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Kiefer, Sorry We Keep Missing Each Other. Call Me.

Is this a midlife crisis? It feels like a midlife crisis.

I keep realizing over and over again that I'm four decades into this life and there are so many things I have not accomplished.

I thought I was working to get somewhere, but I think I passed it. And therefore totally missed it (whatever it was).

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It was probably because I was talking. I miss a lot of things due to talking. Or maybe I mistook it for another stat update from my Fortnite obsessed 10 year old and did that thing where I zone out and say "that's great" as he recaps his skin collection and dance move arsenal. Ahhh Summer.

What started out as two months of hopeful structure, learning opportunities and chore lists has quickly melted down into 1 AM bedtimes and I-don't-care-what-you-do-just-do-it-quietly orders. Year round school, you say? *checking the "maybe" box*

So anyway...as it turns out, I've had some time to contemplate, you know on those nights I'm sitting in the upstairs hallway policing room escapes and going over all the numbers for the week with my math-y five-year-old, and I've decided that I'm a complete and utter failure, which is a day ruin-er. Let's analyze all the things I planned for my life that I have thus far failed to do.

  • I am not an oceanographer. 
  • I cannot hula hoop.
  • I am not a veterinarian with my best childhood friend, Katie and we don't live in a mansion with dozens of wild animals that run free. 
  • Likewise, we didn't become best friend actresses with our own t.v. show. 
  • I didn't become a Black Eyed Pea, which means...
  • I haven't won an MTV Music Award
  • I didn't meet a vampire on a pier in Santa Carla that looked a lot like Kiefer Sutherland
  • I didn't meet a cowboy who rode in a gang with Billy the Kid and who also looked a lot like Kiefer Sutherland. 
  • I did not win the dance-off to become the new DTV regular much to my strict military father's disapproval. 
  • I never accidentally randomly encountered a New Kid on the Block where I impressed him with my singing, acting, beauty, CPR skills, car maintenance knowledge or by saving him from a rattlesnake.
  • I was never featured on the cover of seventeen magazine on a surfboard with the caption "Surfing the World Wide Webb" with a feature story on the inside where they ask me questions and I give them disinterested bada$$ answers because I'm too famous to care. - (yes, I gave my fake media trajectory some real thought.)
  • Kiefer Sutherland, due to the unfortunate missteps listed above, has not fallen in love with me, which is really his loss and it's too late for him because I am QUITE married (I mean like, we JUST bought our second set of furniture together so...it's serious). 

Hold on. I've had to pour some wine to cope with my downward spiral.

I spent a LOT of the last few years feeling like I missed some boat that everyone else got on *waves from the shore while muttering resentful comments* Wasn't I supposed to have accomplished...something?  I mean, like a GRAND goal of some sort that everyone could see and that would some how justify my entire existence? Was I standing at the $1 bins at Target with my $6 coffee when opportunity knocked on my door?

I've recently realized though that one of the gifts you get when you lose someone close is perspective. I didn't ask for it and would give it back in a nano-second, but since I didn't get the choice, I look at it as one of God's jewels for the brokenhearted and hurting. Perspective. Sometimes you need something or someone to flip the lens of your perspective so you can really get a better look at all you seem to be dissatisfied with.

And my perspective shifted to see all the things I've done in my life that no one would ever really
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notice. The things that I've always wanted and I've gotten. There was no mountaintop experience for the things I value most. And thank goodness - because though amazing to behold, a mountaintop moment is fleeting and once-in-a-lifetime-ish. It's all those little moments in my day and week when I was experiencing deep, exhaling joy and satisfaction. I think it's just a general appreciation of the journey...yes even though Kiefer and I have chosen different paths.

Here is what I've come to value about my life recently.

