Family Archives

Mid-Design. Although quite a way along the path now, I believe my maker creator and Saviour is through the Holy Spirit continuing an art work in me.  Soul stuff to do.  That is exhilarating. So much yet to learn on this faith journey.

Moments spent recently with my aunt,  listening to her stories and looking at photographs that speak of family history and I enjoy a place to hear and learn.

She longs for the beauty and integrity sown into the memories and people of the past.

The words come clear, press on, move forward.

A weaving of a whole family intersecting into my life.
Presence, it held my attention and it supported me.

A large family, born out of one very principled lady of Ballymena.  She took the vow of marriage and with her family began a new journey in a new town.

Fast forward to today.  I look at photos of her and see a portrait of the matured woman in myself.  A grandmother who lived a life of ups and downs, deep losses and change.  How I wish I could talk to her now.  Gather to my heart the wisdom she would give. Ask questions that I wouldn’t have asked as a young granddaughter.

I once wrote to her with questions of salvation.  She wrote back in her beautiful handwriting enclosing a bookmark with the words

Prayer, poise and praise.

She was an example of those words to me.

My grandmother

Her poise, her Scottish lilt, her precision and legacy.  They spill over into me still.  The words of Timothy speak profoundly of faith in the grandmother and mother.  Then me.

I, like the mothers before me keep going.  Rise to the challenges.  Find deeper roots that anchor my soul.  Similarities are present, yet I must bravely find my unique self, amidst courage and discovery be the person I am meant to be.

I do not travel alone

Thou art never alone

Thou art never alone

Joy is great when fear doesn’t get in the way *

Enough said.

Love Rach x

*Quote taken from,  Surprised By Oxford by Carolyn


My Rucksack 

I have a new fabric rucksack.  The big block patterns are dark blue and green It's small light and comfortable to carry. 

It holds  the essentials; tissues, bottle of water, a purse and a mobile phone thus enabling my hands to be free. 

I carry other loads mentally. I carry grief, aloneness, disappointment and the struggles of overthinking!!

I journey this year reading bible in a year. Just today I'm reminded how to rise above my head stuff! 

I love the Psalms, penned from his experience, songs of David that resonate within me, 

‘I will be with you in trouble,

I will deliver you and honour you’ (Psalm 91:15b)

The words whispered something deep into my disappointments. When the dreams fade and the hopes you had are not realised, everything looks different. I feel the crazy maze of  grief  the girl  inside you cries because the feeling aches some more. The words that inspire hope,  honouring work, right into the tears of your soul. Honour. 

Honour. Like a rainbow over the grey sky the honour given is a lift up a stony crag. Its a coffee on a long day. Its a morning sunrise, lifting the eyes to the sky. It is a hand held securely that says I'm with you forever. 

The journey with the eternal one is not plain sailing! 

Grit. We need grit! Endurance. Perseverance. Vision when the way looks lonely. A new dream when the road bends. Ability to carry the rucksack along the road of life. To keep going. To strive on. To know the burden is light yet the way can get tough. 

My aunt and uncle reach their diamond wedding Anniversary . I observe the great teacher and baker tiring, yet the grit of endurance is clear. They still love. Its the most powerful thing. Metaphorically they have stopped carrying some stuff but their rucksack is still on their backs. The greatest is Love. Love beyond everything. 

So what shall we say then. 

Keep carrying your rucksack for the kingdom. Bring a lot of heaven to earth by loving one another. 

I'm reading a great book Surprised By Oxford by Carolyn Weber, she writes with such art and delight in a discovery of Gods kingdom . 

Quote - the reason I wrote this book reports Carolyn is this;

To take away from the book that we are absolutely beloved of God and each have a meaning in His story.

I carry my rucksack , the grit conveying strength of character with determination and endurance. Knowing I'm beloved, part of  Gods story and honoured. 

Keep on Keeping on. Rucksack on. Beloved. 

