Category Archives: My Girls

Weekend Happenings

Most of Saturday was spent working around the house. Mowing, pulling weeds, planting herbs, Goodwill donation run, and such. And most of Sunday was spent doing church stuff (we were home for about 2 hours mid-day yesterday other than when we were sleeping). It was a good sort of weekend. Very productive. We even ran. Yes, ran. Which is so unlike us. We both dislike running, but Christopher needs to do it for his knee to continue healing (from ACL surgery) so I ran with him to encourage him. I used to love to run in high school and college, but after running last night I have found that I definitely don’t miss it. 😉

at jennifer's wedding.jpg

On a more exciting note we attended a wedding for one of Christopher’s coworkers this past weekend. I know it looks like I’m wearing a white dress to a wedding, but I’m really not! Most of the dress is black, just the empire top is an off-white/cream color. But of course at first glance in these photos it looks like a white dress, ha! If it’s taboo to wear an off-white or cream colored top to a wedding, don’t tell me. I asked lots of people before I decided on this dress and they all made me feel good about wearing it. Don’t take that from me. 😉 Anyway, the wedding was fun and I enjoyed getting to know several of Christopher’s co-workers better.

rach and kelsi.jpg

This weekend we also had a going away party/blessing time for Kelsi. She’s been mentioned quite a bit on this blog because she was part of the group of girls I mentored from 7th grade on. She graduated high school last year, but decided to stay in Memphis for college so we have stayed close with her. She’s like a sister to us. 🙂 Anyway, she has an awesome opportunity in New York for the summer so off she goes! You can keep up to date on her travels at her blog: Journey with Kelsi.

letters

As an extra blessing/going-away gift I gave Kelsi a pouch of letters for the summer. 23 letters to be exact. The first few are time sensitive (open on the plane, open on your first day of work, etc), but the rest are on an “as needed basis”. So letters for days when she is worried, overwhelmed, tired, struggling to get along with people, etc. Christopher even wrote one and titled it “Read me when you need advice from your big brother”. 🙂 I tried to think through all the scenarios that might play out this summer and wrote her a letter of encouragement for each one. 🙂 We’ll miss her, but we are so excited for all of her adventures!

Love Rach

A weekend with a bit of everything

Such a full weekend! I woke up at 5am on Saturday to drive to a girls’ retreat in Arkansas. I decided to make a slight detour on the way to surprise my parents-in-law for breakfast. It was absolutely precious. My mother-in-law started shrieking as soon as she saw me. I attempted to video it, but mostly it’s a video of the dog and floor as I walk in, but you can totally hear how excited she is so I’m going to share it anyway. 😀

I told her that you just never know who might walk in when you keep your door unlocked. 😉 We had a lovely time cooking & eating breakfast together before I headed out to the retreat site. It was such a short visit, but thankfully we’ll be back in just a couple of weeks to see them again!

group pic.jpg

Saturday was filled with hanging out with the teen girls. We sang, we prayed, we loved on each other, we hiked, we played, and we ate. It was a good sort of weekend. My favorite part was when we went out to Bee Rock.

rach bee rockThis photo wasn’t staged – we had some quiet time out at Bee Rock and one of the adults snapped this shot. I just love it! Me in one of my favorite places. 🙂

This place means a lot to me because it is attached to the camp where I grew up going (Camp Wyldewood) and we would often hike out here. I can’t summarize in a tiny paragraph all that Wyldewood means to me so that will be in a post forth coming. But let me tell you this, I met Jesus at Wyldewood when I was 14 years old. So today at 28 years old I have now lived 14 years as a follower of Christ. If I can’t summarize Wyldewood in a short paragraph, I certainly can’t summarize God’s faithfulness over these past 14 years in a short paragraph either. Just know this – He is so faithful to His children. There is never a day when I have walked alone. 🙂

rach and fawn

This is Fawn! She is in charge of this group of girls (along with a bunch more in Memphis) and she is pretty awesome. I have been so blessed by getting to know her over this past year as I’ve volunteered with these teenagers!

rach rachel and ms rachel

This is me with Rachel and Rachel. 😉 Of the 11 volunteers who came on the trip, we had two Rachels and a Rach (and one of the Rachels goes by Rach sometimes as well). So the girls distinguished us by calling us Ms. Rachel, Rachel, and Rach (me). We joked that if you didn’t know one of the volunteer’s names, you could call them “Rachel” and had a pretty good chance of being correct. 😉

girls collage

I took almost no photos this weekend so most of the ones in this post were either texted to me or I snagged them off social media. These are some of the precious girls I’ve gotten to know over the past couple of months. They are such sweethearts. 🙂

Road Trip.jpg

I had another 5am wake up call on Sunday morning so I could get packed up, spend some time in prayer at a favorite spot, and then hit the road to make it back to Memphis for my grandfather’s 89th birthday celebration!

rach and daddyken

We spent Sunday with family and it was just a wonderful sort of day! I am so grateful for my grandfather – he has impacted my life in so many huge ways! 🙂 Sunday night was spent with friends and then Christopher and I crashed at 9:30pm last night. While I was at this girls’ retreat he was hanging out with teenage boys all weekend doing the same thing. So we were both worn out! Thankfully we got some awesome sleep last night and are ready for the week! 🙂

Do you have a place out in nature that is a favorite of yours?

