Rachel Rittenhouse

Christian fiction for ladies young and old

National #ReadABookDay

September 6th, 2017

national read a book day

Today is National #ReadABookDay which is one of my favorite days! 

 

Growing up, reading has always been one of my absolute favorite past times and I could almost always be found with a book. Even as the school loads got busier, I still love to read and it can be such a place of escape from the real world.

 

On the National Day Calendar website, it says: “Reading improves memory and concentration as well as reduces stress… Books are an inexpensive entertainment, education and time machine, too!”

 

I don’t know about you, but if reading can reduce stress I’m all in! But seriously, reading has a way of taking your mind of whatever is worrying you and allowing you to “get lost” in another world.

 

Reading has a way of taking your mind of whatever is worrying you and allowing you to get lost… Click To Tweet

 

My favorite books to read are fiction and if you are looking for some new books to read,  head over at my book review blog, Rachel’s Back Talk! Currently I’m reading Tamera Alexander’s To Wager Her Heart and Elizabeth Camden’s To The Farthest Shores.

 

How about you? What book are you reading now?

{Destination: Ireland}

July 20th, 2017

Destination- IReland

Earlier this summer, I had the amazing opportunity to go on a study aboard trip with my college. I would definitely recommend traveling abroad sometime during your life — it is such an amazing experience!

 

So where was my travel destination? A little island that now holds a big place in my heart – Ireland.

 

Destination: Ireland #RachelsTravelAdventures Click To Tweet

 

I spent 10 days in Ireland and let me say, we did so much! During those 10 days, we went to Dublin, Belfast, and Cork. I met some lifelong friends on the trip, plus memories to last me forever! 

 

 

TOP HIGHLIGHTS: 

  1. Book of Kells & Trinity Library: The book of Kells is an ornately decorated copy of the four Gospels in Latin. Then upstairs in the Long Room at Trinity College, there are over 200,000 books! A reader’s dream! 18557017_1850759725175767_5293297299884914828_n
  2. Howth Head: A beautiful coastal port on the East side of Ireland! 20170517_191111
  3. Titanic Museum in Belfast: This a place that I was so excited to see! The research wheels in my mind couldn’t stop spinning! This is the place where the Titanic was built. IMG_20170519_194408_134
  4. Giant’s Causeway: In Northern Ireland, this causeway is a result of volcanic eruption. The ocean was just so blue and clear! Overall, our weather was basically perfect! 20170520_110803
  5. Cliffs of Moher: This was an extra excursion on the schedule and was on my top things to see in Ireland! The majestic splendor of these cliffs was beautiful as we looked over the Atlantic Ocean. 20170521_141339
  6. Blarney Castle: I kissed the Blarney stone! Folklore says that if you kiss the stone, you will be granted the gift of eloquence. 🙂 This castle is located on the south end of Ireland in Cork. It was really neat that we were able to go to all ends of Ireland and it look us roughly 3-4 hours to get to each point!20170523_101251-1

 

That’s just some of my favorite memories! Have you ever traveled abroad? If not, where is one place you’ve always wanted to go? 

Summer Reading List

June 8th, 2017

Summer Reading List
So I’ve been a little MIA (classes ending, a trip to Ireland, and a homeschool fair kept me quite busy!). BUT I thought how better than to get back into the swing of things then to share with you some of my favorite books that I’m excited to read this summer!

 

Summer equals reading — at the beach, at the park, or pretty much anywhere in the sun!

 

Summer equals reading -- at the beach, at the park, or pretty much anywhere in the sun!… Click To Tweet

 

Here are some of the books, both fiction and nonfiction, that are on my reading list this summer:

 

FICTION

  1. A Name Unknown by Roseanna White
  2. To the Farthest Shores by Elizabeth Camden
  3. The Writing Desk by Rachel Hauck
  4. True to You by Becky Wade
  5. To Wager Her Heart by Tamera Alexander

NONFICTION

  1. The Successful Author Mindset by Joanna Penn
  2. Proofreading Secrets of Best Selling Authors by Kathy Ide

 

How about you? What books will you be reading this summer? Share in the comments!

