Goodbye Urban Hallelujah

I am no longer going to be writing on Urban Hallelujah.  BUT, there is something I want to share with you, so please keep reading if you’re interested!

It’s no secret I haven’t posted at Urban Hallelujah in a long, long time.

A lot of things have happened since I last posted about taking that grocery store trip.  I moved across the country (again), had another baby, bought and sold a house, switched jobs.  Pretty much all the big life changes minus a death (thank the Lord!).  It was a wonderful year and also a very challenging one.

Needless to say, I needed that time to regroup and focus on my family.  I didn’t paint any furniture or do any side work.  I simply was a mama and a wife.  It’s a beautiful thing to be blessed with the opportunity to be home with the littles I love.  But I missed the creative outlet writing and painting and even cooking gave me.  I prayed God would give me something outside of these domestic duties, and He kept saying NO.


Until He said YES.

It might not have been what I had envisioned or what I was planning for, but it’s something I’m excited to share with you all:!


This site is super new, I haven’t even “launched” it to anyone I know yet!  I thought I would let you guys in on it first as you’ve been with me since the beginning of all of this.  Please check it out, feel free to drop me a note to say hello or even give me feedback on the site!  I do not have ANYTHING on the blog portion of the site yet, as that is going to go live when I make it public.  If you see “Nothing Found” when you go to the blog, that’s why.  Things are still shifting over there, so if you see things changing, missing or looking just plain weird, it’s because I’m behind my little ole computer during nap time trying to figure out how to run a website!

I hope to make it public next week, and I hope I’ll see you over there!

Goodbye, UrbanHallelujah.  Thank you for all you’ve taught me.


Let’s Take a Little Trip…

This photo looks so normal right? So not a big deal!  So everyday!  Let me tell you, it’s really quite a relief to get to this point in the shopping experience!

 Ahhhhh grocery shopping. I used to actually find it peaceful and calming to peruse the aisles late at night. I’d buy way more than I needed with big hopes of cooking throughout the week (this was back when my husband traveled every weekday so I was essentially cooking for one). I’d carefully put away those groceries in somewhat of an organized manner and then make myself some popcorn. 

Those were the days… 

Grocery shopping is definitely a bit different now. Let’s take a little trip, shall we?  Where to?  

The grocery store!  Or more accurately, my local produce market. 

This is how it begins. An empty double stroller!

A few minutes later I’ve got the twins out of the car and Maya is unbuckled from her car seat. We are ready to walk in the store! 

There’s no way in heck I can push a cart, and Maya is still too little to do that for me. I put what I can in the bottom of my stroller. 

Once we’re ready to check out, we have to remove a baby to take out the groceries. Heaven forbid the line is long because then where is there room to put the removed baby?! I leave the baby in the stroller then and take out each item one by one. Which means I’m putting the items back IN one by one too and taking a handful of bags to the parking lot to bag at the car. Thankfully we had room today to take a baby out. Praise the Lord. Seriously hallelujah amen!!!!!

Maya helps me unload…

I carefully set the bags into the stroller and make sure said removed baby is okay. Once they’re all in, I put the babe back in the stroller. I will never take for granted the guy who bags groceries and sets them in peoples’ cart ever again because I no longer have that luxury!

 Now we walk to the car like all normal people do. But I can’t take the groceries and put them directly in the car, or the huge stroller will crush all my produce!  So I take the groceries out, put the children in the car, hope someone doesn’t run over my groceries sitting on the ground…
Once everyone is in and the stroller is collapsed, I can then take the groceries off the ground and put them into my trunk. 

Oh to be able to push a cart and put those bags directly into my trunk!

Needless to say, my three old says “it’s an exciting day!” When we head to the grocery store. It leads me to believe we need to get out more… 😳😁🤔

Thanks for going grocery shopping with me today 😊. 


    ❤️ …when they were newborns…❤️


An Excerpt

20160108 savor


I’ve been reading this devo on and off whenever I remember to thumb through its beautiful pages, and it never disappoints.  Shauna is one of my absolute favorites, her family one that I completely look up to from afar.  January 8 could be the poster-child for Urban Hallelujah- the very heartbeat of the blog.  I thought I’d share an excerpt, hoping it encourages you just as much as it did me.