  • When my boys are laughing and playing together - I mean, like really laughing - not fighting, not arguing, not manipulating - but really and truly enjoying the brother relationship. I feel such deep joy watching my kids that it makes me want to burst. 
  • When I start to miss being younger but then I remember how full of angst and doubt and fear I really was and I realize that from this point on, I get to enjoy life confidently and with the deep contentment that only those with war wounds (and a few wrinkles) get to experience. 
  • That first cup of coffee in the morning - it's the BEST. 
  • When your spouse catches you off guard with a joke and you find yourself laughing as hard as you did when you were first dating. 
  • Quality time with my sister and mother. Mom has always said, "You get one turn on this earth." She and my dad squeezed every drop of experience out of their years together and true to form, she's continuing to pursue life even when it's emotionally hard. 
  • Girlfriends - I think in your 30's you are in this underground bunker of child rearing and it's rare to have the trifecta of time, energy and money to spend on quality friendships, but when your kids get a little older, you begin to see the possibilities again and I LOVE the support and laughter and reality checks I get when I spend an evening with girlfriends.

All in all, I think the most exciting thing about life is always the possibility ahead.

So maybe we'll look different,
a little older,
a little worn.
Maybe we'll feel a little stiffer,
resent the 20 year old on the elliptical next to us at the gym,
go up a size or three,
start eating for fiber, instead of taste,
pick a smaller beverage on a road trip because when did I start having to pee so much?

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But all that means is we have no more excuses to see life for what it really is...these amazing, heart-
singing moments that sometimes catch us off guard and give us incredible emotional experiences that are the direct result from our desire to create a life of connection rather than just accomplishment. It isn't groundbreaking but we all fail to see the beauty in front of us sometimes because we have heaped a disproportionate amount of expectations about what life should look like instead of enjoying what it actually does look like.




Respectfully,
Rachel 

Make it a Mystery!


Since firing back up the murder mystery party business, I have had several inquiries into it. I thought I'd just do a quick post and let you know what they are and you can see if it's a good fit for your event.

A little history as to why I travel around with a portable crime scene in my car
In high school, I was very involved in the drama club and I was also just very involved in any kind of drama in general. I love performing and I really miss walking into an empty theater, making my way back to the dressing room and putting my train case full of makeup in front of a large mirror.  I miss the nerves. I miss the energy of the audience. I am totally getting off track, but I wanted to throw a warm fuzzy reunion in this paragraph for all of my former and current theater nerds out there. The theater is magic. Being a part of it is special and it has given so many of us some sense of satisfaction in the uncertain and stressful formative years of high school.

The theater is where I fell in love with creating experiences for people. This is what I love about hosting murder mystery parties. Creating experiences.

Before I belt out a show tune, let me move on. When I was 19, my church singles group wanted to host a murder mystery party for like 30 or 40 people. The boxed games that you could buy were made for 8 people. The internet and all it's wonderment was not really around as it is now so everyone was trying to figure out how to pull it off. I volunteered myself as tribute. I believe my exact words were, "I can write one of those."

And everyone believed me.

And actually I had no idea how to write "one of those."

I wrote that first murder mystery party, a 1940's themed Hollywood party called "What Happened to Roxy Lamour?" I, of course, procrastinated and cried through about 10 hours straight of sitting at the computer at my job on a Saturday while my family kept calling me asking if I was going to come home in time for the party.

Somehow I pulled it off. But it was NOT pretty.

Over the years I tested different themes and party sizes. Some performances were hits and some just weren't. It's how it goes. Experiencing both success and failure, while a rollercoaster, was really the only way to learn.  I did all kinds of events from church functions to corporate retreats, private parties to team building events. I've had a lot of amazing people who believed in me and supported me and didn't question the roll of crime scene tape or the rolled up chalk body outline when getting in my car.

Those are good friends to have.

And then I had kids. And kids are a commitment (they like eat EVERY day) and I put it away entirely to start writing a blog - because I didn't have to get a babysitter to write a blog.

Over the last three years, much to my surprise, I have begun to host them once again. My current niche is the civic groups and women's organizations who need monthly programming at their luncheons. I have had an amazing time working with these organizations to bring them a fun event.

I have recently been requested for "take-a-long" versions of my game and those are also available.

So to FINALLY get to the point.

I customize murder mystery parties for any event. I work with most sizes, themes and venues. If you are interested, then let's talk. No strings.

