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.

Goodbye, 2016!

Filed under: Abby Jo,Elijah,Family,General,Hailey,Holidays,Home,Kids,Kyra,Logan,Love,Matthew,Me,Owen,Photos,Trips — Rachel at 4:17 pm on Saturday, December 31, 2016

Wow! Time really flies. It’s hard to believe 2016 is already over. It’s been a pretty great year for me and my family. We’ve spent a lot of wonderful times together, accomplished some really big goals, and received some huge answers to prayer.

One of the biggest events of the year happened in March. We bought a new house and moved to Knoxville. It took several months for our house in Harriman to sell, but I know it was all in God’s timing. Everything worked out perfectly for us financially, and we moved into our new home the day after we had Elijah, Abby, and Logan’s birthday party . . . so we had a lot of helping hands. Our new home and neighborhood have been a perfect fit for us. The house is  two-and-a-half stories, five bedrooms, four bathrooms and has a big bonus room for the kids, an office for Matt, and a huge backyard. So, it’s perfect for our family of eight! As a bonus, we have great neighbors on both sides of us, and the neighborhood has a big pool and sidewalks on both sides of the street. There are lots of kids around us, both in our neighborhood and the one behind us. Hailey has friends from school that live in the neighborhood behind us who walk over to play with her. It’s been great. We are so very thankful for the home the Lord provided for us. It reduced Matt’s commute to work by about twenty-five minutes. Now, he drops the little kids off at school on his way to work, and he gets to come home and have lunch with me on most days.

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I mentioned we moved right after three of the kids’ birthdays. Elijah turned 12 on March 25, and Abby and Logan turned 7 on March 26.

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Kyra and Owen’s birthdays were in June, and we celebrated with a big pool party. Kyra turned 14, and Owen turned 10.


Hailey celebrated her 9th birthday in October. (For some reason, I can’t find a picture of her with her cake.)

We were super blessed to be able to take the family on another beach vacation to Panama City Beach, Florida back at the end of July through the beginning of August. We took our first family vacation to the same place back in 2014 right after we got married. We enjoyed it so much we chose to go back. This time, we took Mammy, Grammy, and Aunt Whitney with us. We all had a wonderful time and returned just in time for the kids to start school the next day.



Professionally, Matt got a new position with the Army Reserves and transferred from his old unit near Cincinnati, to his new unit in Washington, D.C. He is now working with the Army Corps of Engineers. It’s not any closer to home, but he at least gets to fly now instead of having to make that long drive to Northern Kentucky. I got to go with him back in August. It was my first visit to D.C., and I really enjoyed seeing everything, even if I did most of my sightseeing solo, since Matt was working. We’re hoping to take all the kids to D.C. in the coming year.

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I did well with my writing pursuits in 2016. I published Little River: Vol 2 in August, and I had multiple publications for my short fiction in literary journals. I had five or so book signings over the course of the year, as well as being accepted into the Author’s Guild of Tennessee. There’s other news to share on the writing front, but I’ll save that for a future date. No contracts have been signed yet. (Wink, wink!)

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In September, God answered our biggest prayer and gave us sole custody of Hailey and Logan. I won’t go into any details, but I just want to give God all the glory. He told us in no uncertain terms over and over and over throughout the course of the year that He was fighting that battle for us. It brought great peace to all of us, and the kids are happy, healthy, and thriving. God is so good!

We had a lovely holiday season and got to spend time with our families.





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I could have inundated this post with photos, but these few will have to do. If you want to see more photos from our day to day lives and you are a friend of mine (either in real life or online), you should friend me on Facebook. That is where I am most active. I don’t add people I don’t know on Facebook, but I do have a public Twitter account where I occasionally post photos. Please feel free to follow me there.

I hope 2016 was as good to you and your family as it was to me and mine, and I hope 2017 is even better for all of us!

Happy New Year, Friends!

What Hurts the Most

Filed under: Faith — Rachel at 4:19 pm on Wednesday, November 9, 2016


The day after Election 2016 has been painful. It didn’t go the way I expected . . . or the way I had hoped. I went from weeping tears of joy yesterday afternoon watching women lined up at Susan B. Anthony’s grave to place their “I Voted” sticker on her tombstone believing we were less than 24 hours away from having the first female president to weeping tears of confusion and deep sadness when it became obvious that not only was Donald Trump going to win but he was winning by a landslide.