January 8

And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” ~Luke 22:19

I believe that Jesus asked us to remember him during the breaking of the bread and the drinking of the wine every time, every meal, every day– no matter where we are, who we are, what we’ve done.

If we only practice remembrance when we take communion at church, we miss three opportunities a day to remember.  What a travesty!  Eugene Peterson says that “to eyes that see, every bush is a burning bush.”  To those of us who believe that all of life is sacred, every crumb of bread and sip of wine is a Eucharist, a remembrance, a call to awareness of holiness right where we are.

I want the holiness of the Eucharist to spill out beyond the church walls, out of the hands of priests and into the regular streets and sidewalks, into the hands of regular, grubby people like you and me, onto our tables, in our kitchens and dining rooms and backyards.

Holiness abounds, should we choose to look for it.  The whisper and drumbeat of God’s Spirit are all around us, should we choose to listen for them.  The building blocks of the most common meal- the bread and the wine- are reminders to us: he’s here.  He’s here, and he is good.

~page 8, Savor, Shauna Niequist

Every night when I pray over my girls I ask that the Lord would reveal Himself to them personally in the miracles and in the mundane.  That these precious girls would see that all things are in Him and through Him and for Him.  I pray they would seek Him, love Him and know Him in all things.  Reading this today made me pause and say the same prayer for myself!  I want the holiness of Christ to spill over into my morning coffee with Maya, into tummy time with my twins.  I want it to seep into the evenings on the couch sipping wine and reading or watching tv with David.  I want the Hallelujah to whisper from my lips through the miracle of my babies’ laughter and the mundane of doing bloody nose laundry (yes, it happens all too often around here!).

May I choose to see that burning bush.

May holiness abound should I choose to look for it.

Rachel Signature2


What Mary, Noah and Abram Are Teaching Me About My 2016


Happy new year friends!

2015 ended and 2016 started with the same word pressed into my heart:


Christmas came, the presents swimming under our tree and yet Mary’s words from Luke 1 simmered in my my mind and heart while we prepared for the holiday.

Even Eizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, ad she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month.  For nothing is impossible with God.

“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered.  “May it be to me as you have said.”

Then the angel left her.

~Luke 1:36-38, NIV

May it Be.

She obeyed without so much as a word of question or complaint!  I feel God whispering to me to Let Him Be in my little life.

Then not a week later, I see Noah obey with reckless abandon as he prepared to build a boat in a desert with no sign of a storm because God said so.

“Thus Noah did, according to all that God commanded him, so he did.”

~Genesis 6:22, NASB

So he did.

Not even a why, when, how, or what about… slipped from Noah’s lips.  We are simply told that he did.  He obeyed right away!

We recently found out that friends of ours are moving, without a job or clear idea of what they’re supposed to do.  God said MOVE, so they are doing so in obedience!  Just as God called Abram to “leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you” (Genesis 12:1, NIV) they are Letting Him Be over their lives and DOING what He’s called them to.  What strength.  What courage.  What faith!


As 2016 begins, may I find myself leaning into God’s word, willing to let him be and to do what He says when he says it.  May I go when he says when.  May I have the courage to obey, right away.

Happy New Year!

Rachel Signature


Giving Up

“If you’re waiting for that perfect moment, that still quiet with candles and your journal, a glass of wine or cup of coffee piping hot- no interruptions, just you and God and hours of prayer- forget it. That moment is few and far between. Let Him into the mess. Be with Him always, in the minutes rather than the hour you may have once a year, month or whatever. Give up on that perfect “quiet time”.”

I remember this conversation so vividly. I was a senior at Florida State and our girls bible study was talking about “quiet times”. Now I hate this phrase- it’s just Christianese for spending time with God, but it sounds more like a toddler’s time out!  I remember us all talking about where and when we liked to have our quiet times (or if we even had them at all)- most of us student athletes and very busy with workouts, competitions, classes and studying. Little did I know the busy-ness would never end. My days are no longer filled with swimming laps, lifting weights or taking notes, but they are no less full. 

