Thursday, May 22, 2014

instalife: volume 3

And now, for your viewing enjoyment, I present to you the third installment of my instalife series. In all transparency, it should be noted that some of these are merely i-phone pics and never made it to the gram. Being the rebel that I am (not), I'm going to let some of these non-gram photos sneak into the mix. (sidenote: what did I ever do before instacollage? anyone else a fan?)

So here they are, in no particular order and with no particular artistic focus...just my photo form. Because like I always say, if it's not documented with a photo, it didn't happen ;)

celebrating this sweet girl's decision to give her life to Christ - praise God!

make a wish: celebrating Natalie's birthday

the sunset view from my window seat, en route back to Tejas

our last supper at the clubhouse: frowns all around (at least the pizza was good)

community girls at Eric's b-day bash

the birthday crew for Eric's 30th

Miss Haylee Grace at her skating debut

half of my amazing moving team: major guns + stellar organizing skills = perfectly packed storage unit

a farewell collage to the clubhouse

me and the bestie with a newly baptized Michael

Watermark Baptism 2014: an amazing day

Ephesians 2:8-10

the aftermath of a violent storm #texasspring

celebrating the marriage of Kevin and Jules

the lovely couple and some stellar selfies on the dance floor

heaven in a box (otherwise known as Cavalli's pizza)

mother's day sweets & treats

capturing the surprise and excitement of the trip reveal: love the bottom right

the hilarious MadLibs I used for part 1 of the surprise - last sentence is the best

more snapshots of our Mother's Day celebration

one of my fave TBT photos of my uncle & dad hitting the tennis courts - who wears short shorts?

the scavenger hunt unfolds...

more cupcakes for more birthday celebrations: cheers to life!

#myfavoritefood #noothercaptionneeded

a muffincake sandwich with these two loves

the little Mere bear dominating her first skating competition #goforthegold #winnerwinnerchickendinner

my first framily dinner at the new casa - loving the backyard

the whole crew celebrating Mere's 5th birthday #timeflies #iknowthesehashtagsarepointless

So there you have it - my instalife over the past month or so. Until next time, you stay classy, blogland.

Monday, May 19, 2014

saying yes to dreams + a simple request.

*Disclaimer: we're about to go deep here, peeps.

Greetings to you, my dear readers. It is a glorious Monday in the month of May and I find myself writing a post on the topic of dreams. No, not the dreams you dream when you are asleep and your mind goes to crazy places. (what's with the dream when all your teeth fall out? I've read things online that link it to uncertainty of the future - anyone have that dream? anyone?) I'm talking about the dreams you dream when you are wide awake and fully coherent. The dreams that scare you. The dreams that make you laugh because they are so ridiculous. The dreams that make your heart soar because you cannot imagine what the reality of those dreams coming true might look like. 

Or maybe, like me, I'm talking about the dreams that you don't even know you have because you have stopped allowing yourself to dream and stifled every single thought that wasn't practical or realistic. Perhaps you have resigned yourself to the fact that nothing in life is guaranteed, none of your plans have worked out, and so you might as well not plan (translate: dream) because it will just end in disappointment. How's that for brutally honest on a Monday? 

To give credit where credit is due, this is really a spin-off from my dear friend Brooke's latest post on her blog. (as an aside: we go way back and have been friends since high school. She is an amazing human being, an incredible mother to three babies, a faithful wife, and an inspiration to me.)

You see, she felt the Lord speak to her at a conference last year on this very topic. She has shared at length on her blog: -- in the fall of last year, she wrote down some very specific dreams and has seen God's hand move to bring several of these dreams into fruition. is where the favor comes in: she is asking for help in the form of a simple click. One woman will be selected to travel with an organization over to Rwanda this summer to minister to the needy, the widows, the orphans...all the poor and powerless. The person with the most votes will be chosen for the trip. All you have to do is click this link: 

You will see her picture and read her "why." Right above her picture, all you have to do is click "vote." You can vote everyday through May 28th. 

It is interesting in her latest post, she used the term "Realistic Rachel." Now, I know it was just one of those random names you choose to create an alliteration ("Bargain Betty," "Frugal Frannie," and so on), but it really struck a chord with me. That is a term that I have been defined by. I AM "realistic Rachel" and have been for so many years. 