The verse says , take my yoke, it's a light one.

The daily reminder into your heart and mine, to know whose we are,  the purpose we exist and carry our own rucksack in this world.

To be love and share the beauty and ongoingness. Keep doing the next right thing.


… your body is a sacred place, the place of the Holy Spirit’ 

1 Corinthians 6:19 The Message. 

Let's keep sharing in our journey.
Keep on keeping on, carrying our rucksacks .
Love Rach x

The books I read to my children 

… and how they speak to me now. 

Two boys were born from my womb into this world.

As a nurturing lady I loved the feeding and the bath fun and then the clean pyjamas and the book

A favourite that still is in my possession is, We're going on a bear hunt.

The refrain that was read again and again. The opening of pages together and the repeat. The cycle of sharing books continued with the grandsons. 

Should it be the biggest surprise then that the words are planted in my head!

Deeper still the words are found in my mind as I experience the hills and valleys of life of growing older. Losing loved ones. A nana , mum, dad and friends.  

Words shared with the little ones back then echo at a deeper level with a profound message that repeated its refrain,

You can't go under it, you can't go around it, you have to go through it. 

The truth is a kiss that says you can do this journey, you can go through it. Brave and fearfulness still grip the soul of me. Yet the firm foothold on the grit of the road step after step knowing avoidance is not how to do this. Its the steadfast hope looming for the bigger dream. A God dream. God-colours. I'm walking with a firmer step now. The journey through offerslight vibrant not grey. Distinctive. 

The next book is so very tiny. It offers a joy to read and the pictures are a delight.

Can't you sleep little bear?

The light in this story is never quite enough. A bigger lantern is brought in to create a better experience and eradicate the dark.

Stepping out to the moon offers the real experience. A full moon fills the whole being with light. 

Contentment brings rest. Light becomes enough. Oh the beauty of a child's story. The dark all around can be troublesome and frightening, yet how we are healed and restored as we experience the best of lights. A beauty and a wonder at the chromatography of God inside us. We can be so aware of our darkness about our world. Look up there's a bigger light and a illumination in the Christ who brings the Light to us. 

Grace instead of a hammer that knocks us back and makes me cower. Greater Grace. I'm only just touching the surface of it. The Love of it. The hand in my journey through and the Light beaming its best redemptive story into my world. 

I know Jesus has it covered . 

I've just to trust. 


Rach x

Linger on the Steps

Hello and welcome to a rachnotes blog post written about my recent visit to Paris!

Salut et Bonjour 

It’s here on a break away that I am inspired and find words and images to help me rise. 

The tour d’ Paris has been a cultural swim in art, design, architecture, history and walking!

We walked and walked and walked. 88 steps up to our Airbnb apartment for starters!!

Inadvertently I walked 350 steps up to the Notre Dame Towers, where I promptly walked back down again avoiding looking down from the view points!!

Many steps were taken around the Seine and museums and to our favourite brassiere!     

I did not walk up the Eiffel Tower but observed from a happy distance, it’s mighty height and landmark. 

On level ground my feet took many rotations on a bicycle, discovering Paris from a new vantage point with history and ice cream part of our Fat Tyre Tour!

The Louvre and D’Orsay museums filled our visual senses with interest and newness of perspective. 

Views of art vary as faith focus can differ across the denomination. 

I felt very present as I slowly took in the angles light and colour. 

Could we sit with faith and art seeing it with a newness and an unbiased angle. 

Giving Grace for the artist and their journey and ourselves in our battles and flourishing seasons.

You must know that floral art and its beauty would be part of my many footsteps lingered and delighted in.

Photography offers that extended time to see the artistic Florist at more leisure than the moments at the shop!

Steps lingering on a corner bring surprises where musicians share their talents and we listen longer than we listen to one another.

Steps into gardens and sculptures certainly lighted my heart with green and pinks making the perfect palette!