I was really disappointed that it wasn’t Hillary Clinton because shattering the highest and hardest glass ceiling of all would have been so awesome.

I was really disappointed, not because a Republican candidate was winning, but because of the kind of man that was winning. One that bragged about sexually assaulting women, etc. How did he survive that?

But what hurts the most is not that she didn’t win or that he did. What hurts the most is who supported him.

I am a Christian, and I am a woman. I am someone who has been through some of the things that Trump was accused of doing to women. I am someone who at one time was part of a marginalized community and was the recipient of hateful and bigoted personal attacks. I take the things he’s said and done personally.

As a Christian, I cannot stand in support of someone who has said and done the things he’s said and done. It offends me at the deepest level of my faith. It is the antithesis of everything I believe in. It is the antithesis of Christianity. We are supposed to minister to the least of these, not look away when they are being maligned and threatened.

What hurts the most is not that Christians voted for Donald Trump. Everyone has the right to vote for whoever they think will do the best job of leading our country. I don’t believe that person has to be a Christian. This is not a theocracy. It’s not about being the Pastor of the United States; it’s about being a good President. Sometimes, we have to vote for “the lesser of two evils.” We may not like either candidate so we have to vote for the one who we see more potential in than the other. That’s fine. I understand that. That has definitely been the case in this election. I wasn’t a supporter of Hillary Clinton in the beginning. I didn’t like either candidate very much. The more I read about Clinton, the more I came around to believe she would be a good candidate. I understand that some people saw things very differently. That’s okay. My best friend voted for Trump and that didn’t hurt our relationship at all. It’s not that Christians voted for Trump; it’s that they excused him.

It hurts me deeply that so many Christians compromised what they are supposed to believe in so deeply to verbally excuse his behavior. How? How can you excuse away all the things he has said? Maybe the most disgusting thing was said many years ago, but he said horrible things about people over and over and over during his campaign. There was zero evidence that he had become a better man than he was when he said he could grab women by the pussy or kiss them against their will or move on a married woman “like a bitch.” He continued to make comments that were an offense to many, many groups of Americans. They brushed off those comments as of no consequence. Vote for him if you must, but at least have the integrity to either say his comments were wrong and immoral and fly in the face of your Christianity or stay silent and don’t jump to his defense. The hypocrisy astounds me. It hurts me.

I have many friends who could not in good conscience vote for Hillary Clinton. I’m not sure what they ended up doing. Some of them may have not voted, some of them voted third party, and I’m sure some of them ended up voting for Trump even though they were disgusted by his words and behavior. I’m okay with those things. What I’m not okay with is you saying you’re a Christian and acting as if there is nothing wrong with the kind of person he has proved to be.

What hurts the most is to know how quick so many of my friends were to let their lifelong faith play second fiddle to their politics.

We can be better than this. I hope in the future we will be.

As for me, life goes on. I’m disappointed, but I’m not without hope. The sun rose this morning just like it does every day. My faith is my anchor. God is still in control. He appoints those in power for His own reasons. I will respect the office of the President and the man who is in it, just as I always have. I just hope to be able to respect my fellow Christians, too.

Don’t sell out your faith, Friends. The world is watching us and judging our Jesus by our words.


It’s Been A While

Filed under: Abby Jo,Elijah,Family,General,Hailey,Kids,Kyra,Logan,Owen — Rachel at 1:15 pm on Monday, October 24, 2016

It’s been a long time since I’ve felt like I could blog freely. About three years. The reason for that is gone now, and I’m itching to get back to blogging semi-regularly. I know I’ve said that a dozen times over the last three years, but, because of a recently answered prayer, our circumstances have changed and I feel free to write about my life and family again. So, here we go with an update post!

In a nutshell . . . things are great! Everyone is happy and healthy. What more can we ask for?

To be a little more specific . . . here’s a person by person run-down:

