Feeds:
Posts
Comments

50,000 Words

Cover 2

November is only two days away. Yes, I’ve been counting down the days. November is NaNoWriMo–or National Novel Writing Month. My goal, along with hundreds of thousands of others, is to write a 50,000 word novel in one month. Crazy? Yes. Exhilarating? Absolutely!

I took part in NaNoWriMo 2013 and wrote the rough draft of my novel Letting You Go. Okay, so I didn’t actually “win” because I only wrote 34,000 words during November. But, really, I did win because I came away with a story that I’m happy with–that I never would have written if I hadn’t challenged myself to do something crazy.

So here’s a little peek into Letting You Go. I need to do a lot of work on this book before it’s ready to submit to an agent or publisher, but I’m on a journey and loving it!

Blessings! <3 Rachel

 

Letting you Go–Overview:

Lillian leads a perfect life as a homeschooling mother to her three sons. Her life is shattered, though, when her husband David and their sons are killed in a mysterious accident. Lillian refuses to believe the evidence of David’s shadowy other life until she discovers a hidden fortune and an illicit affair.  She spirals into despair until she finds healing in the fostering of tiny, drug-addicted babies Sophie and Timmy, but her wounds are opened again when Timmy is incomprehensibly ripped from their family. Hurting for Sophie and in agony over her own loss, Lillian must learn to forgive, and to love the birthmother who seeks to reclaim Sophie.

 

Credit: Maiden

Credit: Maiden

Here’s another guest post from my dear friend Miriam. Enjoy!

~     ~     ~

When I went to Haiti on a Missions Trip with our church in the Spring of 2013, our group had the privilege of attending Haitian church on Sunday. We couldn’t understand the sermon, so we just read our Bibles, and soaked in the delightful atmosphere of exuberant and heart-felt worship. (People of African descent have just the most incredible singing-voices – I think!)

One of the passages I happened upon at this time was Mark 14, where Jesus is reclining at the table of Simon the Leper, and the woman comes and anoints His feet with a very costly perfume.

While some of those present are indignant about the waste, and even rebuke the woman harshly, Jesus rises to her defence. And of His defence, the words that struck me most were, “She did what she could.” I thought, you know, that’s all any of us can do – be willing and available and ready to just simply “do what we can” wherever we are, whatever opportunity God places in our paths.

Maybe we can’t do something as well as John or Mary over there, maybe we haven’t been called to go overseas and minister to people in other countries, but we can all contribute somehow, in some way, with what God has gifted us – and if we all faithfully do our part of doing what we can, we will be used of God wherever we are, even – or perhaps I should say in many cases, especially? – right here at home.

“Use what talents you possess. The woods would be silent if only those birds sang who sang best.” – Henry Ward Beecher

Credit: Kids Math

Credit: Kids Math

I couldn’t get away from school fast enough. My stomach tightened, and I pressed the palm of my hand against the anxiety that balled up in my chest. I’d just barely passed the math test last week, and today’s lesson left me bewildered. Walking down the road towards the restaurant where my mom waitressed, I hoped it wasn’t busy.

Mom set down a Coke with ice and I took a long sip through the straw. “I’ve never really liked math, but I always understood it—until now. I’m scared, Mom.”

“Why don’t you ask Grandpa for help? He’s always been good with numbers,” Mom said as she filled the coffee pot.

Just having a plan made me feel a little better. The corners of my Grandpa’s eyes crinkled with pleasure when I asked him to help me with my math. I pulled up a chair to his recliner and placed my grade 7 math book on a rickety little table between us.

For an hour he reviewed the concepts with me that I’d failed to grasp and made sense of the problems that had left me feeling ill. More importantly, though, he showed me math could be fun like doing a puzzle or discovering the answer to a riddle.

I didn’t learn to love math all at once, but I did come to appreciate it. I became fascinated with geometry, and Pythagoras’ theorem stayed locked inside my mind ever since. The number Pi intrigued me—the key that unlocks circles, cylinders, and spheres. It’s perfect and yet irrational.

I often hear students and parents bemoan that they will never use the math they are learning, but take a moment and think of how dreary our lives would be if we limited our education to what we thought we would use every day. Why bother going to school beyond grade 3? Do we really need to know how to write a poem or how many planets circle the sun? Do we need to know who Alexander the Great was or Isaac Newton? Most of us don’t use this information in our day-to-day lives, but undoubtedly it enriches us. So does math.

