The Year I Aged Ten Years


Most of this story happened in 2013. What followed in 2014 is a different story.

There was a day I remember helping my mom. She was ill, I think, though she couldn’t tell me about it because she had lost her ability to speak from dementia.

As she slept in bed, her nose was bleeding. You likely haven’t seen an infirm person in bed with a nosebleed, so I’ll just tell you: it looks like a crime scene. I tried to help her out of bed, but she is bigger than me, and she was frail, so we sat there with me sort-of propping her up, and both of us surrounded by a variety of body fluids.

We sat together for twenty minutes like that, and as I wiped her face and kissed her forehead, I felt our roles change. I took the role of the parent, and she became like the dependent child. She needed help like a three-year-old child, and I could do that. I already had two children, and I was good at taking care of them. I could wipe faces and do laundry, I do that every day. I let go of my role as a daughter.

It was better, actually, to feel that shift toward taking care of my mom. I had helplessly watched her go through a dozen years of debilitating loss. My sadness felt secondary to her first-hand experience, and feeling like I couldn’t talk about the loss of a person who was technically still here and needing care, I swallowed my grief and sank into dark depression. I thought I had experienced a splinter compared to someone who had lost an arm. I developed a fine collection of coping methods, but caring for her was something helpful I could do.

Dementia is the experience of hundreds of losses, in slow motion, with no relief in sight. My mom couldn’t speak, drive, or play with her grandchildren. She couldn’t control her facial muscles to make a smile, and that saddened her because of how it affected other people.

At home she could no longer be by herself. She walked around wearing only one shoe. She wanted to take walks outside in 100-degree weather wearing winter clothes. She walked constantly in laps around the house.

I got an ID bracelet for her to wear since she was prone to leaving the house to go walking by herself. Three days later I received a phone call from a stranger who helped her and saw my phone number on her bracelet. My mom had fallen on the street and needed emergency care. Without the bracelet, she would have been Jane Doe in the hospital. I couldn’t leave my phone after that; I carried it constantly.

The kitchen was safety-proofed, and the refrigerator door locked because she would get drinks, not remembering that she had finished her drink five minutes before. She ate without discernment things that were not food: a grape stem, a corn cob, pieces of paper, even the kitchen sponge. I hid the push pins.

Without concern for safety, she tried to exit a moving vehicle. She called 911 twice in a week for no reason—the police showed up both times. She pushed the alarm at the memory care center where she visited a few days each week.

She didn’t like it at the memory care center; she thought it was boring, and she wanted to be at home. My dad asked what she thought she would do at home, and she replied, “laundry.” To her, doing the laundry meant stopping and starting the laundry cycle over again by pushing the buttons. It took all day to complete a load of clothes, unless I guarded the washing machine.

Caring for her was different than caring for a child, certainly. It was a remedy and a privilege for me. The intimacy of caring for a dependent adult felt like a sacred place. It was hard, though, and I did work that I didn’t think I was strong enough to do.

I was glad when my dad decided to move her into the memory care center full-time. He had always been my mom’s primary caregiver and carried the majority of the work. I wasn’t worried about her, I knew she would be fine; I was worried about my dad. I felt relieved. He felt devastated.

Ironing the name labels onto her clothes seemed like sending my kid to camp. She had a nice room with a new bedspread. The workers were friendly and supportive.

A few weeks after she moved to the care center, I was trying to get my life back to normal, but I couldn’t because everything changed.

I was diagnosed with cancer in March 2014. It started in the breast and spread to several places in my body, attached to my bones. I was 36 years old, and my children were 7 and 4. When the doctor told me the news, I thought of my mom and said, “Well, I’ve seen worse.” I didn’t cry. I was so tired of being sad.

I didn’t tell my mom I had cancer. I didn’t know if she could understand, and I imagined her turning away to go for a walk. I knew she wouldn’t be able to respond in the way I wanted. I wanted her to help take care of my kids and cook for me during chemo. She would have helped me, if she could.

Although she couldn’t help me, I realized she gave me something greater: she showed me how to go through something hard by her example.

(More details about my cancer treatment will follow.)

About Rachel

I write about practical tips that will help you simplify at home. Connect with me on Pinterest and Twitter.


  1. I don’t even know what to say. I’ve been a faithful reader of your blog for years and I’ve kept it in my feed reader hoping you would return to writing. Although I’ve never met you, when I see the title of your blog in my list of feeds, I think of you, of your last post about your mother. I wish for peace for you, I am not sure how you found the courage to post this, but someone out here is still reading. Prayers for you and your family.

    • This. Thoughts and prayers for you.

    • Kym captured my sentiments as well. I assumed you’d stopped writing to make more time available to care for your mom, and while reading this update I burst into tears at the news that you were diagnosed with cancer. You and your family are in my prayers tonight.

    • Ditto. Saw your post pop into my feeder (never lost faith you would reappear!). Sending lots of love and good thoughts for healing and peace for you and your whole family. Come and go as you like in this space—your blog will always be special for me (and I am guessing many other people).

    • I echo this. Love and peace to you and your family. -Kimberly

    • The ladies who posted before me have said it all. I just wanted to echo their sentiments. I will pray for you and your family – wishing you and yours health and happiness.

    • My thoughts too. Will keep you all in my prayers.

      • Ditto.

        This year I carried around your Christmas post and repeated your words as a mantra (“Santa is a jolly man who really likes Christmas.”) all season and I can say it was the first time I have ever enjoyed the holiday. Such a gift.

        Please know what a blessing you are to all of us who follow you. My prayers are with you.

        • I have been a regular reader of your blog and I am always amazed by your strength and your humility and your ability to find positive and joy in life’s daily.

          My thoughts and prayer are with you – I wish you all the happiness and contentment!

    • I too have read your blog for years and always found such encouragement from it. I have checked backed every so often to see if you had any new entries. Even though we don’t personally know one another, you’ve been on my mind for months–maybe God wanted me to pray for you? Thank you for sharing. I will be praying regularly for you and your family.

    • I want to echo everything that has been said. As a faithful reader of your blog, I felt a sisterhood with you, and eagerly awaited every post you wrote. You had wonderful ideas and I loved the way you discussed them. I also wondered why you weren’t posting this past year; now I know. Thank you for writing this last post and keeping us updated. I was diagnosed with cancer April 2014 while homeschooling my youngest 4 children and taking care of my 81 yr. old parents who live 4 blocks away. They rely on me for driving them 3x a week to dialysis treatments, help with their medications, and monthly visits to the Mayo Clinic, 300 miles away. I honestly don’t know how I survived 2014. But somehow I did. The beautiful way you wrote this post proves that you’re a survivor too.

      Hugs and prayers to you!

  2. Oh dear, Rachel….how heartbreaking! I can’t imagine what you’ve been going through. ((hugs))

  3. Oh Rachel. I don’t know you, but I’ve been using the Kiss My Face soap now for a few years because you recommended it, and so often wonder how you’ve been since you hadn’t posted for a long time. I’m so sorry about your mom and about your own cancer. Thank you for sharing.

    My senior year of college, I lived with a lady (the mother of one of the adults who worked with the college students at my church) to be there for her at night because she had Alzheimers. She had an older lady that sat with her during the day, and helped cook for her, and take her to get her hair done once a week at the beauty parlor. Even just being there at night was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life, because they had moved her from her home of 40+ years to this townhome and she kept saying she needed to go home. She even threatened to call the police on me a few times because she didn’t know who I was.

    I hadn’t known the lady before she got alzheimers, but watching her struggle all the time was incredibly hard. I can’t imagine it being someone you were as close to as you were to your mother. Just impossible. You are incredibly strong to have done this and also go through your own major health scare without her support.

    Praying for you and your family.

    • Our family has used Kissed My Face for years now too!

      Rachel, I’m looking forward to hearing about how the past year has played out. Beautiful, dignifying writing about your mother, and I’m grateful for your perseverance to love her. I pray your body has healed and is healing.

      I hope you realize what an impact your blog (life) has had on so many people, as you’ve been away for a year and a half and are welcomed back with hundreds of comments!

  4. Rachel – “ditto” the comment above. I love your blog, have missed your entries but kept your blog in my feed reader in hopes that you would one day be able to post again. Your last post about your mother and the quilts was so moving and has stayed with me. My heart sank as I read today’s post…you have already been through so much. Praying for you and your recovery.

