Saturday, November 15, 2014

First Nine Weeks? Check. Stolen heart? Double check.



So, I survived my first quarter of teaching. In that time, I have been frustrated more than I thought was possible, stressed out more than I thought my body could handle, inspired by the little things around me, supported by my coworkers, laughed with my students, freaked out over lesson plans, had a birthday, walked down the aisle twice (as a bridesmaid), gone on weekend road trips, and earned another Master's degree.

All in nine weeks. Yup. Nine. Weeks.

WHERE HAS THE TIME GONE?!?! Seriously. I feel like yesterday was my first day of teaching, and now here I am, 60-something days into the school year. It's almost Thanksgiving. WHAT.

I can hardly believe it. Let's talk about this first quarter...since I haven't updated since August (don't hate me).

It's been a whirlwind of teaching, growing, and changing. I constantly question if my students are learning anything because, really, who am I to teach them. Are my lessons well planned? Am I making sense? Are they grasping the material? Do I need to go back and re-teach a concept? 


Then something amazing happens. I see that light bulb go on in their heads, whether it's about something we've covered in class or something we've talked about outside of class. I get an unexpected hug from the "tough guy." Or a student asks to read. Or a student says that they don't want to leave my room because we're learning...and it's FUN. Yeah, that's right. Learning can be fun, or so I've been told by several of my students.


Over the past nine-ish weeks, my heart has been stolen. Taken by my students. They are the most challenging, loving, insightful, and hilarious group of individuals. I never quite got it when my teacher friends would talk about their students and tell me to "just wait...they're going to steal your heart and not give it back."

It's happened. Does that mean the first year of teaching is easy? Absolutely not. I have sat in my principal's office more times than I can count, asking for advice on classroom management or not breaking down in front of my students. This past week was especially tough for my kiddos. But, yesterday afternoon, my homeroom all gave me hugs and high fives as they left for the weekend. Other middle schoolers came to my room to say goodbye. One class in particular told me that I looked like I needed to smile and their goal for class was to get me to laugh.

Guess what? They succeeded. I laughed so hard that I started to cry. They asked if they could stay in my room the rest of the day and keep working. Who knew the periodic table could be so entertaining?

The point is this - I never got it until now. Weeks like this past one remind me why I wanted to teach in the first place. I love my job. I love my school. I love my kiddos. And I wouldn't trade one second of these past nine weeks for anything. I am blessed beyond belief. So, yes, my heart has been stolen.

And I don't want it back.

Rachel

Monday, August 11, 2014

Little Happies (4)



Wow. I haven't written one of these posts in a really long time. Note to self: Get better at posting the happy things in my life, of which there are plenty, and not just about being angry at God (thank you for your kind words, blogging world).

So here go, the best little link-up in the blog-o-sphere. My little happies.

(1). My classroom!

Ahh!! Today I started my first day of teaching. But, look, my classroom is done! And for this non-Pinterest-y girl, I think it looks pretty darn good. Don't mind me if I toot my own horn, but these are MY little happies. I am so excited to be in my classroom. I am also so nervous that I'm surprised I'm sleeping at night and not living solely off caffeinated beverages. Today went off as well as can be expected! I met my kiddos, introduced myself, explained how our classroom was going to run, and got to know them a little bit better. I can't wait to see what Day 2 has in store!

(2) This food!

So, a two weekends ago, I caved. And went to Five Guys. Never fear! They have a grilled cheese, for all you non-meat-eating folks out there. The grilled cheese is essentially a hamburger bun with slices of cheese in the middle. For good measure, I added grilled jalapeños. And a HUGE order of fries. Seriously, those fries should be illegal or something. They are way too good. I also wanted to eat salad for the next one million years. Or at least until I cave and go back to Five Guys (any takers??)

(3) My nails!