 

You can see what books I end up reading this summer on my book review site, Rachel’s Back Talk. Maybe you’ll find some books there that you want to read too!

 

Happy Reading!

A Day in Lancaster

April 13th, 2017

A Day in LancasterOne of my favorite spots to take a field trip is Lancaster! It’s been a bit of a tradition among my family to take rather frequent trips out there and it is so much fun finding new spots!

 

This year, the Christian Homeschool Association of Pennsylvania’s (CHAP) convention is in Lancaster! So if you and your children come out for the convention, why not take advantage of being in Lancaster County and plan a day for a field trip too? One thing my parents taught me – you can make a field trip out of wherever you are!

 

*Note– all of my time references are based on the convention center as a starting point which in in Lancaster!*

 

The first stop that I recommend is Lititz, which is about 20-25 minutes from the convention center. Plan on spending at least the morning here!

 

Visit the first commercial bakery in America, the Julius Sturgis Pretzel Factory (www.juliussturgis.com). This bakery dates back to the beginning of the Civil War when founded in 1861 by Julius Sturgis. When you tour this bakery, you can see old tools that were used in pretzel making. You also have the opportunity to make your own “old style” pretzel!

 

Next, visit the Wilbur Chocolate Store (www.wilburbuds.com). Unfortunately, you can’t tour the factory in Lititz anymore, but you’ll be able to see the factory building located right across the street. In the store while obtaining a free Wilbur Buds sample, check out some of the old chocolate making equipment, which is pretty cool. Here’s a fun tidbit – Wilbur Buds (bite-sized molded chocolate resembling flower buds) were first fashioned in 1894 by Henry Wilbur; however, the chocolate factory, H.O. Wilbur & Sons, had opened ten years earlier in 1884.

 

Now, take some time and just walk around Lititz. You’ll find many cute little coffee shops and other specialty stores. Along the way, you’ll find Olio Olive Oils & Balsamics (www.oliooliveoil.com), and for curiosity sake, you’ll go in. Inside the store, you’ll sample a wide variety of oils and balsamic vinegars (recommended for children ages 10+).

 

Next, travel to Honey Brook, and visit September Farm Country Market and Sandwich Shop (www.septemberfarmcheese.com). This is about 40 minutes from both Lititz and the convention center in Lancaster, but it is a great place to have a bite to eat for lunch!

Lancaster County offers many attractions and field trip options! #ADayinLancaster Click To Tweet

September Farm is owned and operated by the Rotelle family. What started as a small store on their farm grew into a flourishing cheese business! After you’ve sampled the cheese and ate lunch at their sandwich shop, you can go to the back room where you can watch cheese being made. It is such an interesting process! And if you’re new to September Farm, be sure to purchase their freshly made cheese tarts. You won’t regret it!

 

As you travel back to the convention center, a fun place to stop is Emma’s Gourmet Popcorn (www.emmaspopcorn.com) in New Holland. This is 15 minutes from the cheese farm but on your way back to Lancaster. You may think you are merely twisting and turning along some back country roads, but the stop at the end is very much worth it! Emma’s Gourmet Popcorn makes many fun flavors of popcorn, ranging from sweet to salty, plain to chocolate. A great snack to be enjoyed by the whole family on the way home!

 

Finally, if your time allows, visit Kitchen Kettle Village (www.kitchenkettle.com) in Intercourse. This is 10 minutes from Emma’s Gourmet Popcorn and only 25 minutes from the Lancaster County Convention Center. There are forty unique shops to visit in this village; some offer some delectable treats for the children! Perhaps you even want to take a horse and carriage ride or an Amish buggy ride for a full Pennsylvania Dutch experience.

 

Lancaster County offers many attractions and field trip options; find more great things to see and do in and around the area at DiscoverLancaster.com. I hope that it will become one of your favorite spots like it is mine!

 

Previous published in the CHAP Magazine 

Copyright, 2017, Rachel Rittenhouse 

Calmness in the Crazy

March 24th, 2017

Calmness in the CrazyCrazy doesn’t even begin to describe a bit of what my life has been like recently. My college classes have been more intense then sometimes, and therefore the blogging has gotten away from me this month!

