And I like it.

Thirty-two years ago, I entered this world via C-section with my umbilical cord wrapped around my neck. Dramatic, isn't it? 

While I'd like to think the rest of my life hasn't been full of drama, I have to acknowledge that some things haven't gone as planned. There have been high highs and low lows, but overall, I am incredibly blessed to have the life I have.

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An Open Letter to Fear.

Dear Fear: You’re tricky, but I guess you already know that.

You leave me alone when I should actually be fearful – I am seemingly fearless when entering a new city on my own, moving across the world. I don’t feel you when I make a public speech, go in for an interview, and I even have no fear of dying as many do. I try to live my life one day at a time, not being anxious or fearful of what tomorrow will hold. And for the most part that works.

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Rachel's Favorite Christmas Songs

So, many of you may know that I love (love, love) Christmas music. I allow myself to listen to it for a week in July and I usually begin listening to for reals in October. I completely ignore that whole 'after Thanksgiving' nonsense. Anyway, for this, the week of Christmas, I decided to share with you some of my favorites. These aren't in any particular order.

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So what is it?

As I'm sure you've all been waiting with bated breath as to what 89.83 (from my previous post) could possibly mean, I'll tell you. Sorry to say, my faithful readers, all were incorrect. But, here's what you offered:

  • Dollar to Euro exchange rate -- currently it's at 0.81, so that was a good guess. It'd be grand if it went up to 0.89, though!
  • Something having to do with the year I was born (1983) -- this is actually along the right lines
  • Two votes for the cost of my ticket home -- wouldn't know, because I haven't booked it yet!
  • How much I've earned with my new business, RVP Career Services. -- Thankfully, I've earned a little more than that.
  • My favorite radio station. -- it is the station that's on in the shop every once in a while, but still not correct.

Before I tell the answer, I've been thinking.

About life.

Considering I've having remarkable changes in my life in the last year, thoughts on life--and how quickly it can be turned upside down!--creep into my thoughts often. Mainly the question is

what am I doing with my life?

This isn't said in a tone of defeat, like 'ugh, what am I doing with my life?!', or as a parent yells to an adult child who doesn't want to leave the house 'What Are You Doing With Your Life?!' (code for, when are you getting out of my basement?!) but more out of gentleness and curiosity. It's a legitimate question. What will my day look like? Week? Month? Year? Life? What will those periods of time say about me and what I'm doing with my life?

My time back in Ireland hasn't always been a walk in a lush, green, meadow. There have been some piles of cow poop left, some of which I've leapt over, but some of it I've stepped right in. It's been a much bigger adjustment this time around than I was expecting. And there have been a few times when I've questioned my coming back. But again, and again, I feel I have been confirmed in my work here in Ireland and my decision to pursue freelance writing (and my new venture) while traveling. But there's a grit to it too. It's real life now. My last stint in Ireland had a definite end date. Does this stint? Well, technically, it's 02 September 2015 when my visa runs out, but what's beyond that?

What am I doing with my life?

Honestly, I have no idea. While my answer to that question isn't a neatly laid out plan, I have a peace with that too. I'm holding it with open hands for God to do with as he wishes. Something I try to do with every day... even the crappy ones.

'But, Rachel,' you're saying, 'what in the world does this have to do with the number, 89.83?! Stop beating around the bush and just say it.'

All right. All right.

It's silly, really.

It's my (supposed) life expectancy.

Yep, this here gal, if all goes as expected (according to the all-knowledgeable interwebs) will live to the ripe old age of 89, plus some change.

Now, now, I know this is completely silly. There are other factors in play beyond my ability to refuse smoking, to wear my seatbelt, and not speed (too much), but according to the test I took, I have hopes of living well into my 80s, and if time is really good, even up to my late 90s (there's a 25% chance of that!).

However, thinking about the fact that I'm 31.5 now, that means I have approximately 58 years of life left.

So, what am I doing with my life? What will I do with my (supposed) remaining 50+ years?

But then, I think back on my life and question, why even go as far as 50 years? God only knows (literally) how long I'll be walking in the meadows (and dodging cow poop), so why not ask myself this question every day? Every single day. Or more importantly, ask, what is God doing with my life? He's the only one who really knows anyway, right?

I know this is silly because no life expectancy test/quiz/survey could have expected the death of my dad at 48. Or my stepdad at 57. Or that my grandpa is still going strong at 95. I can't live (well, none of us can, can we?) using this number as a countdown.

So yes the number 89.83 is arbitrary, but it did get me thinking.

How am I living my life today?

If you're at all interested, here's the test I took: How Long Will I Live?

Comment with your life expectancy and let's find out who will kick the bucket first!! Or find out the number and ask yourself how you'll be living your every day.




I was going to write a post that explains the meaning of the number in the title, but it wasn't coming together well. So, I decided to have my few faithful readers guess.

What is 89.83?

Comment, if you want. Either way, I'll try to explain eloquently what it is in next week's post.

In the meantime, here are some pics from the week!


