Tuesday, December 12, 2017

to the graduates

Bear with me as I delve into symbolism here.

Marriage is like a big feast. A large, varied spread for just two people, who are tasked with the responsibility of eating all the food presented to them. The two are eager to begin, portioning out servings rather evenly, while adapting to the preferences of each. Your spouse doesn't like olives so you take the bowl. You don't prefer sesame seeds on your bun, so they take all the tops while you eat the bottoms. After giving and taking, you successfully divide up the food and eat it all.

Each day the meal is a little different. You and your spouse might take turns piling your plates a little higher to help the other out. But you both keep eating the entire meal, and you start to feel your stomach stretching a bit and being able to accommodate more, settling in to a rhythm that leaves you both reasonably full, but not stuffed.

Being married to a grad student is like having this same meal each day, with the same responsibility of polishing it off, but every day a giant pot of thick, creamy, heavy, buttery mashed potatoes is included in the meal. Dutifully, your spouse takes them all, slowly shoveling the starch into their mouth and swallowing every last bite. And you are so grateful that you do not have to stomach such an ordeal.

But you are left with the rest. The spread, that was previously split each day, is now your duty alone to finish. Occasionally the spouse might take on a piece of corn bread or a handful of salad, but most often they are in a coma from the amount of potatoes they have consumed. Everyone is so impressed with the accomplishment of your spouse, because it is a feat to eat so many potatoes. They ask after his or her ordeal, offering sympathy and encouragement as he or she continues to plod their way through. And they need it, because who ever heard of eating so many potatoes?

But what everyone including grad student might not recognize is the efforts being put in by the 2nd spouse to keep eating all the other food. There's not much glory in eating rolls and broccoli and chicken and pickles, but it's still an accomplishment to get it all down. And you don't have any other choice but to get. it. down.

I won't tell you not to go to grad school. We had an incredible amount of people, both close to us and basically unknown, who told us not to go...after we had already accepted. I think it's garbage to say something like that to people eager and excited to embark on an adventure. But I will say that you need to buy bigger plates. You have to figure out how to deal with more. How to cope with responsibility. Learn when to put more on your plate and when to give it to your spouse. It's tricky and I haven't figured it out myself, but I am sure that doing so will strengthen and refine your relationship. Because as hard a grad school is, I'm positive that it's just a crash course for the rest of our lives.

Monday, November 6, 2017

easy like sunday

Last night Harry and I surprisingly agreed on a movie to watch. He had been wanting to watch one all day. In fact, I think one of the first things he told me when we woke up was that he wanted to watch a movie that night. I'm becoming less and less of a movie-watcher, which is probably because I just can't stand scrolling through Netflix and Hulu endlessly, each person saying that something looks good just to be vetoed by the other. Or both of you saying that you would be willing to watch something, but continuing the spiral of scrolling just to see if there's anything better. even though we all know the further into the list you get, the worse the movie options are.

So it was a surprise when we both just said "ok" to a movie located about halfway through the list. Especially since it was the 1997 production "Jungle to Jungle." Yeah, the one where Tim Allen finds out he has a son that's been living in the jungle for 12 years and learns how to shoot a fly with a blow dart gun. Classic.

Before settling down to the film, we had gone on a walk around the nearby city lake after sufficiently bundling because the high this entire week is 39 degrees. *fist pump*, played a game of Ticket to Ride in which I heartlessly sabotaged and ruined Harry he's sworn to do the same to me for the rest of my life, and ate some simple breakfast burritos.

There are a lot of unknowns and crazy learning experiences for us right now. It was nice to spend an evening together and be productive in our relationship and remember that we are a team that sabotages each other? I'm feeling grateful for my teammate, especially when he takes out his contacts at night and has to walk around the apartment squinting at everything. I laugh almost every time.

peace and rhinoplasty
who might be in the market for a nose job, me or Harry?


Monday, September 4, 2017

summer nostalgia

Labor Day marks the end of summer, so I can't add anything more to this video. It's not perfect or very showy, but it brings back memories and reminds me that we have it pretty good. It also shows that we need some more variety in our wardrobes because we're essentially wearing the same thing in every shot.

