Come As You Are

I have a dream.

I dream of a world where human beings are not defined by their gender.

There I said it.

Feels good to get that out. I get in trouble a lot for saying these things. I actually have been randomly receiving a lot of hate for BEING a feminist. There is this “anti-feminist” movement online that has been following me pretty aggressively and, as you can see by their title, they are “anti-ME.”

That hurts.

I know it shouldn’t but…

I mean come on! It’s not ok to be a part of a group that is anti or against a group of human beings. As a feminist, I am a human being and I am not against a group of other human beings. Contrary to “anti-feminist” rhetoric, feminists don’t hate men. That’s absurd. I am married to a man and I made a son. I love these men. I would give my life up for them without hesitation. It wouldn’t even occur to me to pile up men into a group and then express hatred toward that group; that has a very nazi prison camp feel to me. Nazis hate a big group of people, too. The KKK hates a big group of people. Anti-feminists hate a big group of people. That’s unsettling.

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Took my son to the park this weekend and posted this picture of us on Instagram. This is the comment I provoke:

“Feminism is a sign of being weak. Your weakness will be used against you. You have been selected to be on trial of committing acts of treason if found guilty your instagram account will be band {ha ha} by reports of over 300 jurors in our internet trial court.”

I added the “ha ha” to the quote above because I think nafu_1st_ar meant to say “banned” instead of “band.”  Not because I am in any way laughing at the person who uses a nazi flag for their profile pic. That’s not funny.

I am going to be me no matter what. Even if your end game is to line up all feminists into a gas chamber, I won’t betray who I am. I am GRATEFUL to the feminists (men and women) who fought for my RIGHT to vote from 1777-1920. I will continue to express gratitude for that. Many lives were lost so that women could vote and I am grateful. If you think that I should die for that, bring it. Until then, as a sociologist and lawyer, I will use all my resources to undo the legal mess that took place between 1777-2014 as a result of REAL OPPRESSION. If you want to stop me, good luck. I don’t hate you. I’m not against human beings.

Come as you are.

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But don’t bring me your hate, I won’t carry that weight.

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SERIOUSLY.

Instead of coming onto my page and muddying up beautiful family time park pictures, explaining how I am “weak,” just keep moving along, you don’t have to bother with me.  Obviously, if I’m so “weak,” right?  What’s the point?

LOVE always wins.

XO

~Rachel

An INFJ / Empath goes to the Park

 

What’s it like to be an empath?

 

No one has ever asked me.

 

 

em·path
ˈempaTH/
noun
a person with the paranormal ability to apprehend the mental or emotional state of another individual.

 

 

Whoa–that’s interesting…then what’s it like to be an INFJ / empath???

 

Wow, another great question I have never been asked before…

 

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This Haiku/Meme I made and included in my previous blog post is probably only understandable if you are an empath/INFJ, so I will explain the answer to this long overdue question with an example from this weekend:

 

Weekends are for family time. My husband and I took our toddler to the Paseos Park on Saturday for a change of pace and to check out the cool water feature. Ah, leaving the house…here we go…

 

The moment we approached the water area, my emotional space was invaded by a little boy of about 9 years old. He was running with his 3 little friends, slipped on the water and hit his head HARD on the concrete right at my feet. 

 

The sound his head made…a human being should not hit their head that hard.

 

The moment he fell it was like he physically jumped inside my body and I felt his fear, his confusion and his pain. My eyes went WILD, scanning the park for his mother, his father, someone who looked startled that he had fallen. No one would look at me. His three friends stared at him wide eyed as he slowly got up, in a daze and put his pudgy little hand to his head. I already knew what would happen and it was painful to watch. The little boy fought a difficult inner battle and lost to his tears; he was disappointed in himself for breaking down and crying.

 

About three seconds had gone by and that was way too long for me. I reached my arms out to the wet, topless, unknown 9 year old boy and said, “come here, sweetie.” 

 

That’s right, I hugged a stranger–a wet, topless stranger.  I mentioned in one of my YouTube videos that I am empathetic and will hold anyone’s hand who needs it. Well, when it comes to children, I up the ante and will hold you to my bosom.

 

He didn’t even fight it. He allowed me to gently pull him in, place his injured head against my chest and rub/pat combo his naked wet back while I told him: “I am so sorry that happened to you, you hit your head really hard and I’m so sorry that happened to you.”

 

While I did this, I continued to scan the f***ing park for his parents. No one will look at me. One of the boy’s three friends, the smallest one, finally asks: “should I get his dad?”

 

YES! I say way too exasperatedly to the small child, like what is wrong with you?!  

