The Liebster Blogger Award!

You guys, you guys, you guys! I’ve been nominated by Leah Grace from Graceful Soul, Grateful Heart and Ally from Teaspoon of Sprinkles for the Liebster Blogger Award! I’ve seen this award go around for years, but never expected it to make its way here to Rachel’s Rambles. There is a huge internet world out there and this award helps it get discovered. This award also honors and celebrates the diversity of blog genres and topics- it’s so cool to see the sheer volume of people out there sharing their stories!

Just call me honored beyond belief to be a part of this! ❤

The rules of the Liebster Blogger Award are as follows:

  1. Accept/decline the nomination: nomination doesn’t mean you have to create your own post, but accepting keeps the award spreading!
  2. Write 11 facts about yourself
  3. Answer the 11 questions at the end of your nominator’s post
  4. Leave 11 questions for your nominees to answer
  5. Nominate 11 other bloggers for the award!

With two sets of nominations, both of which I happily accept, I’ve got a lot of questions to get to. Let’s jump right in, shall we?

11 Facts about Me

  1. I hate purple, so the irony is not lost on me that purple is the awareness color for FMS. Heh
  2. I am fascinated by mukbang (eating show) videos on YouTube. I’ve always had a strange curiosity with the way different people eat their food.
  3. Documentaries, inspired-by-real-events movies, biographies, and memoirs are my bread and butter. I love to learn about people and events.
  4. Because of the above, I’m also obsessed with museums. Like. Obsessed.
  5. Also because of the above, I’ve been sitting at the adult table for as long as I can remember. While other kids were playing, I was sitting still and listening hard so as not to miss a single aspect of a person’s story.
  6. I only have two articles of clothing in my wardrobe that are not black, white, gray or tan. They are a black and red dress (that I rarely wear because I gained too much weight…), and a green dress (a new buy for weddings/events where black isn’t exactly appropriate). I just love black. I feel comfy and me in it.
  7. I am an ENFP – which is pretty cool, in my book. But because of my “all over the place” personality, I’ve hurt some people and been inconsistent with most. I honestly have no idea how to control it, though I do try.
  8. I recently found out through an ancestry DNA test that my ancestors were vikings. I have Scandinavia flowing through my veins. This was an awesome surprise for my brother and me, who are obsessed, as it just so happens, with vikings.
  9. I am 22 years old and have had two boyfriends, for a total of less than two months in an actual relationship. I’m either extremely hard to please or just.. yeah, nope, too hard to please. *shrug*
  10. I sometimes think I missed my life calling by not becoming a life coach. I know a lot of people laugh at that career choice, but I personally feel there is no shame in needing encouragement and accountability from a professional source- ESPECIALLY when you’re stepping into new territory that has you terrified.
  11. I write blog posts out of order- here a sentence, there a sentence, then I string them together in some kind of (hopefully) cohesive way! That’s why I often miss things… like adding #11 to my list of things about me (thanks for pointing that out, Bobbie!! I appreciate it!!) Oops!

11 Questions from Leah Grace

#1- When/Why did you start blogging?

I started blogging in November of 2014. Those posts are long gone now (thank God) because they were pretty stupid. I honestly started with the intent to become self-employed through my blog, and while I still hope that one day becomes a reality, I now write to encourage (hopefully) and inspire. Oh, and to record my adventures.

#2- What is your favorite bible verse/inspirational quote? Why?

This is an easy one! My favorite verse is Jeremiah 1:7-8 which says:

Then the Lord said to me: “Do not say, ‘I am only a youth,’ for you will go to everyone I send you to and speak whatever I tell you. Do not be afraid of anyone, for I will be with you to deliver you. This is the Lord’s declaration.

This passage is what got me through so much criticism and “you’re flat crazy” talk when I started working on The Undignified Event. Without this passage to inspire me and keep me fighting for God’s dream, I would have given up.

#3- If you could go to see anyone in concert (dead or alive), who would it be? Why them?

I’d have to say Johnny Cash purely because I looooooooove his voice and his wardrobe. I’m shallow like that.

#4-How do you feel about tattoos? Do you have any? What’s the story behind them?

I don’t believe that tattoos add or take away from your God-given value. I have personally chosen not to get one because I don’t feel it is God’s will for my life (I don’t judge those who do get them).

#5- It’s midnight, your fridge is stocked with your favorites, what is the snack that you grab to munch on?

Is it lame to say that I don’t really have a favorite snack? I’m really not a snacker- at least at night.

#6- Favorite Drink (Coffee, Tea, Soda, Infused Water, Anything)?

Coffee. Duh. 🙂

#7- Who was the first person you told about your blog? Describe how that conversation went.

