Don’t Get Your Knickers in a Knot

3 Jun

Mondays are notorious for problems. You’re tired from a busy weekend, you’re running late, didn’t have time for breakfast, got stuck in a traffic jam, and then a car cut you off. Oh, and this was all before you left your neighborhood. :) Once you arrive at the office, the opportunities for things to go wrong seem to multiply exponentially with each passing hour.

So we have to make a choice. Are we going to succumb to the outside influences and allow ourselves to be pulled down into the pit of frustration and ill-moods? Or are we going to rise above the circumstances of our day, stand up tall, and walk with grace through the day?

Wanna choose grace with me today?

And if you are not successful in choosing grace, simply pray this prayer:

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Blessings,
♥Rachel

Tissue Alert

20 May

The pure love of a pet is truly a special thing. Dogs, in particular, seem to wear their hearts on their tails – the happier they are, the faster their tails wag. They don’t really hold their affection back – if they feel it, they show it. Hmmm….maybe we should be more like that.

The dogs in this video are definitely showing their true feelings as they welcome home their buddies from deployment. Warning: if you’re an animal lover – and in particular, a dog lover – this one’s going to bring a tear (or two or three or forty) to your eyes.

Tell me your eyes didn’t at least water a little! Well, if they didn’t you are obviously made of steel. :)

Blessings,
♥Rachel

What Will Love Motivate You to Do?

16 May

Mike Bruno is the women’s volleyball coach at Point Park University. He’s also the father of seven-year old Cassie who was born blind and has autism. Born premature at just 25 weeks, Cassie weighed only 1 pound, 14 ounces. She’s been overcoming obstacles since she was born.

Screen Shot 2013-05-15 at 8.39.18 PM

Recently, her dad took on a challenge of his own. On May 5, Mike ran the Pittsburgh Marathon…while blindfolded.

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Mike’s goal was to raise awareness and funds for the Vision Research ROPARD Foundation. He enlisted the help of a friend to be his guide for the run and get this – they finished in 3:38:51. Impressive? Oh, yeah.

I don’t know about you, but running 26.2 miles would be challenging enough with eyes wide open! The mere idea of running a marathon blindfolded seems outrageous to me. But this father allowed his love for his daughter and his desire to understand her world to push him to the finish line.

What will love motivate you to do today? You might not have to go to the lengths this dad did, but there might be someone in your life who needs you to go one extra mile for them today.

Let your love for them motivate you to step out of your comfort zone, push aside your excuses, and be bold. Love big today.

Blessings,
♥Rachel

Charleston, Elevators, and Good News

13 May

It’s been a little quiet here on the blog lately. That is partly because work/life has been c.r.a.z.y. and partly because we did a little traveling last week.

DSCN1904-smallCharleston’s Rainbow Row

One of the places we visited last week was Charleston, SC on a vacation/health-related trip. I had an appointment with a Scleroderma specialist at the Medical University of South Carolina and I’m thrilled to report that the results of that visit were better than I expected.

I haven’t mentioned this yet on the blog because I wasn’t sure what to say or how to explain it. For years, I’ve had an issue with my hands & feet where they turn red and I get a burning sensation in them. Sometime during the past year, this began change to the extent that it started happening more frequently and with greater intensity. In addition, they also started turning white/cold/numb before the redness and burning would occur.

I mentioned this to my oncologist who immediately said “Raynaud’s” and suggested I see a rheumatologist. The labs came back positive for an autoimmune disease called Scleroderma and he felt like I had the limited variety of it. He also suggested that I might want to go to MUSC to see a Scleroderma specialist there to get confirmation and discuss it with him.

The first thing they had me do was an echocardiogram to make sure my heart is functioning as it should (and it is). Then I did a breathing test so they could make sure my lungs were functioning as they should (and they were). In fact, the doctor said she hadn’t seen numbers that good in a long time. :)

Then we met with one of the resident doctors as well as Dr. Silver, the head of the Rheumatology/Scleroderma Center at the hospital. Dr. Silver felt that I have the mildest of mild forms of limited scleroderma, and even stated that if my labs had not tested positive for it he’s not sure he would even diagnosis me with it. This made me very happy since the more serious forms can be pretty awful. He ordered some more labs so they could have their own numbers as a baseline, suggested we treat the Raynaud’s, and monitor the Scleroderma with yearly visits.

I felt great about this, very pleased to have a mild-mild form of it as well as a plan for dealing with the sometimes painful and always annoying Raynaud’s symptoms. But then . . . the news got better. The resident doctor called Friday to say the labs they did came back NEGATIVE for Scleroderma and with that in mind, they did not feel that I should be diagnosed with it at this time! Woohoo!! They have officially diagnosed me with a General Connective Tissue Disease, which would be Raynaud’s.