  • Matt – He’s working hard as always and taking good care of all of us. He recently switched Army jobs and left the unit he has been with for several years and went to a new one. We are really happy he doesn’t have to make that awful drive to Cincinnati every month anymore. That was getting really old. His new unit isn’t any closer to home . . . he’s now with the Army Corps of Engineers and drills in Washington, D.C. . . . but at least now he gets to fly and his travel is all paid for. His first D.C. drill was in August, and I got to go with him! While he went to work, I got to go sightseeing. I had never been before, so it was a lot of fun for me. He’s also coaching the kids’ soccer teams.
  • Me – The whole mom life keeps me hopping, but I know I’ve got it made. With the kids all in school during the day, I have lots of time alone. I’m trying to get into a better writing routine. I thought it would be a lot easier, but this school year has been so incredibly busy! It started out with a ton of events at their schools, and it seems like there’s always a doctor or orthodontist appointment, someone forgetting their lunch box, or some other errand that has me out running around instead of writing at home. Running a household is a lot of work; there’s so many moving pieces. I love my family so much, though, and I truly wouldn’t have it any other way. (Unless I had a housekeeper. I would have it that way!) So, new writing has been kind of slow, but things have been going really well with my already completed writing. Little River: Vol 2 came out in early September. That was very exciting for me. It is still being published weekly in it’s original serialized format in a local newspaper. I’ve already started working on Vol 3. I’ve had several book signings over the summer and done really well at a lot of them. I have one more coming up next Friday, and then I’ll have a long break between it and the next one I have scheduled in February 2017.
  • Kyra – It’s hard to believe she’s already in high school. For those of you who have followed this blog for a long time, you’ve watched her grow up! She’s fourteen, as tall as me, and a super great kid. She’s doing really well in school. She has taken to high school and really loves it. She goes to one of the best high schools around, and it offers a plethora of opportunities. She had no trouble making friends after our move, and she’s generally a happy kid. She loves to read (just like her mama!) and binge watch Netflix shows. She’s such a good kid. I couldn’t ask for better!
  • Elijah – He’s the kid who has changed the most recently. I guess puberty will do that for you. He’s twelve and a half and taller than me and Kyra now by  just a little, and he’s pretty proud of that. He’s still my quiet, shy, smart boy, though. He still loves football, and I think he appreciates my newfound enjoyment of the game (thanks to FanDuel.) We have spent more time together watching football already this season than I think we have in his previous eleven years combined. He plays for the Farragut Admirals, and he’s doing so well. Being the new guy on the team, he’s had to really prove himself and fight for a spot. He did that in a big way last week! He returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown, and then followed that up with a huge sack, five tackles, and three carries for positive yardage each time. He’s been playing a lot more offense since that game. I think he impressed the coach!
  • Owen – I adore this kid! He turned ten this summer. I think he is probably the most genuinely funny kid I’ve ever known. He makes me laugh every day. He’s another book lover. He really enjoys reading, and he’s so good at it! He reads way above his grade level, and he’s been expanding his repertoire lately into books his big sister and I have recommended. He has the best grades of all the kids. Straight A’s, without fail. He wanted to play baseball this Fall, but we were stretched too thin between football and soccer. We just couldn’t fit in a third sport. So, he’s planning to play Spring baseball when it comes around.
  • Hailey – She’s a sweetheart. She loves to be helpful, both at home and at school. She’s her teacher’s right hand in the classroom, always volunteering to help with any and every task. Her birthday is actually coming up next week. I can’t believe she’s going to be 9! She’s been counting down to her birthday for the last three months. Out of all the kids, she’s the one who looks forward to her birthday the most. She’s finally getting to play soccer this season. She played when she was in Kindergarten, but then the next two seasons just didn’t work out because of moving to Harriman and our family schedule. She played baseball and basketball for one season each between then and now, but insists that the only sport she really cares for is soccer. Signing her up this season was at the top of our recreational priority list! She’s been loving it. She’s on an all girls team, and she’s doing so well. She gets a little more aggressive each week. Her first soccer game was also the first soccer game I had ever been to. Turns out, they’re fast-paced and fun to watch. I guess I’m officially a soccer mom now.
  • Abby – My sweet baby girl is not much of a baby anymore. She’s seven and a half and as sweet as ever. I may have to fold her up two or three times to get her to fit in my lap, but we still make it work. She’s still my super precocious child. She’s still planning to be an engineer when she grows up, but she told us the other day that she’s reconsidering her desire to be the President as well. She said, “It seems like a lot of work!” She’s smart and rambunctious and is still the perfect mix of girly-girl and tomboy. She’ll be playing baby dolls with Hailey one minute and the next thing I know she’ll be outside playing in the dirt and ruining her clothes.
  • Logan – This one is really growing up a lot lately. Not necessarily in the physical way (although, that, too,), but he’s really starting to mature a lot in the way he carries himself. He’s a great kid and rarely gets in trouble. He is Elijah’s shadow. The two of them are thick as thieves! He’s playing soccer and doing great in school. He is naturally very athletic. He’s super smart and has a fantastic smile that catches you off guard by how completely adorable he is!