Have you surprised a family member with a pop-in visit before?

Love Rach

Lately

with my girls

Remember when I mentioned that I went to Gatlinburg with 90 teenagers? I’m finally recovering from that, ha! Just kidding. 😉 Seriously, though, I finally got my hands on some of the pictures so I’m sharing this one today. I like that we’re repping Memphis! I loved getting to know these girls more!

sunny february afternoon

Christopher is finally home and his work schedule is back to normal. We are so grateful! This past Sunday we had a list of things to get done around the house, but when it was 70 degrees outside in February, we decided to put the house stuff on hold and just go lay out in the backyard and be lazy with our pup. It was a great decision. 🙂

tn primary voting copy.jpg

Yesterday was Super Tuesday here in Tennessee so Christopher and I went out to vote! If you aren’t already registered to vote for the upcoming presidential election in November, you can start that process here. 🙂

welsh cake oatmeal (2).JPG

For those who don’t know, I married into the whole Italian thing. By blood my people are from the British Isles, predominately Wales. Which means that come March 1st every year, we celebrate St. David’s Day. Normally we make Welsh Cakes (see last year’s blog post here), but this year we decided to try a healthier Welsh Cake inspired meal using oats! So we had warm buttery oats with cinnamon, a pinch of nutmeg, and raisins. They were delightful!

Do you celebrate any lesser known holidays every year?

Has it been a mild winter where you are? I hate to speak too soon because we’ve totally gotten ice storms in March, but so far this winter has been pretty bearable! We even have another weekend full of 70’s coming at us!

Love Rach

As it turns out, we are continually drawn to teens (in a non creepy way)

Hello friends! This peppy message is coming to you from sunny and beautiful Memphis! 🙂 We had a weekend of gorgeous weather and it is continuing on today. And this girl loves her some sunshine. So it has been a pretty fabulous weekend. Add on top of the weather that I spent Saturday at the MidSouth Girls’ Conference with the teens I mentor and BOOM! Even better.

msgc collage.jpg

Wait, what’s this? Rach, you’re volunteering with teens again? I thought you graduated your girls out and were re-evaluating and looking at other volunteer options. Oh yes, I was. And we have gotten involved with a couple of different organizations doing different things (more on our other volunteer work in another post). But somehow teenagers still just seem to suck us in. Ha! Christopher and I are working with a different group now and it has been much easier to balance building relationships with them AND still taking time for just us. Instead of the 3-4 nights a week that we were spending with teens before, it’s only one night a week with occasional special circumstances (like this past weekend). Plus we’re still the new people so the kids still think we’re awesome (for now). 😉

In other news, we also spent time with our dear friends JAMES and Heather this weekend. I specify this because James reads my blog and was complaining yesterday that I don’t feature him on it often enough.

james and christopher

Christopher and James being adorable together. #bros

James, I hope you feel acknowledged now. 😉

Do any of your friends tease you about not being featured on your blog often enough? 

Have you ever found yourself being drawn to the same type of volunteer opportunities over and over even when you thought you were totally done with it?

Love Rach

Things I’ll remember from 2015

For my last post of 2015 I wanted to look back at some of the things that I know I’ll remember about this year.

princess party

A huge one for 2015 was that this was the year “my girls” graduated from high school. I’ve been mentoring them since they were in 7th grade so it’s hard to believe they are all off in college now. A favorite memory with them this year was our final princess party. It was precious. 🙂

recovery

We’ve had a lot of health stuff/surgeries/sicknesses/etc going on this year. Among them was Christopher’s ACL surgery in January and me getting food poisoning in the Dominican Republic. As hard as some of this has been and as much as I might like to forget those parts of 2015, I’m thankful for the way we so tenderly care for and support each other. And we have both been overwhelmed by the kindness and support of friends and family this year.

us on the beach3

A new thing for 2015 was the Our 30 Days thing we did. A break we took from “real life” to just be together. It.was.awesome. Since then we’ve learned to be much better about carving out time for us which I have loved!

