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, October 25, 2015

1 hora de música con Marcela Gandara - [Audio Oficial]

Found out today that she is coming to Lake Pointe Church for a free concert this Friday night. I am really looking forward to going. Her music is so beautiful and uplifting, and I know I've sang several of her songs in different Spanish churches throughout my life. If you speak Spanish, click on the video for a solid hour of music. :)

A new audience

About a year ago, I started writing a series of short stories/testimonials on the names of God. While reading the chapter on Focus in the Daniel Plan book, I came across a page that gave ten specific names of God to dwell on. I wrote them down on a notecard and proceeded to write a story every month over a different name of God.  I took each one to my writer's group, and their feedback kept me writing more and more until I finished all ten.

= The meaning of the names of God.:

Once I finished the tenth one, I said, "Okay, God. I'm not really sure what you want me to do with these now. Compile them together as another book? Look for a magazine to submit them to? Publish them on my blog and link them to Facebook? Print them out on my own, bind them, and give them away?"

Right about that time, I found and joined a group called Community Moms on Facebook because they are Christian moms who blog about Christian topics. The host of the site ended up asking me if I'd like to participate in the group as a monthly writer.

I smiled when I read her invitation because I knew it was a direct answer to my prayer, giving me a new and larger audience to share my stories with. I also love being part of such a great group of women, sharing our own struggles with life and victories in Christ, encouraging one another and helping each other grow spiritually. I encourage you to check out the site by clicking on the button below (or on the sidebar of this blog). You are bound to find a post to uplift you, inspire you, and guide you through whatever you may be going through in life right now.

I will make sure to let you know whenever my own stories on the names of God get published each month.

Monthly writer for Community Moms

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Slowly coming back to life

I am slowly coming back to life after a long week of being sick. I kept up with all the normal weekly activities, but I found myself in bed by 8 or 9 o'clock every night. I am so thankful for Nyquil this week to knock me out and help me get the rest I desperately needed. October is always a hard month, especially for teachers.  Two busy weeks down and two more busy weeks to go.

This coming week holds several extra school activities, two fall carnivals, soccer games, a middle-school football game, and several church activities, including our last Daniel Plan class. I love all that October holds, but like I say every year, I wish we could spread it out a bit rather than try to cram it all into one month. On another note, I'm glad to be feeling better so I can embrace everything the rest of the month holds for our family.

Mike has officially been working at his new job for a month now, and I'm so encouraged to see how much it fulfills him. He walks around with confidence and has a greater sense of purpose. He looks and acts more professional than ever before, and he takes pride in caring for each and every customer he deals with. We also eagerly await his first full paycheck in a couple weeks so we can get back on our feet financially--just in time to celebrate our boys' birthdays.

My memory verse for the month fits quite well after those trying months:

John 13:7    Jesus replied "You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand."

We didn't know where the money would come from to cover the bills, but it always came. I think my own pride and self-sufficient spirit probably made it harder because I wanted to have enough reserve to plan ahead, but God wanted to show me that He would provide for everything we needed at the moment. He never failed us. Not once.

Now that I see what a great fit Goodyear Tire is for Mike, I understand why God closed all the other doors and made us wait.

Remind me of this. please, when I start fretting through the next trial.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Our story in a nutshell

I can hardly believe it, but I finally figured out how to condense our whole adoption "saga"/story into less than 2,000 words. For anyone who wants to read the full length version, please check out my book and book to come. But for those of you that want the gist of it in a nutshell, here it is. May it inspire you to keep holding on to faith that God sees every detail, doesn't miss a tear, and is indeed working out a higher purpose.


Sunday, October 11, 2015

46 parent conferences later

I am wiped out.

Parent conference week has always been one of those weeks that wears me out. But ever since I started teaching PreK with double classes and double the amount of parents, it really takes everything I've got.

The last two years, I scheduled conferences in every little bit of time I could find all throughout the month of October (and then again in February). Last year my principal gave me an extra half-day sub. so I could finish more in less time.  That helped a lot--until I got sick on the day I scheduled at least 20 in one day.  Ugh. It never fails.