Summer 2017 from Rachel Williamson on Vimeo.

peace and 2L

Thursday, August 10, 2017


It might sound a little cheesy and dated, but I really miss reading blogs. Blogs that just show what's happening in someone's life with either an uplifting vibe, comical perspective, artistic touch, or whatever it may be. I miss reading funny stories that happen to other people or feeling sympathy for difficult times or just reading about a good weekend. I used to have dozens of friends, family, and strangers that wrote and shared just like this, and not because they were being sponsored or trying to sell anything.

I love instagram and use it all the time, but it's hard to share a story without going a little overboard with the posting. And, while perusing Pinterest earlier, an inspirational quote came on my feed, as they do, which said "write the book you want to read." Well, it's for sure not a book, but I want to read REAL. Let's start with lunch today.

Harry and I both work downtown cue whichever song you prefer about "downtown" and meet up for lunch pretty much every day. Harry bikes from his firm over to my office building, which makes us sound fancy. There are many options for eating within the "skyway." For non-Minneapolis people, these are enclosed bridges that connect the buildings in the city so that when it's -20 degrees outside you don't die while walking from one building to the next. They are best pictured in the film Mighty Ducks, when the team is training with roller blades in the city. See what I'm talking about here.

Anyway, the point is we eat lunch together, and it's tasty. However, today as I'm about to get in the elevator to go back to work, Harry gets a nosebleed. Now, Harry gets a lot of nosebleeds, thanks to a broken nose from either his hockey days or a stupid trick he tried to do on his mission. I'm not sure which. So I'm not alarmed and give him my napkin, thinking it'll just be a few drops. I take the trash while Harry sits down and proceeds to freaking bleed. out.

I come back with another five napkins, and within 30 seconds each one has been stuffed up the nose and soaked through. I run to get another 8 napkins, same story. I sit with Harry, watching blood drip onto the tile floor in front of him and wonder if I'm about to watch my husband die. Another 15 napkins. Blood all down his front. Leaking between his fingers. As I start making plans to call the ambulance, one giant blood clot gag gag gag...i really did gag right there in my shiny office building spills out of his nose and the bleeding immediately stops. i'm gagging in real life now...gag.

Harry looks up from his mountain of bloody napkins which has more elevation than any geological formation in Minnesota and halfheartedly smiles, even though blood had started coming from his mouth as well. He looked like he had turned to cannibalism for lunch.

He lived. I lived. Needless to say I did not kiss him goodbye.

Image from our less bloody experience at the Twins MLB game.

peace and quinoa
trying really hard to make that in a way that i like


Tuesday, July 25, 2017

it's reeses, for breakfast

I just set a goal in my head and now on this screen to make note of at least one thing that makes me laugh really hard each week, and then share it. Lately I've been feeling less jolly and more "excuse me while I check our budget, it's been an hour since I looked it over." Personally that doesn't sound like a bunch of fun to be around, and since it's slowly becoming MY personality...well...bummer for me.

So maybe by noting the things that make me laugh I'll laugh more and ultimately be more fun for myself to be around does that even make sense? It really shouldn't be too difficult for me, considering I'm married to Harry Williamson.

Saturday I took myself on a date, part of which included a trip Target in order to buy products that make my hair shine and help organize our important documents which consist of my laminated, wallet-sized diploma from BYU and a passport photo taken when harry was trying to grow a mustache. very important to keep those organized. I also picked up a headband to use while exercising in an effort to make me more excited about exercising. The next day, after unpacking my goods, I looked over to the kitchen from the living room to see Harry, singing a Grateful Dead song while wearing my headband and preparing a bowl of Reese's Peanut Butter Puffs.

It was just the right combination to crack me up, probably because I didn't know how long he had been wearing that thing. He is a master at biding his time to prove a point or make a joke, literally saying or doing the same thing over and over until I stop trying to ignore him.

Please also note that he is making a bowl of cereal with multiple, tiny boxes of Reeses Puffs, because we got about 25 of those things for free on a street corner in downtown St. Paul. It wasn't sketchy.

