Even when no one is listening…

Yes, I know this update is loooong overdue….but Jeffery & I are ENGAGED! My love asked me to be his wife on May 10th, 2014 our six month anniversary. Some may say that’s awful sudden; and maybe it is 😉 BUT….I’ve never been more sure of anything in my life. And that’s saying something. I’ll post the whole “Engagement Story” on our wedding blog once we get that all set up. Until then….here are some photos for your enjoyment. Plenty of sappiness, adorable dimples and cheesy smiles included!

All photos were taken by L. Isabelle Photography

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As an aspiring writer with a blog I have a few personal thoughts on blogging and social media….

 

1. Keep It Classy – Basically: present yourself articulately and politely. Personal attacks that name a particular individual (I believe corporations or groups like non-profits are exempt from this) are not classy. Keep that shit private. If you don’t like your best friend because she fucked your boyfriend tell her face-to-face. Announcing personal drama on social media is not classy. Punch that bitch in the face if you want! Just don’t use a facebook status to do it. In all seriousness though, Social media is the public sphere of internet sharing. Keep it classy friends. 

2. Keep Your Cool – Early on, decide how you want to use your social media. Throwing your personal thoughts into cyberspace is not something to be taken lightly. Sometimes it can be like standing on a rooftop shouting and other times it can be like a soft whisper in the wind. The awesome part about it is YOU  get to choose. After all, you’re the one presenting yourself. And there are are plenty of options. You can: lead, follow, observe, shout, whisper, nudge, market etc. YOU set the tone.

Be cool. And be aware of the consequences that come with social media usage. Just like face-to-face conversation, anything can happen. Be prepared. And please, don’t whine like a little bitch if someone doesn’t like what you have to say.Had a bad day at work? Did McDonald’s mess up your big mac? Go ahead and vent. Just understand that most of the world doesn’t give a shit. And those that do, probably consist of your best friend, dog and grandma. Beware of attention seeking and drama starting internet whores that will take the opportunity to turn your frustrations into an even more infuriating argument. Trust me, this shit happens. That’s why it’s important to think before you speak posting. Many reputations have been tainted from social media abuse. Keep your cool. 

3. Keep It Clear – Differentiate between fact, fiction and mere opinion. When dealing with written and verbal communication, I find clarity to be key. Make sure your audience knows when you’re discussing:

FACT “something that truly exists or happens : something that has actual existence OR a true piece of information”

FICTION “written stories about people and events that are not real : literature that tells stories which are imagined by the writer OR something that is not true.”

OPINION “a belief, judgment, or way of thinking about something : what someone thinks about a particular thing.”

Confusion, rumors and needless arguments can arise when these three aren’t clearly labeled. So keep it clear my dears 🙂

 

 

4. Keep it Consistent – This is where things can get a bit tricky. Consistency has a lot to do with honesty and integrity. If the social media you are using has a comment feature take some time to understand what that means for you as a user. Some sites offer the option of turning off the comment feature. If you’d rather not deal with comments on what you post, then I’d suggest you take advantage of this feature. Another option that is sometimes available is to moderate comments. This feature is helpful when dealing with spam posts and/or internet harassment. If you choose to moderate, you have the power to approve or deny comments submitted; such as: spam, hate speech, demeaning language/tone etc. Or you can simply allow free range on comments. Whatever you choose, keep it consistent…which leads to my last point….

5. Prevent and Report Cyber Bullying- Now, I know some of you are probably wondering why I brought this up. Cyber bullying? Doesn’t that effect kids in school? Yes, but cyber bulling can happen to anyone. As adults, we like to use terms like: harassment, name calling, hate speech, stalking, intimidation etc. Essentially, it’s the same thing. If you feel that someone is using social media to intimidate, threaten or silence your person: then take action. Sites like Face Book, Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter and many more all have reporting and blocking features. Be smart in who you chose to let see your personal information. If you don’t want to talk to someone then you don’t have to.  Don’t be afraid to ignore friend requests, deny personal advances, turn off private messaging, or to simply ask someone to stop. If that doesn’t work, then block a user from communicating with you or from viewing your site. For more serious issues, document everything that could be used in a court of law. You can take a screenshot for example before deleting comments and blocking the individual. If you need help removing someone from your social network, contact the support team of the website you need help with. They will usually be more than glad to help you solve your problem. You can generally find the support email address on the website itself, or it you can’t find it there search on Google. Do know that, the law suggests, for your protection to not converse with those that continue on after being asked to stop by the person they are bullying.  Some cyber problems can spill out into real life if you’re not careful. So do your best to understand, prevent and report cyber bullying. 

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So there you have it! My personal guidelines for using the inter-webs. I’ve had a lot of trial and error and hope my readers can learn from my experiences. That being said, I have a bit to say on a poem I wrote recently entitled,“What It Means To Be Your Daughter”. I wrote it back in April and just recently published it to my blog. If you check out my Poetic Musings page you will find that I have shared quite a bit of my work; with pieces conveying various content, tone and meter. Whenever I update my blog, WordPress has a nifty feature that sends a link to my facebook fan page; from there I can share the link to my personal page or where ever on Facebook. I LOVE this feature because it allows my work and thoughts to “get out there”. I mean it’s free advertising and who doesn’t love FREE marketing?? This poem was never meant as a personal attack towards my family. In fact, this piece could be interpreted many different ways according to the reader. We all look at life through  lenses of experiences. That’s the beautiful part of poetic writing. No two people relate to poetry the same exact way. A poem is read a thousand different ways by a thousand different people.

Certain individuals have chosen to share the link to my poem because they find it inappropriate. I am choosing to not take it down as I stand by my work completely. And ask you to read it for yourself if you haven’t already.

Until we meet again,

Rachel

 

Disconcerting,

how things have changed.

Me for the better

You for the worse.

Only you can’t tell

the difference.

Everything is upside down.

Making my world

right side up.

Twisted and wobbled

you distort reality.

Sitting on your throne

of illusions.

Casting down judgments

you have no authority to give.

Like some sort of god

viewing me as a rebel daughter

chasing disaster.

Nothing will make you see

that the only thing I’m chasing

is my liberty

my freedom

my voice

my life essence

that you stole from me

over years and years

of indoctrination

belittlement of spirit

and coherence of will.

You whittled me away

molding me like clay

into the daughter you wished me to be

ignoring the pleas

of my spirit within

demanding compliance

at any cost

willingly ignorant of the

beautiful woman within

struggling to be free.

I’ve tried to make you understand

I cannot

You

Don’t

Want

To

There’s nothing left to do

but submit my spirit unto you

and myself (willingly) die

a living corpse

within a haunted family.

Ghosts of our ancestors mistakes

Possessing the lives we live

the words we speak

the thoughts we act upon.

I refuse.

I choose to live a life of my own accord.

Submitting only to my will.

Acting only in my own volition.

Free.

Breaking the hold

you threaten me with

by withholding the love

that once lived in your heart

choosing hatred and selfish will

over the daughter

you love to hate

in the name of family, god and self preservation.

This is goodbye

and the start of something new

A new family

A new start

A new daughter to love, cherish and let grow free.

April Showers

Okay readers, I know it’s been a while.

So here’s a photo recap on the recent happenings this month.

Okay…

GO!


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For starters, I’m still super in love with this man.

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I mean…how could I not? Just look at that puppy dog face!

THOSE EYES!!!!

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This goofball and I upgraded from tricycles to….

10003445_10151917521631642_4068895919522328275_n…this 2006 Chevy Malibu!

10260027_10151924559971642_8207353117492206459_nI can’t remember the last time I had a car that I wasn’t afraid to drive longer than ten minutes

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Of course we HAD to take it for a bit of a joy ride

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To CASA’S in Fort Wayne.

The “first” date he asked me on…only six months and few dozen dates later 😉

❤ Totally worth the wait ❤

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We also went to North Manchester, IN to visit Jeff’s old neighbor hood.

And of course, pose for a photo by this lovely covered bridge.

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Oh, and to hunt down the Ice Cream Truck.

This photo doesn’t nearly capture his true excitement.

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  AND OHMYGAWD PANCAKES!

To celebrate….

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…this Diva’s 18th birthday!

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That’s right. She’s 18 bitches.

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{Insert random photo of my man modeling on a bench here}

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❤ Back to the birthday girl ❤

I’m so proud of you Olive for bettering yourself as a person each and every year. Stay beautiful. Stay Strong. Strive towards improvement everyday while taking time to relax, breathe and eat a shit ton of good food 😉 I love you lil’ sister. Can’t wait to watch you grow up even more!

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So basically that’s been my life for the past month.

More exciting changes to come 🙂

Peace.

Rachel

Readers, grab a pen and paper. Then click on the photo below.

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Eight questions. Easy. 15 minutes tops.

I promise.

Unless you have a bad internet connection, an untimely emergency or have a learning disability of some sorts…

What are you waiting for???

Click the link!

Then

meet

me

back

HERE

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*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*

~MY ANSWERS~

(Which I found surprisingly accurate. My commentary upon reading the interpretation is in italics.)

1. Depth. Warmth. Comfort. Fear. Respect. Power. Life.

Some may say I’m overly dramatic but I just like to soak life in. I’m not sure I have a middle ground when it comes to emotions.

2. Crunchy leaves with grass poking beneath. I’m barefoot hoping for the best. All of nature attacks me from all angles.

Uhhhh, ya. That pretty much sums up my family life. I’m hopeful that things will brighten and “spring” will come…

3. God, don’t poop on me.

BAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

I don’t like women. Some are tolerable but for the most part – GAWD- just leave me be.

4. Strength in numbers. I don’t understand why everyone loves horses like they are the ONLY beautiful creature in the world… I mean horses are okay and yes they are beautiful but why all the hype over horses?

Perhaps this is deeply connected to the wounds in my life left by the patriarchy system? 

5. I’d wish away the wall because…. why the hell would there be a wall just chilling in the dessert?? Obviously, I’m delusional. If that didn’t work I’d walk around it.

Ha! 

6. I’d be skeptical. And wonder why I’m alone in the dessert without water. Like WTF Rachel??? What did you do to get yourself in this situation? 

Highly skeptical.

7. Knock on the door. Hope for the best. Call my man to come get me.

Ready for shizzle. 

8. I’d soak it in. Fell the wetness. Wishing I could splash about in it.

 

Bring it. 

Soooooooo….how did your answers pan out?

Comment below!

February: {Lessons In Love}

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Flowers for our Three Months

February 10th, Jeffery and I celebrated three months of love, tears, hugs, kisses and laughter. Three months of late nights, early mornings and endless joy. I’m not sure how it’s possible but in a mere three months we’ve seen each others worst; shared our darkness and relished in our flaws and imperfection. I’m still blown away. Breathless yet full of joy, happiness and love. He’s my person, best friend, lover and soul mate. Just when I started to doubt love would ever appear- he found me. I was just a couple months delayed in noticing what was right in front of me. Part of me wished I had waited for him. The other part of me realizes out mutual brokenness is what brought us together. Heartache our greatest lover, our darkest demons a blessing, the mistakes we’ve shared perhaps leading the way all this time.

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Jeffery surprised by the promise ring I gave him.

