Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The mustard seed.

 Matthew 17:20
He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

One of my earliest childhood memories is snuggling up to my mom and playing with her necklace that had a mustard seed charm, asking her what it was for.  

I am proud to say that I've been wearing a replica of that same mustard seed necklace everyday, without fail, for the last month.

I can't possibly put to words all of the life-altering events that have taken place over the last month...because anything I say would not do justice to what has happened and the profound effect it's had on me for every step forward from here.  A few things I can tell you....

-My mother is an incredible, beautiful, nurturing soul that will never be given enough credit.  They say "you never know what you have til it's gone"...well, the same can be said when the thought of what you have is threatened.  I am so thankful for a mother who is selfless when it comes to her children and who taught all 4 of us kids to love with a heart as big and open as anyone.  And although it's caused some of us heartbreak along the way when trusting it to the wrong people, she helped me see that it is/was never a mistake to love someone with all you have.  She has been supportive of my dreams from Day 1 and is still championing for me just as enthusiastically all these years later.  Last week's surgery/transplant was my first REAL opportunity to show the love and support back to her.  And I'm so praying-on-my-knees grateful that God let her come through it with flying colors.

-My brother could quite possibly be THE most inspiring man in my life (tying with my father, of course).  Watching him through the whole experience of this kidney transplant has been unlike anything I've ever seen...he never even flinched, never a shadow of a doubt in his mind.  We'll never be able to express our appreciation enough for what he gave for our mother and our family.  He truly is a hero...and although he knew it was a no-brainer, and all of us kids would have went up to bat and gladly given a kidney ourselves...he's the one who did.  And he too came out on the other side resilient and loyal as ever to the cause.  And for that, no man will ever succeed in my world without my brother's 110% approval ;)

-I raised $17,000 for my new record.  I still don't think that I've absorbed that fact yet.  I've been so worried/stressed/focused on my family stuff that I really never took a moment to celebrate or relish in the fact that I reached this goal...this goal that a few weeks ago, seemed completely unattainable.  I don't know how it happened but I'm so thankful that it did.  I will never be able to express my gratitude to everyone who donated and supported this project.  The words of encouragement and outpouring of love throughout the last month has been something that I've never experienced before.  I'm so happy to have this outlet to express how I feel and what I've been through in form of music and to have people so enthusiastically ready to listen and love it.  God truly has given me an opportunity and I don't plan on wasting it.  

-I lost my dog, Delaney last night.  Quite possibly one of the top 2 most terrifying experiences of my life.  Six hours in the freezing cold, yelling for my dog...sobbing and snotting all over myself, wondering how in the world my dog could be so out of reach when only left outside for 3 minutes on one of her daily "potty breaks" in the front yard...  It was a complete drain of emotions and energy...and it left me hopeless and exhausted in every sense of the word.  Luckily, the story has a happy ending.  But again, it brought some much needed perspective to my world...imagining my life without Delaney was crippling.  The thought of leaving Deliah without her sister was just as bad.  The moment I lost her, I ran upstairs and put on my mustard seed necklace and prayed every minute of those 6 hours for her safe return.  And I got it.  ;)

If this entry seems like a rollercoaster of emotion..that's because it is.  Which is always my life.  Which is why I was born to write songs...and sing the living hell out of them <3



Sunday, October 21, 2012

And it's hit me.

There's too much to catch up on to tell you everything that's gone on in my world the last few months since my last blog update. Just know that it's been up, down, in the middle for no longer than a minute and a half, and there hasn't been a boring day in this life yet ;) New music, tons of traveling, people staying with me from out of town, my birthday (parts 1, 2, and 3!), new friends, new boy(s), and a puppy named Pippen!

All this hoopla of trying to raise money for my new CD, going out of town, having friends and family stay with me, taking care of this crazy puppy, starting a new job....today it hit me hard.

In less than 2 weeks, my brother donates a kidney to my mother.
I don't know about you, but that's some heavy shit to take in and absorb...

