Saturday, December 28, 2013

Sitting Next to

He is sitting next to me
The HE I love and have chosen for forever
How can I make such a sweeping decision?
See him today and predict the future?
It doesn’t give all the answers
It doesn’t reveal a path
But it lays a foundation of choice
That I can choose to continue to build
Or to abandon
To strengthen or to destroy

I glance over at HIM and I see more
Than I saw yesterday
More of his personality, his heart, his pain, his joy
I see more of "us"
And how we’ve imprinted on each other
I see more of what he is not and needs to be
I see myself reflected
How my choices will affect him
How I want to build more, faster, better

How I am happy just sitting next to HIM

Oh Christmases...or is it Christmai?

Indiana Christmas was December 12 because the Winzeler Family said it was so. We have that kind of power.
It was in our lovely Madison, In, with the Muppet Christmas Carol, Hinkles yummy food, swimming, and watching a movie together. We decorated the rooms with wrapping paper and even had the white snow.
The shark shirt from Uncle Caid
Caid wants to go to Spain. 
The good thing about not having Christmas on Christmas day is that the stores are all open. 
Siblings forever:). 
Christmas is never Christmas without the girl's caroling party (where we did more of catch phrase than caroling)
And then Christmas in Connecticut
opening presents
Nephews! I've got a buncha them
Caid got a balding razor. Caid is now bald. 
I love sitting here in the middle of three conversations, two video games, random phones, and a TV. All in the Jamaican accent. Life is better in the kitchen. It is where people connect. Juliet says that things are different in Jamaica. She tries to explain to Caid that it isn’t that his family doesn’t love him—they do—they just don’t show it like Americans do.
In Jamaica things are hard. As Juliet says (and Juliet is the only one who tells us stories), in Jamaica, one day from grade school, the school bus stopped. They told us we could get out and see the dead drowned body or not. No trauma counseling offered. And it was just what it was. Life was hard, and you just live it. You love someone, but you don't always say it. 
This is an old picture of most of my nieces and nephews. Caid has five sisters and one brother, all older. Oldest sister has one son, Fitztroy (left front) who is now 15 and playing basketball (and we go to his games). Next sister has three children: Thalia, Thalisa, and Theon, who are randomly in that picture. Next sister doesn't have kids. Next sister has three kids: Nyasa, Mekhi, and Mykah, youngest sister has two kids: Tiajae and OJ. His brother has a lot of children...some I still haven't met yet. Oh big families...
Caid, a couple years ago. It is funny to hear the different versions of Caid I've never seen: his sister, telling me how when he was six months old in Jamaica, a friend held him while riding a bike and fell. Caid screamed like his head was busted open, but he was fine, because it was Jamaica, and you were either fine or you were dead. The Sunday school mentor who says "Married? How can he be married? I remember having to throw rocks at his window to wake him up for work."

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas from the Fergusons

The big news is, of course, that Caid and I got married. We started dating August 23, 2012, and were engaged one year later. To propose in person, Caid went to Brazil, where I have been serving for the past nine years (You can watch our wedding, as well as the ministry in Brazil, on under “Rachel Ferguson”). 
I was so excited to have my mother come to Brazil in April, and have my father walk me down the aisle. In Brazil, Caid assisted me in coordinating the Living Stones program, which in 2013, served over 17,000 meals to over 280 impoverished children and their families, working through local churches.
On November 9, 2013 we were married with 100 dear friends, and 100 of my children from Living Stones participating in the first wedding most of them had ever attended. We enjoyed a honeymoon at a friend’s beach house, and then returned to the United States to enjoy the holidays with family.
While my role is changing, I am still the coordinator for Living Stones—just on the USA side of things. Caid and I are praying (and hoping!) to lead a short-term missions trip to Brazil in October 2014. Next year, Caid is working to finish his degree in Urban Leadership at Crossroads Bible College, so we will be living in Indianapolis during that time. We are both looking for jobs and opportunities as God leads us in this new life together, as well as praying about what God might have for us in the future—whether in the States or abroad. Thank you for your prayers and support.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Henrique Shaped Holes

Amazing how a picture of a child 5,000 miles away can grab you and make you cry. I feel the lump in my throat as I turn on Facebook and scan all of my friends for any tidbits of news from Brazil. From my part of Brazil. My part of Brazil that doesn’t have access to internet or computers, so I rely on the reports of others who care.
And I must continue to trust that others do care. That I did not create a void that cannot be filled. That when  I left, my kids won’t receive what they need. No. That is not true. Each one of my children have been left in the most capable of hands—hands of men and woman that cried along with me in the pain and struggle.