Love isn’t nearly what I expected. Before Jeffery I had only experienced love in parts. Here and there. Fragmented. Brokenly beautiful. The day Jeffery told me through tears that he was picking up the pieces of my being; committed to putting together the puzzle of my brokenness I knew I had found a complete whole love.

For the first time in my life, I’ve experienced love first hand. Wrapping me up in all angles. Coming from all directions. Consuming all of me. Filling me completely. Overflowing, pouring over the brim. Breaking down my walls. Flooding light into my darkness. Unconditionally giving. Sacrificially living. Chipping away at my insecurities. Breaking me down then building me back up again.

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Flowers for Valentine’s Day

And I feel whole again.

Only this time, it’s an undeniably true existence. There are no clouds of doubt. No pangs of guilt. Nor any fear of shame.

I’ve found “GOD” within Jeffery’s love towards me. He is my personal representation of Jesus. And while I don’t know quite how to explain it…I am once again comfortable with the concept of “GOD”. Only “GOD” is so much bigger to me. I still don’t believe in a man in the sky nor a personal deity buried beneath doctrine and tradition. I believe in a god that can’t be documented, measured or confined to words on a page. I believe in the love we all ache for and desire to give.

To me- “GOD” is love – and love resides in each heart.

I am not lost.

I am not bitter.

I am not empty nor full of darkness. I am discovering. I am joyful and forgiving. I am the light of life; sometimes only an ember and other times a fierce flame….

All because someone loved me. All because someone showed me grace. All because Jeffery Wayne Smith chose to love me unconditionally.

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  And isn’t that the “God-Shaped Hole” we all want to fill? Isn’t that what God is all about? Isn’t that what’s left when you cut away all the doctrinal fluff of religion?

Spiritual beings with a spiritual hunger to be loved and love in return. 

My religious friends, I am not that different from you. Yes, I got good and angry. Confused and bewildered. Hurt and abandoned. But all that chaos led me down the path of selfless love, holiness and forgiveness. A journey I won’t soon forget.

Jeffery Wayne Smith, thank you for imparting your Christ-based love to me. You are what a true Christian is called to be. You have saved me life in every way a person can possibly be saved.

Thank you my love.

I look forward to spending an eternity of life and love with you….”Forever & Forever Infinity Google” ❤

Your ‘flower’,

Rachel Margaret Sproles

1512755_10151745779521642_1029353279_nHappy New Year!!!

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We celebrated with Oliva Noel last night with Native American War Paint

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After watching New Year’s Eve  we went outside with candles, incense and a box full of glitter

1527061_10203129568303292_1664016450_nAfter sharing our favorite moment of 2013 we waited for the courthouse clock to strike midnight….

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and threw all the sparkly magic into the wind

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covering the courthouse steps

And of course…

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I got that New Year’s kiss from the love of my life! 😉

Three Gifts

I’m  not a big Christmas fan. The idea of lying to children year round about a fat man in a suit that ‘watches’ them keeping a tally on rights and wrongs just doesn’t quite appeal to me. This year, however, I decided to give Christmas another chance.

Jeff and I celebrated by getting a seven foot Christmas tree; MY first real tree 🙂

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1479477_10151734631801642_711882087_nHe had a grand time opening his presents 🙂 Then we celebrated his birthday the day after Christmas. Not everything turned out as expected but we had a intimate Christmas nonetheless. 

Three gifts in particular really made an impact.

Rachel & Jeff Christmas 2013 (2)

1st Gift – From Jeffery

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Blue Topaz Promise Ring Set

Jeffery just couldn’t wait to give me this breathtaking sentiment!

He got it all on video. And yes, I cried like a baby.

~*~

2nd Gift – From Olivia

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A star from the Leo constellation

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There’s our Star!

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Named “Rachel & Jeffery” in honor of our love ❤

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Romantic painting with equally romantic painting included!

“Doubt thou the stars are fire, doubt that the sun doth move, doubt truth to be a
liar but never doubt that I love.”
W. Shakespeare

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Here we are looking up the coordinates online

Olivia this was such a thoughtful gift!! Thank you so much for honoring our love in this way!

~*~

3rd Gift – From Kassidi 

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Ganesh Icon

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This gift really touched my heart. Ganesh is the Hindu deity regarded as the ‘remover of obstacles’. My dear friend Kassidi chose this gift as a reminder of the battle I’ve been fighting to remove the demons and negative energies in my life over the past couple of years.

GaneshaSymbol

Each symbol on Ganesh represents a mantra/lesson.

As a protector of thresh holds, Ganesh now sets at the entrance to our home.

To learn more about Ganesh take four minutes and listen to this song by MC Yogi. You won’t be disappointed!!

~*~*~*~*~*~

Out of everything I received this Christmas season nothing compares to the gift of love I’ve been blessed with. Not only have I met the love of my life, Jeffery Wayne Smith; but I am surrounded by friends who have become family. More than jewelry, stars and icons – I am blessed with the gift of your friendship and love. Jeffery, Oliva and Kassidi thank you for being blessings in my life. I am in awe of my life right now because of you three beautiful souls!!!

Love, peace and blessings,

Rachel

Merry Christmas 2013!

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Photos taken by Olivia Noel. 

Emotional Healing

Hello readers,

Yes, I’m back! After a two month hiatus (Goodness, has it been THAT long??), I’m back and bustling with life lessons to share. I’ve been a bit – ahem- distracted to say the least 😉 The past couple months have been full of change and growth.

October brought in the Autumn winds of change. I finally took the advice of friends and family by cleaning house in my relationships. I’m learning to treat myself with respect by not letting others use me nor allowing myself to use others. I’m down a few “friends” but my stress has dwindled 110% It’s funny how comfortable we can become in discomfort…how accustomed we grow to dysfunction.    Now that I am out of the drama that was consuming my life I finally feel like I can heal completely as a person.

Allow me to share an excerpt from a powerful article I discovered this week:

“In the beginning, when I first realized that I was not born broken and that the way I got messed up was not my fault but was in fact  caused by other people, I was really angry that I had to FIX what “they broke”. I had to move forward with my emotional healing anyway. No one was going to do it for me in fact the majority of people in my life didn’t want me to heal. They too liked me weak and sick and compliant. NO one wanted me to realize that I actually had equal value to them or their power over me would be exposed and they would therefore lose it. And when I healed and faced the truth about the ways that I was regarded by them, they did lose their power over me; because I refused to live that way anymore.”

As my pen pal Emmanuel C. Williams explained to me, friends come as either assets or liabilities. The trick is figuring out who is who. Once I started reflecting honestly on my relationships I realized that many of the people in my life liked that I was ‘damaged’ because it made them feel better about themselves or it gave them an excuse to stay where they were in their own personal journey of growth. The more I healed the more my positive growth pointed out areas in which they were lacking thus making them uncomfortable. In a way, I outgrew many people this past year. Pruning my friendships was difficult. At times I felt guilty for not giving certain people third and fourth chances. Then I met someone who completely changed my outlook on life.

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His name is Jeffery Wayne Smith. We met at work back in September. Little did I know, for Jeff is was love at first sight. This man saw the brokenness inside me that I was trying to hard to hide. November 1st, we hung out and have been inseparable ever since. Today we are celebrating our first month together 🙂 The first of many more to come.

Jeff saw my hurt and chose to be a part of the healing process. I didn’t even have to ask. Patiently he listens. Patiently he responds by offering arms full of comfort and warmth. Jeff takes the time to understand my triggers. He doesn’t get mad at me when I react emotionally to normal life situations. Instead, he helps me get to the root of the problem so that I can fix it and MOVE ON. I respect this man with all my being and am eternally grateful to have this angel in my life. That’s the difference. He knows he can’t fix it- I have to- but he can help 🙂

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I’ve never been happier.

I’ve never been healthier.

I’ve never been more alive.

For the first time in years, I feel safe & secure.

I feel loved and cherished.

I am free to love and cherish.

Life is beautiful when you have someone to share it with!!

~More fun filled loving updates to come~

throat chakra

1. Pick a symbol that personifies the Chakra

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The “OM” symbol. 

2. Color the corresponding mandala

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“I see and perceive the world I am part of. My intuition and power of imagination are located in my third eye, in the middle of my forehead. I perceive the finest material energies and I continue to understand the secrets of life.”

3. Research the yoga poses that correlate with keeping the Chakra balanced

Child's Pose

Child’s Pose

Forward Fold

Forward Fold

 

4. Read the corresponding chapters of “Chakras for Beginners.”

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“Intuition is always operating – the question is whether you are listening or not” (pg 86)

5. Choose a song that describes how you feel in relationship to the Chakra

Not sure why but this song is all I can think of

You’re the best I ever had
And I’m trying not to get stuck in my head
But I’ve read that soda kills you and Jesus saves
On a bathroom wall where I saw your name
You’re the best I ever had
I won’t be the same

6. Free write/read

This week I’m reading

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7. Come up with an activity that connects you to the Chakra

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Been surrounding myself with those I love….

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…and those who love me 🙂 ❤

Peace.love.wholeness.

Rachel

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1. Pick a symbol that personifies the Chakra

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The tongue.

Let me explain…the 5th Chakra is the center of creativity and expression. This past week my tongue was out of commission. My back left molar chipped causing unusual friction across my tongue from the tooth rubbing constantly on the underside. Within a couple of days the entire left side of my jaw was swollen. I couldn’t chew, speak or swallow without it hurting. Still, I had to go to work and be graceful and charming as ever.

I learned to choose my words carefully.

I learned the frustration in not being able to communicate clearly.

I learned how important one part of the body is to the health of the whole body.

I learned to appreciate my tongue like never before.

2. Color the corresponding mandala

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“With the sound of my voice, with my words, I express my creativity and communicate with other human beings”

3. Research the yoga poses that correlate with keeping the Chakra balanced

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Okay, so this week I attended the absolute best yoga workshop at Lotus Gallery taught by Jessica Burkett. Our practice was centered around the Chakras; more specifically opening up the Throat Chakra. After a guided meditation and some healthy snacks we each created our own mandala. The best part of all this? I had no idea the workshop was so intimately tied to my own personal study! Thank you Jess!!

4. Read the corresponding chapters of “Chakras for Beginners.”

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“You must learn to speak your personal truth, as well as know it” (pg 73)

5. Choose a song that describes how you feel in relationship to the Chakra

“Wake Me Up” – Avicii

“Wish I could stay forever this young

Not afraid to close my eyes

Life’s a game made for everyone

And love is the prize….

So wake me up when it’s all over

When I’m wiser and I’m older

All this time I was finding myself

And I didn’t know I was lost”

Also, “So Fly” by Elle Varner

“Now listen,

I’ve got a beautiful soul

But only four people know

They’ve known me since I was ten

Beauty didn’t matter then.”

6. Free write/read

This week has been a little different when it comes to the Free Write. Instead of writing for me I’ve been writing letters to friends, family, strangers, former loves and my pen-pals.  Letter writing has changed my life. There is something simple yet complex, beautiful yet messy & freeing yet committal about sending an actual handwritten, envelope addressed and stamp applied letter. This is a personal project I started back in September and hope to continue for the rest of my life. In the coming months I foresee great things coming my way as a result of this endeavor.

I invite you, dear reader, to join me.

