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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Sunday, March 23, 2014

Mission accomplished

 

Right after his arrival home from Colombia, Juan David saw David's collection of soccer trophies in his bedroom and made the comment that he wanted to start decorating his own room with soccer trophies, too.  Here is his first one!  His team earned first place for the fall season.

This coming Saturday will be his first game of the spring season.  The team is quite determined to do just as well this season as in the last. Hopefully this trophy is just the first of many to come. :)

Friday, March 21, 2014

Nine days and a bonus check--Go for it!

Just what all can we really accomplish over nine short days for spring break this year? Well, considering one of us is brand new to the family and also to the United States, we found a whole lot to pack into those nine days to make it a very memorable vacation. (I've decided on a bulleted list, and I'll have to pick a few bullets to write posts on later. )  I have definitely paid for it physically for not having any down time to rest or recuperate, but looking back, I have no regrets. 

  • Drive from Texas to Columbus, IN overnight and into the next morning (14 hours)
  • Visit Mike's brother Matt's family all day and spend the night (our first chance to finally meet their almost two year old son, Dane, and their first chance to meet Juan David)
  • Drive from Columbus, IN to Warsaw, IN  (4 hours)
  • Have an Alspaugh family reunion with Mike's immediate family, including our first chance to meet our new little niece, Reese, who is now 2 years old
  • Get professional photos done of the entire family together, plus different shots of each little family, all the grandkids, etc.
  • Take the boys on a tour of the little town where Mike and I met, dated, graduated, worked, went to college, got married, went to church, and had our first child.
  • Build a big snowman (not a Texas-sized one)
  • Play in lots of snow
  • Walk on a frozen lake
  • Go sledding
  • Hold a book signing/catch up with great friends we haven't seen in ten years
  • Visit lots of family 
  • Drive 4 hours back to Columbus
  • Give the boys a gun-safety lesson and let them practice shooting out in the country
  • Hang out for another two days in Colombus with Mike's brother and sister-in-law
  • Drive 4 hours to Peoria, Illinois
  • Surprise my grandfather for his 90th birthday (hadn't seen him or my grandma in about 7 years, hadn't been in their house for likely 20 years!) (Thank you, Mom, for the idea!  Definitely a huge highlight for me.)
  • Drive to St. Louis (3 hours)
  • Take a few nice pics of the Arch while driving
  • Hang out at my parents' house for the evening (first time for Juan David to be there) and also hang out with my brother, who surprisingly showed up at my Grandpa's, too!
  • Drive back to Dallas (10 hours) with my brother along for the ride

Yes, if you did the math, that makes almost 40 hours in the car, but we sure did reconnect with a whole lot of people over nine short days.  I'm sure Juan David was on overload, meeting so many family members, but I did see it beginning to help him gain a sense of his new identity. The snow made him happy!

David enjoyed every minute--he's a country boy just like his Daddy.  Mike really seemed to love being back in farm country with lots of wide open space all around. I loved spending quality time with my sisters-in-law and my new niece and nephew, seeing my parents, and being around my grandparents again. 

We relaxed (unpacked, did laundry, and slept) at home for about 11 hours before heading back to work on Monday morning.  Yes, I paid for it all week.  We made it, though, and now things are falling right back into our normal routine (school, soccer, church, school, soccer, church, busy, busy, busy.) Sigh.   I guess that's what I get for adopting a teenage boy.

Here are some pics, in no particular order:



Photo: Juan David Alspaugh's new great grandparents. They are so happy to claim him. 

 

 





 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Feeling blessed

What a great time we've been having here in Indiana.  We enjoyed our first day and night in Columbus with Mike's brother Matt's family.  On Sunday, the boys all drove together to Warsaw while Chrissy (Matt's wife) and I drove behind them, with their little boy, Dane, napping in the back seat.  I loved having the chance to hang out with her for the four hour drive. 

We had a great big family reunion on Sunday afternoon at Mike's parents' house along with Matt's family and Mark's family.  I have totally fallen in love with my new little niece and nephew.  Reese (Mark's little girl) and Dane.  We had a big dinner all together and had our family photos taken by our very own professional photographer, Chrissy!  I'm anxious to see how they all turned out.  The last time we were here in Indiana, David was still the lone grandchild.  Now he is one of four!  What a different dynamic around here now.  I love seeing David actually have a companion (his brother) and some cousins to play with. 

