Let’s be honest. Most of you look at the Brewers and think, “Wow. I bet they all got along so well growing up in a Christian Family. They probably sat around, held hands, and sang Kumbaya. Or they woke up every morning and did a family bible study. Yeah. I bet that’s it.” Anyone with kids knows that ain’t happenin. Reality is, when you have four kids under one roof, it doesn’t matter whether you singing Kumbaya or Ozzy Osbourne, things are going to get crazy at some point. Such was the way of life for Rachel Brewer. Life wasn’t always easy for Rachel growing up. I’ll be the first to admit that, mainly because it could be argued that I was partly to blame for why it wasn’t. Listen guys, when you’re young and you’re hanging out with two older cousins who always pick on their sister, you just follow suit and hope you don’t get extricated from the Nintendo 64 play time. It was the natural order of things for us kids. You don’t hang out with the sister. Ever. Unless the older cousin isn’t around. Maybe then you would, but you would definitely never play dress up with her! And even if you did, you would never admit it. You’ve got a reputation to uphold! In all transparency, what I am saying is that growing up, my relationship with Rachel was extremely shallow, and because of that, it stayed that way even into adulthood. I always knew what she liked to do, play dance-dance revolution, or animal crossing, or cutting people’s hair, taking pictures, or calligraphy, but I never knew anything about who she was as a person. I thought I did, from the immature view of a kid who didn’t “play with girls” (especially not dress up!) but I never really knew her, and that’s a shame because over the years I have really grown to treasure my relationship with Rachel, so much so that I have such a regret for not pursuing a relationship sooner. It really started when she moved into Jesse and Courtlynd’s house, and I know what you guys are thinking, “Wasn’t that only like 2 years ago?” I know okay! It wasn’t easy at first. I had obviously carried over some of my preconceived notions about who I thought she was as a kid. I’ve never been more happy to be proven wrong in my life. What I discovered, is that Rachel is so much more than I ever thought she was. To see who she was back then, and how Christ has molded her into who she is now, is incredible. It turns out Rachel and I have a lot in common, from movie genres to our use of sarcasm. Some people have even said we look like brother and sister, and have the same mannerisms. I’m still not sure about that, but I won’t deny it either. What I am sure of, is that while growing up, I didn’t take advantage of really getting to know Rachel, but now I want nothing more than to move on from the past and make her feel valued and welcomed as a person I now deeply cherish.
“Do you work to live, or do you live to work?”
- Adam Long
Rachel has tried her hand at a lot of things. She’s cut hair, become a Photographer, taught herself calligraphy, and she even used to play the drums. I bet you guys didn’t even know that the drums I play at the church were originally Rachel’s did ya? At one point or another, all of those things were her main source of income – except for drumming, that one never panned out – and now none of them do, and that’s a good thing. There’s the old adage, “It doesn’t feel like a job, if you’re doing something you love”, however, for some people, you should tear that 90’s motivational poster off the wall and throw it in the trash can. For some people, when what they love becomes their job, it seems to suck out the very reason they loved it in the first place, and just becomes a job. For Rachel, she really enjoyed cutting and styling hair. Then she started doing it as a job, and all the fun was sucked right out of the process.
Rachel: I think it would look really pretty if we did this with your hair.
Customer: I don’t care what you think! I want you to make me look like 2007 Britney Spears!
The same thing happened with photography.
Rachel: I think it would look really pretty if we took the picture over here.
Customer: I don’t care what you think! We’re all going to wear denim overalls and sit on this guard rail in front of the Piggly Wiggly! It’s tradition!
