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.

What’s New?

Filed under: Abby Jo,Elijah,Family,General,Hailey,Kids,Kyra,Logan,Owen,Reading,School — Rachel at 11:20 am on Thursday, September 18, 2014

Things are going well and we are very busy around our house. We’ve got so much going on all the time. I can’t imagine what it would be like if I was still in school. I know we could have made it work and got everything done that needed done, but I can only assume that Matthew and I would be running ourselves ragged.

The kids’ activities keep us very busy. I’m really glad that they are able to participate in things that make them happy, and I’m thankful that I have more time now to be involved as well.

Kyra is running for Homecoming Queen at her middle school, so we’ve been busy trying to raise money for that. We’ve sold donuts, and Kyra, Brianne (her stepmom), and Mammy (my mom) have made hairbows in the school colors to sell. The three little kids got in on helping sell the hairbows at Elijah’s football games. We were all getting cracked up at Logan last Saturday. He was carrying a ribbon full of hairbows around, selling them with sheer cuteness. I think he sold seven bows. The three of them even managed to sell a bow to Papaw John! Kyra is also still taking piano lessons, and is working on a classical piece for her recital that’s coming up. After her first report card, she had all A’s except for one B. I’m really proud of her grades. Every time she gets an A in Math, I do a little victory dance in my head!


Elijah is playing football, and he has practice three times a week and games on Saturday. This boy loves nothing more in life than to play football. He’s doing so very well this year, despite being one of the smallest boys on the team. He plays hard every game, and really puts his heart into it. During his last game, he got a fumble recovery, some tackles, and he almost sacked the quarterback…he hit him right as he was throwing the ball, forcing an interception. It was so funny watching him come off the field after that. Elijah doesn’t get excited over much of anything, and was still all business coming off the field. His coach picked him up and bear hugged him. After the game, Elijah was trying to keep his game face on and not smile, but, when I told him  I bet he had just won himself the defensive player of the week medal, he grinned really big. I tried to snap a picture of him smiling, but he ran away. I gave my phone to my mom to take a picture, and I grabbed him and tried to hold him still. He was trying to get away, but you can see his happy spilling out anyway.

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Monday at practice, I went to pick him up, and I was so excited, watching from the van, when I saw the coach give Elijah the medal he had been working hard to earn since the beginning of the season. I admit, when his team started clapping for him and one of his teammates slapped him on the back, I teared up. I was just so happy for him.

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Along with football, Elijah is also doing two after school classes, one of which is Dodge Ball. Spending an hour playing Dodge Ball after school on one of the days he doesn’t have football practice is good for him. Otherwise, he has entirely too much energy! Elijah is also an honor student, and got all A’s and B’s on his first report card. Of the two B’s he got, he was one point away from an A for both of them. I’m really proud of him!

Owen doesn’t stay as busy as his big brother, because he’s not really into sports. He played football one year, but wasn’t a fan. He is taking an after school class, though. Like Elijah, Owen is doing Dodge Ball every Wednesday. Yesterday was their first day doing it, and he really enjoyed it. A few weeks ago, the elementary school had Open House, and I was so pleased after speaking with Owen’s teacher. She just gushed about him. He looked a little embarrassed while we talked, standing there with his hands shoved in his pockets, not saying a word. His teacher said he was an excellent student, he was very quiet and obedient in class, and she said he was very sweet. I was actually kind of surprised. I would have expected to hear that he goofs off and talks when he isn’t supposed to, because Owen is our resident comedian. He is always being silly and making everyone laugh. I guess he knows when to be silly and when to be serious. So good on him! I was over the moon, though, when she showed me his TCAP scores for reading. My boy is in the 99th percentile for reading. In case you don’t know what that means, let me brag on my boy. That score means that Owen reads better than 99% of kids his age in the whole country! I was so proud of him!


