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.

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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

First of all, I’m back!  I have almost completed my first round of chaos.  The research proposal is in, as is the homework, and the test I was supposed to take today was moved to Thursday.  I have already studied for it, so anything beyond what I have done will be less pressured, which is nice. 

Now, in my last post, I mentioned an internship I am applying for.  After the class I am currently sitting in, I am going to print out my updated resume and hand in my application, which means that I am done considering applying for this internship and now I am really doing it.  There’s something scarily final about turning in an application; it means that it is actually in writing somewhere that I have decided to pursue the path the application takes me.

So what is this path, you may ask?  Well, I am currently applying for the Arizona State Legislative Internship Program.  For an entire semester, I would work with state representatives, committees, and maybe even the Supreme Court or the Governor.  I would not be getting coffee or running errands.  I could work as a liaison, or present information to different groups in legislature.  I would be expected to research and write.  And, I would even get paid; not only is my tuition waived for the semester, but I am paid $4,200 for my work.  While this may not be a lot of money for four months, quite a bit of it could just be saved.  Plus, I would still receive federal aid in the form of grants, which could also be squirreled away.

So what’s the catch?  Well…it’s…in Phoenix.  And I can not commute from Tucson every day.  That means that I would have to live for a semester in Phoenix.  Since the internship is full-time, I could not transfer to another store, so I would have to either take a leave of absence or quit my job, and I am not sure if I can take a leave of absence due to the $4,200 I am being paid. 

I would have to move away from my husband, my immediate family and most of my friends (I have extended family and a few friends who are going to school in Phoenix, so I wouldn’t be completely alone).  It would also mean temporarily leaving youth ministry, and leaving my awesome, brave, smart, sweet students for four months.  Four months!  That may not seem like a lot of time, but so much can happen in that period of time.  I would miss everyone terribly, especially Nason.  I would miss our late night drinks and conversations.  I would miss hiking and gardening with him.  It’s a scary thought, to leave everything behind for a semester, but the opportunities and adventures that this internship  would provide are too good to pass up.

I’m getting ahead of myself here.  After all, I still have to make it through two rounds of interviews.  However, I can not help but think that it’s actually happening.

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.

Sometimes I feel like my brain is a jumping castle for ideas.  They bounce around in there all the time, and I don’t know what to do with them, so I let them go for as long as they can until they burn out and lose appeal.  My current ideas?

  • A lemonade company.  From-scratch lemonade in oddly shaped bottles with flavors like prickly pear and blueberry and something called ‘Old Sourface (a lemonade with less sugar and more lemon).
  • Marriage columns in Bridal magazines.  So many people focus on the wedding and not the marriage-in fact, only about 20% of couples seek premarital counseling!  So why not a common sense column amongst the taffeta and candles?
  • A cookbook about using the desert’s natural resources to make yummy things.  I just made prickly pear jelly, so that could be why this is in there.
  • I wrote a parody of Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance, only it’s about guy love and it’s called Bad Bromance.  Although it is kind of random, in my defence I was tired and driving home from work and it kept me awake.  And now I want to record it and make a video.  Maybe.
  • A book of 21st century poems and songs praising God called Modern Day Psalms.

These are the thoughts that keep running around in my head.  Some are really good ideas, and some are really silly.  But what do they all have in common?  I have no clue what to do about it.  I would love to start a lemonade company, but where would I even begin?  And, I think the marriage column would be spectacular, but the only credit I have as a marriage writer is one year of marriage and three years of college-I don’t even have my degree yet, where’s the credibility?  Also, as Nason put it, would anyone actually read it?  Most people who buy the millions of bridal magazines each month (!) are looking for the perfect wedding, not marital advice. 

I don’t know what to do with these things that pop in my head and stay there.  This is the nice thing about blogging, that I can get some ideas out of my head and onto the internet.  But not all ideas, unfortunately.  I’ll just let them bounce around, and write about what I can, and see if I can make some of them come to fruition.  Eventually.

Normally I try and keep my posts positive and happy.  I try and find the good in life and celebrate it here.  Even with this post I have tried to find the optimistic spin, but I need to be completely honest.  I am really sad.

There’s some stuff going on in my life and the lives of those very close to me that is scary and serious, and it has left me exhausted and depressed.  I have felt like this for the past several days, and no matter what I do it always comes back.  There will be some major changes coming up in the near future.  And I am fearful of how it’s going to leave those involved.

Out of respect for the wishes of those who are involved, I can not talk about it, so please do not ask me what’s going on.  Everything is being handled as best as it can, so do not offer to help or anything.  Now, it’s all a matter of waiting on God’s plan.  Just pray, and accept the fact that I am sad.

After UCYC, house sitting, and our trip this past weekend, we are finally home.  Although they have been fantastic, the past three weeks have felt like a marathon, and, quite frankly, I’m glad things are getting back to normal.

It’s nice to be home again, in our own house, living life a little more peacefully.  Now that our big summer plans are done, we have time to actually live in our new house.  Though we started the process of settling in, and we are mostly unpacked, our home plans were put on hold as we went all over Arizona.  So the past couple of days have been nice.  We started getting things ready in the garden, and we now have about half of the chicken wire set, a trench dug, and a game plan for the nasty squirrels that destroyed our first plants.  This morning, we transferred some century plants across the backyard. 

The inside of the house is looking good as well.  Overall the place is cleaner and better than when we moved in.  Right now we are searching for a futon and some end tables to put in our entertainment room and bedroom, and we have plans to paint and tile  in the (hopefully) near future.

It is great to be home.  I love this house, and I especially love the area where we now live.  It is so beautiful, and so full of life.  This morning we saw a family of quail at our bird feeder, as well as finches and thrashers.  There is all sorts of desert wildlife in our own backyard, and, though some of it is troublesome, most of it is interesting and beautiful.  The nights are incredible; we can see all the stars out here from our porch, and it is very quiet and peaceful.  Overall, it is a wonderful place to call home.

PS.  This photo is courtesy of my husband, Nason Simpson