Brent and I, and our sweet little ones are headed to Hawaii.  We have been dreaming, and dreaming about going and we finally are doing it.  Remember when I said I wanted (and needed) 2014 to be a year with adventure ?!  I’ve been craving an adventure.. and not the day- to-day adventures, but the “lets hop on a plane and go somewhere” type of adventure.   Which can be so hard with a 1 year old and a 2.5 year old but we are going after it  and actually doing it and I couldn’t be more excited.  If you are new here (hi! and welcome) Im Rachel, and this is my husband Brent.  We actually met on Oahu in 2007, and sorta kinda dated while living there for 10 months.  At the time, we worked / volunteered for a organization called “Surfing the Nations“.  Which is not only an amazing organization, but a group of people that are going after what our hearts are about… people. Serving the hopeless and homeless and loving others.  Its been 7 years since we left Oahu and STN.  It seems like yesterday and forever all at the same time. I remember almost all my emotions of boarding the plane by myself,  not knowing what to expect, except for an adventure of a lifetime, and it was.  My life was so radically changed that year and it stands out in my mind more than most.  A year of character building, new friendships, faith building, travel to places I had never heard of, falling in love,  feelings of not understanding a lot of things that God was doing in and around me, and it was also a year that impacted the last 6 years of mine and Brent’s life.   It is funny how in the midst of  new seasons we often don’t understand the what and why we are there.  All we know is that God’s plan for our lives is so much greater than our own.   I hope to be journaling a lot and so excited to share whats to come.    If you want to follow along our journey, you can find me on Instagram @rachelvanauken.   much Aloha !

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  • Marie

    How fun that you are going to Hawaii! Have an amazing time. John and I got engaged and married on the big Island, so we totally have fond memories of Hawaii too. We’re dreaming of our own vacay. ;) ReplyCancel

This summer has truly been so good to us. We have been crazy busy with photographing weddings, traveling to and from all different parts of California, and spending lots of time here at home in our own backyard.  This summer is quite different than the last and we loving having a place to cool off in the midst of our 110 degree days.  Don’t get me wrong.. I love the sun and often wish it were summer all year round!!   We are actually off to Hawaii next week and I can’t wait to land on Oahu.  Its been 7 years since we have been there… which is way to long in my book. Im craving a good Acai bowl and can’t wait to swim in warm ocean water. We are staying at Surfing the Nations and can’t wait to see our friends.   My heart keeps going back to the place of thankfulness after both mine and Lucca’s test came back normal.  Brent and I have so many conversations about life, perspective, living our dreams and honestly being so thankful for today and our health.  We also keep having conversations about baby #3. I don’t feel done with being pregnant and having 2, but I also don’t feel quite ready to try for baby #3.  I love being pregnant and both girls were so easy on me. It is so fun to watch them play, giggle and become friends. Sisters are really so incredibly special.

Anyways, thank you too for stopping by this space of mine.  I always love to hear from you and appreciate your prayers and support in the last couple months. Life is such a gift.

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  • Seriously, could the lighting be any more perfect?!
    Miss you guys!ReplyCancel

  • Oh what BEAUTIFUL pictures. Is that a little frog your youngest is holding?

    I have two girls as well and their bond is precious.

    We went to Kauai for our honeymoon (over seven and a half years ago) and we loved it. I have been longing to go back. I think Hawaii has that affect on people.

    Thanks for sharing (and for linking up to the #SHINEbloghop).

    Wishing you a lovely weekend.

    • Rachel

      Hi Jennifer! Thanks for stopping by! No its not a frog.. haha.. i think its a wet leaf or something! Have a great Sunday!ReplyCancel

Okay, how amazing are these new lunch boxes? The first and only lunch box that stores hot and cold food -making it easy to pack nutritious and delicious lunch options! Sending your kids to school in style with healthy & yummy food is every moms dream! The simple, clean and modern look is simply amazing. ONE LITTLE BOX … ENDLESS MEAL POSSIBILITES!!! A perfect solution for food on the go.

Moms and dad make, on average, 180 lunches per child each year.  Parents are on a mission to pack a variety of nutritious lunches.  And it’s no easy task!   Much to their dismay these carefully packed lunches come back uneaten or as a big heap of unidentifiable leftovers.  Warm, unwrapped cheese sticks.  Half-eaten mushy sandwiches.  Squished strawberries that have drained into their child’s back pack.
There’s nothing simple about a child’s lunch.  Which is exactly why we set out to design a lunchbox that  protects all the hard work and love that mom and dad put in.  So when your child opens their lunch,  it’s exactly as you intended it to be – fun, healthy, and filled with love.
OmieBox makes it easy to pack their favorite meals.  Add healthy soups & pastas to their lunch so you can nourish their growing bodies.  The insulated bowl keeps food warm (or cold) until lunchtime, while the leak-proof compartments keep food separate and mess free.  Lunches taste good and look good, so kids are more likely to eat it!!

