Sunday, July 30, 2017

Here’s the deal:

My friend K.A. Emmons is releasing a book on August 1st! It’s called The Blood Race, and it’s about people with special abilities who are training to save the world.

Read the official excerpt below:


Tuesday, July 25, 2017





Sunday, July 23, 2017

she favors white dresses and cardigans, sugar in her coffee and Jamba Juice smoothies. when i ask if i can film her, she laughs a little and says, “i don’t know how to do this!”

but she quickly adapts to the role of interviewee and film subject, gamely marching up a dusty hill in the aforementioned white dress and cardigan. along the way, she tells me stories that i don’t manage to capture on camera: once she traveled to colorado alone on the cheapest flight possible to meet a friend from the Internet and was accosted en route by an obese two-year-old girl who screamed, “i am not your neighbor! i am not your neighbor!” in her face. she paints the people she’s met in broad strokes but adds minute details that bring them to life--rich accents, extreme introversion, blatant curiosity. it’s enough for me to get the sense that she’s keenly observant of herself and those around her, to the point where she’s able to form a perspective that allows her to find the ironic humor in her life. this she uses to spin stories, to evoke laughter, and, in the end, to connect with everyone she meets.

the first time we met, she was quiet and unobtrusive. the second time, faithful and sweet. the third time proved her loyal and charming, thoughtful and genuine.

meet jordan roth: photographer, writer, friend.

jordan's links:
instagram - @j.s.roth


Saturday, July 15, 2017

i’ve tried many times to quantify what i learned on my trip to europe, but i wasn’t able to force revelation of its own accord, so i’m just going to eke it out now.

i just spent two weeks in the czech republic, without my family but surrounded by people--some of whom i’ve known for years now, others i met the day before we started running the eight-day english camp--who believed in truth, as i do, and were therefore bonded by the spirit of likemindedness in Christ. the amazing thing is, as a Christian, there’s really no necessity to be like the other person in any other way. i had absolutely nothing in common with the people on the other team (not age, not life stage, nothing) except for our faith, but because faith is the most important thing in a good relationship, it also becomes the sole essential thing. all the other stuff--shared taste in food, books, whatever--is all just bonus.

we stayed in a triangle-shaped hotel on a green, green mountain and ate three meals a day: one at eight, one at twelve-thirty, and one at five-thirty. every morning, we woke up and went to do morning devotions at seven. we taught english and ran workshops and played games and, most importantly, built relationships with the campers and with each other.

here’s what i learned:

intention is everything. genuine relationships can’t be built on the sand of shallow questions and small talk. nor are they necessarily constructed well on foundations of shared experience. to be intentional is to seek people out, to refuse passivity and pursue activity, to ask the tough questions and not shirk from opposition. when you learn people’s answers to the tough questions, they’re allowing you to become closer to them. but people can’t answer unless something is asked of them. have the courage to ask the questions.

service is contagious. the little things are absolutely important--things like asking people if they’d like to have their water glasses refilled, or trying to be considerate of roommates you hardly know. if people serve each other in little ways, it creates an atmosphere of service, which causes other people to want to serve as well. and there’s joy in service for anyone who does so, even if he/she is not able to define it as such.

you only live once. the first time i heard this year’s english camp theme, i wanted to roll my eyes and say, “that’s so 2011.” this year’s theme was yolo, but the evening programs--which involved different speakers talking about the theme--really forced me to think about what yolo really means. our culture defines it as a term to use whenever we do something crazy or potentially regrettable. but when you think about it, you only live once also means exactly what it says: we only live once. so what are we living for? for whom are we living? why do we live?

if truth be told, if i weren’t a Christian, i’d be extremely different from the way i am now. i’d probably be agnostic. i’d be a lot more cynical, ambitious to a fault, and definitely more vulgar. i don’t think i’d be as introspective (or maybe too much so), and i would absolutely be a hot mess, trying to fill up my life with meaningless things, losing myself in stories and other people’s lives and my own ambitions. ultimately, though, i would get sick of avoiding the own tough questions, which i would refuse to ask myself. because they’re hard to answer. and i wouldn’t know how to answer them. and i might have spent my entire life that way.

going to english camp made me realize how meaningless life is without God in it. but the reason why i don’t think He’s a social construct is because of how beautiful creation is, the conscious moral awareness that we all have as humans, and the way everything makes sense in the way the Bible--and only the Bible--explains it. we are naturally depraved humans from birth; we do need a Savior; Jesus did come to save us.