Hailey hasn’t been involved in extracurricular activities since she finished her baseball season this past spring, but she’s gearing up to be a little busier now. She is also taking an after school class. Yesterday was her first day of ballet class. Mammy told her the other day that we were going to get to see just how graceful Hailey Grace is. I was cracking up yesterday when Hailey was showing me in the kitchen what she had learned in ballet. Hailey is on a waiting list with Kyra’s piano teacher for a spot to take piano lessons from her. I’m really hoping that will open up soon. Hailey loves sitting down and playing around on the piano, so I would really like to see her get to start lessons soon. She’s also thinking about playing basketball this year, so, if she does, that will be starting up soon. The thing I am most proud of her for right now is all of her progress in reading since the school year started. Hailey has more homework than the rest of the kids combined. Apparently, first grade is serious business. At the beginning of the year, she was really struggling to read, but she’s doing so great right now. I work with her every day after school. She has developed a really good work ethic when it comes to homework, and she comes home every day, sits down with me, and we get it done. She reads each one of her stories to me twice, and she’s really doing the work to get better at it. At Open House, her teacher had lots of good things to say about her, and Hailey obviously loves her teacher and her class.  She’s got several friends at school, and is really doing great at her new school this year.



Me and Hailey reading before bed.



Our silly girl with her homework.

Abby is loving school! She was so excited for it to start, and she’s learning so much. Unlike Logan, Abby didn’t go to pre-school, so she’s learning everything for the first time in Kindergarten. I’ve struggled with feeling really bad that I didn’t have the time to work with her more. Especially since I homeschooled the first three and was so involved in teaching them the basics. So, even though it’s just Kindergarten, I feel like we’re already playing catch up. Besides homework, we’re doing a lot of other work with sight words, letters, numbers, and flash cards. Abby is super smart, so I know she will catch up to Logan soon. Socially, she’s doing great, too. She’s got some little friends at school, and also has decided she has crushes on two different little boys. She cracks me up talking about them! She also, apparently, goes by Abigail at school. The school doesn’t offer any after school classes for Kindergarteners this year, so Abby doesn’t have any extracurricular activities. She spends most of her free time playing with her siblings.



Abby on her first day of Kindergarten.

Logan is doing fantastic in school. His teacher gushed about him at Open House. She even mentioned that she thinks he might be gifted. He definitely went to a fantastic preschool, thanks to Matt, so he is ahead of the curve when it comes to Kindergarten. He has one especially good buddy at school, and we got to meet the little boy’s parents at Open House. Apparently, he talks about Logan as much as Logan talks about him. Like Abby, Logan doesn’t have any after school classes available to him this year, so he’s pretty much just chillin’ at home after school. He keeps himself busy drawing, coloring and playing with his brothers and sisters. They’re all a bit obsessed with Club Penguin lately. It’s kind of funny to me when the younger kids bring back the things that the older kids were really into a few years ago.


He had just said, “Rachel! Look at me! I’m a ninja robot!”

As far as Matthew and I go, we are mostly busy being parents. We do make a conscious effort to spend time alone together, though. Matt has been working from home on Fridays, which I absolutely love. It’s so nice to be home with him, just me and him. We’ve also had several date nights recently. We’ve done everything from a simple dinner out to a pre-season NFL game. We’ve went and looked at several properties, as we are wanting to find some land to build our dream house on. We’ve also spent a lot of time lately cuddled up on the couch watching football. (I must admit, though, that I have a propensity to cuddle up with the intention of watching football and falling asleep on him instead.)





At a Cincinatti game!


A quick ice cream date!


On our way to drop the kids off in Matt’s sexy truck! :)


At my nephew’s birthday party.

So, that’s all the latest for our crew. We are busy all the time, just enjoying being a family.I have a feeling that it’s only going to get better, too.

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More Summer Reading

Filed under: Reading — Rachel at 5:30 am on Friday, September 12, 2014

I wrote an earlier post about my Summer Reading, and I thought I would write another post and share what books I’ve read in the two months since then.

I mentioned Happier at Home: Kiss More, Jump More, Abandon Self-Control, and My Other Experiments in Every Day Life in my last post, but I wasn’t finished reading it. I did finish it, and enjoyed it a lot.