Find a pen-pal  who needs a friend

or

better yet….

write someone close to you….

a long-lost friend

a former lover

your mama

your papa

your brother

your sister

your grandmother

that annoying neighbor of yours

or yourself

If none of that appeals then write me 😉

P.O. BOX 115

Columbia City, IN 46725

I LOVE GETTING MAIL

Seriously, I’m like a kid at the candy store when it comes to checking that postal box.

7. Come up with an activity that connects you to the Chakra

Guess I kinda covered that above but while I have your attention let me expand on the for-mentioned troubles with my poor tongue. Long story short, I thought I was going to have to lose the tooth. Bravely I faced the dentist chair only to be told that they could file my tooth and all would heal within a couple days. And it did. Plus they didn’t charge me a thing! So if you’re in need of a dentist please check out Churubusco Family Dentistry.  

And one more last tidbit I’ve learned from this grand adventure

SCRAPE YOUR TONGUE PEOPLE

IT NEEDS LOVE

JUST LIKE YOU DO

AND WELL IT’S AN IMPORTANT PART OF YOU

 HERE’S WHY! 

Peace.love.harmony.wholeness.

Rachel ❤

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1. Pick a symbol that personifies the Chakra

red-rose-drawing

Roses are a beautiful symbol of love.

A rose bud alone is a simple sort of beauty with the potential of blossoming into breathtaking beauty.

Love works the same way. An open heart is the highest form of beauty.

2. Color the corresponding mandala 

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3. Research the yoga poses that correlate with keeping the Chakra balanced

Sphinx

Sphinx

Fish

Fish

Camel

Camel

4. Read the corresponding chapters of “Chakras for Beginners.”

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 5. Choose a song that describes how you feel in relationship to the Chakra

“And if he never felt that way
Why would you want him to stay?

When you have come so far
From the place you started
Just be the girl you are
Although you’re broken hearted

You gotta get up every morning
Even if it has to be alone
He ripped your heart out without warning
But now you have the whole day on your own”

6. Free write/read

Read It

7. Come up with an activity that connects you to the Chakra

This week Olivia and I celebrated my one year anniversary of the day I “snapped” by getting icecream at Dairy Queen. I’ve learned that opening my heart means loving my self first and staying true to me. And that’s exactly what I had to do on September 25th, 2012. By taking a stand for myself I “lost” many people whom I thought were friends. The abundance of support I’ve received since then has been phenomenal. All my losses were actually making room for the blessings to come.1237680_10202357892131870_1262280930_n

To all of you who said I went off the deep end…

I did.

And Guess what?

It was the BEST thing that ever happened to me.

Now I’m swimming in the waters of life soaking in the sunshine 😉

Care to join me?

Next up —-> the Throat Chakra

Toodles,

Rachel

1233544_10151559161376642_282171461_nThat’s right 🙂 This girl (thanks to her marvelous best friend Victoria) got to see the Tibetan Monks after all!

After a disastrous Saturday attempt that resulted in a wild goose chase around town, nearly crashing a wedding, charming police officers and  ending with a library security guard getting nasty with Victoria for asking questions- I FINALLY SAW THEM

For those of you wondering “what the hell are these seven dudes in robes doing with all that sand” let me enlighten you a bit….

They are creating a sand mandala. Sand painting , is an art form that uses colored sands on an unfix surface to create a picture or symbol that is often later dissolved in water to demonstrate the meditation of impermanence and/or to spread blessings associated with the design.

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Mandalas are intricately simple circular symbols that according to Hinduism and Buddhism represent the universe. Mandalas are commonly used in meditation practices; either by coloring in an already existing design or by creating a new pattern.

Watching the monks finish their mandala was a breathtaking experience. Each of them delighted by their shared company and endeavor. I was mesmerized by their patience and amused by their apparent difference in style that somehow managed to mesh into one collaborative effort.

This group of seven came all the way from a refuge monastery in India for persecuted  Tibetan monks. They were on tour in the states spreading their message of peace while raising funds for their monastery; taking donations and selling jewelry and clothing native to their culture.

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The photograph to the left shows the finished mandala. My responsibilities for the day prevented me from witnessing the dissolution of the mandala, however, I am sure it was beautiful. I am truly blessed to have witnessed this aspect of Eastern culture. There are endless messages of peace, harmony and blessing intermixed within the various religious and spiritual symbols. I’ve not yet fully researched them all but was fortunate enough to take home a handout on the eight designs encompassed by the red background.

Later that day, my aunt Rachel informed me that the same group of monks had visited Franklin College earlier this year. 

Please take the time to enlarge the photograph to see the detail put into each portion of the design. Keep in mind this was all done using metal cylinders to pour sand onto an unfix background. The detail amazes me as it will you.

If you’re interested in learning more click any of the highlighted links above! I’ve tried to give you connections to relevant articles and postings 🙂

Blessings and Peace,

Rachel

solarplexusOh, the Solar Plexus. I thought this one was going to be difficult.And it was. Only not in the ways I expected. I went into this week thinking that the Solar Plexus Chakra was all about control. It’s not. The Solar Plexus is all about self & the power to choose. 

Things like: Self-mastery, self-assertion, self-control, self-restraint and self-discipline. 

Discernment was a reoccurring theme in all my research.

The art of discernment is a balancing act I’ve been cultivating over the past three years. And as if a light bulb went off in my mind everything made sense. I’ve spent three years centering myself from the ground up.

Three years. Three chakras. Three crucial life lessons.

The Root, Sacral and Solar Plexus Chakras are all part of foundation; that if left imbalanced prevent one from climbing to higher Chakra development. You can experience glimpses of the Throat, Third Eye and Crown.  The Heart Chakra is the bridge but more on that next week I suppose….

1. Pick a symbol that personifies the chakra

poop

I picked poop because the digestive system is intricately linked to the Solar Plexus.

More on that in my free write.

2. Color the corresponding Mandala

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Check.

3. Research the yoga poses that correlate with keeping the Chakra balanced

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Boat Pose

Bow Pose

Bow Pose

4. Read the corresponding chapters of “Chakras for Beginners.”

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5. Choose a song that describes how you feel in relationship to the Chakra

“I know you want the best

yeah, only good things for me

but you have to realize

I can’t be all these things

you project on me

Doesn’t that mean a thing?

I feel lovely

Just the way that I am

Yes, I feel lovely

The way that I am”

6. Free Write/Read

READ IT

7.Come up with an activity that connects you to the Chakra

Really I’ve been doing a LOT of research online and personal reflection.

If you want to know more then read my free write for the week.

solarplexus affirmations

Or check out some of the awesome websites I found about the Chakras

http://www.chakra-anatomy.com/solar-plexus-chakra.html

http://www.tantra-kundalini.com/manipura.htm

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Oh my, has week two been ridiculously awesome or what?!

This study is literally changing my life; the way I view myself and others.

Tis’ beautiful 🙂

1. Pick a symbol that personifies the Chakra

Female Cobra

Female Cobra

Studying the Sacral Chakra has made me keenly aware of my relationship with pleasure. A well balanced relationship can bring great happiness, beauty and joy. An unbalanced relationship has the power to harm and even kill you. Blissful moderation is key. Just as a cobra may be tamed and their terrifying power enjoyed; such is one’s relationship to things that bring pleasure such as: alcohol, food, entertainment and sex.

2. Color the corresponding mandala 

The Sacral Mandala Colored in with reds, oranges and hints of yellow

The Sacral Mandala
Colored in with reds, oranges and hints of yellow

3. Research the  Yoga Poses that correlate with keeping the Chakra balanced

Cobra Sequence

Cobra Sequence

Monday was Yoga at Laughing Lotus with the lovely Tiffany Herron. Part of our practice that night consisted of the Cobra pose; which is helpful for opening up the Sacral Chakra. And yes, it’s harder than it looks but easier than you’d expect 😉 Best part is, I wasn’t aware of the connection until today!

4. Read the corresponding chapters of “Chakras for Beginners” 

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Once again, BEAUTIFUL book.

Seriously.

You

should

check

this

out.

5. Choose a song that describes how you feel in relationship to the Chakra

“Counting Stars” by One Republic

The video even has a crocodile…which just so happens to be the animal spirit associated with the Sacral Chakra

“Everything that kills me make me feel alive….Everything that drowns me makes me wanna fly…”

6. Free Write/Read

So I altered this one a bit. Some things are better discovered through writing (the output of information) and others through reading (the input of information).

This week I finished “Faking It” . A deeply sensual story about finding oneself.

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Then I spent the rest of my week reading books that were in tune with sexuality, energy and pleasure.

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Victoria & Amara gave me the hook up on these 😉 Thank you ladies

The Peabody Library had this one.

The Peabody Library had this one.

Needless to say, I’ve been rather consumed by my love for reading.

7. Come up with an activity that connects you to the Chakra

This week has been all about seeking my greatest joy. Living in the moment. And doing what I FEEL like doing.

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So I went to Marshall, MI on Sunday with Victoria and Emily for the 50th Anniversary Historical Home Tour

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We had lots of fun on the drive there and back. Friendship IS fun.

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There was ANOTHER Art Festival going on as well (two in one weekend!!) where we mingled with fellow artists and of course I had to snag a couple of pieces to take home.

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Including this inspirational journal from Paper and i

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I spent the rest of my week basking myself in orange clothing doing all the things I never make time to do.

Like: going for a drive in the country, eating chocolate, going for long walks, picking flowers, smelling books at Barnes and Noble, day dreaming, getting hot chocolate just for the sake of getting hot chocolate, spending time with friends, napping and being awesome in general.

Yes, this week has been the perfect kick start to my Fall.

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Tomorrow begins the third (yellow) Chakra – the Solar Plexus 

“I AM”

“I FEEL”

Now it’s time for “I DO”

Stay posted 🙂 

Rachel

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This is another one of those cheap, $1.00 book store finds that I almost left on the shelf. And what a shame that would have been! “Faking It”by Elisa Lorello is a modern day novel set in Long Island. Devin a male escort and Andrea (Andi) a writing professor agree to swap lessons in love making and writing. That alone should be enough to get your blood boiling 😉

As per usual, I will include some of my favorite quotes….

“When you put a high-maintenance woman in a low-maintenance town, the woman just stands out as having it all together.”

“Now I found myself missing….but that was all I had, it seemed. Memories.”

“He both annoyed and intrigued the hell out of me.”

“I looked down at the cracks in the pavement, at the shade of royal purple polish that was chipping off my toenails, at the ant dragging a crumb to his condo in the concrete…wondering what I’d just gotten myself into with this guy, as far as I knew, had all the morals of a tomato.”

“Nothing makes a guy more anxious than a woman who is constantly uptight about her body….You can’t please a man until you please yourself. Men like women who like their bodies, who feel comfortable in their own skin.”

“I probably listen to music the way you look at a piece of art. I hear more than just the song; I hear all the little nuances of the composition.”

“Even in the darkness of the theater his eyes sparkled.”

“I was not accustomed to a man sticking around, especially in the wake of my insecurity.”

“And then the indifference of Manhattan filled my ears yet again.”

“Art is a lie that makes us realize the truth.”

“Despite the fact that we were old friends by now, the butterflies in my stomach never really dissipated.”