 

That child never comes back and eventually the little boy pulls out of my hug and goes to sit down. In the middle of the water park. Alone. 

 

I go over to a park bench. EXHAUSTED. My son, stands in between my legs resting his head on my right knee, hugging my leg, looks up at me and says “I love my mommy.”

 

I can see it in his eyes, my son really loves me. 

 

I pick my boy up for a big hug and kiss and tell him his mantra; the one I tell him at least 100 times per day:

 

I love you, Jackson, you are my son, I am your mommy, I take care of you, you are a good boy, kind, smart, angel I love you.

 

My son repeats these words back to me as I whisper them into his ear, all the while I am staring at the little tear-stained 9 year old boy all by himself in the middle of the water park and wondering why why why why WHY has no one come for him?

 

It gets worse.

 

As I sit on the bench, my husband and son venture into the water area and play for about 15 minutes. I am still scanning with my wild eyes for this boy’s guardians when a very large professional bouncer type guy walks by me super close. So close, I thought he was going to talk to me, but he didn’t even look at me. Instead, he very slowly walked toward the injured boy, his son, and sat down next to him WITHOUT MAKING EYE CONTACT. You better believe I watched the whole exchange–I felt it. The huge man sat down next to the tear stained boy and did not look at him. The little boy did not speak. At all. Still, without looking, the huge man extended his fist toward the little boy, who very quickly returned the fist bump to his father. 

 

That’s it. The huge man then got up and walked away. No conversation, no examination of injury, no eye contact, no body scan, no hug, no kiss, no I love you. The little boy had snot running down his nose and began to gather it in both hands. That got his Dad’s attention: “GO TO THE BATHROOM AND CLEAN YOURSELF UP,” his huge voice boomed from 10 feet away. Without looking back, the boy slowly walked toward the bathrooms with his head down. His injured head. 

 

The huge man then walked super close to me AGAIN and did not look at me. He was about to walk over to the pavilion he came from when my husband, god bless him, very kindly advised: “your son took a pretty bad fall, hit his head pretty hard.”

 

“I saw…my younger son is tougher.”

 

My sweet husband then took our son’s hand and walked away.

 

He knew. He saw the whole thing. He was sitting 20 feet away from his son, saw his son fall, saw a strange woman hold and comfort his own son and just sat there. I wonder if my hugging the boy angered his father somehow, violated some masculine rules of their household. That would explain walking SUPER close to me twice and NOT looking at me (that’s weird!). It was ok for the huge man to speak to my husband, but he had no intention of looking at me, the one who held his wet topless son.

 

Therefore, his son knew. That’s why the little boy didn’t walk 20 feet over to his dad to say: I’m hurt, dad. That little boy knew his dad was aware, knew his dad was not coming and knew that he was in trouble for crying. So he just sat down in the middle of the water park. And broke my heart.

 

NEGLECT

 

Like a lightning bolt–NEGLECT!–this is the word that I feel, see and hear the whole time. I am furious, I truly cannot tolerate child abuse or neglect. 

 

I know, I know…it’s like some kind of cool new parenting trend to let your kids fall down and cry it out without the parents every reacting and what not. Well that’s not what I’m doing in my house. If you get hurt, I acknowledge it. If you are sad, I acknowledge it. Any feeling you have, I acknowledge it. I’m pretty sure that acknowledging reality will translate into a healthy well adjusted adult, as opposed to living in la la land where I don’t see your tears. Mommy cares.

 

Mommy still cares. That incident was two days ago and I still care. I am now burdened with the task of separating out which emotions were really mine and which were the little boy’s. Empath. I am now burdened with the task of making global connections between everything I have ever experienced and what happened at the park. INFJ. Exhausting.

 

Writing this blog has helped. 

 

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XO

~Rachel

 

 

Joan Rivers + Robin Williams = my new angels

 

Ever since Robin Williams went home, I have been thinking about loss (of strangers) like a gain (of angels).

 

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I wrote this haiku for Robin Williams because I was so sad to lose him and suddenly reminded of what he taught me:

 

ROBIN WILLIAMS’ MORK

ALLOWED ME TO BE MYSELF

NEVER FORGET THAT

 

What does that mean? Well, if you’re not INFJ like me and Robin, you probably won’t understand, but I have always felt very much like an alien. Like I’m not supposed to be here. I guess that’s how Robin Williams felt, too.

 

INFJ I see fake people

 

I felt stronger having gained Robin Williams as a guardian angel, like I AM supposed to be here. Yesterday when we lost Joan Rivers, I basically grew a pair of brass balls.