Monday we hung out all day with Mike's mom, as well as Mark, Brittany (his wife), and little Reese. Plus we drove around town a little bit, taking the boys to Grace College, showing them a few places that we used to frequent when living here, and also to play on a few really big snow piles.  The lake is frozen over, so they also got a kick of being able to walk "on" the lake.

Tuesday we drove around a bit more, showing them where we went to high school, where we went on our first date, and where I used to live and work.  We ate lunch at Penguin Point, one of the places I worked at part-time during my younger years.  We also visited some more family before heading to the coffee shop for our book signing. 

I absolutely enjoyed every moment of our book signing.  I sold several books and signed a few books that people already had, but the joy came from just seeing and catching up with friends I haven't seen in over ten years.  Friends from high school, cross-country, youth group, two different churches we attended, college, two different jobs I had, and even college!  Plus one of my "kids" that I used to work with when I taught ESL came out to see us so we could meet his daughter.  He's 26 now!  (Yes, I feel old).  When I thanked him for coming out, he said he "wouldn't have missed it for the world".  One of my coworkers from my high school job came out, bought a book, stayed for quite a while, and then read the entire book last night after she got home!  That really touched my heart.  I feel so blessed.



 
 
 
 
 
 

Monday, March 3, 2014

My top ten favorite quotes from Fresh Grounded Faith

Jennifer Rothschild said it's not a sermon or message that changes our lives.  It's usually a sentence.  So she encouraged us to take note of certain simple sentences that stood out to us.  Here are my top ten I heard over the weekend at the conference.  
  • "It's not the prayer, it's the power in the prayer." (Stormie Omartian)
  • "It's not what you do in life, it's Who you know." (Stormie Omartian)
  • "Wherever we're locked up, Jesus has the keys." (Stormie Omartian)
  • Change me, Lord. "It's not about who needs to be changed, it's about being willing to be changed." (Stormie Omartian)
  • "Dependent life is liberating, not stifling!" (Stormie Omartian)
  • "We're in the dark until we reach up and find His light in the darkness.  The treasure in the dark is Him and His presence." (Stormie Omartian)
  • "While the wilderness may seem nowhere at the time, it's somewhere if it's where you're supposed to be." (Stormie Omartian)
  •  "We will not go gutsy unless we personalize the presence of God.  You'll never be able to act according to the power of the Lord." (Jennifer Rothschild)
  • "God's companionship will come in the form of His word as you study it with other women." (Jennifer Rothschild)
  • "Answers don't bring satisfaction.  Only an encounter with God does." (Jennifer Rothschild)

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Meredith Andrews - "Pieces" [Official Music Video]

Seize the opportunity!

 

Jennifer Rothschild, author of Walking by Faith--Lessons I Learned in the Dark.  She also wrote Lessons I Learned in the Light and Missing Pieces.  She's written other stuff, but those are the three books/studies that have impacted my life.  (By the way, she is blind).

 

Stormie Omartian, author of The Power of a Praying Wife, The Power of a Praying Parent, The Power of a Praying Woman. She, too, has written a whole bunch of other books about prayer, but those are the three books that God used to completely change my prayer life. God used her ministry in my life so profoundly to first transform my marriage, heal my bitter, cold heart, and then turn me into a prayer warrior.  I'm so thankful for her.  

So, let's back up about six weeks or so.  I read an article about different ways to self-market, focusing on just one thing you could do every day to market your book.  One of the days included getting your book into the hands of a celebrity, or someone "well-known".  Both Stormie and Jennifer came to my mind, considering that I mentioned both of them in my book (and in the sequel, too). But I didn't want to just mail it to them since they had never met me. That very day, I got an e-mail saying that they both would be speaking this weekend here in Plano at a Fresh Grounded Faith conference!

I took a book to give each of them, but I asked God to open the door of opportunity to be able to give it to them personally if that's what He wanted me to do.  Sure enough, I had the opportunity to talk to each one after the conference and give them a book, thanking them for their ministry and telling them that I wrote in my own book about how their ministry had impacted me.  I even got a picture!  What a blessing. :)

Love, love, love those women.  Then add Meredith Andrews beautiful voice and story to the mix, and my cup overflowed.