 

I love having a full schedule, but something that I have been discovering is that rejuvenation is so important! And let’s face it, sometimes things just don’t go as planned. What’s important is that we pick up and make sure we are focusing on what’s important in life.

 

The lyrics from Kari Jobe’s “Steady My Heart” have been such a balm to my soul lately!

 

I’m not gonna worry
I know that You’ve got me
Right inside the palm of your hand
Each and every moment
What’s good and what gets broken
Happens just the way You plan

 

Everything that happens in life happens according to God’s plan for my life — for YOUR life! Take a moment or two to listen to the song. Really listen to the words and allow them to wash over you and fill you with CALMNESS in your CRAZY life!

 

 

Organizing in OneNote

February 2nd, 2017

organizing in one noteI am definitely a pro-organizer! If there is something I love doing, it is planning things out — and re-planning it out.

 

Something new that I found this year is organizing my schedule in OneNote. 

 

What’s nice about OneNote, is that you can keep lots of different notebooks and many notes in each notebook. When I first started in OneNote, I was trying to keep my writing schedule more organized. And it worked!

Then I moved to OneNote for my school and I still love it!

Each time I have a class, I start a new page for that class. Then I divide my classes up in weeks and organize everything I need to get done in that week.

As time went on, I decided that I wanted to color-code as well. As you can see from my picture, I color-code according to the day of the week.

one note pic

The nice thing about doing my organizing in OneNote is that I can move things around if I need to. This gives me flexibility that I can change my schedule around if I something comes out.

Of course, there is still something about a hand-written a schedule, which is why I love my whiteboard. But another plus of OneNote is that I can see my schedule on my phone as well!

What do you use to organize your schedule? 

A Day in Valley Forge

January 19th, 2017

a-day-in-valley-forgeStuck in the winter doldrums? Or maybe elongated summer stagnation? That means it’s the perfect time for another field trip! This one is located right in my own backyard – Montgomery County!

 

It’s time now to journey back in time to the 1700s, in the middle of the American Revolutionary War, to a place called Valley Forge.

 

When you arrive at Valley Forge (hopefully you don’t experience as much construction/traffic difficulties as we did!!), head right into the main entrance and begin your field trip at the visitor’s center. From there, you’ll be guided to where you watch an 18-min video (for free!) on Washington’s Encampment. This provides a great prelude for your kids and helps them better understand all that happened at Valley Forge. This video shows every ½ hour starting at 9:30AM.

 

It’s time now to journey back in time to the 1700s, in the middle of the American Revolutionary… Click To Tweet

 

Once you are done with the video, head back down to the visitor’s center. You probably noticed when you arrived that there a lot of different displays off to the right of the visitor’s center. There are displays that depict different details about how with was living in Valley Forge in the winter months. These soldiers went through a lot – snow, starvation, hunger, and separation from families. In addition, was the reality that they were at war with their mother country, England, and had to always be on guard.

 

Valley Forge is a beautiful park with a great driving tour option that you can do on your own. Once you are done inside at the visitor’s center and the gift shop, grab a map and head back to your car. Since the visitor’s center was stop #1, your next stop will be #2 – the Muhlenberg Bridge, where you could stop to have a nice picnic lunch. My mom, brother, and cousins picked a nice spot to have our picnic in a grassy section right by one the artillery canons. When your lunch is finished, you will see some huts up ahead. You and your kids can even take a peek inside and imagine what it must have been like to stay with 6-8 others in such a small cabin. Nothing like the bunk beds we have today!

 

Once you’re back in the car, you can continue on your driving tour. Don’t feel like you have to stop and get out at each spot. There is space along the way to pull over and take pictures and also to read the map which has a description of each place.  Along the way, you’ll pass the National Memorial Arch, the statue of General Wayne, an artillery park, and the Washington Memorial Chapel.

 

My favorite along the driving tour was stop #5 – Washington’s Headquarters. I promise, you will definitely want to get out and experience this stop! You will first notice an old train station. This is the 1911 Valley Forge Station and has a bunch of neat displays and mini videos inside. Next to it is Washington’s headquarters. Inside the stone building, you’ll pretty much just see the setup of how General Washington and Martha lived during their stay at Valley Forge, but be sure to read about it inside the station.

