An Update on The Pause.

I have written more in the past week than I have written in months.

But first, let me tell you how I got there.

This process of pausing has been very bizarre and not at all what I expected. Last week’s post was something I’ve dreaded publishing for quite some time because I feared that once I decided to take a break, I’d never write again. I assumed the freedom from it would make me not think about writing, not want to write (even more that I already didn’t), and totally separate me from the process of thinking through writing about things. After I hit the publish button, the hurt hit me hard.

I published it before I had time to think about it, and before I really decided that yes, this is the day to do this. I guess that was best because otherwise I would have overthunk it (that’s a legit phrase) for days and never posted it, and then gotten another blog post idea and decided to put it off. Because that’s what I’ve done for the last three summers.

As soon as I hit publish and then shared it in my Blog Facebook Group, I felt sick. My head started pounding, my stomach revolted, I got chills, I felt nauseous. The full brunt of the fact that dysautonomia had won this particular battle (I fight it so hard in other areas of my life) greatly distressed me.

I texted Chris and told him all that, and that I kinda felt like crying. Which, admitting that you need to cry always does the trick. I totally started crying. And so I laid in bed and cried for a while.

I did not see any of that coming.

I had been thinking through that decision for five months, had talked to multiple friends about it, and had, I thought, processed the decision. But something about actually cutting off the arm that is my blog, rather than just thinking about cutting it off, was agonizing. (“It’s just a flesh wound!!”, they say. But it kinda wasn’t.)

Everyone’s kind and encouraging words were helpful. Everyone’s appreciation of the writing I had done was wonderful. (Blogging can be somewhat of a thankless job, but many of my readers have gone out of their way over the years to tell me how much they appreciated it.) But it still hurt like crazy. I went for a run in the woods alone, which is always a healing place for me. It was super humid from just raining, and there were gorgeous sunbeams floating through the humidity on the trails.

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One trail was covered in Black-Eyed Susans – thousands of them.

Noah had told me earlier that it looked like there would be a rainbow and I should go look for one, and sure enough, when I stepped off the trails, there was a rainbow there waiting for me.

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All of these beautiful signs of creation were the encouragement I needed – along with some introvert time in the woods.

The next day, I tried not to think about it. I was busy and pushed it out of my brain. But as I was driving home that afternoon, I had the strangest feeling. A familiar, yet long ago feeling…

I wanted to write.

I had all these thoughts popping into my head – turns of phrase, analogies, and more – and I needed to sit down at my computer and type them out.

So I did.

I started an offline journal. I wrote three “posts” that day. The freedom of writing without having to prepare it for publishing felt fantastic. I have written every day since. I have experienced the feelings freedom and creativity that have been gone for quite some time. Even my captions on Instagram and Facebook felt fresh to me (I was especially proud of that Pink Floyd reference that I’m not really old enough to understand.) It was the most unexpected turn of events – somehow typing the words I had dreaded on Tuesday broke some sort of chains on my brain, and it was actually working again. I was sure my creative inabilities had been due to my dysautonomia – but it turns out that at least part of it may have been more related to self-inflicted publishing pressure and stress.

Also known as…overthinking everything.

I quickly formed a plan: I clearly need some time to just write without the pressures of editing, hyperlinking, sharing, worrying about offending anyone, worrying about not making sense or not being as entertaining as I used to be. I made the decision that I would keep my journal offline for a month or two, then reassess where I am after that. At some point, I am going to have plenty of posts to share that I’ve written offline, if indeed I keep being able to write at this pace. And hopefully after a break from the pressures, I can reset my expectations and not worry so much.

So in summary, last week, my writing was in its Phoenix incineration phase.

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And this week, it’s an ugly, ashy, baby Phoenix. But it is happy and hopeful.

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Hopeful that soon, it will be my magical sidekick again.

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Hitting Pause.

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I’ve been struggling through my relationship with this blog for the last three years, for a myriad of reasons.

…Writing is so much harder for me than it used to be (I’ll get back to that.)
…Blogging is a “dead art.”
…My kids are growing up and not as entertaining/deserve their privacy.
…School and life take more time than they used to. When I started this blog, I was blogging during naptimes. Naptimes haven’t happened in years.
…Thankfully, we seem to be on a drought of misadventures, which were oddly always the easiest thing to write about.

But I have trouble quitting anything – even when quitting might be in order.

Every summer I get really close to writing a post similar to this (I probably have half a dozen in my drafts folder) but I always talk myself out of it. But the time has come.

The bottom line is, I need an indefinite break. The thought processes that have gone into this decision are far too vast and agonizing for something as silly as writing a personal blog (I’ve been mulling over it this time for at least 5 months), but I’ve been writing here for over a decade – it’s been a part of my life for nearly my entire career as a mother. So it feels as if it is a big part of who I am, even though I don’t give it nearly the time I used to. The idea of stopping has always felt like peeling off a part of my identity, which seems as painful as peeling off a layer of skin.

But taking a break doesn’t mean I love it any less.

I love what I’ve accomplished here. Over 2,300 posts documenting pieces of life that I certainly would have forgotten if I hadn’t written them down (I know this because I can read old posts and have no recollection of having written them or of them happening.) So many of those posts were my own personal therapy, helping me recount my days in a way that was entertaining enough to make whatever pain was involved feel inconsequential. I loved the way I was able to document Noah as a toddler. There were bats in my baby’s room. There were multiple house floods. There were crazy medical tests and procedures. There was Dysautonomia. And ultimately, it is that last one that brings me to my need for a break.