Yet sometimes I wonder who will take care of the hole in my heart that they left. 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Because Sex is an Interesting Subject

This is from (Darn, why didn’t I think of a blog name like that?)
“It took me a lot of years and a lot of conversations with God (and with people who know more about God than me) to understand that everything I believed about my own sexuality was built on two huge lies.
The first comes from our culture, and it tells us that sex outside of marriage isn't a big deal.The second is from the Church, and it tells us that sex outside of marriage is the biggest deal of all the deals ever.
Both are complete crap. Sex matters. It's the most vulnerable thing you'll ever do with another human being. Commitment breeds intimacy, and intimacy is what makes sex freaking amazing. I'm not gonna lie, you can have hot sex outside of a committed relationship – but mostly it's gonna be like... clumsy... and goopy... and ew. The better you know your partner, the better your sex will be.
But. If you've already gone down that path, you really need to hear this...You've had sex outside of marriage? *gasp* So what! You are so much more than your sexuality. And the God of the Universe, the one who turns whores into heroes, He made peace with you and me and our promiscuous, pathetic attempts at love a long, long time ago. He gave you a Redeemer. Shame is no longer your burden. Do I want my boys to wait? Absolutely. And they know it! But I refuse to tie their value as a human being to their junk like a shiny red balloon.
We've made virginity the goal, when it is purity that we should be aiming for; They're not the same thing. Sexual purity is a life long spiritual practice that doesn't begin or end with a single sex act, just as it doesn't begin or end on a wedding night. We should be teaching people something they can carry with them beyond their first roll in the hay. 

Why wait? Um. Because you need to learn some freaking self-control. That's why. The man or woman who has a sense of mastery over their own sexual appetite will be far less likely to fall into the easy traps of addiction and infidelity that plague marriages today. I don't think this is a fail safe for a long and happy marriage, but I think delaying sex is a pretty solid beginning." 

One Month

Caid brought me flowers yesterday. The perfect kind for me, and they meant a lot. I didn’t even realize (and neither did he) that yesterday was our one month anniversary. We don’t remember dates well. But we celebrated and had an amazing day—we lived it, a normal day, like it was a special day, not knowing it really was a special day. And that is how it should be.
I hope this isn’t just a “honeymoon phase” thing. I want life to keep on like this. Some people say it can, others say it can’t. We are celebrating Christmas tomorrow, because Winzeler Christmas is flexible, and Ferguson Christmas will be on the 25th in Connecticut. So one month married, living on two continents, four locations, two holidays, and plenty of fun.
I am trying to put my brain to writing down the things I have learned about life and love and marriage in the first month, so that next month I can laugh at them and write new ones. This article had good points, so I took their headings and wrote me own explanations.
1. Marriage is more intimate than sex
Oh, you want to talk about sex? It is more and less than I thought it would be. I am glad it is a part of my life now, but it is just one part of a bigger thing called “us.” I loved how “Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage” put it: Western thought puts sex as the climax—of love, of marriage, of whatever, when really, Jewish thought put sex as a building block of marriage: something amazing that grows “us.”
2. Marriage reveals selfishness, but can also cultivate selflessness (I am adding stubbornness)
I never knew I was stubborn until Karine told me. I never realized HOW stubborn until I sat across from Caid and refused to apologize for something we both know I was clearly wrong about. I sat there until I could squeeze the words out that we knew I didn’t mean. Oh, I meant them five minutes later, but GEE Rachel. Really?
3. Oneness literally means one
It means I don’t get my to-do list done the same way. It means I talk to him before making final decisions. And it means ministry looks different. No more 80 hour work weeks for Living Stones.
4. At some point, you will be disappointed (don’t need to explain that)
5. Like it or not, you will learn the meaning of forgiveness (or that)
6. Marriage will cost you (ya)
7. Love isn’t a feeling, it’s a series of decisions
Normally when you make the decisions, the feeling happens
8. Marriage will require you to learn how to communicate
And I thought I was good at it. Nope. Seems I have problems with details.
9. Marriage is not the end of your destination.
I was very amazed that after I got married—and while I got married—I was still just me. A week before my wedding I sat on my bed and realized I wouldn’t suddenly lose 10 pounds and have perfectly toned muscles in my wedding pictures. It was depressing. Disney movies subconsciously streamed through my mind and I figured that of course it would be perfect.
I never said this out loud (and would have never thought I believed it), but something in me truly thought that wedding, sex, and marriage would “poof” something to make me more/different/magical. Nope. But it all has been pretty darn great. Even if I am only just me.
10. Marriage gives you a glimpse of so much more

