Thursday, December 31, 2015

Out With The Old In With The New

I would be delighted for you to visit my new site:

and thank you from the bottom of my heart
for reading this post
and all the previous ones for which you have so
graciously read along.
Tonight out at the Farmhouse,
 we hosted whatever family could drop in.
They came from near and far...
Indiana, Pennsylvania and Florida.
We prayed and ate and laughed
and traipsed out to the barn
in the shivering cold
to watch the donkey bray and roll around in the dust,
kicking and squirming to garner a few laughs.
We stood on the deck
hoping to hear the coyotes howl.
One of the deer sailed right over the driveway
with nary a misstep.
We told them it was Rudolph
just heading home.
So we closed the door on the fun
and the old year past
and with a sigh
realized that it was time to look forward
to new adventures
and new challenges
and new hopes
and dreams.
I also realized that the time has come
to make the switch
to update my online presence
and so I want to thank you from
the bottom of my heart for following along
just reading my random thoughts
as I have shared them since
January 1, 2008.
I will be so honored if you will join me
at my new sight
and just know how much I value you
and your presence and encouragement.
Thank you for all your visits these last 8 years.
It's been awesome!
Love, Hugs and Many Blessings for a Wonderful



Sunday, December 27, 2015

These Things I Will Do

At the Farmhouse, 
I never put decorations on this particular tree. 
Just lights, 
only lights.
I have enjoyed the cozy glow.
I've loved it this way.
And in the night, 
in those pondering hours, 
all the colors, 
the sparkle, 
the different facets and reflections of light,
make me think of the days gone by
and the days ahead.
I can't change the past.
I can only hope to shape the future by living well now,
this very moment. 
We don't get repeats, 
or chances to make up for lost time
or past regret. 
On Christmas eve
 we took a gift to a person
we feared would have no contact 
with anyone on Christmas.  
Just this morning
a man told me his sad
The "story" was probably
a grand total of 10 sentences,
but those 10 sentences wrote a book in my heart. 
I was stunned.
I was almost rendered speechless.

I had never heard such a real life story. 

And once again I realized that we never know the 
pain that crouches just below the surface
of quick wit
or the grief hidden in a smile. 
I've heard of so much sorrow
this Christmas season 
as people have told me their heartache. 
And my heart has ached along side them. 
I wish I could rewrite their story 
with the stroke of a pen 
and the flourish of my hand
and make it pretty.

But a baby,
a baby came,
and frail 
and he was laid 
right down 
in the middle of all our messes,
my messes
my heartache, 
my darkness, 
and pondering.
And YOUR messes too.
Your heartache, 
and darkness
and pondering. 

But the baby, 
the helpless and frail baby,
was strong
 HE was mighty.
And with the stroke of three nails
with a flourish
his hands
and feet
rewrote my story!
And he rewrote your story too!
You may not think it looks very pretty, 
but he wrote it to bring peace. 

Peace for me
Peace for you
Peace for all 

And as a new year dawns, 
I realize
"You and I may be hard pressed on every side,
but we are not in despair, abandoned or destroyed". 
2 Corinthians 4:8
So I will celebrate with joy. 
I will pray more intensely with thanksgiving.
And I will keep your stories close to my heart. 

Because your stories matter to me. 
These things I will do. 

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Who Is He?

 Who is he, this King of Glory?  He is the Lord Almighty.
Psalm 24:10

We must first believe in the baby in a manger,
before we can believe in a Savior on the cross. 

Sending Christmas Eve blessings to you.
Love,  Rachel

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

A Cornucopia of Thoughts For Thanksgiving

Recently, I was introduced to  BloomNation, and was inspired to share my Thanksgiving table decor.

I used a mix of dried hydrangeas and fresh roses along with pumpkins, candles and fresh pine sprigs.
Today it is fun to have a reason to show you the way the table is decorated at the Farmhouse.
You can read about this flower service at the end of this post. 
Thoughts for Thanksgiving:
There I stood, stunned, 
pondering the meaning of the text 
that had come through on my sister's phone. 
"I think she has died," read the text.
Quickly, my siblings and I began our network of communicating,
and yes, 
in fact,  it was true, 
without warning, 
my first sibling of nine, a sister,  was gone. 
These past few years have held deep heartaches, 
dark long silences,
feelings of despair
and hopelessness
 and death for our family. 
Since 2012, Philip and I have lost five precious family members. 
I've ached as Philip's grandmother adjusted to life
 after 75 years of marriage to his grandfather. 
I felt my heart twisting in agony as we received word that
my brother's son had taken his life.
We were stunned with the news that Philip's uncle,  
the strong one, the "party-maker" 
of our family celebrations,
had such a grim diagnosis, 
and three weeks later we told him goodbye.
And then, another brother's son, an avid bicyclist,
his first time in the mountains on a mountain bike, 
gone, quickly. 
And then my sister...
I've grieved as my nieces navigated their own difficulties
 now that both their parents are gone.
And life just goes on. 
There is much more. 
 There has been a lot of change and upheaval.
This isn't about pity or sympathy. 
who is living and breathing
is dealing with 
a hard wrestling story of life.
I see it in your eyes too, 

the longing for redemption,
for all wrong to be made right. 

