Tuesday, August 25, 2009
1. I changed jobs/careers.
2. I have traveled around the east coast of the state of Florida from Jacksonville to Melbourne to Orlando, and back around a few times. I've also had 1 of 2 trips this summer to Virginia Beach to visit family.
3. I've made three new canine friends who are now part of my extended family.
4. I finally made the necessary financial decisions regarding some investments I took away from my former employer.
5. I learned the meaning of "true friendship" - again - and that friendship can be found in some of the least expected places and with some of the least expected people...and pets.
6. I saw my nephew off to his first day of kindergarten.
7. I saw my niece turn 1 years old.
8. I learned that I will never be able to control how people interpret what I say or do, or how people perceive me, despite my extreme efforts to project my positivity and caring nature. No matter how nice you are or how much you try, you can't make someone be something they aren't or cure something they have within themselves. Only God can save them.
9. I have a renewed heart and outlook on "love." (whatever that means?!?!)
10. I learned the importance of weekends - they are the mini-vacation we sometimes need at the end of the week.
God is always at work in our lives, and I started noticing that several years ago but didn't put it into practice until this year. With the changes I faced, I put my faith in God and he proved himself to me. He always knows what he's doing, even if we don't know what we're doing or where we're going. When I changed jobs, I prayed that God would open the right doors at the right times to show me where I needed to be. He surprised me and blessed me in a matter of days. Yes - he still moves those mountains! God kept me safe through all of my travels, and brought me the most unexpected blessings in the form of making new friends through celebrating a family event and showing me how much time can change someoone. He showed me that pet sitting isn't just about making some extra money on the side - it's about friendship, character and companionship for me and for those I care for. God showed me that although it's not healthy to focus on money or greed, it is healthy to plan for our futures and retirements by making important financial decisions, no matter the sacrifices they require, and to be careful whom we trust to assist us with those decisions. I've always thought it was important to have friends, and God tested me a few times this year. But, most recently, he showed me that some doors are never fully closed and that it's okay to rethink the meaning of friendship, and it's okay to admit that you may have been wrong about someone....whether for better or for worse. It's hardest when you were wrong for the worse, but that is how God shows you that HE is still there even when someone else isn't. In the ongoing family situations I've dealt with over the last seven years, I've finally seen a "light at the end of the tunnel" this year through my nephew and my niece....a light that I thought had been turned out and may never work again. Like I said...God always knows what he's doing! God is still teaching me lessons in learning why people act the way they do, and how some people may never have the manners or the cooth that others do, but that we should try to accept them and respect them despite that. God continues to challenge me daily with this, and I continue to pray for the patience and strength I need to keep learning. I thank God every Friday for weekends and time to relax....especially the upcoming two weekends which will be spent on a secluded beach with a book!
Thank you for reading, whomever you may be, and I hope that you take this opportunity to think about the recent events in your life and how God was at work in those events. Take opportunities to thank him.....after all, he deserves it!
Thursday, July 23, 2009
I'd just been adopted from St. Lucy, Florida by two amazing and loving parents.
28 months ago...
I was working as a loan coordinator at my old company dreaming of finding a new position, working on my finances and making new friends.
28 days ago...
I was ready to start my new job for a new company here in Jacksonville, Florida and ready to turn 28!
28 minutes ago...
I was eating lunch!
28 seconds ago...
I logged into Blogger!
28 years from now...
I'll be 56 years old. I'll have a tatoo and, if I'm lucky, I'll be retired to the island I purchased in the Caribbean or Virgin Islands.
28 months from now...
I'll be 30 years old. I'll probably be working for the same company, maybe even the same position or something even more fabulous than my current position. I'll probably be shopping for a new car...my baby is getting up there!
28 days from now...
It'll be August and almost the end of summer and almost time for my cousin's fabulous beach wedding in Virginia! I love summer.
28 minutes from now...
It'll be 28 minutes closer until time to leave the office, have dinner with my dad and see my sister before I jet off to Virginia to spend the weekend with my cousin and other family.
28 seconds from now...
I'll be completing this Blog entry and logging out!
How's that for a timeline?
Saturday, June 20, 2009
That's the dictionary's definition. Here's mine...
Change: When something or someone is different than before. Another mountain to climb, ocean to cross or obstacle to overcome.
