Friday, June 28, 2013

Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros {Part Uno}





what happens when you let random girls take your picture. no feet. 


morg loves to dance
our bosses are cooler than yours. 
the giving tree band. 


this violinist though. 
cutie. 

the glitter fairy. 

ooogling about morgan's vintage necklace. 

the best of gals. 


didn't know this woman. but glad i could catch her making this face at me.  :)


Alexander of Edward Sharpe...

i didn't realize just how many pictures i took at the concert {400}.  between the sorting and the editing, i decided to give ya'll a rest (and my computer...the infamous pinwheel of death is about to be the death of me) and split them up between two posts.  the five of us had such an amazing time at the concert.  i'd dub it #1 in my book (over Grace Potter, Cee Lo Green, Counting Crows, Ben Rector, Carrie Underwood, Rascal Flatts, etc. etc. etc.).  such beautiful talent.  these people are not performers.  they're musicians.  and you really feel their music.  wish i could go back right now.  so lucky to have such adventurous bosses and friends who spontaneously decide to take 24-hour road trips with me.  check back in soon for more pics in part dos!  

happy friday!
xoxo,
     rach 


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

loving your neighbor {the tough stuff}

     it's the oldest story in the book.  the most simple idea in the world, yet somehow an absolutely gruesome task to live out: love.

     there are numerous different definitions of love.  some think of the disney romanticism that is so often associated, some think of physical acts, some think of the conditions and restrictions it entails, others think of love from a higher power, mission trips, and possibly the first & second commandments, "love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, & mind, and love our neighbor as yourself" (Matthew 22:37-40).

     during one of our final discussions in a literature class i took this past semester, we explored the idea of love and how to live out one's faith as a Christian.  one young woman in my class talked about how much she loved going on mission trips.  she recalled one particular instance where she and the rest of her youth group were dropped off at the mall for two hours to evangelize to various preteens and teens.  they were to befriend teens and initiate the "Jesus conversation" (i know you know what i'm talking about).  following the two hours, the same fifteen-passenger van that dropped them off, picked them up where they returned to their camp feeling "full of life," laughing and joking about their fun day.  

     my subtle nature and i couldn't help but raise a hand.  "i agree with you," i stated.  she smiled. "you do feel great and 'full of life' when you get to do mission tasks of that nature." she agreed.  "it's easier."
her smiled disappeared.  "it's easy to love people when there's a start date and an end date."

"no, no you don't understand," she assured me with a sly smile, shrugging me off like a bug on her shoulder.

      i decided not to pursue the discussion further in a classroom setting.  it would get awkward fast. although i "didn't understand," i'd been in those exact same situations.  as a private Christian educational institution, my high school took one mission trip a year.  i'd loved on children of different races, helped them with their homework, counseled them with their family problems, cleaned and painted and sorted for hours on end, gone to the evening worship services and prayer meetings.  i left feeling blessed, recognizing how much i'd been given in this life.  i felt better about myself, my faith, my family, and my future.   yet when i got home i went on with my daily life, wholly unconcerned with our mission of the past week, aside from a few conversations and prayer or two here and there.

     as i've gotten older, i've been invited to go on many more mission trips through my church and school.  in the past, i sat silently through the promotional videos and guest speakers, wholly unenthused.  i knew where my mom and dale stood on mission work abroad, but my dad would surely say no.  my dad, an agnostic of sorts who doesn't see the value of mission work in third world countries.  groups would get up and our overseers would bless them as they went out on their journey, and i sat in my pew envious of their opportunity. "go!" some would say, encouraging me to disregard all parental authority to do "God's work."  yet for some God forsaken reason, i couldn't get myself to further consider it.  not because i'm a wimp and can't think for myself, but because i truly care about what my parents (all four of them) have to say about me and my life for these next two years while i'm in school.  that's a call i've been given as a child, as most Evangelicals would agree.  this didn't help my jealousy, though, not one bit.

     strangely enough, it's the very same situation that caused my jealousy and envy that eventually allowed  me to see something much greater than i'd ever imagined- this is my mission field.  right here.  i don't need to go abroad to make a difference.  before, i was so focused on those in need at a distance that i forgot to take note of those in need right beside me.
 
   a friend and i were dialoging about this very issue not too long ago.  how it is that is is so easy to love our neighbor across the world, our neighbor living in a third world country who is ill, naked and impoverished, yet so hard to love those right next to us.

    as i was asserting in my literature class, there's a start date and an end date in most of those situations.  yes, we experience their hell for those two weeks, but at the back of our minds, we know that we get to go home to return to our ever comfortable lives.  additionally, i would assert that loving those close to us is a task because they remind us of ourselves.  we can't cast them off as having a different background, education, etc., and somehow extract an explanation for their lives.

     so, my question is... how do we go about loving those right next to us?  our classmates who make poor decisions?  our friends who don't share the same values?  our family members who aren't of faith?  we don't get to share the gospel, leave for home, and pray for the best.  that is our home. they make up our life.  and we can't leave or forget about it or whatever you will.  our neighbors, our brothers, our friends and our classmates require follow through, consistency.  and consistency?  well, that's the tough stuff of life.  i'm far from a consistent person.  but i'm making an effort. and that's all we can do.  and that's what i'm asking of you.

     what i'm not saying is that mission trips are a waste of time and all are backed by ill intentions.  mission trips hold much value in my life and in countless others.  i've seen their value first hand. and i think people can be called to those countries & those tasks.  but i do think we could do a better job of loving those right next to us, our neighbors, our friends, our family.  the ones who are no different than ourselves.  the unlovable.

    and that?  that's my definition of love.  and that will make all the difference.

may you show love to all today.
xoxo,
     rach 


.
   

