Continuation of Favorite Christmas Traditions

Hallelujah!!! It’s done!!! School is officially out for Christmas break, and my finals are done, a thing of the past. A huge weight has slid off my shoulders. Now it’s time to relax and spend time with my friends and family for the next 2.5 weeks.

I’m already starting in with the annual Christmas traditions. Tomorrow I’m heading over to my aunt and uncle’s house to decorate Christmas cookies and watch the movie Elf. I’ll probably only make 7 or 8 cookies cause we go all out and make our designs very detailed and intricate. All of us cousins will be fighting to hold baby Etta for as long as possible (already I can tell she is going to be one loved and spoiled little girl!). I’m so excited to get to spend some quality time with my favorite cousins without having to worry about school or studying.

Christmas is just around the corner, but I’m just as excited for Christmas Eve. In the afternoon, we will go to church (my favorite service: it’s with candles and carols), then head to my grandparents cabin in the mountains. The evening will be filled with soup, cinnamon rolls, laughter, and presents. It’s the first time that all of the family will be together at the cabin to celebrate.

The next morning, I’ll open presents along with my brother and parents. We hang out, then the other side of my family will come over for MORE presents, food, and fun. We will just play games all afternoon then watch a new movie that evening.

All in all, it’s a great way to celebrate the birth of our Savior. However, I have to remind myself not to get caught up in the fun and forget the reason for the season.

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas. May God bless you and your family as you relax and enjoy the season. Merry Christmas!!!

God bless,

Rachel C.

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The Universal Sin

Here’s a good riddle: This is my constant companion and bitter enemy. It is my motivator and reason for sleep deprivation. It’s my migraine-inducer and energy booster. But most of all, it’s the sin I struggle most with. What is it? Stress!

Yes, you heard me right: stress is a sin. But let me qualify that statement. A little stress, some worry here and there is actually a good thing. It motivates you and makes you get things done. But when stress comes in large quantities, it’s not so good.

As I mentioned earlier, stress causes many physical symptoms, of which I’m sure everyone has experienced at some time or another. Stress is basically worry, and comes in many forms. However, as I’m learning, worry is a lack of trust in God. When I stress out over finals and worry about my grades, I’m telling God that I don’t think he is powerful enough to have a plan for me.

My stresses are actually pretty minor: will I get an A on my next Calculus test, can I find the perfect Christmas present for my friends and family and so on. Many people stress about if they will be able to eat dinner tonight, or find somewhere dry to sleep.

At the end of Matthew chapter six, and especially Matthew 6:25-27, he addresses worry. “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?”

Verse 27 really hits home for me. Studies show that a huge percent of what we worry about NEVER happens! How crazy is that? There is no point in stressing out because 1) it won’t even happen, or 2) it won’t make your life longer, and 3) it actually shortens your life.

So here is my plan for the rest of this year. I’m going to try to be aware of my stress levels and try to lower them. If I can focus on God, glorifying him and trusting in his perfect will, I will be too busy to stress.

If you have any other ideas and methods to relieve stress, please let me know! I need all the help I can get.

God bless,

Rachel C.

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It’s Sneaking Up…The Dreaded Finals Week

Uhhhh…I can hear the groans of millions and millions of high school and college age students as they begin to prepare for finals week. It’s when students band together and become a collective unit, thinking only on the horrors that will befall them the week before Christmas break begins. It’s the only thing that stands between us and several long, relaxing, completely school free weeks. And it’s taking over our lives. Preparations started a week or so ago, when students first realized how quickly finals were approaching. And soon after that it dawned on us how much finals will affect our semester grade.

For someone like me, I have good grades, and don’t have to worry about most of my finals. But does that stop me? No! Every free second is spent stressing, even over things I don’t need to worry about. But there are a few classes in which my stress is justified. AP Calculus, for example. As the name suggests, it is a difficult class. But because of my math brain, I am doing pretty well, except for the few simple mistakes I always make. In order to get an A in the class, I have to do well on the last test. Luckily, our final isn’t a true, cumulative final. Instead, it’s just a chapter test that means no more than any other test.

I’m also a little nervous about my AP Chemistry final. Thankfully, my teacher is allowing us to do test corrections, which will help me get a better grade.

In my next post (hopefully this weekend) I’ll write more about how stress affects my spiritual life.

God bless,

Rachel C.

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A Miracle of Life

The entire last week, I’ve been on edge, desperately checking my phone every time it buzzed. Why, you ask? My cousin Lindsey was pregnant and due on Friday, Nov 30. Linds is 22, so quite a bit older than me, but we are very close. Naturally, I was psyched when she and her husband Brandyn told us they were pregnant. For months and months we have been planning and discussing the baby and how excited we all were. In August, they found out the baby was a girl, but decided not to tell the rest of the family her name. Going into last week, I had been ready to zip over to the hospital the minute she went into labor.

