I wanna talk about me!  

Posted by Rachel

I know, I know... I'm jumping on the bandwagon a little too late. But, as you'll soon see, I don't really like following rules. And this is long, so if you don't make it through to the end, I won't hold it against you.

But, here is my list of things about me...

  1. I am the youngest of three girls. My sisters are two of my best friends. I'm sure I was the annoying little sis growing up, but I don't think I fit into the "youngest child" stereotype on most levels.
  2. I hate having internet-only friendships. Or even internet-heavy friendships. Let's be REAL friends and then we can be internet friends.
  3. I have played piano since the 1st grade. It is my emotional release and I love it.
  4. I lead a generally overcommitted life. I constantly fight this tendency.
  5. I think music is my love language (though according to the book, I'm a mix of 'words of affirmation' and 'quality time' with a little 'acts of service' mixed in)... picking a favorite musician or song is like picking a favorite child. Impossible.
  6. I'm blunt and I don't think patience or compassion or huge gifts of mine.
  7. I am admittedly a Betty Crocker. I love to cook and bake...in fact, right now, I'm taking a cake decorating class. I could pore over cookbooks all day long, and spend hours in kitchen stores.
  8. I get joy out of organizing things... and I kinda like to clean too.
  9. I'm planning on taking guitar lessons soon. My poor guitar hasn't gotten too much attention lately, and I'm tired of trying to teach myself.
  10. I sleep with 2 stuffed animals that I have had since 4th grade. Extra friend points if you can comment (a) what "species" they are and (b) their names.
  11. I hate traffic. It makes me jittery and uneasy and really IMPATIENT.
  12. I wore a pair of Nikes to school in Kindergarten grade, was convinced the boy I thought was cute stared at them oddly, and I went home upset and swore to my parents that I would never wear them again. And I didn't.
  13. I ran the hurdles on my high school track team for two years. I loved it and I miss the hurdles.
  14. I am a deal shopper like crazy. I get excited about the Sunday paper just to look through the sale ads and coupons. I have perfected the art of having stores PAY ME to take things out of their store. But, the negative part of this is that I am the person who buys something I don't need just because it is SUPER cheap and I have a coupon.
  15. Cheesecake is my favorite dessert. But I don't discriminate against other desserts.
  16. For 20 years of my life, I thought the word miniseries (referring to a short tv series) was pronounced men-is-her-ies. I thought, though similar in meaning, that these were two different words.
  17. I am really clutzy. In the past 5-7 years of my life, I have: fallen while taking down most of a bulletin board and landing with a pushpin in my elbow, cartwheeled over the handlebars of a bike (taking a handlebar to the gut), slipped in a gas station and taken down the tree of gummy snacks with me, taken a HARD served volleyball to the face during a college level game, twisted my ankle while making fun of someone else, broken 4 glasses/cups at a friend's house in one night, face-planted in front of the Eiffel Tower...and I'm sure there's more.
  18. I was a cheerleader from 7th grade through 10th grade. WHAT was I thinking?
  19. I LOVE traveling. Some of the places I've gone abroad include: (abroad) China, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, France, Guatemala and the Bahamas. Just in the past year and a half (mostly thanks to work, but not all), I have been to: NYC, DC, Chicago (three times), Philly, Miami, Dallas, Charlotte (2 times), Phoenix, Boston, Nashville, Baltimore, LA, San Diego, Savannah and Guatemala. Many of those were first time visits.
  20. I fell in love with Chinese culture and the people when I spent a summer there. I plan to adopt a Chinese baby one day. It's a non-negotiable.
  21. I have had 4 speeding tickets and 1 ticket for a wreck in my life. I don't have the BEST track record with cops, clearly.
  22. I played competitive volleyball from 8th grade until my sophomore year of college.
  23. I have been to more concerts in my life than I can even count. Remember when I said music was my love language? Well, concerts are one of the best ways to experience music in my opinion.
  24. I have a great fear of what is under the surface of bodies of water. I love to swim and don't mind going in lakes or the ocean, but only if I can't think about what might be underneath me. I hate watching scenes of movies that are set underwater.
  25. I completed my first sprint triathlon in September of '08. I plan to do at least two in '09. I love it.