Monday, June 24, 2013

quote for you monday.

a totally unrelated photo from the big "O" show in okoboji this past weekend.
many more to come. 

i've been reading and rereading and rerereading these quotes lately. 
hope they speak to you as much as they do me.  

I fell in love with her courage, her sincerity, and her flaming self respect. And it’s these things I’d believe in, even if the whole world indulged in wild suspicions that she wasn’t all she should be. I love her and it is the beginning of everything// F. Scott Fitzgerald

Society undervalues creativity.  Many people think creativity just means decorating your room well, or choosing the right colors for your clothes.  In reality, creativity is what underlies all change.  Without creativity, this world would be stagnant. // Humans of New York blog 

Creole began to tell us what the blues were all about. They were not about anything very new. He and his boys up there were keeping it new, at the risk of ruin, destruction, madness, and death, in order to find new ways to make us listen. For, while the tale of how we suffer, and how we are delighted, and how we may triumph is never new, it always must be heard. There isn't any other tale to tell, it's the only light we've got in all this darkness. // James Baldwin, Sonny's Blues

a beautiful woman is a beautiful woman.  but a beautiful woman with a brain is an absolutely lethal combination. // Prabal Gurung 

And then her heart changed, or at least, she understood it; and the winter passed and the sun shone upon her //  J R. R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King 

Talking about our problems is our greatest addiction. Break that habit and talk about your joys. // Rita Schiano 

I don't travel because I want to leave home, i travel because i need to know why i'm staying // Humans of New York blog 

Human beings do not live forever, Reuven.  We live less than the time it takes to blink an eye if we measure our lives against eternity.  So it may be asked what value is there to a human life.  There is so much pain in the world.  What does it mean to suffer so much if our lives are nothing more than a blink of an eye?  ...I learned a long time ago, Reuven, that a blink of an eye in itself is nothing.  But that eye that blinks, that is something.  A span of life is nothing.  But the man who lives that span, he is something.  He can fill that tiny span with meaning, so it's quality is immeasurable though it's quantity may be insignificant ... A man must fill his life with meaning, meaning is not automatically given to life.  It's hard work to fill one's life with meaning.  That i do not think you understand yet.  A life filled with meaning is worthy of rest.  I want to be worthy of rest when I am no longer here.  // Chaim Potok, The Chosen 


happy monday to you!
xoxo,
     rach 

Sunday, June 23, 2013

have you met my grandma?

because she's pretty dang awesome.  89 and lookin' fine (what a nice rhyme, but i recently found out she's actually just 86. best granddaughter ever.)

here's to you gram.  you email sendin', singin', prayin', woman of God, you.   
xoxo,
       rach 


Thursday, June 20, 2013

for your creeping pleasures.

no need to be ashamed, we all do it. 
all my iPhone pics in one spot. for your creeping pleasures. 
thank you so much for your support with my most recent blog post on divorce {father's day}
i shared a piece of my heart and it was handled with care. 
i so appreciate all the comments! i was truly inspired.  
i'm always looking for feedback (both positive and negative), so feel free to comment, or shoot me an email if you're less comfortable with sharing your thoughts on the blog/facebook/twitter/etc.  
since it went over so well, i'm planning to incorporate more blog posts like the last.  of course, i'll continue sharing my pictures and daily happenings (such as today), but i'd like to be more intentional about digging into some of the hard stuff of life.  because life's about wonder and ideas and all that sorta stuff. 
whadd'ya say?  
i truly value the partnership we've cultivated with this little blog of mine. 
thanks for being you. you are wonderful. 
happy Thursday! 
xoxo,
      Rach 

move out day with this champ.  


Carrie. 
cutest boss ever.  
hot stuff. 
raspberry cream flips for breakfast.  
al's snack of choice: beer and cookies. 



did i mention that i got bit by a Chihuahua and then an old lady ran into me with her motorized cart?
yeah, this was my coping mechanism.  
89 and looking fine.  Gram Friesen.  
boji.

because we're liquids people. 


halibut. 
i think i've stated how much i love my job?  
midtown shenanigans. 
brothers and i decided to make Totino's pizza at 3am, logically.  Worst pizza in the world, but at 3am, it doesn't matter one bit. 

what can i say, i'm hilarious. 