After that, I read Crazy for God: How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right, and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of It Back by Frank Schaeffer. I really, really loved this memoir. It was so interesting to me. This guy helped create the religious culture that I was raised in. Like me, as he grew up and learned and changed, he left fundamentalism behind. Of course, he did it a couple decades before I did, and he had a lot more to lose than I did. I found the book fascinating and inspiring. I recommend it, for sure. Especially if you have ever had anything to do with super conservative fundamentalism or evangelicalism.

As soon as I had read Crazy for God, I had to read Schaeffer’s most recent book, Why I am an Atheist Who Believes in God: How to Give Love, Create Beauty, and Find Peace. I was not disappointed. I follow Schaeffer on Twitter, and had seen a lot of publicity about this book, but I hadn’t had a real strong desire to read it until after I read Crazy for God. I think I expected it to be one thing, but it turned out to be so much more. I found it unbelievably moving and inspiring.After finishing the book, I tweeted, “I’m filled with an ache and a longing tonight that I am pretty sure is not of this world. I struggle to want to seek; yet Longing finds me.” If a book can make me feel like that, I definitely think it’s worth your time.

I didn’t read much for a couple week with our vacation and school starting, but then I got into an intriguing fictional series of books. While I absolutely love reading fiction, I don’t normally read this genre of books, but I loved the Long Beach Homicide series by Tyler Dilts. I burned through the three books, and I really hope there are more coming in the series. The second and third were better than the first, in my opinion, but they were all good. I actually got book three for free, not realizing it was the third in the series, and so I read it first and then the preceding two books. Even reading them out of order, they were great. 4 stars!



I’ve really enjoyed all the time I’ve had to read this summer. I feel more like myself when I have the time to get lost in a good book!

Kid Quote

Filed under: Family,Kid Quote,Kids,Owen — Rachel at 1:34 pm on Thursday, September 11, 2014

This happened a few months ago, but I don’t want to forget it. I so enjoy going back and reading stuff my kids said and did years ago that I otherwise would have completely forgotten.

We were having dinner one day, and the kids’ table manners were atrocious. Feeling fed up with them, I informed the children, “We are going to have to have a discussion about what we expect at the dinner table.”

Without missing a beat, Owen exclaimed, “Chicken! We expect chicken.”


The Mommy Life

Filed under: Abby Jo,Elijah,Family,Hailey,Home,Kids,Kyra,Logan,Love,Matthew,Me,Owen — Rachel at 11:21 am on Thursday, September 11, 2014

I can’t possibly express how happy I have been since making the decision to stay home with my kids. I am happy every day. I am so very thankful that Matthew is willing to let me stay home and be a mom.

My days are very busy, but I have to say it’s easier than when I had four little ones. There was a time when “staying at home with the kids” meant constantly feeding and cleaning and changing and never having a moment to rest. At one point, I was homeschooling two kids, had a toddler and an infant, was taking care of the house, AND was leading a Bible study for teen girls. I had two in diapers for a very long time. Plus, I’ve been in school for the majority of the time I’ve been a mom. I have been in school for the last eight years…almost all of Owen’s life and all of Abby’s.  So, I know what it’s like to be a very busy, very tired mom of several little kids.

However, that is not where I am now. Our youngest kids are five years old. Kindergarteners. They go to school every day. I am definitely in a new season of motherhood. I go through phases of thinking I want another baby. I miss it a lot. I absolutely adored my children’s babyhood. Then I see one of my friend Monica’s posts about the crazy messes her toddler makes or watch my Aunt Debbie chase her little grandbaby around, and I think that maybe six is plenty. There are definite pluses to this stage of motherhood. Instead of potty training, I’m helping Kyra raise money for homecoming. Instead of watching mind-numbing hours of Dora, I enjoy watching The Fosters with Kyra or a football game with Elijah. Instead of never, ever being able to get a handle on the housework, I have several capable helpers to keep the house going. Instead of never going anywhere without having to tote a diaper bag around, I can leave the house with my drivers license, my debit card, and my keys. Instead of having to sit out the fun activities because I’m pregnant or nursing or holding a little one, I get to go parasailing with my two eldest. Logistically, this stage of motherhood is much easier.

Easier logistics mean that I get to enjoy life more. And, oh, am I enjoying my life!

