Rachel Maria's Randoms - With a Cheerful Heart

Fashion & Lifestyle, Travel & Leisure

As I write this, my heart is heavily burdened in reading the news story about the woman in Sudan who was sentenced to death…because of her faith. (You can read about it here.)

It made me think for a moment. What if that happened to me? Would I be courageous enough to stand up for my faith in Jesus Christ?Gosh, I hope so. And, what about life in the Sudan…or so many other places in the world, where there is so much persecution? Who am I to complain about anything? And, why do I worry so much about everything, when I know God tells me ‘to be anxious for NOTHING’? (Phil. 4:6)

Popcorn with Nutritional Yeast - LE Woman

Foster Care & Family

I don’t know where to begin about my recent discovery of the BEST TASTING GUILT-FREE SNACK IN THE WORLD!

Ladies & Gentleman, Grab a movie!  Grab a loved one!  And, make some of this popcorn immediately if not sooner!   Your diet can thank me later, as this is not only one of the most healthiest pleasure-snacks around (it’s Vegan and Gluten Free), but it is ridiculously delicious!  Oh, and inexpensive and easy to make.  C’mon…What more do you want?   popcorn

As much as I’d love to take full credit for inventing the combination (Popcorn with Nutritional Yeast), I can’t do it.  I came across this combo on a few vegan/gluten-free blogs recently in my quest for a satisfying yet nutritional snack food!

popcornI purchased my first electric popcorn maker and container of Nutritional Yeast (from Amazon) along with popcorn kernels.  I experimented  a few times with different combinations of seasonings and in my opinion, I think this one is perfecto!  Let me know if you like it!



1/2 Cup Popcorn Kernels
3 T. Nutritional Yeast
2 T. Coconut Oil
1 Tsp. Cumin
1 Tsp. Garlic Powder
1 Tsp. Cayenne Pepper
1 Tsp. Salt
LE Woman

* Pop popcorn according to brand/machine directions.
* While popcorn is popping, mix dry seasonings in a bowl.
* Melt Coconut Oil for 30 seconds in microwave.coconut oil
* Pour melted coconut oil over popcorn and sprinkle seasoning.  (For best results use a large container with a lid and give it a shake.)


Let's Continue Our Walk around The House on High Street!

The House on High Street

Over the past few weeks, Scott’s been really busy working on the grounds at The House on High Street.  He finished the front side of the shed.  He cut the grass (with a new riding mower his parents gave him as a gift).  And, he hired professionals to trim and cut down a few trees.

This past Saturday morning, I could sense that Scott had something on his mind.  He seemed to be losing momentum (this happens to us both every so often with this daunting project).  I was trying to offer suggestions on what I could do, but when it comes to physical work, I run out of steam rather quickly.  After talking for a while, I realized that I hadn’t been to the house for quite some time, and Scott really needed my support.  I already had a commitment scheduled for the afternoon, and so I promised him that I would meet him at the house later in the day to help with whatever I could.  He offered to pack a cooler so that we could hang out there and grill.

As I drove to the house later in the afternoon, I was also feeling a bit overwhelmed.  I silently prayed that God would give us a little encouragement because I knew we both needed it.  As soon as I drove up the driveway, I could not believe how pretty everything looked!

LE WomanI volunteered to work a little on the Old Stone Building (Ice House); chipping away at loose concrete which was fairly light work and rather therapeutic for me.  I didn’t get that far, but it was progress. After that, Scott took me for a ride on his new mower.  That was fun! We spent the next hour or so picking up piles of wood chips that remained from cut-down trees. Thankfully, we were able to call it a day after just a few hours of work (for me, anyway)!

LE Woman
At this rate, I could have this cement removed in about fifty years!

We planned on having just a simple picnic to watch the sunset and enjoy the grounds. Little did I know how wonderful our evening would turn out.  Apparently, God had some more encouragement coming our way.

First, we received a surprise visit from our new neighbors; a beautiful couple with six children.  They brought us a bottle of wine, and we gave them a tour of the house.  They were so impressed (as they had seen it before we started the work).  They gave us so many compliments and even offered to support us in any way they could.

Scott also mentioned that the neighbor on the other side of our house stopped by a few times and offered to help Scott plant bushes to continue a fence-like privacy hedge in the back.  I was grateful to learn that we have good neighbors!