i talked to this one girl at english camp about God, and she mentioned that she’s the kind of person who needs proof that He exists. which i completely understand, only the proof she wanted was standing right in front of her, and she didn’t see it.

because Christians’ lives are proof that God exists. how does a person do a complete 180-degree life turn and change directions of his own accord? answer: he/she can't. lives transformed, paths veering from one possibility to the other. what could have been for me didn’t happen. what could be for you doesn’t have to.

what’s your life’s purpose? & how did you come to that conclusion?

psssst. i made a couple of videos from my time in czech! czech 'em out HERE!


Thursday, July 13, 2017

In this episode of Rachel's Life, I forget how to ride my bike, my little sister shows off her acting chops, and my friends and I have a wild night in suburbia.

SUBSCRIBE to my channel for immediate updates :) [Also, Episode 4 is already here. It'll appear later on this blog, because it's special:]


Wednesday, July 12, 2017

I start a fresh document as we drive away from English camp, labeling it “Europe Diaries 2017.” At the very beginning of the post, I write down the following question:

How does one grow & mature?

We arrive at the place we’re staying at for the night, so I don’t get much further than that, but I still think about it over the next few days. And I’m still thinking about it now.

Out of the millions of things we learn in life, only a few of them are actual conscious epiphanies. Sure, we can look back at our past selves and analyze how we acted, but rarely is the decision to become different intentional. Sometimes it just happens by the grace of God. Which is great. And other times, we come to actual realizations, moments where we consciously notice some particular life lessons and try to alter our behavior.

Over the course of the English camp that I helped at this past week, I've felt myself changing, but not due to any particular epiphany. It could just have been the general culture of the camp, and it might be temporary, but that made me wonder: how do you mature?

Even looking back at my past actions and thoughts last year, much of which was chronicled in “Europe Diaries 2016” (none of which will anyone ever see), I have to say: I know I changed. But how was that change brought about? How did my character develop? How does one degrade or improve in character? And how do I communicate that to the characters I write, the stories I write?

People can be complacent, but we can’t be static. We change a lot. So I’m basically just going to analyze a couple of different ways I’m different now than I was before.

Any time I lose control over my speech, I almost always end up regretting something that I say. Any time I lose control over my actions, I almost always end up regretting something I do. A lot of my instincts are correct, but my impulses are more likely to be wrong, and they’re stronger than my instincts when they assert themselves. The couple times I follow my impulses, I’d say that one-third of them make me do something I end up apologizing for or something, and so as a result, I’ve been trying to practice more self-control.

HOW I LEARNED: trial and error, making mistakes, etc.

Finding Comfort in the Uncomfortable.
I still would prefer not to be in long lines, but I don’t loathe them like I used to. Defusing awkward situations is a skill that is acquired by practice. And I’ve learned that I’m not going to always be comfortable on this earth. If I’m honest, I’m probably only comfortable when I’m at church or at home with my family. In any other situation, I feel uncomfortable, but that’s just because I’m me, and being me means being A) a Christian, B) an introvert, and C) a human. And any time we strongly identify with a particular worldview, we’ll feel uncomfortable in any situation that forces us to address alternatives or opposites of that which, for me, happens every single day in a variety of different situations (i.e., school). That’s just the way it is—and the fact that I feel uncomfortable as a Christian gives me hope in the fact that when I die, I’ll be content in heaven. 

HOW I LEARNED: a slight epiphany precluded by an obsession with Andy Mineo’s album Uncomfortable, which had insights that greatly widened my perspective

People Matter.
This is actually very terrible, but I’m neither a thoughtful nor selfless person. I’m not great at giving gifts, and I’m not good at putting people first. But I’ve slowly been trying to invest in others, because besides Jesus, people are the most important thing on this earth. And I’m trying to do better.

HOW I LEARNED: Still learning.

There are a million things that are wrong with me, and not all of them will ever be solved. I’ll never reach perfection, which is okay, because I can’t expect it from myself. All I can do is rest in grace, and keep moving forward.

How have you grown/matured in the past year? What has caused you to change as a person?


Sunday, July 2, 2017

In this episode of Rachel’s Life, I show you my blogging/writing process, you meet my family, and my brothers lead me down the path of death and destruction whilst on a hike.

Episode 3 coming soon :):)

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