Sunday, November 16, 2008

Stop and smell the roses.....

My life has recently taken a most interesting turn. I'm going to be somewhat vague still, as there are people in my life I need to share this with before I post for all of the world to see, but know that I am happy, and I am loved, and I am so completely grateful for God's working in my life. Many of you have walked through some rough years with me, but joy does come in the morning.......pray with me and I will update soon!

Monday, October 20, 2008


This is evidence of my decision to refocus my day following a rather unfortunate run-in with my ex-husband. So, here are the beautiful moments of my day:
  • I was a great teacher today. I was present, I was engaging, my lessons were right on, I had the stamina to teach at the level I want to teach at, and I made a difference in at least 2 of my kids' lives today.
  • After 12 weeks, I went and got my hair done tonight. That's right, 12!! It is shiny, dark, and beautiful.
  • Several times throughout the day, I stopped to thank God for the blessing of being single. Again, it's intentionally honoring that which is real in my life right now. And it was genuine, not some fake, I'm going to be a good Christian person.
  • I found the greatest secret pal gifts tonight for my awesome gal at school. She is AMAZING, and I found cheap but WAY cool gifts that totally remind me of her.
  • I was able to grieve tonight, and not with a sense of impending and uncertain death (I'm not being dramatic, this is part of my therapy), but a healthy, cry and heal from the pain. This is HUGE!
  • I deleted 2 people from my life today who no longer get to have the priveledge of hurting me. My heart and my life are worth protecting, and I will not allow it to continue any more.
  • I resisted the urge to call someone. Trust me, this is also HUGE!
  • Now, I am going to go to bed and sleep.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Sunday Night Blues....

So, every Sunday night, I hit this deeply introspective place that one might describe as the "blues," or more specifically, its the one time of my week that is deeply reflective and I take stock of things...those that I did accomplish last week, that which I hope to accomplish next week. Its a rather 'alone' time if you will. Everyone else is off with their families, people are busy with "family" things, and I am just here. It brings me to a place of a lot of thoughts and emotions that quite honestly I would rather not face. But here goes just a few:
  • My pastor this morning read from a parable that is used to illustrate stewardship from God's perspective, specifically in a financial sense. Given the recent financial scares in the world markets, this is particularly appropropriate to take a look at once again. But then he took it a step further and asked, are we being good stewards of our lives? Well, am I? Am I being a good steward of my body? Of my gifts? Of my resources? Of my emotional well-being? Of my finances? Or for me, am I biding my time until my life is how I want it to be? Can I truly find joy and fulfillment as a single person? Can I allow myself to be grateful for the gift of singlehood that God has given me? Or will I continue to waste another day longing for that which I don't have? Wow! Talk about a bitter but much needed pill to take.
  • The children's sermon discussed change....the change that comes with seasons, and more specifically, the season's of our lives. This is God's plan, for nature, and for us. Do I embrace God's plan, or do I resent it and long for what is to come, or what has already been? Yeah, not so good at this one either.
  • There are some elements of my life that let's face it, I am not being a good steward of. There are dreams that I harbor, resentments I hold on to, loves that I idolize, and selfish desires that I allow to consume me. Surely this is not the plan or design God has for my life. Shouldn't I just let go?

Those of you who know me best know that I don't love being single. Yes, there are some tremendous advantages. However, I long for relationship and communion with a spouse who loves me and whom I am able to grow and share life with. But, the reality is, God did not come to this earth and promise that Rachel Reynolds would have a spouse and marriage that she desires. My prayer is that it is in His plan, but in the meanwhile, shouldn't I embrace that the plan God has for my life, at least for right now, does not involve a spouse? This is my prayer tonight. God grant me the peace and acceptance that comes with knowing that your plan is perfect, that your design for my life is fulfilling and truly does work for the good in my life, and may I not continue to grumble and question your sovereignty.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Yeah for Sunshine!

