Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Turning, Standing, Centering

I'm feeling odd today – experiencing an odd combination of feelings.  I feel emotional and raw. Like something is just below the surface, yet not ready to emerge anytime soon.  And I'm also feeling a bit numb.

I'm in a rarely visited space between my head and my heart. 

As if I've got one foot standing in each spot. Like when you have one foot still in the boat and one already on the dock. And there's that in-between moment and space when you're not sure if you will wind up wet. 

That's where I am.


It’s my birthday today.

I am "turning."  Which reminds me that soon I'll be "pushing," and then I'll be "hitting."

I love to celebrate.  I'm not one to dread birthdays. Really I'm not.  But this morning I find myself moody and hormonal.  Uninterested in celebrations. Unable to do more than contemplate ... but I feel like I should be doing something else. Maybe something fun.  Maybe making a "bucket list" of things I want to do before I die.

See, that’s morbid thinking on your birthday.

So I just started a load of laundry – well that's something.  Something done.  I hoped some chores might  make me feel more myself.  Which is silly because I never feel very “myself” while doing household chores.  But instead of feeling spurred on to other tasks, I stare at the window of wet, spinning clothes and want to climb inside for the ride.  For the cleansing.  To come out refreshed and renewed.

One's birthday is a free ride of sorts - you get to choose what you want to do, and where you'll go.  I should've started my morning at Starbucks with an iced latte.  Then hit the gym.  Then maybe the bookstore or mall for some browsing. After all, you get to buy stuff on your birthday guilt-free, right? 

Then I should be joining my girlfriends or family for lunch at a cute little bistro.  And eat some mayonnaise-laden thing followed by desert in the middle of the day. That's what I had in mind but I've done none of that today, and can't quite muster a compelling desire to.

Instead I woke up this morning with a strong sense of life's fragility. What is here can easily be gone.  And what remains can easily be changed. I'm seeing it all around me. In my life and in those I love. And it has me standing between dock and boat today.  It’s not a bad place to be.  I'm not mad or sad, or even stressed.  It just feels odd.

I think I'll decide it's a gift.  A place of insight.  A place of discovery. A place where appreciation is gained and intention is forged. 

Yes, that’s feeling more right by the minute ... appreciation, insight, intention ….

I am feeling more centered now.  Still over the water with one foot in each place, but balanced.  And in no danger of getting wet.

This is why I write. To figure out what I think and feel.  And decide what I will feel and think.

So maybe I'm ready for that tall, decaf latte now. And a little celebration.

In honor of my birthday, I've got a book to giveaway: the novel "The Big 50ish" by Sandra D. Bricker. No, I'm not turning 50 today and I don't think you have to be 50 to enjoy this read. So post a comment by Thursday and tell me something on your bucket list.

Heading out into the sun now for some celebratory fun.

Simply thankful.


  1. AnonymousJuly 20, 2010

    Happy Birthday! I'm glad that writing helped you process and that you felt better at the end of it! Writing is such a wonderful gift in that way. Lately, even though I'm typically a homebody, I've had an increasing desire to travel, so I suppose traveling somewhere different, (like Hawaii, Australia, New Zealand, Israel, Italy!) is a definite on my bucket list!

  2. Hi Rachel,
    Again Happy Birthday.
    Love this post. I am right there with you, but not quiet as steady most of the time. Usually I feel as if I'm seconds away from falling in! I'm not a good swimmer so this was a helpful message for me.
    As for my "bucket list" You were part of my #1 item which together you helped me cross off...wearing hot pink pumps! Other items are:
    riding in a hot air balloon, seeing every state in the U.S., Having Zoie come with me to She Speaks, Deep sea fishing, writing a book, and wearing one more set of shoes....victory shoes instead of victim shoes! This last one I am already putting on my feet as we speak today. You know I was wrong...You have now helped me to accomplish two things on my list!

  3. MARIANNE TRUSLOWJuly 20, 2010

    I older you get the more you realize how precious the life God gave you is, and the reality of what have you done for Him. As I approach 50, next year. I look at what I would want to do in the next 20-30 years, if the Lord Wills. I would like to play golf well enough to play with my husband. Travel to Hawaii. Read more. And seek what God has for me to do with the rest of my days....

  4. AnonymousJuly 20, 2010

    Happy Birthday again Rachel...on my bucket list I want to be able to go to Walt Disney world with my husband again where we spent our honeymoon and to be able to walk again and dance with my husband which I have not been able to do since I lost my leg.

