…plenty of heart and plenty of hope…

Hi, I’m Rachel – Oklahoma ministry wife, working mom and blogger. Welcome to my website, Of Heart and Hope.

Some words to describe me: coffee addict, introvert, logophile, bibliophile, INTJ, hobby handletterer, lover of knowledge and truth. I have a Master of Arts in Theological Studies and a Bachelor of Arts in Classics and Letters (translation: big geek who loves the Bible).

I’m Sooner born and Sooner bred, Oklahoma born and raised. I spent my childhood traipsing through rural Osage County, exploring abandoned railroads and dried up river beds, playing on rusted metal swingsets and hunting for lizards in the thick woods around Keystone Lake. During my younger years, I lived with my mom, who battled drug addiction and mental illness, and I learned to be independent and imaginative as a result. I escaped from my bleak home life in books and stories, I wrote to process the chaos around me. I can still remember when my first-grade teacher, Mrs. Walton, sent my progress report home with these words: she will be a writer someday. 

Writing has always been there for me. It’s the overflow of my thought life and the outpouring of my soul. With that in mind, let me tell you a little bit about this blog.  The title hails from the iconic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Oklahoma, whose title song features the line quoted above. As a purebred Okie and a graduate of the University of Oklahoma, that song is a part of my life’s soundtrack, and I’ve always loved this line in particular. Plenty of heart. Plenty of hope. That is my story.

Having grown up as  I did, hope was all I had. Money was scarce. We regularly went without food until the food stamps arrived. I wore tattered hand-me-downs unless it was tax season. We only had the luxury of television when our mom spliced grandma’s cable line from next door and ran part of it to our trailer, too. (I still don’t know how she managed to rig that.) Most thought, when looking at me, that the apple wouldn’t fall too far from the proverbial tree. That’s when I took hold of hope – the promise of a better future. I believed if I had enough heart, if I worked hard enough and excelled academically and professionally, I could find happiness, peace and joy.

Well, as often happens when you chase the wrong things, my path didn’t go quite as I planned. This is the most important part of the story, so please don’t miss it. I had a change of heart. I learned that real hope is not a comfortable life free from family dysfunction or professional success – real hope is a person. His name is Jesus.

Now, I write to share my story of hope with others. As a wife, mom, and woman redeemed by grace, I’m passionate about sharing authentic experiences of marriage, motherhood and faith. And more broadly than that, I believe life is better spent in community, so this blog is a place for me to share my life with others – whether that’s recipes, book reviews, crafty DIYs or the deeper, tender things like spiritual struggles or parenting woes.

So, without further ado, I invite you to be a part of my community. Share life with me as we find ourselves with plenty of heart and plenty of hope.