Okay, so indulge me for a moment. Please do not take note of the sloppy job I did on my nails. BUT, do note that they are glittery and magnificent. This nail polish, ladies and gentlemen, is called "The Horcrux of It." That's right. I found Harry Potter nail polish. I may or may not have had a slight huge freak out when I found this beyond amazing website. And guess what?? They have two whole lines of Harry Potter-inspired nail polishes! No, I have not ordered more. I figure that I should let my heart calm down until I have a not-so-good day and then order a bottle as a happy for myself. Point is, HARRY POTTER NAIL POLISH. All is right the world (of Harry Potter nerds). And they all rejoiced (one million House points for the geniuses behind Harry Potter nail polish).

(4) A wedding!!

This past weekend, I got to attend my first-ever Jewish wedding ceremony. Yes, that is a Chuppah, and it symbolizes the openness of the couple's new home (love should have not walls to keep family and friends out). It was one of the most beautiful ceremonies that I have ever witnessed. The love between the couple was palpable to everyone in attendance. The Hebrew spoken was absolutely beautiful, and I found myself recognizing a few words. Most of the weddings I have attended have been Catholic, so it was interesting to see another faith's wedding ceremony. The food afterwards was DELICIOUS. The company wasn't too bad - I got to see my old coworkers! Happy Rachel!

(5) These beautifully amazing gorgeous people!

I love when friends come in town! The gorgeous lady in the photo on the left (not me, the other one) is my college roommate. She came in town for the night and we met up for brunch and fellowship. As she starts her medical residency, our time together is very precious. So, any chance we have of meeting up, we take advantage of it. Now to the beautiful people (and baby) in the picture on the right. These precious girls are my best friends from high school! The lady holding the baby is my best friend, Caitlin. She's getting married (AH!) and we had her shower a few weeks ago. I had been unable to attend her bachelorette trip, so helping to throw a shower was awesome! We played some fun games and we got to pass around sweet Noah (his mom is the one farthest to the right). We actually got asked who the baby belonged to because we kept passing him around. Side Note: I went to dinner with Noah's father while his precious momma was out of town and a college student informed me that I had a cute baby. I just said thank you, left the restaurant, and proceeded to break down into laughter. So did Caroline, thank goodness. I mean, he is a cute baby (his momma is pretty great too).

So, there you have it. My five little happies. I promise to try and be better about posting these. There are just so many little happies in my life right now that I don't know where to start. Right now, however, I'm going to go cook my dinner, eat, relax, and SLEEP before I begin Day 2 of teaching. Prayers would be appreciated!

Also, if you want to come cook dinner, I would gladly accept.

No takers? Fine. I'll go cook dinner.

Peace,
Rachel




Monday, August 4, 2014

Is it okay to be angry at God?


Note: this post is not meant to sound whiney. It's a general post about prayers and anger and venting to God/at God/with God. I know that we all go through things and that we all have hurts in our lives. So that's why I'm asking this question - is it okay to be angry at God?

This question has been stuck in my head for the past few days. I'm not a person who displays my anger outwardly, whether by yelling or raising my voice. I tend to hold anger in (my mom has told me that she knows when I'm mad or angry because I get very, very quiet).

And yet, when I'm mad at God or upset with Him, I express it through angry words, sometimes yelling, and lots of tears. I get frustrated with Him sometimes. Really, really frustrated. My prayers go likes this:

"Why aren't you answering my prayers? Are you even listening to me?"

"You know the desires of my heart. YOU put those desires there. SO WHY AREN'T YOU FULFILLING THEM?"

"You say in the Holy Scripture that you are there. But I can't feel you. Where did you go?"

"Can't you see how much I need you? I am falling apart and you're not there!"

"I've been waiting and waiting and waiting for 'X' to happen...is it time yet? What's taking you so long?"

"You have given me so much...but what I really want is 'insert desire here'...so can you get on that please?"

"SERIOUSLY, GOD. I'M MAD. I'M MAD AT YOU."

So, is it okay to be angry with Him? Because I am sometimes. I get so upset that I'm not where I thought I would be at 26. I thought my life would be completely different than it is. Am I grateful to be where I am? Employed at a job I love, looking forward to a new year? Absolutely, positively, 100 % excited and grateful. I have a wonderful family and the most amazing friends. There are exciting things happening around me and I am so blessed to be involved in some pretty amazing times in my friends' lives.