When Maya was a young toddler, still kind of a baby and sleeping 13 hours through the night in addition to two very long naps, my “quiet times” we’re in the morning with that piping hot cup of coffee. I treasured those times and still reflect on them with sweetness for that season. Now my mornings are much different as I attempt to breastfeed twins and get my toddler out the door to preschool. I’m giving up on that perfect moment because if I wait for it, I may never spend another moment with my savior!  I’ve traded that still and quiet cup of joe for the still of the car on the way to preschool. Everyone is usually sleeping (everyone meaning the babies!) and Maya and I listen to worship music and I spend time with Him right there in the car. Since her preschool is about 25 minutes away, it is a treat to spend this time focused on Him and talking with Him. 

He’s welcome in my mess. And believe me, it’s messy. It’s never been messier, quite frankly!

I’m giving up on that perfect “quiet time” and trading it for coffee in the car. He still hears us even in the chaos. 

What are you giving up on today? Maybe letting go is actually giving you new life like it has for me!

And Then There Were 5… Of Us!

 For what you have done I will always praise you in the presence of your faithful people. And I will hope in your name, for your name is good. -psalm 52:9

Oh how faithful He is!!!!  How good He is!!!  Over and over again I am reminded of just how amazingly faithful, good, trustworthy and true He is.  If I ever doubt, I want to remember August 21, 2015- the day my sweet twin baby girls entered this world.  Another Ebenezer stone in my life.  Another display of His control and His purpose that no one can thwart.  Another gift.

All throughout my pregnancy I was reminded that He was in control, that His plan prevails.  I didn’t ask for twins, and yet here we were buying two of everything.  After the initial shock wore off, I was overwhelmed with gratefulness.  He was blessing our family more than we’d ever hoped for or imagined!  Even so, at times I had a hard time believing that He would graciously give us two healthy babies.  Surely something would go wrong, I’d think.  Every doctors appointment I asked if there were two heartbeats, and every time the doctor looked at me like I was crazy and said “of course!”  Relief.  Reminders that He put these two inside of my growing belly and He would continue to take care of them.

As my doctors and I discussed my labor and delivery plan, I became more and more aware of what could go wrong.  Each appointment I’d breathe in and have to let Him take over, knowing that He would take care of us.  He’s got this, I would think.  I didn’t have any control of the outcome.  These precious girls would make their debut when He said it was time; not a moment sooner or a minute later.  When I went into possible preterm labor and was hospitalized, I held onto that truth fiercely.  He would see us through I kept reminding myself.  These baby girls are His and He loves them even more than I do.  Crazy.  How that’s possible only He knows!

Once I was released on bed rest I just kept telling myself I had to make it until my mom arrived.  She changed her ticket and came almost two weeks early to help me.  God is faithful.

The night of August 20th my water broke.  I was with my mom and Maya at Jean’s house for a girls night since David and Chris were in Manhattan that night for work.  Nervously I called my doctor, then called David and told him he’d have to drive in from the city.  My mom drove me to the hospital.  David made it with no traffic issues.  God is faithful.

When my doctor arrived after I’d been admitted, she happily pronounced she’d get me started on pitosin so we could get this party started.  I told her I just wanted nature to take its course.  Thankfully my body knew exactly what to do!  I got my epidural when I was at 7 centimeters and both babies were head down so she said we were good to go on trying for a vaginal delivery.  If the second baby flipped, though,no was in for a c-section.  I was aware of that so they wheeled me into the OR just in case.

Coral Eve graced us with her presence at 8:15 a.m. And was perfect in every sense ofnthenword.  David teared up just looking at her.  I could feel everything, just with mild pain. The epidural was perfect.  God is faithful.

As I went to push the second baby, the doctor held me up.  She’d flipped.  It was my nightmare- to have BOTH a vaginal AND a c-section.  But I knew that He had me taken care of either way so I was surprisingly calm.  They pressed on my belly to turn her.  They squished and contorted me to get her to turn but nothing worked.  Finally my doctor asked for another doctor to come in.  He walked right in and  literally shoved his arm up me. “this ones painting her toe nails,” he told me, meaning he could feel both feet and hands.  Suddenly her water broke and he just pulled her out feet first.  Everyone looked shocked except me.  Hazel Beth arrived at 8:24 and while the smaller of the two, made her presence very clear by screaming her little head off.  God is faithful.