So this year my principal gave me a half day sub. AND the district gave us a half-day off just for conferences. I filled those two days with 48 fifteen minute conferences back to back, grateful that I didn't have to stress myself for a whole month. A few of them couldn't make it on their scheduled time, so I squeezed them in a day early. By Friday morning, I could feel myself wearing down. By noon, after the 46th conference (two no-shows), I went home and went straight to bed.

Now I'm sniffling and sneezing all over the place. It never fails.

I promised the boys we'd go to Six Flag this weekend (in lieu of the State Fair). We got there,  I rode two rides with Mike and the boys, and then I went back to the car to take a nap. Yep. I was that tired.

(That's me in the front seat!)

I really do love having those conferences with parents. I love getting to know them and learning more about their families. I love giving them ideas of things to practice at home, and I love it especially when both the mom and the dad take off work to come to the conference together. It shows me which parents are dedicated to working with their child, and it also shows me which children are going to need more attention and patience from me. Fall conferences really do set the tone for the whole year between you, the child, and how much the parents will support you.

My favorite conference moment this time was when one of the dad's brought up the fact that he heard I learned Spanish in Argentina. He then proceeded to tell me that he is Argentine. :) It's interesting how God keeps bringing little bits of Argentina back to me, almost 20 years later.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

The Daniel Plan

About a year and a half ago, my doctor put me on some medication that literally made me crazy. When some random women told me that specific diet changes could help me without that medication, I started doing some research on those changes.

Basically, the research said to eat whole, real, natural food. So, I switched to all whole grains and started buying a ton of fresh fruits and vegetables. I naturally started to feel a little bit better as each day passed. My body also needed rest after five long, stressful years of trying to bring my son home from Colombia, so I listened in that area, too.

After 3 months of making these changes, summer ended (bummer), and I went back to work and back to a busy life with two teenage boys who are heavily involved in soccer and church activities. About that time, a friend asked if I'd like to go through the Daniel Plan with her and a few other friends. It's a plan that helps you take back your health in five key areas: faith, food, fitness, focus, and friends (spiritually, physically, mentally, emotionally, and socially). Sounded good, so we started meeting together to watch a few videos, exercise, and read through a book together.

It changed my life, and truly helped me take back my health in all those areas.

The Daniel Plan book has a section on food that is both overwhelming and fascinating. Overwhelming to see how much junk I'd been putting in my body, but fascinating to see how healing food can be when I choose to eat what God made rather than what man has fabricated and called food. It literally restated everything the research had said about how to naturally heal my body. It should be common sense, but unfortunately, it's not.

It didn't take long for my taste buds to change and even my cravings. Before, I craved carbs, chocolate, or salt at the end of a long or stressful day. I got headaches because I didn't eat a balanced meal or get enough protein, I felt trapped in a brain fog, couldn't think clearly, and didn't have much energy to give back to my family. Running my boys all over caused me a ton of stress rather than enjoyment to see their growth. I saw hardships all around me and dwelt on them constantly. They drained me.

Now that I eat better (still making more changes as I learn), I crave a handful of nuts instead of salty chips. I love dark chocolate, but rarely touch anything else. I would rather have fruit to pick me up than something filled with other sugars. I drink more water than ever before. I eat a full serving of vegetables with my breakfast every single day, and I rarely ever feel hungry.

I rarely get a headache anymore. I have more mental clarity than I know what to do with and can balance a lot more activity than before.

I found gratitude over negativity, and my spirit feels so uplifted. I start my day with gratitude and remind myself of all the blessings in my life before I do anything else each day. It's amazing what a difference it makes in my mood to focus on what's going right rather than on what's going wrong. Little did I know that negative thoughts actually release negative chemicals into your body, so no wonder a focus on gratitude lifts my spirit before I even start my day.

What I love about the Daniel Plan concepts is the science behind it all, scientifically proving that God's way is best. I mean, doesn't it just seem logical that the food He created will make us think, feel, and act more like He intended us to?

I'm so thankful my friend showed me the Daniel Plan, and I'm just as thankful the church gave me the opportunity to lead a new group now on Saturday nights after the service. We're half-way through, and I'm learning way more this time than I did the first time. If you've never heard of it, check it out!  You won't regret it.