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
Click on the card to order or read the reviews

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Wednesday Review

Today's review of Unexpected Tears comes from Claire Marquez, otherwise known as Clarita in the book. She gave the book five stars.

Another great amazing story about hope, faith, determination and setting your eye on God all ways threw thick and thin. I am so happy for my good friend Rachelle and this book about her and her families life. It is an amazing story that will bring you to tears. It speaks really close to home since I am a Colombian adopted into a North American family. This book hits really close to home. I am so proud of her and all that she and her family did they never gave up faith in God and trusting in Him. This book teaches amazing life lessons.

Thank you so much, Claire, for sharing your thoughts on this book. It wouldn't be the same story without the role God unexpectedly asked you to play in it by entertaining strangers on a cold, wet day. Love you, friend.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016


So, David started Spanish 3 this week as a freshman, which is actually his first Spanish class ever. I was so proud of him for having a good attitude about it and courageously walking into a class we knew would stretch him. I also felt extremely nervous for him, hoping he didn't come home the first day begging to drop the class.

Not only did he come home smiling, but he told me all about his Spanish class. A male teacher from Colombia. A room all decked out with Colombia decorations. A teacher that spent the first class talking all about Bogotá.

Just wait till David walks into class one day with his Colombia jersey on.

Oh, and he and David are both referees for the same local soccer league here in town. That will be an interesting connection.

Yeah, I'm not so nervous for him to survive that class anymore. I think he'll be just fine.

God knew all along.

Wednesday Review

Today's review of Painful Waiting comes from Amy Laangmack, who gave the book four stars.

In this book Rachelle shares the story of her families five year adoption story. The journey that she embarked upon with God to be able to bring this child into her home is not a story for the faint of heart. It's a story of sorry, heavy tears, heart-wrenching cries out to God, and ultimately the ability to see God's redeeming hand throughout the entire journey.

This story will cause you to search for God amidst your own painful situations, occasionally be grateful for the things you have not yet endured, and ultimately help you recognize that even when you can't see God moving directly, he is still working to bring all of the pieces together. Pieces that may not look like what we expect. But something greater than we could even imagine.

Thank you so much, Amy, for sharing your thoughts on the book. I love seeing how much you got of the entire story without having read the first book. Tells me I did my job well. :)

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Seasons of change

Ready or not, here we go. Tomorrow morning we begin the 2016-17 school year.

As a teacher, I'm ready.

We had an interesting start to the year with much less time to work in the classroom as other years, but with the amazing assistance from my teaching assistant, the classroom feels more than ready to welcome our 44 new little ones (22 in the morning, 22 in the afternoon). Our school district is moving away from the traditional bilingual education model that we've followed for longer than I've been teaching here and will now move into the Dual Language focus. It's a huge shift in thinking about how to help our kids embrace their bilingualism, but I believe it will be seriously beneficial to our kids' futures. I look forward to being able to teach and interact with my littles a bit more in English again for a change. :)

As a mom, I'm not quite sure if I'm ready for this season. I've got a ton of mixed emotions, as do my boys.

My sweet "little" boy, David, is headed to high school. He's much taller than me now and has reached equal height with his older brother. I predict that he'll pass Juan and be the same height as his dad before the year is over. My dad and brothers are both very tall, as well as Mike's dad, so he's obviously inherited the height gene.

We have shifted away from the "GT" school and put him in the closest high school right up the road where a few of his church friends attend (but not where his brother attends--allowing him to keep his individuality was some of the best advice we've followed in this adoption). He's in several honors, Pre-AP and AP classes, and he'll be in Spanish 3 this year, due to having tested out of the first two years of Spanish 3 years ago. He hasn't kept that Spanish practice very current since Juan learned English, so I hope it comes back to him quickly. We told him that it will be hard at first, but he's got a Mom and brother to help him get through the year. He's also taking a leadership class and a Money Matters class, both classes that Juan really benefited from during his freshman year.

He's a bit anxious about getting lost in the hallways the first few days, plus he doesn't like having to find a whole new group of friends. I pray he finds a few church or soccer friends in his classes and lunch period, and I pray that he'll be blessed with several Christian teachers like he had in his middle school.

Yesterday he finished a course to officially become a referee this soccer season. After watching big brother earn quite a bit of money last spring as a referee, he wanted to have the same experience. It will be nice for him to have his own paycheck so he can start saving for the things he wants without having to ask Mom and Dad for them. (That alone might lower my stress-level since money issues can cause me a great deal of anxiety if I let them.) Still, it's a huge change, meaning my little boy is growing up.

As if dealing with David going into high school isn't enough of an emotional rollercoaster for me, watching Juan step into his senior year is kind-of like taking my breath away. He is now working part-time at a local restaurant right around the corner from his school, driving on his own (in my newly restored, repainted Neon), and thinking a lot about college and his future.

He'll turn nineteen in just a few short months, but to me, he's barely three. He's been my son for only three short years. Though our bond started eight years ago, thankfully, our mother/son relationship is only three years old. There's a reason you get 18-19 years to raise a biological child before having to release them into the world of adulthood. Three years is hardly enough time to parent a child and then let them start to "spread their wings and fly". It is a very humbling feeling to know that God chose us as the parents to be the "wind beneath his wings" during this stage of his life. I can only wonder what great things God has in store for him.

