Sunday, January 26, 2014

What are you pressing for?

Was a question asked at Bible study tonight. I’ve been pressing to get my list done: get jobs. Get our “apartment” organized. Be a better wife. Get involved in ministry.
Caid and I have been looking for jobs. We found them. Or rather, they found us. All those resumes filled out for nothingJ. Jeff, who worked with us in Brazil, referred us to this social service agency that matches up mentally/physically challenged clients with workers who get them out into the community and share life with them. We get paid to do THAT—how excellent!
So check that off my list.
It quickly became clear that we have a choice: work our butts off to pay off student loans while Caid is still in school, or work out butts off to pay for an apartment: both wouldn’t happen. My parents have let us stay in the basement: a bedroom, workroom, a living space. We found a perfect couch last week—double recliner—that fit into our small budget. We are happy, and looking forward to removing the debt shadow over our heads.
Check ‘apartment organized’ off the list.
Caid is a people person. All the time. I am about 50% of the time. The main clash we seem to have is that he is always “on call.” He always responds to people, always converses, always interacts. I have discovered that after a while I go into myself and shut the door. I focus on (fill in the blank) and then good luck getting a response from me.
Ok, so don’t check ‘better wife’ off the list, but it is coming.
We went to a World Renewal prayer meeting recently, and it was one of those “God speaks and moves” times. It was a call to ‘HEY, are you serious about this ministry stuff? Then get moving.’ Caid and I are going to be ordained as official missionaries soon. We have prayer cards coming in the mail. Caid is seeking out more chances to share and teach, and I am not feeling guilty about all the extra hours I am putting into Living Stones. We are getting involved in church.
Check off ‘get involved in ministry.’ Last night I sat down and finally felt like my list might be getting under control. Wait—I still have two more weddings to plan. Never mind.

These are all important things, and they have been the things that have been pressing on me. But the question is, what am I pressing for—not just me pressing back because it fell on me. What is the current theme in my life, what I keep hearing God saying in little ways all over? I am not sure. I think what I need to press for is listening.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

I am Christmas

You look at me like I’m Christmas
With all the flashing lights and buttons
Your eyes gaze so deeply
They make me flush and look away

I’ve never been so delighted in
Never been so desired
Never been held so tenderly
Or so tightly

It takes getting used to
Being the apple of your eye
The one you’re thinking of
It is a new way of living

It takes a faith I’ve never tried
To receive what you give me
And trust that this is for real

And isn’t going away


I live from snuggle to snuggle
Curled up next to you
Connected and tangled
Through and through

I go through the day
Living moments until I must
Fly under the covers
To the place for just us

Real life that happens
Don’t seem so true
As my dreams while
I am wrapped up in you

It is how you grab my hand
When we drive in the car
How you fix my hair
When it gets behind my ear

How you lean in to kiss me
Even when I struggle
This is what carries me through

From snuggle to snuggle

Two Months Married

Half way through the wedding ceremony I thought, “I have no idea what I am doing.” I looked at him and realized, “He doesn’t know either. The next idea was, “And this is the only way to find it out.” So I kept on my permanent wedding smile.
It has been two months now. I think back and remember things like how little Iasmine couldn’t keep her eyes off of me in my wedding dress. She stopped dead in her tracks and stared like her life depended on it. I smiled, and told her to go back with the other girls. No movement, not even a blink. I frowned, and told her to go back with the other girls. Repeatedly. But she wouldn’t budge, looking at me like my wedding finery was feeding her hungry belly. Iasmine lives at the dump. She has never been to a wedding. There isn’t much she sees that is beautiful. She was starved for beauty. I couldn’t be angry about that. I signed and let her stare.
Vulnerable. That is the word that ran through my head over and over as I prepared to get married, and then took the plunge. My goal in being single was being self-sufficient. Taking responsibility as an adult and learning how to make it work the best I can. Changing into marriage phase of life was vulnerable.
Learning to love someone. Letting them in. Entrusting them with the rest of your life. Planning a wedding in another country and not knowing how to do much of anything. Two days before the wedding I stood in the line of the grocery store, having bought food for 250 people. As I saw the bill, I fiercely proclaimed that they’d better come. My hard front for the fearful feeling that no one would show up. Vulnerable.
And when we finally got in the car and left for the honeymoon, it hit me again. Vulnerable. Naked bodies and whole worlds I have never known. I have had to retrain myself—it was like my body didn’t know how to enjoy itself. There were stigmas tied everywhere to feeling guilty for feeling good, or wondering if I crossed a line into lust…I had turned off pleasure for so long, my body didn’t know how to let go.
What do you get when two virgins get married and start having sex? Confusion. You realize all you knew about sex and intimacy you’ve learned from Hollywood and the porn industry. The church told us “Just wait,” but the part of you called sexuality didn’t just lie dormant and still—information snuck in under the door. Subconsciously, while I was keeping my clothes on, my heart was naked and held by the ideas of culture. The lie is that part of your life would just stay “Empty and void” until married. It is an illusion to believe that everything we let into our minds for years won’t come into our bedroom now that we are married.  
I hold him in my arms and he tells me he is broken. I am broken too.
We had our honeymoon, moving back to Indiana, Thanksgiving and family reunions, Christmas letters with wedding invitations, family vacation, and Christmas in Connecticut with his family. Now it is a new year with new goals. We wrote our resumes, our 2014 goals, and our bucket list. We move from dreaming to doing. Dreaming has been nice.