  5. Ditto what everyone else has said. I was actually just thinking of you last night, oddly (because of a blog post) – wondering what you were up to. Saying a prayer right now for you…

  6. So shocked to read this, and so humbled that you would share your story with us. Prayers for you, now.

    • Katherine says:

      Agreed. Prayers from Virginia.

      • Same as Keely and Katherine. PRAYERS!!! So very sorry to hear this. What a very, very scary time for you and your family. You are a strong woman to have gone through all of this. I’m praying that you have a speedy recovery, and that you can beat this.

  7. I’ve missed you!

    So sorry that this last year has been so hard on you and your family!

    Sending love from South Africa and I can’t wait to read the next instalment xx

  8. Christine says:

    I recently read a post that described the current state of blogging and it said that one of the hardest things about blogging now is knowing if someone…anyone…is reading and responding to your words. I just want you to know that I was very happy to see you come back online when I received the email from Small Notebook about 5 minutes ago. I read your post as soon as I received it. And I don’t know you, but I genuinely feel for you and wish you all the best. Your words count, you count, and you’ve made a difference for me. I hope you’re on the mend.

    • Yes, this! Know that we are still here!!! I was so excited when I got the notification of a new post. Thank you for ssharing your story. We’re here when you can tell us more.

  9. praying for your family, and for your health….I hope I will soon read that you are able to feel joy again…what a tough road.

  10. I’ve never commented on a blog before, but I had to tell you how beautifully and achingly honest this post was and how much it touched me. I watched my mother care for my great aunt with Dementia and it was heartbreaking.

    Thank you for sharing such a personal story with such honesty and poignancy. Sending you and your family positive thoughts . . .

  11. I had been wondering about you as well. When I got the email with your note this morning, I was excited but also nervous. I’m so sorry. I lost my mom in 2007. The few months we were with her after her diagnoses were the hardest of my life. I hope your own treatment is going well. Really well.

    Take care!

  12. You have been missed. Thank you for sharing your story and courage.

  13. Dear Rachel:
    I just knew there would come a day when you could get back to this place and be with your readers again. I have thought of you and your dear mother so so often in the past couple of years. I am so sorry to hear this news about your cancer. Please know I am praying for you and am in awe of your courage. Complete awe.
    Much love –

  14. Sending hugs.

  15. Rachel,
    I found your blog last year and read every single post that same day. You have a gift for sharing so honestly and beautifully. I’m sending love, strength and positivity to you. I know you’ve inspired so many with your words, and I just wanted to send a few back to you! Giants hugs from New York…

  16. When I came to the sentence about your cancer, I had to stop reading and I prayed for you! I can’t even imagine what you’ve gone through with your mom Rachel, but this on top of everything else… It’s easy for me to say, but I know that God will carry you through this. He will not forsake you! Thank you for thinking of us by sharing your story Rachel. I knew that you would come back and write to us again…you are truly an amazing person! Janel in NJ

  17. Praying for you and your family dear Rachel. God bless you.

    Just this morning I looked again at your blog, hoping for news and then I got the e-mail with your latest post. Heartbreaking and so poignant – as always, so well written and it really touched my heart. I went through something similar when my father had brain cancer, the child becomes the parent and I was honoured to help, to give back. Then to learn of your own battle with cancer. You are so strong!

    Sending hugs and positive vibes.

  18. All I can think to say is “Oh, Rachel!” And I keep having to wipe tears to see my phone. I was so glad to see Small Notebook in my emails. And then I started reading……..I hope you can keep writing. …Hugs from a grandma and prayers. And thank you.

  19. Rachel, I am so sorry to hear all of this. I understand feeling like a parent to your own parent. You have had such a hard journey. I am hoping your next post will tell us things are getting better. Take care.

  20. Praying for you and your family dear Rachel. God bless you.

    Just this morning I looked again at your blog, hoping for news and then I got the e-mail with your latest post. Heartbreaking and so poignant – as always, so well written and it really touched my heart. I went through something similar when my father had brain cancer, the child becomes the parent and I was honoured to help, to give back. Then to learn of your own battle with cancer. You are so strong!

    Sending hugs and positive vibes. Thinking of you and that miracles happen!

  21. Just letting you know someone else is here listening – I’m so very sorry for your challenges and impressed by how you’ve come through well enough to reach out and share here. Prayers for your health and for all your family – sending a hug through space from NY

  22. Wow. I have a few blogs that I follow who have gone quiet in the last year and I often wonder the reason. I always found your posts so helpful. Sorry to hear that you have been dealing with two difficult things during your absence. Thank you for sharing and praying for you in both situations.

  23. I have always loved your blog and your fresh, simple take on life. I am SO sorry to hear about your cancer and of course your mother’s illness. I hope your treatment goes well and that one year in the not too distant future you and your family will have the peace, health, happiness, and rejuvination that have been missing for you these last few hard years.

  24. Rachel –

    I’ve been thinking about you and your family lately in the silence. While it is so nice to read your words again, I am so sorry they are here to tell of great sadness. Thoughts and prayers as you go through these tough things. May you be surrounded by love and hope.
    Abbigail Kriebs´s last post…The 2015 Book Project

  25. Rebekah M says:

    Rachel, I too read your emailed blog post immediately. (I only do that really for family members’ letters, normally.) I love your blog, your writing, and I feel like I know you in a little way. I too use the Kiss My Face soap, and I have above my writing desk your words written on a blank notecard, words that affected me so: “I like my stuff, but I am so over it. Give me passion, pursuits, wholeness, , compassion, mercy, reconciliation, audacious goals, beauty, love, , kindness, tender touch…give me those instead, and let me not be distracted by anything else.”
    I have found that your absence from the internet was of purpose, and it actually gave me a sense of relief that people can choose to step away from a blog when they need to. I know now how you truly needed to do that. I don’t know if you’ll come back to write as frequently, but your choice helped me to learn blogging wasn’t just for people who had loads of time. It’s helped me to know a balance with it. Also, your ebook inspired me to take the small steps to step out and write. Thank you, Rachel, for sharing. I’m so sorry to hear about what these many months have held for you. My heart goes out to you. Looking forward to your writing!

  26. I’ve missed you! (((HUGE HUGS)))

  27. Rachel-

    I’m so sorry for what you are going through. I have always enjoyed your posts and your blog is one that I actually used the advice many times. I had wondered what happened. May God give you and your family even more strength, peace and hope.

  28. Missed seeing your posts. I’m sorry to hear all that’s happened and happening. Many hugs and prayers for you and your family.

  29. Anne At Home says:

    Oh God, how heartbreaking. I love your blog, read it “cover to cover” when I discovered it. Your last post on your mum and quilts was incredibly moving. My mum makes quilts but is thankfully still a hale and hearty 71 year old. I know how lucky I am. My best friend of over 30 years was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was 36. She has had it twice and is an absolute inspiration. That was 10 years ago and she is now fit & well. I hope the same for you too. Just wanted you to know (if you didn’t already) that your words have touched me (and many others by the looks of things). Thinking of you, all the way down here in Australia

  30. Rachel,
    My heart is broken for you. This last year has been a nightmare for us too. Though the human soul is strong we can only bare so much. I am with you. So tired of crying everyday of feeling moments of absolute despair. Watching someone you love suffer silently in ways they can’t communicate. A shell of what you once knew. Mourning the loss of them while they are there in front of you. Feeling helpless as you watch them completely fall apart. Knowing you can never really have them back the way you want them. Waking up each morning to the shining sun only to remember the reality of what a new day really brings. Even though as others have said we have never met I wish I was there to help you. These kinds of life traumas change who you are in ways that can never be reversed. The safety and security that you once felt that these kinds of things won’t happen to me is gone. Your naive and innocent frame of mind is forever jaded by fear of waiting for the other shoe to drop. I cannot imagine as you begin your newest battle how defeated you already feel. Please know there is still strength in you. That you can get through this. And you are not alone. I am praying for you to have strength and healing in all parts of your life. Love, prayers and hugs from Colorado.

  31. I will hold you and your family in my prayers.

  32. Thank you for this overflow of encouragement. It is heartwarming, truly.

  33. Praying for you and your family!

  34. I’ve read your blog for so long and never commented before on the many ways your blog has influenced my life.
    You are such an inspiration… You will be in my thoughts and prayers.

