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Rachael's Writings and Other FYI's
"Rachael's Writings" was the name she gave her newsletters that she composed for friends and family back home.  Her last one was about a 10-pager and, unless you really love Rachael, it might be too long for you.  However, our dear sister Zana, Women's Ministry Leader at our local church, read from Rachael's last newsletter at the celebration we had for Rachael on June 24, 2004...a powerful moment in the celebration.    For those who knew and loved Rachael, her writings had some very special stuff in them.

In Loving Memory of

In addition to some of her writings from newsletters, this section will also include other writings, such as journal entries from her time with the Honor Academy, papers from her class assignments, and other items, too.  Plus, many friends and family are not aware of some FYI's such as Rachael had 3--count 'em--3 sinus surgeries, the last 2 being December of 2003 and May of 2004.  I pray your understanding as we use this website to expound about Rachael and enlighten friends and family.  There is also something therapeutic about sharing her with you like this.  She was such a special, special young lady.

click here for Rachael's May 2004 Final Letter to Zana and supporters

click here for some other writings of Rachael's from her time at the Honor Academy
updated November 16, 2004



Did you know?

Her Website:  Rachael, and many others among her friends and peers, used a website that employs a "web log" or "blog" system of posting thoughts on a webpage, to which others may reply or respond with a comment.  Here is Rachael's last posting on her website, June 15, 2004, 3 days before she left this earth:

So close, I believe
You're holding me now, in your hands
I belong
You'll never let me go

All alone
You were beside me
Even when I couldn't tell
Through the years
You've shown me more of you
More of you!

Scripture Memorizing:  Rachael was constantly working on memorizing scripture.   In looking through her things, I came across a 3x5 card that had the scripture that I placed on this photo:
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Her Expressive Heart:   I get into my car after a long day at work.  I find a piece of paper tri-folded and taped together.  I open it up and find this, left for me by Rachael, just because...
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Even now, as I add this paragraph over a year after the day of "the dreaded phone call" about the accident, I still have the paper, above, in the same, taped spot where it was the moment I got that phone call...and it was the first thing I turned to look at after hanging up from talking with the official.   The first thing I baby girl's note left for me that I cherished so much that I had it taped to my dresser mirror ever since she surprised me with it.  And it remains there...where it was the moment I hung up and was the first thing I saw after learning that my baby girl had moved on to Heaven itself.  The only thing different about the paper from when Rachael left it in my car, is the addition of one piece of her long, beautiful hair that I taped to the paper.  After returning from Texas with all her belongings, I was removing them from our car when I came across this one hair of hers.   I trust you will never have to know what it is like to behold a hair from your daughter's head after her earthly passing (plus the fire that consumed her body after the accident)...i sat there and stared at it and held it so tighly between my fingers...something from my girl's body...there was no way I was going to let it go.   I then taped it to the paper that meant so much to me.  In the photo above, you can only see a small part of the hair under the piece of tape.  The hair that God blessed Rachael with was long and beautiful.

Her Caring/Protective Heart:   All throughout their lives together, Rachael was looking out for Alan.   But one of the cutest stories was relayed to me by Rachael's first-grade teacher.   At recess at school, Alan had busted his chin on a jungle gym bar and it was bleeding (ended up with 3 stiches).  None of the teachers on duty had noticed, so Rachael ran up to this particular teacher and said, very pleadingly, with her arms outstretched and emphasizing her words, "Can't you see my brother's crying?"

Her Servant Heart:  All on her own...entirely her idea...right before leaving for the Honor Academy...she announced to us that she was going to serve us a 7-course dinner as her present to us before she left (ours is not a small family, either).  How many of US ever thought--much less did--something so giving, something that was that much of a gift to others, before WE left for an extended stay away from home?  I certainly never did.   She labored over that meal for hours on end, then joyfully served us all, and we feasted.  Below is a photo of her as she served us the dinner.  We had a great time.  She was such a sweetheart...a very special human being.
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Her Sensitive, Giving Heart:   The photos below show us together on Father's Day, 2001, the summer before her senior year in high school.  She wanted this photo taken together (thank you, Lord) as, I now believe, she knew exactly what she was up to.  After the photo was developed, she placed it in a frame (the frame you see in the photos...I scanned the frame along with the photo on purpose) and wrote on the back of it a personalized message that, even then, meant the world to me.  Now, it is beyond priceless, as well as timeless.   Note the 3 photos show, 1) the front of the photo/frame, 2) her personalized message on the back of the frame, and 3) a hand-written note--classic Rachael--saying that she didn't like the photo and wanted to do another one right away!
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See the piece of tape on the back of the frame?   That's where she put the note shown below:
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Her Twin Brother's Heart for His Sister:  Rachael's twin brother, Alan, truly loves his sister.   Although Alan is extremely bright and gifted, he had never tended to think ahead much...that was his sister's forte.  And she always took very good care of him.  However, when she left for school down there in August, we saw something in Alan we had never seen before.  All on his own, he rearranged his college schedule of classes so that he would be free, in December, mind you, free to travel down to surprise Rachael for their birthday.  He learned that their birthday was during "finals week" and he--in August--got with his professors and got that day cleared with the classes he could, and he switched the classes that were necessary so that he would not have a final that day.   Amazing.  Well, surprise her, we did.  On their birthday, I had to be in a town 3 hours from here for a mandatory workshop.  Alan came with me and sat, dutifully, until I was able to leave that workshop, then we headed for Texas from there, as coming back home first would have made us way too late to arrive on her campus.  We love to sing and, on the way there that day, he and I made up a real jazzy, original duet of "happy birthday" that we sang for her when we had cake and ice cream that we brought with us (we didn't realize that a group of ladies nearby had quit talking among themselves and started listening to us until they burst into spontaneous applause after we sang to her).  They had never experienced a birthday apart, and Alan wasn't about to start to have one this time.  Below are a couple of pics of that evening when we went out for dinner then came back to campus for cake and ice cream and presents...their last birthday together.