  26. Breakfast is my favorite meal to eat out.
  27. When I was really young, my foot got caught in the spokes of a moving bicycle and I ended up with one of the worst sprained ankles of all time. My mom thought it was broken.
  28. I spent a lot of time in detention during the fourth grade. And it was ALWAYS for talking.
  29. I love reading. One time in the third grade, I was so engrossed in reading on the rug in our classroom that the whole class lined up and went out the door before I even noticed, which only happened when they turned the light out on me.
  30. I find shopping slightly addictive.
  31. My friends and I had a very elaborate detective club when we were in elementary school. We played every Sunday night at church while our parents were in choir practice.
  32. When we were building our house in North Carolina, there was a huge build up of dirt around the house since it has a basement level and had to be dug out a little bit. I was probably about 10 and a friend and I were playing on the top of this semi-mountain when I slipped and fell 15-20 feet to the bottom, where I blacked out.
  33. I want to live in a big city. REALLY bad. And Orlando does NOT count.
  34. When I was little, I got scared REALLY easily. Sometimes, when I saw or heard something scary, I wouldn't be able to be in a room by myself for weeks. I wouldn't even close the door when showering because I was so terrified. I remember sitting on the floor of the kitchen for no apparent reason just because my mom was doing the dishes and I needed to be near a person.
  35. I have a large collection of Cherished Teddies from my elementary/middle school days. I also have one of Beanie Babies. Don't judge - I'm hoping they are worth money one day.
  36. I'm not that good at accepting change.
  37. I'm a big fan of nicknames and code names. My friend Emily and I had some of the best names for things/people when in MS and HS. Some of our favorites were: 'Red,' 'the Reason' and 'the Bake'... We also liked to create concoctions in the kitchen and name those: Whipped Torte (tasted awful), Co-Co-Co brownies (Bekah loved them), Cha-Cha bread are just a few of our favorites. My cars always have names too. The jury is still out on my new car, but in my last car, even the stereo system had a name and personality.
  38. When I was born, the umbilical cord was wrapped around my neck and I was VERY pale from a lack of oxygen.
  39. I am missing two permanent teeth. One of them didn't even exist as a baby tooth, and one of them, the baby tooth is still in my mouth because there was nothing to push it out of the way. I have nightmares (no lie) about my teeth falling out prematurely or getting loose when they shouldn't. I have a complex and I blame it on the fact that my dad's a dentist.
  40. I was a camp counselor for 3 summers. Those were some of the best summers of my life!
  41. I had amazing college friends and roommates. 4 of those roommates are still 4 of my BEST friends in the whole world and I talk with them regularly.
  42. One time, I cried through an entire wedding. SOBBED would be more like it. It was rather distracting, but I was only 13. I blame it on immaturity.
  43. The beach is my favorite place in the world. Except maybe Central Park. I love the beach because that's where I see God the most in nature. I love CP because I love nature but I also love huge cities and it mixes the two perfectly.
  44. One time, I had to attempt to shave a girl's (well, woman's would be more like it) face. Ask me about that sometime. It was awesome (not).
  45. My favorite class in college was The Life and Teachings of Christ taught by one of my fav professors: Renate Hood.
  46. I was a ministry minor in college and because of studying all the mega churches in America in my classes, I have made it a goal to visit as many as I can. So far, I have marked Brooklyn Tab (Jim Cymbala - New York), Saddleback (Rick Warren - SoCal), Willow Creek (Bill Hybels - Chicago) and Lakewood (Joel Osteen - Houston) off my list. Some were great - some I hated. You can ask me for details if you so choose.
  47. I have a love-hate relationship with running, and I run anywhere between 3-6 miles at least 4 times a week. My goal for 2009? 10 miles. Slowly (maybe) working my way to a half-marathon.
  48. I might have one of the loudest laughs you have ever heard. And I "use" it frequently.
  49. My favorite time of day is about an hour before sunset. And my favorite thing to do during that time is (1) go on a drive in the middle of nowhere with the windows down OR (2) go on a run.
  50. I have the inability to hear a song I know and not sing along. I'm the worst in cars.