Both girls came home with me two days later without any NICU time.  So far we’ve been successful at nursing so we’ll continue that for as long as it works for us. GOD IS FAITHFUL!!!!!!!

Every fear I had surrounding the Twins’ arrival He mastered.  Every concern He conquered.  Every hope I had He fulfilled.  Every detail He perfected.  I am in awe that He would do so much for me, for my girls, for my family. He is so faithful I can’t even handle it. Thank you Jesus for these precious little gifts!  Thank you for demonstrating yourself to me in a completely personal way.  He can be trusted.  He is so faithful.

My days are much different than before.  I will not try to say how it’s not that much different than one or how it’s not crazy because it IS.  But I know something wonderful…  SOMEONE wonderful.  The God who gave me the grace to have two will also give me the grace to meet the demands and His care for us did not stop once their birth was over.  He’s got us, and He will continue to be faithful.

I’m off to feed them yet again so I’ll sign off for now, but thank you for your prayers during this journey.  I know it’s just begun 😊.Rachel Signature2








Everybody Needs (and needs to be) a Luba

Literally a couple days after my last post, where I wrote about how God was teaching me there was nothing to do but let him do everything, I found myself in the hospital for pre-term labor.

My husband was in Portland, Oregon for a wedding….  My best friend here visiting family in California…  The timing could not have been more awful.

As I cried to the nurse in triage, the doctor looked over at Maya and asked who I could call to come get her.  I cried harder, feeling alone and anxious.  A few people ran through my head, but one in particular.

My neighbor Luba.

Luba lives directly next door to the left of me.  Our girls get together and play while we drink coffee occasionally, we did father’s day together and will run errands together every so often.  She is from Tajikistan, and has absolutely no family in the United States.  Her boys are older and her youngest daughter is 2 years older than Maya.  The girls love playing together, but with my work schedule over the last year it’s been challenging to make the playdates happen.  She makes amazing cakes, and always brings me tupperwares of her baked goods.  Luba runs a tight ship at home, and her family is very, very close.  Knowing that Maya would be right next to home in case she needed anything and with someone as caring as Luba, I dialed her number and tried not to cry as I explained the situation.

The hospital is 15 miles from home, and Luba had actually just been in there for something else so she had to turn back around and drive back to pick up Maya.  She did this immediately, without question, because “that is what I do.  If you need anything, I am here.” She told me.  I felt completely undeserving, overwhelmed with her generosity to take my girl.  “Call me if you go into labor,” she said as she was gathering Maya up.  “I will come back and be with you.  No one should deliver babies alone.”

As the day went on, my contractions got closer and closer together.  The doctors gave me a steriod shot in case the girls were born to help with their lung development and they put me on a pill to help stop contractions.  It didn’t seem to help.  All night contractions were 2 minutes apart, 5 minutes apart, 3 minutes apart, 5 minutes apart.  Luba sent me pictures of Maya playing with her daughter and continued to call to see how I was.  Finally the contractions subsided (consequently the same time David told me when he was able to come back) and I did not progress into active labor.  Maya spent two nights with Luba’s family, and I’m forever grateful.

Throughout the entire experience I couldn’t help but realize that everyone needs a Luba.  Everyone needs to be a Luba too.  I’m not sure what her religious beliefs are, but she demonstrated Christ in the flesh to me.  She took the the “love your neighbor as yourself” literally, and welcomed my family into her family no questions asked.  A couple days later when her son was in a motorcycle accident and she was driving him in to surgery, she was the one calling ME asking what she could do until my mom comes into town.  What if we all were like Luba to someone we know?  We need each other; we need to be Christ to each other too!

But Luba wasn’t the only one.  Even though my best friend here was out of town, not only did she keep in touch the whole time but her husband came to the hospital and brought me necessities and my favorite drink and stayed for a few hours to keep me company.  He called my husband to talk over flights and picked him up at the airport at midnight.  Everyone needs a Chris, and to be a Chris too.  Christ in the flesh.

