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.


This weekend Nason and I did something a little…crazy.  It was something that needed to be done, but we thought we would have to do it in stages.  But we took a breath, and cashed my paycheck to buy soil and gardening equipment.  And boy did we have fun!

We borrowed our friend’s truck, and went to Home Depot.  We bought so much soil that the fellows who were helping us just loaded a pallet into the truck bed.  We got the fencing we wanted, and the tools we needed, and even had some money left over.  As we left Home Depot, we realized that we had actually done it, and all that is left to do is buy the equipment for a drip system.  So this will be a week spent outdoors, digging trenches and filling them with soil, and starting to grow seeds, and reinforcing our garden fence.  I’m pretty excited, and glad that we did something a little crazy this weekend.

Note: if you haven’t already, you may want to read part 1 first.

When I last left off Nason and I made it back safely to the campground after a truly amazing hike.  By the time we got back more people had started to show up, and everywhere we turned we saw new faces that were not there when we had arrived.  Several of those faces belonged to our students, and we spent some time hanging out with them.  Now, some of our students thought it would be a good idea to prank Nason and I.  While we were getting a fire going, a few of them went up to their ‘fort’ (a pretty cool rocky place up the same hill where we were camping).  A little while later I was walking up to my tent and I saw them.

Ben: “Hey, Rachel, like our fort?”

One of the culprits


Me: “Yeah, that’s pretty sweet!”

Ben: “Do you like your tent?”

Me: “I think we found an awesome place…oh.”

They had flattened it.  The poles were still in the tent, but it was laying flat on the ground.  I shook my head, got what I needed, and showed Nason.

“I’m going to kill them” was his response.

Later that evening, after I distracted them by starting a game of Egyptian Ratscrew, we formulated our revenge.  We wanted something simple, yet effective.  We couldn’t get all four of the students back that were there, but we came up with a plan to prank two of them-the two I personally suspect were behind the whole thing.  The two boys were sleeping in the same tent, apart from parents and siblings, so the opportunity was perfect.  We were going to do the same thing they did to us-the only difference was, we were going to do it while they were inside the tent.

Early the next morning we woke up (Nason and I are early risers when we’re camping anyway).  We walked down the hill and got a fire going.  He and I were some of the first people up that morning; there was no sign of the boys yet, which meant they were more than likely still asleep.  Slowly we crept over to where they were sleeping, and Nason quietly untied the strings that kept the front upright.  We each took a side, and on the count of three, we yanked the poles out of their slots. 

And it didn’t fall.

There was rustling inside the tent-they were waking up!  Frantically I tried to push the tent over, and then I looked and saw that Nason had already run away.  So I followed suit.  At that point the two guys were awake and probably confused.  We took our places by the fire and tried to act innocent, but they had seen us.  Although their tent didn’t fall, it looked pretty funny. 

Later they tried to get us back again, but all they did was take the rain fly off of the tent and tape my pillow to a tree.  I feel like that wasn’t really in the same spirit as the two initial pranks, so we laughed about it and packed up our stuff to prevent any further retaliation.  It was pretty fun, and although we weren’t able to prank the two girls that flattened our tent (one of their fathers suggested a cold bucket of water, but Nason thought that was pretty mean and wouldn’t help me), we managed to come out even in the end.

Check in tomorrow for part 3!

This past weekend was the Whitetail picnic-an annual tradition at my church-where we move the entire church up to Mt. Lemmon, hold a service, have a picnic, and hang out together as a church family.  Last year they started renting the Whitetail campground the day before, so people could camp overnight and then attend service the next morning.  This is where we were this weekend-camping on Mt. Lemmon, surrounded by beauty and friends, enjoying one last trip before school starts again.  And, it was quite a trip.  It was such a cool trip, in fact, that I’m going to write about it in three parts, because I came back with some pretty fun stories.  So this is part one.

Nason and I got to the campground a little before the check in time (1:00).  We drove around and took some pictures, then headed back.  We were some of the first people there, so we had our pick of camp sites.  Of course, we didn’t camp on a camp site-that would have been silly.  We wanted adventure, we wanted to risk getting eaten by bears, so camping on one of the sites wasn’t an option.  Instead, we walked up a nearby hill and found a spot overlooking everything.  It was beautiful.  We set up our tent in record time and then turned to each other.

“So…you still want to hike?”

“Yeah, let’s do it!”

So we went hiking.  Now, the hiking was much like the tent pitching-we wanted adventure.  So, rather than find a trail, we made our own. 

We started by visiting the hill where Nason proposed to me two years ago (yes, it was at the Whitetail picnic two years ago), and we spent some time there reflecting on the past two years.  Proposal Hill is just as beautiful as I remember it-the sunlight filtering through the trees, the stillness, the fantastic view of the forest below-it is a wonderful spot, and it is where I want to camp next year.  We looked ahead, and saw another hill, so we hiked to it to see what we could see.  And it was even more beautiful than Proposal Hill!  It was higher than the previous hill, so it had a better view, and what a view it was!  Nason joked that this was where he should have proposed, so I named it The Hill Where Nason Didn’t Propose (not the most creative name, but it fit).