Mom is reading all sorts of books, magazine articles, online blogs, etc. about her transplant and the effects, emotionally and physically, on the recipient and donor.  She's terrified of the toll it will take on my brother and how long his recovery will be.  And this whole time we've all been like, "Mom...you don't have a choice.  We won't take No for an answer, you're having this transplant."  And then last night one of my good friends brings up the point that, as a mother...that has to be the hardest call you could make.  Knowing that your son is going to go through probably the most traumatic experience his body will ever have...all for you.

My mind is blown.

Clearly, I already knew how intense and serious this surgery is.  But I guess my mind always processed it as the surgery was a no-brainer when the alternative is losing your mother.  But to think of the turmoil my mom is probably going through, knowing that her son is at risk.  I can't even phathom this.

This has been one ridiculous ride and I sincerely pray that after next month, we can get off of it.  I got an email from my ex's mother the other day telling me how inspiring it was that my brother was giving my mom this gift, and how strong and loyal of a family we were.  And it's true...

This has brought much needed perspective and clarity on what really matters.

Keep it with you always.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Something bigger.

This week has been one of the most peaceful and fulfilling weeks I've had in a very long time. My spirit feels rejuvenated...how long it lasts, who knows. But I'm going to take advantage of it as long as I can :)

Musically, I've been given some incredible opportunites that I can't do anything but absorb and appreciate the moment. Not to mention, I've completed 6 songs in the last week and a half and I can honestly say that I am beyond thrilled about each of them. Two of these songs in particular have busted my heart wide open, bringing me to tears (for once, the good kind of tears) during the writing process. I can't WAIT to share these gems with you soon. It's been a long time since the creativity has flowed so freely for me and I'm more than happy to ride the wave as long as it allows me to :)

I've been spending some much needed downtime/alone time in the beauty that is Kingston Springs this week too. Being with my dogs, the river, the gorgeous landscape that the parks and nature trails bestow is beyond breath-taking. To allow yourself to get lose in "something bigger" is a freedom I don't allow myself often enough. Seriously, see for yourself...

I thank you God for the peace of mind and for the clarity and confidence to move forward. I've never been more sure-footed in the direction You've pointed me in. I have no idea what's next and for the first time, I really don't care to worry about it. I'm just certain it's where I'm supposed to be. And for the first time in a long time, I feel surrounded so many that genuinely love & support me and are making me elevate myself to better. Thankful <3

Allow me to leave you with this collage from my rather blissful Thursday today :)

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

When you stop chasing the wrong things...

When you stop chasing the wrong things, you give the right things the chance to catch you.

It's that easy?
I'm certainly starting to believe it these days.

Lord knows I've spent farrr too much time chasing things that never wanted to be caught and setting myself up for disaster, haha. Granted, I haven't done so in at least a month now but even still...old habits die hard. And it's a constant battle with myself to not give into old routines and behaviors. I know we all struggle with that. Just some like inflicting pain on themselves more than others...?

I can be the epitome of a 'hot mess' :)

I did have an ephiphany a few weeks back though. I've been discovering what people and situations bring out the best in me and which persons won't let me grow. The last few months have definitely been an evolution of sorts. Musically, spiritually, physically...I have pushed myself outside of my comfort zone, hit some new highs, hit some pretty low lows. But all and all, made it through and can be ever more grateful for "the other side".

Musically and personally, I feel like I can be a bit misunderstood. Granted, I know that most opinions of me floating around out there are based on what I've put out into the world. However, it's a challenge that I've gladly taken on to show people that maybe they don't know everything there is to know. Musically, I haven't done HALF of what I can do and plan to show it off. Very very soon ;) Personally, I know that I've grown and I continue to do so. I'm re-drawing my lines and boundaries. I'm discovering what I truly want to accomplish in this life and what I expect from people in my life. I'm forgiving myself and others for hurts I've tolerated in the past, and vowing to never settle for those standards again. And yes, I'm finally at a place in my life where things that I thought were important and made me happy up until a few months ago no longer do. I've accepted that the person I was striving to be nothing like and the person that the world was seeing were dangerously close to being one and the same. We don't have to get into specifics but yeah...it's an eye-opener. And like I said, a challenge that I'm more than willing to take on.

