A few nights ago, Nason did something very sweet.  He came home with flowers and wine, then grilled a couple of steaks and made dinner.  I tried to help several times, but every time I would ask if he needed help, he kicked me out of the kitchen.  Even though it drove me crazy a little, I loved it.  It was so romantic, and made me feel very special and loved.

I think that little gestures like that are what truly define a marriage.  Don’t get me wrong, I love it when he sweeps me off my feet with a surprise road trip or a date, but it’s the little things and kind words that happen between the big events.  A love letter is wonderful, but I still tell Nason every day that I love him.  And, dates are nice (when we have the extra money) but so is snuggling up on the couch with a movie.  I guess what I’m trying to say is all of those great little moments in our marriage make something truly beautiful in a big picture sort of way, and the bigger things we do for each other only enrich the love we already have.  He makes me feel special all the time, and that is something pretty cool.

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Well, a few days ago we celebrated the beginning of a new year, an opportunity to start over and make promises to make this year better than the last.  It is a time when many people are optimistic about the future, and have hope that the next 12 months will be fantastic. 

Personally, I think that New Year’s resolutions are silly.  Statistics show that 92% of New Year’s resolutions are not kept.  It is silly to think that we have to wait to start over until December 31st at midnight, or that a new year magically nullifies the things we have done.  Further, it is difficult to imagine that a new year can completely change a person, their habits and their character.  The idea is preposterous.

And yet…I have found myself caught up in the spirit of new year’s.  Even though I do not think that a new year signifies when we can start over, I know that we can begin again.  And even though the stroke of midnight can not change a person’s lifestyle or character, these seemingly unchangeable things can be altered.  People are constantly changing, and I have to hope that they are trying to change for the better-whether that happens on January 1st, February 19th or September 22nd.  Even though I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions, I believe in new beginnings.  If there is anything 2010 taught me, it was that very important lesson.

So, in the spirit of New Year’s…I am giving this blog a new beginning.  I sadly had to leave it alone for a while to take care of business, but it’s back, and shouldn’t have to go away for a while.  I gave it a fresh theme (which is a work in progress, hopefully I’ll reformat the old header to fit the new theme soon), and will soon have some fresh posts to go with it.  This, of course, is the first, and will not be the last.  I missed writing too much, and do not want to lose it again.  So, check back soon, I’ll hopefully have some new posts by the time you come back.

It’s been two weeks since I last posted.  A very long two weeks.  Normally I would feel guilty, or lazy, or any other range of negative feeling towards my lack of posting.

But I don’t.

See, while I’ve been gone, I’ve been living life.  I’ve been working hard, and celebrating, and enjoying the things I do.  I went through midterms, interviews, early mornings followed by late nights, movies, Halloween (yes, I celebrated Halloween  this year-that does not make me a heathen, just a fan of dressing up and begging for candy).  I’ve been making things, and getting ready to plant things, and learning.  It’s been a crazy, busy, fun two weeks, and I am happy I experienced them.

That did mean a break from writing.  But I’m glad I took it.  I sat down several times over the past two weeks to write, and I found that if I had posted something the post would be more out of obligation than enjoyment, which is why I started this space in the first place.

So, that may mean less posts for a while.  But I’m good with that, and hopefully you will be too.

I was at work last week, and somebody asked me if I had tried a certain meat product.  When I said no, he automatically replied with, “I didn’t know you were vegetarian!  I mean, I figured you ate meat because of the gun thing.” (I’m pretty open about my views on guns and gun control at work, and people know that I carry outside of work).  I was pretty stunned.  I mean, this fellow made two assumptions: because I hadn’t tried the product, I was automatically a vegetarian, and because I carry a gun, this presents a disparity.  I disagree on both parts.

First, just because I’m an omnivore doesn’t mean that I have tried everything that has meat in it.  I have never tried blood sausage or veal or venison either.  That lack of experience does not make me a vegetarian.