So, full disclosure . . . I wrote the above post a month ago, all the way down to the middle of the last paragraph. Then I got distracted by the kids coming home from school and never returned to it. Sheesh! The best laid plans . . .

But, here I am again . . . finishing it.

I don’t know what the future of my blog entails, but I think I’ll be blogging much more frequently. It may be a completely random mix of family news, my own thoughts about whatever crosses my mind, or just the random picture.

Stay tuned!



A Curious Place of Peace

Filed under: Faith — Rachel at 11:57 am on Tuesday, March 15, 2016


It’s a curious place where I’ve ended up. I never would have imagined it a couple years ago. I thought I was too much a heathen to ever live in a place of faith again.

Yet, here I am.

Here, as it turns out, is a place of not just faith but of peace. I mentioned it in my last blog post, but I don’t know if the significance showed through my words. A few years ago, I was going nuts trying to figure out my faith. I needed it to make sense so bad that it was easier for me to me to give it up all together than to accept something I couldn’t explain. Let’s all take a minute and laugh at the foolishness of someone trying to explain faith. Yeah, yeah. I know. However, my poor brain needs things to make sense. I need the pieces to fit together. I need some sort of assurance that my faith has been examined and is honestly held to be true. I wanted to know in my heart that I actually believed what I said I believed. I didn’t need to prove it to anyone else; I just needed to truly believe it myself.

It’s a curious place where I’ve ended up in that my faith has been proven to me because the one thing that was out of my control . . . believing something that I can’t understand, explain, or be comfortable with . . . has been inexplicably given to me. I have peace. 

That’s what has settled the reality of God and my faith in my heart. I wasn’t pouring over theology books anymore. I wan’t studying the Bible. I wasn’t praying. I stepped back from everything, and, when I stopped struggling, God gave me the peace I so badly needed.

I don’t expect it to work the same way for someone else. I truly believe that we each have our own faith journey to take. We all have individual personalities, proclivities, struggles, and needs, and I believe He will work in each of us according to the way he designed us. I’m not sure how my testimony could possibly help or encourage you or anyone else other than to add my voice to those that say He’s made a difference in my life.

I probably still don’t fit anyone’s mold of the ideal Christian. I don’t claim to be an ideal Christian. I am just happy to be able to honestly say I am a person of faith who believes God wants me, loves me, and has a plan for my life. I believe He had a plan all along to give me hope and a future. I believe in my heart of hearts that He is real, and I believe it because He gave me the thing I couldn’t manufacture no matter how much I sought after it.

I finally understand what Paul meant when he wrote about a peace that passes all understanding.

“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7

He’s Been Faithful

Filed under: Faith,Me — Rachel at 12:09 am on Saturday, March 12, 2016

~I’ve felt lately like God is calling me to write here again. I know I’ve made a few attempts that didn’t succeed at reviving this blog, but this time it’s more than just wanting to blog again. This time, I feel like God is telling me to write, so, for better or worse, I’m going to write. ~


For those of you who’ve followed this blog for a long time, you’ve probably wondered what in the world has happened to me. When I first started blogging, something like eleven years ago, I was a young mom of two babies, a housewife, and married to my first husband. I was deeply entrenched in Fundamentalism. Some of you read for that very reason; we had a common bond in our particular brand of Christianity.

Over a decade later, I feel like a completely different person than the girl who started this blog. In a way, I am. I’ve been on quite a journey, and I feel like God is pressing me to share some of that journey with you.

During the near silence on my blog, I’ve struggled with a lot of things. The biggest struggle has been my faith. I nearly lost it all together. I touched on that here , here and here before I mostly stopped blogging. During that silence, I continued to go to church because I felt like I needed to take my kids. That was about the extent of my faith life. I didn’t pray. I didn’t read Scripture. I didn’t believe it mattered. At certain points, I wasn’t sure I even believed in God anymore.

And, to be honest, it was a relief.

It was a relief to let go of the desperation I felt when I wrote the above-linked posts. I was making myself crazy with my intense need to understand. I wanted answers to my questions, and I had none. So, I gave up. There was always a deep-seated desire to have faith again. When I filled out my Match profile, I even said that I was looking for a man with a strong faith. Faith was important to me on a very deep level, but, on the surface, it had ceased to matter.

Here’s the part that gets me. Here’s the part that won’t let me go. Here’s the reason I’m writing this tonight.