Luxembourg Garden

There is a step I linger still on, even now. Steps taken with friends I’ve known for many years. Steps taken by them in faith to encourage others in their steps. These steps taken daily are fulfilled through faithful stewardship. The weak knowing the strong in the journey of faith. 

I listened to my childhood friend whom I hope will write his book. Pages of Christ empowering him to be all he is in Christ. 

I’m encouraged by the passion and longevity. I know the words so written inside me. 

It’s strength in weakness

For all the steps I lingered on that week I wait over the words that echo Hope and life enduring. 

I am grateful for a culture that speaks of God my creator in every brush, line, curve and colour. 

I breathe in fresh inspiration as I return home to rise and know the words that many an artist will echo. 

love Rach xx  
Photos by rachnotes 


Hello, how are you today?

Do you like words? Sift them and hold them in your head then need to unravel it all in a note book or head for the keyboard. 

It comes to me, a  word spoken or often sung that makes me linger  over it.

Language is a powerful tool and can resonate in our minds in both good ways and hard ways. 

My mothers voice a small softly spoken Scottish accent would utter this word – unwieldy! I am not sure in which context I simply remember the word!

A car drives with good precision turning corners and bends . 

A mixer is switched on and beats the eggs and butter and sugar for your favourite cake. 

Unwieldy explains the process that’s complicated, onerous! Feels weighty. Instead of facilitating an end it makes the process difficult and unnecessarily so. 

How do we handle this in our life’s journey. How do we rise up daily from the conflict that is against us. The machinery or process that wears us down. 

Home buying , camera techniques, old processes these  can seem like we are losing the battle. The relationship that can’t understand you or you them! 

Patience gets frayed the emotional fatigue wears us down . 

With clarity I hear a voice of wisdom that speaks often into my ear. A gentle voice that echoes a truth to live by and this is one . She said it clear one day. You will wherever you go meet that unwieldy, challenge be it person or task it’s the thing that purifies us and makes us broken and brings empathy into our bones.

Don’t run away but face the burdensome that blocks you. Rejoice in it because of it. 

Work through it and dance on. 

We remember the fig tree..,

Or Cherry Tree as the Message puts it

Habakkuk 3v 17-19 –

Though the cherry trees don’t blossom

    and the strawberries don’t ripen,

Though the apples are worm-eaten

    and the wheat fields stunted,

Though the sheep pens are sheepless

    and the cattle barns empty,

I’m singing joyful praise to God.

    I’m turning cartwheels of joy to my Savior God.

Counting on God’s Rule to prevail,

    I take heart and gain strength.

I run like a deer.

    I feel like I’m king of the mountain!

Rise, my word this year, teaches me anew that I can rise in the midst of hard stuff, transition, conflict. 

I can rise. 

His grace is sufficient 

His shepherd care fills all the gaps so I won’t lack . 

That’s just exactly why I can rise. 

His presence fills the broken places fills up the  the grief and anxious heart. Gives me a new song. 

This Gospel my friend turns unwieldy into purpose and a plan. 

This girl can rise 

And that’s you too 

If you watch my stories where my small sense of fun found me practicing the boomerang on my Instagram! There I shared a book I’m reading. 

I’m gathering treasures from Chasing Slow. Here’s one to close:-

Erin talks about the breakdown required to create Coral reef 

The break itself is the beauty…. 

In this oft  unwieldy world let’s see how beautiful can be born from broken. 


Love Rach x


Hello dear friend – welcome to my faith journey in rachnotes, pull up a chair grab a cushion and a coffee  let’s chat awhile. So glad you are here I love to share these moments with you. 

Let’s begin  with my photograph. One that to me, conveys the word unravel, one that as I look at it I find the words and their context come tumbling out! The searching inside of me that considers how it all fits together. Like a jigsaw puzzle. At least how I expected it would!

It started with a text to a girlfriend. We send a daily encouraging ‘ hi! Often I will try to impress her with some deep truth I’ve discovered or am musing over.