But it doesn't make this period of waiting and not knowing any easier. I almost feel stuck in my prayer life. I don't want to be mad at God. I love Him above all things. But, sometimes, I think it's easier to be mad at Him than to dwell on this hurt inside my heart. This hurt is very real sometimes. There are days where that's all I can think about and those days are hard. Very, very hard. Those are the days where I have to focus on being happy. Then there are days where I feel like nothing can get me down. That I am on top of the world and I am going to succeed in every little thing that I do. But, it's on those days where I feel downtrodden that I can feel Him carrying me. Because when I hurt, He hurts. When I cry, He cries. When I have those days, and I lash out at Him, I can picture myself just beating my hands against His chest until I collapse in tears. 

Then I get these whispers on my heart. Lately, it's been Jeremiah 29:11, "For I know well the plans I have in mind for you, says the LORD, plans for welfare, not for woe! Plans to give you a future full of hope" or Song of Solomon 4:7, "You are all-beautiful, my beloved, and there is no blemish in you." To me, that means that this anger in my heart, that this hurt that I hold, is not a blemish against God. Instead, it's a time for me to draw closer to Him. By giving Him this hurt, I am giving Him my life. I am giving Him control (and for this type A personality, THAT is one of the hardest things. Ever). 

Has He abandoned me? No. He never will.

Does He still love me even though I'm yelling in human anger? Absolutely.

Is it okay to be angry at God? Yes. Because this anger is not a reflection of Him, but a reflection of my own frustrations. You know the saying, We plan and God laughs. Yeah, that. That's where this anger comes from. But, He comforts me during this anger and whispers to my heart that He loves me.

So I'll keep venting and talking and listening. I'll keep questioning and looking and praying. I'll keep growing and learning and loving.

Because I am His beloved and He is mine.

Rachel

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Liebster Award

I know what you're all thinking. "WOW! Two updates in seven days. THIS IS AMAZING."

Okay, so maybe that's not what you're thinking. But, in Rachel's Blogger World, it is (so, just pretend for me, alright?). My friend, Stephanie, over at Blessed to Be, is forcing me to do this nominated me for a Liebster Award, where she poses questions and I answer them. So, here we go!

1.) Why do you blog?
Hmm...this is a tough one. I happen to be one of the funniest people I know and regularly tell those who will listen (AKA everyone around me) that I should have my own reality show. It would be the most watched show in the history of ever. For. Real. Okay, seriously, I blog because a wise friend *cough cough Stephanie* put the idea in my head. Really! She suggested starting a blog where I can talk about those things that are important to me, like my faith, family, and friends. And cupcakes. Always cupcakes.

2.) What is your favorite smell?
My favorite smell? I have no idea! I really like the perfume I have right now. It's Georgio Armani's Acqua di Gioia. To me, it smells like happiness. And sunshine. And cleanliness.

3.) What would you have as your last meal? Include appetizer, main course, and dessert.
Appetizer: rolls and BBQ sauce from Corky's
Main Course: Nonni's spaghetti sauce with penne and meatballs (and cherry peppers)
Dessert: Pumpkin Spice Latte cupcakes (they taste like fall-y yumminess).
Now that I look at these three, they don't really go together and probably wouldn't taste great one after the other. But they're three of my favorite foods and it would be my last meal, so I can go with whatever I want.

4.) If you could master any skill overnight, what would it be?
Another tough one! Any skill?? It would probably be...becoming a wizard. Seriously. I'm still waiting on my Hogwarts letter to arrive (the owl must have been lost for the past 15 years, right?)

A real skill though? Being more crafty. I can handle making cupcakes and crocheting. But those really cute pins on Pinterest where people are making adorable decorations for their house? Yeah, I want to be able to do that. I'm just not crafty. Like at all. Even a little bit. I can picture it in my mind, but that's about it.

5.) Who's your favorite Disney character?
BELLE. This question was easy. Beauty and the Beast is my favorite Disney movie. I mean, Belle loves to read, sing, and she gets to have conversations with household items. Except for her, they talk back. The coffee pot will respond to my questions one day.