Where am I going with this? Well, the year 2009 has been a year of "changes" for me. It started with a change in priorities. My priorities prior to 2009 were related to keeping up with my two jobs and my finances, with some effort put into friendships but a focus still on my career goals. But, when 2009 rolled in - God had other priorities in mind. He reminded me that people, not finances, were why I was here. I was here to give to others and to receive God's blessings through others. He used a number of "obstacles" or "changes" to show me this. He showed me how I could be a friend to someone who needed my prayers and my love - her dad was battling lung cancer. He showed me how I could move on from a friendship which no longer thrived and did not serve the new me - the me who had priorities other than boyfriends and wedding rings like they did. He showed me that I was needed for who I was and not what I could do at work.
As if these changes weren't enough....God had more in store.
It has been my experience, as a believer, that God does not speak to me the way people on Earth do. With "Hey, Rachel, I think you should change your career." or "Hey, Rachel, you need to change your friends and realize that your true friends are back in Florida." Instead, he uses mountains, oceans and obstacles. Analogies, of course, for the real deal. After we've climbed the mountain, crossed the ocean and overcome the obstacle - we look back and say "Oh, wow. This is the beautiful valley you wanted me to see, the new land you wanted me to discover and the feeling of success you wanted me to feel." Much stronger than any words a person on Earth could ever tell me. This year, my mountains, oceans and obstacles involved deciding to end long-term friendships upon realizing how much that friends had "changed" and we were SO different, watching a best friend endure one of the biggest loses a person ever has to endure - the loss of a parent, and realizing that a job wasn't all it could have been and wasn't all that important anyways. At the end of this, I came away seeing that God wanted me to change my priorities and my outlook in life. So - that's what I did.
The old me would have never thought the friendship would end, and if it did not in the way or for the reason it did. The new me saw that "true friendship" was something other than what I was experiencing and with God in my life, I didn't need to be kicked to the curb a few times and try crawling back for acceptance to be loved. The old me would have cried and then run away from the friend who needed me during her time of loss. The new me saw that this was an opportunity to use the strength that only he gave me to wipe away tears and give unlimited hugs. Of course I still cried my own tears and had my moments of weakness, but still gave her all God gave me to give. The old me would have been devastated when the career she thought she'd started with a company came to a hault at the realization that there was more out there for her than what was there, and that God would force her out to show her the other side. The new me took it in stride and said "Well, God, I know you have something wonderful blossoming here. I'm going to hold onto you and trust you through this." I did - and it worked. The valley is beautiful, the new land I've discovered is like North America for Christopher Columbus and the feeling of success is mine - thanks to God.
Whatever "change" you are going through - the mountain you're climbing, ocean you're crossing and obstacle you're overcoming - keep at it. With God's help, you too will discover the valley, the new land and the feeling of success.
I'll continue to update the blog with news. Coming soon - my change in career.
I end with a verse.
"For I know the plans I have for you," says the Lord. "Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11
Friday, April 17, 2009
So much has been changing, but I cannot announce all of it yet. I will tell you, though, that God has been hard at work in my career and in my heart. I have grown closer to family, friends and neighbors....especially the friends who are my neighbors, ha! My career is about to change paths (again) and I'm eager to start the next path.
In the mean time, here is a fun photo of me, with my sister Mary, at the Jacksonville Zoo. We are hanging with a manatee!
Thanks for following the blog - I'll be back soon!
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
In the mean time, here are a few things I've been up to...
Legally Blonde, The Musical - If you're a woman and you liked the movie...you'll LOVE this musical. I went to Orlando with my fabulous friend Sheila and two of her good friends from Orlando.
Spring is here - I've really been enjoying the weather change and seeing everything in bloom. Another reason why I LOVE Florida!
That's all for now. I look forward to sharing more with you soon.
Thursday, March 5, 2009
This is the St. John's River. The blue bridge is the Main Street Bridge and I also have a relative in the tall building on the far right!
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
I'd love to list each by name on the blog, but for privacy reasons I will not. They all know who they are, and know they can LEAN ON ME any time.