I am so blessed for the opportunity to reinvent myself, so to speak. God is good and when I don't listen, He consistantly proves with the hard lessons He deals that He's watching me and cares enough to knock some sense into me. I'm sincerely thankful for that. And also, that I have parents and amazing friends that will slap the hell out of me too in case it didn't sink in the first 12 times :)

Friday, June 15, 2012

Bringing it back.

My confidence definitely got a thorough shaking this week. Don't know who I'm more disappointed in...the person for their actions, or the fact that I allow myself to continue to be hurt by them. Well actually...that's not true, I know exactly who I'm more disappointed in.

I've come a long way. I don't want to go backwards for anyone or anything. There are no more excuses as to not rising to my potential every single day. I pray every morning that the past keeps it's distance from today. Because I am not who I was a month ago, or a year ago. I only want to elevate.

"Doing your best in this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment."

Bring it on.

I also believe that anyone is as happy as they make up their mind to be. I've missed too many opportunities to let better into my life because I've been busy holding onto things that don't bring out the best in me. The past has continually clouded my present...until now.

This summer is all about change...mentally, physically, spiritually, musically. It's all about being fearless and leaping anyway. It's about believing in the unseen.

It's so unbelievably cliche, but over the last couple of months, I truly am beginning to see that everything happens for a reason. I can kick & scream and try to make something what it's not, or I can accept that it's all part of the "greater plan". God knows exactly what He's doing, even if I don't. I just have to trust.

Trust has NEVER been an easy thing for me. (Have you heard my songs? Ha) But now is the time more than ever to let it go. I'm trusting in myself and believing in myself for the first time in years. I'm trusting that God will take care of me & help me find out who is deserving of being here for me while I'm on this journey. And that He will assist me in forgiving but removing from my life those who are not.

Friday, June 8, 2012

I've been waking up to this lately... It's been a refreshing change of pace for me. Waking up before 6AM. Seeing the sun rise. Going to the park in downtown Nashville for bootcamp classes. Feeling energized and invigorated enough after my relentless workout to accomplish errands, emails, house chores, etc. and be completed by 10AM. Only to find that I have the day to make it what I want it to be. I'm taking my sweet time to sync my mind, body, and heart for the first time in years. I've been playing the guitar and writing a lot these days. Apparently, I've had a lot to say because I'm finding a lot to write about. Slowly but surely, I'm finding myself feeling the need/desire/urge to just hibernate upstairs and pick up the guitar. I haven't felt like that in a long long time. And once I sit down and start jotting down a line, it seems like more and more lines are following. There is no appointment. There is no cowriter. There is no writing room or lunch break. It's just me, saying whatever the hell comes to mind whenever the hell I feel it. It's very empowering ;) This week is CMA Fest and though I've done a couple short performances, it's nothing compared to what I've done each year for the last 5 years. I knew that it was an emotional and physical responsibility that I wasn't prepared for this year. There was too much going on in my world, too many uncertainities and things I just couldn't wrap my head around. Luckily, things are fallen into place better than I anticipated and I feel like I'm finally getting my footing back for the first time in awhile. Unfortunately, that happened a little too late to make anything really happy for this year's CMA Fest. However strange and somewhat heart-aching it is to not be participating more this year, it just completely and utterly confirms that I am COMMITTED 1000% to being back, bigger & bolder than ever in 2013! New CD, new merch, new tour...and I will be ready to conquer! I'm very excited <3

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Burn the ships.

For the first time in a long time, I feel hopeful.

My life is a blank canvas right now and instead of feeling the need to clutter it up to keep it from being lonely, I am standing back and admiring it's simplicity and potential.