Pricing?
My prices for events where I attend as the facilitator start at $250.  I can work with you at times because I love what I do, but babysitters are expensive and I don't own my own Starbucks yet. To buy a take home version that needs no alterations - as is, it is $50. To customize a take home game, I charge between $100-$200 depending on the group size and request.

How does it work?
A certain number of guests at your event will become suspects in a crime. They will get their character info, event theme and costume suggestions in advance. Everything else will be given to them the night of the event. No line preparation is required. You just show up and perform. They are really fun and people tend to really enjoy themselves. I have a lot of repeat customers.

If you are interested, please email me at justpeachy1123@gmail.com and I will send over an introductory client letter that lays it all out. We can set-up an initial call to discuss your event where we can talk details at no obligation.

So that's it. Let me know if you have any specific questions!

Respectfully,
Rachel

Liquids and Solids

My grandfather used to say that there were two kinds of people in the world. Liquids and Solids.

Solids are who they are. They are defined and strong. They are the type of people that you make room for because they know who they are and they aren't afraid to show it. These people are decisive. They KNOW where they want to go for dinner.

Liquids...well liquids take the shape of their containers. Liquids are people who let their circumstances and relationships define who they are a little more than they should. I don't know why THEY do this.  Perhaps liquids are a little too afraid of hurting other people's feelings and so they tell people what they want to hear a lot. I mean. I'm guessing this is what they do. I don't know. Me being all solid and such.

I like these descriptors. It has always bothered me that I'm not a true solid. I'm a solid in certain areas, but a liquid in a whole lot of others.

Stealing (Solid) - Absolutely not.
Cheating (Solid) - Heck No.
Cilantro (Solid) - Get thee behind me Satan.
Lying About Not Wanting to Go Out (Liquid) - "Gosh Jackie, I would love to go - but I have this old war injury that prevents me from eating tapas *mutes phone to open Cheez-Its* "

Photo by David Clode on Unsplash
As I get older, I feel like I get more solid in some areas, but there are a lot of areas in my life that I think I'm just flat out waiting for other people to come tell me who I am.

But I'm 41 so...I feel like those people aren't coming.

But then I got to thinking. When my grandfather spoke of liquids and solids, he was talking about people who are strong versus people who are weak. But he was from a generation without much gray area. There wasn't time for gray area. There were wars to fight and shirts to starch.

But in my pontificate-life-whilst-playing-candy-crush, walmart-grocery-now-delivers-to-my-freaking-house generation, liquids and solids don't describe a full person, in my opinion they describe aspects of people. Thank God for gray area.

We all have deal breakers. Things we can't fathom changing our stance on.

For example, Target is pretty solid on a $.05 discount deeming something a clearance item, yet pretty liquid on the amount of open checkout lines to customer ratio. *side eyeing Target with my $5 coffee*

I was just thinking the other day while I was organizing all of my secret dieting Pinterest Boards (I felt like it was a bit disrespectful to have 'Pontificating Paleo' next to 'Goin' Vegan' so I put 'Weight Watchers' - Smartpoints not freestyle - in between to keep it respectful) that there are so many things I still don't have together.

Now I'm not at all proposing that we are all solids all the time, because someone else should get to pick the movie from time to time. But wait...what movie were you thinking?

I guess my point is that this indecisive side of me for so long has been troubling. Like, why don't I have a solid stance on everything? Why don't I know who I definitively am at this point? Why do I not have a solid system for everything in my life?

And it dawns on me...isn't a little liquid just room for growth?

When I was a little girl, I wanted my grandfather to see me as a solid. And I think that I am in the way he was viewing it, but as I get older, I see the beauty in some liquid in all of our lives.

Sometimes being solid means being closed off. For example, there is no speech, facebook post or 20/20 episode that will convince me that I should eat cilantro. I don't like it. Period. End of discussion.

But who am I to close myself off to issues and discussions that are personal to other people? When do my feelings on something outrank another person's.

Photo by Samara Doole on Unsplash
People are pretty much made up of DNA and life experiences.

And both of those things are very real.

It makes me realize that age isn't making me more solid, it's making me more liquid because life can be hard. And the longer you are in the game, the more your heart softens. The more experiences you used to judge then happen to you and you realize you had no idea what you were talking about before.

