Thursday, August 25, 2011

Behind the Blog - Part 2

So...I didn't mean to spread these out quite so much. Oops! But, I started a short little "Behind the Blog" series a week ago and totally spaced on posting Part 2 on Tuesday! So, better late than never -

Part 2

What are you really good at? What are you really bad at?
I’m really good at: baking, writing (says my Mom), doing (other people’s) hair, and I think I’m a good listener
I’m really bad at: math, directions, interrupting Ryan when he talks (but I swear I’m a good listener!), running (plan to work on this)

Have you ever been in a car accident? What happened?
I’ve been in a couple of fairly serious accidents, but the worst was my freshman year of high school. It was the Friday that Spring Break started and we got out of school early so my Mom picked me up. As we were sitting on the two lane road to turn into our neighborhood, we were suddenly airborne. We had been hit from behind. My Mom checked to make sure I was okay and told me to stay in the car until police and paramedics arrived. In the minutes between impact and the arrival of the first responders, a white pick-up truck pulled up alongside us on the grass. Two men hopped out, grabbed the guy out of the car that had hit us and tossed him in the backseat. The driver of the pick-up motioned for me to keep my mouth shut (you know, finger to the mouth) and then made a threatening gesture. Being 15 and terrified, I did just that as I watched them drive off. Once the police and paramedics arrived and got us out of the car, the man hunt started for the driver. (For the record, he was never found.) As it turned out, he left his wallet in the car – and he was NOT the owner of the car that had hit us. He and his buddies in the pick-up had just stolen BOTH cars from a neighborhood down the street and were fleeing the scene. The guy driving the car that hit us was looking down while driving and did not see us stopped to turn. He hit us at 55 mph. My Mom’s minivan was an accordion. The back was smashed completely up to the front seats. Had we been in a smaller vehicle…well I might not be writing this today!

Why did you attend your college?
I hate writing this because I know at least one of my parents (Hi Mom!) reads my blog…but if I can’t be honest on my own darn blog, then what’s the point? I went to college because it was important to my parents, mainly my Mom, and because it’s what you are “supposed to do” after high school. Sadly, I have yet to finish a 4-year degree. But maybe someday?

Describe your morning routine today.
My alarm went off at 6am. During the summer I sleep with my wet hair tied into a bun, so when I wake up its still damp, so I blast it with the blow dryer, then plug in my Chi straightener. While it’s heating up, I make coffee. Then, I straighten my hair while listening to the news. After my hair is done, I sit down at my make-shift vanity and do my make-up (still listening to the news). Then brush my teeth, get dressed, put on my jewelry, pack up my lunch and snacks for the day and hit the door at 7:40am. Yes, those seemingly easy tasks take almost two hours. I have a lot of thick, curly hair. It takes a while. Haha.

Have you ever snooped through someone else’s things? Did you find anything interesting?
Yes…when I was a teenager, I did a lot of snooping through my Mom’s stuff when she wasn’t home. I know this sounds weird, but I went through a stage in my late teens (like senior year of high school) when I had this fascination with knowing who my parents were before my brother and I came along. It felt important for some reason. So, I would look through old pictures she had in a drawer in her closest, then I’d try on her old clothes and jewelry (she still had some stuff from college in the back of her closest). I know, I know. I’m totally weird.

What do you think happens when you die?
I believe in Heaven. I have to. If I don’t, then it’s too hard to think about the loved ones I’ve lost. Thinking that there is a place where our souls will meet again allows me to grieve those people. If I thought that they were just “in the ground”…well I couldn’t handle that. I can barely even type it.

Are you superstitious?
Ryan would say I am. Some of it is just habit.

Do people think you are younger or older than you actually are?
People usually know how old I am, give or take a year. I think I pretty much look my age. Minus the gray hair. ;)

How did your parents’ relationship influence you?
Wow. This is complicated. Haha. My parents got divorced in 2006, and it was HARD. I know, when divorce is ever easy, but the circumstances around it made it really tough. I really try not to air that stuff on the web so I’m going to leave it at this – their relationship during my childhood taught me a lot about how to be friends with your spouse, which is so vitally important, in my opinion.

What were the three happiest moments of your life?
Funny, the first three that came to mind all involve Ryan!
1 – When Ryan & I moved in together
2 – When Ryan proposed
3 – Our wedding day :)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Soul Meets Body

Lately, I've been pretty down on myself. Mainly, my body image. Even though I am part of this amazing Denton Women's Collective that is all about building women UP, I can't help but still compare myself to everyone else and feel discouraged as my weight fluctuates. It's gotten to a point where even Ryan has taken serious notice. Yesterday, he said "I love you, even though you don't love yourself."


That sucked.

Hearing those words, I realized that my negative body image has become SO apparent and that it just unacceptable. And then I found this:


I am overwhelmed with emotion as I type this. Realizing the mistakes that I've made in my constant struggle with my weight...I think it's the reason I continue to be unsuccessful in permanent weight loss.