The word or truth on this occasion was: unravelling!

How we try to unravel life’s stuff! 

How we try to comprehend its meaning  it’s depth and complexity- then the thought came to me that we must always remain curious but equally be trusting in the mystery of it all.  You know how it is, I like to know and understand how, why, what and who?

We listened to the song Oceans, where feet may fail. 

The words; ‘there I find you in the mystery’ stood out in my mind. Being aunthentic and present yet too being faith filled. 

Trusting in the mystery . The majesty . The holiness. The Authority. Yahweh. Lord. 

Then sitting in the midst of a need to unravelling meaning but choosing to sit at peace in the mystery of His power and His ways. 

So that’s where we need to keep close to  trust. Like a circle i keep coming back round again  to it. The littlest word with a big impact. 

T R  U S T 

How so small a word can cause me to come adrift from it. 

Reasoning and unravelling to assist in my thinking. To bring about solutions to my anxious ways or micromanage future plans. 

She closes the book, she completes the song. She holds His words . Trust me. I know the way you take. 

She gathers the scripture to her soul, the one she can quote chapter and verse. It is in the living of it that makes the difference . The circle, back to trust, the resting of unravelling. 

Okay, till the circle comes round again . I’m trusting. Casting care. 

How about you?

Love Rach x

You have a story to write 

Our Story 

She reaches for that next title . Another amazing book written. This could be the one she can hold dear, the one that ‘gets’ her, the one where  the words resonate with her heart. The one that She holds  on to forever because its knows her heart too! 

Many books say a little of her heart. But they miss a beat of fully saying her words completely.

She extracts quotes that resonate and make her heart stronger. Yet. Always looking for that story that fits to help her rise again! 

You, speak those words dear friend.  

You photograph the art. 

 You write it. 

YOU! Yes you!

Further as she yearned more for that next book promoted that the realisation came,  the answer  of course is already deep inside.

Years of journeying with her God and Saviour, watching and reading life. 

There’s a tapestry oft torn and oft broken but always rewoven in. 

A new message is being finely threaded in. Rise because of Grace. 

The story you need desperately is in others, yet, dig deep because it’s inside of you . 

Pen the words, type them in. 

Be still, let go of your preconceived ideas and widen the horizons before you. 

Seek and ye shall find

Express the authentic you 

Find the artist in you. 

She ponders here. 

Its not clear 

Sees through the glass dimly. 

Trust as she steps through the wardrobe and into Narnia. 

Peeping out through caution and fear. Tentatively she moves towards the dream. 

She poises and thinks of her grandmother, her beautiful penmanship on a card. Long ago. 




The 3 Ps . 

The characters played out in her lifetime. An ordinary life. Godliness is the one sitting listening. Remember Mary. 

She listens to the song in her heart. Making sense of an end is impossible at the beginning. 

She treads the ocean with the faith  that brought her here and the waves won’t worry her. 

The props are falling one by one . The characters that she leaned into have completed their song. Yet. There’s a Strong Tower that’s holding her 

Proverbs 18:10

God’s name is a place of protection—good people can run there and be safe.

And so it is she folds it away like the books she read and the knowledge and the wisdom . 

The vision is inside her. 


While the storm is hitting the rocks 


A whisper speaks inside you

Let go 

Listen to the breathe and the truth and the story inside of you. 

Quietly let it unfold 

There is a story in you and me.
Written before we were born

He is faithful to bring us into the fullness of it. 




But those who wait upon God get fresh strength.

    They spread their wings and soar like eagles,

They run and don’t get tired,

    they walk and don’t lag behind.

Isaiah 40:31

Let the art and the words cause you to rise. Cause us all to rise . 

It is the poetry of hands to bring your story to the world to let the bowed body  and hurting heart rise. 

The main aim is to rise my daughter my friend. To write your story a gift to yourself. Never forget you have a story to write. 