As if the night wasn’t perfect enough it ended with a full-blown firework show from a distance!   I am not kidding.  These were like Fourth of July fireworks with an almost perfect unobstructed view from the grounds.  We couldn’t understand why there was such a spectacle going on during the first 070811_1913~01weekend in May.  Scott even joked about planning it, just to be “romantic”.  We watched them together while eating our hamburgers and hot-dogs (organic hot-dogs that is).  It’s a good thing we didn’t go on the roof to watch them because right before the show had ended, it began to rain.  It was time to go.

On the drive home, I thanked God for providing such a beautiful evening at the house.  We both felt encouraged and grateful.   I hope you enjoy these pictures I took on Saturday.  May you be reminded of God’s encouragement all around us!

LE Woman
Here is a picture taken from the West side of the House. The sun is beginning to set behind me.
LE Woman
Here is a picture of the West Side of the House taken from close to the Street. You can see the newly painted red shed. Where those trees are up ahead will be an oversized hammock for two!
LE Woman
I love how quiet the street is, although we understand that it’s imperative to be mindful of deer!
LE Woman
This is the Old Stone Building (Ice House) and privy which shall be fixed up to be a little play house (Called Sarah’s House, after our niece).
Scott on his new riding mower in front of the shed which will be getting a new roof.
Scott on his new riding mower in front of the shed which will be getting a new roof.
This is the back yard view of a fence-like border of bushes.  The tree was removed so now we can continue to plant more bushes.
This is the back yard view of a fence-like border of bushes. The tree was removed so now we can continue to plant more bushes.

I Got EXTRA-Ordinary! LE Woman - Personality Assessment

Foster Care & Family

Have you noticed the popularity of article-posts on Facebook that categorize your personality or assign you with a well-known person, movie character, or color? Some will tell you the state or decade you “belong in” or the actress you emulate. Personally, I think these are fun and somewhat interesting. I did the one that assigned me to the state of Texas. I wasn’t the least bit surprised with the results…especially after providing all the answers about my personality and preferences. I visited Texas about 6 years ago, and I immediately took a liking to the climate, the patriotism, the culture, the landscape, and the Tex Mex Cuisine!  Not to mention, I love the whole rodeo…wearing cowboy boots, etc.  (But, I’m not sure I’d ever want to move there.)

These personality-grouping tests are like a watered-down, light-hearted version, of the critically renowned Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Assessment; an extrapolation of Carl Gustav Jung’s theory first published in his 1921 book “Psychological Types”. Jung theorized and defined four principal psychological functions by which we experience the world: sensation, intuition, feeling, and thinking. Anyone can take the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Assessment on-line, for free.  It takes about 10-15 minutes.

My father-in-law introduced me to the Myers-Briggs Assessment a few weeks ago, and Scott and I both took it and compared results. Naturally, after providing information about our personal preferences and perceptions of the world, we were assigned a fairly accurate summary of our “psychological type”. Being an advocate of self-discovery (since I admit that I am even complex for myself to understand, at times), I can appreciate the relevancy of such assessments and inventories.

I got Introvert-Intuitive-Feeler-Judger; which according to my summary means that I am reflective, independent, imaginative, creative, purposeful, and persistent. I plan ahead for my tomorrow. I allow my heart and common sense to perhaps overshadow “the standard” way in which I treat others. And, I prefer a lifestyle that is orderly, organized, and controlled. Yup, that’s pretty right on!

Interestingly, Scott and I are different in three of the four personality types.   I think this is why we make such a great “team”. Scott was an Extrovert-Sensor-Thinker-Judger. Basically, he is better at thinking in a more practical way. While my ideas may span far beyond our capacity, Scott has a great way of channeling my imagination into practical use.  Since I am the persistent one, I’m good at encouraging him to finish the projects he starts.  Scott is a great sounding board if/when I am dealing with feelings and emotions, as he can help me put things in perspective.   And, even though one would think that I am the extravert and Scott is the introvert, on this particular assessment, the Introvert-Extrovert Classification has nothing to do with “shyness”.  Yes, we are both friendly and social when given the opportunity.   However, I am the Introvert because my ideas and talents reach their potential most often when I am alone, rather than in a crowd.

Interesting, isn’t it? My father-in-law mentioned that our “personality types” might be an asset as we work together on The House on High Street. I think he’s right.

Mind you, these assigned personality types are not random proclamations found in Chinese Fortune Cookies. (I wouldn’t be wasting my time writing about that.) This is a scientifically researched assessment, in which you provide all the information (there is no right or wrong answer). From there you are assigned a general attribute or “type” based solely upon your recorded personal preferences and perceptions of the world around you. For those of us who have administrative experience, a test like this may prove to be advantageous in the hiring process if the job description requires a specific type of personality or talent. There are many other uses and advantages of this type of assessment, as well.