Enter motherhood.
Enter a child diagnosed with something.
Enter profound personal loss and grief.

I'm not advocating that we become a wishy washy group of non-decision makers (sorry Congress, you do you, Boo), but we can all stand to forego a little judgement.

Sometimes it's hard to see the bright side of getting older. Seems like a silly process at times because our current culture celebrates youth...but then I remember my dad telling me that the thing he valued the most as an older man was kindness.

And I think of all the ridiculous things that I value. And how they really don't mean much.

Fluidity and kindness. The ability to mold and grow as a person coupled with caring about my fellow man.

With all due respect to my grandfather, I think I won't resist those gushy parts of who I am anymore.

Respectfully,
Rachel

Hi *waves weakly*

So. Grief is kind of a monster and I resent it.

I get it. It's necessary. It's part of healing.

But I can't help but feel like my dad was taken and grief was what got substituted. And I don't want grief. I want my dad. My kids want my dad. Everyone wants my dad.

A few nights ago, Wesley started crying because he was sad about his grandpa. It was gut wrenchingly sad but also touching to see my five year old on the autism spectrum connect the absence of my dad with his own grief. It was cool. Crazy sad, but cool. We all had a good cry. Crying is a step forward. A painful one, but a step none the less.
Afterward, I told the boys to go get in my bed so we could watch Ferdinand the Bull even though it was a school night and I wanted to watch The Fall on Netflix. What can I say, I'm a giver. Besides, they would have asked way too many plot questions if we had watched The Fall.

So we popped popcorn, put on our happy faces and started watching Ferdinand. And like fifteen minutes into the movie they took Ferdinand away from his owner, a little girl who got sad. I get it, rising action and such, but Wesley started crying again, saying he didn't want Ferdinand to go because it made his friend very very sad...and he dropped his popcorn and ran out of the room.

Sam looked at me and said, "Great movie choice, mom. Way to cheer us up." He's just bitter because we didn't watch Die Hard.

And we laughed about it.  And I realized something. Grief is consuming sometimes, but it's not going to win. We will get through this intensely sad and life jarring time and we will figure out where to go from here.

My husband asked me how I was doing this week. I told him that the constant sadness is gone. The sadness now hits in odd moments at weird times, but it feels more powerful than when you are in that state of constant sadness. It's almost like your subconscious wants to put any random happiness you have in its place.  Like you almost forget how the landscape of your life has changed so drastically in a very short amount of time and then you are folding a shirt your dad bought your son that he's outgrown and it sucker punches you in the stomach. And the sadness that hits now is suffocating.

So I'm not going to spend a lot of time writing about how I'm processing my feelings about my dad, but I feel weird moving onto other subjects and digging out my humor without a gut check.

In January, I was talking to dad about my writing projects. I do a lot of ghostwriting. Ghostwriting is basically throwing yourself into another person's subject matter, reading enough of their current work to understand their voice and then writing things for them. I really enjoy it but it's easy to hide behind it. It's easy to trick yourself into thinking you are fully enjoying your hobby just because you are doing it...but you have to be really careful to find your terms and spend a little time doing things you simply enjoy.

One of the last things dad said to me that was 'fatherly' was in this conversation in January. He said,  "Do me a favor. Don't spend all your time writing other people's words. Write some more of your own."

I think about that a lot. It might seem silly. But I think that if you have a passion for something, which I think a lot of us do, it's not silly. It's the thing that keeps you company throughout your entire life. Insert your own thing. It doesn't have to be writing. It can be painting, teaching, healing, educating....wine. No judgement. This is a safe space.

At least twice a month I am convinced that my passion is Cheez-Its.

Though this year has not started in the manner I expected nor want it to. I can't help but have that Morgan Freeman line from Shawshank Redemption go through my head these days, "get busy living, or get busy dying."

I think whenever life takes an unexpected turn where mortality is involved, we realize that there is no better time to get going. If you've been meaning to do something and I can help encourage you to finally do it, I'd love the chance.