If you noticed the title, you may be wondering what this has to do with elevators. Well, for the first (and hopefully last) time in my 44 years of living, I got stuck in an elevator! Barry and I were going from the building where the echo test was done to the building where the breathing test would be done and got stuck with a plastic surgeon, a nurse, and three other people in an elevator for 30 minutes. The longer we were in there, the warmer it got. The warmer it got, the more anxious I got. But thankfully, no one freaked out and they managed to get us out, and we made it to the next appointment only five minutes late.

The funniest part was when they said the elevator would have to go back up to the second floor before it could come down the first and that they wanted us to ride back down to the first floor so they could get our names for their records. Ha! Fat chance. We all got off that elevator on the second floor, took the stairs, and never looked back. :)

And that’s where things stand with me right now. What about you? How are things in your corner of the world?

Blessings,
♥Rachel

You are the Light

29 Apr

Today. Before you get busy checking items off your to-do list. Before you get distracted, annoyed, frustrated, and stressed. Before you respond in a negative way. Make a promise to yourself that you will be the light.

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You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father. – Matthew 5:14

There’s enough darkness in our world. We need to be the light, the good, the blessings for others. Make a commitment right now to be the light in your corner of the world today.

Blessings,
♥Rachel

Never Have Liked Goodbyes

25 Apr rachel-1973

I remember being a little girl and traveling from Alabama to Kentucky to visit all of my grandparents (and aunts, uncles, great-grandparents, and cousins, too!). It was usually around Easter, Thanksgiving, or Christmas and we would stay for several days, sometimes a week I think. We slept on pull-out sofas or cots in a small house that only had one bathroom. But I didn’t mind. Well, I take that back. The only time I minded was when Dad would try to follow through on his threat to fold us up in the pull-out sofa if we didn’t get up. Haha!! Oh, how us girls loved (still love??) to sleep!

rachel-1973

This is me around 3 or 4 years old – in the aftermath
of Christmas at my grandparent’s house.
I’m pretty sure those pants weren’t supposed to be
cropped pants, but hey – I was rockin’ them!

Whenever we got into the car to go home, I would cry because I didn’t want to leave them. Even as I grew older, as a teenager, my eyes would tear up as we pulled off that gravel drive and headed down the street to travel home. I always felt like a part of my heart was staying behind.

Barry and I visited my parents a few weekends back and I experienced the same feeling as I hugged their necks and got into our car to go home. The tears started to form and I tried with all my might to choke them back refusing to let them leave my eyes. But then as we drove down the driveway, I saw my folks standing there waving goodbye. And the tears came.

I’m not a kid anymore, and I still don’t liked goodbyes. Most of us don’t, I suppose.

My sweet cousins are having to say a very difficult and painful goodbye to their dad this week and my heart hurts so badly for them. I want them to have more time, give more hugs, and create more memories. But, sadly, that is not to be.

tears

You keep track of all my sorrows.
You have collected all my tears in your bottle.
You have recorded each one in your book.
Psalm 56:8

Goodbyes just stink. And it seems like our hearts are never ready for them.

Those who believe in God and have accepted Him as our Father have hope. That hope can lessen the pain of loss because we know that although the goodbye feels permanent, it is not. But today, hope is struggling to break through their pain. Right now, the pain is fresh and harsh and breathtaking at times. And it hurts.

If you are someone who prays, would you mind saying a prayer for my cousins today? It would mean so much to me.

Blessings,
♥Rachel

Another Way of Looking At It

22 Apr not-important

I found myself a little (ok, a lot) annoyed and frustrated after every news channel and outlet overloaded us with the second-by-second playback of the capture of the youngest Boston bomber this weekend. The amount of time they spent analyzing, replaying, and digging into every aspect of the lives of these two criminals/cowards/terrorists was astonishing.

Who cares, right? Not me.

not-important

Tell me about the victims, the brave ones who are still fighting for their lives in the hospital. Tell me about the heroes, you know the true heroes who rushed toward the smoke before they even knew what was happening. Tell me about the officers who poured their heart and soul into finding these people. Tell me about the ones who lost their lives to yet another senseless act of violence.

But don’t tell me about the criminals. I don’t want to know their names, where they’re from or why they did it. I don’t care what their friends think about them, how great they did in school, or if their neighbor thinks they were “very American.”

I wish they would focus on the good ones. Focus on those who have courageous stories to tell – give them the spotlight (if they want it).

Before I knew it, I was all worked up about the media and their incessant coverage of this event (and how they just run every single tragedy/disaster into the ground).

And then I saw this:

thankful-for

And I realized I needed to look at this another way. I could remain annoyed by the ridiculous amount of media coverage of this event or I could be grateful because:

  • I have ears to hear and eyes to see it.
  • I have a brain that works (most of the time!) and can comprehend what they are saying.
  • I have a heart that feels compassion for the victims.
  • I have numerous ways to watch the news – TV, computer, phone.
  • I am alive and well and safe today.

There are an unlimited number of things that can annoy and frustrate us on any given day . . . if we allow them. If you find yourself becoming aggravated today, try to stop your complaints before they grow too big and look at it another way – from a heart of gratitude.

Blessings,
♥Rachel

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