I was unfaithful to Him, but He was faithful to me.

I didn’t pray. I didn’t consult God on what I did. I stopped caring. I didn’t read my Bible. I didn’t even know where it was for a while. I didn’t do anything that a Christian should do, other than continue to go to church for my kids. I expected bad things to start happening to me to “lead me to repentance.” I looked for them, but they never came. Let me tell you what happened instead.

  • I got into nursing school, and I finished my first year at the top of my class.
  • I met Matthew, fell madly in love, and married the man of my dreams.
  • I got to quit nursing school, which I didn’t like, and pursue my dream of writing.
  • I finished my first novel.
  • I got published five different times.
  • My serial got picked up by two different papers.

My life was going better than ever, after I lost my faith. I wasn’t doing anything I knew I was supposed to do as a Christian, and life was fantastic. I wanted to have faith, but I didn’t. Matt and I would have long conversations about how I wanted my faith back, but I just couldn’t pretend to believe something I didn’t. It upset me if I thought about it too much, so I just didn’t.

And then, right around the beginning of this year, God came and got me. I don’t know how else to say it. I wasn’t looking for him. I wasn’t praying. I wasn’t trying to “get right with God.” There was nothing on my part, and suddenly He was there. Without any intention to do anything differently, I found myself in a place where I just wanted to be with God. Our church was doing a 30 day devotional together that our pastor wrote. The church gave the books to everyone for free. I took one home, and started going through it. My mother-in-law gave me and Matt a “Jesus Calling” devotional for Christmas. I started doing those two devotionals every morning and reading my Bible. The same Bible that caused me to abandon my faith out of pure frustration was feeding my soul. Every day, I got a little closer.

Honestly, I thought it would take me a long time to feel like I was “back” to where I was before, but after a couple weeks I felt like I had never left Him. The only difference was I didn’t care anymore about the things that tore me apart a few years ago. They somehow didn’t matter anymore. I didn’t get any answers to any of my questions, but God was more real to me than he had ever been. When I read my Bible, the Holy Spirit gives me something I need. My faith has increased in ways I never imagined would ever be possible for me and my skeptical, questioning mind.

I don’t know why He waited patiently on me for years only to pick me up out of the blue and tell me I’m His. That’s how it felt. It felt like I was his teenage daughter going through a phase, and he just let me dye my hair pink and listen to edgy music and grow out of it. When I was finally able to see past my angst, He was still there. Not angry. Not waiting to punish me. Just there. Loving me. Finally, I had what I needed more than anything . . . peace. 

I have no motivation with this blog post other than to be obedient to what I feel like God has been pushing me to do. I just want to testify. I’ve been through some really low and lonely times, and He never left me. Not even when I thought He was gone. Not even when I thought maybe He never existed in the first place. Even then, he was taking care of me. He sent me Matthew. He gave me the life I wanted to have. Every day that passes, I get a little closer to my dream of being a writer. He is a good, good Father.


He has been faithful to me, even when I was unfaithful to Him.

I’m so grateful.


When It Rains, It Pours!

Filed under: Me — Rachel at 5:11 pm on Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Blessings, that is!

Every time I turn around, something good is happening for me and my family. I am so grateful for the unmerited favor of God. I’m going to tell you about some stuff sometime soon. I just have to figure out exactly how to say it. It’s all good things, though . . . all good things!


Goals Met and Set

Filed under: Me,Reading,Writing — Rachel at 4:45 pm on Saturday, January 9, 2016

Hey, guys! Long time, no blog. I’ve been blogging, just not here. I post regularly on my writing blog, but have sorely neglected Nothing Gold. I’ve got a lot of catching up to do, but this particular post is going to be about my New Year’s Resolutions . . . or,  as I prefer to call them, goals . . . from last year and for this upcoming year.

My goals for 2015 were mostly writing related. You can read my post about them here.

They were:

  1. Get Published
  2. Write every day.
  3. Read 100 books in 2015.
  4. Blog frequently.
  5. Network.
  6. Establish a daily writing routine.


I had varying degrees of success in completing my 2015 goals. My biggest goal for last year was to get published, and I’m really happy to say I completed that one. I had poems published in five different literary journals, and my serial, Little River, was picked up by two different local papers. You can read more about that at my writing blog.

Goals 2 and 6 weren’t completed, but I did do a lot of writing. I finished my first novel, as well as writing the first volume of my serial and starting on the second volume.