So that's a small gut check from me. The May issue of NW Georgia Magazine will have a tribute to dad. The magazine was awesome about reaching out and offering me this beautiful space to honor my dad. I hope when it comes out, that you will read it.  I was supposed to go Yurt camping...thank you baby Jesus in a manger I can put off camping for a few more months (is that technically camping)? Can you DoorDash to a Yurt?

My entire family has been moved by how much our beloved community has loved us. Our biggest wish is to be able to reciprocate or pay it forward some day.

Respectfully,
Rachel

Good Instead of Evil...

There is something about entering a room where my youngest has been that is distinct. It doesn't matter where he is in the house currently - when he's been in a room and I walk into it, the same feeling washes over me every time.

Photo by Eric McDuffie Photography
You can call it my incredible mommy instinct or credit our unbreakable mother/son bond if you like (and I hope you will), but whatever the reason, it conjures up feelings and sensations that have no comparison.

As I write this I'm trying to find the right words to describe what it's like to come into a room when a precious child born from your womb (or grew from your heart) has recently bestowed sweet hands and curious minds to an unsupervised area for even the most shockingly short snippet of time.

It reminds me of something...what is it?

Oh. Ha. That's right.

A Crime Scene.

The room reminds me of a crime scene. And that feeling that washes over? It's the dread you feel when you simultaneously don't want to look at something yet you literally can't turn away.

A room in shambles.
A cabinet door swinging on it's hinges, making a creaking noise for like the first time ever.
A chandelier spinning from a mysterious wind gust even though all the doors are closed. 
Some empty container with no idea where the subsequent "spill" is until you step in it. 
A worried dog with a look in her eyes as if posing the silent question, "Does this reflect badly on all of us?"

It's a room full of terrifying clues and a mystery crime. One I can't figure out. I undoubtedly stand in the doorway for a few minutes like Angela Lansbury in an episode of Murder, She Wrote, taking in the scenery, listening to sounds and trying to figure out WHAT has taken place in this room.

Where is the dead body?

Photo by The Creative Exchange on Unsplash
Usually it's the kitchen. And usually it's in pursuit of food.

He'd rather rip open and eat shredded mexican cheese off the floor than ask me for a string cheese.

He'd rather scale the pantry shelves for a sleeve of stale Saltines (because you only buy them when  you're sick and never finish the package - hence the staleness) than ask me for some goldfish.

He'd rather fill a decorative canister with water (with decorative holes that allow the water to spill out) than ask me for a juice box.

On the one hand, I get frustrated that he is capable of such grand scale destruction. On the other hand, I get a tinge of excitement at the problem solving and independence he shows. I mean, really, WHY ask mom for something when you can stack five chairs on top of each other?

Drop him in the wild and I'm convinced that he'll be fine.

I think what I like about it is the show of what his powers are going to look like when he's older.  You know, when he uses them for good instead of evil

It's fun to watch the different strengths of your children shine through while they are young. They are taking their talent baby steps and practicing their sets on the best cheerleaders they know.

Parents.

And it's exhausting.

I love that my oldest son, like my sister, just needs a clipboard and a small country to run - that'll work in his favor when he's older and we are short on dictators.  (If you need one now, he'll be looking for some summer work).

I love that he can negotiate my cell phone out of my posession using only 4 or 5 words and no visual aids - that'll be fantastic when he's a crisis negotiator one day.

I can't wait until my youngest grows up and is somewhere when food needs to be located - maybe that'll be a job one day.

Photo by Senjuti Kundu on Unsplash
And don't even get me started on my son and his number obsessions...cooking times and departure estimates are hotly debated by this literal boy. Don't tell him something will happen in 10 minutes unless you mean it...he'll grab your phone and set the timer.

Math guru in the making? Maybe. It makes for stressful dinner preparation now - that's for sure.

I think it's amazing how we have all been uniquely gifted. It's fun to see the stuff bubble up in your kids that you KNOW you did not teach them and are qualities you don't even have. It just shows how remarkable we all are. It shows how many different kinds of people it takes to make such a beautiful world. And despite what the news says, it IS a beautiful world.

So today, at Christmastime, I'm celebrating the host of gifts that our kids bring to the table. Things that make us proud. The things that exasperate us.