Owning math concepts—not just knowing them enough to pass a test—is what makes them useful. I’m not sure in what grade I learned cross multiplication, but I’ve used it countless times since for reducing a recipe or comparing the prices of similar products. I’ve used Pythagoras’ theorem to determine how long the rafters should be when we were building our house. And just like a magnificent waterfall can give us a glimpse into the nature and beauty of God, math can reveal a little of God too—his perfection and infiniteness.

Just spending one hour with someone who loved math showed me math could be useful, fun, and beautiful. I challenge you to be that for your children, the person who sparks in them a passion for learning—even learning math.

Echo Lake

Echo Lake

We all have them, those little quirks that make us unique. Some of my “quirkiness” rose to the surface last weekend, and I’m still shaking my head.

I’d been looking forward to the weekend all year. It was the homeschool mom’s retreat at Echo Lake. It’s one weekend a year to spend time with a group of women with similar goals. Invigorating. So much so, in fact, that I couldn’t sleep.

When I’m nervous or shy, I get very animated—obnoxious really. Friday night, we stayed up late talking. One lady read a story about a woman’s experience with bikini waxing. I laughed until tears ran down my face. I made those horrible cackling noises that I make when I’ve lost all control. But I didn’t care. I was having a blast.

We all said goodnight and headed to bed, but I was buzzing like I’d slammed two pots of coffee. I read for two hours before I even tried to get to sleep, and then I laid in bed and turned over every 20 minutes for the rest of the night. I might have slept as much as two hours. Maybe.

It’s embarrassing to admit that you are so excited you can’t sleep all night. Am I twelve? Quirk number one.

I didn’t want to miss a thing, so I got up to run with a lady at 7:00. (I only begged her to walk once. It was a big hill. Honest.) Then I went for a power walk at 10:00. (There is no way I could keep up with some of those ladies. I’m blaming it on my short, little legs.) Then we went for a lovely canoe ride in the afternoon.

I was sore for days. It was a good thing I was so active, though, because we ate amazing food and lots of it. (Thanks, Rebecca!)

I crashed pretty hard in the afternoon. I even went down to my room and laid down for half an hour, but I kept thinking, “What if I miss something fun?” So that didn’t last very long.

That evening we watched a movie and painted ceramic mugs. On my mug, I painted all of my children (as stick people) doing the things that they love. Yes, I was loving every moment of my mom’s retreat, but I was missing my family too.

That evening we stayed up late talking again. One has to soak up these moments, you know. It was after everyone else had gone to bed that I realized I didn’t know where I was sleeping. We’d shuffled the sleeping arrangements to make room for two more ladies. I’d been moved, but I forgot to ask where. Sleeping on the couch seemed like a better option than shining a flash light in people’s eyes and asking if they knew where an empty bed was.

I tried to sleep. Really I did. But I had this unpleasant realization that I’d told my family I’d have my phone with me all the time, and if they needed me they could call. The problem was my phone had died a few hours earlier.

Quirk number two: I’m neurotic about keeping my word to my kids. I act irrational and freak out if situations prevent me from fulfilling a commitment to them.

I gave up trying to sleep. As long as my phone was dead, I’d be worrying about someone being injured and having to go to the hospital while I was out of reach. I padded up and down stairs looking for a cord I could borrow. I went to my van twice—barefoot (couldn’t find my shoes) until I could successfully charge my phone.

By the time I headed back to bed (actually couch) It was 3:00 am. The floor dipped under me like a boat deck. I was dizzy with exhaustion, but I didn’t feel tired. Bad sign. I got about two hours of sleep again.

The next morning, I tried to write a cheque, but it took me a full minute to remember what month it was. I thought it was finished, but I realized I hadn’t written in an amount. It’s not a great idea to hand out blank cheques.

I did question whether I was in a state to drive, but after a couple of cups of coffee I felt more coherent. I said good-bye, prayed for God’s protection, and headed home. The only weird thing I did was stop for the mail. (It was Sunday.)