Monday, March 2, 2009
This change in season will be especially memorable to me because of the way my winter ended this year. Just two days ago, I joined my best friend Scarlett, her family and friends, my parents and a few other wonderful friends of mine to say goodbye to Scarlett's father, Johnny Williams. Although it was a sad occasion, it was joyous just the same. To watch this family actually celebrate a life with a "Wang Dang Doodle" party - some Southern home cooking and a Blue Grass Band were on-hand to celebrate this man's life. In addition to this event, I went through a momentary personal crisis at the end of Winter which made me realize how much I love my friends in Jacksonville and my family, who also reside in Jacksonville.
Sometimes God takes us through the Valley before we can climb the Mountain again. I'll be back on the mountain soon, but I know there'll be more "Valley" moments. Within each of these "Valley" moments, God will have a lesson to teach me.
This year's lessons, so far, are 1) Take joy in the changing of the seasons....winter will always be cold, but spring and summer will always come back around 2) Enjoy those you're close to, and tell them you enjoy them and are thankful to them each time you speak to them 3) Appreciate what you have now, because tomorrow it may be gone 4) Always be a friend. Even when those around you fail to see how much you care for them or appreciate them, continue to be a friend and someone they can count on when they see the light again 5) Never give up
Monday, February 23, 2009
I'd like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of my true friends for being there for me, now and since the day we became friends. I cherish my true friends and it is in knowing, in word and in deed, that they are there for me I have purpose on this Earth. I'll always be there for you, too.
I'd also like to take this opportunity to thank my family for their love and support of me over the years, and especially now. As time has gone by, I've realized more and more how dear you are to me, especially you - Mary.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Monday, February 9, 2009
I'm not sure what it is about this decade, but part of me will always remain within it...watching and re-watching all of the John Hughes flicks that are "classics" today and all of the other flicks from that decade like "Flashdance," "Dirty Dancing," "Risky Business," and I think you can name a few of your favorites...
To me, these movies represent a time when our views, our ecomony, our worlds...were moving up. Most of my memories from my life in the 80's are from the age of 1 until 10, I don't remember much before the age of 5, but what I do remember of the 80's is me and my family...happy. My parents, aunts, uncles and cousins were focusing on building careers and wealth. They were, in a sense, where I am right now. When I pop in one of my 80's flicks, I take myself back in time....wishing I was back in the 80's, but at a different age...like 22....I'm TOTALLY a freak, right?
To me, the music of the 80's is a daily-fed addiction. From the music in the car to the music I play at the office, to the music I've made all of my recent house guests listen to whenever they are over...the hits of the 80's. Mostly, though, the pop and classic rock from the 80's. Some of my favorite bands include The Police, Simple Minds, Pat Benetar, The Cure...and countless others. When I pop in one of these bands' albums, my attitude changes. I'm able to shut the rest of the world out and go back in time...to that "happy" time. I don't think about anyone, not even myself. I'm transformed and all I want to do is sing and dance. Again, I'm TOTALLY a freak, right?
I'll send an SOS to the world, I'll send an SOS to the world, I hope that someone gets my Message in a bottle
Brian Johnson: Dear Mr. Vernon, we accept the fact that we had to sacrifice a whole Saturday in detention for whatever it was we did wrong. But we think you're crazy to make an essay telling you who we think we are. You see us as you want to see us... In the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions. But what we found out is that each one of us is a brain...
Andrew Clark: ...and an athlete...
Allison Reynolds: ...and a basket case...
Claire Standish: ...a princess...
John Bender: ...and a criminal...
Brian Johnson: Does that answer your question?... Sincerely yours, the Breakfast Club.
What movies, music, decade transforms you?
Monday, February 2, 2009
Friday, January 30, 2009
There are a few people you meet in life who show you that not only are they there for you, but you can be there for them. It is in knowing, among other things, that I've been there for a few people, who've been there for me also, that continues to show me my life has purpose.
Kitteh, I dedicate this song to you. You know who you are!
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Every January for the last four or so years, my Grandma's four daughters and their families gather together in Jacksonville for my Grandma's birthday. This year is no exception, and I'm so happy that my aunts are here, and my cousin Jackie. We always have a great time together..shopping and eating...and hanging out.
I have also come to realize that considering someone "family" does not mean they are related by blood or marriage, but rather any person you can count on as though they were your family by blood or marriage makes them family. I have a few friends that I consider "family" who are not related to me by blood or marriage. They love me because of me, and not because they have to or because their title of "family" may warrant it, but because of ME! I love them the same way, and we count on each other.