Other friends texted and called to see if they could help with Maya.  One of David’s bosses even!  His wife brought us dinner, called me in the hospital and offered time and time again to help with Maya, and I believe her when she offers to help.  Christ in the flesh.

As we prepare to move, I am determined to meet my new neighbors and to be Luba to them.  We need each other.  It is very hard for me to ask for help… To really need somebody.  Luba taught me that we need each other and there’s no shame in that.  Everybody needs a Luba, and everybody needs to be a Luba to somebody else.

***In what ways can you accept a Luba in your life and BE a Luba to someone who needs you?  It’s a sacrificial kind of love to be a Luba, and quite humbling to accept a Luba.  I pray that I would be more aware of this as Christ continues to work in my heart.  Thanks for reading.***

Rachel Signature

Nothing Left to Do But Everything

“In my best moments, when I calm down and listen very closely, God says “I didn’t ask you to become new and improved today.  That wasn’t the goal.  You were broken down and strange yesterday, and you still are today, and the only one freaked out about it is you.” ~Shauna Niequist, Savor

32 weeks pregnant with twins this week.  Not sure I am ready for three kids three and under, but God is.

Packing to move around the same time the babies will most likely arrive…  Don’t know how that’s going to all work out but God does.

So many loose ends to tie together like pre-school paperwork, getting the hospital bag ready, laundry, meals, cleaning, all while working and trying NOT to let my toddler watch tv all day.  I fail constantly at keeping up but God’s got this.

All the stress of buying a house, but God shows up.  Time and time again He just swoops in.

Over the last year, I have been constantly reminded that sometimes we need to step back and let God do His thing.  We’ve got to trust that He’s over everything, even the small details of our lives, and let Him work.  When I found out we were expecting two babies instead of one, I held on to the truth that God knows.  He knows and works all things for His glory.  We get to be a part of the story, but it’s all His story.

I couldn’t do anything but let Him do everything.

He knows, He’s doing things, He is in the process– He will be part of the result.

My husband is in Portland, Oregon, clear across the country right now for a wedding he’s in.  The plane ticket was purchased way before we knew twins were on the horizon.  This morning panic overtook me for a moment while thoughts spun.  What if they come early?!  What if I’m alone in an operating room having my first c-section and my husband isn’t here?!  What if for some horrific reason I have to deliver them at home all alone with MAYA omg that would be awful that can’t happen… Do you see where my thoughts went?  Then God swoops in again.  It’s His story, I’m just part of it.  I calm down, try NOT to think of Mary delivering Jesus in a BARN (can you even imagine what she was thinking and feeling?!) and rest knowing I can’t do anything but let Him do everything.

God knows.

God does.

God is.

God will be.

He’s the only constant in this crazy mess, and He’s not asking for anything from me right now.  He just needs me to stop freaking out as Shauna says in the quote above, and let him do His thing.

Rachel Signature

Twins Update!!!

In February, I found out I was pregnant with TWINS.

This came as a huge shock.  I actually thought the ultrasound tech was giving me the “peace” sign rather than telling me there were two babies in there!  Never in a million years did I expect this, want it, or think it could happen.  God obviously had much different plans.

Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand.

~Proverbs 19:21, ESV

I thought that surely this meant the Lord would be bringing us back to California where we have our family and biggest support network.  Surely He would not give us twins and expect us to do it across the country from our family!  Surely He would pave a way for us.  Pave a way He did…  Just not where we expected!  We are staying in New Jersey, and actually pretty happy about that.  My how God changes hearts.

Each week my belly grows.  I am now 26 weeks, I have gained 33 pounds (which is already 3 pounds MORE than I gained TOTAL with Maya!) and I look as if I will deliver within the next couple weeks.  Lord willing, I still have at least 10 more weeks!  Yikes!  How much bigger can I possibly get?!

I go to both a Maternal Fetal Medicine doctor for all my ultrasounds as well as my regular OB for regular visits.  I am at the doctor all the time, getting blood work done and monitoring of my cervix.  So far, every two weeks I have two appointments.  One with the MFM doc and one at the OB.  If one of those has to change, I am going to the doctor every week.  Sometimes it feels like a lot, but mostly I am just grateful that these babies are being cared for so well even before they enter the world!