  35. Lisa Griffin says:

    Rachel ,
    My name is Lisa and I live in Scotland
    Your blog has inspired me and been a revelation that simplicity really is best ……..more than any blog or book ive read .
    I’ve been puzzled as to why you disappeared. Now I understand .
    You did mention in the last post which was here for so long ….the one with the photo of the lovely quilt ….that your mum wasn’t well . I presume you were busy with her and with life in general .
    thanks for your honesty in sharing your diagnosis of breast cancer…….quite a shock I’m sure and must be the biggest challenge life has thrown at you
    Just want to say the somewhere near Glasgow I will be thinking of you .i do hope you are getting through your treatment ok and that we will be hearing from you again .Best wishes lias

  36. I am so sorry! I, too, often wondered how things were going with your mother … and now this! I will pray for you and your family.

  37. Rachel,
    The Lord has brought you to my mind off and on through the silence of your blog and I have prayed for you. And now I will continue to pray! I’m so sorry for all you have gone through. I can only imagine. My dad got sick and died in 2014 and I know some of the heartbreak you must feel but then getting sick yourself. I don’t even know what to say except I pray you experience the nearness and grace of God in a way you never have before. He is with you and loves you! Please let us know more so we can pray! Much love to you!

  38. Rachel,
    Sending my thoughts and prayers for you and your family. Hoping for your speedy recovery. Looking forward to many positive and uplifting posts on this blog from you. God bless you! Good Luck!!

  39. I’m so sorry to read this Rachel. I saw your blog come up on my feed and I was so excited to see you were writing again. I hope you are feeling well now and I look forward to more of your writing, as you can manage. Sending you prayers and wishes for healing and good health.

  40. I have missed your voice on this blog. As I teared up reading this and prayed for you I thanked our good God for your life and for his plan for you. Sending love from Colorado.

  41. Pedita Hall says:


    Welcome back – you were missed. So sorry to hear of your illness – and glad you were able to care for your mum. Family is most important after all and you have always embodied that.

    Hope things are on the improve and/or that your blogging can help you through.

  42. I’m so glad I decided to check in on your blog again! We’ve missed you here and I’m sorry you’ve had such a tough year. Sending good thoughts your way and hope you’ll check in again soon.

  43. All I can say is Bless you, Sweetie. Bless you infinity.

  44. Rachel, I feel like you are a friend, even though we don’t really “know” one another. You have meant a lot to us out here in the ether, and continue to mean a lot. I hope you kick Cancer’s butt onto another planet and I am wishing you the strength and positivity that you have given to so many over the years as you go through these unfairly trying times. Thinking of you and your wonderful family, Peach.

  45. Oh, dear, I am so sorry to hear about your illness. Many prayers for continued courage, strength, and healing!

  46. As others have already said, your voice has been missed. Prayers for strength, hope and love from Arizona. <3

  47. I’ve never commented on the blog before, but wanted to send positive thoughts your way. I was thrilled to see an email from Small Notebook today. You should write a book. Wishing you health and healing from DC.

  48. Thanks for sharing your heart Rachel. I was so excited to see a post from you. We have truly missed you.

  49. So often we feel alone and anon on the web… all these comments… so exactly what I’m thinking… amazing and makes my heart melt at the kindness of those all around who only read words on a screen but will stop and post and pray.
    May God grant peace for you dear Rachel, and may God bless all who read and are touched by your words.
    Blessings on the journey~
    Deb W´s last post…A Hello

  50. Rachel, thank you for sharing; your expertise, your experience, and your depth of emotion and thank you for the reminder.

    I admire you. Not because you struggle or out of pity.

    I admire your ability to illuminate what, as a society, many are oblivious to until we experience the issues ourselves.

    I have watched four grandparents and one great grandparent decline; two into dementia. I know that your struggle (especially with a parent) is different. But, I applaud your courage!

    One day my parents will need my care. It is important within our culture, to learn from the experience of others. Thank you for the reminder that there is so much more to our lives.
    Jeremiah Grafsgaard´s last post…The Human Condition

  51. I’m so very sorry for your loss and my prayers go out to you, and your family. I never stopped missing your posts, and your absence in the inbox did not go unnoticed. It’s good to hear from you, even briefly, so this extended family of yours can cast encouragement your way.

  52. What a year you’ve been through. Sending much love your way and prayers for joy, and strength in the face of life’s trials.

  53. Dear Rachel,
    Your blog was the first blog I ever subscribed to. I needed a human connection at the time and started seeking interaction by blogs at first and then eventually ventured out into the world of live humans again.

    Five years ago I lost my two oldest children when they were 10 and 12. They weren’t killed in a car accident. That would have been far easier to bear. They molested and tortured my two younger children. I had to choose between the two sets of children because I could not keep them together and know that they were all safe.

    Our church family blamed me. After enduring them screaming at me three different times, I left our church and all of our friends. All of my family sided with the older kids who had lied about my husband and I saying that we had abused them. We lost our two oldest children, all of our friends and and all of our family, EXCEPT one old couple three houses down. They loved us and helped our shattered heart’s heal. But we became hermits in the middle of a city.

    Though your journey has been different than mine, I can identify with loss and other parts to a certain degree. But, I am writing, not for me, but to share with you that though I thought at times that I could not go on or that this was all too much to bear, God has seen us through each step of the way, one step at a time.

    I learned in Christian school by rote memory that our purpose in life is to bring God glory. But, I learned by life experience that to choose to do your best to bring God glory even in the most difficult circumstances you can imagine is sometimes simply to praise Him in the midst of chaos, of heartbreak, of pain.

    May God give you strength each day for the challenges that lay ahead. I will pray for you and you family. God has healed my heart and allowed me to have peace in my heart again. I pray that you will have peace as you walk through each day!

  54. Thank you for sharing your story. I’ve missed you. Praying for you.

  55. Have missed you. And known you were taking that journey with your mom. How even more difficult this time has been, on so many levels.

    So sad to hear of the worries. And so glad to hear from you!

    Prayers and hugs and thoughts. You do not walk this path alone.
    Suze G.

  56. Thank you for sharing your story, Rachel. You are not alone. Prayers and warm thoughts from Katy, Texas. Many blessings to you in this new year!
    Leah :-)

  57. There’s nothing I can write that would ‘fix’ this for you, and that makes me delete my words and start again. And strangely, I guess this mirrors what you’ve been saying. It’s a suffering to watch others suffer and to not be able to intervene in any way that seems sufficient.

    I’m so glad to see you back, but I recognise that you come back changed, and that you’ve been through the wringer. We are here to listen. I’m so sad these past years have been so difficult.

  58. Thank you for sharing. Thinking of you and wishing you the best.

  59. Rachel, my heart did a leap when I saw your blog come through in my reader. I was just thinking of you yesterday and wondered if I would read your words again. I hoped so. You are in my thoughts and am so glad to read you again. Hugs to you.

  60. Rachel,
    I thought of you at the beginning of the new year, and many times before. I have read your blog for years and gleaned so many helpful hints that I use in my day-to-day life. I am saddened to find out why you needed time away from your blog, but please feel comfort in the many, many people who are praying for your strength. Sometimes, when it rains it pours and we just can’t figure out why. It’s faith, believing in what we cannot see, that will carry all of us through these times. I admire you. Thank you

  61. Dear one,
    For years you’ve been in my heart, since reading the last post “These are the Quilts.”
    I think you are in Dallas—I am in Austin. Not close enough to drop some casseroles on your doorstep, but near enough that if you need help, I’ll do it. I’m not kidding.
    Say the word, and help is there.

    Help is everywhere for you, Rachel, and the beauty of your spirit merits that.
    I’m praying for your continued strength.

    With love,

  62. Rachel-

    I’m a long time blog follower and I’ve so enjoyed your thoughts and perspective. I’m so sorry for these trials in your life. Although we’ve never met, I will hold you and your family in my thoughts.

  63. My heart goes out you. I also have first hand experience with dementia with my Dad and breast cancer with my mother and myself but not at the same time. So hard to go through. Take one day at a time. I had cancer 12 years ago and it’s a distant memory now. It can be that way for you too. Peace.

  64. Rachel, my heart goes out to you and your family. What a difficult journey you’ve been on. You’ll be in my prayers.

  65. I have missed your sane raft amid the waves of the blogging ocean. My heart aches for you, but all I can do is pray. Thank you for letting us know what happened.

