Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Looking back at 2013!

 Last year, on this day, I got a text from one of my best friends, Miriam: "Yes I know. We've been praying a lot about that (me visiting them in the Summer) too and looking forward to when God says 'It's time!' One day we will get to work together, like a way long time. :) I really love you, Rachie!"

Who would have EVER guessed all that God would do in 2013?!

Let's just say that 2013 did not begin in a very hopeful way. Along with all the difficulties of wondering where I should be, etc...the year started off with the realization of Anna needing a second skin graft surgery on January 9th. All the difficulties of watching her go through so much discomfort and questioning...it was almost too much to handle, BUT God helped us through. Each day, each hour, He gave us the grace and strength to keep going. 

Anna's birthday froyo! :)

A few journal entries:
January 9, 2013 : "Also to have lots of text messages and comments on FB statuses...we are so blessed and loved. It's going to be an interesting next few weeks. Lord, please sustain us."

January 10, 2013: "Wondering what God is preparing us for?"

January 11, 2013: "I think God truly is taking me to a place of greater, deeper surrender. [..] God knows exactly what I need to be doing. Perhaps this is exactly it. 'For such a time as this'?"

January 17, 2013: "God is doing something good in our family. I know it. Although I don't know what--He will be faithful to complete the work He started. Now matter how hard--it will come to an end. I don't know what 2013 holds, but God does. He will work everything out for my good."

(Anna recovered slowly, but surely! yay! We are so thankful that this Christmas did not involve any trips to the hospital!) 

goodbye party.

  • Mom & Dad celebrated 30 years of marriage.
  • Anna was able to sit, walk, stand normally, etc... Things we take for granted became blessings!
  • Anna and I took a trip up to Mass. to say goodbye to our friend who joined the army.
  • Anna turned 20! 
  • I was a bridesmaid in three weddings.
  • We stayed a week at the cabin! (I drove a jetski for the first time!)
  • We went to PEI for a 10 day vacation! (and got to meet new baby Hope!)
  • Char turned 13! *sob*
  • The SKY family came for two, week long visits (one in April and one in September!) 
  • God released me to go back to PEI to work with them. :) :) 
one of the many weddings this year!

more journal entries:
January 26, 2013: "Out of the blue, dad says to me that he thinks I should go back to Canada [um, beg your pardon?

March 25, 2013: " Everything is changing. I wonder what will be next, though I dare not ask."

April 24, 2013: "When I got home I told mom, "I want to work with the SKYS." She replied, "Duh!" I laughed. I told her it just felt like home. [...] it was one of those stomach-clenches-up-in-excitement-is-this-really-happening kind of moments."

August 12, 2013: "If God calls, I must respond. It is my duty and joy to obey. It's not my call. It's not up to me to ask questions."

On October 5, 2013 I left my home to go to where God called me. It wasn't easy BUT it was a time of great JOY! :) God did it, utterly and completely, in such a way that I could never doubt it was Him! We had an incredibly blessed semester, and I'm looking forward to returning next week.

me and hope :)

All in all, 2013 was full of unexpected trials and surprises. I am so so so blessed by all that God accomplished and look forward to all His good plans and purposes coming to pass in 2014.

H A P P Y  N E W  Y E A R!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

old friends

I would like you to meet some of my old friends. Two weeks ago we were reunited. It had been at least three years since all of us were together. 

The only reason we know each other is because we were had two major things in common: we were we loved Jesus AND we were homeschooled. That was around late middle school/early high school age. (Being a homeschooler is hard because you never actually know what grade you are in. haha!) Back then, we were the closest of friends. We knew each other so well...every secret. every pet peeve. all the favorites. you name it. we were as close as close can be. We called ourselves "The Sixta chicks" (a combination of "sistah" and "six" because there was six of us. Corny, I know!) when we first started, but expanded into a group of at least eight or nine over time.

All the memories seem like so long ago, and at the same time, as if no time has passed at all. 

Since those early beginnings, so much has changed. We have traveled to so many places. We have seen hard things. One is married. Two are in serious relationships. One lives overseas. One is starting her own business. Another is a chef. Yet, here we are, together again. It was really special to reconnect after such a long time. We laughed OH so hard at how incredibly...awkward... we all used to be. We remembered how good we were for each other, and how we encouraged one another in the Lord.