Today, and everyday, I hope that you will reflect on the people in your life whom you consider "family" and let them know how blessed you are to have them in your life.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
On a dark desert highway, cool wind in my hair
Warm smell of colitas, rising up through the air
Up ahead in the distance, I saw a shimmering light
My head grew heavy and my sight grew dim,
I had to stop for the night
There she stood in the doorway, I heard the mission bell
And I was thinking to myself - this could be Heaven or this could be Hell
Then she lit up a candle and she showed me the way
There were voices down the corridor,
I thought I heard them say…
Welcome to the Hotel California
such a lovely place, such a lovely face
Plenty of room at the Hotel California, any time of year, you can find it here
Her mind is Tiffany twisted, she's got the Mercedes Benz
She's got a lot of pretty, pretty boys that she calls friends
How they dance in the courtyard, sweet summer sweat
Some dance to remember, some dance to forget
So I called up the Captain, please bring me my wine
He said we haven't had that spirit here since 1969
And still those voices are calling from far away, wake you up
in the middle of the night just to hear them say
Welcome to the Hotel California
such a lovely Place, such a lovely face
They're livin' it up at the Hotel California - what a nice surprise, bring your alibis
Mirrors on the ceiling, Pink champagne on ice
And she said we are all just prisoners here of our own device
And in the master's chambers, they gathered for the feast.
They stab it with their steely knives, but they just can't kill the beast
Last thing I remember, I was running for the door- I had to find the passage back to the place I was before. Relax, said the night man - We are programmed to receive - you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave
Monday, January 26, 2009
Today, my Grandma is 93 years old! She is one of the most amazing and inspirational women I know. She worked in a plant and fruit shop for many years in Orlando, Florida. She also raised four wonderful daughters...one of them is my mom. She has shown me that you can achieve anything you set your heart to and that family is important. I always admired my grandma and as a kid, we spent weekends in Orlando with her and my Papa, going to Disney World and playing in their backyard and their neighborhood. She used to have big orange trees in her backyard!
A few years ago, my Grandma moved from Orlando up to Jacksonville. She lives in a retirement community near my condo. Unfortunately, I do not see her as often as I'd like.
This week, all four of her daughters and their children and grandchildren will gather together to celebrate her birthday. We'll be doing our traditional eating, shopping, talking and entertaining. This is a week I look forward to every year!
I hope that everyone reading this will think of their grandparents, wherever they may be, and remember them and all that they have survived in their lifetime.
Happy Birthday Mary Christine ("Chris")!
Friday, January 23, 2009
Thursday, January 22, 2009
I probably won't keep this as up-to-date as my photographer friends do (eh hum, Scarlett Lillian and Elizabeth Bowdren) or even a fabulous writer I know (that's you, Rene Williams) but I intend on writing whenever I feel the need to express myself...to the world, to other Bloggers...or anyone who reads this.
I was really struggling to find a title for my Blog. I wanted something with my name in it, and something that stated what this is....a place for me to write. I thought about "Rachel's Rap" but that sounded too cliche. I thought about "Rachel's Rants and Raves," but that implies that I'm here to write about all that bugs me...or makes me say "I love life" and that's not what this blog is all about. So, I pulled out my trusted thesaurus to find synonyms for "words" or just a word that started with an "R" that would somehow imply writing. I happened upon the word "reservoir." Although that implies a body of water, or container to hold water, I thought it was fitting. Since, I do love water - I love to swim, I love to drink water, I love to watch the water in the lake by my house, I love to watch the ocean...I always have. Heck, even my cat loves water. He was crying all morning, begging me to let him into the shower for a drink. So, "Rachel's Reservoir" it was.
To top it off, I found a really cool quote that was EXACTLY what I was looking for to go with my new title.
Here it is...
"In order to create, we draw from our inner well. This inner well, an artistic reservoir, is ideally like a well stocked fish pond... If we don’t give some attention to upkeep, our well is apt to become depleted, stagnant, or blocked... As artists, we must learn to be self nourishing. We must become alert enough to consciously replenish our creative resources as we draw on them — to restock the trout pond, so to speak. " Julia Cameron
I will be drawing my my "inner well" to share with you, as often as I can. Sometimes, I will even draw from wells of other writers or even books, like The Bible. In addition, as those who know me well could have guessed....I'll be quoting songs throughout the Blog too.