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, February 28, 2014

Stormie Omartian

Photo: Stormie Omartian sharing her story tonight at Fresh Fresh Grounded Faith - Prestonwood BC w Jennifer Rothschild, Meredith Andrews


I felt so blessed to be in the audience at Fresh Grounded Faith tonight to see and hear Stormie Omartian, Jennifer Rothschild, and Meredith Andrews!  I will have to share more another day when I'm not so exhausted, plus the second half is still to come tomorrow morning.  All I can say is that their messages struck a very tender cord deep within me, reminding me of the last several years of life and how God used each of them to guide me through those years.  These three women (two authors and one singer) have all deeply impacted my life, and seeing them up close in person tonight was such a blessing. 

Not For A Moment (Live)

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Big day for the Alspaugh boys


Juan David was officially sworn in today and finally received his certificate of citizenship.  (He became a citizen when he entered the United States, but it still took the last 7 months to get his certificate, and children who are adopted over the age of 14 have to take the oath).  As of mid January, they were still waiting on a file.  He went back in to the immigration office with Mike today to get some more information for social security, and they ended up finalizing it all while he was there today. :)  Kind of a nice surprise.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

You're treating me like a child!

That's right, sweetheart.  Enjoy it.  It's a childhood you didn't get to experience fully, and you'll never get it back. 

Sometimes I get frustrated when I see the gaps, the lack of responsibility or even a sense of responsibility that I see in you, my 16 year old child.  The arrogance can eat away at me, especially when that arrogance only shows the absolute naivety of the culture you're now in. 

Sometimes I want to cringe when you complain that I'm treating you like a child, not giving you privileges or responsibilities that you either have not earned yet or are just not ready for yet. 

As annoyed as I got the other day when you couldn't stop making silly sound effects on our bike ride, I was reminded that you are still a child at heart.  Yes, you may have had a bike at one time in the past, but you obviously missed out on certain experiences on that bike in your childhood because I see you enjoying those silly moments now.  Making sound effects.  Finding ways to make it sound like a motorcycle.  Pretending there are sports announcers talking about how fast you ride.  Experimenting with different moves. Things I remember watching David experience as a very young child. 

I caught myself saying, "You act like a child who's never been on a bike before!" Then it hit me.  That's exactly what you act like.  And it's okay.  I tried to explain to your younger brother that you're living out things you missed in your childhood. Enjoy them while you still can.  They're essential to your character and to the person you are supposed to become.  Don't rush into an adulthood you're not ready for when you still have an opportunity to tap into that child within you. 

In fact, it wasn't just you that missed that childhood.  We missed it, too.  Creating a few more childhood memories even at the age of 16 can only benefit us all.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Taking on the life of an author

Rachelle D., author of the book, “From the Mountain…to the Valley…and Back!”  But more importantly, my friend! :)  
Book signing at Half Price Books, Garland, TX   

  Rachelle & me at her book signing today 02-15-14. FUN!!
       Me with my dear friend, Regina Stone Matthews (also an author)
Photo: Thanks, everybody, for coming out to say hi for the book signing.  We had a great day!

Today's book signing (the beginning of a relaunch of my first book) turned out to be a lot of fun.  I think I'm a little more experienced and confident as a writer than I was two years ago while attempting to launch the book the first time. (Okay, honestly, I didn't have a clue what I was doing then.)  I still don't know how to draw a stranger to my table or what kind of spiel to use even if I could draw them, but I felt so encouraged by all of the support from friends from all over who came out.  I had people stop by from my current Bible study, my writer's group, my school, my Life Group, and even our dear nurse who gave David his allergy shots for five years.  Many of the people that stopped by brought their own friends and family to meet me. The bookstore also did a great job and welcomed me back anytime, especially once I get the sequel published.

Becoming an author has been a dream come true for me, something I've envisioned and hoped to do since elementary school.  I always knew that writing was my outlet.  There are parts of the role that thrill and excite me, other parts that challenge me, and others yet that I will admit are way out of my comfort zone.  