This morning when I woke up, he opened his arms to me and said, “Come.” Soon I am enfolded in him. He invites me in closer, in so many ways. Even when we argue he grabs my hand—calling me to stay. There are so many things I appreciate about him, from his like-ability and fun-lovingness, to his optimism and humility: it has been an amazing two months. 

Friday, January 3, 2014


Caid and I are back in the USA, living in Indiana for at least a year while he finishes college. We've gotten married, traveled continents, and braved snow. Now that the holidays are over, we face our next big challenge:
He is going to school (but classes are only on Mondays), so is looking for a job that doesn't need him on Mondays and is about 30+ hours a week.
I am coordinating Living Stones, but ready to work full time. I would love to do something that involves helping people, especially children. I am sending my resume to Good News Ministries, Shepherd Community, and Wheeler Mission...I am also asking around at any of the churches I've worked with. Otherwise, non-profit work would be great, or QLN, or anything teaching English as a second Language. Any other ideas? Please e-mail me if you know of anything or anyone to get in contact with:

Caid's resume summary: Ten years of Choral experience, including opera, show choir, chamber choir, and glee club. Four years of theater, including two different starring roles in theatrical productions. Eight years of sports involvement, including track and field, football, soccer, and wrestling as well as coaching basketball and gymnastics. Ten years of working in children’s ministries, including teaching Sunday school and song leading. Speaks Spanish and Portuguese fluently. A.A in Christian Ministries, Bob Jones University.

Rachel's resume summary: Four years coordinating Living Stones, a non-profit working with at-risk and street children in Brazil, including building and creating resources, financial and promotional responsibilities. Six years as a girls director and educational coordinator at a non-profit youth center, specializing in counseling, tutoring, and planning activities.  Thirteen years as a teacher, developing and implementing curriculum for at-risk children. Nine years teaching English as a foreign language in South America. Three years as a Supercamp facilitator in the USA and Hong Kong, teaching accelerated learning techniques. A.A. in Child and Youth Character Development, Telos Institute International;  AA in Early Childhood Education, Ivy Tech Community College; BA in General Studies with an emphasis in Humanities, Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis. A Phi Theta Kappa and Golden Key Honor Society member, 3.8 GPA.

I have our resumes ready to send out, they just wouldn't format right for the blog. Thank you for your assistance!