It is absolutely beautiful out today. The weather is warm, the sun is shining, I got 12 hours of sleep last night, and I am just happy. It has been such a long time since I have been able to say that I am truly happy, and I thank God for that. That is not to say that there haven't been tough things about this week. My testimony sent a kid of mine to juvenile detention, contact has come back up with a former friend and it is hurting me, and I feel fat right now. But, through it all (even the fat!), I can say that I have a joy in my heart and the ability to dream again that is only by the grace of God, and for that I am so grateful. Tonight I am babysitting for friends of mine, and they have the single most adorable little girl. I promise to take pictures!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Random Encounters with Joy

  • Report cards are done!
  • My kindergarteners actively LOVED the game Witch Witch
  • My choir kiddos had a great rehearsal
  • The moon is so full and so bright. I LOVE fall!
  • McMyspace....enough said
  • I had 2 meaningful conversations with 2 troubled students today
  • I like my life
  • My heart is dreaming again
  • Someone I loved is soooo not ........
  • Loving bedtime more and more
  • Having a church family to worship with, to share burdens with, to find joy with
  • The song "All This Time"

Friday, October 10, 2008

A Time for Dying.....

Today I had the most unfortunate "opportunity" to attend the funeral service of the father of two of my students. He was 36 years old. He left behind 5 children. His death was tragic, his life influential to many. This is the third such funeral that our school family has experienced in the last 4 weeks. Numerous children in my school have been faced with death and with loss, and my heart is heavy.

As I sat in that funeral home and observed the rituals taking place in front of me, I was struck by such an odd perspective of my own life. First of all, it is the end, it really doesn't matter how much stress you can endure, how many mistakes you have made, how much money you have accumulated. Grief is still felt, tears are still shed, your life is still concluded with a service lasting no more than 60 minutes. Secondly, people will really only say the good things about you, because in our loss, in our grief, we are reminded of the human spirit that is pervasive over all of our human shortcomings. Third....our enconomical bracket will likely determine how grief is expressed. As I sat in this funeral home in a different part of town from where I live, and wore my clothes that were purchased by my middle class income, I was struck by the reality that my degrees and my perspectives and my definition of "normal funeral procedures" had little to no value in this setting. These were people whose hearts were broken. Their determination and loyalty to family and friend overcame the stupid, petty arguments that so often cloud the "financially savvy," prepaid funerals and fights over life insurance policies that take place in the middle class. Money was not exhausted on a mahogany casket, or flowers that die. Money was placed in a trust fund for these 5 children, who were it not for the generosity of those who give much and have so little would truly be destitute. How humbling was this demonstration and outpouring of resources. I laugh that we middle class educators attempt to teach life skills through "character" education posters and mini social skill lessons words like respect and caring and empathy, when these children have such a profound, life sustaining understanding of what it means to give and to receive, to respect the value of an imperfect but loving human life, to truly lay down one's life for the needs of others.

My heart is broken for these students of mine. How insignficant I am in the grand scheme of the tragedies many of them face. Their innocence is lost so young, and yet they carry with them, life tools that far extend those which I possess at the age of 27. I am fascinated by this study of culture and socio-economical norms that life placed in my path today, and it is I who is humbled. It is I who is reminded once again that there is a time for living, and a time for dying. To everything there is a season.......

Thursday, October 9, 2008


Grades are due tomorrow. Yes, that means that we have successfully completed 9 whole weeks of school. That means that for 450 students I have to provide documentation of their "progress." Now, some genius higher up than I has decided that all grades should now be electronic. Gee, it is 2008. You would think this would have already been taken care of?? So....we now "get" to enter grades online into a completely inadequate, slower than life, time consuming monster of a database for all 450 students. That is a minimum of 6 clicks of the mouse times 450 students = a minimum of 2700 finger clicks. I PROMISE you my clicker finger is about to fall off!!!


Tuesday, October 7, 2008


I got my car back today which was sooooo much faster than they originally anticipated, AND, drum roll came in $300 UNDER the estimated cost. THANK YOU GOD!!! What a great life lesson in faith. And what a great reminder to be thankful for the things we as Americans take for granted, like having a car that runs! Trust me, it can be humbling to beg for rides and plan out errands and rely on others for basic needs. Vroom vroom!!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Next time....just HIT it!

