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.

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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.

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

Most of the time the store I work at is filled with pretty cool people.  They are smart, opinionated, and interesting.  They bring their kids (who are adorable) and joke about their weekend.

But then there are the people who are cruel, and impatient, and rude.  Like today.

I was working at a register today when a man came through my line.  He didn’t acknowledge the fact I said hello, to start.  Then he entered his pin wrong.  When I told him that he needed to swipe his card again he looked at me as though I had uttered some sort of profanity.  He had a problem with one of the screens.  I tried to help him, and he yelled at me.  He left in a huff, and I tried to get on with my day, even trying to laugh him off as another grumpy old man.

The woman behind him didn’t see it that way.  She shook her head and angrily said that he shouldn’t have treated me that way.  She told me to hang in there.  And I started crying, because she was right.

I can not stand it when people speak cruelly to one another.  So often we do not think of how the words we say can hurt somebody, and too often when we are hurt we put up our protective armor, distancing ourselves from the problem.  Sometimes I wonder about the disconnection that plagues our 21st century lives.  While often I think it is due in part to the abundance of alternative communication outlets, like Facebook and text, I think the reason we disconnect in the first place is to make it easier to put on a brave face to the world.  The world makes it not okay to be sensitive and emotional, as though these are things that make you less of a person (something that I have always been plagued with).  So we try to make it hurt less.  We put up our walls and hang out in the fortress of our mind, rather than come right out and say when something is the matter.

The thing that has always bothered me is, does putting on a brave face really ever solve anything?  If no one ever raises the issue, whether it be impatience or injustice, does it really ever work itself out?  Perhaps it does some of the time, but not as often as I would like to think.

Or perhaps he was just a grumpy old man.

First of all, I want to say thank you for all of the love and support this week.  I have been very low in spirits, and people’s understanding and prayer has touched me, and it makes me realize how thankful I am for my family and friends.

That being said, something very important is happening tomorrow.  It only comes once a year, and every time it does it is a cause for celebration.  Tomorrow we celebrate the birthday of my husband’s little sister.

The birthday girl!

So happy birthday, goofy girl.  I hope you have a fun day tomorrow, and enjoy the pancakes in the morning!

My friend who came over yesterday (this picture is a little old, and was taken on a trampoline)

I love girl talk.  I think it’s fun to get together with one or two friends and just talk about life and love and everything in between.  It is something I don’t get all the time, since I live with my husband, but that’s okay.  It keeps girl talk special.

It’s not that I don’t talk with my husband about those things.  Nason and I have amazing conversations all the time.  We talk about our struggles, and dreams, and we spend more time talking than we do doing most anything else.  It’s just that…girl talk is different.  There is a different dynamic to it which is very special.  I love my husband more than anything in this world, but sometimes I need some time with my friends.

Yesterday I was blessed with some of that time.  One of my good friends came over yesterday and we had a five hour conversation.  It was wonderful.  We talked about our years (since she has been in Flagstaff since last September), and my husband and her boyfriend, and movies and books that we loved, and what we were doing this summer.  We didn’t go and do anything, we didn’t lapse for anything, we just…talked.  It was so refreshing to sit and talk with her, and just spend time getting to know her again, since we hadn’t seen each other in a while.

I am blessed to have my best friend living right down the street from me for now, too.  Usually we do the same thing when we get together.  Sometimes we’ll go out and do something, but most of the time we just sit and talk.  I always enjoy these days, since I learn something new about her every time we talk, and it’s always so much fun to share news and hear her news. 

I love my friends very much, and I’ve missed some of them while they’ve been away at school.  Hopefully I get to reconnect with them this summer, and have some great conversations.

One of the things that is a struggle for me is optimism.  While I often try to look on the bright side of situations and ‘know’ everything is going to work out, it is not a thing that comes naturally.  More often than not I want to be left alone to stew in my own mess of frustration, fear and stress.

But I know that is neither healthy nor productive.  So I try to be optimistic.  Like today. 

I woke up cranky and tired, after working late last night, and came in early this morning.  I got to work, only to be greeted by what I have decided was puke in front of the store that needed to be mopped up.  I worked my shift, clocked out, and checked next week’s schedule, and noticed that I had been scheduled at the worst possible time on a day I had marked off my summer schedule. 

I almost let it all get to me. 

But then, somewhere between the puke and the schedule, I found joy.  I had to get out of the stew and realize that there’s more to today than puke and sleepiness.  There was that sweet woman who bagged her own groceries.  There was Zachary, one of my favorite little kids, who came in today with his mom.  There was the fact that last night I rocked at doing something I had never done before.  As always, I got to come in to work today and work with great people.  And I’m looking forward to practice tonight-with a smaller group we’re going to have a really good time.  I have a husband who I’m bananas about, and a family and friends.  And above all, my value isn’t based on what days I work, or how much sleep I got the night before.  My value comes from God, who calls me His daughter.

These are the things I remind myself of when I can feel my smile slipping.  I’ve been blessed in so many ways, and I’m not going to waste the time I’ve been given on negativity.  So I try to be an optimist.  It’s a daily struggle, but would it mean as much if I didn’t have to make an effort?

Challenge: Write out your blessings.  Take a serious look at them.  Memorize them.  Thank God for them.  And remember them the next time you’re in the stew.