In my favorite poem by Robert Frost, Nothing Gold Can Stay, he reminds us that like the seasons of nature, life is one season melting into another, and quickly fading away. This is my attempt to document each season in my life and my family.

A Few Random Thoughts

Filed under: Family,Kids,Quotes,Random Thoughts,Writing — Rachel at 1:23 pm on Monday, January 12, 2015

I’ve had a hard time getting into the swing of things since the kids went back to school. I slept late too often during their Christmas break, and it was hard for me…the total opposite of a morning person…to get used to getting up early again. I spent most of last week feeling tired. I did manage to write my first short story of 2015, though. I’m really happy with it, and am planning to submit it to a literary journal before the end of the month. I think it’s one of the best pieces I’ve ever written, and I’m pretty proud of it. Hopefully, someone else will agree with me. If it gets turned down by the journal that I’m submitting it to first, I’m going to submit it all over the place, since most lit mags accept simultaneous submissions.

My three little guys are playing basketball this year, and their first game is tonight. I’m pretty excited about it. They’re pretty cute playing. They’re all three on the same team, so that makes it easier on us. Kyra is playing this year as well, but she has only just had her first practice last night. I was surprised to see that she looks better than she did at the end of last year’s season. She has grown so much since then. I think that’s the biggest reason for her improvement. She’s not the shortest kid on the team this year! (I’m always hoping that my kids will not be short like me but that their dad’s genetics will take over in the height department.)

Speaking of height, Hailey has shot up recently. She is getting so tall! Just before Christmas, her pants fit perfectly. They were just the right size. Now, a couple weeks later, they are all an inch too short. These kids are breaking us up with their constant need to outgrow things!

I had two boys throwing up this morning, which is a terrible way to start a Monday. Elijah has a stomach bug, I think, because his dad had it over the weekend. So he had to stay home from school today. Logan, on the other hand, just has to take some really yucky tasting medicine and couldn’t hold it down the first time. My littlest guy has had severe stomach pain for a week. I took him to the doctor on Saturday. We aren’t sure what’s wrong with him. Doc thought it might be gastritis. He’s been on a bland diet over the weekend to give his tummy a break, and the doc put him on Zantac. So far, no real improvement, but last night was the first night he’s not went to bed at five p.m. I’d appreciate your prayers for him. If he isn’t showing a lot of improvement by tomorrow, I’m going to have to take him back to the doctor for some blood work and maybe some other tests, which I know he won’t enjoy.

Matt was gone for the weekend for ILE. Since our youngest three had practice and I also had my kids for the weekend since their dad had drill, too, I didn’t get to go along with Matt like I’ve been doing. It’s crazy how much you can miss someone when they are only gone for one night. He told me he didn’t sleep well that night, and it took me forever to finally get to sleep. I have gotten so used to sleeping next to each other, it’s hard to sleep when he’s not there. I just really don’t like being apart.

At church yesterday, the pastor was talking about our schedules, and I appreciated this quote from him: “Schedule what you want to be not what you have to do.”  I thought that was excellent, and went right along with what I’ve been thinking about in regard to my writing. Allowing myself to think of reading, writing and blogging as equally deserving of my time as cleaning house and running errands has made a real difference for me. I want to be a great wife and mother, but I also want to someday be a great writer. So, I’m building my schedule to allow me to do both.

That’s all the news from our crew for now!

In the New Year

Filed under: Writing — Rachel at 6:00 am on Thursday, January 1, 2015

I don’t always make New Year’s Resolutions, but this year I have a few goals that I want to accomplish.

My biggest goal for 2015 is to get published. All of my other resolutions serve that purpose.

I have wanted to be a writer my entire life. For a long time, I didn’t have the self-confidence to believe that I could achieve my dreams. Once I started to acquire a little faith in my ability, my life had entered a phase that made writing very difficult. I was working all the time and going to school, and, when I added that to being a mom, I just didn’t have anything left to work on writing. As I’ve mentioned here before, Matthew has made it possible for me to stay at home with the kids again, and, since they’re all in school now, I have the time to work uninterrupted on my writing for the first time ever. This is thrilling for me.

I’ve been working on a novel for some time now, but I don’t really expect it to be my first foray into the literary world. My goal is to have some of my poetry and short stories published in literary magazines. I don’t know how long this will take me to achieve, but I believe I can do it. I hope that I can do it this year.

These are my resolutions for the coming year that I believe will help me become a better writer and achieve my goal of getting published.

1. Write every day.

2. Read 100 books this year.

This has been something I’ve wanted to do for years, but, with work and school, I really didn’t have the time to accomplish it. This year will be different, though, and I hope to finally do it. Reading widely will make me a better writer.