6.) What movie did you most recently watch?
Restless Heart: The Confessions of Augustine. Catholic Nerd Alert!! 

7.) What song are you currently listening to on repeat?
Wolf Bite by Owl City. His music just makes me happy. And want to have a dance party, which happens on the regular around here.

8.) Cupcake or slice of pie?
Do I need to answer this? It's in my blog name! Cupcake, of course. I'm going to make Butterbeer Cupcakes soon.

9.) If you could have an miniaturized animal as a pet, what would you pick? (For example, John tells me he wants a mini-bear.)
Ohhh...a miniaturized animal? Probably...a Siberian Tiger. That would just be the best, provided it didn't, you know, try and eat me.

10.) If you just found out company was coming over in a few hours, what dish would you whip up for them?
My Nonni's spaghetti sauce and meatballs. My mouth is watering just thinking of that sauce.

11.) Summarize yourself in 4 words. GO!
Compassionate, Funny, Catholic, HarryPotterNerd

There you go! My first Liebster post. That was stressful. I'm going to go eat a cupcake now.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Am I enough?


This question has been floating around in my mind for the past month. Over the last few months, I made the bold decision to leave a job I love sooner than I intended to do something I thought I wouldn't get to do until 2015 - teach. That's right, I am officially a teacher.

Okay, so not really officially, yet. I will be doing intern teaching this fall in place of student teaching. Basically, the fall semester will be my "student teaching" semester and then in January, I will be on my own - with no supervisor from my university. Scary, right? So, over the past month, I have left my old job. This job will always hold a special place in my heart. I worked with the best possible people, made some amazing new friends, and learned so much about myself. As I stated in my Facebook status, each person I encountered pushed me to become a better me and inspired me beyond anything I could have possibly imagined. While preparing to leave this job (and yes, I did prepare...by crying every so often), I was taking class, meeting with my new principal and attending in-service, and trying not to freak out.

So I didn't really succeed on the "not freaking out" thing. In fact, I just had a minor breakdown in front of my mother (God bless her), complete with my (mostly silent) hysterics of "I don't know. I can't do this. What was I thinking?" She saw my face and was patient, as mothers tend to be, and reminded me that I know more than I think I do and that I can do this. I am more than capable of writing lesson plans, being creative with activities, and teaching my students.

Will I be a perfect first-year teacher? Nope. That doesn't exist.

Will I make mistakes and have some bumps along the way? Absolutely. Even seasoned teachers do.

Will there be days that I want to go home and cry? Duh. (Not surprising. I cry at almost anything).

Will there be times that I am inspired and surprised by my students? A resounding yes.

Will I be enough for my students? Yes.

Will I be enough for myself? Again, yes.

Because I am enough for Him. Our loving Father placed me at this school. He led me to this position. Through much prayer and some ranting, He listened to my heart and He knew, not what I wanted, but what I needed. I prayed for God to lead me to the right position and if that happened after student teaching, I was ready to accept those months without an income. I was preparing for that possibility. And then one day, I received an email about a possible position. I met with the principal and immediately fell in love with the school. The school is a Catholic school and really embraces that identity. There is weekly Mass, monthly Rosary and Adoration, and a Saint of the Day lesson. I have never before been to a school where the Catholic identity is that prevalent. And I love it. This position will push me to become the best teacher possible for my students. I will be outside of my comfort zone, but I am embracing that and I look forward to it with such excitement. God knew that this school was the right place for me to grow in both my faith and my experience. Turns out, this is both what I wanted AND what I needed. Funny how God answered this prayer with BOTH.

Through this, God has shown me that I am enough for Him. Despite my critical inner monologue about my failure because I didn't accomplish a, b, or c today, I am not a failure. Rather, I am His success, a some times messy success (I am human, after all). I may be a mess some times, but I am His mess. His wonderful, beautiful, crazy mess.

I am enough. Because I am His.

And now I am going to go wipe these tears off my face.

Peace!
Rachel

Saturday, June 14, 2014

The Name of the Game...

