Tuesday, January 27, 2009

i remember the days ....

of having heat. yes, i am heatless. but this time it is not in my house. it is in my office. apparently sometime over the weekend the motor for the furnace quit. we are currently heating with space heaters. can i just say that space heaters, in a poorly insulated, made by amateurs log cabin, do not really do the job? especially when the spot where i get to sit is by a huge window? lovely view and fun in the summer time, but cold on a normal day with heat in the winter.

maybe God is getting me ready to move me to Siberia?

Friday, January 23, 2009

foot me here, foot me there, foot me everywhere

Do not ask the Lord to guide your footsteps, if you are not willing to move your feet
-author uknown-

One of my friends takes pictures of her feet. Not just pictures of her feet, but pictures of her feet taking her places. Really cool places like Texas, London, Italy etc. Then she put them all together in a Facebook photo album and the result is utterly gorgeous and fascinating.

While I don't get to take pictures of my feet in totally exciting places like that, this album has captivated me. I think it's a great idea! The thought of capturing where you go, with a picture that isn't typical. And one thing that I try to avoid is typical. Not that typical is all bad. It's just that I feel God calls us into living atypical lives. Does that make sense?

Well, no matter. I have been taking pictures of my feet for awhile now, with varied results. So, I have decided to become more intentional about it and share it here, on my blog. You're welcome!

I took this picture when I was home for Christmas. This particular night I was staying with my Bethany and we were having a pedicure/manicure while watching chick flicks night. We had spent most of the day inside (after she got off work) because it was storming, but finally ventured out to Target, where I scored these super cute pajamas and where Bethy got the gorgeous color of polish, which is still residing upon my toes.

what this picture means to me ::

-comfort that comes from being cozy and warm
-contentment of being with besties
-nostalgia of summer past (see the chaco tan lines on my feet? those, along with my fatbaby cowboy boots, are what my feet live in the summer during camp)
-freedom of being a girl and being able to express it through such small things as the beauty of painted nails

Thursday, January 22, 2009

25 Things ...

For the past couple of weeks a phenomenon has been sweeping Facebook (aka my life and blood) and for most of that time it had eluded me. But now time has caught up with me and the inevitable happened. I was tagged (TWICE) to write notes with 25 random things about me that I want the world to know. I hemmed and hawed about whether or not I wanted to do it, but I decided that maybe I could share it on here and thereby hit up more people with interesting facts about me. Because, lets be honest, I am nothing if not a sharer! So, for your reading pleasure :

1. I like lots of salad dressing on my salad. I put some one, cut my salad up (yes, I am a salad cutter, but it does such a good job of mixing everything together!) and then put more dressing on.

2. Dorothy Lynch is the best salad dressing ever. Period. I was so excited that they sell it at our tiny tiny grocery store here.

3. Safeway makes the BEST croutons. I made my friend Fern stop there just so I could pick some up the other day. (I had a salad for lunch today. Can you tell?)

4. I like wearing colored socks.

5. I am ridiculously affected by caffeine. Basically, don't ever give me a regular coffee. At any point in the day. As I will become loopy, airheaded and sleep deprived. Thereby making me cranky.

6. I get the same buzz from decaf that most people get from regular

7. I don't drink pop

8. I counseled for 5 out of 8 weeks of camp this summer ... which isn't exactly in my job description, but it was still amazing! I still am in touch with several of my campers and I'm so excited that they liked me enough to still talk to me!

9. I read lots of blogs, most of them people that I don't know. If someone writes well and humorously, I'm sold. Especially when they put in pictures.

10. I am a very relationship oriented person. Meaning, I love my friends and I love talking to my friends and I like to be involved in their lives. Which is why I love Facebook so much.

11. I want to do something exceptional with my life. And I see all these stories of people doing this really cool stuff at age 24 and I'm very jealous. But then I realize that I'm a missionary in Montana and have been since I was 22. That's pretty cool too!

12. I grew up on a farm. Apparently this is surprising to a lot of people who first meet me. Well, I must admit that I didn't do a lot with the farming stuff, but I can ride a horse and move cattle with the best of them! (or at least the ok of them!)