I can pick and choose who and what I put into this picture and I've never felt more liberated. It's a clean slate. I haven't had one of those in a very, VERY long time.
Over the last week, I've managed to ditch so much baggage (physically and emotionally) that I can't help but walk with some pep in my step these days. I threw stuff away and what didn't hit the trash can ended up selling on craigslist, burned photos and cards that held memories I no longer wanted to hold onto, cried until there couldn't possibly be anymore tears, and finally...let. it. go. Box by box, I put it all away for good.

The last week has had me feeling every emotion possible. Moving into a new house and into a new chapter is so exciting but also had me questioning everything...because however essential change is, it's also terrifying. And with this leap, I'm permanently closing the book on that portion of my life. I'm admitting it's end. But as I started to unpack in my new home over this past week, day by day, I started breathing a little deeper and feeling little lighter...feeling a little more OK. Because the more peace & possibility I started to feel in this new home, well, it just solidified that I left behind a part of my life that hurt more than it healed, that gave me a heart that could never find peace & a mind that could never stop racing. I'm finally leaving the past in the past and allowing myself, for what might be the first time ever, to be open to "the bigger plan". No looking back. For anyone.

I won't say I'm "fearless". Yet. But I will say that with moving ahead in this new direction, it's made me want to step out, well, more like jump out of my comfort zone. I quit my "day gig" (which I'd been threatening to for months) with no real 'back up plan'. I know, this sounds silly since of course, I do music. I moved here from Belleville, Michigan with the ONLY intention of music and I had done it everyday of my life for however many years. But yet...somewhere along the way, I started to lose myself and forgot what it was all about. The last year has been the toughest I've experienced and has seen me go through transitions that no words will ever do justice. But I'm slowly coming back around to what truly inspires me. What gives me goosebumps. What makes my heart happy and what truly matters. And aside from God and my family (which, that is a whole nother blog in itself), Music was my first love and the only relationship that I'm interested in diving back into. No hesitations. No excuses. God gave me this gift and I'm finally fed up with my own selfish-ness and drama enough to know that if I waste it, I'm an absolute fool and undeserving of this opportunity.

So I'm leaping. And I'm praying to God that between Him & the universe, I sprout some wings.

Everyone's been asking me the last couple of weeks, "Well, what are you going to do now? What are you going to fall back on?" And I tell people the exact same thing that I told my mother when I was 18 and told her I wasn't going to college but moving to Nashville...
"Plan B is that there is no Plan B."
I did not give myself an alternative.

I was brave and certain then and I know I can be again.

When I told some people at work this the other night, one of the guys compared my plan of attack to that of Hernado Cortez. Not that I'm a history buff but the story is interesting...He led the troops that conquered the Aztec empire in 1521. When they reached the coast to begin this battle, his troops were severely outnumbered. However, Cortez was so sure of victory that when they landed near Verecruz, he burned all of his army's ships to prevent any idea of a retreat. So outnumbered with no way of fleeing home, Cortez and his army battled and won.

I thought that was pretty inspiring. Now, I'm not conquering an empire like Cortez but I am taking back what's mine and what I've let others (including myself) diminish...my fire.

So my new motto for this new chapter?

"Burn the ships."

Thursday, March 22, 2012

the art of "resilience"

Definition of RESILIENT

: characterized or marked by resilience: as
a : capable of withstanding shock without permanent deformation or rupture
b : tending to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change

Okay, we will go with that.

I have been to every extreme of feeling one possibly can in the last few weeks. There were points that I thought surely were emotionally rock bottom (or at least close to it), only to find that I had a little further to fall. I've willingly thrown, no, more like FLUNG myself into the fire more than a time or 10 in the last few months. The last time being as recently as a week ago. And then I sit back and wonder why my heart is as heavy as it is. Why I feel like I can trust no one and why no one understands or appreciates who I am anymore.

