About Me

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I am a wife, daughter, mother, bilingual teacher, poet, author, women's Bible study teacher, world traveler, orphan advocate, and an adoptive mother.  Our adoption journey has been filled with a lot of hurt and loss, along with even more hope, grace, and healing.  Through it we have experienced more of God than we ever bargained for and have watched Him miraculously redeem our story when we surrendered all the broken pieces to Him.

Surviving the Valley Series

Surviving the Valley Series
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Friday, January 31, 2014

One more event on my calendar!

Women's Conference: Fresh Grounded Faith

    The first Bible study I ever taught was by Stormie Omartian, The Power of a Praying Wife.  Not long after it ended, I taught a study by Jennifer Rothschild, Walking by Faith--Lessons I Learned in the Dark.  I knew immediately when I saw this advertisement that I needed to go to this conference right here in Plano!  I get to see both of these authors in person at the same time, two authors who have had a profound effect on my life and my journey of faith.    

    Lots of stuff going on :)

    The next few months hold a lot of good, fun activity. :)  Lots to look forward to.  A book signing at my favorite local bookstore.  Valentine's Day. Juan David's big soccer tournament that got postponed from December.  A ten week Bible study starting up in a few days.  The boys are registered for DNOW (Disciple Now, a sort-of retreat like atmosphere in people's homes led by college students) next weekend. (Juan David won't be able to attend the whole thing because of his tournament, but we still registered him and requested for him to be in the same home as his cousin, Zane.)

    We're planning a road trip for spring break in March to take Juan David to meet more of his family on the Alspaugh side, making stops in Columbus, Warsaw, and then St. Louis on the way home.  It will be fun to show Juan David where Mike grew up and fell in love with the outdoors, where we went to high school, where we worked, where we went to church, where I graduated from college, etc. I even tentatively set up a book signing back at my favorite coffee shop. :) More details to come on that after we confirm the date and times.  Looking forward to it!  We also look forward to meeting our newest niece and nephew.

    I hope to have things ready to start the publishing process for my second book sometime that month after we come home.  We'll see how things go between now and then.

    Mike and I will be celebrating our 15th wedding anniversary in April.  We're planning a little trip together to San Antonio for a night, and then we're heading from there to Mexico to attend our sweet friend Madai's wedding.  The boys will be staying with their cousins for the weekend while we're gone.  The day after we come back, Julian will turn 21.  I'm still pondering over what we should do for him to let him know just how special he is to us.

    Besides the big things, we've got a whole new soccer season ahead of us as well.  David's first game should be in about three weeks.  Juan David's actual season doesn't start until the end of March, so hopefully that means we'll have less overlapping games.  I hate it when I have to choose which child's game I'm going to watch because they play at the same time.

    Once again, I can't even begin to say how grateful I am to be teaching PreK because I feel so much more relaxed than I have in a very long time.  I adore my kids and absolutely love my job this year.  They send me home with a smile every day and bring me back still smiling every morning.

    Sunday, January 26, 2014

    Next book signing!

    Come by and grab a book for a discounted rate ($10 per book, check or cash) on the day of the book signing!  Plus get a sneak peek at the sequel coming soon!

    Monday, January 20, 2014

    Doing things a bit differently

    Two years ago, about this time, only a few weeks remained until my first copy of my first book came out in print.  I loved every aspect of holding that book in my hands, especially the hard copy.  A dream come true. Yet now that I'm fine tuning the sequel to that book, I'm thankful for a chance to do things differently this time.

    I was so surprised that the first book came flowing out of me the way it did that I didn't take my time in researching or preparing for it to be published.  I didn't even know that a writer's critique group actually existed in my local vicinity, now I wouldn't even think of trying to publish anything without taking parts of it to be critiqued by the Christian writer's group that I am now a part of (right within the walls of my own church--at the Rockwall campus).  I have learned a wealth of information about good writing, editing, revising, and publishing and book launching from each member of the group.  I guess, more than anything, I've learned just how much I really don't know about writing and how much I still can benefit to learn.  I am anxiously awaiting our monthly meeting just a week away from today.