And mostly the things that while we are reprimanding them for doing them, we are simultaneously thinking, "I cannot WAIT to see you grow up and use that skill for good instead of evil."

In the meantime, I'll keep my ears open, a broom nearby and some crime scene tape at the ready.

What strengths in your children excite you?

I'm Just Gonna Let This Happen

The older I get, the more selective I become about what parenting hills I'm going to die for. Some might think that's because I've grown and matured as a parent and I want my kids to learn about life through their own choices and experiences.

And that answer sounds pretty good so I'll go with that.

I am pretty sure I envisioned that I would be able to rein in my kids a lot more than I actually do.

In my early years of parenting, I was motivated to control my children based on three things: 1.) their potential for germs,  2.) preventing harm to themselves, and most importantly 3.) what others would think about me as a parent.

At this point in the game I pretty much just aim to keep them alive. The rest is completely negotiable.

Sam spent a good amount of his childhood telling everyone about the time he spent living in the orphanage. Except he called it the "orphan image" which would have been really cute if I hadn't been slightly offended that he invented such an outlandish backstory. I spent a lot of time trying to psychologically understand why he insisted he had lived in an orphanage. Did he use a pacifier too long? Should I have co-slept? Did he need more Kale? It was finally brought to my attention that every good superhero was orphaned.


I thought about explaining that he could be a super hero AND have parents, but, really...why? Fine...be a fake orphan.

I'm just gonna let this happen.

Besides, I started to enjoy the confused looks on people's faces when he would tell the story about the "orphan images" annual rock day - where all the kids were gifted rocks.  Plus, it was apparent the more he talked about it - that we were a definite upgrade in the living conditions department.

Sam has almost exclusively gone to bed with a stuffed animal and a blanket since birth. I monitored his sleeping conditions constantly.

Last Tuesday Wesley refused to go to bed unless I tucked him in with 8 AA batteries. He kept telling me he was making a "perquit" with them.  Honestly, I don't know what that is and I'm embarrassed to ask him because I'm not ready for him to know he's smarter than I am yet.

Anyway, no Paw Patrol book or stuffed animal could rival the comfort that those "perquit" makers were giving him. So fine. Whatever. Sleep with batteries.

I'm just gonna let this happen. 

After he fell asleep I confiscated them because, well, we had remote controls to fill.

Sam's first Halloween, I dressed him up as David from the Bible, complete with sheep and sling shot.

This year...

Me: Sam, you aren't going to be a killer for Halloween. End of story.
Sam: I want the Jason mask and the Freddy Krueger sweater...and I want some hatchets.
Me: That's ridiculous. You can't mix Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street. It won't make any sense.
Sam: Don't you see, mom. It will make perfect sense.
Me: *at checkout paying for the killer costume*  Fine. Be a killer for Halloween. But if anyone under the age of seven asks, you are a clumsy hockey player...got it?

I'm just gonna let this happen. 

In all fairness, David was also a killer.

Look, I'm not proud that my standards have nose dived. I want my kids to be kind and respectful human beings. I want them to be happy. I will die for that hill. I want my kids to understand some important things about life.

Don't be a bully.
Don't believe a bully.
Remember there are consequences for everything you do.
Think about them.
Be kind.
Work hard.
Be the one who is inclusive.
Congratulate the winners.
Congratulate the losers.
Try hard.
Don't quit.
Not everything is personal.
Listen at least as much as you talk.
God is always there, talk to Him.
Kill bugs so your mother doesn't have to.

But so many other things, just won't matter later and if the last two years with my youngest have taught me nothing else, I've learned that it's impossible to catch, cover and control everything.

Sometimes you have to say...

I'm just gonna let this happen

So dress up as something scary for Halloween.
Be a fake orphan.
Sleep with batteries.

Just let it happen. It will be fine. 

Truth over Tea

For over nine years, I woke up early in the morning, got dressed, kissed my kids (or sent them off to school) and left my house to go to work. I was a work outside of the house mom. I have never really minded it. My husband's schedule has always been in the evening and we've managed to juggle child-raising fairly well over the last decade of parenting. Some days it looks prettier than others.