This is the type of stuff that make up our days. I always post pictures of past vacations - usually outdoors - because those are the photos I love. But really, we're working until 5 every day, eating tiny boxes of cereal, and watching all of the Star Wars movies. But...it's pretty fun.

peace and reeses puffs

Wednesday, July 5, 2017


Summer in Minneapolis is not what I expected. People literally use the word "sticky" to describe the weather here. I've only used that adjective in conjunction with melted candy, pine gum, or the time I cleaned out my boyfriend's (now husband's) car drink holder. But man, I'll tell you, it suits the summer here.

Now, I need to clarify that the summer in Minnesota has already been a thousand times better than the winter and we are actually having a pretty great time out here. We've been camping, swimming, biking, kind of hiking, and rock climbing. That being said, it is sticky. Even at 10p last night ...it was sticky.

We, along with the entire city of Minneapolis, lined up on the banks of the Mississippi to watch the firework show. We agreed that we had seen better fireworks, complained about the traffic and crowds, and commiserated over the wall of boiling water that is the atmosphere while being pressed up against people that we would otherwise never associate with.

There were people wearing trench coats and people wearing...well...basically nothing. All colors and shapes were present as were languages and music. Different parenting styles and social etiquette were manifested, all sexualities were represented, all modes of transportation were in use, and all ages were accounted for. I've never been a part of such a mix of people. And as I stood there and watched fireworks and thought about my country, I realized that I don't agree with anyone on everything, but that the great thing about America is that I don't have to.

I don't have to agree with you on anything, and you don't have to agree with me. You cannot force me to live the way you do, and I can't do the same with you. No matter how much you disagree with my opinions and life and appearance and values, I'm allowed to be that way. And more importantly, you're allowed the same.

We're all Americans, but that doesn't mean we're all the same.
We're all different, but we're also all Americans.

We can protest and shout that the other side of the aisle is wrong, that other religions are confused, that all ethnicity but ours is close minded - or whatever it is that we keep shouting and protesting about. But why not bond over what we have in common - being human, being alive, being American - rather than fight over our differences? Because no matter how different, we all like to take videos of fireworks on the day our country declared its independence.

peace and United States of America

Friday, May 19, 2017


I remember the first time I saw a picture of Fallingwater by Frank Lloyd Wright. It was also the first time I realized that homes could be named and the day I decided that one day I would do just that. It was my junior year of high school. I was sitting in my AP Art History class next to my best friend, enjoying the antics of our rambunctious teacher who insisted on us calling her "Mother Wood." The room was dark and our faces were lit with the glow from the projector screen. It was nearing the end of the year and AP tests were heavy on our minds. I was anxious to have the test over, but reluctant for the class to end because, despite my initial hesitation of our flamboyant teacher, I had fallen in love with the class.

Architecture had been incorporated into our curriculum throughout the year. I enjoyed learning the difference between ionic, doric, and corinthian columns, the use of clerestory windows by the Egyptians, and the importance of flying buttresses. However, it wasn't until I saw the picture of this home that I realized that architecture was art just as much as painting and drawing and sculpting was. And this was art you could literally be inside of.

I won't ever live in a house like this. I won't have a Tiffany lamp in every room but maybe just in one room? or a special pool beside the front door where my gardener leaves my freshly cut flowers. But it was beautiful to see and be a part of for a morning. My 17 year old self would be proud.

peace and art

Monday, April 17, 2017


It's no secret that living in Minneapolis has been difficult for me, and it's no secret because it's one of the first things out of my mouth in almost every social situation that requires communication this post being my case in point. Before we moved here we had a lot of people telling us how much they loved this place, how they thought we would fit right in, how jealous of this adventure they were etc etc. I guess I kind of thought we were moving to the land of milk and honey when we packed up our Uhaul, and while the midwest does have stupendous dairy products especially when deep fried it just hasn't measured up to what I thought it would be. I'm beginning to think that part of that might have to do with me *eyeroll* oh really rach?

Now, I cannot simply create mountains for us to play in. I cannot will our bank account to be larger, or fast forward time to when we have a brick home, yard and vegetable garden, sheltie dog, and teardrop trailer that we take camping in Glacier National Park. if you can't tell, i take great pride in in my imaginary, future life. I can't do all those things, but I can try to look at where we are with a different perspective - specifically that of my 19 year old sister in law who came to see us this weekend.