“But I had learned to stop waiting for things that never happen…”

“It simultaneously felt like yesterday and a lifetime ago.”

“Despite the relief of knowing, my insides swirled with sickness; I had sensed this truth all along.”

“He is both the artist and the work of art. He sees beauty, he creates beauty, and he is beauty. He is the lie that makes me realize the truth.”

“Those blue-green marbles and thick lashes folded around me and pulled me inside their warmth. I wondered if this is what it feels like for women, if this is how they want to be enveloped by men after sex, to be pulled inside and then fully embraced and enveloped with all their love and security; to feel the touch, the actual, physical touch. What does that feel like? Is that what they really mean when they say, ‘Go inside me’? I needed to know.” 

“We were so used to pushing each other away that neither of us knew any other response…I think it was the first time neither of us had anything to hide. And each saw a painful truth, indeed.”

“Or perhaps because I’ve gotten so good at silencing the voices of self-judgement that kept me from truly hearing anyone else.”………

“Because for me, the true love isn’t in the making the art; it’s being surrounded by it.”

“Life can be a series of happy mistakes.” 

 

Silly as it sounds this little book helped me uncover a world of insecurities left unacknowledged. Both men and women a like could gain a world of wealth from reading “Faking It”. You.Won’t.Be.Disappointed.

Love,

Rachel

rootchakra

 Week #1 of this study has been phenomenal! I’m so excited to be learning again. Feeding my endlessly hungry mind with new and exhilarating information. Each week, I’ve given myself homework. Seven tasks to complete in seven days.

1. Pick a symbol that personifies the Chakra. 

Roots - A symbol of the Root Chakra

Roots – A symbol of the Root Chakra

2. Color the corresponding mandala

Coloring Mandalas is an excellent meditation

Coloring Mandalas is an excellent meditation

3. Research the Yoga Poses that correlate with keeping the Chakra balanced

ROOT-CHAKRA---illustration-by-Lisa-Stannard

I’ve been practicing a lot of bridge pose 😉

4. Read the corresponding chapters of “Chakras for Beginners” 

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5. Choose a song that describes how you feel in relationship to the chakra

“I spent my life becoming invisible

It’s hard to maintain and it’s hard to get by

I don’t recall, fight or flight setting in

I had no introduction

I just breathe it in like air…..”

6. Free Write 

So I did, I wrote a lot actually.

You can read it HERE

7. Come up with an activity that connects you to the Chakra

Olive & I are painting our toe nail the color of the chakra we are studying each week

Olive & I are painting our toe nail the color of the chakra we are studying each week

This week I went for a 3 1/2 mile barefoot walk with Olivia (my study buddy);

an exercise that is supposed to help ground the body and mind {which btw check out her tumblr updates HERE}

So that’s what I’ve been up to all week….and then some 😉

Yesterday I plunged full force into my studies of the Sacral (Orange) Chakra.

Stay posted for updates!!

Much love,

Rachel

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Hello blogging world!

Guess what I did this morning??

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I walked out my front door into…

the 12th Annual Whitley County Autumn Art Festival

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Wearing this beautiful scarf that my equally beautiful room mate Amara Gilraine gave me this morning from a REAL Buddhist temple because yes, she is just that awesome.

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I was feeling connected to the colors blue and orange.

So after I walked around, saying my hellos and soaking in the atmosphere of music, art and beauty….

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….I sat on the court house steps and colored a Life Force Energy Mandala using blue, orange and brown.

People looked at me funny

BUT

it’s an ART FESTIVAL people

this is normal behavior

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Then I bought some cards by local photographer – Barb Cowen

 These will be added to my wall decor for shizzle

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Oh, and I bought some jewelry.

Rose Quartz Jewelry 

From

Lady Luck Gems

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Okay, I bought some MORE jewelry.

Seriously, you really ought to check this designer out.

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And as I took one last spin around the square I found these lovely flowers for a mere $2.

Not too bad for an impulse purchase 😉

So ya,

Over all it’s been a grand day.

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Oh, and in 12 days I get to see this strapping young lad.

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He’s been gone since MAY!!

MAY PEOPLE!!

MAY!!

{That’s my brother for those of you wondering}

Peace Out,

Rachel ❤

How was YOUR Saturday?? Leave a comment below 😉

Balance & Surrender

Late Night Journal Scribbling

Late Night Journal Scribbling

There’s a lot on my mind this morning. Not many things, just a big something that keeps reoccurring in my life as of late. A lesson. A rather heartbreaking one but isn’t that how it always goes 😉 Last night, a chapter of my life ended gently sweeping me into a new phase. Once again the bittersweet beautiful tragedy of living claims another willing victim. And I’m okay. I’ve dealt with this before and I will deal with this again and again and again. Such is life. It is what it is.

“Better to accept reality than to be traumatized by it.”

Balance & Surrender

As part of my seven week study on the chakras I am reading “Chakras for Beginners” by David Pond.  This week’s reading included the introduction and Chapter #1 dealing with the red root chakra, The format of the book starts at the bottom building a foundation of understanding as the energies build in intensity  moving upward through the Sacral, Solar Plexus, Heart, Throat, Third Eye & Crown. Pond’s writing takes on a balance view of rational understanding, emotional awareness and organized study. All of which I greatly appreciate having been thrust into extremes of overly dedicated faith without questioning and it’s polar opposite of scientific argumentation and facts only mentality. I’ve experienced both now. Been left dissatisfied with both.  So now I’m seeking a well balanced unbiased perspective. Guess sometimes we don’t know what’s best or what we need until we fully explore all options.

Balance

Having spent most of my life as a fairly unbalanced person has left me with constant areas of growth. Physically, I had to learn healthy habits when it came to food, exercise and leisure. Emotionally, I had to develop positive outlets for expression. Spiritually, I started over; with a hunger for the truth at any cost.  It hasn’t been easy.  In the past three years: I’ve shed a lot of tears both of happiness and joy.  I’ve taken a lot of detours and I’ve stayed on the path. I’ve been distracted and I’ve been focused. I’ve hurt and I’ve loved. I’ve lost and I’ve found. I’ve forgotten and I’ve remembered. I’ve fallen and I’ve gotten back up.  Three things have attributed greatly to my journey.

Tree Pose – A Yoga Practice Associated with cultivating a personal sense of balance

1. Writing – helps to clarify my thoughts and emotions. Gives me an outlet for clear communication. Provides a foundation on which I can continually build my worldview.  2. Relationships – the good, the bad, the ugly. Learning the discretion to tell when a relationship (friendship, lover, acquaintance, family….) is no longer helping me grow as a person. I’ve had to walk away plenty. Or stand my ground as others walked away from me. Each time it hurt even if followed by a wave of relief 😉 Each time I’ve gained ground as a person; establishing roots of self.  3. Yoga – mmmm yoga. At first I had a love-hate relationship with yoga. Until I realized yoga is MY practice, on MY mat, facing MYSELF. Yoga helps to keep me balanced by helping me connect with ME. Through my practice, I have learned what I am capable of and what I am not capable of….yet 🙂

“Without balance you become polarized in the area of your life that is out of balance…Balance is the way, conflict is the illusion. You must believe that balance exists somewhere and, if you are sensitive to it, you will align with it…Believe in your center. Trust that is can always be found (pg#9-10).

Surrender

Balance and surrender are intricately connected. One cannot achieve balance. One must let balance occur. In Tree Pose one must maintain balance through micro movements of adjustment. A quick forceful movement will send you toppling to the ground. Such is life. We must learn the art of surrender. Okay, this is something I am working on. I have a strong tendency to force things into being, impatience and making a mess of things in general. Somewhere in life I picked up a control freak attitude, clingy emotions and a problem with uncertainty.  I’m working hard to fix this fault in my character. Embracing my weakness. Admitting it fully. Working towards healing.  So ya, I am a little bossy at times (okay a lot), fiercely independent to the point of closing myself off from others, and over analyze like there is no tomorrow.  On the flip side, I’m a confident leader, self sufficient and a great problem solver. See where the surrender comes into view?

Liberation and emptying of self

You have to move to an observational non-judgmental point of self. You must surrender to reality before you can change it.

          “Experiencing harmony merely by aligning with the point of balance goes against our training. We’ve learned life is tough – ‘Life’s a bitch and then you die’ – a series of never-ending challenges that will eventually wear you down. If you stay ever vigilant and on your toes, you can stay one step ahead of your eventual downfall, but eventually it is going to ‘get you’. Many of us unconsciously hold these beliefs because they were imprinted upon us without our conscious awareness. These unconsciously held beliefs push us towards our lower chakras- the ‘survival of the fittest’ mentality.            Understanding your chakras can help break the yoke that ties you to the cultural beliefs you’ve assimilated. If you are often unbalanced in a particular chakra (area) , you are likely attempting to maintain an inherently false image of yourself. False, in that is is not genuine to you, and doesn’t lead you to your center, but to a state of imbalance…..these false images are incorporated into your self-image when you over-respond and adapt to others people’s view of you….this will drive you to maintain certain behavior patterns consistent with your family (and other) role(s) until you do the work of liberating yourself.            When you can identify the sources of patterns in your behavior, it is easier to overcome the reactionary behavior and enter into conscious choice of what is in your best interest. Breaking family ties and cultural imprints, whether they were spoken or unspoken, is essential to know your most genuine self. We do not want to assume that all conditioning was inappropriate; some conditioning may have lead to patterns that are perfectly healthy for you. However, it is likely that some of the imprinting was not supportive of your most  natural way of being. It is clear that an overreaction against this early imprinting would also throw you into imbalance, leading to a tendency to react rather than respond, to situations, and therefore, not allowing your conscious choice to enter in (pgs# 17-18). “

Maybe Jesus WAS onto something....

Maybe Jesus WAS onto something….

To all my Christian readers out there… I think this is what Jesus was talking about when he said you must daily “pick up your cross and follow me”. It’s an act of daily, moment by moment, surrender to reality. An acknowledgement of weakness and strength. A healthy non-stifling nor over indulgence of emotions. An attitude of honest humility coupled with genuine strength of character and respect of self.

None of that unbalanced self defeating mindless obedience.  Abundant life comes from living in harmony with self and others. Harmony comes from understanding the wisdom of allowance.

         ” Develop the witness point in consciousness to observe yourself in your life. Know that you are meant to live in harmony, and if this is not your experience, find the patterns. Observe yourself and notice the hooks that pull you out of your center. Simply said, you must let go of harmful behaviors that you are holding onto. Essentially, you depersonalize the issues by detaching yourself from them. As the saying goes, to experience harmony, let go of your need to be right (pgs#18-19). “

So that’s what I am doing…….letting go of my need to be right…..my deep rooted desire to have ALL the answers….the constant chase that always leaves me empty, alone and wondering where I went wrong…. Will you join me?? Rachel – The Slightly Over Dramatic Girly Optimist{Coming Next——–> The Red Root Chakra: The Urge for Survival} What are YOUR thoughts on balance, surrender and the relationship between the two? What sort of environment led to your current cultural conditioning? In what areas are you lacking? In what areas are you overdeveloped? What steps do you take in your personal life towards living abundantly? In what ways does your religious or spiritual upbringing make an impact on your relationship with self or the concepts of balance and surrender? Leave your comments below!! 