Around six months ago, working outside of the home started to get really hard.

I have always had great, understanding, family-oriented employers, but I remember feeling tired, behind and stressed - even more than usual.

Now, I have a great, cut through the crap friend named Esther. Everyone should have an Esther. We worked together at my last job and one day she came into my office to fix her daily cup of tea, and as she dipped the tea bag in and out of the hot water, she looked at me as I frantically texted some instructions to my husband and said, "You feel like you are running a household from your phone don't you?"

I stopped. My eyes welled up with tears. She had gut punched me with an undeniable truth. She had 
perfectly encapsulated months of stress and worry in one tea steeping sentence.

I was feeling like I needed to be home, but I couldn't be, and that was breaking me.

I had been spending months beating myself up because I was tired and stressed and cranking out a daily life that was just not a reflection of my full potential. My life wasn't working but as far as I could tell, it was my fault.

When in reality, at that moment, life was too much and I wasn't acknowledging it. My youngest son needed a lot of consistency that I wasn't there to give him, my dad was sick, our childcare situation was different everyday, Andy and I were barely ever in the same room together and I just felt like I wasn't giving anyone my best. I was spreading myself out in a thin, unsatisfying layer over every obligation I had, and it felt terrible.

And I wasn't where I was needed the most. 

And all I could do was tell myself to try harder. To do better. To be more.

After that encounter, I began to squeeze my eyes shut on a regular basis and admit to God that life was just too overwhelming. I didn't know what else to pray other than, "Something's gotta give, Lord...and it can't be my 15 year old car or my lower back."

I didn't know how or when or in what capacity the seas were going to part and I was going to see some relief, I just clung to the belief that my motives were pure and my prayers were sincere and God was listening.


In a very short amount of time, my life drastically changed. I got an unbelievable opportunity to work from home that came with the flexibility to focus my attention on my home and my family.

And after a week of being a work at home mom, my house was spotless, my kids had the Bible memorized and I began making all of our furniture and clothes by hand.

OR perhaps...

I spent the first three months perched on the end of my couch in my pajamas with a laptop while my kids circled me like cats studying a new piece of furniture. No one knew what to do when I was home. My k-cup consumption was out of control and I think by week three I heard my husband mutter under his breath, "Is she going to get dressed today?"

My potty training child was indicating his accidents by simply walking into the room and screaming DAMMIT at the top of his lungs before heading to the bathroom. My nine year old didn't know what to do so he just talked to me about You Tubers for most of the day.

I did start going to the gym again but when my trainer asked me my fitness goals I told him I just wanted to be able to evacuate my house at 3 in the morning if there was a fire without getting stuck in that my-lower-back-is-hurting and I can't move pose that was a hallmark of my mornings. 

So, as it was, the transition was not magic. It took several months to train everyone on how to have mommy at home all the time. Oh, and I had to get off the couch to give the cushion a chance to recover from my butt print and I had to vow to brush my teeth. (whatevs)

This weird world of being a worker bee and being at home was a whole new animal that I wasn't at all sure I would do well. And honestly, at first, I really didn't.

Yet - somewhere in the midst of working out our routines, I noticed that the pit in my stomach was gone. That I wasn't feeling frantic anymore. That I knew in the course of the day, no matter what happened, I was exactly where I needed to be.

I wish I could tell you that the calm in my house is a result of everyone knowing that mom is home, but in reality, I have become calmer and that has permeated throughout our home and been just what we needed. 

I will always be grateful for the truth Esther spoke to me that day over tea.

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In other news, you may have noticed my blog has undergone a face lift. I am working to fulfill my "when I turn 40," goal of writing my fingers off. I am ghostwriting a lot, freelancing a lot and trying to figure out what original words, if any, that I might have to say and in what genre I would like to say them in.

I had a magazine recently accept an essay I wrote, which was very exciting and they wanted to know my twitter handle - I don't tweet. I have way more words to say than they will allow. But in the meantime, make a note of my new blog address - www.rachelwriteshere.com and pardon the mess.

Thanks for reading.
Rachel