 

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Joan Rivers was not a perfect person, but for me she is a symbol of ferocious tenacity. I was born in 1981 and watched Valerie get replaced by Sandy Duncan on her own show because she dared ask for a raise. I watched Roseanne get crucified for daring to demand she be properly credited as the creator of her own show. I watched very intently to see what happened to women who spoke up. I still do.

 

I very angrily explained to my sweet husband last night that Joan Rivers did have the CLASS to only speak highly of Johnny Carson when she appeared on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon after nearly three decades of being banned from NBC. Johnny Carson was so angry at his protégé for daring to accept the offer of her own show with a different network (after guest appearing on his show for nearly 20 years without being offered her own show by that network) that he BANNED HER from NBC for life and now Jimmy Fallon is some hero for undoing that shortly before Joan Rivers’ death.

 

Hero. A hero to me is someone who will open their mouth and say what is going on regardless of the repercussions. Joan Rivers was not politically correct and she was often TRYING to shock and offend people with her outrageous comedy style, but she said what she felt and that inspires me. Too many girls and women are stifled. Oppression is stifling and often leads to depression. In order to work through my grief, I made a Joan Rivers Tribute YouTube video for my dear friend, Libby Schug. In it you will see a young Joan Rivers do stand up for Johnny Carson, a more seasoned Joan Rivers being interviewed by Larry King, and finally Anderson Cooper reading an excerpt from Joan Rivers’ book, “I Hate Everyone Starting With Me,” about her outrageous funeral arrangement expectations imposed on her daughter, Melissa Rivers. I hope you enjoy it and, more importantly, I hope you feel inspired to speak your own truth.

 

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(I MADE this Meme AND wrote the Haiku–do you LOVE it??)

 

XO

~Rachel

This Woman’s Work: The Blue Lagoon music video

 

 

Do you remember the movie The Blue Lagoon starring Brooke Shields?

 

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This movie was made in 1980, a year before I was born. I watched it on television all the time growing up. To me, it symbolizes LOVE in the most pure and natural sense.

 

Beautiful naked bodies running around a picturesque stranded island together.

 

When things get too complicated, I close my eyes and picture The Blue Lagoon.

 

When my dear friend Libby Schug sent me her song This Woman’s Work, I nearly died.

 

This Woman’s Work?!

 

Do you remember the movie She’s Having a Baby starring Kevin Bacon??

 

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The scene in She’s Having a Baby where they use the song This Woman’s Work has HAUNTED me for my whole life. In fact, I used the song as a sound cue for my one act play “Women & Wallace” that I directed in college and almost suffocated the entire audience from the sheer emotional beauty.

 

My mind went spinning in a few directions artistically but I could not commit to a music video theme for Libby so I asked her for input.

 

Beach lovers.

 

Enter The Blue Lagoon. Most beautiful beach lovers of all time.

 

Leave it to Rey Divine to have the right words to bridge the gap between the two concepts:

 

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I hope you enjoy This Woman’s Work sung by Libby Schug!

 

 

XO

~Rachel

PTSD & Rage: You Wouldn’t Like Me When I’m Angry

 

You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry…

 

The story of the Incredible Hulk really affected me. David Banner was such a kind person until the incident that caused him to radically transform…into a monster. But David Banner, even when he was the monstrous Incredible Hulk, was actually a hero; he stopped the bad guys with his anger.

 

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The Incredible Hulk never hurt anyone who was innocent, only the bad guys. Even as a child in the 1980’s I knew that was an incredible mental fete, as David Banner was the victim of a scientific experiment gone very wrong and was often totally out of control.

 

Control. I’ve always wanted it. Obviously my little girl body could not transform into the Incredible Hulk, but there was always hope. Thanks to Stephen King and Drew Barrymore.

 

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Firestarter. Due to a scientific experiment gone wrong in both her parents, when this little girl gets angry, she starts fire with her eyes…fascinating. I practiced my glare for the rest of the 1980’s.

 

But glaring is not the same as the Incredible Hulk, I still felt too small…things were still out of control.

 

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Thank god the lady from Splash got angry and transformed into a 50-foot giantess in the early ’90’s. I needed that.

 

By the time the early ’90’s rolled around, I was feeling totally powerless. Couple that with all the hormones and emotions of becoming a woman and understand that I felt very much like a freak.

 

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Like Michael J. Fox in Teen Wolf…before he realizes he is good at basketball.

 

So much hair…

 

Were it not for movies like these growing up, I probably never would have had my latest epiphany:

 

It’s ok to get angry.

 

It’s normal.

 

For many years, I got into a very nasty habit of telling myself that “I don’t get angry.” That was stupid. Of course I get angry, I am a human being; a very passionate human being. I am an empath, I am INFJ and not allowing myself to embrace my angry feelings actually made me very sick.