When I was a classroom teacher, I would give my students personal inventories at the beginning of the school year in order to understand their unique learning style. This helped to make my job (one person educating 25 youngsters) more effective. I would group these students by common characteristics in learning styles and differentiate my instruction, accordingly. (i.e. More hands-on for the tactile/kinesthetic learner; More lecture-format for those with long attention spans and strong auditory-comprehension, etc.)  This kind of differentiated instruction was not only research-based to be effective, but it made my experience in teaching successful.

While personality assessments can be more useful in a practical sense; Facebook Inventory Assignments (i.e. You belong in Texas! You are the color Red! You are Princess Leah!) are just silly and fun. If you haven’t tried any of them, I would recommend the Jung Personality Test, as it is practical, as well as interesting and fun.  (If you do, please provide your feedback in the Comments section, as I would love to see what you think about your results!)


How EXTRA-ordinary are YOU?

So, now I have a different question for you. How EXTRAordinary are you? Do you consider yourself a part of a group? A click? A political party? A belief system? A religion? A Race? That’s all fine and good.  But, have you thought about ways in which you are UNIQUE even from these groups? Do you realize how special you are? Have you figured out what makes you different from everyone else?

A picture of me with my auburn-colored weirdly-wavy hair that mom styled in little pig-tails.  I guess it wasn't that bad.
A picture of me with my auburn-colored weirdly-wavy hair that mom styled in little pig-tails. I guess it wasn’t that bad.

As I often proclaim, NOTHING and I mean ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about my life has turned out standard; At least not to my original expectations.  This could have been devastating to me, as it may be to some.  But, God taught me that “being different” is delightfully precious to Him!   My parents helped in this department, as well.  I remember one morning when I was in Preschool or Kindergarten, and my mom was brushing my hair and putting it in a way I did not prefer.  (I still tease mom that she was so much better at dressing me like a little model over styling my hair!)  Anyway, I remember one time saying to her, “Mom!  I don’t like my hair like this.  NOBODY wears their hair like this!”  And, do you know what she said?  “That’s right, Rachel.  It’s better not to be like everyone else!”  Even though I felt more like “an Odd Ball”, mom taught me that this was and is a very good thing!

Today, I realize how much of an odd-ball I really am!

  • I don’t cook like anyone else.
  • I don’t look like anyone else.
  • I don’t act like anyone else.
  • I don’t dress like anyone else.
  • I don’t have the same life as anyone else.
  • I don’t talk, think, behave, or write like anyone else!

I am far from ordinary. And, so are you. Sometimes, it’s good to remove ourselves from our clicks, our families, our coworkers, our friends, and our social/cultural/socio-economical groups. It helps us to understand more about ourselves.

I learned more about myself after my divorce and during times that Scott and I were apart. Yes, we’ve had times in which we needed time apart. There was so much I still didn’t know about myself, surprisingly even in my mid-thirties!  I know it sounds strange, but think about it. Our world has a detrimental tendency to define us. Relationships from our past that may have stifled us.  Unexpected circumstances, tragedies, sickness, etc.  There are too many variables that threaten to cripple us.  We don’t become robots over-night, but over time we can lose our precious and unique identity.   My friend, please do NOT let this happen to you.  You are far to precious for that.

The most monumental self-discovery times in my life occurred when I was alone.  A-L-O-N-E.  My heart was raw. I was confused.  I was curious.  I was broken.  I was needy. I was ready.  And, I began searching.  I asked God to do more than just “be in my life”. I asked Him to make me into the woman He intended for me to be! Little did I realize how drastic my life would change (and yes, even through sickness God worked out His plan). But, today I KNOW that I am far from ordinary in God’s eyes. I stand out to Him. And you do, too! If you don’t believe me, challenge yourself to do something really extraordinary…

Visit a new church. Introduce yourself to someone very different from yourself. Make up a new hairstyle, recipe, or tradition! Wear white before Memorial Day! Have lunch with a coworker that is not part of your click. Do something that surprises others. Speak the name of Jesus in front of people. Don’t hold back! Ask a burning question.  Ask God to work through you and give you the courage to unveil your specialized and unique potential.

You are as extraordinary as you choose to be. Now, repeat this after me…

I am EXTRAordinary.  I am special and unique in God’s eyes, and my life will stand out from the rest!

EXTRA Ordinarily Yours



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