)

K.I.S.S.

What exactly does it mean to live simply?

People have their different opinions.  I know some people who would describe it as working only 40 hours a week.  I also know people who say it is working from home.  Some think you can’t do it in America. You must move overseas to truly understand simplicity. Others say, plant a garden. eat organic. RECYCLE! Buy reusable diapers. Take a day off. Go on vacation. Don’t buy things you don’t need. Buy nice stuff so it will last. Give all your stuff away. Spend time with your family.  Move away from your family. Start a family. Stay single. Continue reading “K.I.S.S.”