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Farewell Summer Commute {And an Unglued Winner!}

13 Aug

With a tear in my eye, I bid farewell to my glorious summer commute.  While the students all slumbered in their beds {til well past a reasonable hour to rise}, I drove blissfully happy on my 25 mile trek to work each morning.  I knew in May, there were hints of this sweet annual season arriving.  Traffic would be slightly less each day, teasing me and preparing me for the beauty that would arrive after the final day of school in Hamilton County.


It was fun while it lasted, but all good things must come to an end.  Hamilton County classes resume today.  That means schools zones, one amazingly cranky traffic director, and too many cars on the road.  My friend, the summer commute is gone.  For now.

No more breezing to work in a sweet 20 minutes.  No more smooth traffic flow through the I-75/I-24 split.  No more sliding around the ridgecut with ease.  No more rest for my car brakes.  No more mornings full of singing with the radio oblivious to the problems that exist in the world.  The utopia of summer driving will be missed dearly. {snif. . .}

Now there will be bumper-to-bumper gridlock.  Now there will be horns honking and people cutting in line.  Now there will be more people riding someone’s bumper to prevent another car from squeezing in at the last minute {I would never do that – haha!}.  Now there will be headaches and annoyances and frustration . . . on a daily basis.  And worst of all, we’ll be doing 25 mph on the interstate . . . if we’re lucky.

Oh, summer commute, how I will miss you!

Until we meet again next Spring, I ask that you pop in and visit me from time to time.  Maybe Fall break or the Christmas holidays would be a nice time.  I will remember our time together fondly.  With a sad, reluctant heart, I bid you farewell!


We have a winner of two copies of Lysa TerKeurt’s new book, Unglued!

Let me be honest here – I WISH I could afford to give each of you a copy!  Your comments were so sweet and touching – thank you for opening up to me. says the winner is Shari R.!  Shari was our 12th commenter.  Congrats, Shari!!  Send an email to me at so that we can chat about which format you want (print, kindle, nook) and I can get your contact information.

Hope you all have a wonderful week!
♥ Rachel


Thank You Is Not Enough

10 Aug

On August 10, 2011, I typed out a little update about my first day of chemo and clicked the Publish button.  The idea was that I would use this blog to keep family and friends updated on my treatment progress and experience.  What I discovered in the process of posting updates is that I was actually having fun.

Wait.  How can that be?  Who has fun during treatment for cancer??

Well, I guess me, because I’m a little weird like that.  {grin}

source: pinterest

Through this blog, you give me something to look forward to every day – something to focus on beyond myself and my current circumstances.  This has become an outlet for me.  It forces me to look for the good – the blessings in disguise – during a period of my life when I could easily dwell on the bad.

I enjoy writing and had forgotten that part of my heart.  Through cancer, God gave that back to me.  And you spur me along with your encouragement and prayers.  Never, EVER underestimate your power to influence, encourage, and support someone.  I have experienced the goodness that is within you and I am grateful!

I don’t know everything (and I hope I never come across as someone who does).  I am learning and growing and (hopefully) becoming a better woman right along side each of you.  I appreciate that you let me into your world and allow me to chat with you.

So, 266 posts later, my life has been blessed in the sweetest ways because of YOU.  Thank you!


If you haven’t entered the drawing for two copies of Lysa TerKeurst’s new book, Unglued, be sure to check out yesterday’s post and enter!  The book is about learning how to make wise choices when faced with raw emotions.  I think we’ve all been there, haven’t we??  (Some weeks, I go there daily {sigh} . . .  So don’t forget to enter.  Go do it.  Now!  :)

Happy Friday!!
♥ Rachel

One Whole Year + {A Giveaway!}

9 Aug

One year ago today, Barry and I walked into the chemotherapy treatment room as newbies.  We were both anxious, but ready to get started!  I had waited so long for a final diagnosis that I desperately wanted this day to arrive so that I could start putting this invisible enemy in its place.