Monday, June 17, 2013

On Divorce. {I mean, happy father's day}



     holidays tend to take on a little different form in my family.  while some families get the privilege of enjoying the entire day together as a single unit relishing in their unified cohesive "togetherness" (please sense my sarcasm), i am privileged to enjoy holidays with multiple family units. before i was eighteen, we alternated every other holiday (mother's day and fathers day excluded). Christmas one place, New Years another.  now that i'm an "adult," i get to choose, along with my two older brothers, where we spend our holidays. for me, i've decided to spend certain days of my Christmas vacation at my Father's house, while other days are spent at my Mama's home.   mother's day: Mom's.  father's day: dad's.  and so on.  you get the point.
 yesterday being father's day, i got to thinking.  

do me the favor of hearing me out.  this, right here, is a piece of my heart.  

      when i was about fourteen or fifteen one sunday someone told me how sorry they were for me.  and how badly they felt that i had a "broken family."  people had told me this for a long time... adults, my peers, extended family, etc.  however, it wasn't until this Sunday that something didn't settle quite right.  

i was fired up, offended even, and i didn't know why. 

     growing up in a family where dialoge was encouraged, i eagerly discussed this comment with my mom, step-father, and older brother over lunch following the church service.  we concluded that people's ignorance often gets in the way of true understanding.  especially with regard to other's situations.  that lady didn't know my family's situation, yet for some odd reason, she had the audacity to unknowingly, yet knowingly, minimize and belittle me in those few single words.

     as i've gotten older, i've processed my situation and others' thoughts and comments towards it immensely.  spent hours, days, journals, tears, Lord knows tons of coffee dates and counselors pondering this very thing.  and to be quite honest, i have yet to come up with an answer as to why my family ended up the way we did.  why it couldn't have been another family.  or less public.  or whatever you will.

     yet, it's not the lack of answers that gets to me.  it's others' ignorant approach towards my (our) situation.  not because i want them to view me differently, but because i want them to see outside themselves and their comfort zone.

    So, to the pastor who questioned the reasoning of my parents divorce, or the authenticity of my mother's faith in Jesus Christ,  to the gossipers who couldn't find enough stuff to talk about so decided my family was a good topic of choice, to the extremely loud evangelicals such as John Piper, who don't believe in second marriage (unless the partner is diseased, or um, i mean, deceased), to the people who "caringly" look down upon my family simply because we're divorced...

don't feel sorry for me. or any of us.  

     and more importantly, please don't let your ignorance get in the way of seeing the truth of various situations.  including my own.

   to my mother, who took the criticism as she stood up for her faith and family at all costs.  who taught me the importance of waiting to find the right life partner.  who taught me that i have more value and worth than i'll ever comprehend,  you go.  you are such a brilliant light in my life.

     please understand, i do not think marriage was created with divorce in mind.  nor do i think divorce is something to be taken lightly.  people directly involved in divorce know the the extent of the repercussions and hurt more than any.  but i do believe that divorce saved my family (emotionally, relationally, you name it).  yes, evangelical america may look down upon us and label us as "broken."  but we are not broken.  or at least, no more broken than anyone else.  we are simply broken human beings, as are all of us, doing the best we can in this life.  and for God's sake, i think that's enough.

      one of my very favorite authors, Rachel Held Evans, speaks to my heart in this regard when she writes, 
"Sometimes Christians worry that if we don't provide bullet-point answer to all of life's questions, people will assume that our faith is unreasonable.  In response to very loud atheists such as Richard Dawkins, we have become a bit too loud ourselves.  Faith in Jesus has been recast as a position in a debate, not a way of life.  But the truth is, i've found people to be much more receptive to the gospel when they know becoming a Christian doesn't require becoming a know-it-all.  Most people i've encountered are not looking for a religion to answer all their questions, but for a community of faith in which they feel safe asking them."  // Evolving in Monkey Town 

     So, this father's day, i am lucky enough to say that i have two fathers.  they play very different, yet both very necessary roles.  to think without a divorce, i wouldn't have Dale, my wonderful step-dad.  God knew i needed Dale.  so i feel blessed to have two fathers to thank & cherish on this day.  two wonderful, yet very different, men to support me, listen to me, believe in me, grow with me, and love me.  and for that, i am certainly grateful.  

happy father's day (a day late) to all you dad's out there.  you make a difference every day.  
                                                         xoxo, 
                                                              Rach 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

EEEEEEEEPP!




guys. pulled out some old pics.  but this is how i feel right now.
dancing on top of the world.  
SO EXCITED. i bought photoshop today. 
i'd been waiting & saving the opportunity arose and i couldn't resist. 
I'M SO OVERWHELMED BUT SO EXCITED. 
can't wait to get to editing some pictures & SO EXCITED FOR BETTER QUALITY EDITS.  
i'm also looking forward to exploring the many other capabilities photoshop has. 
i know it'll take a while, but ya gotta start somewhere.  
until then, tutorial after tutorial after tutorial after tutorial. you get the point.
yay!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

happy hump day!
xoxo,
      Rach