  66. Oh Rachel, I have hoped to see something from you pop up in my feed reader but I certainly did not hope for or expect this. I will be praying for you and your family. Thank you for your many helpful words over the years. I hope our prayers can be a help to you, but wish I could do more.

  67. Oddly enough I went to your blog this morning, wondering if maybe you’d come back to blogging, but I’d somehow missed it. You can imagine my surprise and joy when I saw this post land in my e-mail box- but then sadness when I read what it said. I am sorry for you and your family. I pray that 2015 will be a year of comfort, peace, clarity and love for you all.

  68. I was happy to see an update but so saddened to how awful the past year has been for you. Here’s to 2015 being full of strength, love, health, and blessings!

  69. I am beyond sad for everything you have been through and are going through. I am a very very long time follower/reader. Your frequent blog posts, and you, have been missed. You and your family are in my prayers.

  70. Nancy Weber says:

    Rachel , I am praying for you now as I have many times through the last year. Truly just yesterday I thought of you and how much I missed your wonderful advise. I prayed for your family and will continue to do so.

  71. Dear Rachel,

    My heart breaks to read what you went and are going through. Praying for you and your family

  72. Rachel we are all so happy to hear your voice again after such long silence and saddened by the news you have chosen to share. If we can help, we are here. Love and prayers from Ireland.

  73. Rachel,
    I’ll echo the many previous posters. I’m another long-time reader and I’ve (selfishly) hoped your life circumstances would allow you to return to blogging. You are so strong. I’ve learned so much from your thoughtful writings. Thank you for writing this post, as you are undoubtedly helping so many people — both those who have lived through similar trials and those who will in the future. Peace be with you, today and always. You’ll be in my thoughts and prayers.

  74. Dearest Rachel,
    I pretty much echo so many of the readers, when I saw a post by you I was so excited as I love your blog and your view on life.
    I’m so very sad to read your news. Cancer is a life changer, I saw my mum go through it last year.
    Sending love and hugs to you, your kids, your husband, your mum and your poor Dad who must deal with two of his loves sick.
    Sara xx

  75. I was reading your post with tears in my eyes as you described the care of your mother. We have just moved my mother-in-law in with us as she is exhibiting some signs of dementia, although very mild at this time. I know a little of what is coming from my career experience. My fiancée does not. We shall get through.

    But cancer. I was not expecting that. I pray you are doing well. Your posts have been missed. You (as evidenced by the comments above) have an abundance of people whom you have influenced, and we will be praying and well-wishing you from afar. Blessings.

    Thank you for sharing your heart.

  76. Just adding my voice to the rest … you have indeed been missed, and I will pray for you and your family. Thank you for sharing with us.

  77. Oh my heart cries out for you and the pain you have been through… What a journey to travel, for you and your sweet family… sending love.

  78. Dear Rachel,
    Like all of your faithful followers, I have missed your thoughtful blog posts. I was so happy to see you in my email this morning. I am heartbroken for you, your story is hard but also full of so much grace…you taking the opportunity to care for your mother so tenderly….and even after a devastating diagnosis and tough treatment, you are here today, this day, enjoying its moments. I am so sorry for your hard this year, I would like to recommend a blog to you…its called, “Mundane Faithfulness,” Kara also has a facebook page. She is just a local mom, here in Colorado with a blog. She, like you, has cancer which has spread (she was 36, now 38.) She has a husband and 4 littles. Her story has taken a tough turn but I think you would find her blog very encouraging, she also wrote a book during the last year and its called, “The Hardest Peace” by Kara Tippetts. Hoping to hear so much more from you this year and praying for healing and peace for you and yours…Warmly, Kristen

  79. I have always loved your blog. Your silence had me baffled. Praying for you.

  80. Your blog has sat quietly in my reader and I have wondered about you. I am so sorry for the difficult and sad things you have been going through.

  81. Beth in the City says:

    I was absolutely delighted to see you in my blog feed! I am so incredibly sorry for the difficulties you have experienced while you were gone. I’m no stranger to depression. I have much to learn from what you choose to share!

  82. Prayers from Massachusetts. Your blog has helped me tremendously in the past; I hope our collective thoughts can now help you.

  83. Dear Rachel, I was shocked to see a post from you pop up in my feed reader and even more so upon reading it. I can somewhat understand what you are going through as I have dealt with similar issues myself. I am currently caring for my grandparents. I will be praying for you!

  84. Shirley Watkins says:

    From reading all the comments, you see how you have made an impact on so many. Your family has been in my prayers. I’ve missed seeing your dad after church and have wondered how things were. I’m trying to forward this entry to the other Steel Magnolias who love your mom. So far my skills have failed me. This is so beautifully written…..I’ve missed your blog. Please know that I think of you often and continue to pray for your complete healing …..and for your mom to know how much she is loved.

  85. I was so happy to see your email in my inbox.

    I am so sorry for your difficulties. I had someone close to me suffer from dementia and it is terrible. I pray your Cancer treatment is going well. Kind regards.

  86. Sarah Westphal says:

    I have never been so excited to see read a post and yet so full of heartache to hear what a journey you have been on.
    Thank you for sharing your journey here, it is a gift and privilege to read.
    I haven’t dealt with dementia on a first hand basis so your insight is appreciated. My father in law has begun his decline and my closest dearest aunt has just started to live in a home at the age of 53 due to her dementia. Both live far away so I only see them yearly.
    Thank you for being here again.
    I’ve missed you!!

  87. I was so glad to see your post. Like everyone else I am heart-broken for you.
    Dementia took my mother’s life a few years ago. It is a terrible disease.
    I am sorry about your cancer diagnosis. I will keep you in my prayers.
    Thank-you for telling us about this.

  88. I have loved your blog for years and still go back to it for inspiration. I was so excited to see you in my email inbox this morning and so desperately sad to read it and hear about what you are going through. Sending you love and prayers from Perth, Australia and wishing for the best for you.

  89. Hi Rachel, I have missed you so much! I’m delighted to hear your honest, tell-it-like-it-is voice once again. I am so very sorry to hear about your mother’s progression into dementia. I recently lost my FIL to complications from Alzheimer’s so I can understand, a bit, where you’ve been. I’m equally saddened to hear about your cancer. I don’t know how your story has progressed but hearing from you once again is a good sign. I never took the time before to express just how much your insight and advice inspired me to make changes in my life so I’m glad to have that opportunity now. You’re an exceptional person Rachel, and I’m glad you’re sharing again.

  90. I was so happy to see your email!!! Then I started reading and I cried tears of sorrow. Then I cried for the loss of both my parents because I miss them so much. Then I cried tears of a different kind. I cried tears of hope. I think you are a beautiful and wonderful daughter to care so lovingly for your mom. I never reached that point with either of my parents. They were both gone too soon, too young, too healthy…. I want you to know that my daughter and I will be praying for you and thinking about you and waiting anxiously to hear how you are doing.

  91. I was so excited to see the email today. My hearts breaks for your past year. I’ve thought of you and prayed for you many times over the past year, and will continue to do so.

  92. Dear Rachel,

    I too was very happy when your post landed in my email. I am so sorry to hear of all of your trials. I will keep you and your family in my prayers.

  93. I’ve been reading your blog for years and continuing to pray for you since your last post. I’m so glad you felt like you could share with us today. My heart aches for you as it’s quite one thing to care for a parent with dementia (my dad had dementia) and then have your own illness to manage on top of that. By sharing, you can help us know specifically how to pray for you. God bless you and your family.

  94. Rachel,
    I cried reading your new post. And then I prayed for you and your family. Our family has been touched by cancer, too. I want you to know that your blog has made me a better mom, decorator and person. I often revert to “simple” as the best way. Thank you for your posts.

  95. i, like others, was glad to see your blog pop up in my reader. i am so so sorry for the journey you have been on and the sorrow and sickness it has been filled with. i helped care for my dad for the 4 years he battled liver cancer. it was both an honor and a torture to watch him decline and become so helpless and sick. it has made it really hard for me to write on my blog like i used to. my eyes are filled with tears reading your post. you are a good daughter, and even if your mom isn’t aware of your service and care for her because of her sickness, God sees it and it doesn’t go unnoticed. i am so sorry for your own health issues. i pray you have complete healing and wholeness.
    charis´s last post…how do you follow Jesus when you have a justice heart?