photographer rach3

My photography business has continued to grow and I have continued to be amazed by the growth. I’ll remember 2015 as the year that I let myself get way overbooked (especially Oct-Dec). I came out of busy season with my head still attached so that’s good news, but I want to have a better plan in place for next year. I’m working on that. 😉 But all in all, this business has been awesome and I am unbelievably grateful for my clients, mentors, and encouragers. 🙂

us at grand canyon6

Of course, like most years, 2015 was full of traveling for us. My favorite trips were to Vegas, the Grand Canyon, Destin (even though we had a terrifying experience with a rip current this year, we still love Destin!), and NYC. And of course the Bahamas, but that is part of the next one…

us in nassau

Celebrating Christopher’s 30th birthday with a trip to Harry Potter World (that post is still coming!) and taking a cruise to the Bahamas! Awesome-sauce! Definitely a solid way to end 2015! 🙂

I’m not sure what all 2016 will bring our way, but I have a feeling it’s going to be pretty awesome! 🙂

Love Rach

The weekend before the 30 days

Guess what, my friends! Our 30 days begins today! I think tonight is going to be a low-key activity kind of night simply because we are both exhausted. In order to prepare for our 30 days away from normal life… we spent extra time doing the normal life stuff this past week. Ha! Which means that on Friday night we didn’t go to bed until past 2am and then on Saturday and Sunday nights we went to bed way past midnight (closer to 1am). And then we still proceeded to get up early the next day because we had stuff going on. So we’re a little low on sleep right now, but it has been absolutely worth it!

pact girls

Friday night was my very last sleepover with my teen girls before they head off to college. I put together a video of the past 6 years with them and it was pretty adorable. I’d share it here, but well… it’s 20 minutes long and there are some embarrassing moments I’ve captured over the years that I’m confident they wouldn’t want me showing the world, ha! But just trust me when I say it was adorable. There was a lot of laughter that night and some tears. We all took turns sharing parting words and it was precious. A good way to say goodbye.

kelsi's dresser

Saturday morning was spent helping Kelsi (one of my girls who’s staying in Memphis for college – yay!) refinish furniture. Then we went out to my grandfather’s house to help with chores around the house since we won’t be as available  over the next 30 days. Then we went to dinner with friends and went bowling!

cosmic bowling

But not just any bowling… we went COSMIC bowling! That meant black lights, a disco ball, great music, and some strobe lights. We had SO much fun! And we laughed a lot. We might have laughed particularly hard the one time Courtney managed to throw herself down the bowling lane and ended up in the gutter. For the record, we checked to make sure she was okay before we laughed. 😉 She was fine (a little sore the next day, but fine). We about died laughing. I will never forget her laying in the alley, half of her body in the gutter, just laughing at herself. Oh gracious, good times!

us with brodie and lyndal{us with Brodie & Lyndal at the beach earlier this year since I didn’t snap a pic last night}

Sunday was church as normal and then lunch with friends. Then we came home to help Kelsi finish her dresser. Then we crashed sometime yesterday afternoon after Kelsi left. We turned on old Modern Family episodes and sprawled out on the couch until around 7. It was wonderful. Our old people bodies can’t handle these late nights, ha! Then of course we proceeded to stay out super late again to have frozen yogurt with Brodie and Lyndal. 😉

So here we are. Exhausted from normal life on top of late nights this weekend. But so so excited about the coming 30 days.

Have you ever seen someone fall in the gutter while bowling?

Does it take your body a couple of days to catch up when you stay up late? We’re normally 10pm bedtime people (occasionally 11pm on weekends and rarely midnight). So staying up 3 nights in a row was rough on us, ha! My college self would make fun of me. 😉

Love Rach

This is my story

Over the years that I’ve had this blog I’ve shared favorite recipes, travels, daily life, and stories. So many stories. And often I find myself talking about Jesus here. And the more I tell “my” stories, the more you hear about Jesus. I heard a song recently that really summed this up  beautifully.

If I told you my story, you would hear hope that wouldn’t let go

If I told you my story, you would hear love that never gave up

And if I told you my story, you would hear life, but it wasn’t mine…

If I should speak then let it be: of the grace that is greater than all my sin! Of when justice was served and where mercy wins! Of the kindness of Jesus Who draws me in. Oh, to tell you my story is to tell of Him!

This is my story. This is my song. Praising my Savior all the day long.

-Big Daddy Weave

Yes, this. Exactly. I could have written the lyrics to this song. This is my story. It is full of hope and love and grace. When I tell “my” story, really I am telling you about Jesus.


^Listen to the song here^

My teen girls have all graduated high school and are headed to college next month. In a couple of weeks we will have our last sleepover together at my house and I am working on what exactly I want to share with them. Choosing parting words after 6 years is no easy task for me. But this song sums up so beautifully all the things I want to communicate to them. I hope that this is what they have seen in me all these years. That “my” stories and life point to Jesus.

Do you have a song you feel like you could have written because the lyrics ring so true for you? 

If you were sending a group of girls off to college, what would your final parting words or advice be? 

Love Rach