...is procrastination.

As I sit here with my morning cup of good ole coffee and French radio playing in the background, I am finding a number of things to distract myself. It's not that I've been unproductive this morning. I have already uploaded three assignments that are due this coming week and I've read a few chapters of a book for fun. Productive morning, by most standards.

However, by my perfectionist must-have-everything-done-early standards, I HAVE ACCOMPLISHED NOTHING. Zilch. Nada. Zero. Yes, I have checked two items off my To Do List. Yes, I make a To Do list on the weekends. Deal. But I haven't checked off the biggest item on my list. My research paper. DUN DUN DUN. And instead of researching (aka Googling different names), I am sitting here, numbing my brain with pictures of Kim and Kanye at Bonaroo, checking out what the celebs are wearing these days, and watching a video of a cat.

These things are obviously more important than my paper.

If only I could write a paper on the Dilemma of People.Com and the detrimental effects of  "Get the Look for Less," I would be golden. The paper would be done in a minute and I would probably definitely get an A. I would have a gorgeous closet full of clothes and my GPA would remain a 4.0 and I would be able to spend today lounging by the pool while a butler brings me cold beverages and hummus and vegetables.


Sigh. But then the question comes to mind - do I really want that to be my life?


The answer is simple - no. While I may be updating my blog because it's the right thing to do I'm procrastinating, I am beyond happy with my life. I have the greatest family in the world, the bestest friends a girl could ask for, a job I love, new and exciting things in store, and a God who loves me for me. So yes, I am procrastinating right now. But that's okay. The perfectionist in me will survive (mostly because I am supplying her with an endless supply of coffee). I will get this paper done before it's due.

Here I go, blogging world. Armed with my French radio and coffee in my Abe Lincoln mug, I am going to conquer this paper.

Wish me luck.
Rachel

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

My not-quite-so-Little Happies



The past few weeks have been a blur. Work, school, church, repeat. It's been absolutely crazy! But I am loving every single minute of it. We are now in the season of Easter in the Church and I love this time. It's so nice to be able to sing Alleluia again! He is Risen! Funny thing, that leads right into my first Happy!


That handsome fella you see is my daddy. He is just the most precious! He recently was installed as an acolyte, which means he is one step closer to becoming a Deacon! I am so proud of him and watching him help carry the cross in during the Good Friday service for veneration made my heart smile (and my eyes tear up a little bit). I love him and am so grateful to have a father like him. Love you, Daddy!


I spent this past weekend hanging out with a few hundred Catholic youth, some amazing youth ministers, some AWESOME Franciscan Friars of the Renewal and Sisters of Life, and this guy, Pope Francis. Okay, so the Pope wasn't really at Friar Fest. But, we can all pretend, right? And I'm pretty sure he would totally give a high-five!


And Pope Francis would take a selfie. I firmly believe this! That beautiful lady next to me is my friend, Monica! I am so glad that we got to spend part of the weekend together and catch up! School has been kicking my tush and I haven't seen her in months. So blessed by her friendship (and her taking goofy photos with me)!


Speaking of friends, I made a new friend this past weekend! Bloggers, meet Dorissa. She's a youth minister whom I had heard about (all good things, promise) but we had never met. She's hilarious. And has this love for Christ that shows in everything she does and gives her this zeal for life. I am so glad that I gained a new friend this weekend!


And then there are these two. I didn't warn them that I was taking pictures to include in this week's update. But come on! Check out those moves! If the dancing was this intense at Friar Fest, I can't wait to see what you wedding will be like. Yes, those two dancing fools are getting married! (ooooOOOOOO)


Most importantly, I spent my weekend in the presence of Jesus. The Friars had the Blessed Sacrament exposed all weekend so that we kept our minds focused on the purpose of the retreat - coming to a deeper relationship with Christ. I know the retreat was for the teens, but I know that I came away with a new love for Christ. I got to hang out with Jesus all weekend!