As a child, I was a dreamer with a wild imagination. I read a TON and my favorite books were the Chronicles of Narnia. I read to my animals as though they were alive, wrote stories about my dolls coming to life, and would regularly draw out sketches of what my house would look like when I grew up (minimum of 12 floors, a Wet 'n Wild waterpark in the backyard, and of course, an elevator to access all of the floors with the utmost of ease). I mean, if you're gonna dream, you might as well dream big...and I was good at that!

Fast forward to adulthood, with it's responsibilities, heartaches, disappointments, unmet expectations, demands, busyness, obligations, bills...and dreams just seem frivolous, indulgent, or for those who are not rooted in reality. 

But even more than that, if I'm 100% honest, dreaming makes you vulnerable...because if your dreams do not come true, if those thoughts you thought, or those prayers you prayed never pan out, you are exposed to the disappointment and heartache that will ensue. And this fear to dream can even manifest itself in watered-down prayers...which is exactly what the enemy would want. How clever he is to lead us down a path of self-preservation that would even affect the power of our prayers. What a lie from the pit of hell as the word of God is clear:

Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or thinkaccording to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever.
Ephesians 3:19-20 

I was actually sharing (revealing) some dreams with a friend of mine last night and as it turns out, she was shocked as I revealed the desires of my heart. What?! Had I really stuffed these so deep within the depths of my heart that those closest to me didn't even know these desires (dreams) existed? Had the fear that those things might never come to pass kept me from sharing, praying, and believing? Had "Realistic Rachel" completely taken over? 

It was a sobering moment, but at the same time, I felt an awakening in my heart...much like I think Brooke talks about on her blog. I truly believe the Lord used her and her words to reveal the state of my heart. I cannot thank her enough for her obedience to the Lord and sharing some deeply personal things on her blog that I would imagine was fairly uncomfortable.

ALL that being said, this is just the tip of the iceberg, so I may share more as I feel led. Bottom line: pray for BIG things. Do not allow satan to squelch your desires with things like doubt, fear, insecurity, etc., etc., etc. We serve a God who became human, took on flesh, died for our sins, defeated death, and rose again victorious. Our God IS able. He can "do FAR more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think."

Now go vote for Brooke!!! (:     

Friday, May 9, 2014

oh glorious day.

Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.
Romans 8:1-2

As has been my tradition, I spent Easter weekend frolicking with the fousins in the land of DC. It was a most glorious Resurrection Day celebration, made all the more beautiful due to the stellar company and the breathtaking foliage. DC is doing something right when it comes to spring - this much is true.

In keeping things consistent with my blog entries as of late (really the past 2 years), I'll keep this picture-heavy and light on the words. So here is my weekend in pics:

the scary surrender.

Teachers will tell you that the laziest boy in the class is the one who works hardest in the end. They mean this. If you give two boys, say, a proposition in geometry to do, the one who is prepared to take trouble will try to understand it. The lazy boy will try to learn it by heart because, for the moment, that needs less effort. But six months later, when they are preparing for an exam, that lazy boy is doing hours and hours of miserable drudgery over things the other boy understands, and positively enjoys, in a few minutes. Laziness means more work in the long run. Or look at it this way. In a battle, or in mountain climbing, there is often one thing which it takes a lot of pluck to do; but it is also, in the long run, the safest thing to do. If you funk it, you will find yourself, hours later, in far worse danger. The cowardly thing is also the most dangerous thing.

It is like that here. The terrible thing, the almost impossible thing, is to hand over your whole self—all your wishes and precautions—to Christ. But it is far easier than what we are all trying to do instead. For what we are trying to do is to remain what we call ‘ourselves’, to keep personal happiness as our great aim in life, and yet at the same time be ‘good’. We are all trying to let our mind and heart go their own way — centred on money or pleasure or ambition—and hoping, in spite of this, to behave honestly and chastely and humbly. And that is exactly what Christ warned us you could not do. As He said, a thistle cannot produce figs. If I am a field that contains nothing but grass-seed, I cannot produce wheat. Cutting the grass may keep it short: but I shall still produce grass and no wheat. If I want to produce wheat, the change must go deeper than the surface. I must be ploughed up and re-sown.

From Mere Christianity
Compiled in A Year with C.S. Lewis