On the contrary to David, Juan is starting the year off with confidence now that he can walk the halls as a Senior. Not just a Senior, but a Senior with a car. (Pray for us!). He is excited to play Varsity soccer, to manage a lot more money than just his monthly $20 allowance, to assume more responsibility and freedom, and to take an AP Art class (after his drawing teacher last year noticed his very God-given talent). He's also finally opened up his mind to explore his interests besides just soccer.  For his entire life in Colombia, he had one goal in life--to play professional soccer. Now for the first time ever, he's wondering what other directions his life might go. With no idea of what he's interested in, he's a bit anxious about the future, but excited to begin looking at all the possibilities out there. For some reason, God planted him here for this stage of his life, and I am grateful. After thinking I lost him forever and now having this opportunity to guide him into adulthood, I don't take a single day as his mom for granted. (Check out our story in the Surviving the Valley Series, www.abhbooks.com/books.)

It's a huge season of change in our family and as parents. Looks like there will be a lot of those "letting go" moments that I'm not sure I'm ready for, and a lot more guidance as they learn to make their own decisions for the direction of their lives.

I seemed to have hit a wall as a writer right after my second book released and haven't been able to get past it yet. I think it might be God taking my eyes off the computer, saying, "Don't miss this. It's gonna go by fast."

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Wednesday Review

Today's review of Unexpected Tears is from an anonymous Amazon customer who gave the book five stars.

A riveting ride through dark,stormy waters brings Rachelle Alspaugh to new heights in her faith journey. A challenging testament to all who face difficult trials, Rachelle not only honestly tells her story, but shows us the way to peace.

Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on the book.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Another summer gone

It's that time again. Another summer passed before my eyes. Staff development started back up at school last week, my kiddos come visit the school tomorrow evening to see who their teacher is and to drop off supplies, and then Monday morning we start the cycle all over again.

I will very readily admit that the first month or two of school in Pre-K is a bear. Tearing these kids away from their teary mama's while they themselves are kicking and screaming--nope, not a pretty picture. Teaching them when and how to use a restroom, how and why we wipe our noses, and what in the world it means to walk in a line--ugh. No easy tasks here. Plus getting them to understand why they are in this strange building with two ladies making them sing silly songs and do silly things is a joke in and of itself at least for the first two weeks.

I don't look foward to these next few weeks. Structuring a child who has never experienced structure is a LOT of work.

But then I look around my classroom and remember last year's children sitting at the tables painting beautiful pictures, writing their full names as neatly as they could, reciting their letters and sounds with such pride and enthusiasm, building towers as high as they could reach, receiving awards for good character and exemplary effort, etc., etc.

If I learned anything by teaching Pre-K the last three years, it's this: Structure is key to learning. Without it, chaos takes over. With it, kids can thrive and exceed all expectations. A constant routine helps them feel safe and gives them the freedom to challenge themselves.

This year we're moving our kids from a bilingual education mindset to a dual language program. We're taking them from being seen as the "at risk" group due to a language deficit to looking at them as a gifted group of students ready to embrace their bilingualism and all the opportunities that creates for them. It's a huge shift in thinking and a lot of work in the process, but I believe it can benefit these kids greatly and open up a whole new world to them.

So, here's to the next few crazy weeks of getting some structure into these kids' worlds, and then we're off to a year filled with incredible potential.

Let's do this!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Wednesday Review

Today's review of Painful Waiting comes from an anonymous Amazon customer (though I know who she is :)), who gave the book five stars.

This is a powerful story of faith,trust in God, and acceptance of God's will. I traveled this painful walk with Rachelle in the form of affirming her actions and praying for she and Mike all the way through the process. This book best describes their walk through the valley of adversity only to come through it with a poignant story of how we must let go and let God shoulder the burdens we face.

Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and opinion of the book. I will never forget the role you played in our lives through those years.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Adoption and Foster Care Support Group

Gotta give out shout out to my church for offering yet another really great resource. I finally had a Wednesday night free to attend the monthly Adoption and Foster Care Support Group at the Rockwall campus. I recommend it to anyone from my campus who asks about the ministry, but now I know more of what to tell them.

Just a bunch of adoptive/pre-adoptive/foster/foster-to-adopt parents sharing their own experiences, asking questions, offering advice, comparing agencies, discussing fears, admitting mistakes, offering support, giving guidance, etc., etc. Loved it. We're thinking of starting one similar at our own campus if we can find the right leadership or offers to help facilitate. I would love to be part of it and step up as a leader, but I'm really listening to God to find a bit more margin in life during this next school year. I'd love to join others as a facilitator, though. We'll see what God has in mind. I am excited to see the need arise at my campus because it shows that more families are stepping up to care for the fatherless children.

If you're a local and live in the Rockwall/Royce City/Rowlett/Garland area, try to leave your schedule open on the first Wednesday of each month. It meets at Lake Pointe Church in Rockwall, TX in room W214 (the same room where my writer's group meets on the second Monday of every month).

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Wednesday Review

Since I don't seem to be writing much these days, I'm going to start publishing some reviews of my books here specifically on Wednesdays. I hope they will wet your appetite to read them, reread them, add your own review, or tell a friend about them. I will alternate the reviews each week between each book so you don't get bored. I just want you to know that each review means so much to me, and I highly appreciate anyone who took the time to write one.

Today we're going to start with a review for Unexpected Tears, by Michael Mugo. He gave the book 5 stars.

This book reads like a novel, and I found myself swept up in the saga. The author tells a dramatic, emotional story. International adoption isn't for sissies, and Unexpected Tears provides a glimpse of the hurdles and challenges adoptive parents face. I recommend this book for anyone preparing for international adoption or anyone who want to be wrapped up in a good story. The author also sheds light on how this hard situation affected her faith, and I can definitely relate to how crisis catapults faith. A good read. Buy it.

Thank you, Michael. I appreciate your kind words, and I love knowing what you thought.