  5. Happy Birthday Rachel! My bucket list is pretty simple. It is to stop being so caught up in life and what is happening around me and to focus on people the way Jesus did. Hope you have a wonderful Birthday!!

  6. Happy birthday! I am glad your writing helped you sort things out.
    I loved your post. For me, on my bucket list is to begin a small garden which is rather strange beings I can't grow a thing. But it has been on my heart for a while and I feel a nudge from God. So I am planning.
    Others would be to travel to London to have tea with the queen. WRite a book, and open my own tea shop.

    Hope you have a wonderful day.

  7. Blessed birthday Rachel....

    I pray you had a lovely birthday. But most important of all,

    I pray that God will fill your heart with DREAMS.

    and FAITH will give you the COURAGE to DARE to do GREAT THINGS

    My bucketlist is to write more songs to the Lord and to also learn to serve.Serve God and others

    Sweet blessings


  8. Happy Birthday! With celebrating a monumental birthday myself this summer, I did love and understand your post for today. I also love how writing helps me sort out all that is twirling in my head and heart. Blogging for me gives those words a place to rest. Perhaps one day those words will find themselves in a book of some sort :)

    Hope your day is ending with a smile and maybe even a latte!

  9. Dearest Rachel, A very blessed and happy birthday...As one in her 60th decade, I do realize how precious life is...just looking at my grandchildren...3...I realize I don't want to waste a moment. I hope you will do all those things you thought you should do on your birthday...laugh a lot with your BFF's and give you family lots of hugs...You are so precious. Thank you for taking the time to keep a blog--I love reading your insights in the wonderful world God has given us...

  10. Happy Birthday!!!!!!!!
    Someday soon, I have a deep desire to adopt a child. Someday later, when that child makes me a grandparent-I want to learn to appraise antiques.

  11. Hmmmm....I have never thought about having a bucket list. Maybe if there is an app for my "crackberry" I could get one started. :-)

    If I have to say one thing, to travel somewhere tropical. Hawaii would work just fine. I am not sure I would want to go anywhere and be served some weird food that I can't even recognize. Just give me a chair reclining on the beach with a nice umbrella drink.

    Hope you ended up with both feet on the shore by days end! Happy Birthday!!

  12. AnonymousJuly 21, 2010

    Happy Birthday!!

    Hope your special day was great.
    I would like to be content. With all that I am, all that I do, and all that I have. Traveling the USA would be wonderful and learning to play the violin.

  13. I turned 50 a couple of weeks ago and the Lord revealed the most precious thought to me through my friends. I had always been a touch envious of my sisters and their life-long friends (they were born, raised, and still live in the same town). My husband and I have moved around the States a little during our marriage and I sensed a lack of roots...hence the longing for "old friends." Just a couple of days before I turned 50 I found myself sitting in a cute restaurant still shocked by the surprise celebration 5 of my friends had organized. We bowed our heads to thank the Lord for the wonderful food and friendship but I couldn't open my eyes after the "amen". My sweet Jesus was reminding me that these were the friends He had put in my life. We had both laughed and cried together. We didn't need to be born in the same hospital and have the same 2nd grade teacher. God's plan for my life was special and personal. He was crafting my friendships. I needed to remember that He was our common ground and eternity with my girlfriends was much longer and stronger than the common ground of "My Daddy knew your Daddy." God spoke to me that day...in a small town, in a little restaurant, at the end of a simple prayer. I listened. I am changed.
    I am 50!!

  14. Happy Birthday Rachel, Your Blog today was interesting to read. I also have those feelings of being unsettled, the everyday chores are just that and then I find when I am feeling that way it is God giving me a time t o rest. I sometimes get caught up in the cares of life, where do I need to be today? what do my husband/children meed from me? should I call that friend I haven't talked to in a while? But I think those times when I feel unsettled or numb is when God is calling me to be quiet for a while, come and worship Me, listen for My voice to refresh you! I would hope that I do listen to that voice but in truth there are times when I try to get myself out of that 'funk' with my own plans, a bowl of ice cream, a piece of chocolate or a bag of chips.
    I pray that God continues to woo me to Him, that He doesn't give up on me when I just don't get it.
    I hope your Birthday was AWESOME! keep up the blogging.