3. Blog frequently.

I don’t know how often “frequently” will be, but I really want to be much more regular about posting to my blog. I’m thinking of having my blog redesigned as well. A fresh look for a new phase.

4. Network.

I’m already working on this. I’ve made connections with several people already this year that I hope will help me reach my goals. From writing professors who have offered to help me in some way, to a famous author who has promised to take a look at my novel when I finish it, to my friend, Cathi, who has a career in writing and advertising and is helping me with editing. There are several published authors in my writing group that have offered me great advice and tons of encouragement. I hope to do more networking in the coming year.

5. Establish a daily writing routine.

I really need to get some firm routines down to make sure that I write every day, read every day, and still get all the housework and other things I need to do done. I was making some headway with this, but the holidays threw it all out the window. So, one of my resolutions is to start habits that will last.

These are my New Year’s Resolutions, and I hope to have a corresponding post at the end of this year saying that I kept my resolutions and they made a huge difference.

Feel free to share your own goals/resolutions for 2015 in the comments!

A Wonderful Year

Filed under: Family,Holidays,Kids,Love,Matthew,Me,Videos — Rachel at 3:39 pm on Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Today is the last day of the best year I’ve ever had. There have been years I’ve been so glad to see the old year go and the new year come because it was so difficult, and years that I’ve anticipated the new year because something I wanted was waiting there. This year, though, I’m simply ending the year with great contentment and satisfaction. It was a thoroughly good year. I’m happy to see a new year come, because I anticipate it to be just as wonderful as this one has been.

The obvious highlight of 2014 was my wedding. I am so very thankful that I got to marry my best friend. I have never in my life met a man like Matthew Holbrook. I didn’t even think men like him existed. He’s the perfect combination of tough and manly, sweet and romantic, funny, intelligent, successful, generous, and overwhelmingly kind. I don’t care if people get tired of me bragging on my husband. I’ll brag on him until the day I die. He is a gift, and I am so thankful that 2014 made me his wife.

Here is a link to the post about how our love story began.

Our marriage brought together two families, and I am so thankful for how well that transition went. We haven’t really had any major issues with the kids. They all like each other, and they get along just like brothers and sisters normally do. They play, fight, tattle, tease, get in trouble together, and have a good time. They’ve all went through their parents’ divorces and remarriages in the last couple years, and I’m incredibly thankful that they’ve adjusted as well as they have. Kyra, Elijah, Owen, and Abby spend equal time with us and their dad and stepmom. I think that has made it all much easier on them. They know all their parents love them and put them first, and that they will always get to spend time with all of us. They all like both of their new step-parents that this year gave them, and I’m so very thankful for that.  Logan and Hailey have had extra challenges, but they’re doing amazingly well. We have them with us one hundred percent of the time, so the three of us spend a lot of time together when my kids are with their dad. This has been good for us, because it’s allowed us extra time to bond with each other. Hailey took to me right away, and we’ve never had any issues. Logan has taken longer to get close to me, but things have gotten much better in that department. He sat in my lap and snuggled with me for the last two movies we watched together. Anyone who knows us knows what a huge deal that is. I’m very happy with the way things are going, and I’m very thankful for the family that was born of our marriage this year.

Here is a link to a series of posts about our wedding for those of you who are new to my blog and might be interested.

Another highlight of 2014 was our family vacation to Panama City Beach, Florida. This trip was a wedding gift from Matt’s Uncle David and Aunt Jennifer, and it was just the most perfect trip. My mother went along with us and helped us with the kids. Having her along allowed Matt and I to have a date night while we were there, which was an added bonus. We swam in the ocean, snorkeled, para-sailed, picnicked on the beach, fished, collected shells, laid in the sun, rented a pontoon, built sandcastles, and enjoyed some really good quality time together. I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed a vacation more than that one. It was just perfect.

Here is a link to my post about our first family vacation.

The rest of the year was packed with lots of firsts and lots of good times. From holidays to birthdays to our every days, we have been incredibly blessed. We’ve got to do a lot of fun things. We’ve been surrounded by friends and family. I’ve been so thankful for the family I inherited when I married Matt. The Holbrooks are beautiful people, and they have accepted me and my children with open arms. I’ve even gotten to know a lot of Hailey and Logan’s maternal grandparents and relatives, since we often take the kids to visit them, and that’s been a blessing as well.

Another wonderful addition to my life has been my involvement with the Roane Writer’s Group. This group of fellow writers has encouraged me so much, and I’ve really loved participating in the weekly meetings.