    So, with that being said, I'm taking my time with this book.  All the things that I've looked back on from the first book and thought, "I wish I would have done that differently," have inspired me to really do them differently.  Asking more people to give it a test read, asking for the critical comments to know how to revise parts of the story this time.  Asking for more people to write recommendations to be included in the book.  Going a completely different route with how to get it published.  Putting the manuscript down and not touching it for awhile until I can get feedback from several different people. Finding out how to actually launch the second book--which I didn't even know to do the first time.  They say you learn from experience.  I've definitely learned a ton and am so thankful for all of my new author friends that have helped me on this journey.  Love them dearly!

    Sunday, January 19, 2014

    Then and now

    I ran the table for the Adoption Ministry at our church ministry fair this weekend, at least for two of the services.  Here was my table a year ago:


    I had pictures of my soon to be son, knowing that anything could still go wrong at any moment.  I had books that I'd read and was reading, and I even took my Cabbage Patch dolls with their adoption papers, along with my little Orphan Annie doll.  My pastor had put me in charge of the Adoption ministry at my church after endorsing my first book, though I wasn't an adoptive mother yet.  

    Here is a picture of my Adoption Ministry table today:

    No need for a cabbage patch doll.  I took a real prop this time.  My son. :)

    How cool to have people walk by and say, "Is this the young man we prayed for for so long?"  Then, looking into his eyes, "Young man, do you have any idea how much we prayed for you to come home?"

    We didn't have a lot of people stop by the booth for information about or with interest in the adoption ministry.  However, I did talk for a bit with two mothers in the process of fostering to adopt, and another adoptive mother, and we all realized together how much we need to connect with one another.  I plan to look into starting some type of support group for the few families we have so we can have that connection with other adoptive or foster families.  They have groups at the main campus, but we've never had anything at our smaller campus as of yet.  I, personally, really appreciated talking with the other mothers today about our common struggles and challenges.   Looking forward to getting something set up for us to keep those conversations going. :)

    Saturday, January 4, 2014

    The sequel!

    Photo: Phase two. Getting it ready to be published. Could take several more months. 
    I can hardly believe it, but I finished my second book!  Now I've got to make it ready to be published, which will be quite some time yet, but at least the first draft is done.   I love how it just flows so naturally from the first book, yet I wrote the first one thinking it would be a stand alone story.  God knew all along.

    Thursday, January 2, 2014

    Starting up again

    All I can say is, I'm so glad I'm not in the same place I was last year at this time.  Talk about stress!  Last January we sent our second completed dossier to Colombia, thus "ending" the U.S. side, or our part, of the adoption process.  I never would have imagined at that point that the rest of the process would continue to stretch on for six more entire months. Ugh.  Life still presents itself with new challenges every single day, but at least our son is home.  We're not chasing paper after paper, seal after seal to get him here. 

    I looked back to my blog a year ago, and this was my main goal:

    My goal for the year:  Trust God.  Every day.  For Everything.  Every year is life-changing.  I have a feeling this one is going to be more life-changing than ever. 

    So, my new goal for this year: Trust God. Every day. For everything.  I want to read more, to write more, and to get out and live more.  I want to spend more one-on-one time with all of my boys, including Mike.  It makes a huge difference in my connection to each of them. 

    It's amazing what a two week break can do for you.  Mike bought me four new books by Beth Wiseman, who writes fiction romance books set in the Amish community of Lancaster County, PA.  I read three of them already.  I set myself a goal to finish writing my second book early this year.  I told Mike that all I needed was a solid day to myself without any distractions, so he took the boys out yesterday so I could write.  Six hours later, I finished the book!  I've got lots of editing and revising to do now, plus I need to decide how to go about publishing it this time, but the first draft is finally done.  It felt so good to finish it!  I've enjoyed seeing how many people have been waiting on it. :)

    Soccer starts up again in another month, as well as our spring Bible study.  I am looking forward to teaching one of my favorite studies ever, Living Beyond Yourself, by Beth Moore.  It's an in-depth study on the fruit of the Spirit, and I will have to say that it's one of the most life-changing studies I've ever done.  I've mentioned it over and over in almost every Bible study I've taught, but the church didn't own it.  You can imagine my excitement when I finally saw it on the list of available studies to teach this year.  We start on February 5th, just a month away. I can't wait!