My soul needs to be in tune with my body.

I have to stop trying to lose weight because of vanity. This choice, this need, this desire to lose weight can't be solely based on changing the way I look. It has to become about the way I feel. My health. It's time for me to finally embrace the curves that God gave me. I'm never going to have a "small" chest or straight hips. So why do I let myself dwell on those things? What good does that do? Those curves are part of who I am, so being mad at them is only going to hinder my progress.

I have a new attitude today. I'm going to try harder to love and appreciate my body as it is while working towards a healthier life...if that means a thinner life, then that's great, but my focus can no longer be on what I hate about my body. It has to be on taking CARE of my body...loving my body. Then, maybe soul and body will be one.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Life Well Lived - Vol 10

Click the Life Well Lived logo above to see past posts and how it all started.

I have participated in a Texas high school tradition.
Growing up in Texas, this tradition is nothing new. Girls start talking about it in middle school and it was one of the things I was most excited about when I started high school. But people who move here from other states seem to be baffled by it. I'm talking about Mums. I had a Mum every year for homecoming and it was such a fun tradition. And, why yes, in case you are wondering, yes I am wearing one of my Dad's button downs to hold that monstrosity (of high school awesomeness) up right.

I threw my brother a surprise 18th birthday party.

I love my brother. Like, a lot. If you haven't already gathered from this blog, we are super close. Like BFF close. And we have been for most of our lives. So, when Frankie was approaching his 18th birthday, I decided we needed to pull out all the stops. I asked my parent's for a budget and I organized the whole thing. I rented a karaoke machine and a bouncy house and bought 2 sets of hulk gloves for "Bouncy House Boxing" (it was as awesome as it sounds). I gave his closest friends invitations to give out and crossed my fingers for a good turn out. My parents took him to a movie while I set up the party and waited for guests to arrive for the big reveal. As his friends arrive by the car full, I handed out silly string and BEGGED this group of teenagers to stay in one place and be quiet. My parents pulled into the driveway with a blindfold over Frankie's eyes. (They told him his present was in the driveway.) As he got out of the car, his friends and I yelled "SURPRISE" and completely doused him in silly string. He was FURIOUS at first, until he caught a glimpse of all the people and the set-up in the backyard. It was SUCH a fun night. I wish I could find my pictures from the evening, especially of Frankie covered in silly string, but the one above will have to do. As a way to remember the night, I had all his friends sign a happy birthday poster (only about 1/2 actually signed) that he could keep forever. I just hope he has as much fun reminiscing from that night as I do!

I was voted Best Actress by my peers.

I don't think there is a bigger honor than being voted on by your peers. As I mentioned last week, I was very involved in "the arts" in high school. I rearranged my schedule and took classes with under-classmen so that I could be in both drama and choir. I LIVED for the stage. And, I guess others noticed? Because in 2001, I was voted Best Actress. I was so humbled, honored and floored. It still ranks as one of the best nights of my well lived life. :)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Behind the Blog - Part 1

I have seen this on several of the blogs I read and thought it was a fun way to get to know "the girl behind the blog". Most of the questions are light-hearted, though there are a few that dig a little deeper. Enjoy, and if you blog - you should play along too!

What do you have on your bedside table?
A lamp, alarm clock, TV remote, sometimes my glasses and a book, and a bottle of water (or 6).

Do you have a tattoo?
I don’t, however I really appreciate tattoos. I have a few that I’d like to get, but Ryan isn’t sold on the idea…even though he has some ink of his own. ;)

Do you believe in abstinence prior to marriage?
This is kind of a baited question for me.

What is your worst habit?
Just the one, huh? Do you remember a couple of questions back how I said “a bottle of water (or 6)”? Well, I try to drink a lot of water and I usually drink a bottle with dinner and then ½ a bottle from dinner to bedtime. So, when I head for bed, I grab my ½ finished bottle and it goes on my bedside table so when I wake up thirsty in the middle of the night, I have water. The problem? I forget about said bottle until I get into bed the next night…with another bottle. They tend to collect there for days…or a week. It drives Ryan CRAZY, poor guy. I should really make a more conscious effort to grab my empty bottles in the morning…

How do you handle finances in your relationship? Or, how would you like to handle money in your future relationship?
We don’t have “his'” or “her's” money. Our money is in the bank together and is treated as “our” money. I do all of the bill-paying but we budget together.

If you could change your name, what would you change it to?
When I was in middle school, I wanted to be anything BUT a “Rachel” and even tried going by my middle name for a while but it never stuck. Today, I don’t think I’d change my name. I like Rachel…and really I like “Rach” better, which just about everyone calls me anyway, so I’m set!

Where do you want to go on your next vacation?
I have two places in mind for 2012. Colorado and Costa Rica. Here's to hoping we make it to both places.