I wouldn't have made it through High school & college with these girls. It's pretty special. 

Amazingly enough, most of us are back in the same area again. Out goal is to meet up once a month to reconnect. It's pretty exciting!

Taken on H's iPhone. :) We are missing two girls that night. :(

Thursday, August 29, 2013

A Cabbage Patch Doll in A Barbie World

(I wrote this almost two months ago and just found it again. Just thought I would share it...)

"Charm is *deceitful* and beauty is vain, 
But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised."
Proverbs 31:30

I've grown up with comments like:
 "You have so much going for you, if you could just lose some weight.
"Just try not to gain anymore weight, okay?"
"You ARE a large lady."
"Well, guys do like slim girls..."

People constantly trying to give me "subtle" diet hints, exercise tips, fitness app ideas, calorie counting, and the list goes on...

I've been larger than most girls my age since I was 12, probably even younger. It's only been in the past few years that I have felt like people watch me and judge me based on my appearance. However true or untrue that may be, the side glances and sometimes biting remarks make it seem like everyone is watching. I'm not unaware that I've got a little more to love. The truth is--I eat less than my friends eat, I love fruits and vegetables, and I basically only drink water (ever).

t h e r e  m u s t  b e  s o m e t h i n g  w r o n g  w i t h  m e,  r i g h t ?

If I don't look like other girls, how can I fit in? How will anyone ever think I'm beautiful? How would any guy ever want to marry me? etc...

One dear lady that I respect greatly, after praying for me, and even praying with me for a husband (it was so sweet) then proceeded to give me a talk about dieting, special meal replacement shakes, etc... What I didn't realize was how much that affected me! Thus started a year of lots of exercising and even healthier eating. I took up running (who am I kidding? You don't just "take up" running. It was hard work.), started counting calories, and ate smoothies for breakfast. Yes, I became one of "those" people. haha. I felt great. I lost 18 pounds. Then, something unexpected happened.

I got pneumonia--badly--for a month.
Bye bye running. Bye bye eating regime. Hello just trying to get better.

One thing after another (sickness, Anna's injuries & surgeries, etc..) and I still wasn't back to running. It finally hit me one day this Spring, while taking a walk with a friend, "I've been trying to lose weight to gain the approval of others. In essence, so that someone will want to marry me." Was it beneficial to my health, yes! However,  in the midst of all that striving after what the world sees as beautiful, guess what was forgotten in my life: God and time in His Word.

Today I've been thinking about Proverbs 31:30. Another version says, "...Beauty is fleeting..."

Do I really want to lose ground in my relationship with the Lord in order to become "beautiful," find a man, and get married? I'm not saying that marriage is wrong--I want to get married one day. I'm not saying that exercise is wrong--God didn't give us these bodies with lots of muscles to just sit around all day!

My thought is this:
Are we letting the world's definition of beauty shape our thoughts, our habits, and our lives? Maybe even allowing it to come through as a "Christian" viewpoint? Many say we HAVE to be "good stewards of our temples..."

Yes, but what about our souls? If my outward body is in shape but my inward man is wasting away, what good is that doing anyone? It's not doing me any good, that's for sure (or my family either, for that matter). When I'm not spending time with the Lord or in His Word, I'm grumpy, easily irritated, discontented, and the list goes on.

I'm tired of being defined by the world's standard of beauty. There is so much more to life than what size pants I wear or how much (or how little) make up I put on.

Don't let beauty (that is for a moment) distract you from the higher things.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

"she does not eat the bread of idleness"

Meet my little sister, Anna. I call her Nan.
She's one of my best friends...
Yet we're so different. 

I'm the drama queen. She's the peacemaker.
I give answers quickly. She answers with much thought.
I'm cautious. She loves to take chances.
I'm extroverted. She's introverted.