On Thursday night after my volleyball practice, my mom texted me saying Lindsey’s water had broken. As soon as I got home, we headed over to the hospital. Linds, her sister, Erin, their mom, and some friends were in the room just keeping her company. My family did the same, and stayed from about 10:15-11:30. Then we went home and got some sleep. I went to school the next morning ready to leave any moment. And sure enough, during second period, my mom texted me and we headed to the hospital. There were even more people in the room! Thankfully, Linds wasn’t in pain because she had taken an epidural. About 20 minutes later, the doctor came in and said it was time to push. She got all set up, and after only a few pushes, the baby slid right out. It was a miracle like nothing I’ve ever seen before. I was absolutely astounded and amazed at the miracle I had seen. Everyone was in tears and hugging each other. The nurses cleaned the baby up and handed her to the proud new mom. Linds then told us the name: Loretta Carolynn, named for Lindsey’s great-grandma and Brandyn’s great-grandma. She is just the most adorable thing I’ve ever seen. Every part of her is miniature, perfectly created by God. I am so thankful both mom and baby were fine after the birth.

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Right now all I can think about is baby Etta. While I’m technically her first cousin once removed, I’m going to go by Aunt Rachel. I know I will get to spend lots of time with her during this Christmas season.

By the way, I’m going to apologize right now to any of you who know me well. I’m sure I will talk more about Etta than you care to know, but I’m just so excited I can’t help it.

God bless,

Rachel C.

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Me and My AP Chemistry Nerdiness!

I’m just gonna put it out there: I’m in AP Chemistry (one of the most difficult AP classes at my high school), and I love it! One of my best friends, Ashley, is in it too, and she feels the same way. Just last week, we spent an hour and a half trying to figure out the calculations for our latest experiment and lab writeup. And the funny part? We basically jumped up and down when we finally got the numbers we were looking for! How’s that for being a chemistry nerd! 🙂 I’ve also spent about 40 hours doing homework (our computer program keeps track), and I still love that class! How crazy is that!

In fact, Ashley and I are now at the point where we are laughing at chemistry jokes…and even making them! My favorite has to do with entropy, which is disorder and randomness. In class last week, it all of a sudden occurred to us that we aren’t getting old; we are just becoming more random…entropy-ing! I’m sure that’s not very funny to any non-chemistry lover, but to us, it was hilarious! For another good chem story, head over to see Ashley’s post on this topic.

On another note, it can sometimes be difficult to love chemistry and science like I do. Scientists are constantly trying (key word: trying) to explain mysteries with science and rational explanations. However, I know that sometimes the only explanation is one that people don’t like to hear: God. As creator of the universe, from the galaxies down to the smallest insect, God doesn’t have to explain himself to us, his creation. Oftentimes, though, he does. I do know that life didn’t suddenly happen with a big bang (which by the way, is only a theory, and unfortunately too many kids are being taught it is reality). God lovingly created everything, as detailed in the beginning of the book of Genesis. I’ll probably continue talking about this in my next post.

God bless,

Rachel C.

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Volunteering

Pretty much everybody in high school knows they have to volunteer at some point or another. And usually more than once–especially if they are part of honor societies that require hours.

Last week, I decided to volunteer at a CSU volleyball game at the concessions stand. The Leukemia and Lymphoma Foundation benefited from the proceeds. I was there from 5pm until 10pm: a very long night. I ended up being in charge of the nachos, coffee,and hot chocolate machine. After the game I got stuck doing dishes, which took FOREVER! Ashley came along to help me part way through, which was amazing. By the time we were done, we were pretty much soaking wet and delirious. We had accidentally flooded part of the room and were having fun watching the drain almost overflow, then not, almost, then not.

I’m also planning to volunteer either at the chemical engineering lab at CSU or help teach classes at the new Museum of Discovery. Both of these would give me hours and good experience. The real problem is finding time to volunteer. I am a very busy person, so I am lucky to find time.

God bless,

Rachel C.

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Halloween!

Emily, Lisa, Rachel, Ashley, Carole, Annika, and Rachel

I’m sure most people reading this have gone trick-or-treating at some point in their lives. In fact, many teens continue to go out even as high-schoolers. I can remember being SOOO excited for Oct. 31st. In fact, my brother and I started counting down the days once Oct. started. We have a little stand that is a chalkboard held by some cute monsters. Mitch and I would trade off getting to change the number on the board. It started at 28…27…26…all the way down to 3…2…1…HALLOWEEN!!! For the past 4 years or so, my family has dressed up as zombies and performed the Thriller by MJ for trick-or-treaters in our neighborhood. This year, I finally got around to teaching some of my friends. So on Halloween, we put on our costumes and make-up and headed onto the streets. Our group was made up of 6 of my friends, my parents, and me. We had so much fun and did really well, despite our relative lack of experience. As seen in the picture, we made a sign saying “We thrill for candy.” It actually worked well, because we filled our entire bowl. And someone even gave us a five dollar bill!

Many Christians don’t celebrate Halloween because it was originally a pagan holiday. My family, however, still has fun on the 31st. For us, the purpose of the night is to enjoy ourselves and get to dress up in silly or scary costumes. I think Halloween is fine, as long as it stays safe and meant for children.
I’d love to hear any of your thoughts on Halloween!

God bless,

Rachel C.

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