click here for a page with all the pics I took during the surprise party

rachaelandalansbirthday01.jpg (35583 bytes) Here they are at the restaurant we went to for dinner...phase one of the birthday surprise.  Cathryn, her accountability partner, was superb in helping us coordinate the surprise so that Rachael was walking out the dorm building as Alan and I were walking up to it.   Surprises are such fun.
rachaelandalansbirthday02.jpg (37241 bytes) One of her presents.  This stuffed dog (she absolutely loved stuffed animals) that Alan bought for her was on her bed when Sheryl and I went to pick up her belongings after the accident.  We gave it back to Alan for him to keep.

Her Knee:   Rachael played basketball through Junior High School until her knee fell apart on her.  We went through much physical therapy in building up the muscles around her knee/kneecap but all through the rest of her life, her knee would repeatedly "go out" and cause her great pain.  She dutifully wore a knee brace anytime she would be involved in physical activity, even though that would not always assure that the knee would not go out while active.  In reading about her experiences at the Honor Academy, plus from listening to her talk about it, her knee was a limiting factor for her, which frustrated her, yet she so maturely accepted it as a part of life and dealt with it and worked around it very well.

Her Sinuses: Rachael had not one, not two, but three sinus surgeries.  The first was in May of 2002, her senior year in high school.  She was so tough.  The surgery was necessary due to labored and restricted breathing after a major sinus infection she had.   We went to an ENT and had a ct scan and learned that she had a lot of fungal growth and polyps growing in her sinuses.  The fungus was capable of doing much damage, and the polyps were capable of growing back through the paper-thin bones into her eye sockets or her brain.

We had many followups to that surgery and things appeared to be going well.  Rachael went to the Honor Academy in August of 2003 and her sinuses were worsening, likely having begun their downward trend before heading down there.  While down at the HA, Rachael could tell her sinuses were getting worse, but she did not want to bother us with them.  She did her best to deal with it on her own.  But things started to get notably worse and began to seriously affect her breathing again and, by December, we were made aware of the situation and hustled her into the ENT's office for his insight.

He could see, and another ct scan showed, that both polyps and fungi had returned, though in different areas than before.  Surgery was scheduled soon after, during her Christmas break (December 2003).  The surgery was successful, but the doctor shared with us that the fungi literally ate through her septum, the cartilage that separates the two sinus cavities, leaving a hole about the size of a quarter.   He said it was a good thing the hole was as far back as it was, because if it had been any more forward, she would have whistled as she breathed.

Well, there were many followup sessions as her physician was very careful and thorough in watching her sinuses closely and working very aggressively with various medications to get rid of all traces of both the polyps and fungi.  As the spring went on, it became clear that, despite our efforts, there was some indication that fungi and polyps were returning.  The ENT felt strongly that we were within striking distance of eliminating the problems but needed one more surgery.  So my strong baby girl, having just had surgery a few months earlier in December, was scheduled for surgery yet again in May of 2004, her 3rd sinus surgery.

Before surgery, being very tired of dealing with her serious sinus problems, we visited a group of ladies who meet regularly for Bible study and who are some awesome spiritual warriors.  We had mighty prayer for my girl and were greatly blessed by the love expressed and spirit that was present and we all laid our hands on Rachael and asked God to move in her and her body.  After the 3rd surgery, we were delighted in how God works when the doctor said that he ended up not finding some of the things in there that were clearly present earlier in the ct scans.  Isn't God good?  The doc went on to state that he cleaned up what little problems he found and stated that he felt we were really going to defeat this stuff.

The last time I saw Rachael in person was for one of her followups to this 3rd surgery.  The news from the doctor was very good.  We were winning the battle.  I remember being so pleased. We drove our cars (the doctor's office is in Tulsa, an hour from our home, so we would have to meet there when she drove up from Texas, and she'd then have to turn right around and drive back to get back to all her responsibilities at the Honor Academy) to a Quick Trip convenience store where I filled her tank and bought her a large Mountain Dew for her trip back...our standard procedure.

I held her as I prayed for her, thanking God for such an incredible daughter, and that I rejoiced with Him knowing that He, too, was so pleased with her.  Interestingly, I sensed the words, "hug her as if you'll never see her again," and I gave her a long, loving hug, kissed her forehead, and told her "I love you, Rachael."  "I love you, too, Dad," she replied.  Though I wanted to continue to hang on to her, I let my baby girl go, as she was a gal on the move....things to do, places to go, people to see....she was ready to get herself back to campus in Texas as it was a 5-hour drive and she had things yet to do that evening when she returned.  I remember watching her drive off until I could no longer see her car..

I prayerfully approched learning that she made it back safely to her campus.  She forgot to call me to let me know she made it.  God's Word says to not be anxious, and I was doing well to not be, yet I am also a dad who wanted to know she made it safely.  I couldn't get through on the dorm phone that night, but finally heard from her the next day that she made it, and I dismissed the words I heard about hugging her as if I'd never see her again as thoughts of a dad who's just concerened about all that can go wrong on the hiway.  Little did I know that the words I heard referred to what would happen on her next trip home.

Had I any idea that that was going to be the last time I saw my daughter here on earth.....

I miss my girl.

God's girl.


--a stunning find in the burned out trunk --gravesite --celebration of her life and godly legacy
--Photos and info about Rachael --her impact on others --a Core Advisor at TMM's HA
--Multimedia clips of Rachael --drop dad an email --Rachael's Writings and FYI's


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