The Next Seven Weeks…

Never thought I’d say it but *here is comes* I miss college.

I miss the constant drive to learn. I miss the hectic schedule and running about. I miss the atmosphere of learning. I miss the opinionated professors. I miss the dull minded students, the know-it-alls, the nerds, the IT guys, the blonde daddy’s girls, the hipsters and the desperate single girls looking for a wedding ring. I miss the late nights. I miss the study dates. I miss the thick books. I miss the never ending assignments. I miss the ten minutes in between classes. I miss struggling to open my post office box. I miss the group projects that drive everyone up a wall. I miss little introverted me setting in the back soaking it all in.  I miss the hunger deep within to learn something grand and beautiful.  

That hunger is back with a fiery passion. I’m not in any position to be going back to school this Fall so I’m outlining a few areas of study on my own. Today I went to Barnes and Noble with my dear cousins – Emily and Victoria. As I browsed the walls of books neatly arranged by topic I fed the hunger. I let the hunger lead me to the religious and spiritual studies area. There I found a shelf of books long left neglected out of fear.

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I selected three controversial titles:

“Chakras for Beginners.”
“Power Mandalas”
“Harper’s Essentials – Zodiac Signs”

I’ve heard constant chatter on the seven Chakras but have never taken the time to research what all the New Age hype is about. Same goes for Mandalas (For those of you wondering, a Mandala is an intricately designed symbol used for meditation purposes). As for the Zodiac, I’ve dabbled in studies here and there and am seeking to deepen my understanding of the theory. 

So for the next seven weeks I will be studying one of the seven chakras and their corresponding mandala. Stay posted for weekly updates on my findings. That is if you’re brave enough 😉

~*~

1187261_10151522304801642_1674810187_nIn other news, I’ve set some personal goals for September. I’ll be running, walking and using the elliptical for 25 miles each this month; working my way up to my next long run of ten miles sometime this Fall!!

I’m also participating in my own personal edition of the Thirty Day Letter Challenge. I’ll be writing letters to thirty (and then some) people in an effort to cultivate inner peace, clear karma and develop a great sense of self in relation to others. Check out my categories ———————————>

I haven’t decided what letters I’ll be sending. Rather, the point is to communicate, explore, come to terms with reality, share love and develop discernment in relation to which letters would actually be worth sending out.  

This is going to be….um….interesting?

Haha. This is the month for clearing house. This is the time of transformation. This is MY month to take care of self in preparation for the coming Winter. If you’re lucky (and I’m not feeling lazy) I’ll share some of these letters with my readers. 

Like I said, stay posted!! If you haven’t already hit that subscribe button 😉 That way you’ll receive an e-mail update in real time. 

And as always, YOU are invited to join me on this journey. Grab a pad of paper and make your own list of thirty. Or explore your local book store for areas of interest to you. Life is what you make it. So get out there and create something AWESOME!!!!

Much love,

Rachel

 

 

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This book has a bit of a story behind it. I bought a copy months ago at Half Price Books . During my busy time of Spring cleaning, packing, moving, writing my memoirs, editing, and settling into my new place this poor book sat in a moving book waiting to be loved.

In June, when Amara and I traveled to Tennessee for a weekend, I brought it along. Instantly I fell in love. Unfortunately, there was little time for reading in between driving, sleeping and  enjoying Nashville 😉 Once home again I eagerly set out to finish what I had started…but the book was gone. GONE. Vanished. Without a trace.

So I headed back to Half Price Books with Victoria and purchased a new copy. Paperback this time (my personal preference). Only to find out a week later that I had left my original book in the car we had borrowed for our Nashville Trip.  So now, Amara’s uncle has a copy of this magical book. And I’ve fallen in love with the Dalai Lama.

I mean, who couldn’t love this man?? With remarks subtly placed throughout the book from Victor Chan describing the Dalai Lama’s character, quirks and personality it’s impossible not to…

“The Dalai Lama, however, wears his soul on his face.”

 “He gave me a bear hug and then he was off”

“But he is also a very strong-willed person…”

“His facial muscles were vital and supple; they seemed to belong to someone in his twenties….When he is happy, he is one hundred percent happy. No other sentiments creep in to adulterate the sensation…the Dalai Lama was totally at ease with displaying his emotions. He was not ashamed of his feelings; he saw no reason to be self-conscious or embarrassed about them….He doesn’t get too attached to things- including his own emotions.”

Then I fell in love with his words….

“The Dalai Lama replied, ‘I analyze like this: if I develop bad feelings toward those who make me suffer, this will only destroy my own peace of mind. But if I forgive, this will only destroy my own peace of mind. But if I forgive, my mind becomes calm. Now, concerning our struggle for freedom, if we do it without anger, without hatred, but with true forgiveness, we can carry that struggle even more effectively. Struggle with calm mind, with compassion. Through analytical meditation, I now have full conviction that destructive emotions like hatred is no use. Nowadays, anger, hatred, they don’t come. But little irritation sometimes come.”

“I feel that I have no right to send them out with an extra burden of my own.” 

“Compassion is something like a sense of caring, a sense of concern for others’ difficulties and pain,” the Dalai Lama said. “Not only family and friends, but all other people. Enemies also. Now, if we really analyze our feelings, one thing becomes clear. If we think only of ourselves, forget about other people, then our minds occupy very small area. Inside that small area, even tiny problem appears very big. But the moment you develop a sense of concern for others, you realize that, just like ourselves, they also want happiness; they also want satisfaction. When you have this sense of concern, your mind automatically widens. At this point, your own problems, even big problems, will not be so significant. The result? Big increase in peace of mind. So, if you think only of yourself, only your happiness, the result is actually less happiness.  You get more anxiety, more fear.

So this is what I think of as the compassionate effect: if you really want genuine happiness, then whatever method you use to get it is worthwhile. And the best method is: when you think of others, you’ll be the first to get maximum benefit.” 

Read the book. If nothing else, read the book.

It will change your life.

It will challenge your relationship with yourself.

It will make you uncomfortable.

It will demand attention in areas of your life long left unattended.

Love,

Rachel

colormeradbefore

See these three smiling faces? Remember them. Kiki, Myself & Razi. Two of my best work friends. We signed up for the Color Me Rad 5K back in February. Now that the day had finally arrived we were STOKED.  At 6:00am we crawled out of my sleeping loft (after a measly hour of slumber), dressed, got coffee and headed to Fort Wayne, IN.

Color Me Rad (CMR), is a 5K run that is advertised as the “Happiest Five K” on earth. During your 3.1 mile loop color bombs of colored cornstarch are thrown at you at various points intermixed with liquid color stations where color is sprayed. CMR is not for the shy. Your personal space is violated in so many ways it actually is kinda funny.

I loved running this with Kiki and Razi. Between fits of giggles and coughing we managed to survive. CMR, really is the happiest 5k on earth. Or at least the happiest one I’ve attended. Seeing a mob of white shirts ready to be exploded on gets your blood pumping. The crazy outfits, tutus, and wigs put a smile on your face. And losing all sense of time rather freeing.

After the run, we made our way to the after party stage. Within a few moments we had shimmied our way to the front of the stage. Color packets were being thrown by the dozens. And every few minutes the DJ had everyone hold up their open packets and thrown them in the air at once with kick ass music blasting. My friends, you have not lived until you’ve danced in a color cloud. I liken it to a rainbow and a unicorn making love.

Yes, it’s THAT mind blowing.

So mind blowing, that after going 3.1 miles on an hour of sleep we still managed to dance for an hour and a half. Needless to say, I took a nap afterwards 😉

Once we emerged from the cloud of happiness Kiki, Razi and I took a LOT of pictures.

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So, how would I rate CMR??

*A FULL FIVE STARS*

Only, ladies…beware….for some odd reason this shit is impossible to remove from your boobies. All three of us had color bras outlined on our skin after showering 😉

So maybe…

4.9 stars?

=P

Forgiveness has always been a difficult concept for me. With varying theories on definitions and applications; one can easily find their mind in knots.

Questions like: “Does forgiveness mean forgetting an offense?” “If I forgive a person does that mean I still have to talk to them?” “What if after forgiving someone I still want nothing to do with them?” “”What happens when I the person doesn’t even realize they hurt me or doesn’t think they’re wrong?” “How can I balance forgiveness with feelings of hurt, anger or disappointment?” “Can trust be rebuilt?”

I don’t have the answers.

But I will share what I have learned…

There are those who will take advantage of a forgiving heart. There are those who will never appreciate your forgiveness. There are those who will wave your hurt in front of the world demanding an apology of their own.

In these scenarios I’ve come to realize that revenge is never the answer. Choosing retaliation doesn’t make two wrongs a right. Honesty is always the best policy. Some discrepancies are better left quiet; others deserve recognition when asked. You must use your discretion but NEVER lie. If you don’t want to talk about it then tell that noisy co-worker of yours to bug off. Just remember, bottling emotions will only make the situation worse. If you are hurt but aren’t willing to admit so then you’re not being fair to the other person. Relationships are messy. They require communication. And sometimes that communication requires being brutally honest about how someone made you feel. You must be willing to explore your own heart before expecting anyone else to do the same.

Everyone you love will hurt you. What you do with that hurt is up to you. How forgiveness is lived out is unique to each situation. You’ve got to decide boundaries for yourself on what is a hill to die on and what isn’t a hill to die on. Some things can be acknowledged then moved past without a second thought. Others take time to work through. And sometimes things can’t be overlooked.
If you find yourself at such an impasse – Good Luck- you’re gonna need it. There’s a difference between stubbornness and ignorance. Someone that isn’t willing to admit fault may not be aware of the impact their actions or it could just be a misunderstanding or they could just be an asshole that doesn’t care. That’s where honesty and discretion comes into play.

What is your definition of forgiveness? How do you deal with offenses in your relationships? What do you do when someone doesn’t admit fault?

My

My heart is full

My heart is bursting

My heart is yours for the taking

My soul is pure

My soul is clear

My soul is free because of your love

My body is changing

My body is strong

My body is yours for the loving

All that I am

wants to share

all that you are

Let me love you dear

That is the greatest gift you’ve given

Simply letting me love you

That’s all I ask

The one who chooses to accept my love

is the one who will receive it.

Can’t shake this feeling

that I’m waiting

for something

Itching

to know

what might be

Closing my eyes

Because

I’m afraid

to see

Pushing

others away

When all I want

is for you

to stay

I know

I’m a bit

of a mess

How could I not?

When you tell me

all the time

This is something

something

big

I’m going through

Years of abuse

to undo

Some wounds

never heal

Some scars

we can’t hide

Just love me

where I am

who I am

what I am

This is me

walk with me

or let me

be

I’m mending

a broken heart

forced to face

our faulty start.

Again and again

we circle round.

Again and again

we lose ground.

Baby, you can’t

make amends

for all your

empty promises

and every single

call you missed.

Say you’re sorry

a million times.

Heartfelt apologies

I can’t deny.

I’ll forgive you

once again.

If only you’d

let me in

to the places

you like to hide.

Into the battle

of your mind.

I gave you up

once before.

I’m left wanting

more and more.

With each goodbye

I dread hello.

With each high

I fear the low.

If this is love

then count me out.

If this is us

I’ll start to doubt

there’s any hope

of happiness.