I’ve become pretty adept at fighting my symptoms of Dysautonomia – I get bi-weekly IVs to combat dehydration, I run and hike several times a week to keep blood flowing up to my brain, I drink powders that keep me going and guzzle crazy amounts of water. I (try to) hardly eat sugar and watch my caffeine intake. But the one symptom that I have found nothing that helps it is the effect Dysautonomia has taken on my brain function. I cannot think, write, or analyze creatively like I used to do on a daily basis. My brain feels sluggish and thick, and it’s not easy to sit down at a keyboard and come up with ridiculous analogies or observations on life. I mourned this loss for the first three years after my diagnosis. I pointedly avoided reading old blog posts because it made me so sad to remember what I used to be able to produce with such ease.

Every now and then, my brain will click on and it’ll work nearly how it used to. I’ve produced a blog post here and there that I have been proud of. But before 2013 I was producing 4 or 5 of those a week – and with hardly any effort. It’s not been the same.  I’ve tried to push through and make myself write anyway – and I’m glad I have – but writing has become much more of a burden than the life-giving therapy that it used to be.

But I want to write so badly.

Or rather, I want to want to write. And I want to be able to write.

To do that, I need a break, so that the negative feelings associated with writing (anxiety, guilt, mourning) can fade and I can start fresh and hopefully one day rediscover my ability to put words on a page.

If, however, I have a fantastic story I must tell, I will certainly tell it here. This blog isn’t going anywhere. I can’t imagine taking it down, and I can’t imagine saying with finality that I’m done. It will wait here, and I will write when I have something bursting to get out. But I need to remove myself from any sort of schedule or expectations of journalling my life.

Thankfully, at the same time I began the process of Dysautonomia and grappling with what it took from me, God gave me the gift of photography so that I could use it to help The WellHouse. That creative outlet has been my saving grace while I’ve been working through the frustration over my disability to write. It’s something I can do – something that isn’t affected by my brain limitations. It’s been a gift that I’ve been able to lean on. I never wanted photography to take the place of my writing, and it hasn’t – but as I face the inevitable fact that writing needs to pause for a bit, it gives me the creative space to feel like I’m not giving up. And, sometimes, I’ve been able to tell short and silly stories with my photos, and that kinda nearly feels like writing.

So for the next little while, Instagram (I’m @ObjectivityRach) is going to be my main internet nesting place. I’ve enjoyed posting Instagram stories (those little circles at the top of the home page) as we go throughout our day, and I very much enjoy posting photos. I hope to continue writing snippets and short stories as I post (like this one from Sunday), and I hope that you will follow me there for a time. I’ll be on Facebook too, but Instagram is my happy place, and it’s where I end up spending most of my online energy.

Thank you all for being a part of my life, for being my friends and my encouragers over the past decade. It has meant so much to me, and I have loved meeting you – both on the internet and many of you in real life. I don’t want to lose these friendships, and that has been a huge reason that I’ve pushed through to this point. Our relationships are a big part of that identity that pains me to think about giving up. So I hope we don’t have to do that. Please stay connected. Email me. Let me know how to follow you on Instagram (or other channels.) Friend me on Facebook. Text me. Stay my friend.

Thank you for living life with me.

Random Analogies of Life.

I had a groundbreaking realization the other day while running – which makes sense, since that’s when my brain is most oxygenated. (Too bad I can’t write while running or I might write as often as I used to.) But seriously – this breakthrough could change the economic direction of the American public – are you ready?

New cars are like puppies. Or at least they are while you have young kids.

New cars are so fantastically adorable when you first get one. They smell delightful. They’re clean and lovely and snuggly and fresh and feel so so good to be with. They make precious noises and snuggle with you just right. You delight in their presence and revel in their newness.

But within a year, or maybe a few hours, the kids spill Cheez-its in the seatbelt crack, drop a sucker (and leave it) on the floormat, crunch Chick-Fil-A crumbs into the now sticky sucker puddle, and can’t manage to take a single piece of trash with them. Ever.

Within a year, your adorable puppy is now a mangy mutt. It smells of dog breath and licks you with its gunk if you get too close to it. You try and clean it, but it only stays clean for about a day (and you can’t *really* ever get into all its crevices and have a completely sterile creature ever again.) It has lost all its cuteness and is now just another mouth to feed (unleaded, regular, please.) Every time someone new gets in your car, you have to say, “Sorry for the smell. I hope you don’t get licked. And don’t scratch that spot or it will soil you.”

As cute as puppies are, they’re not worth the smelly dogs they become.


The kids were watching The Trolls Movie the morning of Independence Day. I sat down watched the opening sequence with them.

Let’s review…

Against the advice of wise and paranoid Branch, Princess Poppy throws a giant party.

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At Poppy’s party, they’re celebrating 20 years since they escaped from the Bergen (those evil villains who love to eat Trolls.)

So basically, they’re celebrating their Independence Day. I thought, as I sat there on July Fourth with my children, “what a perfect time to watch this movie.”

They’re shooting off fireworks and partying and …. all a bit too loudly, because pretty soon, who comes stomping through the forest, but the Grand Huntress Bergen Chef herself – she pounds through, rattling the forest, then towers over the Trolls.

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She curls her lips into a wicked smile and says “Gotcha.”

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That night, I was taking pictures of our own Independence Day fireworks. We were right below Vulcan, where the show takes place, closer than we’ve ever been, reveling in the beauty and party and also the loudness of it.

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But instead of reveling in the patriotic beauty of our independence, I could not help but picture a giant, massive, ground-shaking Queen Elizabeth stomping up 20th Street, pushing past Vulcan, staring down at me,

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then curling her lips evilly down at me and saying “Gotcha.”

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I really felt like we should have learned from the Trolls movie and celebrated our Independence just a tad bit quieter. I don’t want to be fed to the British.