Holy Cow!

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Tomorrow?  Really?  How in the world did that happen?  Holy cow!  I am not exactly sure, but what I do know is that packing bags for a year is rough.  Particularly with the weight requirement of each bag having to be under 50 pounds (unless you want to pay $100 more) . . . my goodness.  I put some of my things in a suitcase today, weighed it, and was shocked to see that it was 57.5 pounds!  Geez louise . . . it wasn’t even full!   No worries though, I’ll get there . . . somehow.  Argh.

During the recent weeks, I have been blessed with several opportunities to spend time with many people who are important to me . . . and feel very loved.  In many ways, I don’t know exactly what to do with it all because it’s not what I’m used to on a daily basis.  However, I continue to realize how important connections are in my life and that there is a big difference between surface encounters and authentic connection.  Authentic connection fulfills my soul and leaves me feeling loved and comforted.  Surface encounters are just that – conversation about things we can talk about with anyone or feel like we should be talking about . . . not someone who truly connects with your soul.  I absolutely love noticing who I have true connections with and spending quality time together.  It just feels so good in my heart.

Speaking of connection, it was only a matter of time before I recommended The Gifts of Imperfection on my blog.  It has been a favorite book over the past year and has changed my perspective in many aspects of my life – including the importance of connection in my life.  Click on here to find out more about this amazing book and how great it is to celebrate not being perfect. 🙂  The author, Brene Brown, has done a some short talks that have been recorded.  If you want to check out a talk about vulnerability or shame you can click on either of those words to hear her.  I know those don’t sound like uplifting topics, but I promise you it will teach you ways to be a better you.

The following are stories of connection I have experienced over the past few weeks.

Last Sunday, my sweet neighbors from my apartment building took me to lunch to say goodbye.  I loved it.  It was the first time since I have lived in the building (eight years) that we all got together.  I was so excited to have that time and for everyone to get to know one another a little bit better.  My hope is that they will continue to get together every month or so in order to build relationship and connect with one another.  What a great time!  Plus, look at how cute we are! 🙂

Recently, I went to Chicago to visit friends from college.  It’s amazing that we have remained friends and grown our friendships over the past 13 years.  I know, I know – we look so young . . . how could it have been that long?  Hee, hee.  Generally, when we get together, we do not need to plan anything.  All we need is time and a place to talk and catch-up . . . for hours.  In the midst of our mature conversations, we managed to find time to conduct two taste tests.  One with soda and one with Skittles.  In the picture to the left, please note the unlabeled cups and paper to record our predictions during the soda taste test.  After the soda, we stepped it up a notch to the Skittles taste test.  That is much harder than you might think.  Try to eat Skittles without looking and guess the color.  It is not easy!  All silliness aside, these friends mean the world to me.  They are the type of friends that you can go months without talking and pick-up right where you left off next time you see one another.  Amazing.

This past week, some very special friends organized a going away party for me.  It was quite interesting for me to see friends and family from different parts of my life all come together at one gathering.  Those of you who have experienced this will understand what I mean.  It’s a weird feeling to realize that the common thread that held all of the people together that evening was me.  It was wonderful to see people meeting one another and to hear about friends from one part of my life who want to get together with friends from another part of my life.  Here’s a picture of some of my dear friends that I got to visit with that evening.

One last thing I got to do this week was go bowling!  I have no idea when I last bowled.  As you can see from the scores, I am not a perfect bowler and have no intentions of becoming perfect.  I went with four girlfriends who I have gotten to know quite well recently and have made a positive impact on my life because of the truth we share with one another.  Again, yet another example of connection.

Finally, many of you have wondered about my dog Hannah and how it went taking her to her new home last Friday.  Overall, it was good – just hard for me. 😦  She is doing well (thanks to Christina’s updates!) and even got a new bed to sleep in!  Check her out in the picture.  She has never had a dog bed before!  Tom noticed that she didn’t seem settled at their house so he went and got her a new bed.  Remember how I said he was amazing with animals?  This simply reinforces that he has his heart in the right place with animals.  Lucky Hannah.

Ok, I think that’s all from me for now.  I had a lot to write this time.  Next time you hear from me via blog will be when I am in Ecuador.  It’s hard to believe that the time is here.  Until then, please pray for safe travel for all of the volunteers this weekend and for authentic connections to begin to take place as we all meet one another.  As always, thank you for reading.  I appreciate you. 🙂

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8 responses »

  1. Rachael, you have been in my prayers more and more as departure date swoops down upon you. Thanks for taking time out to blog. That was a truly valuable way to promote the kinds of connection you have purposed to pursue and engender. God bless you as you become increasingly self-protective these last hours in St. Louis. I’ll be praying weightlessness for that last ounce of luggage you can’t go without. Proverbs 16:11 ❤ Love, Nancy

  2. Loved the skittle and soda game! You are right, it is hard to tell the different flavors. However, I can always tell purple (I don’t like the purple ones).
    I can’t wait to read your posts from Ecuador. I will share with my kiddos (especially the kids you shared with me). I know they will be so excited to hear all the amazing things you are doing.
    “Talk” soon.

  3. Looks like you had a fabulous sendoff! Can’t wait to hear about your trip to Ecuador and what it’s like there. Exciting stuff!

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