  15. Happy Birthday, Rachel! I loved your post My bucket list includes a trip to Hawaii with my hubby!

  16. AnonymousJuly 21, 2010

    Happy Belated Birthday! Wow,first of all that picture is amazing! It causes you to pause just by looking for it. It's a beautiful place to be; in contemplation. God can speak such peace to us in that place. One of the things on my "bucket list" (God permitting, ofcourse) is to meet my Compassion sponsored child, Mary who lives in Kenya. I hope and pray that one day I will be able to meet her face to face. We'll see...all things in his time. Another bucket list thing is to move to coastal North Carolina...I can dream!! Thank you for today's devotional, it came for me today, like all things with God, in his perfect time. Have an amazing day!!

    Angel M

  17. ElizabethJuly 21, 2010


    Happy Birthday ! I hope you realized just how loved you are not only by your friends and family but by those who read your blog daily. It brings such inspiration and Im grateful for it. Im 24 yrs old and had the chance to persue my dream of becoming a nurse but i didnt make it by half a point and then basically failed out, through the depression, pain, and fear of returning to what is my dream , im just now realizing that it was all of Gods plan and that for some reason this is in his plan, so i just have to trust him that he will put me where he wants me to be and do what im supposed to do. As far as my bucket list go, i want to get into nursing again and pass and graduate, go on to travel for personal enjoyment and also to share Gods word and love with others, also travel to help people with my nursing ability and just learn of Gods love from far away places. i would love to go to an opherange and just hold the children there and let them know they are loved. there are many more things on my bucket list but here are just some!

  18. Rachel, I would love to travel to Europe, especially Scotland or Ireland. This desire used to be very, very strong; to the point where life just wasn't going to be that great if I didn't get to go. Then one day, I was thinking about how Jesus is the creator of it all and if I didn't see it here, I would certainly see it THERE and now all that has washed away. If I get to travel, great! If I don't, I'll not have missed seeing something amazing He made, I will have just postponed seeing it this side of heaven.
    Happy Birthday my friend! See you soon,

  19. Happy Birthday. Enjoy your special day.
    Thank you for your writings. It gets me to think and maybe write out my own list too.

  20. Hi Rachel, Happy Birthday! I so love your reference to finding balance. I am on Sunset Beach and walked to the Kindred Spirit mailbox earlier this week. This is our fifth year here and each year I look forward to our time here. I always feel as if I have found my balance again. Your writing is encouraging to me. Thank you for sharing.

  21. Happy belated birthday! My hubby shares the same birthday with you. I've never thought about a bucket list until I read your post. I've been sitting here comtemplating it this morning. I'm turing 40 soon and it kind of makes me sad that I don't have one. I'm going to change that. Thanks for the inspiration. Hope your day was fabulous!

  22. Happy Birthday, Rachel! I love your writing style, and how you come to decisions - led by the Lord - through putting things down in words.

    Since I'm some years past age 50, I wish to develop (and continue) a close walk with the Lord Jesus, giving Him the preeminence in my life and sharing Him with others. I loved both your devo and blog posts today. One question: I was wondering, how did you find out that the Philip in Acts 8 was not the Apostle Philip? I always just assumed it was the apostle, but I'm not disputing it could be someone else. :)

    I would love to read the book giveaway, and I'm also looking forward to your book when it's published in September.


  23. I know exactly what you feel! I turned 31 on the 11th, and most of the day, I was near the point of tears... no reason really, just felt like I needed to curl into a ball and cry! I think a lot of that had to do with the fact that I'm now 31 and still single, a place where I NEVER saw myself. I love your analogy of the washing machine and needing to be refreshed, cleansed. On my bucket list is to marry my soul mate, as silly as that seems. I had pretty much given up on my dreams of having children, but now that I've met a man I want to spend the rest of my life with, I feel those old feeling flooding back, and when I say flooding, it's really a deluge! I pray that God gives me patience, wisdom and understanding to realize what road he wants me to follow...

    I hope that your birthday ended fabulously! God Bless you for all you do, and thank you so much for sharing!

  24. Happy Birthday Rachel! I am over 50 and related to your post today more that you could know. Life is precious and God is good!!!

  25. Happy Birthday. Thank you for writing that today. You have no idea how God just used your words to make me understand that I'm not crazy for how I'm feeling. In between. Raw and Numb. Thank you. Thank you.