So yesterday I took a drive to run a few errands. I stopped first at Sonic to get a Route 44 Iced Tea, because after all, it was happy hour and I was being fiscally responsible by saving money on half priced drinks! As I pulled out on to the main drag and accelerated speed, I VERY quickly had to slam on my breaks to avoid a 2 car collision right in front of me. The momentum of my actions sent my 44 ounces of iced tea hurling into the air, but I quickly grabbed the drink, mopped up what I could, and pulled into the nearby McDonald's parking lot. (Mind you, NONE of this would have happened if I would have just stuck with my usual McD's drink).

I shut off my car, and the car would not start for 25 minutes. In tears, I called my ex-husband who is quite knowledgeable about cars and asked him to come help me. After all, there I was, completely stranded, with a Mercedes Benz that won't even start! After many attempts, we got the car started, figured out how to manually override the gear shifter, and drive it in first gear all the way to the Mercedes dealership. Along the way, I called my BFF Erin and just broke down crying hysterically. I was just so tired, and so sick of being sick, and overwhelmed by the brevity of dealing with car decisions all alone, single, and 27.

Last night as I went to bed, I had the distinct presence of mind to say, "God, I truly can't handle this on my own. I give this one to you. I have 450 kids who need me tomorrow, and no financial resources to fall back on, and I need you to help me make sound financial decisions tomorrow." Off to dreamland I drifted.

Needless to say, the estimate came in at $1600.00! YIKES! I quickly called my dad in Indiana, had him call the dealership for me as a MAN and see if he got a different answer, emailed my BFF and begged for her perspective, but proceeded with my day under the knowledge that God was in control.

The prognosis was this: when I slammed on the breaks and the drink fell forward, the liquid fell into the encasement that holds the all computerized gear shaft, fried the computer, and therefore was failing to send messages to the transmission to tell it to drive, reverse, shift gears, etc...apparently the only time this happens is when a drink spills, or someone leaves their sunroof open and it rains on the console. GRRR!!!

I called my insurance agent to see if this could be covered, and after she stopped laughing at me, her response, was "Next time you just avoid slamming on the breaks, and just HIT the car in front of you. That way it will be covered by insurance!!" SERIOUSLY????? Wow!!

When it is all said and done, I have managed to find a great option to help cover these expenses, and my car should be fixed by Thursday. So the moral of the story is.........JUST HIT IT!! Just kidding! DON'T DRINK AND DRIVE.......AT ALL!! :)

Saturday, October 4, 2008



Friday, October 3, 2008

I really should be sleeping....

I am sitting in a place in which I know God has orchestrated to be pivitol and life changing. Events have occured, grace has been extended, circumstances have hit at exactly the most perfect moment that only God himself could have planned, and I don't know if I want to face this. I am scared of what I will find if I just allow it to happen. I don't know how much more I can absorb, or own, or acknowledge, or identify as part of the tapestry that has been my life. I don't want to have to be transparent or real with those who love me about things that are unpleasant or beyond my control, yet have defined who I am today. To ignore is impossible, to allow it to surface is overwhelming, and so, I just am...I am just awake when I should be sleeping. I am alone when I so desperately want to be in community with others. I am silent when my life's joy is sound. And I am here....

Be still and know that He is God.

So for this moment of stillness, I sit in fear, and in the knowledge that I am here for a reason, that I have a lesson to learn, that I am not alone, and that from the pain comes the healing that I have prayed for and earnestly been seeking for 22 very long months. I am tired and I am scared and I am trying to control and hold on, but in this moment, I choose to let go. I choose to let God. I choose to release, and be still and know that He is MY God, my healer, my protector, my Love.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Not so broken....

So I have to admit that I have been feeling somewhat guilty for posting such a negative blog last week. After all, it was my first blog ever, and there it is for all of the world to see! I can say that it was real, and it was where I was at, so I guess I need to honor that experience and move on.

All of that to say that now, just a week later, I don't feel quite so broken anymore! YEAH!! I fully attribute it to God's grace, and the strength of friends and even strangers whose lives have impacted me over the last week. So to all of you, I say THANK-YOU!!