  96. I was so excited to open my email and see a post from you! I just visited your site the other day as I have been wondering about you and missing your posts. Thoughts are with you!

  97. Rachel,
    You are in my heart…..praying for your continued strength in mind, body and spirit.
    Thanks for sharing such a humbling post. You have been missed.

  98. Janet Moore says:

    What a tremendous article. I am so glad you were able to write this and it is just the beginning of many articles to come. May God bless you as you write and bring healing to many others through your stories.

  99. I find myself at a loss for words, but I didn’t want to read and not respond.

    Add me to the voices saying we are still here, still reading, still caring. Thank you for sharing this and for finding your own voice here again. I imagine it was not an easy process.

  100. Rachel, love and blessings to you and your family. You’ve got a tribe of warriors on your side. Thank you for sharing your lovely family, life and struggles. Be strong and be well.

  101. Sending you love, light and strength! You are not alone. We hear you and we care. BIG HUGS!!!

  102. Oh Rachel, I can’t imagine what you have experienced. I have missed your blog and the inspiration you bring to all of us. I think I stopped breathing when I read your sentence about your diagnosis. Although we have never met, I feel connected with you and treasure your writing. You and your family are in my prayers.

  103. strength to you. i hope you know you have a whole tribe of people lifting you up. thank you for sharing your struggle.

  104. Thank you for being willing to share something so personal with all of us. Please know there is a family in New Zealand who thinks of you and prays for you.


  105. Peggy White says:

    thank you for sharing, I know your dad and have watched him struggle through your mom’s decline and your illness. Prayers for peace for your and your family.

  106. scrapper al says:

    I was so happy to see a new post pop up in my reader and saddened to hear of your struggles. Thank you for sharing and inspiring. You have been missed.

  107. I’ve enjoyed your blog for several years, Rachel, and I am so sorry to hear about your cancer diagnosis! I will keep you and your family in my prayers.

  108. I am like many of the readers that have commented. I just thought about you the other day and revisited your website to make sure my feed reader wasn’t missing your updates.

    I am so sorry to hear of the challenges you have been facing. While I can’t directly relate to what you have been going through, I can offer my prayers to you and your family. I am sending a virtual hug (if that is possible) ;-)

    Write when you are ready – we’ll be here.

  109. Rachel, thank you so much for having the strength to tell us your personal story. Thank you for the grace in the sharing. Please know that you have a family here in New Zealand that has benefited from your writing before and prays for you and your family now.


  110. Thank you for sharing your story. I appreciate your honesty and the uplifting perspective you have on the difficulties you and your mom had to go through. We had some difficult health issues in our family this past year and it was empowering to know that we survived it. It was hard but the experiences made us stronger. I hope you are encouraged and strengthened by knowing what a positive force you are. (I’m a long time reader and I appreciate your words! )

  111. oh pun’kin, I’m so sorry. so much to carry.

  112. Catherine says:

    Life is hard. I just turned 38 with a 4 and 7 year old. Last year was filled with tidal waves and I completed understand that feeling of “tired of being sad”. Thank you posting and look forward to more posts when you feel ready. Praying for you and your family.

  113. Dear Rachel,
    I love your voice that shines through your blog. I’ve read for years and loved what I’ve learned through you. Praying for you! I’ve prayed for you many times over the last couple of years since your last post.

  114. sending prayers and strength…

  115. Thank you for sharing. I am awed by your courage, compassion and honesty. Though I have been following your blog for a few years and have been much inspired by your writing, this is the first time that I am commenting. I just wanted you to know that your grace and courage has meant a lot to me here in New Delhi, India. I have missed your posts for sometime but I understood that it takes time and energy to care for a dependent loved one. I was heartbroken when i read about the cancer. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayer.


  116. I was so excited to see a new post from small notebook today – you have been missed! I am very sorry to hear about all the challenges you have had to deal with recently. I know how difficult it is when your life is suddenly turned upside down, my father had a massive stroke two years ago. I hope that things are looking up for you and that you continue to persevere through the tough moments. Thinking of you and your family and sending lots of good wishes your way.

  117. Oh Rachel. My heart leaped to see a post from you, and then sank as I read your news. My 2012 and 2013 looked a lot like the last couple of years for you. Life can be so hard, and I’m so sorry that you’ve been tasting its bitterness recently. Be assured of my prayers from Taipei, Taiwan.

  118. Julieanne says:

    Sending love & prayers from Australia, Rachel! Xxx

  119. Thoughts and prayers for you and your family from Australia .You have been very much missed. We will continue to learn from your strength and wisdom. Thank you.

  120. So sorry to read your news – my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

  121. donna wigley says:

    Praying for you and your family!

  122. Like many, I had kept you on my Bloglovin hoping for a new post from you.
    So, so much to take in – even as a reader. Thank you for sharing your experience with your mother so generously – on some level, I feel more equipped to begin understanding the other person and myself, what I must do, if it happens to us.
    As for you, dear Rachel, you and your family will be in my thoughts as you navigate the battle with cancer. It’s the family that’s affected, not just the patient. When my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, and hers was at a very late stage, she was 36 too. I was 8, my sister just 4. Against all odds, she had beaten all predictions, leaving me and everyone around with the lesson on how to go through such hardship. When it gets really hard – and at all times in fact, please remember it is your spirit that will carry you through and you will look back on it as something that had made you stronger. Sending my love and best wishes.

  123. I was shocked to read about your cancer. I’m so sorry for the difficulties that you are enduring. I will be faithful in prayer for you. Please do write as time allows.

  124. Sending love and hoping you’re on the road to recovery x

  125. Rachel, I, too, am praying for you. I was so excited to see your email and instantly hoped for a happy update since it had been so long. Please keep us posted if you can.

  126. Rachel,

    You have been on my mind all day. I read your post with great sadness. I’m so so sorry you are going through so much right now.

    Please keep us posted so we can cheer you on. You have been such an inspiration to me. It’s now time for us (your readers) to step up and inspire you.


  127. I am so sorry. I was moved to tears reading this. Your blog has been so helpful and such an inspiration.. it’s so hard to understand why God would allow such things like this to happen but I pray that you would have a comfort and peace that transcends all understanding. So many prayers to you and your family. Thank you for sharing your story with us.

  128. Rachel,
    very hard to read these news.
    pray and send your prayers to the universe
    remember every little nice thing that happened in your life
    including your kids
    you certainly go through the hatdest time period of your life
    but once everything goes well, your view on everything around will be far different from the past
    you will be able to see, hear and feel things you never did before
    and you will calm down understanding the value of every minute you can stay here for your little ones
    hope your partner stays with you now
    just fight now for all those you love – and for yourself!

  129. Have missed your posts. I was utterly shocked and saddened last night when I read this post. Holding you and your family up with prayers for strength, healing, and peace.

  130. Christina says:

    Rachel, I’m so humbled by your story and for the strength and courage of putting it into the world. I’ve waited faithfully, hoping you would write again, knowing you must have been focusing on your family this year, and wishing you peace through it all. I too took care of my very sick mother this past year, and my heart is totally with you in support of all the difficult-and sometimes beautiful-moments you went through and continue going through. And my deepest love and support goes to you during your journey to being cancer free. I know the deep love your family has, and I can only imagine how that love has ballooned and encompassed all of you this year.

    Thank you so much for your brave story. I know I speak for so many devoted readers when I say that though we don’t really know each other, there is a wide net of love for you that stretches around the world.

  131. Your post brought me to tears. I have admired you and your writing for years, and I am so blown away by your motivation and inner strength. You are a lovely, lovely person and I can only hope 2015 provides happier days. I will be holding you and your family in my thoughts and prayers. Sometimes we have such high mountains to cross. I am one of many rooting you on.

  132. You have influenced people with your blog more than you can imagine. Thank you. With all of the comments above, it is clear that you will have a crowd of people holding you in their thoughts.

  133. When reading your article yesterday, I was too shocked to comment. My heart goes out to you. I would love to cook for your family when you have a hard time – wish I could somehow!
    You are in my prayers.
    And please remember: you made an incredible number of women happy and more relaxed and inspired with your blog. I enjoyed reading older posts when you were away, and it was as blissful as reading new ones. Thank you for everything.
    May the new year be a better one, full of hope.