I don’t actually remember the answer to this.. I’ve never been a really private person, so I probably told a huge group of people at once. *shrug* If I tell new people now, they generally just smile and say, “That’s cool!”

#8- What is your advice to future bloggers who are on the fence about starting?

Just take that leap and start. Don’t write for someone else or as someone else, write for yourself first. You’ll find your voice and without even realizing it, begin inspiring others.

#9- Best piece of advice you’ve ever heard?

When I worked at the library, an older gentleman shared some of his life story with me. He finished it all up by advising something along the lines of: “Don’t stay in one place more than 5 years. There’s too much world out there to stay for longer than that! And don’t hold onto things, hold onto people and memories. Things won’t be around forever.”

#10- If you could be ANY Disney character? Who would you be and Why?

Pocahontas- the girl was my childhood HERO. She stood for strength and courage to fight for what is right, no matter what.

#11- Someone blesses you with a million dollars. How do you spend it?

I would tithe 10% to my church, give Tupelo Children’s Mansion (a home for kids who need a safe place to stay – this mission work is near and dear to my heart) with $300,000, give my mom and dad each $100,000 to thank them for the incredible parenting job they did, and use the remaining $400,000 to host Undignified Events all over the world. 🙂

11 Questions from Ally

#1- What is your go-to order at a coffee shop?

Soy caramel latte. YUM.

#2- What city holds a special place in your heart, and why?

The Historic District of Philadelphia, PA is my favorite city. To be surrounded by such rich American history is the DREAM. I nerd out to extreme levels when I’m there. ❤

#3- What is one word that you’d like to engrave on the heart of your younger self?

“And.” It’s so simple, but signifies to much. There is always an “and” in life, there is always another page to turn.

#4- What was the last brave thing you did?

I lead worship at an outdoor Memorial Day concert for a church in my local city. It was a lot of fun- but every time I do something on a platform/stage, I have to really stir up my courage.

#5- Do you prefer indoors or outdoors? Why?

I prefer to be outdoors, but am almost always indoors. I love nature and hiking and camping and horse back riding and going for walks, but FMS really limits my ability and desire to partake in those things. Heat is really hard on me, so if it’s even a little warm outside, I’m pretty miserable.

#6- If you had $500 and only one day to spend it, what would you buy?

I would buy tickets to something fun for my family or a round trip plane ticket to a place I’ve never been.

#7- What is your favorite thing to cook? Share the recipe, please!!

Sweet potato fries! Can you say YUMMMM? Just peel and chop 2-3 sweet potatoes into skinny fries, then coat in two tablespoons olive oil, a couple tablespoons of paprika, garlic powder and onion powder, and a teaspoon or two of salt and pepper.

These are especially tasty dipped in Sweet Baby Ray’s Sweet and Spicy Barbecue sauce. MMMMMMM!

#8- If you could change your birth date, would you? What date would you pick?

No way. I love my September 15th birthday. 🙂

#9- Did you have an imaginary friend as a kid?

I had imaginary villages, mate. I was outside all the time, pretending to be indians and cowboys with my sister. My imagination is pretty vivid, so our fake pals became pretty real to me.

#10- How do you feel about spiders?

They don’t freak me out or anything, but I can’t stand the crunchy squish sound they make when you kill them. It makes me want to hurl. This is not an exaggeration.

#11- What is your #1 book recommendation?

Not fair. This is an impossible question!!! I refuse to answer!!! 😉

11 Questions for the Bloggers I Nominate

  1. Do you believe in love at first site?
  2. What is your biggest blogger pet peeve?
  3. What is the hardest thing you’ve ever had to do?
  4. What is the furthest place away that you’ve traveled to? How many miles from home were you?
  5. What is your mantra?
  6. Who inspires you?
  7. What is the best God moment you’ve had thus far?
  8. What are your thoughts on the “talking” stage of a “relationship?”
  9. Are there any foods/combinations that literally make you gag?
  10. Who was the last person you said “I love you” to and why do you love them?
  11. If you could go back in time to, well, any time, to when would you go and why?

11 Bloggers I Happily Nominate

  1. Brittany from BlissfulBritt
  2. Jamie from JamieDDaily
  3. The Nameless One (LOL 😉 ) from The CFO Mom
  4. Marguerite from Waste Not Want Not
  5. The Other Nameless Ones from Eat Pray Budget
  6. Aaaaand another Nameless One from Saving Without Scrimping
  7. Imii Mace from Nettle&Blackberry
  8. Cait Flanders from, well, Cait Flanders
  9. Rebecca from WhyMermaids
  10. Dianne from Dianne Blogs
  11. Talia from 52 Miles per Month

If you find yourself with some spare time, why not stop by their blogs and leave some love? ❤

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My Life as a Change Junky

Stagnant

adjective  stag·nant \ˈstag-nənt\ : not advancing or developing

Static

adjective  stat·ic \ˈsta-tik\ : showing little change ; characterized by a lack of movement, animation, or progression

Listless

adjective  list·less \ˈlist-ləs\ : characterized by lack of interest, energy, or spirit

These fearsome, ugly words that evoke such dread in me.. These words are those which I find myself using to describe myself lately.