It's easy to pinpoint the enemy as anyone/anything else. It's his fault, it's her's, it's this job, it's this situation, its just a phase...
I'm the common denominator for my problems.
Problem is, I'd lost touch with true perspective for so long that I no longer had a grasp on who I was becoming or how others may view me. It is the harshest of reality checks when you TRULY self reflect and see yourself through someone else's eyes.

I've held so tightly to things that are fleeting, things that have brought me nothing but heartache, drama, and hangovers.

I'm tired of acting like I don't deserve more. I know that I do. My actions may have shown otherwise, but deep down, I know that there's a greater good than this. I know I'm capable of a world more than what I've been doing. I refuse to be "wasted"...not in my time, not in my talent, and not in who I invest myself in.

Friends, boys, they all come and go...but I have to live with myself forever. And if I don't like person right now, then I'm in for one unhappy and long-winded ride. And I know it can be better than this and I never want to take these opportunities to turn it all around for granted again. The wrong choices can bring you to the right places, where I go from here is no one's call but my own.

Monday, February 20, 2012

The universe & me.

It's a weird relationship. One in which we never master but spend our entire lives trying to find the balance.

We try and we try, we force things, we kick & scream, even feeling desperate at times. We are soaring and hopeful one day and the next day you find yourself watching Whitney Houston's funeral on CNN for 5 hours crying and eating an entire pan of brownies (true story, obviously)...

The universe.

When we mesh, it's delightful & I'm unstoppable.
When we don't, I feel like blowing things up.

This last week has been an emotional rollercoaster. There's been no happy medium whatsoever. And it made me think to myself over the last few nights...what...the...hell...am I doing?

There's obviously a reason this is happening. The universe is obviously trying to tell me SOMETHING.

So this morning, I figured- Maybe I should get it together.
My head, my body, my heart. Maybe if we all can synchronize for a bit, the rest of the world will catch on.
I don't know the last time I completely focused on me. Being self-indulgent but in healthier ways.

As these thoughts kept entering my mind on how to start this process...somebody, somewhere heard me.
One great meeting, one quick/painless & great paying demo session, and a royalty check in the mail later it became evident that my luck had shifted. And I thought to myself:

Remember this day.
Remember this Monday.
God heard you and told the universe to cut you a break.

Maybe I should start thinking more proactive thoughts more often...

Sunday, January 29, 2012

it takes two.

I sat on a big green couch the other day and filled a good friend of mine in on some recent stresses/dramas/fires that needed to put out...I spoke for what seemed like forever, getting myself heated over the whole thing all over again. I finished with, "I don't know why I do this to myself...what do you think?"

She simply replied, "It takes two, Rachel."

Nothing profound there. We've all heard it a million times. So I don't know why, on this particular Sunday night, it suddenly resonates. It takes two... It takes two to make any relationship work. Whether it's referring to a boy, a friend, a sister, etc it requires two parties trying to make the effort, compromising, communicating, relearning what they think they know. Relationships fall apart when one is giving far more than the other. I can certainly attest to that.

It also takes two to perpetuate drama.
True story.

I can blame whomever I want for whatever I want to, but the fact of the matter is... I still participate. I still respond. I even instigate it every now & again. And for what? I always know the outcome. No one wins. It's just an addiction...an addiction to drama.

No one can make you miserable unless you let them in close enough to allow it.

Instead of putting oneself out there and then regretting it/beating your head against that exact same wall immediately after, learn how to walk in the other direction. And quickly. It's a complete re-training of everything I know... but sweet baby Jesus, I know it'll be worth it.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

No more recycling.

Me: He can't "Hey you" me!
Friend: No, he definitely can't "Hey you" you.

Why is it that guys think they can text you, completely out of the blue, and it always starts with "Hey you.." Trust me, I've been around the block, I'm experienced in the game. If you're texting me randomly after being totally okay no communication for however long, one of 3 things is happening...1) You're drunk 2) You haven't been laid in awhile 3) Your girlfriend and you just broke up.

You can't play a player, fellas.

