Photo credit: Ilco

Photo credit: Ilco

A stone drops. It plinks in the water and leaves tiny ripples that are swallowed by the next wave. Steadily sinking, the stone enters the darkness of the abyss. The water is frigid here—the pressure suffocating.

Creatures blind and grotesque guard these forgotten waters. In blackness inconceivable, the stone silently hits bottom, and an invisible cloud of silt rises. The stone—small, round, and indistinguishable save for its smoothness—remains forever lost.


When did I begin to sink? As a little girl shattered by a family divided? Yes, that’s when I let the bitterness stretch its arms around my soul.

Still sinking, the light faded from view as I realized God and evolution cannot coexist. There is no God, I lied to myself. In that vacuum where God was figment, sin ceased to be. I plunged through bitter cold into the darkness of drugs and promiscuity.

I sought to fill the void where God had reigned by embracing the occult. Candles burning, I chanted incantations that joined me to witches throughout time. I couldn’t see the gnashing creatures that swam circles around me.

Choosing to deny my God did nothing to deliver me from the wretched chains of guilt. Self-inflicted wound oozing, I wrote in my diary, “She punishes herself and bleeds.” Striking bottom, I sought death.

How could light reach through fathoms of water darker than blindness? And yet the light of hope pierced through the waters and made me want to live. I should have been that stone lost forever—save for love so powerful it conquered death.


I am on a boat, the Fisherman with me. A stone falls into the water—plinking. “Go after her,” says the Master.

Here is an excerpt from a story I wrote for tonihammer.com:


I can’t believe I said that! Why am I so stupid?

These used to be the words that I berated myself with every time I was in public. Is it any wonder that I suffered from chronic headaches and anxiety attacks? It took me a long time to realize that these self-deprecating thoughts were actually a symptom of selfishness. My focus was on me.

Though the key to overcoming my depression and anxiety was simple—it wasn’t easy. I needed to stop focusing on myself and live for others.

The ugly thoughts still came: You’re so fat! You’re just an accident waiting to happen! But instead of giving into those condemning words, I fought back with truth: You are fearfully and wonderfully made. You are a temple of the Holy Spirit. And then I would seek out someone to bless.

Click here to continue reading.


Last night as my husband blew up the birthday balloons, I pulled out the gifts to wrap for my oldest daughter. Groan. The children had beat me to the wrapping paper, and there were only a few shreds left. There was a time when this situation would have left my sick with stress…

My mother used to make us beautiful birthday cakes in the shapes of animals. I think that I got it into my head that being a good mom meant that everything had to be just perfect for a birthday.

I am someone who wings everything, so the combination of perfectionism and me is just a disaster waiting to happen. My children’s first few birthdays were pretty miserable. I was worried about the presents not being good enough and about the cake not being pretty enough and about there not being enough people at the party.

One year I put too much cake batter in the pans, and the batter overflowed and burned in the bottom of the oven. It was a laugh or cry moment as I sat looking at the ugliest cake imaginable with the acrid smoke burning my eyes.

I realized then the birthday wasn’t ruined because the cake was. The birthday was never about the cake—it was about celebrating my daughter.

IMG_1914[1]Soon after that, I read a magazine article that talked about the importance of traditions that made the birthday child feel special. We began to implement some traditions on the next birthday—all of them to let the birthday child know that they are loved.

One fun tradition that we have is the Fruit Face. I arrange fruit in a bowl in the shape of a face and place it in front of the birthday child at breakfast. These aren’t works of art; they’re just silly and fun, and they make everyone laugh. It’s just one of the little ways that I say, “I love you.”

As I reflected on my daughter’s fourteenth birthday and the presents wrapped in flyers, I realized that it wasn’t at all stressful like birthdays used to be. I have learned that birthdays aren’t about having everything perfect; they’re about showing love—and that’s something we have an abundance of.

Today’s post is written by Toni Hammer. I met Toni on a writing website a couple of months ago, and we quickly became friends. Her insightful writing reflects her fun and witty personality. Enjoy!

~ ~ ~

Having lived in the Pacific Northwest for a third of my life, I’ve acclimated to the fact it rains 412 days out of the year. It’s expected. Rain is the status quo.

Knowing this, I get super excited when the sun comes out. I want to hug that big ball of fire and give it my raincoat as a sacrifice. The sun is warm and full of love and vitamin D. I might go a little crazy when it shows its face after a month long rainfall.

That happened earlier this week. Not only was the sun out, but it was almost seventy degrees! Flip flop and iced coffee weather. It was magical.

Then the rain came back. This weather which I was so accustomed to that I barely batted an eye at it now filled me with rage. It was sunny yesterday! I was warm! I hate you rain!

This happens a lot in life, too. Something extraordinary happens to us–promotion at work, favorite band in concert, child takes their first step–and our excitement level rises above that of someone who just won the lottery.

Photo Credit: Katman

Photo Credit: Katman

Then the next day comes. The next week. Before long we’re back to the expected. The status quo. It feels sad and boring.

Don’t get bummed when life goes back to normal. Don’t start scowling because your ride in Excitement Land is over. Appreciate the familiar rhythm of your life.

We need to be content with our day to day life so the new gifts and achievements are that much brighter. We need to appreciate what seems mundane because it’s comfortable, it’s what we know, and it’s where we prepare for our next big thing.

Don’t let the sun ruin the rain.


~ ~ ~

You can read more from Toni on her website tonihammer.com.

Have a great week!

I was talking to a friend when she suddenly looked me straight in the eye and said, “Rachel, you always talk about being challenged as a good thing, and I’ve never seen it that way before.”

Her words made me realize that I had changed; I’ve learned to embrace challenges.

I’ve always had a need for approval from others. I feared taking chances and making mistakes. But looking back, I can see that the desire for perfection and the fear of rejection suffocated my growth.

When I first started my blog, I was just writing to family and friends, and it scared me when people I’d never met started following my rambles. I was afraid to let people down, and I was afraid to be open, honest, and real in such a public way, but I felt God pushing me forward and helping me to face my fears.

Now, as I send out articles to magazines in the hopes they will be published, I am facing those fears of rejection again, but I know that forward momentum requires taking chances.

I’m not talking about pushing the boundaries of right and wrong here. Learn from the mistakes of others, but if growing requires some risk then count the cost and take the leap.

Dirty Wall- let know

This is April 1st, which means…that we have a winner for the Apologia giveaway!

I assigned each entry a number and then used a random number generator to select the winner.

A big congratulations to Tracy for winning an elementary Apologia text! I’ll be contacting you today. Enjoy!

P.S. – This is not an April fool’s joke :)

I sat down with a photo album this morning to look for a picture for this week’s “glimpse.” It is the very first album I made and shows my marriage and pregnancy and my new little baby. Looking at the pictures vividly brought back the emotions of that time—my wonder, joy, fear.

What an intense time of discovery! It made me remember how hard those first years can be. I wanted to be a good mom more than anything, so I read every book on parenting that I could get my hands on. The “experts” disagreed on almost all points, and the more I read the more I doubted my ability to be the mother I longed to be.

Many people say that things get a lot easier with the third baby, but my third baby came with a twin brother! So my first six years as a mom were difficult, but as I look through the pictures I realize how sweet they were too.

Here is a picture taken during the first year of being a new mom. Has it really been thirteen years?


<3 Rachel



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