To quote a wise man:

“EW.”

-Jimmy Fallon

The latter half of 2015 and the former half of 2016 were chock-full of adventures. Within the span of fifteen months, I went on ten incredible adventures.

It looked a little something like this:

June 2015: Family vacation at Long’s Retreat Family Resort (Latham, OH)

September 2015: Hosted the second Undignified Event concert in Columbus, OH

October 2015: 21st birthday trip to Philadelphia, PA

November 2015: Went to a close friend’s wedding in Albuquerque, NM (which I just realized I never blogged about, so I definitely see a TBT headed your way in the near future)

February 2016: New York City to see another close friend perform in Carnegie Hall (another TBT to come, gosh I suck at blogging about adventures)

May 2016: traveled with my dad and siblings to North Carolina (*cough* again, no post on this)

June 2016: family vacation with my mom in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee (are you seeing a trend?) and started my new job

July 2016: church camped with a close friend and my sister at Buckeye Lake in Ohio (le sigh! I give up.)

September 2016: moved into my own apartment

For fifteen months of my life, I consistently had trips to look forward to, goals to save for and adventures to inspire my dreams.

And now, nothing.

Stagnant. Static. Listless.

With my new 9-5 “real adult” job, I’m realizing a lot of things:

  • Life goes by way too fast when you spend the majority of your days at work and the majority of your evenings recovering from the majority of your days at work.
  • Vacation, shmaycation. Week in, week out. One adventure per year, that’s all you get (at least until you start moving up the ranks on seniority).
  • You have to cram the crap out of life into Saturdays and Sunday afternoons (I’m at church from 9am-1:30pm, so Sunday mornings are out). This includes all the chores you were too tired for during the week (laundry, groceries, mopping, blah blah blah) and all the adventures you’ve been craving for days (which don’t happen because you get too exhausted from all the laundry, groceries, mopping, blah blah blah).

Again to quote the wise man:

“EW.”

-Jimmy Fallon

Okay, I know a lot of you are thinking, “Hey Rachel, you promised to not be so negative! What’s up with this loserdom?”

You’re right. It is loserdom to complain all the time. So I need to do something about that, I need to start putting effort into positivity again.

First and foremost, I need to start dreaming again. I need something to keep me from passing out on the couch as soon as I get home from work, then waking up four hours later to move to the bed.

I need adventure. I need plans! I need to think about goals and work toward them.

And the key for me is fun.

+ wanderlust, ’cause gosh darn the world is full of places I crave seeing.

Toward the beginning of 2016, I started a second blog to record my goals and dreams and ambitions. It all came about because of this “The Woman” theory that I one evening stumbled across just before slumber. To quote myself:

The other night, I built a fantasy life for myself five years into my future. This may seem odd but it’s something I do regularly to help myself fall asleep. The act of focusing on painting a world in my mind calms the “you have to do this, this, this, this, this, this (repeat a million times) and this tomorrow” side of my brain.

I’m not the only one who does this (I found that out when I watched a Good Mythical Morning episode) so stop looking at me like I’m an idiot.

Anyway, in this fantasy I was acne free, had glorious long and healthy locks of hair, rocked a sweater dress and kimono and had kick butt high heels. I ran into my ex at a coffee shop and after a brief chat said “Listen, I must be off to my meeting with so and so, but this was nice.” before gracefully walking out the door and hailing a taxi – because I obviously lived in the city (Philly of course).

I was literally The Woman we all hate because we want to be her but don’t have the know-how or drive to become her. I’ve decided that I want to make that fantasy a reality.

Okay, I don’t really want to run into my ex and bid him adieu with a carefree “Ta-ta, love!”

But I do want to be The Woman who has her life together and wears high heels to work.

I got to work on this immediately. At first, it was little things like cutting out pop and sugar and getting outside more (this effort has since waned). Then I started actively job searching. I wasn’t looking for an amazing job, just something that would increase my paycheck.

This all worked out great for me. I ended up landing (by the grace of God) an amazing full-time gig with 100% healthcare benefits (premiums paid by employer and everything!!) and I even get to wear heels to work. I moved out on my own because I’m an adventurer, and my hair is back to healthy and long.