  134. I was wondering about you and your blog a few weeks ago but could not remember the name of it to search for it on the internet so I was so pleased to see your latest blog post arrive in my email. Like other recipients, I was then so sad to read about your mother and then there was a very sharp intake of breath when I read about your cancer diagnosis. All horrible.
    A few thoughts:
    1. I am not sure from your post if your mother is still with you. My mother in law had Alzheimers and towards the end when she was just a shell, it was coming up to her birthday. I arranged a cake and candles and invited all the family round for a birthday celebration. We lit the candles and we sang Happy Birthday and guess what – she smiled. It was the first reaction in months. I read later that recognition of music is one of the last things to go.
    2. For anyone trying to understand what dementia is like there is a book called “Staying Alice” by Lisa Genova who is a doctor who treats/researches dementia and has written a novel to try to explain what it is like for the person who falls ill with this disease. I found it informative and helpful.
    2. I think that in hard times our children give us the strength to keep going.

    I wish you the very best of luck with all of this and look forward to your next blog.

  135. JenLarson says:

    Your blog is the first blog I started reading, many years ago. I was excited to see a new post show up in my email, but saddened to hear of your difficult year(s). Just know we are thinking of you and your family, and sending healing wishes your way! I can’t wait to read more from you (when you’re ready), and maybe see an update about your beautiful children! Hugs from Minnesota!

  136. My heart skipped a beat when I saw your post show up today. I have no words that will ever express the sympathy that I wish to extend but I send my heartfelt thoughts of comfort. Though we have never met, I feel like we are somehow friends. I hope you continue to share your story here.

  137. Was just thinking of you the other day! Have missed your posts and am glad to see you back in my feed reader.

  138. I was so excited to see a post from you in my reader today, but I am so sorry to hear what challenges you have been dealing with. Prayers for you and your family.

  139. I am so, so sorry! Like many others, I’ve held you in my feed reader hoping you’d come back when life allowed. I’m so sorry about you’ve been through this last year. Praying that 2015 brings you new horizons and hope.

  140. oh my. I am so sorry to hear the news of your Mom and of your health. What a year! I have been a faithful blog reader and I wondered what happened to you. I wish you all the best and I pray for your healing. xo
    Paige´s last post…New Year. New Word.

  141. I have followed along on your blog when you were in your apartment, when you lived abroad and when you bought your home. I was sad when the posting stopped for some time and am so glad to see your post! I have a few friends with parents in the same state and it’s truly a very hard thing to deal with. I’m sorry to hear about your cancer and hope you are in the road to recovery. I do know what you mean about your comment when you received your diagnosis. My husband walked out on me when my father was dying and left me responsible for a huge mountain of debt he had racked up. After divorce, losing my home, bankruptcy and my fathers death I can say that I am grateful for the lessons and live my life to the fullest with less stuff. The important things are there, a better relationship with my mother, a wonderful new man in my life and the ability to start all over again. Cheers to you in 2015!

  142. Dear Rachel, your blog was the first one I read and I loved it. I have read everything you posted and missed your blog posts. You and your family are in my prayers. Love from Melbourne Australia.

  143. Hugs. Just hugs.

  144. Marcie Lovett says:

    Rachel, wishing you all the best in the coming months. Good to see you writing again, even if it isn’t jolly news.

  145. So sorry to hear about your cancer Rachel. It’s very sad that it happened to you after all you have been through with your Mom. Unfortunately I think stress can be one of the causes of cancers and other health problems, so take care of yourself and relax. Your kids need you.

  146. Thank you so much for sharing your journey with us.

  147. I have just come back to blogging after an absence caring for my sick dad who has since passed away. I feel for you — hang in there, my prayers are with you. Some days it seems too tough to believe but like you said, this experience has indeed strengthened you. Virtual hugs to you! Wishing you the best for 2015!

  148. Dear Rachel,
    Your blog has been a comforting, serene, peaceful haven. I still enjoy reading through your helpful posts and advice. Thank you for these last authentic posts.
    I am sorry for the raw pain and dark experiences you have had to go through.
    Sending you thoughts, care and prayer that you will be enveloped in peace, comfort this year – and the warmth of joy in spite of all. Here’s a hug from the west coast. Becca

  149. Rachel, there are no words. Prayers for your health and healing have already been sent and will continue. I understand the aging ten years in one, but from the other pole. My healthy, fit, active husband got what we thought was the flu in early February 2014. It turned out to be AML leukemia–diagnosed 2/26/14–and I buried him on March 20th. I miss him so, but I continue to think, I’ve seeb worse. It could have been worse. The emotions, the stress, the demands and the shadows of this year have aged me so… This New Year I mourn the happy, young 44 year old I was on January 1, 2014. Obliviously unaware of what was lurking just around the corner, and madly in love with the man I had married in 2011. I miss him, and I miss her. Please continue to share your story, I will continue to pray for you and your family. I cannot understand what you are going through, but I can relate.

  150. Was so happy to see a post from you! I’ve never commented before, but want you to know your words are important. I hope 2015 is starting in a place of health for you and your family.

  151. Dearest Rachel – I still recall when I first encountered your blog – how your sign-up box said, “When Small Notebook started, it was just Rachel’s mom reading it, and now there are XXXXX amount of readers,” or something like that. I remember marveling at that how you must have had such a supportive mom. I see now the closeness of your relationship and the dedication you both have and have had for each other. And now you are struggling with so much alone. Like you I am a mom of young children and my heart goes out to you for having to get such horrible news and have to face something so scary alone. I wish I could give you comfort and support in person, but this comment will have to do. I hope you are able to update us if and when you feel ready do, because we all – and I – really care about you.

  152. Rachel, I’ve missed your blog these past few years. Yours was one of my favorites years ago before my own children were born– I blogged at then, which is now defunct. :) I’m so sorry to hear about your mom. I can’t imagine the feeling of loss when the person is still physically present but mentally and emotionally gone. That must have been so painful for you. I hope very much to hear a happy ending to your cancer journey and I do look forward to hearing about the rest of your journey. I am amazed and happy at how many faithful readers have come out of the woodwork here! You’ll have lots of support whatever your circumstances. Hugs to you and Lane and Tom and your husband as well. They are…8 and 5 now? WOW.

  153. Hello Rachel, I’m deeply moved by this latest blog post, and want you to know how appreciated you are. For all the sensible inspiration you’ve given me the past couple years, I count it an honor and privilege to commit to pray for you and your family now.

  154. Hi Rachel
    So wonderful to see a post in my inbox but sad to read the content.
    My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.
    I am one of the many breast cancer survivors in this world-7yrs now so take hope and keep faith
    All will be well
    Big hugs from across the world

  155. I’ve really missed your blog & updates. I’m happy to hear from you, your update was like a Christmas card from an old friend. So sorry for your struggles; wishing you even more strength through this difficult time.

  156. Oh Rachel, deep blessings to you and your family! I can read your strength in the words you have chosen to share with us. I have missed them during your silence, guessing from your last post about the quilts that you were going through so many challenges. Of course, I had no idea how deep those challenges had become. There are no words I can offer to express enough support and encouragement, so I will simply thank you for returning here, hoping you will feel the intentions and good wishes flowing from the community you created.

  157. Thank you for sharing. I’m sure this wasn’t easy to do. Dealing with dementia and cancer within such a short time very, very awful. I’m so sorry.

  158. Thank you for sharing your story Rachel. My prayers to you and your family. x

  159. Rachel. I am so sorry. I cried when I got to the end of your post.

    I love your blog, and I’ve waited for you to come back. I think about you every time I open my closet (I read your minimizing wardrobe posts first, and they blew my mind).

    Sending you warm hugs, virtual coffee and prayers from bitter cold Wisconsin.

    Hang in there.

  160. Bless you. Thank you for sharing.
    I always think of your blog when my kids watch Mary Poppins. Enough IS as good as a feast.
    I will pray for you and your family.

  161. I’m so sorry to hear of everything you’ve been through this past year. All the best to you and your family.

  162. I’ve missed your blogging and was thrilled to see a new post! But, I’m so sorry for how your past couple of years have been! I’ve prayed for you. :)

  163. Dear Rachel,

    thank your for sharing your life,
    you, your mom, and all your family are in my prayers
    hope you’ll get better soon

    big hugs & lots of love
    :) bimbi

  164. I didn’t discover your blog until after you stopped posting on it, but I LOVE it and am currently reading through all your posts from the beginning! I was delighted to see a new post but am saddened by its content. I’m just so sorry for the struggles you’ve been facing. I am glad that you’ve shared this and I will be following all future updates. I truly hope you are in a place of healing and recovery.