There’s got to be

more than this.

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You say it’s my fault

that were no longer friends

with the same lips that swore

what it was we could ‘work it out’.

Guess I wasn’t aware that meant

sweeping all the heartache under the rug.

Dust collecting in heaps beneath us all

never to be looked at again.

Then you wonder why things were bumpy

we’re both standing on uneven ground

hoping things just work themselves out.

They won’t

So I grabbed my mess and ran away.

Cleaning the cobwebs of my soul.

Things left stagnant for too long.

Making progress each new day

I can’t just look the other way.

Out trust is broken- left in shards

Our friendship broken- torn apart

Communication was never clear

my emotions floating past your ears.

Forgiveness can only do so much

You’ve gotta learn to love it all

the brokenness within our faults.

I love you as you are

though you ignore my broken heart.

So point the finger and pin the blame.

When I’m gone will you feel the same?

Stubbornness is stopping us

We’ve gotta rebuild trust

Otherwise that rug you’re standing on

will bend our being and break our bones.

Maybe we are better apart

Maybe it’s no one’s fault

I’m angry

being asked to look away

I’m angry

for once I know that’s okay

I’m angry

At the words you refuse to say

I’m angry

got to fave myself

I’m angry

at the cards I’m dealt

I’m angry

trying hard not to dwell

I’m angry

Time to look inside

I’m angry

gotta find out why

I’m angry

this is gonna take some time

Hi.

My name is Rachel Sproles.

I’m twenty-four years old.

And I just ran eight mothereffing miles today.

481998_4386742989946_716500142_n (1)This was me a year ago on my birthday. At my heaviest I weighed 196 pounds. Today I weigh 172 pounds. I share this information because most people are afraid to. Back in January of 2013, I decided to start taking my health seriously. The girl you see in the picture next to the prettiest pink tractor you ever did see wasn’t capable of running eight miles. Not because of her weight; though it does make it more difficult. No, that girl couldn’t run because she didn’t believe she could. Years of being told otherwise had taken their toll. Until one day she decided to prove the world otherwise.

January and February were two loooooong months filled with walking 1-3 miles every other day on the Blue River Trail in Columbia City, Indiana.  My goal was to change my habits. I already had learned to love my body just the way it was. My energy level was lacking and that’s what I wanted to change. When I looked in the mirror I loved every inch of skin, flab and stretch mark. I knew that if I couldn’t love myself at my “worst” then I would never love any changes that took place. I didn’t want to buy into the grass-is-always-greener-mentality that I had witnessed so many friends and acquaintances readily fall into. I wanted to love all of me before trying to improve any part of me. So I focused on the little things. Baby steps towards healthy Rachel. I walked through the worst two months of winter. Bundling up. Earbuds in. One foot in front of the other.

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I lost ten pounds in those two months without even trying. At the same time, I focused on my diet. Cutting out junk food over time. Learning to fulfill my cravings with healthier options. I joined the YMCA.   Dedicating myself to hitting the gym four days a week. Starting with the elliptical and weight machines; I expanded my comfort zone by facing the demons inside I’d grown to love. In March, I added Yoga to my exercise program. And continued my struggle towards running a mile solid. The weight continued to melt off without me even trying.

In April, I ran my first 5K with my dear friends, Ben & Chad.  These two have been like brothers to me. Offering support physically, emotionally and spiritually. Running with them brought out all the less than perfect parts of my person. Some of my fondest memories are of the times we laced up to run outside exactly when I didn’t want to. Struggling for breath I would verbally express whatever emotion was coming to the surface. We’d talk it out. Sweat it out. Work it out. Until I had conquered that particular demon. That’s the beauty of running for me. I am so focused on maintaining control of my breath that I’m forced to face whatever fear lies deep within begging to be surfaced.

100MEDIA95IMAG0100Fast forward to May. I ran my second 5K race – solo this time. My mama walked her first 5K. And I couldn’t be any more proud of her. Since then, she has taken steps towards substituting healthier habits and food options for the family.  After the race, I started training for my first 10K race.Which ended up not happening but resulted in a personal run of 6.5 miles instead of 6.2 

After that race, my fitness bug experienced a sudden squashing. My body hit a stopping point. Twenty-four pounds of myself had vanished. The rest remained. Stubbornly shifting fat into muscle. I stopped calorie counting. There was no longer a need to. I had learned how to maintain a healthy “diet” effortlessly; even allowing myself to enjoy an occasional treat or two. Part of me felt like something was missing. While I had learned to love 196 pound Rachel…I was struggling to love 172 pound Rachel. Strange I know. After three years of hiding behind my weight my safety net was gone.

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The end of June, I cut off all my hair as a symbol of: independence, celebration, self-love and victory. I didn’t want to be the girl who hid behind long hair, excuses and unhealthy habits. I ran away to Tennessee with Amara.  For my first REAL “grown up” road trip. In less than three days our friendship graduated to sister-ship.  This woman is beautiful inside and out. I am so grateful to have her in my life. And now *big announcement time* living with me!  Her friendship is genuine. We fall so naturally into each other. Tonight we celebrate her moving in with a candle burning ceremony.

Amara helped me realized the importance of balance in life. There’s a time for everything; the key point being moderation. July was a month filled with parties, food and an insane amount of friends. I am happy to say I’ve maintained my weight without even trying to. I want to enjoy my life without being attached to a limiting fitness schedule. Eventually, I will make it to my goal of running a marathon! The Veteran’s Marathon is November 9th. I have no idea how prepared I’ll be by then but I WILL be running that day….just don’t know how far.

I tried sticking to a rigid running schedule and failed miserably. I ended up hating running all together. So I decided to focus on strength training by running shorter distances at a faster pace. My fastest mile time is 10:28. My personal goal for the month is to run a mile in ten minutes or less. Runkeeper  is my tool of choice for record keeping. I started using it back in April after my first race. Being able to look back over the past four months has helped me stay focused on exactly how much I have improved.

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Four months ago….

My fastest mile was 13:30. Today it’s 10:28.

The furthest I could run was 3.1 miles. Today I ran eight.

I just started running. In four months I’ve run over 90 miles.

I could barely make it through a shift at work without feeling exhausted. Today I’m frequently told how I “glide across the dining room”.

I was physically weak. Today I am basking in my own personal strength.

I struggled to believe in myself. Today I confidently conquered a goal.

That girl you see in the picture there is still Rachel. Only even MORE so. Each day, she is becoming more and more comfortable in her own skin. Eager to share her journey. Happy. Thriving. Alive.

Grateful for all the love in her life. Celebrating a year of personal victory. Surrounded by a community of support. Still putting one foot in front of the other. I may have had to walk through some awful moments to get here but it was worth every step. And though I may want to give up…and though I may have to slow down…and though I’m not quite where I want to be {YET}….

I AM BETTER THAN I ONCE WAS

As long as, that rings true I know I am headed in the right direction.

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Love,

Rachel 🙂 ❤

 

P.S. For details of my eight mile run click this LINK

 

This morning was so awful that I literally went back to bed and started over. Awake once again, I felt:  weary, broken and vulnerable. Ironically, that’s when I feel the most motivation. Two months has passed since my last long run of 6.5 miles.    I’d lost my taste for running. Dwindled my mileage down to one mile runs every now and then.  The pressures of marathon training overwhelmed me. Twenty-six miles seemed impossible.

They say you’re only supposed to increase your long runs by 10% each time. So after a couple months of short runs I felt super behind. Maybe because according to my schedule I am. haha. Those close to me know that I have a hard time sticking to a strict schedule. It’s not that I can’t. It’s that I don’t want to. And I’ve been in the business of blazing my own trail for the past year and a half. The free spirit in me doesn’t like even the hint of being tied to something. The idea of having children terrifies me. Honestly, I don’t want to be responsible for anyone other than me. Let alone another being for eight-teen years. Yes, I know that may change in time. For now though, this is where I am at.

If my heart isn’t in something then it can’t be done. I am not a half-way sort of girl. Either I am going to do something right or not at all.

The night before my twenty-fourth birthday I set my training schedule on fire. As I watched the ashes crumble in my kitchen sink I felt free from outside expectations and my own personal criticism. I decided that my next long run would be eight miles (so much for the 10% increase). I didn’t set a deadline. From that moment on, I was going to center myself by focusing on my intuition. Somewhere along the way I had stopped listening to my body. The plan was not to have a plan. Rather, I would live my life. Staying active in various ways until I knew the moment had come to face myself again during an eight mile run.

These long runs are EXTREMELY personal to me.

My first solo 5K: I went through the entire alphabet listing people that started with each letter. Making a mental list of the lessons they had brought into my life.

My first 10k: I ran a mile for each of my brothers: Shawn, Michael, Malachi, Camren, Colby and then 1.5 for myself. Concentrating my love and thoughts on our relationship, memories and journey.

Today’s 8 miles: I ran a mile for seven loves and a mile for myself….

  • Mile #1 – For the love of my life that I had to walk away from to stay true to myself. Listening to Foster the People.  Fastest Mile.
  • Mile #2 – For my best friend that I had to let go. Listening to Daft Punk & Death Cab for Cutie. Easiest Mile.
  • Mile #3 – For my godfather, Terry. Listening to Stacey Koziel. Restful Mile.
  • Mile #4 – For my soul mate, Victoria (in a totally non-lesbian way). Listening to The Lumineers. Hardest mile mentally.  
  • Mile #5 – For my sister, Amara. Listening to Glen Hansard. Happiest Mile.
  • Mile #6 – For my father. Listening to Parachute. Hardest Mile Physically.
  • Mile #7 – For my mother. Listening to Parachute, Dubstep & Medicine for the People. Longest Mile.
  • Mile #8 – For ME. Listening to He is We & Death Cab for Cutie. Most Empowering Mile.

Dripping in sweat, sore beyond comprehension, I stumbled to the stretching mats. There I breathed into my muscles while writing out the raw  snippets of  clarity I found within myself in relationship to each of my loves. This is how I will continue my journey to 26 miles. Facing myself on that treadmill. Placing one foot in front of the other until I am done facing my demons. Guess I’ll be running for the rest of my life….

 

Sometimes & Other Times

Sometimes, I suck at life

The daily

normal things.

Sometimes, my expectations

can get

in the way.

Sometimes

I act a fool

and give my heart away.

Sometimes

I lose myself

and let things run astray.

Other times, I excel in love

the hardest

of devotions.

Other times, my brokenness

exposes

my emotions.

Other times

I act alive

and take a risk or two

Other times

I find myself

and end up loving you.