And there are you have it. My not-so-Little Happies. Why are they "not-so-Little," you may ask. Well, because I spent my weekend hanging out with Jesus AND I made new friends AND I got to catch up with other friends AND I got to dance around like a fool AND I got to take silly selfies with the Pope. Oh, and my daddy is becoming a Deacon (which is HUGE). Blessed doesn't even come to close to describing how I feel. 

Thank you, Lord, for placing these people in my life and for giving us your Son. And thank you for letting me spend the weekend in prayer with Him. To say I needed that was an understatement. I feel refreshed and ready to take on these last few weeks of the semester.

I hope y'all enjoyed this not-so-little update. The end of the semester is in sight! I can almost taste the freedom (that will last until summer session starts). But regardless, it is almost the season of sunshine, cook-outs, snow cones, and pools! Let's do this.

Peace,
Rachel



Saturday, April 12, 2014

I did homework, gave up meat, and met a band (these things are not related)



Wow! Life has been busy! School for the semester is starting to wind down, so I am swamped with projects and assignments. But I've found some time for some fun with friends. The pictures below show that - we've had some great times over the past two weeks. And now I'm gearing up for Holy Week - so excited!

Other big deal in my life...I gave up meat! No chicken, pork, or beef! I'm still eating fish (I just love it) but am trying to focus on healthy, whole proteins. Thankfully, my mom gave me a copy of the book Diet for a Small Planet, which includes recipes on how to be a healthy vegetarian - she shows you in every recipe how she is making it a whole protein (i.e. what's replacing the protein the meat provided). It's a great read and I am so excited. I've been doing this for almost a month and I am loving it! The only thing I craved at the beginning were Chik-Fil-A chicken nuggets. Other than that, I'm enjoying finding new recipes and trying out new things. It's an adventure! The other night I made some delicious pan-fried flounder with spicy Swiss chard. I wish I had taken a picture - my plate looked beautiful, if I do say so myself. Oh well, you can all just picture the deliciousness in your minds. Never fear, I have pictures of other happenings in my life. Enjoy!

Friends and coworkers. Lauren, I love our matching dresses. Cordy, we didn't get a picture together. Closest I got was you in the background of one. So blessed by these people. Love y'all!

MTKO! You may have heard their song "Classic." I'm obsessed.

Close-up of Tony singing his heart out. Small show, good times.

Malcolm dancing around. Please excuse the blurry quality. I was also dancing.

I got to meet the band! Best. Night. (Thanks, Cordyyyyy)

Peace!
Rachel

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Little Happies...two days late


Well, hello, Blogger World. So I'm a little late posting my little happies...but they're great. I promise!!

This week's little happies features a few of my friends. I would say sorry for these pictures...but let's be honest, I love them. And all of y'all. So deal with it. The other little happies features some "things" in my life. I know that things are not supposed to make me happy, but these things added a little something extra to my past week so I wanted to feature them. So, without further ado, here we go! My Little Happies...Take Two.

Little Happy One:


We got a little goofy trying on bridesmaid dresses. At least that's our excuse for these faces.

Everyone, say hi to Cal ("Hi Cal" echoes around the internets). I have known that beauty in the purple-y dress for the past 12, almost 13, years. We met our first day of high school and have been bestfriends ever since. Somehow we haven't tired of each other yet. I am so thankful each and every day for our friendship. I chose this picture as one of my happies because it embodies us perfectly. And it makes me smile. This day, we were trying on dresses for our friend Caitlin's wedding. I think we're going to make those faces in the wedding photos. Great idea! *pats self on back*

Little Happy Two:


1. The Cross bracelet is perfect. 2. I feel a little "Harry Potter" with the feather bracelet.

My little happy two this week are my new bracelets! I've been searching for some new bracelets for awhile, but not just any bracelets. I wanted ones that allowed me to wear several at once without looking ridiculous. And let's be real...the cross and the feather are great. The third bracelet says "love" on it, and just looking at these bracelets reminds me of some of my favorite things - the love I have for everyone in my life, the feather for Harry Potter (sorry, had to), and the cross reminds me of my faith and how God loves me.

Little Happy Three:

Why yes, that is Abraham Lincoln's tomb. And yes, we did stop in the snow to take pictures.