I selected one of the grey vinyl recliners and sat down with my chemo blanket in my lap and bag of magazines, snacks, drinks, and electronics to get me through the day.  There was a firm, plastic guest chair beside me for Barry.  Good.  That meant he wouldn’t be far away if I needed him.  And I was certain I would need him.  I would need him a lot in the months to come.

My eyes were wide, taking in all of the details and every second of activity going on in the room.  My breathing was calm.  Maybe too calm.  At times, I had to remind myself to breath.  (I tend to forget to breath when I’m nervous.  It’s a bad habit.)

Has it possibly been 365 days since that very first day?  This has been the fastest, longest year of my life.

One year ago, I couldn’t imagine what today would look like or what I would be doing.  I couldn’t fathom what it would feel like to be one year into this new reality.  And now I’m living it.  And, for the most part, it feels pretty normal.

The one over-arching lesson I learned first-hand this past year.  That always, ALWAYS, God will meet all my needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. (Phil. 4:19)  He did on Chemo Day 1 and He continues to do so.

Now for the giveaway!

Since today is a big milestone in this journey of mine (and tomorrow is the anniversary of my first blog post – woohoo!), I want to give something away!  There is a brand new book by Lysa TerKeurst that released just this week and I’ve been waiting for it to come out!  The book is called Unglued: Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions.

Unglued will equip you to:

  • Know with confidence how to resolve conflict in your important relationships.
  • Find peace in your most difficult relationships as you learn to be honest but kind when offended.
  • Identify what type of reactor you are and how to significantly improve your communication.
  • Respond with no regrets by managing your tendencies to stuff, explode or react somewhere in between.
  • Gain a deep sense of calm by responding to situations out of your control without acting out of control.

I can completely relate to this topic!!  In my lifetime, I’ve had plenty of too many “unglued” moments.  And unless you are a saint, I would bet you can relate, too. {grin} Lysa is funny, personable, and shares stories from her own life to show you how she is learning to not come unglued when big and little issues arise.

Visit the Unglued Book website to learn more about it, read a sample chapter, and download some free resources, including an Unglued Assessment (if you’re brave enough {grin}).

I am giving away two copies of Unglued (in the formats of your choice – paperback, kindle, nook, etc.).  One copy is for you, the other is for you to give to a friend.  That way you can read it together and discuss the amazing insight you will glean from it!   (When was the last time you used “glean” in a sentence???  Anyone?)

All you have to do to enter is leave a comment here before 8:00 PM EDT Sunday (8/12).  You can say anything in the comment.  Tell me why you would like this book, tell me what you ate for breakfast, tell me your favorite color!  Just tell me something to enter.  :)

I’ll announce the winner on Monday.

If you’d like to tell your friends about the giveaway, feel free to copy these ready-made Tweets and Posts:

For Twitter:  Enter to win two copies of @LysaTerKeurst Unglued: Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions! #ungluedbook

For Facebook:  Enter to win two copies of Lysa TerKeurst’s new book, Unglued: Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions!

♥ Rachel

A Winner!

16 Dec

The port procedure was a success.  It took much longer than we anticipated.  Arrived at the hospital around 10:00 and left a little after 3:00.  Everyone kept telling us it was a quick, 15 minute procedure.  They didn’t tell us about all the before and after stuff we had to do.  They took an x-ray after I was in recovery to make sure everything was still in the right place.

It looks weird, the bump under my skin.  I can’t really look at it yet.  It kind of makes me queasy to see it.  Or maybe that’s still the chemo after-effects – who knows at this point?  I’m sure that will pass with time, but right now, I don’t like what it represents – chemo.

We have a cookbook winner!!

Sheila White
December 14, 2011 at 6:14 am
My favorite Christmas food in the wonderful peanut butter fudge my husband makes every year. Yum, yum.

Congratulations, Sheila!  I will get your cookbook to you next week and I would love to have the recipe for this peanut butter fudge.  It sounds delicious!

Hope you all have a great weekend!

