Rachael's Blog

  • My foster care blog posts will be moving to a new site

    I'm putting this up for any blog subscribers who are interested in continuing to hear about our foster care journey. For the sake of privacy (ours and our foster children's) we have put together a new separate blog featuring only fostering posts. I transferred all my previous foster care related blog posts over to the new site and deleted them from Varblow.net. This new blog does not have our names anywhere. If you would like to follow the new blog please email, Facebook message, or comment here and I will send you the link to the new site. I am not posting the link here to protect our privacy. Feel free to share the posts from the new blog, Just don't tag me if the post is public. 


  • God's Magnum Opus

    Hiking down Mt. Tom in Woodstock, VT I was surrounded by the splendor of creation. Wild daisies and Sweet William intermixed with ferns and grasses waving vivid green against endless blue sky. A bluebird rested in an ancient maple far above the tracks of doe and fawn dotting the soft forest loam.

    How not to believe at moments like these with the splendor of creation all around me?

    My little girls stopped to splash in a fountain made from an underground spring. Lightly freckled noses, soft blond lashes, sunshine reflected from red gold hair. Their beauty took my breath away. Meadow and forest paled beside it. I found myself blinking back tears.

    But, I quickly stopped and repented as I thought, No, wait, I’m here in God’s glorious creation, I shouldn’t be thinking so of my own children when surrounded by so much natural beauty. I felt guilty for a few seconds until I realized how very backward my thinking was.

    God’s creation, the boulders and trees and mountain springs, is glorious. It gives a glimpse of His magnificent imagination, but His crowning glory, His magnum opus, is the creation of man. He saved us for last and we alone bear His image.

    How not to revel in that? My …


  • If You're Not a Mom You Probably Don't Want to Read This

    As a teenager I remember standing in the doorway of the bathroom holding a sick little sister while my mom mopped up the vomit this sister had just projected across the floor. I was thinking, Oh my gosh, I can’t ever be a mother because I could never in my life clean another person’s vomit. I just couldn’t. I think I would die.

    Twenty years later, and now with six kids of my own, I found myself about to disembark a cruise ship. It was 9:00 a.m. on a sunny Florida morning as the elevator doors opened to a lobby full of people. Without warning, my two year old erupted. The multihued contents of his stomach were suddenly everywhere: cascading in waterfalls down my shirt, beading in my son’s thick lashes, pooling in my sandals.

    My husband and I just stood for a long moment looking at each other. He on the outside of the elevator, Me standing stunned inside holding Jacob as the last remnants of his breakfast (and apparently yesterday’s lunch and dinner) dripped down the glass elevator walls.

    “Bleh.” Jake said, blinking. “Bleh!”

    A wonderful feature of this cruise was that they took care of our luggage for us the night before. So nice and hassle free, as long as you don’t find …


  • 18 Proven Ways to Prolong an Argument with your Spouse

    There are so many tried and true ways to keep an argument going with your spouse. I was shocked the other day to realize that I have yet to read an article on the most effective methodology. Not to worry, the gap has been filled!

    I gathered input and created an itemized list for you. Here are the best eighteen ways to keep those disagreements escalating. Thanks to my many friends and family members for their advice, contributions, and for even giving the occasional demonstration. ;)

    Never, ever begin a discussion with prayer. This could open your heart to your spouse’s perspective and potentially derail your argument before it gets off to a good start.

    In the same vein, never stop an argument to pray. You don’t want your heart to be softened when you’re about to go in for the kill.

    Turn the subject as quickly as possible to your spouse’s major recurring faults and away from the topic at hand.

    Be sure that you are both thoroughly sleep-deprived. Since Ephesians tells us not to let the sun go down on our anger, we must always take this to literally mean never go to sleep angry. Fighting when you are both tired will lower your tolerance and help you to take your disagreement …


  • Was Blind but Now I See, So Clearly

    The doctors believed initially that Baby Jay was blind. We were told to bring him to an ophthalmologist within a month of his hospital discharge. I thought he could see perfectly well and was shocked when the doctors said he could only see color, light, and indistinct shapes. He was six months old.

    Today he got his first pair of glasses. I expected a battle just getting them on his face, never mind keeping them there, instead I got laughter. As soon as we set them on his little nose his eyes widened and he started chortling and pointing at the eyeglasses displayed all around us.

    I took him out into the window filled atrium. He was craning his neck to look up at the skylights, out the windows, down the hallways. He was so interested in the things he was seeing that I had to keep stopping him from bumping into the pillars.

    And then he ran. He has never run before. I thought this was due to physical delays, but maybe he just couldn’t see far enough ahead to feel safe running. He let go of my hand and ran down that hallway, laughing, babbling, and gesturing as so many smiling adults stopped to look on.

    “Thank you, Lord,” I breathed, unsuccessfully blinking back tears. “Thank you.” …


  • Hollywood, I've Had Enough

    My husband and I recently borrowed a TV show on DVD and began watching it together that evening. The storyline so epitomized the way that Hollywood portrays adoption and foster care that Matt may have needed to pause the disc for five solid minutes while I ranted.

