I have moved my blog from a “self-hosted” site, to a site that does the work for me.  There are pros and cons to both ways of blogging, but I always felt over my head with the self-hosted site. I think I still am, so sorry for some of the “bugs” you may experience in the days ahead.

One of my challenges to any new project is finding catchy names and titles.  I stink at it, but found that years ago I used my email name “Rashellbud” to create my blogging account so decided to stick with it.

“Rashellbud” has an odd history.  Although it appears to be a clever play on my real name “Rachelle” and my nickname “Shelly” it is actually a moniker given to me by a group of college freshman who liked to pester me for not drinking.

I was a resident advisor (RA) my junior in college.  “Piece of cake” I thought when I learned that I would have to share a living space with them rather than have the usual room designated for RAs. How hard can innocent little freshman be? Well …

I didn’t expect them to be partiers.  But they were … from day one.  And, they didn’t expect me to not be a partier.  I had quit all that from year two.

It was a little strange at times, but it worked. I tried not to mother them and they tried to include me. Politely, they asked me to their parties in our living space and politely, I usually hung out for a few minutes and then left to study.

One night I came back to find a sign on my door over the picture of a Bud Light.

“Shell, we missed you … have a Bud”.  “Shellbud” was born.  Later someone attached the “RA to it, and for nearly 30 years, I’ve had the name “Rashellbud” to confuse people with when I try to explain my email address.

I like the idea of moving into this next season of life with this connection to my college years.  If ever I was skilled at living life six minutes at a time, it was during college.  Of course, I fretted about the future and how to not fail classes. But it mostly marks a time of embracing what was in front of my face … a season marked by authentic friendships and a spirit of adventure.

I’ve been listening to a song by Hawk Nelson (“Live Like You’re Loved“) that captures this sense of freedom that I’ve been trying to embrace of late…

I’m tellin’ you somethin’
This racing, this running
Oh, you’re working way too hard! (You’re working way too hard)
And this perfection you’re chasing
Is just energy wasted
Cause He love’s you like you are!

So go ahead and live like you’re loved
It’s ok to act like you’ve been set free
His love has made you more than enough
So go ahead and be who He made you to be …

Sometimes a heart of stone is a perfect reminder that I am loved … always. (Found on today’s walk near Covington.)

Mike has been out of the hospital and “incident-free” for two months. Our new hobby is a weekly hike.  Okay, they’re just walks, but the goal is to make a couple of real hikes by this summer.  Wallace Falls and Rattle Snake Ledge are in our sights.  On a gentler scale, we’ve tackled Green Lake in Seattle and Tumwater Falls Park in Olympia as well as few other scenic paths.  Today, we discovered Soos Creek Trails near Covington.  Sweet trail!

My goal on these outings has been to get out of myself … to find the ol’ Rashellbud who was more free and more adventurous.  This new determination went to the dogs today. Thankfully, that was the goal.

Mike is the “dog whisperer” in our family, and I often get annoyed with him for stopping and petting every fur ball that comes our way.  Today, I shocked him by interrupting people as they approached, asking if I could snap a shot of their pooch.  These furry encounters refreshed me.  Just looking at these eager faces (and few snarling ones) makes me feel good about life.  Can’t tell you exactly why, but sometime it’s just better to spend six minutes petting a dog or six minutes reliving happy memories than worrying about stuff I can’t change anyway.

I call the picture of the dog in the stroller, “Too old to walk … but not too old to roll.” I love that his owners found a way for him to enjoy the outdoors, which he obviously did.

A little more Hawk Nelson to finish off this week’s blog …

And live like you’re know you’re valuable
Like you know the One that holds your soul
Cause mercy has called you by your name
Don’t be afraid to live in that grace …

So go ahead and live like you’re loved
It’s ok to act like you’ve been set free
His love has made you more than enough
So go ahead and be who He made you to be …

Live like you’re loved, walk like you’re free
Stand like you know, who He made you to be
Live like you’re loved, like you believe
His love is all that you’ll ever need
Live like you’re loved!