I enjoy it because I am doing exactly what I want to do. I don’t want to miss anymore of the day to day stuff with my kids. Being divorced, I automatically miss out on half of my kids’ childhoods. They are with their dad half of the time. Now, because I get to stay home, at least I get to spend all of my half of their time with them. When they are gone, I get to spend a lot of focused time with Hailey and Logan. I think this is good for all three of us. They are doing so well. Especially since school has started, they are just thriving. They really miss the other kids when they go to their dad’s, but we get to spend a lot of good time together. There are certain things that only I do with them, since Matt is still at work for a couple hours after they get home from school, and I think those things are bringing us closer together.

I know I’m gushing, but that is honestly how I feel. We did an icebreaker question at small group last night where we had to say what we wanted to be when we were 5, when we were 12, and then what did we end up being. When I was 5, I wanted to be a mom. When I was 12, I wanted to be a writer. I ended up being a mom, and I’m still working on being a writer. That icebreaker made me feel very blessed…to grow up and get exactly what I have wanted my whole life. Granted, I never thought I would be mom to six. My mom likes to remind me how I told her she was crazy for having six kids and I would never have that many kids. The joke is on me, I guess, but I couldn’t be happier with the six kids that God has blessed me with.

Every night, at bedtime, we have the same routine. Me, Matt, and the four youngest kids pile up in Hailey and Abby’s beds. Usually, Abby is in my lap, Hailey is sitting between me and Matt with her head on my shoulder, Owen is on the other side of me, and Logan is usually on his daddy. We read a chapter out of a book to them every night. We’ve already read two Pippi Longstocking books, and we just finished Robinson Crusoe. If the book is interesting to him, like Robinson Crusoe, Elijah will sometimes join us. We read our chapter, and then tuck them all in. I put my hand on their little heads, say a prayer over them, kiss them and tell them I love them. This bedtime routine is the absolute best time of my day. It is so sweet and they are so precious.

It’s a gift to feel like you are doing exactly what you were made to do.



We were missing Matthew in this bedtime photo, because he was away for the Army, but we had the bonus that night of Kyra and Elijah listening to the story with us, too!

Changing Seasons

Filed under: Faith,Family,School — Rachel at 11:02 am on Thursday, September 4, 2014

When Matt and I got married, we had the passage from Ecclesiastes 3 read, that says, “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.”

Time and again, throughout my life, I’ve found that this is so true. Much of life doesn’t make sense until I re-frame it and think, “It was just a season. It wasn’t meant to be forever.”

I feel incredibly blessed to be entering a new season. Like a returning autumn, I’ve seen a very similar, yet completely different, season before. I am once again going to be a stay at home mom. I couldn’t be any happier about it.

While it has surprised a few people, most people who know me very well at all know that I didn’t like nursing. I never once thought to myself, “I think I would like being a nurse.” It was never my dream. Never something I loved the idea of. For me, nursing was a practical choice that seemed like my best option at the time. I was in a rapidly failing marriage, looking for a way to support myself and my children in a short amount of time, when I first entertained the thought of going to nursing school. After Chris and I split up, it became my default plan, and I just started taking steps toward it. I was very uncertain about it. I knew I had no real desire to be a nurse, it just seemed like it would make sense. I actually applied to two schools…Roane State for Nursing, and Penn State for Psychology. I could not decide which direction to take. I much preferred the idea of Penn State, because I wanted to be a counselor. That was what I originally started going to school for eight years ago. I was just so worried that it wasn’t a responsible decision for my family. I was hoping to get accepted into one program and not the other, so my decision would be made for me. I got accepted to both. I really wrestled hard with the decision. In the end, I chose nursing because it was the most promising for supporting a family, which is what I expected to have to do for the rest of my life. I had no idea that less than one month into my first semester of nursing school, I would meet my future husband.