    The basic premise of this particular show is that the main character, Emma, was found as a newborn beside the road. She spent three years in foster care before someone finally adopted her.


    Really? A healthy newborn with no family or attachments would never sit in foster care for three years. She would have been adopted by a family who desperately wanted her within her first year, likely within six months, and probably by the foster family she started with. Caseworkers try to put little ones likely to become adoptable with foster families looking to adopt.

    Next, Emma reveals that the family who finally adopted her put her back in the system when they had their own children. Seriously? Do you know anyone who has ever stopped loving one of their children when a younger sibling arrives? No? Me neither.

    It turns out that Emma “gave up” her own child when she was eighteen and in this fairy tale based show her son’s …


  • 10 Ways Parenting Prepares Me for the Zombie Apocalypse

    Some of my friends are concerned about the pending zombie apocalypse. I've noticed that these are mostly my childless friends.  They might want to take note of the ways that parenting has prepared me for the rise of the undead, because I'm going to have advantages they don't when it comes to the end.

    Eluding Pursuit.  I have experience sprinting into a room under heavy chase and getting the door closed and locked before the pursuers catch me.  Will it be so different when I flee into a locked room to sharpen my zombie killing spears as opposed to simply changing my clothes all by myself? Just as my children figure out that Daddy is downstairs and can help them too, the zombies will head off in search of easier victims.

    Muscle Mass. When your one year old weighs nearly a third what you do, lugging that kid everywhere gives you muscle tone.  Add to that a second baby, an overstocked diaper bag, and two ton strollers and carseats, and you don’t need to work out.  When the zombies come I’ve got the strength to swing my survival pack to my back with ease as I throw my AK-47 to one shoulder while fending off the undead with my machete.  I won’t even break a sweat.

    Olfactory …


  • How to Change a Diaper Like a Kid

    Now, my son didn’t actually write this, but I’m pretty confident these are his thoughts on the matter.

    1.  When your mom asks you to change the baby’s diaper while she loads the groceries in the car be sure to look shocked that she would even suggest it.

    2.  Don’t place the changing pad under the baby; it might contain the mess thereby eliminating steps four through ten.

    3.  Find the smallest seat you can.  The one crammed between the side of the van and the baby’s carseat is usually best.  Seat yourself here and try to lay the baby there, too.

    4.  Open the diaper without first checking how messy it is.  Turn to inform your mom that it is simply disgusting and looks like yellow cottage cheese.   While you are looking away the baby will stick both feet into the loaded the diaper and kick the back of the seat. Do not be concerned. This is normal.

    5.  In the next ten seconds do your best to get the diaper contents on your shirt and pants, the baby’s outfit, the seat where you’re sitting, and the baby’s carseat. If any part of the baby’s legs are still clean, you aren’t doing it correctly.

    6.  Inform your mom of the mess.  While you are looking away the baby will start to pee.  …


  • 10 Things Never to Say to a Homeschooler

    Each walk of life comes with its own round of questions and comments.   High school graduates are asked where they are going to college and what their major will be. Newlyweds are asked when they will begin procreation. Pregnant women are asked their due date, the baby’s gender, and how much weight they’ve gained.  (Are you SURE it’s not twins?!).

    As homeschoolers we encounter a lot of curious folks and are frequently subjected to shocked looks and interrogation.  I know that we’ve made an unusual choice and many people are unfamiliar with homeschooling.  I don’t mind curiosity.  Go right ahead and ask me questions.  But, ask because you’re genuinely interested, and not because you think I’m nuts and want to prove it to yourself. Some things are rude and intrusive and some are best unsaid. For example:

    10.  “You look so normal.” Implying that they expected a denim jumper, white socks, tennis shoes, and ten pajama clad children clustered around the dining table practicing for the National Spelling Bee.

    9.  “I don’t have enough patience to homeschool.” Neither do I. Seriously. I just trust that if God calls you to homeschool, as He did me, He’ll help you with patience, as He does …


  • Somewhere along the line I became a crier

    Have you ever seen the movie The Fighting Sullivans? It’s based on the true story of four brothers  serving on the same ship during World War II.  As the ship begins to sink, the three older brothers realize they can’t find the youngest. They go searching, find him, but can’t save him.  As the ship goes down all four die heroically.  Then we see the poor mother and the young widow of one of the brothers trying to make sense of their loss and move on.  I remember watching this as a kid and teasing my mom as she sobbed through a good portion of the movie. 

    We were at a prayer meeting this winter where they asked that anyone in need of healing come to the side for prayer.  My youngest son quickly found our foster baby and took him over, explaining to the adults in what ways his little brother needed healing.  Then my son laid his hands on Baby J. and prayed over him right along with everyone else. I felt the tears leaking down my face.

    A short time later an old song began to play, one from back in the seventies when my parents first came to Christ.  I looked over and noticed a woman around their age who is wracked with Alzheimer's.  Her face was full of joy as, with lifted arms, …