I’ve turned into a snoot that looks at the single person and feels sorry for them. Oh darn. But it really is like opening a door to another world. 

Monday, December 2, 2013


I made a sack lunch and kiss my husband off to work this morning. WOW. How quickly things happen. During the honeymoon, Caid looked up at me and remarked, “We just sorta slid right into this, didn’t we. How did this happen?”
It wasn’t said in a negative tone, just of pure surprise that comes some moments when you look at your partner and think “I just gave this perfect stranger the rest of my life? Who are you and who am I?”
I have to admit, the whole dating process went really smoothly (well, except closer to the end of LONG DISTANCE WAITING. Sometimes it got to be TOO MUCH). The engagement process went off without a glitch—I was holding my breath for someone to come up and say, “HEY! You can’t get married! What are you thinking? You aren’t ready for that! You haven’t been together long enough! You are rushing things! You aren’t this and this and this….”
AND NO ONE DID. I kept waiting for my cold feet to show up, or for Caid to run away, but it never happened. By the time we got married, I started getting suspicious—why is this so easy? Why aren’t people stopping me from giving my life to this man? Don’t they know this is one of the most important decisions of my LIFE?
Every single person in my life was supportive, encouraging, and loving. And that blessed my socks off. But it still made me wonder if everyone was simply too busy to notice, or just so happy I wouldn’t be an old maid that they didn’t question me.

I realize now that I am too used to Naysayers and criticism. It also confirms my belief that there isn’t THE ONE out there, but you can choose wisely and find “The-one-that-won’t-be-easy-but-works-perfectly-to-create-an-amazing-life-together.” And when that happens, it is okay to let the puzzle pieces fall into place and look up to find the whole picture complete.

Three Weeks Normal

I got married three weeks ago. And I am amazed at life and change, and how smoothly and quickly it can happen. I am captivated by the idea of “normal,” and how we CREATE our own version of normal. I have worked a long time to live an intentional life: choosing what I wanted in my life, creating a life that pleased God, made me feel good, and helped others.
For 30 years I created the normal for Rachel Winzeler. And I did it pretty darn well. And then, I changed my name. Symbolic for changing everything. The normal I see right now, this morning, typing on this computer is so completely different from the normal I had one month ago—and yet—it is still ME.
Caid and I are now intentionally working on this new “normal.” This isn’t easy because there are two brains/ideas now. My previous version of productivity has decreased 90%, but my happiness and completeness has increased 80%, and in ways I never expected: there is a whole world of companionship I never knew existed.
I looked at the row of single students at the Thanksgiving Eve service and I gasped at the idea of going home alone. I never missed it that deeply while single—but I must admit, it was because I didn’t know how nice it could be to go home with someone, your someone every night. It is an unexplainable comfort and joy to me. A blessing I never expected.
And we stay up late to talk through something that bothered one of us until we figure out why. And then we snuggle together in the firm belief that nothing can touch us there and honeymoons last forever. No, it isn’t perfect, but it is honestly better than I thought it would be. Not that I thought marriage was horrible, but I’ve seen quite a few, and it just seemed generally…hard.  But I see why nine out of ten people get married now.

And my normal has already changed to not being able to imagine being single again. My normal is okay with spending an evening “accomplishing nothing,” because I simply spent time with him. For the first time in my life, I am fine with doing nothing, because I realize it isn't NOTHING--it is the most BEAUTIFUL thing--because when I am doing "nothing" with Caid--it is relationship building, it is deep soul growing...and even if we are just snuggled up and watching a movie--it is something important I am doing--I am creating a most amazing wonderful marriage/relationship/soul bond forever. And that is worth investing my life into making.