I'm her biggest fan when it comes to humor. Her jokes make me laugh uproariously. (even the dumb ones)
*We're talking about the knee slapping, mouth wide open, stomach aching, and no air left to breathe type of laughing.*

We love to have fun and make our friends and family laugh. We're both incredibly stubborn, yet also people pleasers. We love to sing and go on adventures.
We're also struggling through a slight addiction to graham crackers at the moment. ;) 

^ that's me. that's her ^

Through the past year and a half, especially, Anna has gone through so much. Sickness, burns, surgeries, health issues, etc... yet, her faith in the Lord has grown stronger. I've decided that I want to be just like her when I grow up. If you don't know her, you should! 
She has a blog of her own. Check it out! Your spirit will be refreshed! Anna's Blog

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Don't Forget...

"Those who sow in tears 
Shall reap with joyful shouting.
He who goes to and fro weeping
Carrying his bag of seed,
Shall indeed come again with a shout of JOY,
Bringing his sheaves with him."

*Psalm 126: 5-6*


Reunion :)

The SKY Family came the second week of April to do some shows in the area. Wow. It was an amazing time. Not only did God bless all of the shows, but He gave us (what I think) was probably the sweetest time of fellowship and laughter together that we've ever had. There really are no words....at all.. God is so good--so faithful... my cup overflows...

Here are some pictures they took and sent to us!

We surprised them at their first concert in VA.

Dinner afterwards. So happy to be together.

Two of my best friends. ever. These girls are gems.
(on the way to Lacrosse for a concert Sunday morning)

At Grandma & Grandaddy's Cabin on the lake!

Hanging out before the last VA concert, after we set up.

Brother and Sister.

Seth and me. being goofy, per usual. 

Our last day together-Hanging out at our favorite Starbucks in C'ville.

We got to visit Grandmother Pat and eat dinner together! So sweet!

EWWA and our essential coolness. (with the tags still on.) HAHA!

Two weeks later we went up to CT to get Anna AND go to a surprise baby shower for Tai (more from that later).
WE got surprised by Chris and Tracy being there. yaay!

Lots of sweet fellowship and sunshine!!

We are so blessed with friends who are like family! There really is nothing quite like it. :)

"All good gifts around us, come from Heaven above. So thank the Lord, yes thank the Lord, for all HIS love" ~Godspell

Thursday, March 21, 2013

My little sister is all grown up

Yesterday was Anna's birthday! We went to lunch with friends (and mom, too, since it is her birthday as well), got free frozen yogurt, went shopping, Skyped with a dear friend, and then dinner at Chipotle with a few of our friends from church!

I can't believe she is TWENTY!!

The splendid vanilla with lemon curd filling cake that our lovely friend, Kait, made for her!

No matter how old she may be, her facial expressions never fail to amuse me!

I love you Anna! You are one of the best friends and sisters a girl could ask for! May this year be a year of jubilee after all the years of hardship, sickness, and trials!

Thursday, February 28, 2013


It's definitely time for an update.

Anna and I went up to New England two weeks ago to say goodbye to my "Twin." We have the same birthday~ March 28th. We went to Bible school together in Canada and everyone referred to us as "the twins." Perhaps it was because we are both extremely goofy, love to make people laugh, and can say the silliest of things. I don't know. Other than that, we both have brown hair and brown eyes. And that is it. Needless to say, when friends/family referred to us as "twins" a general look of confusion would cross people's faces.

Anyways, he was always like a big brother to me, but since we both have come back to our respective homes, we haven't kept up at all. *sad face*

Since our time together, he has joined the Army and will officially go to Basic training tomorrow. When his mom sent out a massive email in January telling everyone of his going away party, Anna and I started praying. We both wanted to go to say goodbye, but we weren't sure about having enough money to go or where she would be in her recovery time.

Well, God is so good and she was feeling great AND He provided for us to go. It was wonderful. We flew into Boston on Valentines Day and spent the weekend with him. The best part--we surprised him. Yay! I love surprises!

All in all, I am so thankful for the opportunity to say goodbye. Also, to see many good friends (and meet new ones). God is so good to us.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

easy for me vs. good for me

"When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win we know

That pain reminds this heart
That this is not, This is not our home"
~Laura Story~

{Anna is up and "at 'em" again! She moved back into her room on Monday night!
You can see the crazed look in our eyes from...being our usual selves! :)}

I need more reminders in my life that THIS is not my home. This earth where sin abounds, where neighbors don't know each other, where everyone is concerned for themselves, and where many children grow up without parents, is only temporary. 