Love Rach 

That Book 

That Book
Absolutely love weaving words into sentences that can inspire the soul to rise up each day. Yet too, aspire to fold words into a book. The ‘papier’ and the picture and the words are my melody, my song!

Is that because a book has oft been my tangible encouragement in life’s journey. The words of another giving a sort of hug-in-words, echoing something that assures me all shall be well. 

Words that help me find my true affirmation in Christ?

My best belonging in The One who lived His words beyond a page, beyond Instagram and beyond a photograph. 

That book I hold of a story, poetry, or art – a masterpiece of someone’s strength in their struggle showing Christ being their Hope. 

Could there be anything more precious than the handheld grasping of words that bring colour and confidence into our living and bring joy, to take our next step into the night. 

That book my dear is in us all. 

Rise Anyway

She gets that overwhelmed feeling oft. 

Builds a strategy

 a space 

a walk

 a breathe

 a prayer. 

It’s okay


Coffee break 


The bible app 

Panic still pervades her

She Sinks into a lost 



Rise is her word 

She chose it 

‘Live it now girl ‘

She unkindly speaks 

Into her own heart


R I S E 

She remembers his hand 

Reaching out

Her defeat caught 

grace unmeasurable 

Gifted to her 

The thought caught in the thicket

The tears dried by understanding love 

Rise is made possible 


He is 

I am 

Emmanuel never leaves 



Hello to 2017

One year whizzing past. 

Another approaches with similar speed. Hello 2017. 

What does this year ahead view like from here?

I began a 5 day daily meditation on the bible app. Bridging the close of the advent readings by Ann Voskamp and the start of HTB bible in a year. 

The app reminded me of how to consider God in the present moment. 

How often we dwell overly on past pain and loss or even a past preferred life.

Then there is the panic of unknown days ahead, the approaching challenges and adventures of a new horizon ahead. 

To dwell in the now of life causes us to be still,  to take a breath, to abide. To trust with our whole selves means it’s possible in the now. We trust God with our hopes and fears we trust with our today. 

Matthew 6:34The Message

Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.

Getting overwhelmed by life becoming anxious about life often is a result of a panic inside that pictures the project in its entirety. 

Slow – slow – slow. 

Or as I am quoted by my sister now – stop – stop – stop. 

The addiction to hurry and activity wins a feel good factor. 

I’m intentional about how I can address this is my own life.

Listen to the birds song in the moment. See the sunrise. 

Make choices that unclutter my world outside and within. 

Trusting in promises, avoiding over focusing on the distant view, instead investing in the present that puts trust in charge. 

Rise, she is such a little word. 

I am embracing its hope in countless ways already. 

Seeing my present as the time to rise. As one sunset and one moon already risen brings grace into a world that aches for light I see it already breaking through. When feel I can’t cope I see the oneword being air to me. 

Rise my child 

It was whispered into my soul as a young woman and it’s whispered still. 

Rise into 2017 with the strength that’s greater and wings that fly higher. 

Rise spoke Jesus to the child. 

In that present moment 

She took His hand and stood up. 

Taking the child by the hand, He said to her, “Talitha kum!” (which translated means, “Little girl, I say to you, get up HSCB 

Then He took the child by the hand, and said to her, “Talitha, cumi,” which is translated, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.

Matt 5 NKJ 

She chooses to take the hand and rise. She is not ignorant of life’s losses but grabs gratitude and grace by the hand and skips with childlike faith into 2017 knowing the one whose she is is always alway with her. 

Offering _

As we move into our new year I offer you no judgement and ask this same grace in return.

 I offer you the gift to share in the present.  

I offer you hope in which to rise up to your dreams.

I offer you courage to bear the greys of our days. 

I offer you a Saviour with which one can rise because the righteous right hand sustains .

My offering is my prayer for you to be encouraged in a journey step by step with the good shepherd, rising daily into outrageous grace and abundance of blessings_ 

There will be joy in the morning therefore rise 

Happy New Year 

Love Rach x