  26. AnonymousJuly 21, 2010

    Happy birthday, Rachel,
    I am a Prov. 31 devotional "follower", and I just have to say how much I learned and had chills from reading about the TTW article. You gals at PR.31 are amazing in your relationship with Jesus and with the gift of writing about His Word in a way that is understandable and beautiful to my heart and soul.
    I am in love with Wendy Pope; having time with her each day in her Bible study has changed my life...I think God let her know that many women needed a life changing experience by desiring to know His Word. Wendy is "fantabulous"...what a gift she has. I'm not a knowlegdeable blogger, but I love your blog site. I too love to look at people's book shelf, and I've read Gift from the Sea probably 3 times. I thank my God for you, for Wendy, for the other great godly writers at Proverbs 31 Ministry.
    My cup runneth over,
    Jeanne, NC

  27. AnonymousJuly 21, 2010

    This was quite an insightful post that affected me deeply. I am doing some writing and the end of your post stated that this is what writing is all about, discovery of who you are with thoughts that can change you. I too am discovering that I am in a place that is unfamiliar but still content to explore what is to come. Maybe a change of scenery can help.

  28. Happy Birthday Rachel! Thank you for the Time Travelers Wife...I need to watch the movie. Very insightful of you and the Holy Spirit to put that together!
    My bucket list includes riding a donkey in the grand canyon with my Auntie - who also has that on her bucket list!

  29. Happy birthday! I'm living my bucket list! An unwanted and unexpected divorce led me to return to school and I'm having so much fun! I went on a mission trip with some fantastic people last December and I'm going again this one! I plan to leap from a plane, visit the Holy Lands and see the Galapagos Islands. I hope to student teach in Costa Rica or Korea and return to Kenya to visit the people I love. God told me to get over myself and do for others like I've been doing for me. I am. I'm finding there is a lot of joy in this life. I'm 6 years past the big 50, but I feel younger and more excited by this adventure with each passing moment. Humm. Maybe I should add "learn to swim" on my list. I might need it someday.

  30. AnonymousJuly 21, 2010

    Hi Rachel, it's not my birthday but I was feeling the same way this morning and couldn't figure out why. I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one who feels this way sometimes. 50 was awhile back so I'd love to win your book. Hope you have a wonderful birthday, and thanks for all the inspiration you give me with your devotions!
    Deb S. LV

  31. Yall have got some great bucket list plans!

    Andrea, to answer your question about how I knew the Phillip in Acts 8 isn't the same as the apostle Phillip, that's easy: my study Bibles told me so. :)

    Thanks for the well wishes, everyone!

  32. AnonymousJuly 21, 2010

    Happy, Happy Birthday! I've been feeling and thinking along the same lines as you today. As I've been searching my heart for what really matters...so many things seem so trivial but a couple of things seem to really stick out...I'm a mom of 2 adult step sons living in PA, 2 adult bio kids living in ID, and 3 kids (1 bio & 2 adopted) living in our home along with my husband and I would love to have all of them including our 5 grandkids together for a FUN camping trip! The other thing is really for my husband...I would love to surprise him with a trip for 2 on a Harley! Have a fun birthday filled with laughter! Love, kim

  33. Hi Rachel,
    What a beautiful, honest portrayal of the change that birthdays bring! Thanks for sharing your journey in this. My birthday is next weekend. 35 this year, and not really facing changes - which is where my blase toward a celebration comes in. My two oldest (of four girls) are bipolar, adopted and really challenging me in their behaviors lately. I'm feeling a bit torn between trust and hope as I approach my birthday and it's left me not paying attention to the joy of it much. But you've inspired me (both here and in your Prov31 post today :). Thanks!

    Oh, and one of my bucket list items is to learn how to fly a small prop plane. Made the list with hubby when we were engaged 12 years ago and have been slowly cracking away at it ever since!

  34. Happy Birthday, Rachel! I understand feeling contemplative on your birthday. I love celebrating my birthday but not the part about getting older and not just because of the gray hair ;) I want to have a baby, and every year that passes makes me wonder if it will even happen or if this is the year our family will be blessed with their being three of us. I don't know if that's a bucket list item or not, but it's definitely on my list.

  35. AnonymousJuly 22, 2010

    Happy Birthday Rachel! I loved your devotional. I also love reading everyone's comments. What an inspiration some of them are. Especially!! from Nancy who is living in your bucket list. Over 50, going on mission trips, going back to school....I love it. She took something unwanted and made it into something wanted. You go girl!! My bucket list is to get my legs going again after injuries suffered in a car accident two years ago. I'm getting closer and I can feel God pushing me to go all the way. Nanci

  36. Thanks, Rachel, for the reply about Phillip in Acts 8.

    I agree, that's a cool way to find out an answer! :)



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