  165. Rachel,
    Praying for strength, healing, and hope. I’ve missed you.

  166. Bronwyn Daniels says:

    So sorry to hear this news.

    I’m glad that looking after your mother has given you strength to face your cancer and the treatment.

    praying that your treatment will be successful so that you will have many years ahead with your family

  167. I have missed you too. I’m so sorry to hear this news. Even though I don’t know you, I was so touched by your quilt story with your mother, that I have thought of you frequently in the past couple of years and wished you well. You will be in my thoughts all the more now.

  168. I have been a long time fan of your blog and always hoped you would return. My prayers are with you.

  169. Heartbreaking. But I am so glad you published this post, so beautiful in the midst of the hard.

  170. LifeSheWrote says:

    Oh my goodness. Wishing you all the best and quick healing. So sorry you’ve been going through this. I don’t know you personally, but I’ve loved your writing and I’m sending you good vibes over the internet!

  171. More prayers for you–have prayed for you different times in the silence, and will continue to do so. God is good, even when times are hard.

  172. I too, have come to your site to see if there was an update. Every time I have sent good thoughts out to you wherever you were, hoping you would receive them. Thinking of you and your mom. Welcome back and thank you for sharing.

  173. Prayers for you and you family.

  174. I’m sorry our Lord is testing you so hard. Sending hugs and prayers from Greece.

  175. Elizabeth says:

    The silver lining to dementia is being able to be in the moment….when all you have is truly just this Moment. Having lost someone to it, and having the empathy to sense the loss in that person are all horrible gifts I treasure. Pain and pleasure are two sides of the same coin…
    Watching Dad use his walker backwards as he moved about under the pine trees in his yard, and saying “it’s terrible when your brain is broken”, knowing he had Alzheimers, but could no longer drive or tell his wonderful stories. And this was a smart articulate guy who flew airplanes for a living and once worked in the Pentagon.
    Rachel, as it seems from the comments, you have built a loving community of folks that know you from your blog. I am so happy that you lived in Italy, and have such grace in your life, that you choose to share with us. Thanks for keeping us in your circle of friends. Prayers and light, acceptance and flow for you, our dear friend.

  176. Catherine says:

    Dear Rachel,

    Toute mon amitie from a French reader in London who has very rarely posted a comment before.

    But I could not stop myself from posting a comment tonight.

    I have missed reading you a lot, and kept checking throughout the year for news. How tough for you and your family.

    I hope the thoughts that your readers are sending to you will help.

    You have helped so many by your thoughtful, concise advice.

    I still re-read some of your posts when I need a reality check on how much stuff I actually need to pack for a family trip, or how many toys the kids actually need!

    Yes, I often think – what would Rachel do? WWRD indeed? ;-)

    Please know that all this continues to help lots of people in their daily lives, and that we will be thinking of you – all over the world ;-)


  177. I was so excited to see a blog post from you, but now so devastated. Please know you have followers and supporters all over the world for you. Lots of prayers from Australia for you xo

  178. Thank you for inspiring me to be a more caring person and in return I offer you and your families prayers for strength, health, and joy where ever you may find it.


  179. Rachel, I am so sorry. Every time I heard from Doug this year, it felt like something was wrong at home. I’m so very, very sorry for the turmoil and pain — for you and Doug, your mom and dad, and your children. And I fervently hope that this post – the fact that you’re sharing the story now – means that you have found some piece amid the heartbreak.

    Deep sympathy and hope for you all.

  180. Your year sounds like a “Job” experience. Sending prayers for strength and healing as you begin 2015.

  181. Becky Ann says:

    I check your blog several times a week for an update, and this certainly wasn’t the one that I expected to see.

    Prayers for you and yours!

  182. Hi Rachel

    Welcome back online… I am sad for you that you have been through these experiences. I trust that somewhere in the darkness you must feel surrounded by, there are rays of sunshine that bring hope.

    Take care,

  183. I wish I could reach through the computer screen and give you a hug. Some years just plain suck. I’m so sorry for all that you’ve been through. Your absence has been missed and I will be praying for you and all your family! <3

  184. So many tears!! :'(

    I knew something must’ve been up since you hadn’t written for so long. I prayed for you many times throughout the last two years, and will continue to.

    Thank you SO much for sharing your story.

  185. Rachel, I’m thinking of all of you. I have followed you for a while and really was excited to see a post from you again. I was so shocked at what you and your family are experiencing of late. Just know that we care for you and I’m sending you my heartfelt blessings for your health , body and soul. Take care , Dimi from Australia.

  186. I’m truly sorry to hear of these trials that you and your family are facing. At least you are facing them together. You are not alone and you will beat this. I know another young mom with 2 young children who’s recently been diagnosed with cancer and indirectly know yet another mom also in her 30s, got diagnosed soon after having her 3rd child. The women I know IRL are healthy. You seem so healthy, too. I don’t understand why young, healthy people are being plagued by cancer. It’s so devastating when anyone has to battle cancer, but I find the thought that young, healthy people are getting it to be a truly scary idea. What’s causing this? The cases I mentioned above are also breast cancer. I’m not one for prayer, but I will be sending many positive, healing vibes your way. Please try to stay strong Rachel!

  187. I have thought of you often in the past 2 years or so, wondering where you had gone and what might have occurred in your life that would keep you away from ‘us.’

    You have all the love and prayers and good thoughts that I can send you. God bless.

  188. Rachel,

    I am so happy to see that you are back. Really happy – my husband asked me awhile ago about “you know . . . that blog you used to read all the time” referring to yours. I am sad to read about your mom and your own news, but I hope that your treatment is going well. As you can see from all the comments, we have missed you.

    Jenni (from Life from the Roof)

  189. Rachel…. thank you so much for your honesty. all of it. i am stunned by your news and will be lifting up a prayer for health and your family. you didn’t have to write this post but i am so glad you did. i really love your blog and you have encouraged and challenged me more than you will ever know. your honesty and bravery strengthens many that read your words here…

  190. I check occasionally to see if you’re back. I even clicked on contact to consider sending you an email just to let you know that though I’ve never met you I think of you and the situation with your mom often. When I saw in the contact info that you were being treated for cancer, my heart sank. Not much with words I didn’t know what I would write to tell you- oh my god- how could this be- please be strong and be well. You have a beautiful poetic way with words for life’s great joys, and struggles. Holding good thoughts of healing and strength for you and your family. Thank you for sharing.

  191. Well that sucks. But, listen, I was diagnosed with stage 4 inflammatory breast cancer six years ago and I am here! Don’t listen to any statistics. You are you, not a diagnosis or statistic! Stay strong, and we will stay strong with you. Praying for you and your family tonight. Embracing you and holding you close in my thoughts and prayers.

  192. I missed your writing. I kept hoping you’d come back. I’m so terribly sorry for everything that’s happened. No words. Aching and praying for you tonight in Spain.

  193. Leslee Whittaker says:

    I have read your post several times now – each time the words sink deeper into my heart. I wish you all the best for the future. I somehow feel that you need to know that there are so many of us out here that think of you, and your family and pray all will go well.
    Much love.

  194. Praying for you and your family Rachel!

  195. Rachel, I’ve been thinking about you so much lately—now I know why. Grace and peace with you, my friend. I’ll continue to pray for you, as I have off and on the past few years. You haven’t been far from my thoughts!


  196. I was looking for ways to keep my oven clean and somehow ended up here. Blessings to you and your mother-and of course the rest of your family too. I lost my Mom many years ago in a somewhat unexpected manner and time. There’s no easy way is there? Fast or slow- it just pulls the rug of life out from underneath you and nothings ever the same. Thanks for sharing your story.

  197. Rachel, my heart is breaking for you tonight. I’m a long-time reader and have often wondered how you and your family were doing. I’m praying for you.

    With love,

  198. Rachel,
    I am so sorry and can only imagine how complicated your experience has been these past 2 years. Your writing about your mother’s dementia was so stunning and piercing. And to have to go through a chronic illness yourself…how exhausting. I love your blog and have bookmarked it and checked it so many times in the past months. I don’t know you but I feel like you are a woman of strength, clarity, organization, patience, and love. I am sending all those qualities to you and wishing you well.