She may have just been trying to be nice, but whenever she was presented with something midwestern she reacted with awe and excitement, telling us she was jealous of our lives here and what we have going for us, which stood out in great contrast to my opinion of our current situation.

For example: when I look out of our 18th story apartment, all I see is the lack of patio and grass, and instead the presence of a noisy freeway that prevents us from keeping our windows open if we want to sleep, have conversation, or think. However, she stood and stared out that window for a quarter of an hour, on a few different occasions, commenting on how far she could see, how many lights there were, pointing out the planes that fly almost directly in front of our windows, and how the sky and land seem to stretch on forever. All of which is actually very true of our view.

You see, I keep waiting for this moment of our lives to be over. I desperately want it to end, and I resent everything that happens during this time or makes it last any longer than necessary i'm a real joy to have around. But lately, and especially after this weekend, I'm starting to wonder what I'm missing out on while I focus on the noisy cars instead of looking at the never ending sky.

Images from the weekend.

peace and birkenstocks
got my first pair and i can't stop wearing them


Wednesday, March 8, 2017


My whole life I have been surrounded by exceptional people. I'm beginning to realize how just unusual my situation has been. I have had people who encouraged me to do well in school, to pursue and develop talents, to play sports, to be creative, to work for independence. I wasn't ever aware of what "feminism" was until well into my college experience, but when I studied it and learned about it, I wondered why it was such a big deal. Wasn't it a given that women were equal to men?

I had been just as important to my soccer team as the boys had been. I had competed in math competitions just as much as the boys had. I had participated in leadership roles just as much as the boys had. And I had a mom, dad, church leaders, friends, friends' parents, aunts, uncles, grandmas, grandpas, cousins...people as far as I could see telling me that what I was doing was normal. I wasn't overly praised for doing these things because I was a girl. I wasn't held back and discourage because I was a girl. I was a person, just as capable of being successful as any person around me.

Having recently started to try and grow up, I'm realizing that that's not the case for a lot of girls and women. It's important for me to realize that my experience is not everyone else's, and it's important for me to at least be the same type of person I was surrounded by growing up, and that I continue to be surrounded by. I am still very blessed to have had few experiences of blatant discrimination based on my gender. Or so I thought. dun dun duuuunnn.

As I take on more real life responsibility, I've been drastically more hard on myself. Disclaimer: I have emotions - a lot of them. They are each so vital to my experience and I wouldn't want to live my life without every one of them. Joy, frustration, sorrow, humor, boredom, excitement, anxiousness....I want them all. I need them all. 

But lately the adversary has been taking some of those emotions and using them against me. I tell myself I'm not worth it, that I can't do it, that my only purpose is to be in the background, that I'm not good at what I try to do, that I'm not succeeding or living the life truly independent women live, that since I'm not getting a masters degree my education is worthless, that I'll never be a top executive because frankly i don't really want to and that makes me less of a strong woman.

As I write it out it seems so bogus! But when it's running through my head it seems so true. 

Thus, in honor of International Women's Day, I'm committing myself to fight off the most chauvinistic, selfish, evil, greedy and discriminating being in existence. I will work on liberating myself from his destructive influence. He wants us all to be miserable, and I think he works especially hard on women. 

But guess what? We're stronger.

peace and IWD


Thursday, February 23, 2017

fix it

A severe, moral wrong has recently swept our world, leaving many confused, conflicted, and searching for answers. This social catastrophe has impacted my life, my world, my home, and after much deliberation and thought I have decided to open up and share my thoughts and feelings on the matter. I anticipate some backlash, unfavorable comments, and loss of friendships, but I must do as I see right and call to repentance the group that has so insensitively hurt and harmed individuals, families, and homes.

Netflix, how dare you take Chip and Joanna Gaines from our lives.

Now that I have that off my chest, I can continue with some thoughts I've had stirring around in my brain since our big move out midwest. And yes, Fixer Upper is my key example in this post and all other aspects of my life.