The trials our family went through last year of sickness and Anna's burn/surgery/healing process are truly nothing in comparison to things that so many others go through. Yet, the Lord knows exactly what we need to teach us, shape us, and form our hearts to trust Him and love Him more. 

"My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness" 

This earth is not my home. These trials are temporary. The things that we go through are so God can be glorified through our lives--so others will see Him and all His majesty. The past few weeks were NOT easy--sleepless nights, dying to self, changing plans, etc... {not exactly a thrilling thing for our flesh to go through!} Yet, God was in it. ALL of it. I only pray that His glory, grace, and love were displayed through all of it!

It may not be easy for me, but it is good for me. 

"For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers." 1 Timothy 4:10

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


Update: Anna can officially sit and walk normally now! Yay. Thank you, Jesus! This is just wonderful news. We are rejoicing for her today. It's hard to believe that this is the beginning of the end of this trial.

The past few weeks have been crazy!
(they've been filled with...)
I made this with the Muzy app to remind myself of this grand adventure.
(lots of computer time while waiting for Anna to ask me for things)

a little much needed humor one night.
(loads of silliness with my temporary roommate)

(coffee dates with friends who would listen to me and pray for our family.)
Em & Aim made dinner for us one night. It was incredible.
(lots of sweet visits from friends. we are overwhelmed by the love and support we've had through all of this)

Char made this bow for Anna to use when she is better!
(lots of sister bonding time)

We got to celebrate this pretty gal's 21st birthday with shopping and lunch out.
(lots of visits and support from our family!)

Anna is awesome. She was tired of being in bed all the time so she made this cake for our cousin.
(lots of pudding, cornbread, and even a few cakes have been around. Anna's favorites)

I had a new experience and asked for milk at Starbucks.
(lots of pictures from starbucks)

on the way to see family!
(lots of crazy faces. laughter. intense struggles. prayer.)

FINALLY. cold weather.
(lots and lots of weather!)

Have a lovely Wednesday, y'all!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Update on Anna

Anna went to the doctor on Tuesday! She got a good report--everything is looking like it should! yay! The skin graft is taking. Most of her staples were taken out, so she can move about a little easier now. She can also lay down on her side, instead of just her tummy. yay! She goes back again next Tuesday to get the rest of the staples out. I am hoping that after that she can start sitting down again...or at least walking normally... it would things so much easier for her.

She has been such a trooper. I couldn't ask for a better patient. haha. I am now lovingly referred to as "The night nurse" or "Reggie." Reggie being the most appropriate British name Anna could come up with on the fly for her "butler" *ahem* me. We have had some hilarious times together being roommates again, these past 3 (almost 4) weeks. When you're running on lack of sleep and wake in the middle of the night, well, let's just say that everything is hilarious.

In some ways, I am understanding a teensy bit of what new moms face. Yesterday I thought of posting a status like this "Anna slept the whole night through. yay for sleep! She is also doing really well on tummy time. I mean, pretty consistently for 3 weeks. She also ate really well yesterday....." etc...

Overall, God is sustaining us amazingly. Some days are a lot harder than others, but He gives us the grace to keep going.

We are super blessed by all the love and encouragement we have gotten from family and friends. Last night our Community group gals all came out to our house for our usual Wednesday night meeting so Anna could participate. She went to bed saying, "I am so happy!" That was a blessing!

Thanks for your prayers!

Thankful for a coffee date with a friend last week!
It was such a blessing...and so nice to get out of the house for a bit!