Second, just because I carry a gun does not mean I can not be a vegetarian.  I don’t carry a gun to hunt-I carry it for self-defense.  I actually know a vegetarian who carries a gun, and it’s not weird or shocking to me.  There are lots of reasons that people are vegetarians, and there are lots of reasons that people carry guns-assuming that the two overlapping is strange is kind of naive.

I know that the comment was not meant in an insulting way.  I know that.  I was just really surprised by the instant use of stereotypes.  I think that as soon as this fellow found out I carry, he automatically fit me into a category that I’m not really sure I fit into.  I was disappointed.

Unfortunately, we all do this.  We meet someone and automatically categorize them based on one or two things we know about them.  But people are so much more complex than that.  We are so much more than just Republicans or Democrats, men or women, young or old.  We are more than our race, our job title, or our education.  And it frustrates me when we stereotype others based on a set of often inaccurate assumptions about a group.

So please, don’t assume I can not be a vegetarian just because I carry a gun.  Never mind that I’m not; just don’t assume that.

I would win every time.

Well hello again.  A lot has happened since my last post (which is the reason for the delay).  I have been up to my neck in schoolwork lately, so all of my time with fast internet has been spent doing actual work, rather than getting to blog, which is unfortunate.

So!  When I last left off I was planning on running a 5k last Sunday.  Well, that happened, and it was pretty great.  There were a lot of people there-I think there were at least a hundred who participated, not to mention folks who came to cheer on their loved ones.  I ran it with Nason, and I saw my dad at three points: In the beginning, at the end, and when he was finishing a loop of the course that I had just started.  My dad is pretty in shape, so I wasn’t surprised.  The biggest shocker was the story he told me after the race-apparently, when he was in view of the finish line, one of my middle school students who was right behind him decided to pick up the pace and sprinted past him at the last minute!  It was pretty funny, to think that an 8th grade girl beat my dad, who is still active duty with the Air Force.

Meanwhile, Nason and I were about 5 minutes behind.  We both claimed injury on Sunday-Nason woke up with bad knees, and I developed a sore back throughout the day.  It put us on an even keel, and we finished with decent times.  I finished at 30:06 and Nason finished at 30:50.  The 5k was pretty non-competitive, so all three of us ended up in second place for our age group!

Overall, the 5k was a success.  The guy coordinating it raised about $3500 for Rapha House, and there were no injuries or anything negative.  It ended up being a really cool day, and I was happy to participate in it.

This week has otherwise been a blur of midterms, work, and shooting guns.  I found a handgun that I’ll be picking up this weekend (more on that later), and I will be done with my midterm exams after tomorrow morning (I had three this week-yikes!).  Life is busy right now, but oh so good.

On Sunday I am running a 5k with my dad and my husband.  And I am pretty nervous.  It’ll be the first 5k I’ve participated in since Race for the Cure a couple of years ago, and my running has been so-so.  Both Nason and my dad are in better shape than I am-Nason does reps every morning, and my dad can normally run a mile and a half in 12 minutes (which is my best time ever).  They’ll be able to keep up with each other, but I’m a little worried about being able to keep up with them.

But the thing is?  It’s okay.  I love to run, and the 5k is in support of an awesome organization.  I don’t run to compete or ‘keep up;’ I run because it feels good, and I’m doing this 5k because that means I get to use something that feels good to do good.  It’s a sweet deal when you think about it.

Anyway, I’m pretty nervous but excited.  If you want to sign up, you can do it here.  Or you can donate here.  It’s going to be cool.

To all of the people in my life who are facing something scary/challenging/heartbreaking:

 

There is a light at the end of this tunnel. 

 

You will make it out of the darkness, and the fear, and the loneliness. 

 

There is hope-there is always hope.

 

Even when you are sad, there is something to smile about.

 

In ten years, you can look back on this period in your life and learn why you went through it.

 

Plus, you will have made it through.

 

There is always someone you can turn to.

 

God will always love you.

 

Do not let your darkness hinder your light-find joy in life even through the sadness.

 

I am praying for you.

 

You are in my heart, and on my mind.  And I bet I’m not the only one thinking of you.

 

Pain and sorrow are temporary, but love is forever.

 

Your friend,

Rachel