In all the hard wrestling stories of life, 
we have a choice. 
A choice for thankfulness,
for thanksgiving.
My brother shared a story at my nephew's funeral
about a man who was struggling under the weight of a very heavy cross.
 It was gnarled and covered in thistles with rough bark
 making it difficult for his tired and aching hands to hold.
 As blisters began to form and his arms and legs trembled
while struggling to gain foot hold,
he tripped over the rocky path, and began to cry out,
"OH God! This is more than I can bear.
I can't go on.
 I've reached my limit.
I just can't take anymore."
Tears coursed down his cheeks.
His hair and body and clothes reeked with the toil of sweat.
God responded, 
"My son, I love you so much,
and just ahead you will find a little shed
under the shade of a large old oak tree.
 Stop there. Rest. Catch your breath.
Inhale the cool breezes. 
Inside the shed you will find many crosses.
You can trade your cross for one of those. "
With relief,
he reached the cool shade of the old oak tree.
Finding the door to the shed partially open,
 he wedged his worn and sweaty body
 into the small structure which held the other crosses.
 As his weary eyes adjusted to the darkness after the piercing sun,
 he was aghast to realize that those crosses for which he could trade,
 were much larger,
with grotesque and unbalanced shapes
and razor sharp bark and thistles.
In fact,  after looking them over,
he couldn't find a single one,
 for which he was willing to trade.

Actually, he felt his heart strengthen
and as cool breezes fluttered the leaves making the shade of the old oak tree, 
yes,  thankful for HIS cross. 
The other crosses looked absolutely
Though his cross was still heavy and the way was still difficult,
he chose to keep his cross.
It even looked slightly beautiful compared to the others, if he held his head at just the right angle while slightly squinting his eyes.
With a heart filled with thankfulness
 he thought, 
"I don't think it's quite as heavy anymore. "
So onward he trudged, faithfully keeping and carrying his very own cross.

I believe joy is a choice.
Hope and faith, love and trust...
  ALL choices.
Choices from deep within
all birthed on the treacherous
path of thankfulness.
Our choices guide us.
In choosing thankfulness,
we become...
what we choose...
...Joy, Hope, Faith, Love, Trust

Today I choose thankfulness
the path that leads to
Joy, Hope, Faith, Love, Trust

YOU ALL mean so much to me.
I desire for each of you to have a
Happy Thanksgiving .
I hope you have one of your most glorious days ever.

Founded in August 2011, BloomNation is a community marketplace for people to list and send unique bouquets from local florists across the county. Whether you are looking for a traditional bouquet of roses or a one of a kind design,  Bloom Nation let's you find and send the perfect floral sentiment from trusted florists in your area.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Four Totally Awesome Pictures of One Anonymous Pup

                                                               "Whatcha doin'?"
                                                             "Oh, just hangin' out.
                                                               It's a dog's life,
and someone's gotta live it!"

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Think About His Love...thoughts for a quiet time

Think about His love,
Think about His goodness.

Think about His grace
That's brought us through.

For as high as the heavens above,
So great is the measure of  our Father's love,
Great is the measure of our Father's love.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Did You Know That Was There?

The words on this sign
are from
I Corinthians 13,
commonly called
"The Love Chapter."

You've probably seen it,
heard it,
and have it hanging in your bedroom.

So ya know
how you go
down the list
checkin' it twice...
(at least I do anyway)
sayin' "ouch"
"oh yeah, I'VE got this in the bag!"

You don't do that?

A few months ago
(it hangs where I can read it daily)
I was reading through this
my heart throb
my heart pulse
my heart attitude
my heart adjustment
my heart longing... be

To love God
and others
as I am shown
to love,

and there it was
plain as day
right at the bottom

I saw. ..

"What?", I thought.
Since when did love start to persevere?

Silly me!

How did I miss that?
After all these years!
I mean I KNOW it does persevere,

but seriously, did you know that
 that word
was the last word in this series of verses?

I haven't been able to stop thinking
of all the ways to put that word
into practice.

Life just kind of helps us
 put it into practice too!

Doesn't it?

How do you think love...

If I do not have love,
I am nothing.
So I will continue to

Saturday, April 11, 2015

There Is Strength In Pain

How are you standing with just one leg?
Have you just staggered upright from
yet another blow?

You're think.
You think no one sees you.
No one sees your pain.

You gaze around,
"How will I go on,
is it safe here,
will my needs be met?"

You have what you need to soar
beautiful one.
Reach down deep
and flap those strong wings
and soar.

Yes soar.
You are strong.
Stronger because of your pain.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Sunday, March 1, 2015

50 Shades of Grey?...that's not what I saw

I didn't read the 50 Shades trilogy,
nor watch the movie.

I just simply won't.


This is what I read...
what I saw...

My phone trilled it's "cell phonic" noise.

I heard his quiet,
matter of fact voice...

"She's gone," he said,
"but come over.
We still need you here."