What is one political cause you feel strongly about?
Health care. I feel really, REALLY strongly (in favor) about this particular subject. I’m not going to go off on a rant here, I promise, but I feel that all taxpaying citizens have the right to healthcare. Period. (Just as fair warning, this may prompt a post where I discuss this in more detail.)

Have you ever stolen anything?
Yes, I have. It was long ago and I’m not proud of it, and that's all I'll say on that subject.

Tell us something embarrassing about yourself.
I slept with my childhood teddy bear, Snuffles the Polar Bear, tucked under my arm until Ryan and I moved in together. And really, I think it wasn’t until about 6 months in and Ryan said “It’s me or the bear.” ;)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Life Well Lived - Vol 9

Click the Life Well Lived logo above to see past posts, and how it all started.

I was an assistant in a Special Ed class. I realize how vain it seems to only have my face in focus, but there is a legit reason. I didn't feel right posting children's (and teacher's) faces on my blog without permission...and since I have no way to collect permission from everyone, I decided to play it safe. Which sucks because I WISH you could see all their sweet little faces. Especially the little guy in my lap. Let me back up - While I was still in college, I worked as a nanny, but decided to assist in a classroom for the summer program that my local school district does for children with special needs. This was taken my first summer with the program. This program really made a GIANT impact on that has had lasting effects. Working with these kids taught me so much. One in particular; The little boy in my lap. His name is Jake and I think about him often. He was 5 in this picture and has Down Syndrome. I learned (just enough) sign language to talk to him, because he didn't speak. He couldn't tie his shoes. He didn't like people to touch him. But for some reason, we connected. Since it was one lead teacher and 3 assistants (one was taking this picture) we were able to give them lots of one-on-one attention. The lead teacher automatically noticed my connection to Jake and had me work with him every day. By the end of summer, he could tie his shoes. He could say SIX words (!!!!) and had expanded his signing vocabulary. And most amazing? He ran to hug me every morning, and cried when it was time to go home. (I am almost crying typing that part.) Jake was in a foster home. A GREAT foster home, for the record. The Mom was a saint and I have no doubt he had a great life there...but he hadn't bonded with anyone quite like he bonded with me. I went home crying almost every day because I wished so badly that I was older, married, in a different place in my life so I could have adopted him. And I was serious. I really would have adopted him, if I hadn't been 19. The next summer, he wasn't there. His foster family had moved out of the district...and I never knew what came of Jake. BUT, that experience...that connection to this little human was an absolutely priceless experience that I would never give back.

I played a role that allowed me to wear some AMAZING dresses. When I was in high school, I got to play a lot of really, really amazing roles. Of the plays I was in, I had three roles in particular that rocked my world. Martha in Who's Afraid of Virgina Woolf, M'Lynn in Steel Magnolias and Lorraine Sheldon in The Man Who Came to Dinner. It's really hard to pick a favorite role because they were all so different...but the wardrobe? Hands down, Lorraine Sheldon wins every time. The pictures don't show up very big here, so feel free to click on them to blow them up...but I digress. It is based in the 1940's so, my theater teacher and I went vintage dress shopping for the role. Let me just say...the clothes from that era fit my curves like a glove. Nothing had to be altered. And it was so much fun playing "dress up" in clothes like my grandmother's wore. I really wish I still had that black dress on the was my favorite.

I went to a high school dance with my husband. There is a perk to living in the same town for most of your life. History has its benefits. (And it's downfalls...for the record.) Ryan & I were dating when he entered his senior year of high school and even though I had graduated and started college, I was still happy to go to his senior Homecoming dance with him. In fact, I think I was more excited than he was! I was friends with a lot of the people in his class, so getting to see them all was great. But more than that, the memories make me smile. Knowing that someday we can show our children pictures of us, all dolled up for a high school dance TOGETHER. I think that's a pretty cool thing. :)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


This blog isn't about words, though I will use a few. ;) This is about the actions of a friend. A friend I've made in the blog (and now Facebook) world and have yet to meet in person. A friend who happens to be married to a friend from high school. I first mentioned this friend here.


Kara is married to my friend Aaron. They have a gorgeous little girl, Gracie. Kara. Is. Awesome.

Today, I got an envelope in the mail from Kara. Inside were 3 PRECIOUS, THOUGHTFUL and BEAUTIFUL pictures that she and Grace had drawn for my Mom (as she recovers from a T.I.A. stroke and pneumonia). How amazing is that?! She's never actually met me, let alone my Mom. Everything we know about each other, we've learned via our blogs or Facebook. Yet, in this trying time, she and Grace sat down and thought of us. THAT is a or otherwise.

Go learn more about Kara and her precious family and admire her awesome photo skills here!

So, Kara, consider this my very public (but very fitting) THANK YOU for your loving kindness and thoughtfulness. I'm lucky to "know" you. :)