  199. Rachel, my sister-n-law & I have followed your blog for years. You taught me how to pop popcorn at home! And I think of your video in your little apartment everytime I make popcorn for my girls. :) my SIL & I have always taled about “Rachel” as if we were close friends who went out for coffee once a week.
    I am so sorry about your mother and now your diagnosis. I have no words to help. I will be praying for you, And your family…like prayer warrior style.
    My SIL & I will be here waiting on “our” next cup of coffee when you feel up to it.

  200. I am so sorry for all you have been going through. Praying for God to give you strength. Looking forward to your writing whenever you can. You are an inspiration to so many people.

  201. Karen Seidler says:

    I’ve been a regular reader of this blog for years. It’s one of my favorites. So many things I do today stem from things I’ve read here. I’m really sad to read what a terrible year you’ve had. Cancer sucks! I’m so sorry. I will pray for your health and for peace of mind for you and yours. Thank you for taking the time and energy to let your readers know what’s been going on. We all care about you.

  202. I am praying for you and your family, Rachel. My heart is breaking for you and the struggle you’ve been through. My SIL, Angie, and I have read your blog for years and consider you a friend! Take heart and know you are loved.


  203. Rachel,
    Welcome back. Sending you and your family love and strength.

    I regularly refer to your blog inspiration and words of wisdom. You have a wonderful way with words and I will be here when you are ready to share the next part of your journey.

  204. We have never met, but my home and closet look a whole lot better because of you, Rachel.

    I too will be praying for you — daily. And practically speaking, I will click through your site when ordering through Amazon.

    Here’s to sunnier skies ahead!!!

  205. Rachel Papka says:

    I found your blog during a difficult time in my life and it brought such hope and peace to me. If only I could bring such a sense to you during this time in your life. There are no words to express how much sorrow I feel for you in the loss of your mother and the diagnosis of cancer.

  206. I wondered where you had gone and missed your writing. So glad you are back and like everyone else said, you will be in my daily prayers.

  207. I am sorry to hear what you’ve been going through. I too will be praying. Reading through the posts brought me to near tears deeply touched by the support you’ve been shown. Stay strong and encouraged.

  208. I don’t know if anyone else have said this — what’s the saying … “What doesn’t kill you – will only make you stronger” or something like that.

    You know – we all have “our crosses to bear” and sounds like you have had your share. It’s hard to say what it all means, but the fact that we all get to experience this thing called life (good, bad and in between) means everything. I believe God has a plan.

    Your blog was one of the main one’s I’ve followed after you left a comment at my site. I thank you for that. Even though I don’t blog much these days — I’ve kept a link to your site ever since. So I do feel a connection to you.

    So I want you to know how sorry I was to hear what you’ve been going through, and I will keep you & your family in my prayers and thoughts.


  209. I’ve been reading your blog for a few years now, but I’m not sure that I’ve ever commented. I just wanted to say I’m so sorry for your loss. Even with her still there, it really is a loss. A loss of the person you knew and loved. I hope she’s doing better in the facility. I hope you’re doing okay too.

  210. This is a beautiful blog. I am sort of going through something too, and I want you to know, your openness and honesty has really reached me and helped me in my time of darkness.


  211. I am so sorry for all you are going through…many prayers and hugs to you and your family!

  212. I’m so sorry. I had always hoped you were just living it up, or doing the best with your Mom. I’ve had two grandparents, one with Dementia and one with Alzheimers, and I’ve felt for you so much when reading about her.

    I am so sorry about the cancer. It feels trivial to say, but honestly, I am.

    I am sending much love to you and your family- all of you.

  213. I’ve been reading your blog for years and have truly enjoyed reading it. I thought you were taking a little break for yourself and had no idea what was going on in your world. I will be praying for strength, healing, and comfort for you and your family.

  214. Something made me think of you today. Now I know it was to pray. May God hold you near.

  215. Rachel, No, no, no! Tears in my eyes thinking of you and all this pain for you and yours.

    Thank you for sharing so we can keep you in prayer. You are so loved in the blogosphere – these comments make that so clear.


  216. I have followed your blog for years… appreciating your writing content and style. I noticed your absence and checked back periodically.
    I thought of you when I visited my dad, newly diagnosed w/ dementia. So many thoughts, so many questions.

    Now, I will pray for you. May you feel comfort, peace, and healing.

  217. You are a friend I haven’t met and I’m praying for you, your husband and children. May God’s grace and comfort be felt by all.

  218. My heart goes out to you in your trials. Many prayers for you and your family.

  219. Lisa Lloyd says:


    My words are not fancy but they come from the heart. I never understand the “whys” in life sometimes. Your care and compassion for your mother so touched me. Thank you for sharing this part of “your story”. Now you have a new chapter that you are working on in this ever intricate thing we call LIFE. I will be praying for you , for your family. Sending warm hugs and prayers from Virginia Beach~ Lisa

  220. Elizabeth says:

    I have read your blog for years. I don’t think that I have ever posted a comment. I am not good about doing that. Your blog has meant so much to me. As I have faced my own different trials, (job loss, many moves) your posts have encouraged me and helped me through things I needed to do. I don’t think I can adequately express what so many of your words have meant to me. I just wanted you to know what an impact you have made on one little life :) and it looks like lots more from the comments above me. God has brought you to my mind in the months that you didn’t post and I would say a prayer for you not knowing what was happening in your life. I have continued to pray for strength for you since seeing this post, and I will continue to do so. Praying that healing, peace, and many blessing will flow your way.

  221. Sally JPA says:

    Oh, Rachel.

    You’ve had so much to carry these two years.

    I’m thinking of you, those two precious children, and Doug.

  222. Oh Rachel! I’ve missed your blog so much. I gave up on my feed reader a while ago, but every couple weeks I check back here just in case, and I’m so sorry to hear your news! I know your mom’s situation was rough, I can’t imagine cancer on top of that! Praying that your treatment has gone well & waiting to hear more of the story when you’re ready to share!

  223. I have only commented once before when your baby boy was born. Dementia is such a slow grieving process. I have watched it steal loved ones and it is like losing a piece each week and each week crying again. I cannot imagine your having cancer on top of this. I am so terribly sorry. I am a sister in Christ and I will pray for heaps and mounds of grace for you to get through all this and to one day use your story to help others (2 Corinthians 1:4). I will also pray for Doug, Lane, and your little man as well. You have been a mini mentor from far away all these years even though I am only five years younger. Thank you for all the ways you have unknowingly encouraged me. I will now pray for your encouragement. Love and peace be yours in Christ!

  224. Rachel,

    I’ve only commented once or twice before, but I’ve been a long-time reader of your blog. I keep checking-in every few weeks to see how you and your mom are doing. I’m so sad to know that times continue to be difficult for you.

    I have been praying for you every day since you initially posted about your mom. You will remain in my prayers indefinitely.

  225. Yep. Agreed. Checked in very often and now what a gift to have a new post.
    It will be my joy to read (listen) and pray. It’s so good to hear from you but my heart breaks at the pain the months away have brought you.

  226. Oh my goodness, I’m so sorry! I will pray for you. I just checked back to see if you’d started posting again. I used to scour your blog when we were in the beginning stages of becoming debt free. We sold almost everything and moved overseas so I valued all of your advice. We recently became debt free – paid off $167K in 5 years -and I credit a lot of the tips I learned from you! I’ve learned so much from you, thank you! Again, I will pray for you and your family.

  227. I just found your update when I was looking for photos of your laundry room! I love you so much. You are the most beautiful woman I have ever known, inside and out. Praying peace and strength over you warrior princess.

  228. Rachel, I’m so sorry! I know it was a tough year for you and your family. Sending thoughts, hugs, and prayers.

  229. I’ve missed you & I’m praying. Thank you for opening up to us!

  230. Keeping you and your family in my thoughts and prayers, Rachel. Thank you so much for sharing about your journey. Like many hear, I’m a long time reader. You are loved by many, and I am grateful for how you share yourself with us through your stories. Sending goodness and light, hugs and healing.

  231. Oh Rachel, you are in my prayers. My heart is breaking for what you’ve experienced these past years. Thank you for this post.