So there I stood,
in the threshold
of her room,
their room,
sensing her presence,

And I had every right to be there,
but it all seemed to precious
and sacred...
and I didn't want to disturb
that aura,
that sense of Divine passage
as I reflected on our last time together,
our words,
my last look back,
her weak hand held up
in goodbye.
I read that.
I saw that,
as life just hurried on past,
brushing and bustling on past.

Her bed was crisply made.
The items necessary for her care
were already gone.

But her presence lingered,
it lingered
in notes from grandchildren
taped to the mirror,
and the Guidepost magazine
laying on the bedside table
and photos of ones she loved
placed around the room.
The "grand dog" must have sensed
the emotion,
the newness of change,
because he stood beside me,
his head hovering about my knee cap
and he licked my finger tips,
with his soft little tongue,
like the first gentle waves
of an in-coming tide.

As I stood there,
it felt as though I was
watching a sunset fade from view.
I pondered the moments
that had brought them to this place,
well and me too,
for that matter.

Across the years as her strength failed,
I was one of the ones blessed
to be called in to help.
And I watched
and learned
as she hosted family gatherings
and parties
and games with friends
and Easter egg hunts
and huge Thanksgiving dinners
all from the confines
of a motorized chair.

She was mighty,
and humorous,
and caring,
and interested in others...
so many others...
and she made you feel like
were her best friend.

Bff for life.

I saw her do more
from her motorized chair
than some people
do in many many years...
maybe even a life time.

She read this blog.
She was anxious for
a new story to post.
She would comment to me
and let me know
what she thought
about what I wrote.

The reason I make these
short centered phrases
in the format
of my blog...
is because she
told me she loved visiting here.
And I found out
this format
made it easier for her
to read,
to see on the screen.

On my screen
to the far right,
right now,
that is her
smiling face
leading the list
of the group
who like this blog.
I don't know
if your screen shows it
that way,
but I love it that mine does.

And he,
he is the one,
who told me to write,
to write somewhere...
besides this blog...
and I took it to heart
because he is wise.
And they loved my family,
from the time we met in 1999,
and treated us like their own.

But there were times,
no matter who was there to help her,
she as his bride for 62 years,
she only wanted him.
Just help
to lift her,
to turn her,
to say just the right things to her...
or know when to walk away..
and let her be,
let her sleep.

And he was strong,
stronger than strong,
and caring,
and diligent,
and methodical,
and humorous,

OH how they could laugh...

And I was blessed
for just a while
to read,
to see,
this dance,
this dance of life,
as the steady beat,
of life
and love
slowed to a waltz,
and then a slow waltz,
like the tines in a music box,
the last notes
of a true love song.

And on Valentine's day,
when others were thronging
to see 50 Shades...

...while the near zero temps
blew snow in strong
sideways gusts...
I witnessed,
a dedicated husband
stand at the head of his wife...
and express his thanks
for her love and faithfulness,
and say,
"Goodbye for now,
because I will see you later. "

Yes absolutely,
that's what I saw on Valentine's day.
And I'm stronger.
I'm a better person,
because that is what I saw.

I read.
I saw.
I witnessed love
in sickness and health.

Mrs. Mary...forever in my heart.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Wait, What? Paralyzed?

We used to sit on the porch
 and have "picnics" as impromptu
 as a summer thunderstorm. 
potato chips
just whatever we had
we rushed through the kitchen 
opening cabinet doors
 pulling drawers
scrambling for the 
"picnic food"
as though we were dodging the
first large drops of rain.
it was all
 plopped with a thunder clap
into the over sized basket,
spread on the quilt
on the floor
like dice in a fast game 
"something or the other"
It wasn't 4th of July
just an ordinary
regular day
Holidays weren't necessary,
no not at all.

Not much planning was involved.
The thought kind of dropped into
our head
like a spider sliding down
on a single line of web
from the ceiling,
then the picnic thought touched our brain
it was assembled quickly
and eaten quickly
as though if not 
scarfed down in haste,
the moment would pass...
But the memories,
 the memories linger.

stir longing.
longing for home
longing for the way things used to be
longing for Spring
longing for children
longing for love
longing for the past 
longing for food
longing for sleep
longing for peace
longing for hope
longing for things just out of reach.

Longings can
hold you back
take your breath away
render you as immobile as
 Christopher Reeve
after his horse riding accident,
set in stone,
a pillar of salt...
just like Lot's wife
who dared to look back,

Yes, longing can truly do that.

longing can
hinder you 
cause you to stumble
to fall,
Move forward
reach out
find someone to help
to hug
to speak words of comfort 
or life.

You never know who may be hanging...
on longings...
hanging on longings
like it is their last thread, 
a very fine and delicate thread
 stretching to you 
tugging for hope.

You just never really know,
but your lowest of lows,
your deepest and darkest sorrow,
could possibly be the very door
that opens to the fulfillment of your destiny.

Are you paralyzed?
Are you a pillar of stone,
a statue of salt?
I refuse to be.

I admit it.
I am truly filled with longing.

My longings are different 
than your longings
most likely,
but they won't define me.
And they don't need to define you
I refuse to let them paralyze me,
to hold me back.
I purpose for my longings 
reveal the door of my next step
that leads to fulfilling my destiny.

What are your longings.
Is something paralyzing you?
Defining you?