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 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!

This Year So Far – The Highlights

Filed under: Abby Jo,Army,Birthdays,Elijah,Family,Hailey,Home,Kids,Kyra,Logan,Matthew,Me,Owen,Photos,School,Trips — Rachel at 11:46 am on Tuesday, July 28, 2015

I don’t think I’ve ever let myself go so long without blogging here, and I’ve got a lot of ground to make up for. This post will be photo heavy, and just hit the highlights.


Celebrating the new year. January 1, 2015, 12:00 a.m.



Our three little guys played basketball this year. It was the first time playing basketball for all three of them, and they really enjoyed it.





Kyra played basketball on two different teams this year. This was after the game where she made her first ever 3 pointer!



We had a tremendous snow in February, and we were iced in for several days. Our road was impassable. At one point, Matthew and I had to walk out to the highway with rucksacks to meet my dad so he could take us to the grocery store to restock. These children ate us out of house and home!


They enjoyed the snow, though!







Elijah turned 11 on March 25, and Logan and Abby turned 6 the next day, on March 26. We had a birthday party for them at our house.



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Owen, Abby, and Logan all played baseball this Spring, and they were on the same team. (It was a really wide age range.) It was Owen and Abby’s first time playing baseball. Owen played catcher, and he loved it. Abby wasn’t a huge fan. I’m not sure if she will play again next year.




Enjoying the newly warm weather, I took the three boys out for ice cream one day after getting their hair cut.



Because I’m mean, I sent the above picture to the girls who were at home, and they sent me the picture below in response.




Because I’m not really a mean mama, when I took the girls for haircuts a few days later, they got ice cream, too. (We took a frappachino home to Kyra, who didn’t get her hair cut that day. No worries. I’m pretty fair.)




I had a really lovely Mother’s Day, and was so glad that I got to spend it with all six of my kids. They made me feel very loved and special.




Matt and I got to accompany the Wonder Twins on their Kindergarten field trip to the zoo. We had a blast! They loved the River Otters.


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I also got to go with Owen on his Farm Day field trip.




Abby and Logan graduated from Kindergarten, both with special awards. We were so very proud of them. (The other kids all got special awards, too, but I’m sparing you pictures of all of them. This post is already getting so long!)




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Matt and I celebrated our 1st Anniversary on May 24th with several different (kid-free) activities, including my first ever game of golf…which I loved!




Kyra had a piano recital in May, and she did a really great job playing “Hedwig’s Theme” from the Harry Potter movies.IMG_3632  IMG_3633


We went on a weekend camping trip in June that we really enjoyed. It was big on fun and short on pictures. We can’t wait to go again very soon!




Matt spent nearly three weeks away from us in June. He had to go to a three day drill followed by two weeks at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin to finish ILE (a school for the Army…the equivalent of a Master’s degree). We really missed him while he was gone, but we are all very proud of him.




Kyra turned 13 on June 20th, and Owen turned 9 on June 26th. We had a party for them after Matt got home from Wisconsin. I thought it was sweet that they wanted to postpone their party until their stepdad could be there.

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Kyra had a Dr Who cake, and Owen had a Jurassic World cake. Unfortunately, I somehow missed getting a photo of Owen with his cake.






The picture below is from my birthday, which was July 4th. I turned 27 again!




I hope you enjoyed this jam packed highlight post. We did so many, many more cool things over the last seven months, and I could have shared hundreds of more photos. This post would have been a mile long, though. We are a very blessed family!




I’m Back!

Filed under: Website News — Rachel at 2:31 pm on Friday, July 24, 2015

I’m sure my faithful few followers noticed that my blog had disappeared for about a month. I’m still not sure what happened, but Chris fixed it for me and got it back up.

It was unfortunate timing because it happened right as I finished the first draft of my novel and was wanting to blog about life again. All’s well that end’s well, though, and Nothing Gold is back online. I’m looking forward to recording some family history for posterity’s sake.

If you would indulge me, would you do me a favor? If you are one of my faithful readers that’s been following my blog forever or if you’re a new reader that has stumbled across my blog, would you just leave a comment on this post? Pretty please? I just want to know who’s still reading. Just a “this is Joe from Albuquerque” or whatever will suffice.

And if you’re in a super duper helpful mood, I’d love to know your thoughts on whether I should change the look of my blog. What do you think? Something new and fresh, or the classic Nothing Gold sunset theme?

Share your thoughts, and I’ll reward you with lots of news and updates and pictures of my adorable children!

Exciting Announcements

Filed under: Writing — Rachel at 6:30 am on Thursday, June 25, 2015

I am so excited to tell you about a few things.

First of all, I finished the first draft of my novel! I started my novel about three years ago, but, between working and going to school, I made very slow progress. For the longest time, I had written only  seven chapters. I’m proud to say, though, that once I got back into it, I worked really hard at it and I finally finished it! I have sent my manuscript to several friends who have writing, teaching, and editing backgrounds and skills who are going to help me with the editing process. When I get their feedback, I will start editing my novel. Once I get it as good as I can get it, it will be time to try to find a literary agent. Even if that never happens…even if no one likes my book and it never gets published…I’m super proud of the fact that I can say I wrote a novel!

Secondly, I’m also really excited to announce that today I am unveiling my new website and blog dedicated completely to my writing. I will be posting at least twice a week with installments of a serial I am writing and with some of my older work that I’m not trying to get published anywhere. My goal is to start building a platform for myself as a writer. I would be so honored if you would follow my new website, like my author page on Facebook, and leave me feedback as you read the writing that I post on my new site. You can find it at 

I will still be blogging here at Nothing Gold. Hopefully, I will blog a lot more frequently than I have been. I’ve been so focused on finishing my novel that I’ve not posted anything new here in a long time, and I’m sorry about that. For those of you who have been loyally following my blog here for years, I thank you for sticking around. This blog will continue to be dedicated to my personal life and my family, while my new website will be solely to publicize myself and my writing.

Thank you all for your support through the years, and thank you in advance for helping me get the word out about my new website.

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