Thursday, January 2, 2014

Caid and Rachel's Bucket List

I've always had my own, but now there is a "we." So starting with new goals and vision! Yea--I love this stuff!
1.      Have kids and adopt
2.      Get a dog once we have a house
3.      Live debt free/pay off student loans
4.      Have a place to bring people home to/ own a home
5.      Be there for family and close friends
6.      Help start/assist 10 Living Stones in 10 towns in 10 years
7.      Go on a Disney cruise with kids/ Disney world and land
8.      Travel Greece to Cairo, including Israel
9.      Design and plant a garden
10.  Pass out hot chocolate to black Friday customers
11.  Play the guitar better and play/sing in public
12.  Write and perform spoken word poetry
13.  Become a zumba instructor
14.  Drive a stick shift in Brazil/drive a motorcycle
15.  See the Northern lights
16.  Go hang gliding
17.  Learn the star constellations
18.  Organize a neighborhood parade/carnival
19.  Do a back flip on the trampoline (Rachel)
20.  Run a half and whole marathon
21.  Learn a third language: Spanish (Caid: French, German)
22.  Write/Share a TED talk at TED
23.  Go on a pilgrimage
24.  Learn how to play chess
25.  Make a list of 100 books I want to read and then read them, be an avid reader (Caid)
26.  Write NaNoWriMo
27.  Write/sing a CD worth of songs
28.  Write a book a year for the next 10 years (Rachel)
29.  Go dirt biking and mudding
30.  Visit Spain/walk the Camino
31.  Road trip to Colorado/Wyoming/California
32.  Go to England and visit Caid’s family
33.  Go to Jamaica and find out more about Caid’s heritage
34.  Write a dissertation/novel on the poverty sim/diff of Brazil/USA (Rachel)

35.  Long distance swimming (Caid)

Best Pictures of 2013

1. Disney World
2. Mussurepe

3. Mussurepe (Carina took this)

4. Mussurepe (Koral took this)

5. Mussurepe
6. Birthday parties in Paudalho
7. Children's day at the dump (Aline took this)

8. Children's day at the dump (Caid took this)

9. Children's day at the dump (Caid took this)

10. At the dump

11. Mother's day at the dump

12. At the dump

13. At the dump

14. At the dump

15. At the dump

16. At the dump

17. At the dump

18. At the dump (Jackson took this)
19. Cajueiro Claro (Carina took this)

20. Cajueiro Claro

21. Cajueiro Claro
22. Easter morning at the beach

23. Band

24. Guadalajara (Carina took this)

25. Monkeys

26. Protests
27. Engaged (Carina took this)
28. Alagoas
29. Together (Carina took this)
30. Lagoa de Itaenga (Carina took this)

31. Lagoa de Itaenga
32. Scuba (Some scuba guy took this)
33. Bachelorette party (Luana took this)
34. Tattoos (Caid took this)
35. Wedding (Carina took this)

36. Wedding (Carina took this)

37. Wedding (Carina took this)

38. Wedding (Jackson took this)

39. Wedding (Kari took this)

40. Wedding (Kari took this)

41. Wedding (Jackson took this)
42. Married (Kari took this)

43. Married (Kari took this)

44. Married (Kari took this)

2014 Goals

2014 Grace: receiving and giving. Walking in His light with Him.
1.      Morning devotions—start out right! Pray together at night—Finish well
2.      Daily exercise—run a mini together (Caid 175, Rachel 125)
3.      Personal time: individually being/receiving all we need
4.      Sunday Sabbath and prayer for family
5.      Thursday date night
6.      Worship weekly. 10 Songs in our reproitire. Put more music into life
7.      Create regularly. Caid: 5 songs written and ready. Rachel: at least one book finished.
8.      Read together. Caid becoming an avid reader
9.      Make a home to bring others home to. Keep our room sacred. Simple and organized
10.  Living Stones: fundraising, blogs, and communication. Brazil in October
11.  Become more involved at church
12.  Check out Mexico
13.  Have a garden
14.  Write a will
15.  Organize memories for Caid, Rachel, and mom
16.  Supercamp tryouts
17.  Road trip West: Colorado/Wyoming/San Diego
18.  Get married two more times
19.  Lots of bike riding
20.  Caid finish college
21.  Pay a big chunk of student loans

22.  Begin our own traditions/routines/build our marriage foundation

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Favorites 2013

1.       Books: “Half the Sky” by Sheryl WuDunn, Nicholas D. Kristof  and “Kisses from Katie” by Katie Davis (
2.       Movies: “Beasts of the Southern Wild” (ok. It was 2012. But I watched it in 2013.) Frozen (ok. Cuz I just saw it) Hunger Games Catching Fire
3.       Songs: “Daylight” and “Love Somebody” by Maroon 5 and “Demons” by Imagine Dragons
4.       TV shows: Psych, the Cosby Show, Once upon a Time
5.       New places visited: Alagoas, Brazil, Greenville, South Carolina
6.       Big events: Disney World, Mom, Koral, Dad, Jackson, Carina, and Caid in Brazil, Buying the Kombi for Living Stones, Getting engaged, Getting married, Honeymoon
Some of my new family. I inherited 13 nieces and nephews.