 

I’m not doing that anymore.

 

I made a YouTube video about PTSD & Rage. Apparently the two go hand in hand. Like peas and carrots.

 

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As long as you do something constructive with your anger, it’s ok. Recognizing anger for what it is, enables you to choose NOT to do something destructive with your anger.  My new mantra about anger?

 

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It just doesn’t matter. Thank you Bill Murray. Thank you Meatballs. It just doesn’t matter.

 

This is my story. It’s mine to tell.

 

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I hope you enjoy my new YouTube video!

 

 

XO

 

~Rachel

 

p.s. ~ follow @rey_divine on Instagram and Soundcloud

Godspell & Grieving: Oh God I’m Bleeding

 

When I was in middle school, Lake Shore High School put on the best production of Godspell ever. I have never seen another version. No need.

 

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I’ve been thinking about that musical A LOT over the past year.

 

Specifically, the part where Jesus is crucified.

 

Oh God I’m Dying…

 

I’ve been singing it to myself for at least a year…

 

I have a story to tell.

 

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So I made a YouTube video called Godspell & Grieving: Oh God I’m Bleeding.

 

WHY?

 

Because I had to. I had to shut this song up, that’s enough. I’m not dying.

 

I’m grieving.

 

Feels similar, I imagine, if your death were as slow and painful as possible.

 

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In the video I describe toxic relationships using my favorite television series: Arrested Development.

 

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I also act out the 5 stages of grief in a loop 3 times in a row…there is a giant stuffed panda bear involved. Totally normal stuff.

 

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I know that this story has to be told because it is haunting both my days and my nights. I’m done. If you don’t have 6 minutes to invest then hear me now:

 

–SPOILER ALERT–

Set boundaries that honor your personal limits and have the integrity to keep your own promises. This is life. It can be whatever you make it. Make it as kind and loving as possible.

 

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Please let me know what you guys think of my new video and please subscribe to this blog so you don’t miss out on my next special delivery ;)

 

XO

~Rachel

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Come Rain or Come Shine (Practice Self Love)

 

2014 has been hard.

 

I made this music video for my dear friend, Libby Schug, today using the head shots I took of her last year in the Gardens next to the San Diego Zoo.

 

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and quotes from Brene Brown:

 

“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.”

 

“Love is not something we give or get; it is something that we nurture and grow, a connection that can only be cultivated between two people when it exists within each one of them – we can only love others as much as we love ourselves.”
― Brené Brown

 

I can’t say it any better than that.

 

I did write another Haiku, though:

 

 

Parents don’t know how

to give children what they need;

they learn or they don’t.

 

XO

~Rachel

HappySmartGirls interviewed ME!

 

I kinda want to cry right now.

 

Done.

 

I don’t know if it’s the fact that I’m an empath or the empath/INFJ combo, but I am GREAT at crying.

 

This time I’m talking tears of JOY, maybe a little pride mixed in, too.

 

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Tomorrow I am producing a YouTube video in an effort to heal my tremendous GRIEF. Today I am practicing GRATITUDE by acknowledging the good that comes with the bad. My activism + volunteerism chronicled in both my blog and youtube channel has caught the eyes of Happy Smart Girls!

 

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I found HappySmartGirls on Instagram and LOVE the empowering educational, health and wellness vibe. We became fast friends and agreed to interview each other. My interview launched today and I am just BURSTING with emotion. Read it HERE. This is what my new friend said about me on Instagram:

 

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“A genuine, authentic, real life, spirit guide.”

 

Ugh, yeah, I cried tears of JOY when I read this.

 

I look forward to conducting my interview of the BFF duo that is HappySmartGirls but am even more excited about the blossoming of our FRIENDSHIP (yay!).

 

Let me know what you think of my interview by clicking the “Leave a Comment” tab next to the title of this blog (right under the date), I’d LOVE to hear your thoughts :)

 

XO

~Rachel

 

Vision Boards: Organization, Healing, Happiness & Success

 

I’m super jel right now.

 

Why?

 

This girl’s vision Board:

 

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I know, I know, as I said in my first YouTube Video, I am in LOVE with my vision board. My husband and I made our own for 2014 after I watched Lori Harder’s YouTube video tutorial and they are really inspiring, useful and quite beautiful.

 

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Inspiring because those index cards represent my goals, dreams and healing exercises. Useful because I stare at this all the time when I am stuck and it motivates me to try and achieve a goal, even if that goal is to just BREATHE. Beautiful because we made those index cards with our precious hands, my husband and I, and then we decorated all around it with pieces that make us feel joy. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

 

So what’s the problem?