Goal 2 wasn’t completed either, but I’m satisfied with what I did do. I wanted to read 100 books, because that would be a cool accomplishment. I ended up reading 70 books, which I’m quite happy with. I read a lot of really great books, and that amount of reading did a lot to improve my writing.

Goal 4 was an overwhelming failure at Nothing Gold, but I blogged either once or twice a week at my writing blog from it’s inception.

Goal 5 was a success. I did a lot of networking in 2015. I’ve amassed a decent Twitter following, and a less impressive Facebook following (on my FB author page). I made connections with fellow authors through a Twitter pitch contest for writers, and I met several people in real life who have connections in the writing world.

So, all in all, I am pretty pleased with myself for 2015.


But . . . now it’s 2016, and time to set my sights on bigger and better things!

My goals for 2016 are:

  1. Sign with a literary agent.
  2. Network.
  3. Complete my second novel.
  4. Continue to promote and grow my serial.
  5. Establish a daily writing routine.
  6. Read 75 books this year.
  7. Establish a daily workout regimen and go to the gym at least four times a week.
  8. Grow in my faith.

Most of them are still writing related as I continue to pursue a career in writing, however the last two are just as important to me. I hope to be able to say at the end of 2016 that I completed most of my goals.

Feel free to share your own goals for 2016 in the comments section!

Lit Babies

Filed under: Abby Jo,Elijah,Hailey,Kids,Kyra,Logan,Owen,Reading — Rachel at 1:02 pm on Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Anyone that knows me knows I love to read. I love books–all sorts of books. Since having children, I’ve wanted to pass down my bookish nature, and, so far, it’s been an overwhelming success. My three older children enjoy reading, and do it for fun on their own. They are all good readers. Owen, in particular, has tested in the 99th percentile for reading at school, and that gives me great pleasure. The three youngest kids aren’t yet reading fluently enough to comfortably read a chapter book on their own, but they are getting there.


I’m a big believer in reading aloud to kids above their reading level, and, since Matt and I got married, that’s become our nightly tradition. I also don’t believe in censoring books (with few exceptions), and will allow the kids to read most anything they want after a certain age. My intent in reading to them is to give them a taste of good writing and good literature and a love of a well-told story, so when they are choosing their own books they will have a more discriminating literary palate.

Chronicles of Narnia


Before bedtime, we gather in the girls’ bedroom, and I read to Matt and the four littlest ones. We started out reading the Pippi Longstocking books, then Robinson Crusoe, and now The Chronicles of Narnia. We have read all of the Chronicles except for The Magician’s Nephew, which we are reading now. Since Owen and Abby are with their dad every other week, when we have just Hailey and Logan at home, we read something different to them. We are currently reading The Series of Unfortunate Events. We are on Book the 2nd, The Reptile Room, right now.

If you have any book recommendations, I’d love to hear them. Leave your suggestions in the comments section!

Our Honeymoon

Filed under: Family,Love,Marriage,Matthew,Me,Our Love Story,Photos,Trips — Rachel at 9:47 am on Sunday, August 2, 2015

Matthew and I got married on May 24 of last year, but didn’t go on a honeymoon then for several reasons. The biggest reason was Matt was gone for a month of our summer for the Army. The second biggest reason was financial. After paying for a wedding, we didn’t want to go into debt to take a honeymoon. So, we waited a year, saved some money, and, in July, we went on a belated honeymoon/one year anniversary trip. It was incredible!

We flew to San Juan, Puerto Rico where we boarded the Carnival Liberty and set sail for the islands of the Caribbean.

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Our first Port of Call was in St Thomas, US Virgin Islands! We had a really good time in St Thomas. We took an ocean kayaking and snorkeling tour. We kayaked through the mangroves, hiked around a protected island, and went snorkeling. On our hike, we got to see some really interesting things. I held a small sea urchin in my hand, and we raced hermit crabs. When we snorkeled, we saw several types of fish, including a barracuda.

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Our second day was an At Sea day. We spent most of our time lounging on the Serenity Deck, which is the 21 and over area. We had a hammock that we ended up on nearly ever day, and the best hot tubs were on that deck. We loved lying together on the hammock, reading our books and sipping our drinks.
It was also our first elegant night, and I enjoyed dressing up with my man!


After our elegant dinner, we went to change before the comedy show and found this Towel Bat hanging in our room!