Me Before You

Image

I fear that the intermingling of our souls

Will be both the mending and the breaking

of our persons

People seem to come and go

healing past hurts left by others

before leaving wounds of their own

for someone else to come along

and heal

I’ve broken many hearts

(Or so I’m told)

Now they’re telling me

I’ve broken yours

I can see it in your eyes

In the way you say

or don’t say things

There’s a secret

lying behind your lips

a secret

not even I can release

You’re afraid

to tell me

I’m afraid

for your heart

knowing full well that

with each exciting detail

with each personal victory

I’m letting you down

by falling in love

with the man

who broke my heart

(the one you helped to mend)

the man who won’t

try to change me

who adores me

as is

who somehow found the courage

deep inside

to tell me how he feels

the secret

hiding within your lips

I make you out to be a Demon

when really you’re my God

I’ve tried so hard to hate you

Instead, I fell in love

male_demon_by_CFBear272

If you say you’re sorry

I won’t bat an eye

I’ll smile and say thank you

For the awful thing you did

Then you’ll look at me in awe

Wondering why I’m not upset

Conflicted by my forgiveness

and apathetic bliss

If you say you’re sorry

and try to make it right

I’ll let you do what’s needed

to help you sleep at night

but I’m over it already

There’s no need to fix a thing

my heart’s already mended

I fixed it all myself

If you say you’re sorry

I’ll be polite and play along

You’ll be none the wiser

Until I ‘m moving on

The cycle is over

Done with-complete

Cuz’ if you really mean it

You won’t expect a thing

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Image1. The strength to walk away from anything that is no longer a reflection of who they are or want to become: During my lifetime I’ve learned the necessity of walking one’s own path. Sometimes this means walking away from friendships, opportunities, expectations of others, self-doubt, lovers, a job, family or poisonous relationships. Leaving the comfort of familiarity is never easy. At times, we can become attached to dysfunction because it’s comfortable.

Image2. The courage to love without expectation. Loving completely requires a risk of rejection whether it be your love is scoffed at or taken for granted. Somewhere along the lone you will be hurt loving others. And sometimes your love will ask you to walk away when you need to stay; or to stay when you ought to walk away.   That’s when you need …

Image3. The discipline to be alone. In a world bent on distraction, it is imperative to make time for yourself. Run away to a place of solitude so you can center yourself. If you’re constantly in the presence of others you are neglecting the necessity of spending time separate long enough to define your path apart from others. How can you love if you don’t love yourself? How can you walk away if you don’t know what you are walking towards? Take time for yourself in clarity. Whenever I am unsure or lose my way I escape to my place of solitude – the courthouse steps. There, high above the busy streets and bustling businesses I find clarity. I don’t let myself leave until I am at peace. This is my sanctuary. My place of perfection. Here I find myself…until I lose myself once more…only to return and find myself again.

Image4. Never say forever. That’s right. Never ever, ever, EVER say forever. There’s no sense in forever. Forever is an empty promise. All you have is right now. Making empty promises with good intentions still makes you an awful person. Prove rather than promise. Actions mean a lot more than words. If you love someone show them. Don’t promise something you have no control over. All relationships end- either one of you die or you break up. All things change. And us with them.

Image5. You hold the key to your happiness. Don’t let anyone or anything else hold the key. If you want to be happy, then by God, BE HAPPY. Yes, it’s a choice. No amount of things, people or circumstances can change that. If you want to be happy then empty yourself of all earthly pleasures and see what you’re made of.

Rachel

P.S. Maybe someday I’ll have some little kiddos to pass these life lessons onto…until then, I hope a reader or two gained some life knowledge 😉

Emotional Abuse

You make me feel repulsive

You make me feel unworthy

You make me feel lost

I’m not ready to forgive you

I’ll do it anyway

You make me feel alone

You make me feel afraid

You make me feel guilty

I’m not ready to forgive you

I’ll do it anyway

You make me feel naive

You make me feel slow

You make me feel ridiculous

I’m not ready to forgive you

I’ll do it anyway

You make me feel exactly

how I let you make me feel

What I allow is what will continue…

I’m not ready to forgive you

It’s my fault anyway

 Image

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True love

is always weeping

aching

deep within.

Crumbling

in a corn field

cold earth

beneath our bodies,

I held you

as you felt

the intensity

of your love

for him.

The muscles

in your face

contorted

scrunched

frozen

in an expression

that silently

broke my heart.

Never before

have you looked

so beautiful.

I told you this

with the sun

glowing majestically

at your back.

In that moment

 I knew you felt

embarrassed

broken

vulnerable

weak

and you were.

At your darkest moment

you shone the brightest.

I shed a tear

for you,

my best friend

 my soul mate

my better half

my sister

loyal to a fault.

I knew this was a pain

you needed to embrace.

I knew this was a moment

you would look back on

as the day you chose

to love yourself.

An overwhelming

wave of warmth

consumed me.

To be privileged

to see you

in this rawness.

 The nakedness

of your love.

Beautiful.

You give until

you’re spent

then somehow

find more

to love with.

For this

I admire your heart

adore your soul

am blessed to call you mine.

A heart

I’d be crushed

to break

a soul

I’d be devastated

 to lose.

We watched the sunset

rays of warmth

spread across our skin

lying on the earth

soaking it in

crying

laughing

certain in our uncertainty

Happy and free

during our sorrow

Letting go

opening up

free to love

again.

images{Life’s Biggest Disappointment} The biggest disappointment in life is the moment you realize that love is not enough. Being in love and being loved in return does not guarantee that you’ll end up with an ‘Happily Ever After’. Love is a fickle beast; demanding heartache and devastation. Good intentions are rarely good enough. Falling in love a dangerous venture for love has no safety net.

Another-500-Days-of-Summer-Scene-500-days-of-summer-15340174-500-596

{The Truth About “True Love”} I used to be one of those ‘True Love’ fanatics that believed ‘True Love’ – the purest of all loves- could overcome any obstacle. That loving someone meant overlooking all their faults and grievances. That “True Love” was encompassed in one person who would complete your existence entirely.   

Then I fell in love.

And realities started popping up left and right.

Like what if the person you love….

  • Has a different set of goals in life?
  • Constantly hurts you unintentionally?
  • Annoys the hell out of you?
  • Has really bad morning breath?
  • Takes you for granted?
  • Loathes your taste in music?
  • Makes you want to shoot yourself in the face after an hour in their presence?
  • Repulses you?
  • Doesn’t believe you love them?
  • Cheats on you?
  • Doesn’t think they deserve to be with you?

These are all important issues to consider rather than sweep under the rug. The starry eyed romanticized optimistic fairy tale once in a lifetime “True Love” doesn’t exist. So stop looking for it. You won’t find it.

What you will find is the sort of love that fills you up then leaves you dry. The sort of love that gives you wings then laughs as you fall on your ass from the sky. Love that demands heartache. Love that makes a mess of things. A love that can’t look the other way countless times without hurting everyone involved.

Now, I am not saying loving someone doesn’t include an element of forgiveness. Rather I’m saying love has to face reality. Love itself is not enough. And loving yourself is required when loving others. Love must be willing to get angry and express disappointment. Love has to be honest, transparent, and blunt. Love cannot sugar coat. Love must demand attention when dealing with outside circumstances and factors. Love reciprocated doesn’t secure a happy ending.

500-days-of-summer-comic 1

{500 Days of Summer} 500 Days of Summer is a film that changed my outlook on love entirely.

If you haven’t seen it please find a copy tonight and watch it. Hit up Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, Family Video or Red Box.  Or if you live in my area hit me up to borrow my copy (Caution if you don’t return it I shall hunt you down).  

From the opening scene the narrator makes it painstakingly clear that this is a love story that ends in heartache. Throughout the film we watch as two quirky co-workers, Thomas and Summer, fall in love. The progression of the story is spread across 500 Days documenting the highs and lows of Summer and Tom’s relationship; in scenes that jump back and forth across the 500 Day timeline.

As viewers, we experience the darkest moments of their love: intense disappointment, misunderstandings, disagreements, acceptance of cruel circumstances and hateful words. Along with the beautiful moments of: intimacy, laughter, shared joy, forgiveness and delight.

Love is presented in all it’s raw moments of tragic splendor. Needless to say, Tom and Summer do not end up together. All the hoping in the world doesn’t change the outcome so clearly stated in the beginning of the film. In the end, you feel the intensity of their fate. Teary eyed and perhaps a little angry you eventually accept the fact that “Some people are meant to fall in love with each other but not be together.” 

And that realization, hopefully, sticks with you for the rest of your life.

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Balance

 

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And somethings in life
are too beautiful
far too precious
to actually
be happening
Heart please don’t
Float away
Reason give me
the will to stay
All this beauty
is breaking my heart
Why can’t I
just be happy
going on
my merry way
Becuase I care
far too much
to let this moment
slip through my
fingertips
What they say
turned out to be true
patience
is worth the wait
for all things change
you can fight it
but you can’t stop
or else
you’ll be playing
catch up in the end
So go with the flow
and run with the tide
For this
is the way of life
Don’t fear the beauty
or dread the rest
Adjust your sails
feel the wind
in your hair
The sun on
your face
Somethings in life are
far too fleeting
far too retreating
Here for an instance
then gone for good

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Family

The blood that flows

through our veins

speaks of love

and bonds

thicker than

biological connection

The breath that drifts

in and out

of our lungs

whispers warmth

and relief

stronger than

life itself

The bond that grows

between

our hearts

blossoms over time

identifying us

as sisters

born apart

images (4)Today I went on a walk with two of the most perfect women alive: Amara Gilraine and Olivia Gangwer. Then I spent my afternoon cooling off in my air conditioned apartment overlooking the courthouse while reading a delightful book by Jewel called “A  Night Without Armor” before heading into work for a few hours. Now I am enjoying an evening at home contemplating the beauty of Jewel’s poetry while waiting on the best friend to get off work.

Yes, I know my life is awesome. No worries dear reader, I am about to share some awesomeness with you. This little book was surprisingly awesome. A Half Price Books $1 find. Despite my skepticism, something was drawing me to the pages of this mysterious book. A month or two later, when I actually got around to reading it, I was awestruck by it’s beauty. Jewel’s poetry is raw, simply vivid,  emotional, breathtaking and tragically honest.

Following are three of her poems from this collection that spoke to me personally. If you like what you read then check out “A Night Without Armor” at your local library (remember to use the Evergreen System if you are a fellow Hoosier) or hunt the shelves of Half Price Books for a copy of your own.

 

~*~

So Just Kiss Me

So just kiss me and let my hair

messy itself in your fingers

tell me nothing needs to be done

no clocks need winding 

There is no bell without a voice

needing to borrow my own

instead, let me steady myself

in the arms

of a man who won’t ask me to be

what he needs, but lets me exist

as I am

a blonde flame

a hurricane

wrapped up

in a tiny body

that will come to his arms

like the safest harbor

for mending

The Inertia of a Lonely Heart

The world is full of cripples

and endless nights

and broken fruit

and calls that never come through

and restless dreams

that fear being awake

and stars that lose themselves

and waves that are always leaving

and bitten mouths

and lonely bars

and rosy nipples

rosy as dawn

rosy as the first blush of youth

and tired people

and lonely hearts

opening, orbiting

crashing into open mouths

and hungry eyes

and empty-handed lovers;

the inertia of loneliness

a miserable force

Shush

Can you imagine

how silent

a plane crash would be

if you were deaf?

How unbearably loud a rape? 

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Beneath Your Beautiful

Pre 4th of July Celebration :)

Enjoying our pre 4th celebration: Jen and I

Been crazy busy as of late. Between celebrating with friends, organizing the apartment, working out, running and waiting tables I’ve hardly had time to catch my breath since our trip to Tennessee.  On the third, after a horrible night at work, a few friends and I had an impromptu get together at my apartment to celebrate the 4th of July.