13. I am a very concrete person who thinks in a very non-concrete way. Figure that one out!

14. I talk to my dog as if she was a person. Yup, I'm one of those! But, I don't dress her up. Limits people!

15. My sister-in-law's cousin is Mark Brunell, who is an NFL player. My brother hangs out with him occasionally.

16. My grandparents live in the town where Carrie Underwood grew up (and the subject of her song Checotah). I was roadtripping with friends once and we ended up being in Checotah at the same time as Carrie was taping an episode of American Idol there. We stood in line and got her autograph.

17. I want to live in Europe

18. My house is almost always clutter-free, but not always necessarily clean. Yes, there is a difference!

19. The last two Christmases that I went home my pipes froze at my house here. I'm starting to reconsider that whole family at the holidays thing. (kidding mom!)

20. I do my best work when I have several projects needing immediate attention. When I have several projects that don't need attention I tend to not do a lot with them.

21. I enjoy music, but for the most part have no idea who sings what. There are some bands I can pick out by their styles (Alabama comes to mind) but mostly just listen and enjoy.

22. I surprise myself with my airheadedness at times. And frustrate myself.

23. I live in ranch country and have never been to a branding. Lord willing that situation will be rectified this spring!

24. My very being cries out for travel and adventure and I have decided that it is time to feed that need.

25. Most of my clothes come from Maurices because they're cute, affordable and have the only jeans that fit me.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Well, after yesterday's debacle, involving a loose Millie, I got smarter today! I put her harness and leash on and was involved in the whole process. Of course, I had some second thoughts as I almost met the ground once we got out on the road. She may be small, but she is mighty! However, I prevailed and we had a very enjoyable 20 minute walk.

Since we had a full 20 minutes, I went my favourite route, which involved the cemetary. As we were walking through, I was reflecting on why I enjoy walking through there so much. I decided that one of the perks is that there is almost no one there, ever. I can't remember a time that I have run into some one else up there. Even now there are almost no other footprints in the snow. It is so peaceful!

Also, I have a great time wandering through, looking at all the names, wondering how they are connected with the people I know and wondering who they were. When the headstone says "Beloved Mother and Friend" does that mean it's true? Or is it just something you put on there? I reflect on the babies, on the servicemen and on the couples who died on the same day.

Plenty of food for thought in your local cemetary! (It doesn't hurt that is it also one of the highest points in the whole town and it has gorgeous sunets - obviously I didn't see one at noon today [we're not that far north!], but still a perk!)

Monday, January 19, 2009

Adventures with Millie

This is Millie. She is my constant companion, alarm clock, and source of aggravation, frustration and amusement. From the time that I got her she has had an attitude the size of the Montana sky (if ya'll have never been to Montana just take my word for it that its huge!).

When I first moved to Montana I considered bringing my dog with me. However, I didn't know where I was going to end up living so I left him home with my parents. Of course by the time I got settled there was NO chance of them letting me take him A FULL STATE away from them! Also, I didn't think it would be a good idea to get a dog with the crazy schedule that camp has.

So, I got cats instead. One car drive-by and a runaway later I was catless. I went along in life for quite awhile without a pet. Since one of my cats drove me absolutely crazy it was kind of a nice break!

But then my parents decided to stage an intervention. During the winter I struggle with Seasonal Depression and have the tendency to just not want to do anything. I get out some, but it's a bit of a struggle. So, my parents thought that if I got a dog I would have companionship and also be forced to take her for walks (therefore getting exercise). Mom and I went to pick up Millie on New Years Eve 2007 and my life has never been the same!

She has been an interesting adventure. She wasn't fully house trained until she was a year old. She chooses to ignore me most of the time when I tell her to do something. She has a fetish for socks (which is why my bedroom door is closed today - after getting home from a weekend away I unpacked and put everything on my bed. then when I was exhausted and falling asleep at 9:30 I just threw everything on the floor and that is her DREAM!). She is one of the funniest looking runners I've ever seen (she just goes flat out - her little legs are stretched the front and to the back and you think she's going to crash!). She goes lots of places with me, including work. She has stolen the hearts of a couple of area families, which is wonderful when I need to find a place to leave her when I go somewhere! She wakes me up multiple times a night so she can go outside. She hates being left alone and will throw a party anytime I come back home. She ate through an electrical cord when she was a puppy and almost killed herself. She always picks the worst times to be disobedient.

