Sunday, May 29, 2011

getting over it

i am so over the clutter and busyness of my life.
it is what is the busyness of the american life and i have swiftly entered into the rapidly flowing stream and now i'm desperately trying to climb back up on the calm shore!

where has my time devoted on God gone?
why have we gotten out of the habit of praying together each morning?
why do i have SO MUCH STUFF!?!?!
when will all of this slow down so i can switch my focus?

just as i see the importance of mylin being in a routine, i think my soul and mind are desperate for a routine
in routines we have so much freedom
i am free to schedule playdates and errands around naps and snacks according to mylin's schedule
with my own routine i won't have to worry about fitting in reading the bible, praying, reading for leisure, or (obsessively...) reading blogs
this was a goal of mine in my very first simplification post and i need some accoutability to get back at it!

and to get rid of all the stuff that is taking me over?!
i have slowly begun to 'purge' a lot of unneccesary items and have collected boxes and bags full of crap stuff i don't need
the most difficult part about this is that they are just laying around the house until i can get rid of them!
we have 2 great causes they are going to
1. A fundraising garage sale on June 4th for our friends waiting to adopt from Ethiopia
2. A fundraising garage sale for a mom group I am in on July 8th and 9th

so until then i not only still have the junk - its boxed up and cluttering my house! (this is where i breath and remember 'patience'...

i am so thankful that admidst this time of unrest, God continues to put women and couples in my and our lives to challenge and encourage
this last week i was so privileged to have deep conversations of passion about Christ and our familes with both Brittany and Jill
they have me motivated to organize, clean, and calm down :)

i need to get over life as i've made it lately and get back to focusing on God, my marriage, and my mylin :)

Friday, May 27, 2011

Guest post: JOEL!!!

The man who needs no introductions: my mushroom-hunting husband, Joel George :)

Morel Mushrooms.

It’s a term that results in a wide array of reactions, some of which are:

-What are those?
-Nasty, you like to eat fungus?
-Mushrooms, like the ones on pizza?
-What kind of gun do you use? (smart alecks)
-I am also a morel fanatic, how many have you found this year?

I’m in the last category. My first hunt was in the spring of 1983 when I would have been about the size of a pinky finger. I’ve been hooked ever since and could not imagine missing a morel season. For those of you that don’t know, morels are wild mushrooms prized by gourmet cooks. They grow from the ground, have a short ‘fruiting’ season every spring, tend to favor certain climates and surroundings, and grow in a variety of natural colors from brown to yellow to gray. The combination of these factors make them an elusive prize to forage. As much as I love to eat them (sautéed, breaded, in gravy, in eggs, in my mom’s mushroom soup, etc.), it does not compare to the thrill of the northern Michigan hikes through the forest when I discover these tasty Morchellas, especially when you find them in quantities around a particularly inviting looking area, and every time you take a step, you see 2 or 3 more just down the hill or just on the other side of that log!

Anyway, I guess some people call it a strange hobby. But it seems like people that try it and stumble on a big flush get hooked and develop this feeling every spring that just over the next hill they will find morels in such quantity and size that it brings out a feeling and rush of adrenaline that cannot be compared to any other experience. Some people don’t even like the taste of them but love the outdoors or love that they can bring in $25-$60 per pound or just love the thrill of the hunt as much as I do.

If you’ve never tried it, head north and give it a shot, just stay away from my hunting grounds. :)

Happy Hunting!!!

(shout out to our brother, Adam, who turns 33 this today!)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


This weekend we are up close to Petoskey, MI on our annual mushroom hunting trip with Joel's family!
Check out a blog later this weekend with Joel's guest post about morels!

While we're there we're also going to have a little birthday celebration for Mylin and her cousin Jace, who turned 1 on May 21st
Here are some fun pics from that day!

Monday, May 23, 2011

the transformation...

Joel likes to grow a Red Wings playoff 'beard' this time of the year

Sadly, they were defeated recently and now he is back to Mr. Clean!

Saturday, May 21, 2011


From a recent playdate with our cousin Jace, who turns 1 today!!!
First he wouldn't look...

Then she wouldn't...

Then they both wanted to look at Aunt Leslie more than the picture taker...

When I finally caught both of them (and Eme's tail...) they weren't smiling!  Cute little stinkers!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

our little hot tamale

Remember how hot and sweaty it was last week!? Well that meant that I got to break out the cutest rompers and tank tops for little miss... :)

Monday, May 16, 2011

I did it!!!

In August of 2008, 3 months after becoming Mrs. Draper, I thought there was something more I needed to do in order for God to use me in all the ways He desired.  After 1 seemingly quick decision (I began grad school 3 weeks after this thought!), 8 semesters of courses, 2 carpool buddies, hundreds of hours of class, more books purchased than I want to think about, lots of tears shed over self-realization and watching self-realization and God's work being done in others, 2 1/2 semesters of being pregnant, missing my first class ever because I was in labor(!), 2 internships with local ministries, endless late nights finishing papers and procrastinating by emailing and texting my classmates who were also up late finishing at the last minute, being taught by the most Godly man I am privileged to know, and making the best friends of my life...I GRADUATED!!!!  Please now refer to me as Rachel Draper, M.A. :)
I couldn't have done it without my family's support, friend's encouragement and understanding of not getting to hang out or not getting to hang out for very long, my husband's faithfulness, partnership, (paycheck!), love, and understanding, and most of all, God's prompting, provision, and plan.

hooding ceremony

Mylin was such a trooper and great girl all day!

Intimate ceremony with just the grad counseling students - our professors talking about our journey and how they have watched us grow.  Inargueably the best and most memorable part of the whole day

And Joel even caught me receiving my diploma on the big screen!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

vote for ABBY'S engagement picture!