I worked very hard in nursing school. It consumed my life. It was hard and stressful, but I did very well. I was in the top of my class. I actually got the highest grade out of all the students on all three campuses for one of our first exams. I was also told that I got the highest grade on one of our Finals. I say that just to show that I was doing well. The classes were interesting to me, and I was doing fine. I hated clinicals, though. I didn’t like the actual nursing. I dreaded every clinical day, and, once they were over, I felt palpable relief that I didn’t have to do it again for another week. When I successfully finished the first year of school, I felt like I had been set free for the summer. I was walking on clouds. I was very proud of my accomplishments, but there wasn’t a lot of joy in it. It wasn’t that I couldn’t do it, but that I didn’t want to do it. I felt kind of trapped.

Matt knew how much I disliked nursing, and we had discussed different scenarios that would give me more time at home with the kids and less time working away from them, once I graduated. We were even talking about how I could pursue a completely different career outside of nursing once I finished. He told me he would support me if I wanted to quit, but I told him I couldn’t just quit. I felt like I had to at least finish school and see what happened. I don’t like feeling like a quitter. I didn’t want to finish, but I felt like I had to. I also felt like I owed it to Matt, since he married me with the expectation that I was going to be a nurse someday. I didn’t want to do a “bait and switch” on him. So, even though I was feeling increasingly stressed and depressed as the new semester was approaching, I was resigned to it.

However, I met a hang up shortly before the semester started. My financial aid wasn’t being awarded, and then they requested Matt’s tax information. I wasn’t getting the Pell Grant because I got married. Suddenly, instead of having my tuition paid for, I was going to have to come up with all of it out of the blue. It cast a different light on my situation. I had a couple really hard days where Matt and I talked nearly incessantly about what I should do. If we were going to have to pay for tuition, we felt like it should be toward a career that I would actually be happy doing. So, after a lot of discussion and back and forth and advice from people who know me and I trust, we decided that I would quit nursing school. One particular thing that my friend Karen told me has stuck with me and really helped me a lot. She texted me and said, “It’s just as courageous to admit you shouldn’t do something as it is to finish it.”  That was really my biggest hangup. I didn’t want to face people’s judgment. I didn’t want to feel like I had let anyone down or disappointed anyone. Plus, I had worked my butt off for two years to get as far as I was, and it was hard to just let it all go. I had even went to orientation, and the first day of classes was like three days away. I was so nervous about sending the email to the nursing department saying I was not going to continue in the program, that I actually asked Matt to hit “send”. I was a nervous wreck.

As soon as I sent it, though, I felt a tangible relief. In the days that followed, I felt like a two ton weight had been lifted off of my shoulders. I knew in my heart that nursing wasn’t where I was supposed to be, but making the decision to quit was almost harder than finishing would have been. Once the decision was made, I felt like a new woman.

The future plan is kind of unclear right now, but I for sure don’t want to commit to any other educational path until I know that I really, really want to do it. Matthew has been so good to me, and he is willing to be the sole breadwinner and let me stay at home with the kids. Before my divorce, staying at home with the kids was always my plan. After the divorce, though, I just thought it would never be an option for me again. I feel like I missed out on so much with my kids over the last three years, but I know it was a season. I don’t regret any of the decisions I made, because they all led to me being where I am today. I just have to remember that not every decision we make or every path we take is meant to be forever. Sometimes, God uses things just to get us where he wants us. Matthew and I have had so many conversations that remind us that the timing of our relationship has been so obviously divinely orchestrated. Just a day or two difference in the timing, and we never would have met. I’m thankful for how things have worked out.

I’m thankful for all the seasons I’ve been through. The really dark times have made the good times seem brighter. The times where I’ve worked almost constantly and missed time with my kids have made me appreciate the time I have with them now so much more. I can’t take it for granted. The lonely times have made me more grateful for having found someone who suits me so perfectly. I know there is a time for every purpose God has designed for us, and I am content to know that I’ve done the best I knew how to do. I worked hard for as long as I was working toward a goal, and I feel a great deal of peace that I am back at home now. Sure, there are things that have to be worked out now and change accordingly, but I am confidant that I made the right decision for me and my family. I am a mom of six…that alone is a big job. Already, opportunities have been presented to Matt that will be much easier for him to pursue if he so chooses because I am not going to be stretched so thin by school. I just feel good about our decision. I think it’s the right one for our family…and for me.