Which brings me to the reason for today's blog. I went home for lunch as I normally do (I live about 5 miles away from camp and it would make a lot more sense to just bring my lunch with me, but there is something so nice about getting away from camp for awhile!) and had plans to go for a walk with Millie. (I stopped bringing her to work this fall, just because it was a pain to haul her around and to have to worry about what she was getting into in the office. I'm sure she'll come back once it gets nicer and my hours get longer.) So, I enjoyed my lunch of tomato soup, grilled cheese and pickles (pickles don't really go, but I was REALLY craving them) while she played outside.

I had about 20 minutes left before I had to be back at work, so I put on my mittens (it's SO nice here today ya'll! can I just express the wonderfulness of not having to put on a bulky coat and being totally comfortable in a long sleeved shirt and vest??), grabbed my sunglasses and hit the road. We walked around town and then since it was time for me to leave, I headed back to the house. Well, little Miss Millie decided she wasn't quite ready to come back yet.

Since I tend to psychoanalyze most situations I find myself in, I decided that she had some built up anger/resentment to get out since I had left her with some friends for the past 4 weeks. (To be honest, I'm not sure if the anger was because I had left her or because I made her come home. I try not to delve too deeply into that situation!)

Anyways, she took off. She went off down the road and was sniffing at this and that. I got her to come back to close to the house (at a dead run no less!), but she WOULD NOT come in the yard (I have a fence and would have closed the gate on her). She then took off again and wandered around the neighbor's yard. I know that you're not supposed to chase after them (cause it makes it more of a game) but ignoring her wasn't working and I HAD TO GO TO WORK! So, I climbed over my fence into my neighbor's yard and wandered after her. She went past my house again and ended up across the street.

AND THEN SHE LAID DOWN. Oh yes, she did! She just laid there, smiling at me, wondering what it was that I wanted her to do. (cause, you know, my screaming her name and telling her to come wasn't quite clear directions ...) So, I just stood there, with my hands on my hips, and stared at her. I was frustrated, but not livid (which I thought was very mature of me!), and knew that if I just gave up and walked away that would mean she won and would make her more of the alpha dog. And actually, my tactic worked. After I stared at her for about a minute she got up and trotted across the street. She then followed me most of the way to our gate. And then ... SHE SAT DOWN. Seriously.

So what did I do? Well, I stared at her some more. And then she got up and just trotted into the yard and into the house like nothing had ever happened. Is it just me or are dogs weird??

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Lately I have been obsessed (strong word ... but I couldn't think of anything that fit as well) with organization.

During the winter I struggle with the lack of sunlight. It affects my mood quite a bit and it can really drag down my attitude towards myself. I have found that it works the best to have a mostly organized environment and to be on top of things as possible. (that way taking away ammunition I might use against myself)

And of course, since this is January, that means that my organizational overdrive is kicking in! It's driving me crazy that my guest bed is filled with stuff. However, the reason I am not tackling the piles is because I am going to WalMart on Friday (oh yes, we schedule our WalMart trips WEEKS in advance) and I am going to get totes. And tubs. And boxes. And whatever else I think I MUST have. Because, this girl is getting more organized than ever!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Bliss ...

Can I just take a moment and share with ya'll the bliss that is sleeping in your own bed? Showering in your own shower? Having all of your stuff in it's place so it's easily accessible? Having all of your stuff?

It is one thing for me to be traveling and know that life is going to be in upheaval and deal with it. It is another to be right across town and know that all of my stuff is just sitting there, waiting for me to remember it, love it, use it.

Poor Janica! I made at least one trip a day to my house, always grabbing something that I needed! By the end of my time at her house (which was about 4 days) I had a whole carload of junk. Now granted, that was mostly my laundry, which multiplied after my closet sprung a leak and lots of my clothes got wet. But still. It was a little ridiculous! Luckily she is a very patient, kind, giving person who let me be quirky!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

No propane does not a happy Rachel make!

Can I whine for a bit? Well, since this is my blog, I am going to take the privilege. Now, I must admit that I am trying really hard to keep a mature attitude. And for the most part I am succeeding. With most people at least. But here, and now, and in this blog, I am going to throw a temper tantrum. Because I have reached my limit!