Ok - so as you can see, I didn't follow the rule of 25 things (as most were doing via Facebook). It is mostly because I can't pick favorites and have a hard time with decisions, so narrowing a random fact list down to 25 would be too difficult. Thanks for sticking with me (if you did).

Early predictions  

Posted by Rachel

If you didn't know, I am an avid American Idol fan - I have been since season 3 or so. And just so I can say "I told you so" later (I HOPE!), I'm calling Danny Gokey RIGHT NOW. Granted, my early pick last season was Michael Johns (who made a guest appearance last night and I almost peed my pants a little) and he didn't win, so I admit that I could be wrong. But Danny has blown me away since his first appearance in front of the judges when he got his golden ticket. And then his rendition of Mariah Carey's Hero? Seriously?! Amazing. Plus the fact that he's a church music director and has overcome a lot in life to be where he is... pretty sure the cards couldn't be much more stacked in his favor (in my book).

Not your average chick flick  

Posted by Rachel

I have heavier stuff in mind for a blog...

but for now, if you have (or haven't, for that matter) seen He's Just Not That Into You... this little video made me laugh this morning.


Posted by Rachel in

I have been really blessed by accountability in my life. And one thing I have learned is that accountability is not necessarily something that comes easy, but in our Christian walk, it is beyond important. Sure, some relationships are just that close naturally, and I do have a few of those (one KEY person has been that for me since the 10th grade!). But sometimes, accountability - true, real and deep - comes only by intentionally seeking it out.

I think that is how my first real encounter with this occurred. In college, I was in a place where I knew I needed help, and all of my close friends were either not going to see eye-to-eye with me on the issues I was struggling with (therefore providing no accountability) or in a place where I felt ashamed to tell them where I was struggling (stupid, I know). And so, I sought out a friend that I had a deep amount of respect for, but not one that I had not ever been that BRUTALLY honest with, and asked her to meet me, hear me out, and then keep me accountable. It was amazing what a turn around that made in my life. Even just knowing that one other person knew what was going on and was going to drill me about it later made me want to make better decisions. She prayed with me and for me and that was most important. That alone made me want to get out of the stupid pit I was in.

After that situation, I have made accountability relationships more and more a part of my everyday life. It didn't hurt that my last two years of college were spent living with 4 ladies who would constantly kick me in the butt if I was doing something stupid and guide me back towards the right path. Because of the honesty that was built in those friendships, those 4 women are still 4 of my closest friends and I cannot imagine life without them, even though we are now separated in 4 different states and areas of the country. But, since I don't them every day and they are not a part of the ins and outs of my daily life anymore, they cannot keep me accountable spiritually in the same way that someone here - in Orlando - can do.

When I first moved to Orlando, I joined a small group (my House Church) of people that have become my second family. The relationships in the group have sustained me, spurred me on, encouraged me, and provided me with some of the closest friends I could have asked for in Orlando. Within that group, there is a great amount of honesty and accountability, but we have even discussed lately how we want more of that. As I have reflected on our group, I came to the realization that I might not ever have DEEP accountability in a group of 20+ people, but that doesn't mean that they don't play a massive role in my Spiritual walk, because they do. And over the past few weeks, I have realized just how much of a role, and I have been thanking God for that group... a lot.

But, if deep, personal accountability wasn't going to come in the form of a group of 20 of my closest friends, I knew I needed to seek it out somewhere else. And so, a few months back (a lot of months actually), I began an intentional accountability relationship with two women that I have a deep amount of respect and admiration for. We started on unsure feet, not knowing how it would work or what we even wanted from it all, but it has grown into two of the most edifying and uplifting relationships in my life. Some weeks when we meet are harder than others. Sometimes we just talk about life. Other times we dig deep into the crap under the surface. We challenge each other to grow, to strive after God more, to rely on Him to fix our stupid imperfections and to reflect Him more in our everyday lives. No matter what, there is always a level of honesty and vulnerability that is unmatched by many other relationships in my life.

This post was spawned by recent meetings with these two friends. I have been SO THANKFUL (more so than normal) for them in the past few weeks, I have felt so encouraged by them, and I am constantly excited to see what God has in store for the three of us as we continue to meet and seek Him together.

I also wanted to post this to encourage anyone reading it to be sure that you have relationships like this in your life. Do you have someone that is intentionally keeping you accountable? Sometimes, even with the closest of friends, it is hard to move past the normal conversations to the ones where we ask the tough questions. But, I'd encourage you not to be scared of that, because I am a firm believer that we ALL need that in our lives. If you aren't there with anyone, get there. Please. We weren't made to walk through life alone. We were created by God as relational creatures. I mean, come on, God created Eve just so that Adam would have a companion!

I am confident that I would not be the person that I am today if it were not for those people in my life who are not scared to call me out, but who are also not scared to love me and to love God with everything that they have. So, if you have played that role in my life...thank you.

*Just as a side note, I typed this early yesterday but had yet to publish it, and then late last night had a completely God-inspired night with my best friend and two of our very random out-of-town friends. Amazing. It was total confirmation of that fact that we are not made to walk this walk alone.