Friday, September 30, 2011


Has it seriously been over 2 weeks since I last blogged? Oops! Well, have no fear...I'll jump right in and try and make up for it.

As I've discussed a few times, I am a member of a group of amazing women. We are the Denton Women's Collective...and we are bound and determined to make a change in the world of women. Recently, we've taken quite a giant step towards that goal.

Over the summer, we watched a documentary called Finding Kind. You can watch the trailer here. It really talks about how mean girls (and women) can be to each other. How hateful, hurtful, vicious and cruel things can get. Especially in middle and high school. It was SO moving and made such a giant impact on all of us...and we knew we had to get it in front of teenage girls in our community. So we pooled our resources and Brittany took the lead. Well, on Wednesday, we met with many of the administrators and counselors at the high school that many of us went to as well as members of the PTSA and screen the film for them.

And it went SO well! Most of them seemed as affected by it as we were and seemed to agree that the need to show this film was there.

Without saying too much or jinxing anything...I see big, wonderful things coming from that meeting. And if we change just one girl's life it will be totally worth it.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Life Well Lived - Ryan

I haven't done a Life Well Lived post in a while, but it just so happens that on LWL Wednesday, I realized that I've sort of "over looked" the thing that probably makes my life the MOST well lived.


Ryan on our wedding day. Can we please talk about his ADORABLE dimple?!

I don't know why, but typing his name and then seeing ^this picture just made me get all teary-eyed. I guess that's love for ya, haha!

I've talked about our story before, and have even mentioned him in a previous LWL post, but I'm feeling very reflective today and it seems like the right time to dedicate an entire post to him.

First, I want to brag on him a bit. Seems like the right thing to do. ;) He is a really talented guy. My Gramp used to call him "a jack-of-all-trades". He totally is. He is a talented musician - he plays piano, guitar and drums. He's great with cars. He can fix just about anything. He can build just about anything. He is probably the smartest guy I know when it comes to electronics. He is a great cook.

Ryan building a deck (photo by Jim Wall), Ryan getting "kisses" from our furbabies.

But he's not just those things. He does things to help my friends. He goes out of his way for my family. He is also thoughtful and kind (most of the time, hehe). He does really, really sweet things for me. He brings home flowers, cards and little gifts just because. One night a month or so ago, Ryan couldn't sleep so he cooked me an amazing lunch (grilled chicken pasta with a light garlic and parmesan sauce and a spinach and raisin salad) then wrapped everything up in a bag. When I opened the fridge the next morning to get the creamer for my coffee, I saw a bag that said "Rach" on the front. Inside was the surprise lunch, my yogurt and banana that I take for snacks every day and a sweet note that is still in my drawer at work so I can read it whenever I want. This man of mine also sacrifices a lot and works so hard to give us the best life possible.

He's not perfect. He can be stubborn. Sometimes we fight. But he makes me feel so safe, so loved, SO happy.

Knowing him, loving him, being married to him...that makes my Life Well Lived.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Bon Iver - Concert "Review"

I've been starring at my computer screen, trying to find the right way to start this post. I'm still feeling a bit "floaty" from the show last night. As 9.

For those of you who may not know, Bon Iver is an indie-folk group, lead by Justin Vernon. That's not to take away from the other eight members of the band...they are all incredible musicians. But, in my opinion, Justin Vernon is a bit of a genius. I know, I know. Bold statement. Blame it on the cloud 9 brain if you must, but if you'd been there....

Let me explain.

There is too much. Let me sum up. (Anyone?)

I attended this concert with 3 of my favorite girls. Brittany (it happened to be her birthday!), Katelyn and Lindsay. When we pulled into the parking garage, we all immediately starting talking about how beautiful the building was. That only increased as we walked inside. It is a gorgeous facility. We took the elevator to the upper grand tier and found our seats. There is not a bad seat in the place, although I'd be lying if I said we didn't experience a bit of vertigo at first.

Our view of the gorgeous opera house.

Soon, Kathleen Edwards (the opener...who also happens to be Justin's girlfriend) took the stage. She was really good. Her tone was so pure, and the acoustics served her well. After her 45 minute set and a 30 minute intermission, we settled back into our seats just in time for the lights to dim.

The group took the stage and seemed to take it all in for a moment before Justin strummed the first few chords. Within seconds, we were all captivated. It's seems that a common misconception (for a few of my friends) is that Bon Iver is a dude with a computer. WRONG. And hearing this nine piece band play all its parts in an opera house known for its uncanny acoustics...well, I'm going out on a limb here, but it was a bit life changing. Their sounds just filled up the room and you realized exactly how complex the music was, and how talented the musicians were.

This is a crappy iPhone picture. But, you get the gist.

As the set went on, it only got better. He played all of my favorites and based on my friends' reactions, they aren't just my favorites. They were also so gracious. Justin kept thanking us for "letting" him play for us, and seemed to sincerely mean it. I truly respect that in an artist. On the ride home, we discussed where it ranked in our concert history. At first I said "Top 5"...but soon realized I could only name a couple of concerts that came close. Last night was Top 3, for sure.