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Our second Port of Call on our third day was Barbados. We loved Barbados! We didn’t book an excursion, but had a beach day instead. Barbados has beautiful beaches with crystal clear water. It was so clear, in fact, I was standing neck deep in the water and noticed a huge starfish lying on the bottom about four feet away from me. We had a lot of fun snorkeling. We found two starfish, and took lots of pictures with Matt’s new GoPro camera he bought for the trip.

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Our fourth day brought us to our third Port of Call…St Lucia. I had been looking forward to St Lucia more than the other islands, because Matt told me he had a surprise planned for my birthday at St Lucia. I had no idea whatsoever about what we were doing. When we got off the boat, we took an hour and a half taxi ride to our destination. The ride itself was great, because it was like a tour of a large part of the island. We saw everything from banana plantations to fishing villages to the peaks of the Pitons on our ride.

Our destination was the Rainforest Spa, where Matt had booked a couples massage, lunch and a private plunge pool. It was incredible! The massage itself happened in a private hut in the rainforest. When our massages were finished, the masseuses opened up the back wall of our hut to reveal the private waterfall plunge pool. It was incredible. Our lunch was rice, vegetables and fish wrapped in banana leaves and steamed in a bamboo bowl. The whole experience was amazing. Matt really outdid himself in the gifts and romance departments!

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Our fifth day’s Port of Call was St Kitts. We were excited about our excursion that day. We went ziplining in the forest above an old sugar plantation. It was lots of fun! I enjoyed going down a couple of the ziplines upside down! When we finished, a boy put a monkey on me. Later that day, we went to a little beach bar to get wifi and I sent the kids a picture of me and the monkey. I told them we had adopted a baby brother for them because it looked so much like Owen. The little ones thought I was funny, at least.


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This was also our second elegant night on the boat. I was so proud to walk around with my handsome husband!


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Our sixth day took us to our final Port of Call…St Maarten. We went on a powerboat and snorkeling tour. The powerboat was fun, but not much different than riding a jet ski through the water. The real fun was snorkeling. We snorkeled off of a European style (aka nude) beach. That was an experience–seeing people standing on the decks of their boats as naked as the day they were born! The snorkeling was really great. We saw huge sea urchins, a starfish, clown fish, and a host of other fish. The most exciting thing we saw was a huge eagle ray!

Unfortunately, our St Maarten day proved to be a day of bad luck. Matt slipped getting into the powerboat, and, when he grabbed the steering wheel to catch himself, it went between his fingers and hurt his hand really bad. Once we got home and had it x-rayed, it proved to be a bad spiral fracture of the second metacarpal. So, he’s in a cast for the next four weeks. On the same day, his wedding band slipped off his finger without him noticing. We retraced our steps on the ship, but couldn’t find it. We have no idea if he lost it on the ship or while we were on the island. A third less devastating thing that occurred on our bad luck day was his GoPro battery died shortly after we left the ship, even though it had been fully charged. So we don’t have any photos from our time on the island.

After all our adventures, I decided I was too tired to dress up for a fancy dinner. Instead, we spent the evening lounging on the Serenity Deck, sipping fruity frozen drinks, reading, and napping. It was wonderful! We ate dinner on the Lido deck, and then saw a couple comedy shows.

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The next morning, we arrived back in San Juan, Puerto Rico. We were sad to see our adventure come to an end, but we had six little people at home we were missing a lot. Grammy Alice picked us up at the airport, and Hailey and Logan nearly knocked us over with hugs. We got the other four kids back the next morning. This mama was very glad to have all six of her babies under the same roof again!

We may have had to wait a year for our honeymoon, but it was definitely worth the wait!

Check Out My Stories!

Filed under: Writing — Rachel at 10:00 am on Friday, July 31, 2015

Hey, everyone! I just wanted to post real quick and point you to my writing blog, where I’ve posted one of my favorite short stories I’ve ever written. In case you’re not familiar with my writing blog, there are new posts every Tuesday and Friday.

On Tuesdays, I post a new installment of my web serial, “Little River.” On Fridays, I post older work I’ve written in my “Flashback Friday” series. “Little River” is set in a small town in East Tennessee, and follows different members of an extended family…Caleb, Titus, Abigail and Jonathan. Flashback Friday posts are much more varied. I’ve posted short stories and vignettes in several different genres. I’d love for you to check them out.

I’m really excited about the Flashback Friday story that posted today. It’s one of my very favorites, and it’s titled, “Meeting Mary Malone.” Go check it out, and make sure to leave a comment letting me know what you think about it!

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