my 155-acre security blanket

Just thinking...
Western New York feels so comfortable, so familiar.
Whenever I'm home on the farm, it just feels right.
Despite the fact that we've all nearly been killed at various times on the farm, when I'm here, it feels like nothing can go wrong.
If Doug were here, it would be entirely perfect.


ethan's graduation!

Congratulations, buddy! We're proud of you & we love you!


i'm back, ya'll!

Got back from Student Life Camp in Gatlinburg, Tennessee last night. It was an awesomely fun time with the youth group. We left Thursday afternoon and spent the night in Georgetown, Kentucky. We arrived in Gatlinburg on Friday afternoon. We stayed in condos, which was really nice. I made the door signs ("Flip" was the theme of SLC)... if you look closely, the lettering is not a true mirror image, which was driving the perfectionist in me a little nutty every time I saw it. Oh well!

Each morning and night we had "Celebration" with a speaker, Louie Giglio, and praise band, Fee. Then every afternoon we had free time. On Saturday, we went white water rafting - it was my first time going and it was awesome! I definitely want to go again. Awkward story - one of the guides (not ours) looked like he was missing a finger, so one of our kids asked our guide what happened. Turns out he got a huge, mouth-sized chunk bitten off in a bar fight and had to have his finger removed!

Saturday night there was a Leeland concert, and Sunday night was a David Crowder show. It was my first time seeing him live - he's pretty awesome.

I had an amazing time bonding with the girls in the youth group & I'm so pumped for our Jamaica trip! Unfortunately, I am feeling really old, because I think all those late nights (i.e. max 5 hrs per night) and going non-stop put me a little under the weather - I'm quite sniffly today.

Other things...
- I finished reading Winter's Tale by Mark Helprin (he wrote Freddy & Fredericka, about which I have previously raved). He is just an amazing writer. The way he plays with words is breathtaking. I know, I sound like a total nerd, and I'm okay with that. Anyway, Winter's Tale is an incredible novel of magical realism. I think it is allegorical of the return of the Messiah... I haven't quite figured it out. If you love seeing the English language become putty in a writer's hands and you're not afraid of a thick read, I highly recommend this book.

- I went to the dentist today. UGH. But hooray - no cavities! I owe it all to the electric toothbrush that Dad got me for my birthday. (That's not a joke.)

- We are leaving for NY tomorrow!! Ethan graduates Friday night and --attention relatives!-- his graduation party is Sunday afternoon. Be there, or be a square sadsack.

-Enjoyed a leisurely pool party this afternoon with my small group girls. I looove summer.

-Doug is currently in Lansing, MI taking his certification test to become a professional HR guy. I'm passing time by eating a hot dog and doing laundry.


quick & random

-Yard sale this past weekend was a big success! We were pleased with both our earnings and how much junk/treasure we got rid of! Plus, we had an awesome time with the Townleys and Katy & Sara!

Girls - minus Sara, unfortunately - being just too fabulous.

-Watched Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure last night for the first time - hilarious, bodacious, etc. So many awesome quotes that I will definitely attempt to work into various conversations throughout the summer.

-Internship is going very well. Today I got paid to hang out with girls I love at a pool all day. We leave on Thursday for Student Life Camp in Tennessee. 

-I just heard The Fray's version of Kanye West's "Heartless" the other day, and I think I might make a wish-mix of rap/hip hop songs I'd like to hear mellowed and what artists I'd like to do the mellowing. 



This past January, Doug & I deleted our Facebook accounts. We had talked about doing it for awhile, going back and forth between the pros & cons, then one day *click!* We just did it. 

We had several reasons for deleting our accounts, with COLOSSAL WASTE OF TIME topping the charts. I'm embarrassed to admit how much time I was capable of spending, mindlessly wading through the labyrinth of faces. I would sign on to check "just one thing!" and an hour later be jealously looking at the tropical vacation of some friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend-who-we-met-at-that-one-party-and-remember-we-laughed-about-how-we-both-like-that-one-scene-from-that-one-movie-so-obviously-we'd-be-great-facebook-friends! Which brings up another point - the fact that Facebook fosters these absolutely superficial, stupid "relationships," which I will now trademark as "e-ships." Dumb!

Yeah, so we decided to sever that limb.

The next week I dealt with a barrage of students griping about the fact that I no longer had Facebook. How would I know what was going on in each of their lives? How will I know who's dating whom? (Wait, no, none of my students can use "whom" correctly...) More importantly, how will they be able to ask me useless questions 24/7? After awhile, I stopped explaining myself and just told all of them that I got rid of Facebook because I don't like them. 

I actually didn't miss Facebook. A couple times after hanging out with friends and taking pictures, they'd tell one another to "put them on Facebook!" and I'd feel a twinge of regret, but it was passing. 

When I told my friend Sara that I would be her intern this summer, she mentioned at one point how it would be so much easier for me to organize events with the kids if I had Facebook. I thought about it, realized she was right, talked to Doug & two days ago, we opened our accounts again.

Oh. My. Gosh. People have gotten engaged and married - people have had BABIES - people have broken up and are already dating new people... it's overwhelming. The first few seconds that I logged back in, I thought my brain might explode. If you ever need a slice of humble pie -proof that life moves along without you, delete your Facebook account for 6 months.

The first thing I did was what I like to call "Friend Cleanup." In other words, I deleted a bunch of people that I never talk to. Also, I de-friended all my students, except the seniors who graduated and the girls in my small group or our church youth group. That was 2 days ago, people. I already have 6 pending "friend requests" from students, messages from students and a message from an ex-boyfriend. If you don't know how to contact me outside of Facebook, then we probably shouldn't be in touch anyway. Don't get me wrong - it's fun seeing where old high school friends have ended up, what college buddies are doing, etc... but it's just so, so... ____________ (someone give me a good word - the only thing I can come up with at the moment is "blah"). 

My goal is to delete my account again at the end of summer. A lot of my friends are like, "Why don't you keep the account and just not log in?" Because I CAN'T. It's a disease. I'm like a 4-year old boy and Facebook is a scab on my knee. You try to tell a 4-year old boy not to pick that scab. I know, it's gross on multiple levels. And just to clarify, I'm not trying to guilt trip or convince anyone else to give up Facebook. This is about me and my inability to maintain a healthy balance with social networks.

Anyway - I just felt compelled to go public about my relationship e-ship with Facebook. On my blog. On the Internet. There is some poetic irony somewhere there...


bittersweet: adj., pleasure mingled with pain

1 speech class (per semester).
2 English A classes.
3 English 9 classes.
9 months. 
36 weeks.
170 days.
1,190 hours (not counting after school & extracurricular events)
approx. 1 million homework assignments.
approx. 1 billion essays.
92 final exams.

And just like *that* - it's all over.


4 years!

Happy anniversary to these two lovebirds!

We miss you a lot, family/friends & we hope your next year of marriage is full of blessings, shlager & us!
Doug & Rachel


wishful thinking

The other day, Doug & I were talking about the most extravagant gift we could imagine receiving. We really let our imaginations run wild. 

Doug went with:

I, of course, cheated & superimposed 2 gifts into one:

Best. Gift. Ever.
If I ever woke up Christmas morning to that sight, I think I might honestly die.