 

The time spent at Valley Forge is such a crucial part of American history and it happened right in Pennsylvania! The courage of the generals and soldiers of the continental army is something to be admired. Valley Forge Park allows us the ability to appreciate all that those soldiers had to go through to fight for the freedoms that we enjoy today.

 

And of course, don’t miss this chance to shop at the King of Prussia mall only 5 minutes away! That is, if you and your kids aren’t too tired after all the amazingness of Valley Forge!

 

 

Previous published in the CHAP Magazine 

Copyright, 2017, Rachel Rittenhouse 

A New Year

January 5th, 2017

a-new-yearHappy New Year! I can still scarcely believe that it is 2017 already!

 

As I was getting ready to leave work, I caught sight of this sunset and immediately my mind jumped to Psalm 19.

 

The heavens do declare God’s majestic glory — the intrinsicness of the design and just the absolute beautifulness of it. 

 

But the Psalmist continues – “They speak without a sound or word; their voice is never heard. Yet their message has gone throughout the earth and their word to all the world” (v.3-4). And isn’t that so true?

 

The sky didn’t tell me to look — I just did. I stopped for a moment in the busyness of my life to admire the handiwork of God. 

 

I stopped for a moment in the busyness of my life to admire the handiwork of God… Click To Tweet

 

That is, what I feel the beginning of a New Year does. It allows us to stop and think about what we accomplished this past year and take time to think about what we want this New Year to represent.

 

2016 brought with it many joys, struggles, and tears. No doubt 2017 will do the same. And while sometimes it is easy to fall into a pessimistic attitude that 2017 won’t be that great or maybe 2017 is already not great. Why not look on the bright side?

 

Choose Joy. Choose God. See what the God, who creates masterpieces all around us, can do with this new, blank year ahead.

Choose Joy

December 22nd, 2016

shutterstock_221596618Choose Joy. 

It’s the motto that has been in my life for the better part of 2016. Ever since I came across this phrase, I loved it.

And I came to realize how difficult living it out really is. 

Ann Voskamp says about joy in her book, The Greatest Gift: “Joy is a function of gratitude, and gratitude is a function of perspective. You only begin to change your life when you begin to change the way you see.”

Choosing joy begins with a change of perspective and the way that you look at things. 

This change of perspective, I found, is something that can be applied whether in school, at work, or a social event. Don’t you find that when your outlook on a situation changes, everything just goes so much better?

The source of this joy comes ultimately from Christ. When the angel visits the shepherds when Jesus is born, he tells them: “…behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people” (Luke 2:10 ESV). When Christ comes down to earth as a baby, this is something that should cause all the people to rejoice! Immanuel, the long-awaited Messiah, has arrived, bringing deliverance for all of humankind.

Christ bears this gift of joy that everyone should be able to participate in. By knowing Christ, the joy should just well up inside of you.

James 1:2 ESV also says, “Count it ALL JOY, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds.”

Every situation, whether the good or the bad, it is important to thinking about choosing joy in all situations.

 

So this season, and all year long, will you join me in making the conscious effort to choose joy? 

Give Thanks

November 24th, 2016

give-thanksIt’s that day of the year when everyone is called to take time and give thanks for all that God has blessed them with. We remember all that we are thankful for and really thank God for all that He has given us.

Some may say, but shouldn’t we do that every day? And the answer is YES — but isn’t it nice to have a day set aside especially for that?

I’ve recently started a journal beginning on my 20th birthday. Even if it doesn’t happen everyday, journeling is another way to reflect on the day that you have been given and what you are thankful for.

I would encourage you — make a list of things you are thankful for. I choose 20 items because I am 20, but you can feel free to go on however many you would like! It is a great time of reflection, thinking over how much you have been blessed this past year!

It's that day of the year when everyone is called to take time and give thanks for all that God… Click To Tweet

And as your spending time today, whether with family or friends, listen to this song sung by Josh Groban.

 

I know one thing — I’m so thankful for readers like you!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Rachel Rittenhouse

Christian fiction for ladies young and old