I love holding the book in my hands or hearing people talk about how it affected them as they read it.  I love being part of a writer's group where I am constantly devouring every little thing I learn from the other writers in the room.  I walk in like an empty sponge and walk out ready to drip all over the place.  I love meeting other authors and editors who share my passion to write.  

I enjoyed today's book signing, but it's also a challenge for this natural introvert.  I do okay when someone I invited shows up at my table.  I am good at making conversation and enjoying their company.  It's attracting the stranger that challenges me, coming up with the right thing to say to even try to draw one to my table.  I plan on doing a few more book signings before I am ready to launch the second book, but that's not to say it's not a challenge for my personality.  I grow a little bit in confidence with each one, though.  Plus I've gotten a lot more confident about asking around in different places to let me do one.  Indiana friends, I'm headed your way next just for a one day signing, once I get a confirmation on the date and time.  

So what part of being an author goes way beyond my comfort zone?  Marketing.  I hate any and every part of it.  I'm a word of mouth kind of girl.  I love the people that have read the book and then recommended it or passed it on to someone else.  I can't seem to get a single person to write a review on Amazon or West Bow (other than the first one to do so within a week of its release), so that doesn't help me out much.  I hate self-advertising and trying to come up with new ways to attract people to my book.  I hate being "harassed"  (for lack of a better word) by my book consultant about how low my sales are and what I can do to make sure that doesn't keep happening. What bugs me more is that so many of their marketing tips for me include shelling out more money I don't have. (Thus why I'm going a different route completely to publish the second book.  I think my goals and visions for my book are a bit more defined at this point, so I have a better sense of direction). I detest putting forth so much time and energy into advertising myself, yet I know how critical it is.  I see that even very well-known authors are constantly sending out e-mails and social media messages to advertise their latest book.  If they have to do it, certainly I would need to, as well.  

All in all, it's a fun, inspiring, challenging, way-out-of-my-comfort-zone experience to finally become the author I've always dreamed of becoming.    I learn more about this new role and lifestyle every day.  With all that said, I look forward to the rest of what's to come of this relaunching of my book, as well as to the publishing experience of the sequel.  Thank you to everyone who came out today to support me in this journey (both in the writing journey and the adoption journey).  

Friday, February 7, 2014

Stranger things have happened....

While my friends back in Indiana and Pennsylvania are knee-deep in snow right now, we Texans got blasted with our yearly inch or two of white fluff yesterday, bringing all of life to a halt. 

I will say that I'm grateful my district decided to humor me with a snow day today--hey, when nobody around here has any experience with snow, the roads can be quite a dangerous place.  I had a nice, long, quiet morning while I let the boys sleep.  I got caught up on a few things that I'd gotten behind on, I did some laundry and cleaned up in the kitchen.  Later the boys played in the snow, made little Texas-sized snowmen (not everything is bigger in Texas!), we had a nice hot lunch together, and then we went to see a movie.

Had we gone to school today, things would have been a bit rushed.  David was supposed to have a choir party after school, getting him home just in time to finish packing for D-NOW weekend with the youth at church.  We planned to eat a quick, light dinner before taking him in the evening. Juan David wasn't going to be able to go at all because his soccer tournament had games scheduled till 9:00 tomorrow night.  He was pretty excited and eager for his tournament, though.

Late this afternoon, they decided to postpone D-Now to start in the morning rather than tonight.  Then during dinner, we got a text from JD's coach saying that the tournament had cancelled again, not to be rescheduled this time.  He sure was bummed out!  The good news is: he gets to go to D-Now tomorrow with David.  The bad news is: I'm seeing a pattern in this boy's life regarding getting all pumped up about something coming, only to have it fall apart or disappear at the last minute....(First us, then the second family, then once he got here, the first retreat, then the marathon, and then the soccer tournament.)   Makes you wonder what God may be trying to teach him.  I feel for him, though.  This tournament was a pretty big deal to him.