It took me all week to recover. I do know that it’s pretty ridiculous to go away for a retreat—which should refresh—and come back home too exhausted to function. I’m telling myself that it’s better to know your neurosis than to have these issues and not know about them. Everyone has quirks, right?

Have an awesome weekend!

 

 

 

stevia rebaudianaI’ve always been skeptical, so when I first heard about a natural sweetener that has zero calories, doesn’t raise blood sugar levels, and the extract is 200-300 times sweeter than sugar—I just dismissed it. Some things are just too good to be true, right?

But 15 years later, I revisited stevia and decided to try it myself. I loved it! 

I add it to coffee or make hot chocolate with cocoa, milk, hot water and stevia. I mostly add it to drinks, but I also make desserts with it.

My favourite so far is the liquid hazelnut-flavoured stevia from Now Foods. It’s doesn’t haven’t a bitter aftertaste like some others I’ve tried.

The price was the drawback—$15 for a 2 oz. bottle. But we used such a tiny amount at a time that it lasted a couple of months. I did manage to find some cheaper, though, and several people have asked where to get it, so I decided to share that here.

I ended up ordering seven 2 oz. bottles of differnet flavours from iHerb. ($8.40 each plus $4 international shipping.)

Here’s a link to the hazelnut stevia and new customers get $10 off their first order of $40 or more with coupon code: NKJ199

Blessings!

 

 

 

 

Back to the Books

1195995_44850378

Photo credit: Lusi

I always have a niggling dread as the end of summer approaches. I just don’t feel ready to launch back into being teacher to my kids. I wasn’t prepared when the first week of September swept upon us; I hadn’t made up lesson plans or even had a good look at this year’s curriculum.

Life was just that busy. Last year’s school schedule was still on the wall, though, and it gave us the framework we needed to start the school year. (Ominous drum roll.) We faced the first day with fierce determination. But it was an awesome day. It felt so right to be back in the books. The children got along better. The hours of our day flew along with incredible efficiency. (I didn’t feel like I should be doing housework!)

I love being teacher to my children, but I forget that sometime in early spring. By Easter we’re tired and cranky and need a break. And by September, as the days cool off and the leaves start to change colour, we’re ready for structure and intensive learning again—even if I don’t know it yet!

To all the homeschooling moms out there: I wish you passion for your journey. May you pass onto your children a love of learning that will last a lifetime. <3

Is this Normal?

Scan0008

Ten years ago, I brought two babies into the world. I prayed for twins and got them. The sense of fullness and completeness I felt as I held a baby in each arm is indescribable.

From the very start Ethan and Owen were completely different in their personalities and yet they’ve always got along beautifully. Even as babies they would look out for one another.

You can believe it when people say that twins are double the trouble, though. Together, those little munchkins could do anything. If they couldn’t reach something, then one would lay down so the other could climb on top. I’m serious! But they’ve been double the blessing too. I don’t regret praying for twins.

We had all the usual birthday stuff today: balloons, fruit faces (see Birthday Crazies ), presents. The kids even convinced me that they should have a day off of school and watched a movie instead.

When Kevin got home from work, he called me outside to see the helium balloons in the back of his work truck. He sheepishly told me that the balloons were cheaper if you bought the theme pack. There were two round spider-man balloons, two red stars, and one awesomely cool—and massive—spider-man shaped balloon.

Somehow the biggest balloon got away from the others, and Kevin and I stared stupidly at each other for a moment as the ribbon slipped out of reach. We watched the balloon spiral in awkward loops as it rose over the house.

Suddenly, Kevin sprinted towards the house. “I’m going to shoot it down!” he yelled back at me.

I followed him and called to the kids. “Come outside quick and see the spider-man balloon that’s floating away!” Everyone stormed outside, and we watched the balloon soaring higher and higher into the sky as their Dad tried to shoot it down.

I don’t even make this stuff up. My life really is this hilarious.

After dinner, my sugar high kids turned out the lights and ran around in the dark with glow sticks. Then the boys found out that the sticky hands and hex bugs that they got for their birthday were glow-in-the-dark too. The wild mayhem lasted and hour, and I laughed the whole time.

Yeah. My job rocks. :)

 

Is it any wonder people thought I had two sets of twins?

Is it any wonder people thought I had two sets of twins?

 

Scan0009

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 145 other followers