I did not take this picture. It's from a friend's Facebook. They had better seats. ;)

And as I try desperately to concentrate at work, my mind keeps going back to last night...and I'm cool with that.

Musical Musings

I don't listen to a ton of "mainstream" music on the radio. Especially country. Quite frankly, I find most of the "new" country they play on the radio a bit repulsive. (Sorry.) But there are a few country artists I really love. I've purchased exactly one country album this year...and it's this one.

This song hits really, really close to home with me (pun intended?). I can't listen to it without tearing up. It's like she climbed inside my soul to write this song. (It's also refreshing that someone else feels this way.)

The House That Built Me
Miranda Lambert

I know they say you cant go home again
I just had to come back one last time
Ma'am I know you don't know me from Adam.
But these handprints on the front steps are mine.
And up those stairs, in that little back bedroom
Is where I did my homework and I learned to play guitar
And I bet you didn't know under that live oak
My favorite dog is buried in the yard

I thought if I could touch this place or feel it
This brokenness inside me might start healing
Out here its like I'm someone else
I thought that maybe I could find myself
If I could just come in I swear I'll leave
Won't take nothing but a memory
From the house that built me

Mama cut out pictures of houses for years
From 'Better Homes and Garden' magazines
Plans were drawn, concrete poured, and nail by nail and board by board
Daddy gave life to mama's dream

I thought if I could touch this place or feel it
This brokenness inside me might start healing
Out here its like I'm someone else
I thought that maybe I could find myself
If I could just come in I swear I'll leave
Won't take nothing but a memory
From the house that built me

You leave home, you move on and you do the best you can
I got lost in this whole world and forgot who I am

I thought if I could touch this place or feel it
This brokenness inside me might start healing
Out here its like I'm someone else
I thought that maybe I could find myself
If I could walk around I swear I'll leave
Won't take nothing but a memory
From the house that built me

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Musical Musings

I haven't done a Musical Musings post in a while, because I don't want them to be a forced thing. Like, "Oh I have to do one every week." I want it to be when music hits me a certain way.

Sometimes I think my iPod can read my mind. It's like it knows exactly what to play (note: sometimes) exactly when I need to hear it. I've had this album since it came out in 2007 and I wore the actual disc out. I know every word to every song on the album...but have a few favorites. This is one of them. I hadn't heard it in quite a while because I'd taken it off my iPod. I decided to add it back on and am so glad I did.

The Minnow and The Trout
A Fine Frenzy

Help me out said the minnow to the trout
I was lost and found myself swimming in your mouth
Oh, oh, help me chief
I've got to plans for you and me
I swear upon this riverbed
I'll help you feel young again

Not your every day circumstance
The humming bird taking coffee with the ants and I said
Please, I know that we're different
But we were one cell in the sea in the beginning
And what we're made of
Was all the same once
We're not that different after all

Help me up said the eagle to the duck
I've fallen from my nest so high above
Oh, oh, Help me fly
I am too afraid try
Now saddled with a fear of heights
I'm praying you can set me right
Not your everyday circumstance
The elephant sharing peanuts with the rats and I said
Please I know that we're different
We were one cell in the sea in the beginning
And what we're made of was all the same once
We're not that different after all

We are tied in history
Wide-connected like a family

So please, I know that we're different
We were one cell in the sea in the beginning
And what we're made of
Was all the same once
We're all the same
We're not that different after all

This song strikes a chord with me. It's a view I've had for a long time - "we're not that different after all". I just find it to be such a good reminder and I'm so glad my iPod shuffled it into my morning mix.

Thursday, September 8, 2011


Warning: I'm about to go on a tangent.

This morning, while eating my cheerios, I opened Yahoo! to see what was going on in the world. One of the stories featured was this one:

Take a second. Soak it in.

Upon clicking on this story, I had to put my cheerios down. I felt physically ill. I just...I don't understand it. I don't understand how we've done this to our daughters, to our sisters, to our ourselves. How did this beautiful 17-year-old girl come to believe that she wasn't good enough the way she was? That becoming gauntly thin and altering her face would somehow make her better? Honestly, I think she barely looks alive.

This makes me so sad. And, frankly, it scares me. I'm scared to someday bring a daughter into a world that makes woman feel this way. Like they have to be waif thin and change their hair color, body, FACE, to get society's "BEAUTIFUL" stamp.

We all have days (or weeks or months...) when we struggle with our own self-image. I certainly battle it...and often. And I can honestly say that most of my insecurities come from comparing myself to other women. Women in advertising, on TV, even my peers. We are constantly told what we "should" look like. If you wear a size bigger than this, you should lose weight. If you don't have hair like this, then you should cut/color it. If you don't have boobs that look like this or a nose that looks like that, then you should alter them surgically. And if you don't have the money to do those things, then you just won't be "beautiful".

What ever happened to individuality?! Since when do we all have to look the same to be beautiful?! That is so much pressure to put on an adult - let alone a teenager!

Ali Lohan, my heart is breaking for you. I'm so sorry that no one made you see that you were perfect, just the way you were. And the Denton Women's Collective and I are going to work hard to help other girls realize the beauty they each posses. Because this? This can't keep happening. My soul can't take it.