My job is one area that is becoming deeply fulfilling for me. For those of you who truly know me, you are aware that I am not exactly a big fan of early mornings. In fact, I LOVE to sleep more than anything. However, with great reluctance, I have started 2 music ensembles that meet before school on Monday and Tuesday mornings. I know, INSANE!! In fact, this morning, I arrived at exactly 7:57, diet coke in hand, and 25 kids going, "hurry up Mrs. Reynolds! We want to get started!!" That just warmed my heart. 45 kids join me Monday mornings for Choir and 40 kids join me Tuesday mornings for Orff Ensemble and we have a blast. They are so extraordinary in their abilities and we are making some pretty awesome music.

Before I head off to bed, I do have to reiterate my gratitude that dawn truly does follow the darkness. The last few weeks have truly pushed me to the place of exhaustion, and I desperately needed a moment of rest. My much wiser than me friend Erin reminded me that sometimes when facing life's toughest journeys, sometimes the goal is to just endure to the finish line. Its that process of daily putting one foot in front of the other in spite of exhaustion. The pace may have slowed, the enthusiasm may have waned, fear may be setting in that the end may never come, but its maintaining the endurance to ENDURE. I am so grateful for the supporters God has placed in my life who carry me when my own ability to endure is nearly gone, and I am even more grateful that God brings us back into the beauty of the sunshine after long, dark hours in the evening.

Monday, September 8, 2008


It goes without saying that this is not the life that I wanted. Never in a million years would I have hoped to be 27, divorced, alone, and shaken to the core of my foundation by so many whose primary approach to life is denial. Never could I have imagined that I would experience the loss of my first love, the disappointment and betrayal of my beloved, the anguish that comes in being cast out of your own family, or the judgmental glances of those who demonstrate very little of the very grace that saves each of us. Never would I have guessed that I would be totally and completly alone....that I would invest so much, love so deeply and with such purity, and experience bitter disappointment over and over again. This is not what I want.

With each blog visited, and the baby pictures posted and viewed, and the exuberant statements of infalliable greatness of one's spouse, I am forced to face that which I do not have. I am reminded once again of the failure that now markes my life, of the brokenness that I fear threatens to overcome me. I invested 8 years. 8 YEARS! It should be my turn. It should be my babies. It should be my dream as well. Not exclusive of others, but in connection with. I want to be able to share in the joy rather than experience the presence of bitter heartbreak that is marked with each visit to these pages.

I have been on my own for exactly one year, and as the seasons are changing, and the weather is growing cooler, I am struck by the painful reminder of yet another winter, yet another season of death, of beauty lost. One year...gone. Am I really one year closer to clarity, one year closer to beauty, one year closer to joy?

I can say with certainty that I faced the past 2 years of my life with great strength and great courage...clarity and presence of mind that comes only from God himself. I have endured the loss, I have walked the scary steps on the proverbial path less traveled, I have acted with grace and with authenticity, and with great care for those involved. I have been the recipient of grace extended to me by those whom I love and now call my family, and I have wept tears of healing and resolve.

So all of this to say that I don't want to do this anymore. I don't want to be strong. I don't want to hurt. I don't necessarily want to face truth, for the path is darker than ever before, and my heart is wounded nearly beyond recognition. I feel flawed, I feel marked by pain and experience that is uncharacteristic of 28 short years. My faith is waning, and the honest truth is I don't totally believe anymore that it will get better. I fear that I am damaged beyond repair, and that somehow God might never answer the truest desires of my heart....communion with the love of my life, companionship, wholeness of relationship, motherhood, the opportunity to give life to those around me, to be the light in someone else's darkness rather than the life-sucking force of being one who is wounded. I know that God allows the wounds that pierce our hearts for the greater purpose of awakening our lives to His divine purpose, but what if I just can't do it? What if I just can't endure to the end? What if my strength is lost and I remain in this darkness indefinitely?

There are those in my life whose deepest journeys far extend what I would be able to face, and I take such strength from their faithfulness. May God carry me in my weakness and love that which is unloveable in my life.