Small, versatile and tough,  OmieBox will be your child’s trusty companion for years to come. They are made with BPA free materials and put through  strict testing to make sure they are safe!  Simple and easy to use, OmieBox makes every lunch perfect for your kid’s favorite meals.  CHECK OUT THEIR SWEET VIDEO HERE.


From the founder, Nancy Yen
“I want to start off first by saying thank you to all those who have supported and believed in OmieBox. We couldn’t have made it this far without you! I wanted to share my experience being a mommy with you because as we all know, motherhood doesn’t come with a book full of advice! When my son Brad started pre-school, I quickly found out how difficult it was to pack healthy lunches that he’d actually eat. Day after day, Brad would come home with a lunchbox full of untouched food. So much food went to waste! That’s when I realized I had to take matters into my own hands. Shortly after, I set out to create a lunchbox that could store hot and cold food! I knew that warm meals would be more popular with my son and packing healthy lunches would actually become an option. OmieBox brings to life all my visions of health and ease for my children. As parents, we want to be there for our children at all times but know that it’s not always possible! OmieBox makes it easy for children to open and use all on their own. Health and happiness are so important for a child’s development. I knew that if there was something I could do to make sure these things were present during lunch time, I had to make it happen! We are so excited to kick off in July and are so grateful for all the love, see you then!”

Be sure and check them out on Kickstarter  & help spread the word!

Kickstarter | Twitter | Facebook

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Lyla, Tomorrow you turn 33 months…closer to 3 years old than 2 and so full of silliness. You are getting wiser by the day and you love your daddy.  You told Lucca yesterday that  she was your best friend-for the first time. I laughed out loud and watched you love her.  Your beauty is captivating and your heart is like gold…{almost always}  Thank you for making me a mama.  I’m cherishing these days close to my heart.  Each day with you is truly a gift.

I got my results back after my sonogram and I have a fibroadenoma mass, which is a solid, Benign (noncancerous) tumor.   As I sat in the room with the ultra sound tech, I had to hold back my tears of joy and relief.  Life can be so hard  and  so sweet at the same time.   I never want to forget that moment of knowing I how blessed I am. 

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I walked through the door of the Woman’s clinic that specializes in Breast imaging.  I prayed the whole way to the clinic declaring health over my body and that I would I would not need a mammogram.   A sonogram was ordered by my doctor last week after showing her a lump that I felt last Monday.  I was nervous and really scared.  This was going to be my first mammogram…which typically isn’t necessary unless you’re 40 or find a lump. As I sat in the chair …waiting for my name to be called, I was hoping to relax as I sat along and read my book. A book that I am loving called  “A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: How I Learned to Live a Better Story” By Donald Miller .  I picked up my book, starting reading and the words didn’t sink in.  I was too nervous. I couldn’t help but think about my life. The story that I am making and living and creating… raising my girls, growing and deepening my marriage, being intentional, living for Jesus.  Is my story good?  Can it be better?  How some days are so easy, others are not. Its moments like today I sat and prayed.. and prayed…and thought about my life.  My story of learning how to be a mom, a wife, a daughter, a friend.  A story that could turn another direction in a matter of moments.  Sometimes we have choices, sometimes not.   I want to live a good story.  I want to live a good story despite my circumstances.  A Story that says “Im Brave, adventurous, Fully trusting in the Lord-  in total dependance in Him. I want to live a story that others want to be a part of, where others gravitate towards.  And I want so badly to raise my girls knowing they are a part of a great story and they too get to create their own one day.

We never know how long or short our story will be and it is days like today for me where it was put in perspective.  I was finally called back and prayed for peace and thankfulness that my life lies in the hands of my Lord. God is really good all the time, Sometimes its just hard to see.


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  • Praying for you, friend!ReplyCancel

  • Praying for you, Rachel! Thank you for sharing vulnerably and honestly. Jesus, be near!!ReplyCancel

    • Rachel

      Thank you Danae! Love hearing from my readers ;) ReplyCancel

  • I hope all is well with your test. Trust in the Lord for your outcome and I hope and pray for the best.ReplyCancel