It's My Birthday! Ask me a Question!

me at two. then i asked endless questions. now it’s your turn. ask me a question, i’ll tell you no lies.

Today is my birthday. I am 39 years old. One more year until the nice, round four-oh.

Thirty was a happy day for me. I was elated at 30. I threw myself an enormous party in which every one had to participate in a talent show. Ian read Beattle’s songs as droll British performance-art poetry. Karl wrote a comic ditty about me and sang while he played the piano. Neil put art up on an easle. Kami made her famous beef-stew-in-pumpkin. (And swore never to make it again after it sloshed all over the back of the pimp-mobile, which later spontaneously combusted on the front drive.)

I was emerging out of my post-partum depression, back into my pre-baby clothes, and happily on staff at a church that I loved. The decade looked promising.

The past few years have been harder than that blithe birthday would have lead me to believe. I’ve been sick most of this decade (chronic migraines); a huge idealogical shift has lead me away from the church and onto a more ancient-future faith that refuses to behave and is always giving me fits; and the home I thought I would grow old in is now occupied by renters while I learn how to live life abroad. It hasn’t been a terrible decade — far from it! But is has been more challenging, and more surprising that I ever could have imagined.

It makes me wonder what the next few years will be. Will my 40’s be as dramatically life altering as my 30’s? Will there be more children adopted by affection, and communities built and dismantled as the Universe dictates? Will there be books and columns, or will blogging remain my means of witness? Will I feel wiser in ten year’s time, or merely have more questions?

And speaking of questions, there is nothing I like better than being interviewed. I think this is charming, and I love what Leonie did here. If I could be interviewed full-time for a living I would be a very happy camper. So on this my birthday, I give you my lovely readers free reign. Ask me a question, any question, and I will tell you no lies. Because really, it’s my birthday, and I think today it’s okay for it to be all about me.

Thanks for celebrating with me!

With love from a very mild narcissist,


Florencia October 29, 2008 at 12:15 pm

Happy Birthday! Today is my mother’s birthday as well.
I’ve been reading your blog for some time now, but had never commented (tried once and lost the message due to poor internet connection). It’s really great, it inspires me and I truly feel less alone in my spiritual musings and ramblings.
My question is: are you a priestess or have I been reading too distractedly? If you are, I’d love to read your story sometime.
Regards from Chile and have a great day!

Josh H October 29, 2008 at 12:46 pm

Question(s)?…. Hmmmmmmm…

Ok. Compare Ten years ago to now, what would you say are the major beliefs that have changed and how has that change changed you?

What are the life lessons that you have learned through your life experience that you hold as the most valuable?

That’s a good start. I will back to ask more later. :)

Elaine October 29, 2008 at 12:56 pm

Happy Birthday, Rachelle.

I have two questions, one definitely for fun and one for serious pondering — I won’t say which is which. Feel free to answer one or the other or both.

1) If you could live one day of your life as another being (animal, vegetable or mineral but it must be non-human), what would you be an why?

2) If you could meet an inspirational leader from the past or present, who would that be and what one question would you ask him or her?

Have a lovely celebration with good food, good drink and the best of all gifts — loving family and friends.

Bethany October 29, 2008 at 1:23 pm

Happy, happy birthday! My guess is that you can’t help but have a life-altering next decade simply because you are so *present* in your life and those around you; no stagnant waters in your future. :)
My question is this: How did you find your own ways of nurturing your daughters’ spirituality? As my two little girls grow, I find myself realizing that the only spiritual parenting technique I’ve ever seen was going through a devotional book together. However, you seem to be bursting with special and unique ways to help your children connect with God, and I would love to know the story of how that came about.
Warm wishes from a fellow ex-pat getting used to European living!

Shell October 29, 2008 at 1:26 pm

Happy Birthday!! I hope you have a wonderful day and great year. My question is: Do you have one major thing you like to do before you turn 40?

amy October 29, 2008 at 1:31 pm

you are a wife and a mom and a friend and i loved your “love” podcast. what makes you feel loved? what have you found to be the most effective way to love others? happy brithday to you, with much LOVE!

Jennifer October 29, 2008 at 1:34 pm

Happy Birhtday R!!!!!!!!!! We miss you.
2 questions for you…1) What is your spiritual community like where you are now – are you finding soul friend? 2) What do you want to be doing by the end of your 40’s?

Lori in Denver October 29, 2008 at 2:15 pm

Happy birthday, dear Rachelle!

Hmmmmmmm. As a former expat, I want to ask questions along those lines.

What is the best thing about living where you do? And what are some things you miss most about living in the US? What have you learned about your own country by looking at it from the outside?

maggie ann. October 29, 2008 at 2:54 pm

Rachelle, Happy Birthday!!! I hope your day is utterly magical, just like you :) I’m so happy that I happened across you awhile back. You have been such a living light in my life. I don’t know where I would be without your words of wisdom and strength.
My question is along these lines: What brought about the shift in your spiritual ideology? As it has shifted how have you reconciled it to those close to you who still follow your previous belief system?
Much love and blessings to you and your’s darling.

Goddess Leonie October 29, 2008 at 3:25 pm

happy birthday gorgeous…

wishing you an amazing day celebrating you and your beautiful gifts and life…

my question is… What do you most want to celebrate about yourself?

Denise October 29, 2008 at 3:38 pm

Happy Birthday! It is my mom’s birthday… she’s 65 today… where do you see yourself at 65? Where will you be, physically and spiritually?