But lately, nothing new has been happening. The plan I came up with a year ago is no longer enough to fuel me.

I’m a “change” junky. I know most people hate change, but I thrive on it.. and when things stop changing, when routine settles in..

I get bored.

This is ultra dangerous for my GO-GET-‘EM personality because when I get bored, I get depressed and I stop trying to do life well. I mill about without purpose and drive and passion and become the essence of the word “blah.”

I don’t want to be that way anymore. I’m a mere four months in and I’M SO TIRED of it.

So I’m coming up with an action plan – a chart of goals, a list of ideas, a fantastic dream – something to work toward. I’ve been mulling this over for about a month; some things started to settle in my mind, some aspirations started to form… I’ve had several planning sessions with myself and goal chats with friends and family. I’m getting closer. And when I’m there, you can be sure I’ll be posting about it.

For now, I’d love to know:

Are you a “change” junky? Do you live for the adrenaline rush of the abnormal?

rachel-allene-signature

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Demented though I may be..

I learned a couple of things about myself while at work on Thursday.

The first: I find that shredding giant stacks of paper in an industrial shredder is the best form of therapy on our planet.

The second: I can spend an hour shredding paper and wondering what horrors would await were my hair to get caught in the machine.

It goes something like this.

I wonder how long I can keep the machine running without stopping between each stack of paper. My hair is getting kind of close to feeder. I probably shouldn’t have worn it down today, then again, I didn’t know I’d be shredding paper.

I wonder if my hair gets caught, will it just be shredded like paper? I’m gonna guess not as hair is much finer than paper and has zero width. I wonder if it would just get tangled- oh my gosh, what if it gets stuck and the machine overheats and blows up in my face? OR WORSE, what if it pulls so hard on my hair that I’m scalped?!

I read an article on scalping and it said that you can survive it but that it’s eternal torment. My God! I need to get away from this shredder!!

But I really don’t want to break this record. I think it’s been shredding nonstop for five minutes now.

Okay, so if I’m going to live life without a scalp, I need methods to cover my skull. I think my best bet is a skin graft and wig. How do they even do skin grafts? Don’t they take skin from some other part of your body and sew it on? I’m kind of partial to keeping my skin where it’s at.  I think they have a fake skin option. Yeah, I’d probably go with fake skin.

Wigs kind of freak me out. They’re all itchy and oh my gosh- what if it’s real hair??? LIKE FROM ANOTHER HUMAN??

Maybe I could just rock the bald, skin-grafted look.

end scene.

It was a rough week. I’ve had a nasty fibro and costochondritis flare that I just can’t seem to shake.

It all started when my church called a three-day fast. Now, I am a big believer in fasting! Jesus assumed fasting would be a part of our relationship with God (Matthew 6:16), so clearly it’s a good idea.

That said, after just one day of skipping my already meager and nutrition-lacking meals, I spiraled. So I started eating one meal a day for the fast, but it clearly wasn’t enough. I ended up with abdominal pain, ribcage inflammation (which resulted in quite a few episodes of inability to catch one’s breath), migraines, leg and foot cramps, and weakness and dizziness.

Disclaimer: I know you’re not supposed to tell people when you’re fasting, but I figured my failure to follow through made this confession okay.

In other news, I’ve been seeing the chiropractor again as a part of my “Year of Self-Care” goal for 2017 ( which I’m just realizing I never posted on.. oops). Yesterday, our conversation went something like this:

Chiropractor: Have you noticed any improvements since I’ve been treating you for the last few weeks?

Me: More pain.

Chiropractor: More pain?

Me: Yup.

Chiropractor: Right, well that’s not supposed to happen.

Me: That’s comforting.

Like I said, it’s been a rough week.

But today is a new day and after five-ish hours of on-again-off-again sleep, I’m ready to tackle it.

My first task was to clean out the shower, which I did just before sitting to type this post. Go me! Next, I need to groceries for the week. I’ve already made my list, I just don’t feel like moving and roaming store aisles and carrying heavy bags of groceries up the steep staircase to my apartment.

If I can get my tush up and running, then it’s off to the gym. I really need to move more. My desk job is fantastic, but the lack of movement has weakened me greatly and every time I see a doctor or chiropractor they lecture me for it. Apparently fibro doesn’t interact well with laziness.

I dread exercise, but it will be good for me. I just have to get through the first month or two of excruciating pain, then all will be right with the world. Okay, maybe three or six months. We’ll see.

Now that I’m finished being a negative Nancy (or is it Nelly? I can never remember – either way I promise to be more positive in the future), how was your week?