And with calligraphy…okay I don’t have a good calligraphy analogy, but the point is that everything Rachel started out doing because she enjoyed and loved doing it, and then decided to make it her job, became a chore and took out everything she loved about them. She never had time for friends or family, she never had time for church events, and she never had time to pursue what she loved about each of those passions. So, what is she doing now? She’s working as a bank teller. A job that pays the bills, gives her a consistent schedule that allows her time to be with friends and family and attend church events, but most importantly, supports those passions that she loves without the pressure of it being her job. Thankfully I told Adam “No thanks,” when he said the church wanted me to quit my job and pursue the blog full time. I really dodged a bullet on that one, because what Adam Long said really resonated with me. Some people do have the dream job they always wanted (cough…Adam Vinson…cough) where they go into work every day and it still is a job, but it’s a job they love and are so excited to be doing. Other people have jobs that allow them to do what they love outside of work. The job isn’t anything fancy or something to talk about at cocktail parties, because a lot of people at Sovhope go to cocktail parties - don’t act like we don’t know who you are - but what you will talk about at those parties is what you are passionate about, what your job allows you to do outside of it. That’s what Rachel is really loving about her job at the bank. It’s nothing flashy, but it doesn’t have to be. She has finally set herself free from the feeling of her passion vs. the job. Now the job serves her passions, and that’s exactly how she wants it to be.
Some of you might be very familiar with Rachel’s work as a Photographer because you paid her to take some pictures of you by a nice tree, or a calm stream somewhere you don’t live to give the impression that you’re cooler and more sophisticated than your coworkers…no? Yeah…me neither. Unfortunately, as I stated above, photography fell into that place where the passion started to really feel like a job. She never had time to pursue it creatively and on her own terms. So, she quit, and that was the best decision she’s ever made because her passion as a photographer has reignited and most of the credit is due to selling the digital and going traditional. I’m talking about film here. That’s right, Rachel is not getting paid to take pictures anymore, she’s paying to take pictures. I can already hear the haters saying, “I shot on film before it was cool.” No, you shot on film because that was all that existed, Grandpa. Shut it. I’m actually surprised there hasn’t been a bigger resurgence into film. It does have its pros and cons. Like I said before, Rachel is now paying for her own pictures because she has to send them off to be developed, but that’s a minor cost compared to the joy that comes from the process of shooting on film. It feels more like an art form when using a film camera. There are no redo’s. No looking back deleting the bad shots. No unlimited amount of chances to get the right shot. If you blinked, oh well. Happen to sneeze during the last shot I had? Too bad Grandma. Should’ve taken your Allegra. It takes precision and work to master film photography. Every shot has to be precise and intentional, with a thorough knowledge of lighting and its effect, which sounds like a pain in the butt, but the payoff is incredible. That’s why Rachel loves shooting on film. There is nothing like the feeling of sending in her film, not knowing if any of the shots she took are even worth a scab, and then receiving back some of the most incredible pictures she’s ever shot. I’m not kidding here. I’ve seen the pictures, and they are truly incredible. Sure, it may be harder than using a digital camera, but that’s part of what makes it so enjoyable for Rachel. The hard work she’s putting in is paying off, and she’s not even getting paid for it. That’s when you know you’ve found a true passion.
If you had told me that Rachel and I would be as close as we are now, I probably would’ve thought the rest of the human race had been wiped clean off the motherland. I mean how could I even be that close to her? We never even played dress up together! Not one time! And certainly not with someone else who could confirm whether or not we had! Unfortunately, I could very well see a reality where we aren’t as close because I thought that was going to be my reality, but thankfully, I was proven wrong by the undeniable fact that she’s an incredible person. What I appreciate most about Rachel is her independent spirit; the fact that she is stable, grounded, and does not bend to anyone’s will except for the Lord’s. When I’m with Rachel, I always know I am getting her real authentic self. There are no cover ups. There’s no fake smiles or laughs. If you’re not funny, she’ll tell you. Trust me. I know exactly what I am going to get with Rachel, and I would hate if I got anything other than her authentic self. I also love the work that the Lord has done in her heart. This is something I get to witness first-hand, since she has a discipleship relationship with JuJu, and through that, I see her determination to exemplify Christ and glorify her King. My eyes had been closed for too long to the reality of who Rachel Brewer truly is, and I am so thankful to finally be cherishing her as one of my closest family members, and as a church, we are certainly blessed and fortunate for Rachel being a part of our faith family.