When I told one of my friends that I had quit school, they said, “What a waste!” I started to feel bad, but then I reminded myself that it was a season. And that particular season of my life…as seasons do…has passed.

First Day of School

Filed under: Abby Jo,Elijah,Hailey,Kids,Kyra,Logan,Owen,Photos,School — Rachel at 5:29 pm on Sunday, August 10, 2014

The kids started school again. I can’t believe summer vacation is already over. It went by so fast!

Kyra started 7th grade, Elijah is in 5th grade, Owen is in 3rd grade, Hailey is in 1st grade, and Abby and Logan are starting kindergarten. All but the wonder twins have had their first full day of school already. Logan and Abby’s first day of Kindergarten is Wednesday, and then they have a couple more days the following week, before starting a regular schedule.

The kids were all kind of excited about starting school again. Even the ones that didn’t particularly want to do school again were looking forward to seeing their friends. Abby Jo is definitely the most excited. She cannot wait to start Kindergarten. I was happy that she got Mrs. Suddeth, who was Owen’s Kindergarten teacher. We wanted Logan and Abby to be in the same class, but they put them in different ones. They said they don’t like putting siblings in the same class.

I’ll be starting school again soon, too, and then, boy, will our schedule be hectic. We are going to have a lot to get used to!

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Our First Family Vacation

Filed under: Abby Jo,Elijah,Family,Hailey,Kids,Kyra,Logan,Matthew,Owen,Photos,Trips — Rachel at 5:14 pm on Sunday, August 10, 2014

We went on our first family vacation last week. We went to Panama City Beach, Florida. It was so great. The trip itself was a wedding gift from Matthew’s Uncle David and Aunt Jennifer. We were floored by their generosity. We had so much fun. Nothing went wrong. The weather was perfect. My mom went with us to help with the kids. It really couldn’t have been a better vacation.

We spent all of our time at the beach or the pool. The only different things we did were on two days we rented a pontoon boat and drove out to Shell Island. That was fabulous. It was the most  beautiful, pristine beach, and we had it all to ourselves. Along the way, we did a little fishing, dove for sand dollars, caught about a hundred hermit crabs, and even found a starfish. We swam, boogie boarded, snorkeled, sun bathed, built sand castles, caught jelly fish, and the kids procured a small fish that they put in little pools they made in the sand and connected with tunnels. Oh! I almost forgot. I took Kyra and Elijah parasailing, which they absolutely loved.

That’s our trip in a nutshell, and, now, for what everyone wants anyway…the photos! Enjoy.


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At Our House Today

Filed under: Family,Me,Poetry — Rachel at 10:52 pm on Monday, July 14, 2014

My day today was very reminiscent of a different time in my life.

Today, I didn’t have six kids, but only the four I gave birth to. My day moved just like days past. Like there had not been a divorce and a lover and a breakup and a marriage and a new family.

There was just me. And my babies. And the slow comfortable way we move around each other.

There was the food we like and hugs and kisses. There was a long, uninterrupted conversation in the kitchen while I cooked.

There was snuggles in my bed in the morning and at night. And a bedtime story and prayers.

And it was all so much like it used to be.

Except they’re older. And I’m a different me. And our “we” was not complete.


My Summer Reading

Filed under: Reading — Rachel at 10:46 pm on Sunday, July 13, 2014

One of the best parts of this summer for me has been all the free time I’ve had to read. I’m so thankful that Matt works so hard to provide for us and I have got to spend the summer not working. I worked so much the last two summers that I really didn’t get to do a lot of things that I wanted to do. This summer has definitely been different.

I thought I would share what I’ve read so far. You can click on any of the pictures to read a description of the books. I have to say, I’ve enjoyed all of them.

These three books in the Divergent trilogy were recommended to me by my daughter. I actually bought her the first book for Christmas, after seeing the trailer for the movie. She became quite obsessed with them, and insisted that I read them. They were very good, and it was very nice to read fiction after the rigor of nursing school.

Misery has been sitting on my shelf, waiting for school to be over so I had time to read it. It has been on my list of books to read since I read Stephen King’s On Writing: A Memoir last summer. He wrote about writing the book, and I couldn’t wait to read it. It did not disappoint. I had seen the movie when I was a teenager, but had forgot all but the highlights. I really enjoyed reading this one.

