IMG_1996 hello and welcome to random thoughts with rachel. a post that is all about a smattering of pictures and brainwaves and concepts and stories and such which neither relate to each other nor form a cohesive post...other than the fact that they are all from my life.

i guess you can say there is a lot happening around here. and there are too many activities and thoughts and images for me to share in a "one-post-per" manner (unless you want me to schedule out posts into 2016 which might be a bit too anachronistic).

you've been warned. buckle up, folks. get ready for some bunny trails and bouncing around.

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so last week, we took a trip to the farm at agritopia for some food truck goodness and sweater-scarf-jacket-wearing. the weather was cool. there were strands of twinkle lights. the sunset was like cotton candy. and uprooted kitchen was serving a vegan thanksgiving cheese crisp that i want to eat forever. oh, and trail mix cookies too! it was a perfect evening.

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there has been major eggnog latte consumption going on over here. and open windows with piles of fuzzy blankets. and our #12DatesofChristmas tradition is in full swing. but, more on that later...

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we have been doing a few things in the backyard and i keep thinking about the necessary pain of pruning. it seems like haphazard hacking, at times. but pruning is purposeful and good. sometimes it is removing lifeless branches to make room for new life. and sometimes, it is about the act cutting back healthy sections to promote increased growth. it isn't always pretty, but pollarded trees yield more green and fruit.

hebrews 12:11 | no discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

oh, and in a random conversation in the car moment last week (as we were talking about life stuff and stress and decisions and other such nonsense), i told ben, "okay, there's grit. there's pressure. now, where's the pearl?" and ben has decided that if i ever write a bible study or motivational/inspirational/psychological book, the title must be: where's the pearl?

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ben has been making soup and bread for us on the weekend and it is my very favorite. i love that he loves to do that for us.

also, we are currently "aging" a boule of said bread for the thanksgiving stuffing. anyone else kind of freaking out that thanksgiving is THIS WEEK?

and in other news...i have been batting around the idea of pursuing my masters. at some point. maybe. i don't know when or how. but, i have been thinking about it for quite some time. not sure of the field of study just yet or when everything will line up for it to happen...but, it is in my mind. i know it will be tough to do on top of everything else, but i also know that it will be so rewarding. i loved school. i loved college. i just love education. and i miss that stuff. it would be incredible to challenge myself in that way again. to expand my understanding and widen my knowledge base and add to my skill set. i dunno.

and perhaps, in another life, in a parallel universe where i have piles of time and cash lying around, i will then pursue my doctorate. we need another doctor in the family.

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we have a family advent book (that i made back when i was a newlywed and all kinds of artsy-craftsy) that i put out every year and this year, i placed it on the side table next to our gilded skull. i think it looks nice there but ben seems to think it is a tad jarring to have a pretty festive christmas book next to a human skull. he asked if i meant to put it there or just didn't notice the juxtaposition. i riposted that it serves as a nice reminder that the holy infant came to die. i think it's a valid point, actually. but ben remains unconvinced that it is an appropriate vignette.

IMG_1040 we had the most ridiculous series of unfortunate events / comedy of errors day on saturday. just one mess after another. i really think i might need to expand upon a recent theory of mine that "the devil's in the dumb stuff". he was really hitting us with all kinds of silly stuff on saturday. and by about the fourth thing, i just broke down in helpless laughter. and i think i actually uttered the words: get behind me, satan.

all i wanted to do was have a nice day. with lots of festive things and holly-jolly-ness as we put up the tree. but man, somebody (i am talking about you, satan) did not want that tree to go up. no joke. it was a full-blown spiritual battle.

i really wanted to complain. but really, they were the most absurd microcomplaints. petty, petulant kvetches about the quotidian. you know, spilled milk. (no seriously, that was one of the things). but these everyday vexations were not going to get the better of me. oh how i wanted to moan publicly about my trifling personal ordeals. but again, these are first-world problems. non problems, really. irritations that i did not want to allow to become the straw that broke this camel's back nor prompt extemporaneous belly-aching.

so, in the end, i chose joy. and i am so glad that i did because we were rewarded with the sweetest evening together as a family. singing and dancing and gazing at the tree and playing with elinor's nativity scene toy (and teaching ridley not to nibble on baby jesus...)

so, choose joy. it is worth it.