On Monday I headed back over to Montana. Ya know, the place where I actually live and minister? Well, I must say that it was a little rough getting the journey going. First, I had to deal with getting new tires. (ucky expensive, but I have lovely parents who chipped in half! so I was able to get two new tires - what a blessing they already are!) However, after getting snowed in last weekend so I couldn't come back when I was supposed to come back, I noticed that my car had developed this creepy shake. So, I had to delay my leaving on Monday so that I could go to the tire place. (part of the delay can also be blamed on my not turning my alarm on. whoops! i got an extra two hours of sleep that morning)

Anyways. I was heading back on Monday and after making a couple of stops (a very necessary Ginny stop and another very necessary Maurices stop to get jeans) I was getting closer. Well, I got to Dickinson (coincidentally the place where I got some similar bad news the year before when I was coming home) and got the news that my house had run out of propane. Well .... that's never what you want to hear in the middle of winter. Fall, Spring and Summer - that's a different story. But, Winter in Montana? Nope. Not what you want to know!! And so, all my pipes froze. Every last one of them. And since my house runs on hot water heat, well, let's just say it isn't pretty.

So, I went home and unpacked all my stuff and repacked (it was something I HAD to do. I could not just go home and dump everything all over. looking back, it was definitely the right decision! the guys fixing my house are making a big enough mess) and headed over to Janica's house. Where I have been staying ever since. She's been so good to me! I really really really appreciate her hospitality and her willingness to let me crash here.

But. (there's always a but isn't there?) I am SO ready to be home. In a bed. In my own space. With the ability to close the world out and just be for awhile. I am an introvert. And you know what introverts need to survive? Alone time. Time to recharge. And I was really needing some after spending a solid week and a half with people all the time. Winter is not a good time for me. I am not a fun, lovely people person during the winter. I am more Oscar the Grouch. I need my sunlight!

So, I am here, crashing on a couch until further notice. Everyday getting more bad news. Sigh. It's just so exhausting!!!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

New Years resolutions. Not something that I have ever done before. It was never a big deal in my family or among my friends and so I cannot ever remember setting an official New Years resolution.

I think in part that it has something to do with the fact that throughout the year I set resolutions for myself. And then I break them. And then I get frustrated with myself. And then the cycle starts all over. Not fun!

Also, most New Years resolutions are so typical. Read your Bible everyday. Pray for at least an hour a day. Lose 20 pounds by Feb 1. Walk 200 miles in two months. On and on and on and on. All variations of the same theme. The theme that we are not good enough. The theme that we need to improve ourselves. The theme that God somehow screwed up with us and we need to fix what He did.

Now, don't get me wrong. I think that self-improvement is a worthy goal. I think that God asks us to look inside ourselves and work on some issues. However, when we are doing it, I think we need to examine why we are doing it. Are we trying to better ourselves to glorify God through ourselves? Or are we trying to improve ourselves so that we are better, skinnier, holier than the person sitting next to us?

The following is a paraphrase of scripture I found here. I love it. It makes me feel warm and fuzzy. And sometimes, when I reach the point of feeling far away from God, I want the warm and fuzzy. And the "huh" that goes through my brain when being overwhelmed by who God is.

And so, while this is in no way a New Years resolution, I would like to take this in and embrace it in my life. How will I let this (and by this I really do mean God's love and care and discipline in my life) affect the way that I live and interact and worship and serve?

I made her. She is different. She's unique. With love I formed her in her mother's womb. I fashioned her with great joy. I remember with great pleasure the day I created her. (Psalm 139:13-16)

I love her smile. I love her ways. I love to hear her laugh and the silly things she says and does. She brings me great pleasure. (Psalm 139:17)

I made her pretty and not beautiful, because I knew her heart and knew she would be vain. I wanted her to search out her heart and to learn it would be Me in her that would make her beautiful and would draw friends to her. (I Peter 3:3-5)

I made her in such a way that she would need Me. I made her a little more lonesome than she would like to be, only because I want her to turn to Me in her loneliness. Only because I need for her to lean to and depend on Me. I know her heart. I know if I had not made her like this she would go her own way and forget about Me, her Creator. (Psalm 62:5-8)

I have given her many good and happy things because I love her. (Psalm 84:11 and Romans 8:32)

Because I love her, I have seen her broken heart and the tears she has cried alone. I have cried with her and had a broken heart too. (Psalm 56:8)

Many times she has stumbled and fallen alone, only because she would not hold My Hand. So many lessons she has learned the hard way, because she would not listen to My Voice. (Isaiah 53:6)

She is mine. I made her then I bought her because I love her. (Romans 5:8)

I have to reshape and remold her, to renew in her what I want her to be. It has not been easy for her or for me. (Jeremiah 29:11)

I want her to be conformed to My Image. This high goal I have set for her because I love her. (2 Corinthians 2:14)