In this HGTV hit show, a couple helps others turn homes that look like haunted sheds made of cardboard boxes and potato skins into luxurious, envy-inducing abodes. The show's impact has had a broad reach, resulting in every woman now wanting white shiplap somewhere in their home, pilgrimages to Waco, TX becoming more and more mandatory, and all young people having dreams of buying ugly, questionably safe homes. i fall into all of these stereotypes.

Most people are pretty enamored with the concept and content of the show. To see a building that, by all accounts should just be bulldozed over, actually turned into something beautiful is kind of inspiring. Maybe we love this show because we love to see second chances and changes.

Sometimes I think we feel a lot like that shed made of potato skins that has no purpose but to be bulldozed over in order to be replaced by something more grand, more useful, more beautiful. We try to paint over the water marked walls, or deep clean the orange and brown shag carpet. We sweep the very sloped front porch and patch up a foundations that look more like sand than cement. Meanwhile pushing help away saying "No, I can fix this myself. I know how I want it to look and if you get involved then it won't be just how I want it. I have my own vision," as the ceiling collapses behind us. 

But God is the Master Carpenter. He sees our little shacks and starts to make changes - changes that weren't ever part of our vision either. The boy or girl you like doesn't reciprocate, and there goes the carpet. You don't get into the school you were banking on and down comes the railing. Your car breaks down indefinitely and the pool gets filled in. You're a new or seasoned parent with difficult children and the jackhammer is taken to the driveway. You move to Minnesota, away from everyone you love, and all the walls start falling down.

Eventually, little by little, our shacks and lean-tos that we were so protective of, so proud of, become "dream homes" we could never have imagined for ourselves. Perfectly designed, with the best products, they are truly the most functional and beautiful homes we've ever seen. You'd never guess that at one point you wanted to bulldoze it over.

Let Him fix it.


Thursday, February 16, 2017


Today while I was walking to work, I thought to myself "I would be so much happier if I were single." It had been a rough morning with me getting after Harry to clean up the spilled orange juice, a puddle in the bathroom from our leaking shower, my hair being greasy but me not wanting to wash it oh woe is me!, carpet that hasn't been vacuumed in weeks and has bits of toast, cheese, and salt stuck in it, you know the crumbs you can feel with your bare feet when you walk? gross. and a desperate plea to the powers above that I somehow could stay home from work. It was a morning that was also compounded on a rough night, because that's just how life works right? 

So as I walked to work, realizing that I had forgotten to take the frozen chicken out of the freezer so we could actually eat something other than macaroni and cheese for dinner, I thought "I would be so much happier if..." which was followed by a long list consisting of things like:

...if I had long, beautiful hair 
...if I were single and only had to worry about feeding myself
...if I didn't have to clean up after anyone else
...if I could afford to have someone grocery shop for me
...if I had an actual home instead of renting an apartment
...if I lived within some vicinity of the mountains 
...if I could be paid to just frolic on the beach like everyone on Instagram seems to be able to do

I've begun to realize and be taught by my mother, who keeps me grounded that happiness is becoming less and less of a spontaneously occurring state, and more and more of a goal that I have to actively work for. And despite what everyone on your phone might show, sometimes being happy is hard. For some reason choosing to do the things that you know will make you happy seems impossible. Satan has made beds too comfortable and treadmills not enough so, just to keep us miserable. so we should all go exercise just to show the devil who's boss. and ohmygosh i'm suddenly having an epiphany about what exercise and the temptation to be lazy actually is. stay with me here. lucifer is all bummed out because we have bodies and he doesn't so he wants us to be lazy and sleep all day so essentially we aren't using our bodies and we're miserable and then he wins. i'm going to start a gym class based on this.

Back to the point. Although the point is morphing as I type because things are coming into my mind and I don't know how this is all going to wrap up. At some point in our lives, we will have to actively work on being happy. And I think that's ok. Whether it be hauling ourselves to the gym, committing ourselves to that class we're interested in, being brave and generous, reading a good book instead of watching crummy TV, exploring a new place, reading a conference talk instead of mean facebook posts, or blogging for the first time in years despite blogs basically being dead. If we are medically able to choose happiness, or at least choose to work on happiness, then we should. 

I mean, if you think about it, why not?

This is me on a frozen lake. Because that's the type of thing people do in Minnesota.

peace and brian kershisnik
i'm in love with this piece