I don't have any pictures of it, but I did have a lovely Thanksgiving meal on Thursday. I had some turkey, but the pork was even better! When it's home grown and is literally farm to table, it tastes pretty good!

Christmas is in full swing here (as I'm guessing it is in the States too now), so a lot of my pics have to do with the impending holiday.

IMG_5822 IMG_5823 IMG_5824  IMG_5831 IMG_5832  IMG_5835

And, my obligatory, St. Fin Barre's Cathedral shot. I pass this every day on my way to the city, and I don't get sick of staring at it! I'm usually not a 'cathedral' person, but this one just puts me in awe.



Have a great week, everyone!


These Boots

I went to a short little creative writing session this weekend and the leader asked us to write about shoes. It was amazing what each person wrote about the humble topic of those things on our feet. I did enjoy the exercise and thought I'd share what I wrote (we had about 20 min to write, so it's not perfect and I haven't edited it at all). These Boots

They've seen the world -- explored the hills of Germany, and the valleys of Spain. Walked the rainy streets of Seattle and the even more rainy lanes of Ireland.

They've seen the world, so they may have some wrinkles, creases, and scratches, but those only give them character. They're wise beyond their years.

They are purposefully not fancy or flashy; they're plain, but stylish. They realize they don't need to showcase what's on the outside by screaming for attention. Instead they know it's quality that matters -- strong leather that ages well and looks better the more adventures it experiences.

They've walked through the muck, but have done so with grace and integrity. Always ready to be wiped off and onto the next adventure.

They've been torn apart, but expertly reworked, resoled, and cobbled by a gentle, loving Cobbler who knew just what He was doing.

The best thing about these boots though, is that they aren't afraid to walk through the muck, to take the path less travelled, to experience the tears, scrapes, or even having the bottom ripped out of them. They're not afraid of it because they've been through it before and they've made it through that experience too. They'll chock it up to experience, pick themselves up, wipe off the dirt, buff out the scrapes and go at it again.

They realize that life isn't anything if not one giant adventure. And these boots are up for the challenge.

This, of course, turned into a metaphor about myself, so if you want to know how I see (and feel about) myself, just substitute I and me (or the correct pronoun) where appropriate, and there you have it.

So, on that note -- here's what these 'boots' have been this week ... (quick note -- in the age of instagram and filters, none of these pics have been edited, or even cropped. Just straight off the iphone. I'm not sure if that matters or anything, but in case it does, now you know.)

The River Lee Christmas in Cork river lee IMG_5771 IMG_5770 IMG_5769 IMG_5767 river lee  IMG_5796 IMG_5791 IMG_5789 IMG_5785 IMG_5784 IMG_5783 IMG_5782


And ... my boots...



Just a couple notes: The picture of the pie is actually Sticky Toffee Pavlova, and it is one of the best things I've ever eaten. I was in a complete sugar coma afterwards, but totally worth it. The beach pics are from Garryvoe Beach where I had some work to do for the shop. During a break, I took a walk on the beach... what a gorgeous day!


Now if you've read this far -- I'll note that as I wrote the title of this post, I thought of this song by one of the few country artists I like.

5 posts

I signed in to my web site and realized that I had only posted five posts (5!) since the end of June. What?! How is that even possible? I need want to update more, so I'm striving to update at least once a week, even if it's just some pictures. So, along that thread, below are some pictures from my phone (nothing fancy here).

This has been an 'alone' week. It's not necessarily a bad thing, but my people interaction has been kind of slim. I had Sunday through Wednesday off from the shops, so I got some work done, and went to the library to work in order to get out of the house. Then I took a bus to Killarney on Wednesday in order to work in that shop for Thursday through Saturday. I'm staying at my friend Beth's place while she's selling at a conference in Cork. So, I'm in the shop on my own, and then head home to her cottage. (Hence the last picture of this post.)

Here's the thing -- any personality test I take that ranks whether I'm an introvert or an extrovert, I'm always (al.ways.) 50/50. Or maybe 49/51. I'm straight down the middle with being an introvert and an extrovert. My family (especially my extended family) may find this inaccurate as I've always been known as the 'shy' one. But it is true. I'm equal parts introvert and extrovert, so a week of being alone isn't a bad thing for me. but my extrovert is rearing up to get out, so I'm hoping I'll have a little more human interaction in the next couple days otherwise this week may go from an 'alone' week to a 'lonely' week, which is a completely different beast.

Anyway, enough with this personality/feelings stuff! Here are some pictures! Again, these are just iPhone shots, with no editing (unless there's a filter from Instagram) or anything... Just a little view into my week.

On the bus to Killarney. I had fallen asleep on the bus and woke up just in time to see this:


Killarney is getting ready for Christmas! (and there's a rainbow!)


Cherry House in Killarney National Park:


The shop is all ready for Christmas... I'm loving it!


A night in... I'm filling in for Beth in our Killarney shop for a couple days, so I living in her little cottage... a great night in -- wine, Gilmore Girls, a fire, and some work. Not a bad way to spend an evening.


Until next time...