Contradictory to what many may say/think...Boyfriends/boy toys (whatever he was) are not recyclable. Please let me testify to that fact until I have no voice to preach on.

I read a great book years ago when me and my ex were "trying to make it work" for the 29th time. The book was called...
It's Called A Break Up Because It's Broken. Brilliant, right?

Now if only it were that simple...

But the facts are the facts.
All those reasons you broke up, that you were unhappy, you wrote him a novel via text & then turned off your phone, that you slept in separate rooms because you thought you might kill him if he was within reach...9 times out of 10, those reasons still ring true this very moment. No matter what text messages he may send you, how he may plead, how you may romanticize about "the good times"...those "good times" obviously didn't keep you afloat in your relationship. Therefore, they aren't going to keep your head above water now. And let's just say, if he really loved you, he'd be stepping up and proving it. Nothing in the world is worth fighting for more than love. And TEXTING IT isn't proving jackshit. Just so we're clear.

Obviously, I'm on my soapbox for a reason...some friends that just won't listen to any advice. Particular family members who drive me crazy with their on and off again-ness. And ultimately, myself...because I too fall victim to this "let's beat a dead horse" cycle.

Another resolution for 2012.
No more recycling.

Monday, January 16, 2012

own it.

I only blog when it's late and I should be in bed reading my gossip magazine. I certainly shouldn't be online, contemplating life, and blogging about it. But then again, when have I ever done anything that I'm "supposed" to do..?

Time to start owning things. Taking responsibility for what I do and where I'm headed.
It's that age-old philosophy of "Only you can control your happiness" or something like that. It's cliche, and it sounds pretty damn generic. If you're anything like me, I need specifics...how do I control it? Where do I turn this ship? Is it going to be hard? What exactly do I have to give up? Can't I just pawn this off on someone else?

Um, wake up call Rachel.
You've been pawning it off on everyone else.
And look where it's gotten you...

Dun Dun Dun

January has been a confusing month in some ways (love/relationships...things I'll probably never get right even if God himself delivers Mr. Right to my door), however, there's also a lot to be excited for. I'm excited to get into the studio and finish up my EP. I'm excited for the photo shoot. I'm excited to assemble the new band and completely gut/renovate/re-work my show in every way. I'm excited for all the meetings and advice/suggestions being thrown my way. I'm absorbing it like a sponge. I'm excited for all the co-writes coming up in the next couple weeks with people I highly respect and much to my stupidity, haven't written with in far too long. I'm excited to make music "full time" again, and this time, fully commit.

Own it.

Own my dreams, my goals...and don't make bullshit excuses as to why it's not happening. Own my plans, my motivation and follow through. Own my feelings and don't let them drive me crazy. Own my opinions and expectations and don't settle for anything less, don't back down if it's worth the fight. Own my mistakes...acknowledge when I'm stupid, learn what I need to learn, and try hard as hell not to repeat these moments of utter stupidity again.

Smell what I'm stepping in? Good ;)

Monday, January 9, 2012

Insanity at it's finest.

Here's the thing.
I apparently don't know how to "stay on my best behavior". I can barely comprehend what that statement even means. Should I interpret as I should be running as far as humanly possible away from the drama? Because if so, I seem to run straight into the fire each and every time. Without fail. Don't know what attracts me to the flame, but it's there. And it's irritating. Especially in this last week.

I should know better, but evidently, I still don't.
Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not out there Lindsay Lohan-ing it up by any means or anything like that. It's just certain situations, certain conversations, certain individuals that will remind me every now and then how far I haven't quite come yet. And unfortunately, several of these conversations/individuals have decided to pop up within my first week of 2012.

So ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the confessions of an attention-whore. This addiction will get you each and every time and it's rarely ever worth it. There are so many more important things in this world than making sure you always have something to do, somewhere to go, someone constantly entertaining you, boys chasing you 24/7.

Now, what all those other "things" are, I have yet to know...but I'm committing myself to the task of finding out.