So far my pregnancy has been incredibly uneventful which I am very grateful for!  My cervix is closed and at an appropriate length, I have normal blood pressure and blood sugar, no swelling, and am able to walk and do most of my regular activities.  At my last appointment my cervix has shortened more than they’d like (which can be an indicator of pre-term labor), so I have to go back again for monitoring, but everything is still normal so that’s great!

My only complaints are that I feel very heavy and sore at times if I am in the same position too long. I experience sciatica, and if I have just eaten or am reclining my heart rate seems to increase from the pressure on one of my arteries.  I tire easily which is hard for me since I love to be up and doing things all the time.  Other than that, I can’t complain.

The girls are measuring at 1 pound, 14 ounces and 1 pound, 12 ounces!  This is GREAT.  I would love to deliver them at over 5 pounds, so we are doing great in that area.  From what I read, I should be gaining most of my weight by 28 weeks and then tapering off (which is opposite from a singleton pregnancy).  Weight gain in the first 28 weeks promotes healthy weight at birth and reduces chances of being in the NICU, so even though it’s hard to see that weight gain on the scale I know it’s all for these precious girls!

I crave meat, salads and fizzy drinks.  The complete opposite from the first trimester where those things made me sick!  Now I can’t get enough steak and hamburgers, cobb salads, greek salads, etc… I should buy stock in sparkling water because I drink it all. the. time.

I’ve started nesting, getting the girls’ room prepped and looking through all the stuff I have and will need for adding another infant to the nest.  It’s hard to know what to expect!  We have our hospital tour this weekend and I’m looking forward to that.

In other news, we put in an offer on a house, which is a CRAZY story that I’ll have to talk about later.  I’ll just say that out of 5 offers of which two were cash offers at full price (we couldn’t compete with that!)– the sellers chose US.  God’s generosity to us amazes me!  We still have a ways to go (did you know you need an attorney to buy a house in NJ? I didn’t!) but we are moving forward and I know no matter what happens, not for a moment will He leave us!

We have our last trip out to California before the babies arrive at the end of the month.  My sweet sister is throwing me a baby shower and Maya will be taking swim lessons from my old swim coach.  We also will be going to a family reunion which I am soooo excited about!  There is a lot to look forward  to :).

Thanks for going on this journey with me!  I appreciate your prayers for healthy babies!

Rachel Signature2

Finding New Rhythms

And just like that, we’re staying in New Jersey for a few more years!

I mentioned before how every door back to California seemed to close.  Even those we didn’t open ourselves seemed to shut quietly as we prayed and wondered what God was doing.  The two babies inside me would jab and kick, reminding me that I craved to know where we would bring these girls home to, wanting nothing more than stability for our growing family.  I was confident God would show us, yet so unclear on how…  Or when.

Then the promotion happened.  He started off with “it was a really good day…” and I knew something was up, because my steady husband never describes his day as ‘really good’.  Not only was it a promotion, but to a job with very limited travel.  For this field traveler’s wife pregnant with twins, it was the clarity we’d been so desperately searching for.

Here…  New Jersey…  Our family together every night (other than the occasional overnight here or there)!  Eating dinner together!  Getting into this new rhythm with two little babies on board together.  I cannot tell you the joy and peace that filled my soul.  I have never been so excited to be in New Jersey and to know– to really know that this is where our home is (for now.  There will be many  more moves in our future if David’s career continues as he’d like, but at least for a few years we are settled)!

So we are finding our new rhythms…  We’ll be moving after the babies are born, Maya will be attending preschool, I won’t be working anymore (three kids three and under is a full time job, can I get an amen?!) and our daily routine will be much different with two newborns.  Sometimes it all feels very overwhelming… Yet I know that God has purposed it for our family and because of that I am more than confident He will give us what we need.

It’s amazing how God truly gives you the “peace that passes all understanding”.  A couple weeks after all this, another call from a company in California came through for my  husband.  “Thank you so much, but I’m very happy where I am,” he told them.  And he honestly is, and I truly am, and we will find our new rhythm in New Jersey together. 🙂

Rachel Signature