Jen Lee October 29, 2008 at 3:48 pm

Do you have any loved ones who now think you’re doomed to damnation for having jumped the Christianity ship? Is it worth coming out of that closet? When will I know it’s time? This is the hardest thing about this strange new future for me to embrace–losing belonging, being ‘witnessed to’ and worried about for the rest of my days…

Mother Henna October 29, 2008 at 4:16 pm

Happy Happy Happiest Birthday in the whole wide world to you, Rachelle!!!!!

Sending you lots and lots of Reiki vibes for good energy, health, fun, living a present and meaningful life!!

Questions, questions. Well, you know I’m sorta weird, so here’s my weird questions:

When a grief comes, how does it affect you? Has your ability to process and integrate grief and joy, love and loss been affected/shifted by a) being an expat and/or b) you changing spiritual beliefs? If you could teach someone else anything about the experience of grief, what would that lesson be?

Lots and lots of celebration vibes to you!!!

Dawn October 29, 2008 at 7:22 pm

Hello, Rachelle,

Many happy returns of the day to you!

Why is the sky blue?

Abbey of the Arts October 29, 2008 at 8:56 pm

Happy Birthday Rachelle!
One simple question — do you know, I mean really know deep down, how beautifully stunning you are?
with love from Seattle, C

Susan Young October 29, 2008 at 9:19 pm

Happy birthday darling! I’m happy to break in 40 for you, but do come along as soon as you’re ready!

My question: as you describe, one decade of your marriage has seen babies, post-partum depression, migraines, major spiritual shifts and now an international move – how have you seen each other shift and accommodate all this? What has sustained your relationship?

Please have each family member give you 1 hug for me, 1 from Steve and 1 from Berto. Thank you.

Jen Payne October 29, 2008 at 9:31 pm

Rachelle! How did I miss that today (yesterday for you now) was your birthday?? Happy Birthday my dear!!

My question: Do you distinguish God (in you internal experience anyway) from your own intuition and if so, how?

Rachelle October 30, 2008 at 2:56 am

Oooo! These are fun! Keep ’em coming.

Silvia October 30, 2008 at 4:22 am

Happy Birthday!!!!

My question is: What is the most beautiful lesson you’ve learned so far?

Ami October 30, 2008 at 5:40 am

Happy Birthday! I love interviewing people, so this is a great idea!

Here are a couple of questions to keep you busy:

1) What book has had the most influence on your life and why/how?

2) In the last 9 years, what experience has been the most frightening? The most enlightening? The most exciting?

Looking forward to your answers!

andrea October 30, 2008 at 6:12 am

My question is: If you could devote a chunk of your time to advocating for one feminist issue, what would it be?

(I just turned 30 this week and this seems to be a question that I’m asking myself.)

Happy birthday!

Jena October 30, 2008 at 8:17 am

This is brilliant.

Happy birthday (I thought it was today! Oops.)

What are you ready for?

chip October 30, 2008 at 8:23 am

My question: What is it you are HOPING somebody asks you, Rachelle?

Tess October 30, 2008 at 10:48 am

Oh I’m so sorry I missed the actual day. Happy belated returns. My question: how do you keep your blogging momentum up so consistently and with such great results? Do you have any particular schedules etc or just wait for inspiration. And more frivolously, do you prefer sweet or savoury food?

darrin October 30, 2008 at 11:18 am


What thing/idea/attitude would you import to Europe from US and visa versa what would you like to gift the US from Europe?

kelly bean October 30, 2008 at 3:58 pm

Happy Birthday Dear Rachelle!
I believe birthdays should extend for far longer than one day, therefore I don’t consider these birthday greetings one bit late….enjoy celebrating yourself for at least a week (and then some!)
Your frank, curious and persistent quest and creative expression frequently inspire me Rachelle. Thanks for sharing your life!
My questions…these less lofty than some of the already posed questions but I love to know this sort of thing about people.
What did you eat on your birthday?
What are you wearing right now?
Do you enjoy skipping?
What last prompted you to really laugh?
Blessings galore from a sister red head

Sue October 30, 2008 at 4:59 pm

Happy birthday, Rachelle! I just LOVE that photo :) The dress, the little blue thingymyjig in your hair :)

Question 1: What do they call the thingymyjigs you put in your hair?

Question 2: If you had to move to a non-English speaking country to set up an orphanage, where would you go?

Katy K October 30, 2008 at 10:07 pm

Secondly, I second Chip’s question.
Thirdly, how do you stay so beautiful inside and out?
Fourthly, I found 29 the hardest year. I told young men that I was 30 that whole year. So 30 was easy and 40 – whatever – at least it’s not 29. You have accomplished so much in your life. You should be proud! (not to mention the food photos from Italy!)

Jewell October 31, 2008 at 9:11 am

Hello Rachelle,

I have been captivated by your blog for sometime now. Your insight, stories, journey has me all in a tizzy. I am so taken by new thoughts and ideas. I’m exploring my spirituality in ways I never though I would.

I live in a small community in North Dakota, and I am increasingly growing in thought and enlightenment. My fellow brother and sisters recognize this transformation I am sure, but I think I am truly ready to “break away” from the christian ideology I grew up with. How were you able to stay true to your friends and family and come to terms with your own spirituality?

Rose October 31, 2008 at 5:05 pm

Hi again Rachelle,
I am with Kelly, birthdays should last days, some weeks:)
I would like to know what you have learned about being the “newcomer” or “outsider” in a new culture…maybe one thing that you think sums up what it’s like to enter into a foreign culture?
Happy Birthday week!

Jeff November 1, 2008 at 3:46 pm

Hey Rachelle,

My question: What gift would you like to give yourself?

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