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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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Pay it forward

I've been thinking a lot about my friend Stephanie this month. My sweet friend from Bible study who never stopped smiling, never stopped living until the very day God took her home to Heaven last Halloween. She taught me to embrace life and to take advantage of every opportunity to just live.

October is always a busy time for me. Too many parent conferences to count. Lots of extra school, church, and athletic activities. Fun stuff, but sometimes too much crammed into a small period of time. I can easily find myself wishing the days away if I'm not careful. Because of the impression Stephanie left on my heart, I have tried much harder to enjoy each day as it comes (though it's still a struggle for this introvert that needs a chance to recharge).

Now as October comes to a close once again, God is using the loss of another dear friend to remind me to embrace each day. My dear friend, Susan, another Bible study buddy, stepped into the presence of Jesus just a few days ago. Today as I sat through her Memorial service to celebrate her life, I realized just how intentionally she lived, even to her last breath. She lived with such a genuine interest and concern for others. She cared deeply for other people.

I will never forget how quickly she befriended me after I first moved here. Her classroom neighbored mine, so we talked often after school and in the hallway. When she learned I was a fellow Christian, she said, "I knew there was a reason I liked you!" She and her husband helped us unpack the moving truck two weeks later and then move into our first apartment a few weeks after that.

Our friendship grew and deepened as we met to pray together at school on several occasions. We also did Bible studies together on the weekends and in the summers. We traveled to Houston together once to attend a Bible study with Beth Moore. She invited me to a Women of Faith conference, but when I didn't have the spare cash, her mom paid for my ticket and hotel fee. Little did we know that God used our studies together to prepare us both to lead larger group Bible studies in our own churches later.

As her cancer grew over the years, her strength diminished. We kept in touch through e-mails and occasional visits for coffee to give us a chance to catch up. But with  limited amounts of strength each day, she lived very intentionally, planning out how to use every moment.  She did volunteer work and led Bible studies during the day (or did them with her mom and sister) while I led them at night, so our lives slowly stopped intersecting.

I've thought of her often over the last year or two since we last met up for coffee. My biggest regret is not calling or stopping to see her over the last few months when God laid her on my heart. I even drove right by her house a few times, but never stopped. I'm not sure what held me back. Perhaps fear of knowing the truth, that her time on earth ticked away.

My most precious memory of Susan takes me back to a time she helped us out financially to fix one of our vehicles shortly after we moved to Texas. She refused to let us pay her back even a penny. She only requested that we later help someone else in need when we had the chance and the ability. Pay it forward. She taught me to give without expecting (or even wanting) anything in return. Her life exemplified a truly giving spirit.

Today I felt so honored to have known and loved Susan. I will never forget what I learned from her about paying it forward. Every time I have a chance (and the ability) to give to someone in need, I will remember Susan.

October will forever be a time to remember my two dear Bible study friends and the lessons they taught me through their lives. The impressions they left upon me will remind me to not wish time away when I'm most tempted to do so. Every day is a gift, one to be lived intentionally and with a smile.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Best pic I could get


Gotta brag on my "little one" (who will be thirteen in just a few weeks). They did a new kind of achievement testing in the district this year to see where each student lies in comparison to other students their age who took the same test at the same time.  My son may be a disorganized mess here at home, but he sure is a smart cookie. From what I can read from the reports, it looks like he's testing at least two grade levels above in Math and 3-4 grade levels above in Reading.  He must have gotten the Mathematical abilities from his dad, but I still keep telling him that his Mom made him smart in Reading because I have read with him so much. (And yes, we STILL read together at night whenever we find a good book).

I tell my Pre-K parents all the time that the best thing they can do for their kids is to read to them. Every day. It really does make a difference!

David's choir concert

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Good news!

I received an e-mail this week stating that my newest version of my first book, now titled Surviving the Valley, has been assigned to an editor. They will send me the edits, along with a contract, within the next six weeks. While I am working with those edits, they will start working with the second book. I am so excited to begin working with ABH Publishing!

Sunday, October 5, 2014


Every once in awhile, I will get a sudden flashback that can completely warm my heart. Today I remembered sitting out on the sidewalk in front of my church on a Wednesday evening many years ago. I had permission to call Juan David on Wednesday evenings around 7:30, so I would step out of my weekly Bible study to sit outside and talk to him for about 15 to 30 minutes. We'd just sent all of our dossier (adoption paperwork) to Colombia, so I confidently assumed we'd be completing the adoption very shortly after that (based on other people's stories who had recently adopted a KidSave child.

I still remember that fateful phone conversation, one that I wished so bad I would have bitten my tongue. Juan David knew all along about our intent to adopt him, so I told him I didn't think it would be much longer. Ugh. Can I plead absolute ignorance on my part? Pure naivety? Over-confidence?

That very month, Colombia denied our petition to adopt him. We never got to complete that adoption of the eleven-year-old boy I so dearly loved. I never got to fulfill that promise, "it shouldn't be much longer now." I carried incredible guilt over that phone call for quite a long time.

Tonight that conversation out on the sidewalk came flashing back into my memory when I dropped Juan David off at church for a high school youth activity and watched him walk across that very sidewalk before walking in the doors with a huge smile on his face, eager to spend the evening with his friends, oblivious to the memory suddenly coming back to me.

A miracle.