My dearest gal Abby is getting married July 1st - hooray!
A litle bit about her...
She and I grew up together become best friends pretty much on the first day of 3rd grade
Cut to 18 years later and we have a lifetime full of sharing sleepovers, tears, lots of laughter, life's lows and highs, and tons of duets :)
She stood up with me at my wedding

And I am thrilled to return the honor this summer!

I have told her for years I knew she would marry a man from a different country
She started out at Purdue studying Russian and traveling there...then she joined a ministry in New Hampshire which led her to a different campus in Vancouver, Canada.  There she met the man of her dreams and God's provision - Mat Mifsud.  In just a few short weeks they will become one during what I know will be the ceremony of the century in Chicago, IL and then whisk off to a honeymoon in Greece and to live in London while Mat attends school.  Oh, did I tell you he was from Gibraltor?!
SOOOOOO ridiculously romantic, right?!
I know.

Currently they are in an exciting contest with one of their engagement pictures - read more about it and hopefully vote for them HERE

Friday, May 13, 2011

april fast review

For April we decided to do a simple grocery fast and only buy necessities with no extras (cookies, ice cream, impulse buying)
This worked out surprisingly well!
I was able to stick to the grocery list and staples of fresh produce, frozen veggies, milk, eggs, cheese, and toiletries.
The exceptions were exceptions all together such as I threw a bridal shower the last weekend in the month and was in charge of making a dessert
I also brought in easter eggs for my clients at the schools - so I bought candy to fill those

I think this 'fast' is something I want to change my buying style to
Instead of impulse shopping each trip, limit it to special occasions - like buying oreos when Joel is gone that week for work
Or taking our babysitter out for ice cream once in awhile instead of just having it on hand at all times

With this new shopping motivation I want to make sure I don't let guilt creep in
For example, I bought the new flavor of Sun Chips last week and want to enjoy that buy without being upset that I spent $3.50 that I wasn't planning on (they weren't very good so I won't be spending $ on them in the future!)

p.s. I think our May fast isn't a fast at all...we are SO busy this month, which we are each year, I just want to keep my head above water and survive the hectic final month as a grad student, all of our family events, and the change of life that will take place as I end one phase (being a student) and begin the next (stay-at-home mom with a 1 day a week job).

What are your grocery shopping 'rules'?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

mini in review

We survived!
13.1 miles later and we're still alive, well, and considering implementing more 'athons' into our life!

The details:
We were officially Nick and Cheris because we traded another couple for our 5K positions
This made for funny updates sent to my brothers and a few friends :)
We began the race together running 2 miles, walking 1, running a 3rd and then splitting up when I took a restroom break
At this point I stayed with my friend and classmate, Kellie and we proceeded to walk mostly and run probably the equivalent of another mile throughout the remainder of the race
I finished at roughly 3 1/2 hours!
Joel (who is absolutely AMAZING) ran about 6 more miles and walked just over 3 finishing in just less than 3 hours!
I am so proud of him!

The not so funny part of don't get to stop :(
You have to walk a few more blocks to get your medal, through the area to receive some snacks (which I nearly ate through their wrapping I was so hungry!) and then on to the Youth for Christ tent to talk to our fellow fundraisers about their day.
We got free burgers and fries and other food and sat for about 5 minutes before we had to walk to the bus. this point I REALLY realized how sore my poor feet were!
During the bus ride home they swelled up and felt like they were going to pop out of my shoes!

That night we soaked and lounged, recovering from our 3am wake up call and less than 5 hours of sleep...
I am so pleased and blessed to have only mildly sore leg muscles and 2 blisters - so much less than could have happened!
Joel is struggling with his IT Band flare up (leg muscle issue - google it), an inflammed spot on his foot and 1 blister
Thanks to Kim's blister care blog we knew how to take care of these pests right away!

Monday, May 9, 2011

3 years of wedded bliss

Three years ago we two became one

I love Joel for so many reasons that listing them cannot do them justice
But I'll try :)
He's the perfect fit for a companion, balancing me out with a personality and strengths complimentary to my own weaknesses and imperfections
Each day we laugh together, tease each other, and work out the root of what we are feeling and how that makes us behave
No one else in the world knows more about me or understands me as well as my husband
He is my best friend
I never knew I could love him more until we became parents on June 25th

I never dreamed I could love anyone as much as him until that day either
Every day I look at and kiss our sweet daughter I am reminded of God's miracle that created her out of us
Why did God bless me with this life? This man for a husband?

Before God controlled our relationship and was the center of it, I thought I couldn't live without him
Now I know I could survive without him (though I do not want to!) because God is bigger than me, bigger than Joel, and bigger than our marriage
God has rocked our world and our marriage since the birth of Mylin and has us on a steep path of learning, simplicity, and surrender
I am so thankful and blessed that He has put us together for this journey :)

Friday, May 6, 2011

whirlwind May

And so the first week of our whirlwind month of May has begun!
This month we are doing our first half marathon (TOMORROW!), celebrating my first mother's day, our three year anniversary, graduating with my Master's in Counseling, our nephew Jace's 1st birthday, and the Draper annual vacation to Petoskey, MI for mushroom hunting.

I will continue my work with Life Matters Counseling at our local Youth for Christ chapter
This position is ideal for us
It is 1 day a week in an office setting and 1 day a week (during the school year) at a local high school

I am overjoyed at God's goodness and provision - I am excited to see what else He has in mind for our future!

(coming soon - back to frequent posts, updates, and challenges!)

Monday, May 2, 2011

Mylin memories

Our sweet baby girl at 9 months old

My favorite one of this session!!! (grandma Kari made the hat!)

Thanks to Christina Connelly of Connelly photography for doing our pictures at our home where everyone is comfortable! We are always impressed :)