Decided to call off work (something I NEVER do) to enjoy my holiday at the lake with Ben doing absolutely nothing but watching the  party on the lake. Then on the 6th, I headed to Rome City to watch the fireworks with my cousins.

Emily, me and Victoria; watching the Rome City Fireworks on July 6th

Emily, me and Victoria; watching the Rome City Fireworks on July 6th

Then I headed back into the world of waiting tables: a profession I have come to love deeply on many levels. An abundance of life lessons and friendships have come about because of it. When I think about all the bullshit I’ve learned to handle….all the life changing  relationships I have been blessed with….all the days I’ve been pushed to my limit…all the random surprises…and genuine people I’ve met….I feel slightly overwhelmed.

My girl Razi and I hard at work ;)

My girl Razi and I hard at work 😉

It’ll be three years in September that I’ve been working in the restaurant business. What they say is true; it really does take a special kind of person to wait tables. If it’s not your passion then you’ll be miserable. You can make a small fortune turning tables if you know what you’re doing.

Signs it's been a good night

Signs it’s been a good night

I’ve also had a surplus of best friend time this week. Victoria helped me decorate my apartment. Helps to have a tall friend when you’re nailing things into the wall. haha.

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I also got to spend a rather enthusiastic evening with Ben: drinking, listening to music and  burning a box of things symbolizing old parts of my life that I am letting go of to make room for new and exciting ventures.

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Now I am back to waiting tables this weekend, pulling doubles, while trying to squeeze in some writing and hanging out with friends. Life is good. I truly am blessed.

Rachel ❤

Here comes July!!

Oh, July. Warm days. Bonfires. Lightening bugs. Fireworks, Cook outs. Races galore. Water fights. Road trips. Adventure around every corner!! Yes, this month is going to be one for the record books.

June is not to be neglected. The past month was a great transition month. I felt as though the past six months of change solidified themselves with the passing of June and coming of July. I decided to celebrate becoming a better me by chopping off all my hair. No worries, all those locks are being donated to an organization that makes wigs for cancer patients.

Before

 

After

After

 

Bold new look? Check. Awesome road trip? Hell ya!

This past weekend, Amara and I headed to Tennessee for celebratory road trip. Each of us celebrating different milestones by driving to Nashville to see “Bad Books” on her 20th birthday. Hope you’re ready for an explosion of photographs…

On the road. Happy to be leaving Indiana for a bit.

On the road. Happy to be leaving Indiana for a bit.

Zolli's Kofee

Zolli’s Kofee

 

Happy Birthday Beautiful!!!

Happy Birthday Beautiful!!!

 

Me

Me

 

Collage wall of art at Zolli's

Collage wall of art at Zolli’s

 

Do. Epic. Shit.  Nashville knows what's up

Do. Epic. Shit.
Nashville knows what’s up

 

 

 

 

 

Chilling in Down Town Nashville Celebrating Her 20th Birthday!

Chilling in Down Town Nashville Celebrating Her 20th Birthday!

Our Adorable Cabin

Our Adorable Cabin

 

Tickets for 3rd and Lindsley

Tickets for 3rd and Lindsley

 

Opening Act – Harrison Hudson

 

Bad Books: Kevin Devine & Andy Hull

Bad Books: Kevin Devine & Andy Hull

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All dolled up for the show. I love this woman 🙂 ❤

Heading Home. Sketched out by the creepy truck stop with a caving in ceiling and shady looking characters. Happy to have made it out alive.

Heading Home. Sketched out by the creepy truck stop with a caving in ceiling and shady looking characters. Happy to have made it out alive.

 

Darling Little Elizabeth Town. Great Detour!!

Darling Little Elizabeth Town. Great Detour!!

 

What a life changing adventure! In 72 hours we made so many new connections. I truly feel like I came home a different woman. So watch out world. Amara, thank you for all the work you put into planning this trip. I love you girl! And am super blessed to have shared this experience with you.

In other news…this month was the kick start of my half- marathon training schedule. Yesterday, my best friend/cousin Victoria came down to see me for a few hours. We decided to go for a 3 mile run around town and through the trails in the park. This was her first time running outside and with a partner. Perfect weather for it too!

Those 3 miles were worth it in the end. Enjoying that wonderful feeling of accomplished soreness.

Those 3 miles were worth it in the end. Enjoying that wonderful feeling of accomplished soreness.

So folks, that’s been my transition into Summer. Tonight Ben and I are going to the fireworks here in Columbia City and running in the morning. And then there’s a crazy jam packed week of celebration to follow. Stay posted 🙂

 

Rachel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“And Run”

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Today I ran my first Ten K.

Actually, more than that. 6.5 miles all together…. despite the fact that I am in the “danger” zone with my asthma right now.

1 mile for each of my phenomenal brothers: Shawn (22), Michael (19), Malachi (15), Camren (9) & Colby (8). Then another 1.5 miles for myself while listening to And Run by He is We on repeat.

<—– Here I am all sticky and gross after my run. Feeling rather empowered as a runner. Next race marker is the half marathon. I’ll be adding to my endurance and strength training the next couple of months with hopes of working myself up to 13.1 miles.

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——–> Here I am feeling refreshed after a nice cold shower. Taking the rest of the day off to  enjoy an evening at the Huntington Drive-In with the bestie.

Kinda wish I had the courage,
A bit of bravery.
So tired of waiting on a man to come and save me.
Wishing I had everything,
Or something really.
I do admit it,
But now I’m thinking freely.

I’m going to open my mind to all these,
New found exciting possibilities.

I’m making all my own plans,
Throwing all my old ones away.
Gonna grow up, Be someone.
Draw a map, find a path.
Take a breath and run.
And run.

Filling my head with words to encourage me,
Gotta get my act so straight so I can truly believe.
That what I’m waiting for, is really worth the wait.
Stop bringing myself down,
I gotta know what makes me great.

I’m going to open my mind to all these,
New found exciting possibilities.

Oh ah oh ah oh ah oh oh.
I’m making all my own plans,
Throwing all my old ones away.
Gonna grow up, Be someone.
Draw a map, find a path.
Take a breath and run.

I am trying to get past this,
Be better than I once was.
Tired of waiting, on someone else.
I am trying to get past this,
Be better than I once was.
Tired of waiting on someone else,
I can fix it by myself.
Oh ah oh ah oh ah oh oh.
I’m finally taking a stand,
I’ve learned from all my mistakes.
I’m making all my own plans,
Throwing all my old ones away.
Gotta grow up, be someone.
Draw a map, find a path.
Take a breath and run.

Run, run, run, run.
Run, run, run, run.

The Race I Didn’t Run

Yesterday was supposed to be my first Ten K. A race Ben and I have had on our calender for over a month. The plan was to wake up early, drive to Lagro, and do my best despite all the breathing problems I’ve been having this past week.

Instead, we had a Murphy’s Law kind of morning. Almighty Google let us down when it came to directions. We spent all morning driving endlessly into unfamiliar territory hoping for the best. A forty-five minute drive ended up as a two hour quest that brought us to the starting line blocked off from the registration area forced to watch the punctual participants take off. Needless to say- we missed the race.

And even though everything went “wrong” I am super grateful things turned out the way they did. As we sat in the truck, watching the race go by I realized something something- I am one bad ass runner.

Three months ago I was struggling to even run a measly mile.  Now I can run five; and am ready to conquer six. Most of the runners weren’t even running. Barely a quarter mile in and they had resorted to walking. Not running this race was exactly what I needed.

Thank you Ben for driving three hours in the middle of nowhere so I could experience a moment of empowerment as a runner.

A huge thanks to my wonderful support team who cheered me on for the race I didn’t get to run 😉 There aren’t any Ten K races in July close enough for me to run. So Ben and I are running our own Ten K on Tuesday. Then my 1/2 marathon in September with a couple of Five K’s in between (See Race Schedule Below). In the meantime, I’m going on a mini vacation to Tennessee with my girl Amara this weekend. Stay posted on the exciting things to come!!

Rachel

Summer Race Schedule 

July 6th – Loon Lake 5 1/2 K

July 27th – North Webster Dixie Run 5K

August  24th – Color Me Rad 5K

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This book is the reason I spent my day off crying profusely over the fates of fictional characters. When my friend Olivia handed me the book stating “Rachel, you HAVE to read this. It’s a cancer book. John Green is amazzzing. Oh, and don’t lose it because it’s a signed copy. You’re gonna looooove it!” I was skeptical to say the least. Cancer books have never been among my taste of literature. Those sort of stories usually rank pretty low due to their cheesy outlook and predictability; right along with all the horse, dog and cat literature. Painfully optimistic even for this girl.

The Fault In Our Stars, was anything but. The perfect concoction of tenderness and blunt reality. I fell into Green’s words nesting myself in between pages of witty dialogue and heartbreaking circumstances. One could almost say the purpose of the book is to break your heart. Cruel, yet gentle enough to leave one begging for more. This ‘cancer book’ is precisely what a ‘cancer book’ ought to be. Realistic. Harshly fair. Unapologetic. Perfect.

As is my custom, I will bid you ado with a few of my favorite quotes. Not my actual favorite quotes because those should be reserved for you to discover on the pages themselves; a delight I would not deny even my worst enemy. For your literary pallet to digest…

“It occurred to me why they call it eye contact.” 

” I felt like everything was rising up in me, like I was drowning in this weirdly painful joy, but I couldn’t say it back.” 

“We Hoosiers are excessively optimistic about summer.” 

“The world went on, as it does, without my full participation.” 

“The weird thing about houses is that they almost always look like nothing is happening inside of them, even though they contain most of our lives. I wondered if that was sort of the point of architecture.” 

“He was looking for the most hurtful ways to imagine to tell the truth, but of course I already knew the truth.” 

“You have a choice in this world , I believe, about how to tell sad stories, and we made the funny choice.” 

“I worked hard to meet his eyes, even though they were the kind of pretty that’s hard to look at.”

“It would be a privilege to have my heart broken by you.”

“And only now that I loved a grenade did I understand the foolishness of trying to save others from my own impending fragmentation.”

Illusion

My dear friend and cousin, Andrew, shared this song with me. <——- Click it to listen.

His taste in music is rather particular; so I knew this song was special. I identify with it deeply. I’ve come to realize that becoming who you are is a life long journey. Staying true to yourself a constant battle that most will not understand. This is my battle against the illusion of what “Really matters”. I am grateful for those who support me when I have nothing to offer in return. The love of the universe is abundant. I am blessed with the skills to keep fighting for my freedom.

 

Excerpt from: Becoming Rachel {The Art of Existing}

I’ve moved!

Thanks for checking in on me. I’ve moved my blog to a new page. Which you can find here.  Make sure to subscribe to my new page to continue receiving updates.

 

-Rachel

Engagement Party

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So these two crazy bridesmaids (and Olivia’s dear mum) threw Jeffery and I the loveliest of Engagement Parties.

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I mean just LOOK at that food! Olivia my dear, you are quite the chef 😉

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A beautiful day spent with family and friends. 

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My brother Michael and his girlfriend with Jeffery and I.

 

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Wedding planning is well underway! I couldn’t be happier to marry this hunk!

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Especially surrounded by such loving, supportive friends and family. 

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~* Smith Wedding 2015 *~

Coming Soon 😉

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