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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, June 17, 2016

Home, "sweet" home

Well, home, sweet home hasn't been as sweet as we expected. We came home to three animals and a house full of fleas--despite having recently treated all three of them, along with the house. Ugh. Not fun at all.

So, rather than wallow in self-pity, I think I'll take some time to reflect on our recent blessings while traveling. I will focus on one a day in order to keep the posts short and sweet.

Last summer, we made all these grand plans to travel here, there, and everywhere, with  a trip to Colombia, both boys heading to different camps, a mission trip to Colorado, a family vacation to Florida, and possibly a trip out to Pennsylvania. When Mike unexpectedly entered the world of "joblessness" last April, we threw out all the plans and took things a week at a time. Juan and I didn't make it to Colombia, and we didn't make it to Pennsylvania or Florida, either. The boys did attend their summer camps, though, David went to Colorado on the mission trip, we took a fun, quick trip to St. Louis to see my parents, and we spent a few days in Galveston camping right on the beach.

This year I had a really hard time making plans to do anything. The boys wanted to go on a mission trip with the youth at church to help a young church in Los Angeles, California. At a cost of $1,000 per person, we told them they'd have to choose between the mission trip or camp. They both chose the mission trip. It seemed an easy choice until the time came to sign up for camp, and suddenly that choice stung. So about a month ago, Mike and I decided to leave as soon as school got out (precisely when the middle schoolers left for camp) to head out on a family road trip to see as many family members as possible within a 10 day radius.

With David starting high school this coming year and Juan starting his senior year, Mike and I realized that we probably have very few opportunities left to travel all together as a family without having to work around several different schedules. As hard as it is to see them miss out on making those camp memories this year, I am grateful for the family memories we made instead. Juan speaks English now, so this was his first real opportunity to get to know the rest of the family. :) Sadly, I didn't get pics of all of the family we visited, but here are a few of my favorite pictures.

 The boys with my Grandma

Hanging out in Brown County on a little hike

Celebrating cousin Dane's 4th birthday

 Dinner with my parents

A fun family pic taken by my Grandma 

Exploring something new in St. Louis this time, Fitz's Rootbeer

Another fun family pic taken by our favorite photographer, Chrissy Alspaugh

Meeting our sweet little cousin, Kase, all decked out in the Colombian jersey we bought for Dane three years ago!

 David and Uncle Mark (apparently David looks a lot like Mark did when he was David's age)

Enjoying the country life at Uncle Matt's 

Having fun watching Uncle Matt and his boys

This trip was all about family. It's so easy to get wrapped up in our own lives and never take the time to reconnect with the family we left behind when we moved to Texas. A fancy vacation to someplace we've never visited may have been nice, but then we would have missed out on all these priceless moments with the family we rarely ever get to see. 

Stay tuned for more segments and pictures of memories we made on our 2016 family road trip.

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