I have read Kelle Hampton’s blog, Enjoying the Small , for years, since right after her daughter was born and she blogged about her birth story. Bloom was about her journey from having a baby unexpectedly born with Down Syndrome to reaching a place of acceptance and appreciation of her daughter and all that made her wonderful. Very good book!

The book that has had the most impact on me so far, though, is The Happiness Project. It has made me totally reevaluate my thoughts and attitudes toward my own happiness. Being raised in a fundamentalist church, I heard over and over that I don’t deserve to be happy, and that happiness shouldn’t be our main concern. I’m starting to think that I have had a very warped understanding of the importance of my own happiness, and this book has inspired me to focus more on understanding what makes me happy and why. I highly recommend this book to everyone. The author, Gretchen Rubin, also has a blog that is a very interesting read. Check it out.

I am currently reading her second book about happiness, titled, Happier at Home. So far, I’m enjoying it as well. She’s a very intelligent writer, and I appreciate all of the scientific tidbits and historical quotes that she inserts into her narrative.



After a trip to the used bookstore yesterday, I have several other books that I am hoping to be able to read before I start back to school. I’m really excited about them.


I know I’m a total book nerd, but I absolutely love reading.

What are you guys reading? Let me know in the comments!

My Birthday Post

Filed under: Abby Jo,Birthdays,Family,Friends,Hailey,Kids,Kyra,Logan,Love,Matthew,Me,Owen,Photos — Rachel at 1:34 pm on Sunday, July 13, 2014

My birthday this year turned out to be the best ever. Matthew worked really hard to make it special for me.

On the 2nd, Matt arranged to have our small group meet at Roane County Park to celebrate my birthday. We grilled burgers and hot dogs. The kids played at the splash pad. Matt made me an absolutely delicious triple chocolate cake, and even had candles for me to blow out. Everyone sang to me. It really is the simple things in life that make you feel so loved. After we ate cake, we went swimming in the lake. I had so much fun swimming with Matt, and jumping off the dock with him and the kiddos. It was a great day.



On the 4th, my actual birthday, Matt had arranged a surprise party for me at our house with our families. I found out about the party a couple days before, but Matt took care of everything. It was the first time that me, my parents, and all five of my brothers have been at the same place at the same time in a very long time. I even got to see my brother, Aaron, who I hadn’t seen in over a year. Matt invited everyone, grilled the burgers and hot dogs, asked my mom to make me a cake, and made sure everyone was happy. My mom asked me what kind of cake or pie I wanted, so I requested the cake that she used to make for me when I was a kid. It is so good, and was very nostalgic.

flag cake


One thing that was very fun for me was that my little brothers, Lucas and Seth, brought their guitar and drum set to play. We had learned the basics of “Don’t Stop Believing” in the couple of days before the party, and we played it together…Luke on guitar, Seth on drums, and me on piano. I’m pretty sure we drove everyone else crazy, but we had so much fun. Before everyone got there, we even sang a bunch of old hymns together. It was nice.

After a couple hours of hanging out and eating, we all loaded up and went to Kingston Park to watch the fireworks. This is my one family tradition that has been the same nearly every year since I was a young teenager. Last year, the fireworks got rained out, and we didn’t go. Every other year, though, we have been down at the lake to watch the show. It was exciting for me this year to share that experience with Matt, Hailey, and Logan, as well as Matt’s parents.

I don’t know if it was just that I am generally happier right now than I have ever been in my life or if it was because it was the first birthday with Matt and he worked so hard to make it special for me, but I can honestly say this was the best birthday I’ve ever had. I felt loved and celebrated, and I got to spend it with all the people that mean the most to me.

me,matt,fourthofjuly rachmattlyingingrass abby,matt,grammy

Matt, Abby, and Alice (aka Grammy…Matt’s mom.)


Mammy, Kyra, and Hailey waiting for the fireworks to start.


This one is of Owen, Abby, and Logan climbing on Papaw John’s back.


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