So for spring break this year, my friend Heather and I decided to drive to Wisconsin to see our friend Katie and to do some wedding stuff. Katie is getting married in October and we're both in the wedding! The drive was GREAT and FANTASTIC. Heather and I LOVE the snow. Our conversations on the way there (and back) went pretty much likes this, "Snow is the worst thing ever. Where is the sunshine? How does this whole 'five feet of snow thing for months' work? It's 32 degrees, put some sleeves on that shirt, you crazy person. Are we there yet? I'm hungry. OH LOOK, ABRAHAM LINCOLN IS BURIED HERE." Seriously. Those were the things coming out of our mouths. This little side trip turned into such a fun time (we got mugs)! I loved getting to spend that time with Heather in the car, listening to audiobooks and commiserating about the snow and the cold. Oh, and seeing Katie was pretty great too (kidding, it was epic).

Little Happy Four:

Everyone needs to see this movie. Pronto. And read the books. So get on that.

This past week, the movie version of Divergent came out. It's the first of a dystopian trilogy by Veronica Roth. If you've read my previous posts, you know that I loooooooooove to read. I can pass an entire day reading a book, only moving for food. I have done this several times. Once with Divergent and once (okay, fine, several) times with Harry Potter...among many other series. Problem? Maybe. One that I mind? NOPE. The movie was great. The book is even better. I recommend that everyone read them...if you like dystopian novels set in a post apocalyptic society with a really hot male protagonist. Oh, and the main female character, Tris? I want to be her when I grow up.

Little Happy Five:
Apparently, I make faces a lot. Also, Steph, that face is GORGEOUS. Glad my hair looks appetizing.

My last little happy..this girl! That, everyone, is Stephanie. She's beautiful. And hilarious. And loves to take goofy pictures with me. That makes our friendship win-win-win. Also, she's a pretty good cook, so that's a plus. We took this picture on Sunday at the Youth Group's basketball game. Yes, we're the "adults." Please note the quotation marks. This photo so captures our friendship. We're just two goofballs who were thrown into this friendship by my mom. In August 2012, I met Stephanie. My mom goes, "Steph and her husband just moved here. She needs friends. You need friends. Be friends." Okay, so maybe the conversation didn't go exactly like that, but you get the picture. It worked - we're friends!! So thankful for her....and this picture. Mostly the picture.

That's it! My five happies. I hope you enjoyed! I am off to tackle the books and do some school work (save meeeeeee).

Peace,
Rachel












Monday, March 3, 2014

Little Happies


So, my blogger (and real life biffle) Stephanie at blessedtobe asked me to do this Little Happies post. And of course I said yes, because I always say yes to Stephanie.

Okay, that's not true. I said yes because my life really is full of Little Happies. In case you want to know what a Little Happies post it, here is how Stephanie said it: "The best way to stop ourselves from living life only for the "big things" is to fall in love with the little things. We've got to find stuff worth celebrating every day. We've got to find God in all good things, no matter how small. We've got to take time to savor all of life's little happies." Isn't she so smart? So here we go. My first Little Happies post, where I will post five things that have made me smile over the past week.

Number 1:

Lent is coming up. YAY! I can honestly say that this is the first year that I am extremely excited for Lent. I know what you're all thinking...you're excited to give up something for the next 40 days? YES, I AM. But Lent is about so much more than that. And I am excited. I also happened to pick up an awesome devotional book for Lent. The book takes the idea of St. Thérèse's Little Way, which all of you should totally look up, and focuses you more on why we sacrifice during Lent and not what we are sacrificing.

Look for this in your local Catholic book store. For reals.

Number 2: 

I spent this past weekend at our Diocesan Youth Celebration and I'm pretty sure the adults had more fun than the teens. Whoops. Stephanie and I even got matching tattoos. Okay, so they wash off. But we felt pretty hardcore for a solid 30 seconds. That time spent in fellowship with Stephanie is one of my little happies. 
Hardcore Barbie-font tattoos.