♥ Rachel

Port Day

15 Dec

No, I’m not a talking about arriving in port today, although it would be nice if I were on a cruise and just arriving at some exotic port location.  Bet that would be a lot more fun than what I’m doing today.

Today’s the day I get my portacath.  Ooohhhhhh, the excitement!!

You all know the drill:  No food or drink since midnight.  No makeup.  No contact lenses.  Yep, loads of fun.  :)

But, at some point this morning, I will be given some lovely drugs and will drift off into a very brief, but blissful sleep where I will forget that my head hurts and I will forget that I’m nauseous.  That will be a lovely, lovely time.

And then, when I wake up, I’ll have a port and the days of painful arm sticks are over!  Yay!!

Today is the LAST DAY to enter the Southern Plate cookbook giveaway.  I’m so proud of you guys for no longer lurking in the shadows and actually leaving comments.  It only took bribery to get you to do it.  ha ha!  If you are one of the super-duper procrastinators (like I can sometimes be), you better get moving because after 8:00 PM EST tonight – no more chances to win.

I’ll announce the winner Friday morning and get your cookbook shipped ASAP!

Since this week has been all about cancer and yuck (with a little fun giveaway thrown in), I thought we could use some eye candy today to put us in the Christmas Spirit with some beautiful Christmas photography I found on Pinterest.  Yep, it’s a sure sign that I am feeling somewhat better if I’m back on Pinterest.  For some reason, when I feel really awful, I can’t go on there – it makes me feel worse.  Weird, I know, but it does.

Enjoy!  And don’t forget to enter to win the Southern Plate cookbook!

♥ Rachel

Slowly, But Surely

14 Dec

It has to get better at some point, right?  :)  Actually, it is.  A little.  This morning was better than yesterday, but I fizzled pretty quickly around mid-day.  Just can’t shake the nausea or the headache and that wears me down fast.  I worked almost a full day, which was and improvement over Monday’s half day.

I just have to say, I work with some of the sweetest people.  Such genuine concern and offers of help.  Makes this girl so grateful to be surrounded by that each day.

If you didn’t enter the contest yesterday to win a copy of Christy Jordan’s Southern Plate cookbook, do so NOW!  I mean it!!  :)  Just go to yesterday’s post and leave a comment telling me your favorite Christmas food.  If that’s too much pressure for you, just say Hi, Rachel! and you’ll be entered.

As a very sweet gesture, Christy has offered to send the winner a signed bookplate for the front of the cookbook, so you will actually be winning an autographed copy!  How cool is that??

So, go!  Go quickly and enter to win!  If you don’t do much cooking, but know someone who does, this would make a great gift for them.  I will do my best to get it delivered to you in time for Christmas – hopefully on the 20th or 21st.

Contest ends tomorrow at 8:00 PM EST.

♥ Rachel

Southern Plate Cookbook Giveaway

13 Dec

Still not feeling great – or really even good, yet.  But hoping, HOPING, that will change soon.  The doctor gave me a prescription for Lortab yesterday, but it didn’t do much for the head/jaw pain.  I think it helped with the overall body aches, just can’t seem to shake the headache.  Thank you all for praying and for your sweet words.  I appreciate them so much.

Now, for some fun stuff!  In celebration of my 100th blog post, I am giving away a fantastic cookbook.  My sweet (and slightly crazy – ha ha!) neighbor and friend, Diana, gave me a copy of Christy Jordan’s Southern Plate cookbook and I want to give a copy to YOU!

I have never loved a cookbook more than this one!  Each recipe has a story that goes with it explaining the family history or the meaning behind the recipe.  All of the recipes are fairly simple and many can be made with ingredients you already have on hand.  It is down-home, southern cooking at its best.  I love that she’s from Alabama, too.

You can check out Christy’s great blog at

To enter the giveaway, just leave a comment here on the blog telling me your favorite Christmas food.  Comments can be left until Thursday at 8:00 PM EST.  Please only leave one comment and be sure to include your email address so I can contact you if you are the winner.  The winner will be randomly selected and announced here on the blog Friday morning.

Good luck!

♥ Rachel