Our church small group has been another family to us this past year. Through all of the difficult moments of this year, they’ve had our backs. They text us and let us know that they’re thinking of us and praying for us. Whether it’s been court dates, sick children, discouragement, or any other thing, our small group has let us know that we are not alone. I’m very, very grateful that they are a part of our lives.

As 2014 comes to an end, I’m just overwhelmed with gratitude for the way my life has worked out to this point. There have been times in recent years when I felt like the bottom had fallen out of my world, and I would never be happy again. I never could have imagined that the Lord would bring me to this happiness. I don’t deserve it, but I am forever grateful.

Here’s to 2015 being as kind to us as 2014!

I already posted this slideshow as a standalone post, but I’m going to include it here, too. Enjoy!

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2014 – The Best Year Ever!

Filed under: General — Rachel at 11:38 pm on Tuesday, December 30, 2014
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EDITED: Changes

Filed under: General — Rachel at 4:23 pm on Friday, December 26, 2014

Edited: After a few days of thinking about this, I’ve changed my mind. Password protecting all of my posts would hurt my readership, and that’s the opposite of what I want. I may occasionally write a post that I password protect specifically to keep certain people from reading it, but for the most part, I’m just going to write publicly and ignore the mean people. Screw them. I’m not going to give up what I love because someone takes shots at me. I read this quote by John Stewart recently, and I like it. “You can’t censor yourself for someone else’s ignorance.”

This post is more of an announcement than anything else. I have had this blog for over ten years. I started it in September of 2004. I have always enjoyed blogging, and I love that I can go back and read about what was going on in my life and with my family. I love the pictures and the things the kids said that I forgot about. I am a writer, and my blog is just one avenue in which I write.

I have been cyber-stalked for some time by some people who I am getting really sick of. I’ve censored my self in some areas just to be on the safe side, but I’m getting tired of that. So, I’ve decided to write whatever I damn well please, and I will just password protect each post. They can kiss my ass. (Pardon my language.)

Some of you have followed my blog for years, and some of you are family members that just like to see photos and read about the kids. If you would like to continue to read my blog, just send me a message and ask for the password. I’m sorry for the inconvenience. However, I’m going to use the same password for each post, so you’ll only have to ask for the password once. One of my New Years Resolutions is going to be to blog much more frequently, so I hope that my blog will be more enjoyable to follow. Bypassing the need to censor myself should make for a better blog anyway. So, if you would like the password for future posts, just send me a message by clicking on the “contact me” button at the top of the page. I’ll reply with the password.

Thanks for understanding!

What I’ve Been Reading

Filed under: Reading — Rachel at 3:58 pm on Sunday, December 14, 2014

This post is imply a list of books I’ve read recently, because I like to look back sometimes and remember what I read.

1. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

2. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

3. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

4. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

5. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

6. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

7. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

8. The Giver

9. Gathering Blue

10. Messenger

11. Son

12. Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe

13. 1984

 

Kid Quote

Filed under: Abby Jo,Kid Quote,Kids — Rachel at 12:47 pm on Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Monday morning, Abby was showing me a little package she had wrapped in Christmas paper. She had made a gift for a little boy in her class she likes named Peyton. She said she made some flowers and a Naughty and Nice list that had her and Peyton’s names on the Nice side.

I said to her, “You better be careful. He might fall in love with you.”

She grinned up at me and said, “That would be ok.”

Kid Quote

Filed under: Family,Kid Quote,Kids,Logan,Owen — Rachel at 12:44 pm on Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Poor Logan has the flu, and I have warned the other kids to keep their distance. I’m dreading an influenza outbreak in the Holbrook/Harmon house.

I heard Owen saying to Logan that they could sit close because Owen wouldn’t catch the flu anyway. I asked why he didn’t think he would catch it. He said, “Because I’m awesome!”
I said, “Being awesome didn’t keep you from getting sick all the other times.”
He said, “I’m a lot more awesome now!”

 

Moving Along

Filed under: General — Rachel at 12:34 pm on Tuesday, December 9, 2014

I’ve come to realize that if I get caught up in waiting for “the drama” to be over so I can go on with my life and the things that I enjoy, I will never go on.

There will always be mean people who make my life difficult.

There will always be people who hurt and mistreat my kids.

There will always be people who try to steal my joy.

I can’t understand their motivation. I can’t stop them from doing the things they do. I can’t stop anyone from telling lies about me or my family. I can’t protect the hearts of my family like I wish I could. Hell, I can’t even protect my own.

However, I can keep moving along despite it all. I can keep living my life. Sure, they can cause bumps in the road, but the road is still mine and I’m moving along.

Still I Rise

Filed under: General — Rachel at 2:10 pm on Thursday, November 13, 2014

Still I Rise

Maya Angelou, 1928 - 2014
You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own backyard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.
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