Number 3: 

So, I'm a girl, right? I LOVE shopping. Love it. It may not have been this past week...but I bought myself a new scarf. Scarves are another one of my obsessions. And this one fills two purposes. It's cute (duh) and it has stamps on it, so the history nerd in my rejoices every time I wear it! Take a look at it. ADORABLE.
Excuse my creepy one-eye look. I was showing off the scarf.

Number 4:

That youth retreat I mentioned in my Little Happy Number 2? I made some new friends and learned a lot about older ones. My Little Happy Number 4 is about them. New friends = fun times. Especially when you're the only girl there (no sarcasm). We had a snow day today and I spent it with these goofy kiddos. And I loved every single second of it.
Look at those faces. Besties.

Number 5:

One of my best friends just had her first baby. More importantly, he is quite possibly the cutest newborn baby boy that I have ever seen. She is also the first one of my best friends from high school to have a baby. Is this baby going to be spoiled? Absolutely. And I got have lunch with him and his precious momma on Friday. LOOK AT THAT FACE. I just can't. He's way too cute. I just want to eat him up. Not really. He's not a cupcake. But he's just that cute.

And there you have it. Five of the little things that have made me happy this past week. I love my life. I am beyond blessed and I don't deserve any of it. I am so thankful to God for all that He has blessed me with in my life. There it is. My first Little Happies post. I could name so many more things than these five, but that is where I found God this week. I could not be more grateful.

Peace!
Rachel





Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Little bit of stress, dash of sleep, a sprinkle of love



The past few days have been busy, busy, busy. I am nearing the midterm point in my semester and I have a few papers and projects due in the next week and a half. I'm praying that sleep does not continue to elude me...I'm tired!! I am also in constant prayer, that I am able to get these projects completed and that I keep my focus. That's my little bit of stress and my dash of sleep.

I wish that I could, at this moment, be eating these cupcakes. French Toast cupcakes with Maple Bacon icing. It's breakfast...in the form of a cupcake.

That works, right? Maybe? I'm going to pretend that it does.

I made these a few weeks ago and they were a hit!

So what is my "sprinkle of love" this week? My job. Honestly, I leave my job every day full of love and joy for the work that I am doing and the people whose lives I am helping to enrich. This week at work, I have been voted Number 1 staff, best bowler out there, the best driver, and best friend. And it's only Wednesday! Blessed does not even begin to describe my thankfulness for my job.

So with a little bit of stress, a dash of sleep, and a sprinkle of love, I will keep my head held high, knowing that He is with me every step of the way on the crazy journey.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Blogging World and Me

So here I am. Sitting at my computer, procrastinating on doing my research for class. What do I do? I start a blog...because that's the most logical response to NOT doing my research.

What research?, you may ask.

That's a great question, I would say. I have to write a paper on a relevant topic in adolescent development and psychology. Easy enough, right? Apparently for everyone but me. I shall persevere and keep looking. But first...a little about me.

Hi. I'm Rachel. I'm a curly headed Southern girl who loves being Catholic, making new types of cupcakes, reading, and just hanging out with my goofy friends and weird family. I'm in graduate school for the second time because, hey, one Masters degree just wasn't enough. I work for a non-profit full time and absolutely love the work I'm doing. I'm obsessed (slightly) with Harry Potter, anything Apple, dystopian literature, learning about my faith, and chapstick. Seriously, I have about three tubes in my purse at this very moment. It's like an adult security blanket. And it keeps my lips shiny and not chapped (winner)! What else about  me? Hmmm...I enjoy running! I recently ran my first 5K and made pretty good time. My goal is to run a half-marathon before the end of 2014.

I am the youngest in my family and call my mom one of my closest friends. My family is crazy and I love when we are all together. My friends are hysterical and I absolutely treasure every moment we get to spend together.

This blog will be my story as I navigate, sometimes clumsily, my way through the big and scary real adult world. You'll read about my trials and my triumphs, my cupcake endeavors, and my hair problems (and there are a LOT of those) all while I learn more and grow more in my Catholic faith. Because being a cupcake-loving, curly-headed Catholic 20-something is pretty awesome. You'll just have to take my word for it.