Friday, January 11, 2013

Anna's story

*Anna wrote this as a note on Facebook today! I thought I would just put it here instead of trying to write out the whole story myself. *

"Ok! So I know that a lot of you guys have seen random posts about surgery, skin grafts, hospitals and "thanks for praying"...but don't actually know what's been going on. So this is for those of you whom I have not had a chance to really talk about all the things that have been going on in the Dumaresq home. {AND for the record, I am obviously not a doctor, so some of this is my understanding of what has been going on with my burns.}

The last week of November, I had a toasty and unfriendly run-in with a heating pad. I was using it on the back part of my leg one night and I left it on for too long, therefore giving myself some interesting looking burns. They were not terrible in appearance, and so we decided to go and see my regular primary care physician. My doctor tried to get me in to see some burn specialists, but believe it or not, there was no place "burn related" that could see me immediatly (due to the specialty of my burn and because we were approaching Christmas). A week later found my burn infected, and after a lot more scrambling on my doctors part, I FINALLY got in to see a plastic surgeon at UVA. We found out that I actually had 3rd degree burns, requiring a skin graft (there wasn't really enough skin to grow back by itself, so it needed help from outside skin sources). I ended up having my first skin graft surgery on Dec. 24th, and fortunatly it was out patient care, so I was home for Christmas. The week following that surgery was one of the hardest weeks, and I know that the enemy was trying to discourage me by every means possible. Because of the location of the burn, I was only able to lay on my stomach or side for 2 weeks, and not able to bend my right leg at all. I was extremely limited in what I could do (even reading was/is hard) and I couldn't sit at all.   

The next week I had a doctors appointment, where I learned that I was going to have ANOTHER surgery, this time using my own skin as the "donor". Because my burn was over a week old, the first skin graft was necessary to get my burn to a place where it would accept my own skin. I had a week of "rest" before the next skin graft, but basically that meant another week on my stomach/side and not going anywhere. God really used this week to restore my strength, for I had not been sleeping well at all due to being uncomfortable or poor circulation in my legs. From the day that the doctor told me I needed another surgery until the day of the surgery, God filled me with strength and hope AND even a little craziness ;). It was actually such a blessing to me...:)On January 9th, I went in for my second surgery at UVA. The surgery went well, and I had some of the nicest nurses/doctors/residents taking care of me. Originally, I was expected to have to stay in the hospital for 4-5 days, but because God answers prayers, they allowed me to go home the day AFTER my surgery! I did have a bit of a rough night that night in the hospital, but overall God blessed me with minimal pain on my burns and the site where they took the skin from. Just for the record, it is possible to travel 30 minutes face down on the front seat...haha! I am currently home now, and am not in too much pain. I will be laying extremely still this week, on my stomach only this time with no sliding my leg at all. I go back to get a checkup next Tuesday, and then we will see what happens next! All I know is that I will not be doing anything that's considered "strenuous" for at least 3-4 more weeks. 

The last 3 weeks have been some of the hardest weeks of my life, yet I am even more confident of God's goodness to me and how much he wants me to believe that He IS good. God has sustained me on my completely worst days, through meltdowns, tears and some really bad pain. He has prompted people to send me encouragement at the perfect time. Every single time. He has sent verses at times where I was fed up, and refreshed my spirit in a way that only He can do.

 All I know is that God is good, and that He tenderly cares for us SO incredibly much! If you are going through a rough time right now, cling to what we know of God's character--He is faithful, he is good, and He is our savior--and Hold on tight! He will not let you down, but will uphold you "so that your youth is renewed like the eagles" (psalm 103:5). Praise God.
~"[...]These have come so that your faith-of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire-may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed." 1 Peter 1:7~
In His Care,

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

What I DID Today:

~I sat in a hospital waiting room with my family for 5 hours. ~

(plus: It helped me catch up on my Bible reading I didn't quite finish last night!)

There is nothing quite like seeing your sweet sister in a hospital bed, post-surgery.
Even though she is fine, my heart just broke.
*I love her so.*

Facebook status updates from today:

2:45 pm:
Just waiting for Anna! She isn't in surgery yet...more updates to follow!
~Reggie (the butler) ;)

4:15 pm:
Anna JUST went into the operating room about 5 or so minutes ago! #familybondingtime #updatesfromreggie ;)

Anna is doing fine! We got to see her after surgery and walk to her room. She wasn't experiencing any pain at that point--just groggy from anesthesia. Praise God! Mom is staying overnight tonight. (I just walked in the door to home!) now going to eat!!!! :) #updatesfromreggie

Needless to say, It's been an interesting past two weeks...and will continue to be so for the upcoming two weeks. More updates to come regarding this situation!

Thank you everyone who has been praying for us!