 

Mine doesn’t have a mirror. This girl gets to put her whole self inside her vision board (genius).

 

Just today, my husband told me on the phone he wanted to update his vision board this weekend. Fate. I am totally going to run to the store and buy a couple lightweight mirrors, like the kind I used to have in my locker in school) and update my vision board as well. Exciting.

 

If you don’t have your own vision board, I recommend you at least start THINKING about what you would put on it if you did. Make a list even. Goals don’t just accomplish themselves ;)

 

XO

~Rachel

 

DIY stands for do it yourself

 

Yes!

 

I am in love with my home all over again.

 

This always happens in the aftermath of a DIY…

 

(I didn’t know what DIY stood for until 2014, so I will just stop here and say: I got crafty).

 

In my first YouTube video, I mention that I am doing some serious nesting right now in my home and explain the health benefits of surrounding yourself with Beauty.

 

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This is a Kelly Rae Roberts piece that I actually don’t own quite just yet, but am still making the message a daily practice. As you all know, I am obsessed with potting plants and Kelly Rae Roberts art right now. But that’s just a fraction of what I have going on over here. By nesting, I mean I am on a quest to make my home absolutely beauty-FULL. I go at my own pace, only work when I am creatively inspired and am ALWAYS thinking about a variety of projects/ideas and how to best implement them. It’s a mental exercise I really enjoy (you should try it!).

 

It wasn’t always this way. I actually did not nest at all during my pregnancy; that symptom from the what to expect book never paid me a visit. I have always had a sense of style, but was very traditional in my home decor, which is not even my personality. When I was 30 weeks pregnant and turned 30 years old on November 30th (Golden Birthday!) my friend Libby came to visit and told me:

 

You have got to decorate above your cupboards.

 

Okay.

 

Shortly after my son was born, Libby came back to visit and told me:

 

I wasn’t kidding. I hate this, it looks terrible. I told you to decorate up there.

 

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Obviously no one was impressed with my minimalist style. Libby whispered to me:

 

Let’s go shopping…

 

I started to nod my head uncontrollably and felt like a dog who wants to go on a car ride: ‘cited!

 

It was actually my first social outing since my son was born other than the dentist and I was pumped; we had so much fun at TJ Maxx Home Goods it was off the hook.

 

We decorated above all 3 cabinet areas in my kitchen and we were THRILLED.

 

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That was 2012.  It took until 2014 for my husband to admit he was not thrilled with the area above the fridge. Why? He doesn’t know. Okay. So I started thinking about what would be the BEST thing for us? I thought long and hard and then I slowly began to execute my plan.

 

We like plants, so I wanted to have a nice green base. Went to the craft store and picked out a bunch of large green drapey fabric plant pieces. Decided while I was there that because I love hydrangeas and orchids, that I would be picking up fabric representations of those as well.  I got up on a ladder, used clear push pins and stuck all my pieces into the wall. Some of the green pieces I bought were so large, I cut them into 4 different pieces to cover the whole area.

 

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It remained this way for weeks, maybe even a whole month until my lights arrived. I had to have a string of heart shaped paper lantern lights. Listen, if you feel that way, too, let me save you the headache and send you to Etsy where I got mine (this is also where I got the string of star shaped paper lanterns that I use in all my YouTube videos) because I could not find them in stores.

 

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Clear push pins hold the lights in place and MIRACULOUSLY, there was an outlet in the top cupboard to plug into. My Husband drilled a hole into the top of the cupboard and fished the cord through so we can access the light plug by opening the cupboard above the oven. Easy.

 

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Things remained this way for a few more weeks. The last step was the hard part. I had to figure out how to hang block letters in a whimsical manner that ensured high visibility of all pieces. My first thought was to string them all together like the lights, but that was a disaster because all the letters crashed into each other and spun all around; looked terrible. My second thought was to hang the lights from the ceiling using clear push pins and fishing wire. My husband put a special drill bit on the power drill and I went into the garage to drill holes into the tops of my letters, to string the fishing wire through. Ok, well, once hung from only the top, the letters still spun around constantly. My husband, who has the patience of a saint, climbed up the ladder to intricately tie down the bottoms of the letters with fishing wire and….drum roll please…

 

FINISHED PRODUCT:

 

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Do you LOVE it???

 

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We do. Every day when we use that door to the left to exit our home and enter the garage, I feel the love. When I’m preparing meals, I look at the oven timer and feel the love. When we hungrily walk to the fridge, we all feel the love. I want my son to know that we VALUE LOVE in this household.

 

Beauty matters. Surround yourself with it.

 

XO

 

~Rachel

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