From there we went downhill, and came across this field.  I was feeling silly and wanted to frolic through it, but in addition to all of the neat plant life, there were a lot of sharp rocks, so we opted not to.  Nason wanted a picture by a tree we thought was very small, but when he walked towards it we discovered that it was much larger than anticipated!  It still made for a good picture, though.

That was our turning point, so we headed back after taking some more pictures.  The hike back up the Hill Where Nason Didn’t Propose was very steep, so we were out of breath by the time we made it to the top.  The next hill was easier, and then we were back, tired but happy.  Overall Nason said we probably hiked about 2 miles, and it took us a couple of hours (keep in mind, it was all uphill and downhill).  It was perfect day for hiking, and I’m glad we took advantage of it!

Check back tomorrow for Part 2: The Prank War!

It’s not that I haven’t wanted to write.

I have had so many ideas flying around in my head, ideas about relationships and blogging and current events, ways to make the world a better place and thoughts on the future and parenting and everything in between.  I have wanted to write.  I have just been out in the ‘real world,’ living life, away from the computer.  Sort of.

On Wednesday Nason and I went hiking as a celebration of our last Wednesday off together.  We left our house on foot and hiked into the Cienega Creek Preserve, then later on to his mom’s house, where we ate lunch and caught a ride home again.  It was a beautiful day to hike, and we did roughly 7 miles, which I was pretty happy about.  Thursday I worked, and Friday I had a good friend (who is moving to England soon) over for carne asada.  We didn’t even realize the time until her friend called her wondering where she was (we sat there talking for 4 1/2 hours!).  That night Nason and I went over to his mom’s place again, and spent some time talking and watching a movie.

Now, I’m getting ready to go camping overnight on Mt. Lemmon.  It’s an annual tradition with our church to drive up to Mt. Lemmon, camp, and hold a service on the mountain the next morning.  It’ll be an afternoon of hiking, followed by an evening of running around with our friends and teaching Egyptian Ratscrew to our students.  In all, a successful day ahead of us.

To be honest, I’m a little nervous about what is going to happen to this blog when I start school.  I mean, if I have a hard time finding the time to write now, how will I do when I am back in school full-time, working, and leading middle schoolers?  I think that if I can pull it off, then this space can become something really awesome, but if not, then it will flop.  I want to write.  I love it and think it is a great thing, but I am scared that I will not make the time during the semester.

Don’t think I won’t try, though.

PS. Forgive me if this post seems a little ADD.

Today, I got to do something I have been looking forward to all year: I got to make prickly pear jelly! 

First, I had an off road adventure in the Jeep to go and find some of the delicious fruits.  Harvesting prickly pear actually isn’t that bad; even though it’s on a cactus, it’s all a matter of watching where you step (to avoid spines in your boots and pants) and wearing gloves.  I got away with minimal damage and a lot of fruit-actually, I got too much, but I plan on making a syrup this next week to put into waffles and *adult* drinks.  And it was nice because I got to drive the Jeep!  Usually when we go off roading Nason drives, so I took advantage of my time in the desert today and took longer than was necessary, so I could put my own mud on the tires. 

When I got home I texted my mother-in-law a photo of the fruits in the bucket, and she came over shortly afterwards with the girls.  We sliced up enough prickly pear to make a double batch of the recipe I found, and then cooked it up.  We took advantage of the time to catch up and talk, and chase after the girls (they kept themselves entertained with Hide and go Seek, the bamboo in our backyard, and the Nerf guns we keep in the living room).  

We had a couple of mishaps, mostly when the mixture on the stove boiled over, covering my stove top in a 



sticky mess, but we laughed it off and kept going.  And now there is quite a bit of prickly pear jelly cooling in my fridge!  I can not wait to try it out and see how it ended up this year-based on the juice that Nancy and I both tried, it’s going to be so good!  Thank you to Nancy for coming over and helping me today, the help and company was really nice! 

PS: If you want the recipe I used, I found it here.  Although they say to burn the spines off, I actually found it easier to cut the tips off of the fruit and skin them since I do not have a gas stove.  But, to each his own.  Use whatever method works for you. 

The finished product! (One container missing)

On this date last year, I got a pedicure, went shopping, stuffed homemade cookies into little bags (36 dozen cookies, take that Martha Stewart!) and went to my wedding rehearsal and dinner.  That’s right, that would make tomorrow our anniversary!

It’s a little crazy to think that Nason and I have been married for a year.  It still seems fun and fresh.  Every day with him is a new adventure.  It’s been a year of happiness, a few arguments, lots of change and, above all, lots of love.  I am so happy that God brought such a loving, sweet, selfless man into my life.  He’s my best friend and constant partner in crime.  Our life is filled with service, pranks, wrestling, hiking, laughter, and growth.  We get each other, even though we’re pretty different, and yet we’re always learning about each other.  I think it’s more fun like that.

I know that this is a short post today, but I’ll just leave you with this: This past year has been absolutely wonderful, even when it’s been difficult.  We are both in love, and we will see many more anniversaries after this one.  The first is special, but it certainly will not be the last!

PS: I will not be able to post again until Monday, since we will be out of town to celebrate.