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

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Resurrection


This Easter as I reflect on Christ's resurrection, I can't help but reflect on my own resurrection story. It's kind-of hard not to when I'm less than three weeks away from launching the book that recounts that whole story. 

Here's an excerpt from a poem from Painful Waiting that keeps replaying in my head:

It’s as if you’ve always been here,
Or at least were always meant to be.
Yet sometimes I still look your way
And can’t believe it’s you I see.
I still remember grieving
As if I’d experienced your death.
Now that you’re actually here,
It’s like you’ve risen from the dead.



I treasure every moment spent with this boy. His smile and joy truly light up my life.

Check out this excerpt from another review I found on Goodreads by someone from my launch team.  I am extra thankful for this review because it's not someone I have known for very long, so she wasn't part of the journey in any way.

"In this book Rachelle shares the story of her family's 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." 

A resurrection story, indeed.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Casting Crowns and rollercoasters




What a better way to spend Good Friday than to hang out at Six Flags for Christian Youth Day (meaning, a bunch of youth groups hanging out at the park) and then watching a Casting Crowns concert there in the evening. I cherished every moment listening to songs such as these that either speak to me now about our journey to Juan David or helped me specifically through our journey when we lost him. He is such a miracle, and every time I see his smile and watch his enthusiasm for life, I can't help but remember the fight for him.



Sunday, March 20, 2016

A few Colombian Alspaugh's


Thanks to Facebook, we can find distant relatives all over the place. We recently found another Alspaugh family here in Texas that's pretty distantly related to Mike's family, but finding out the wife is from Colombia made the world just a little bit smaller. So Juan David is not the only Colombian Alspaugh here in Texas. :)

Today we finally had the chance to meet. 

If you know the Alspaugh family, you know there's a really strong gene that makes them all look pretty similar. My new friend walked into the restaurant, took one look at Mike, and immediately knew he was an Alspaugh. 

Our one sunny day over spring break

A week ago today...

 La vibora

The Titan

(Click on the link to experience it for yourself!)

This is how we "chill". I'm glad we found a way to have fun together. :) Looking forward returning for Christian Youth Day this Friday with a Casting Crowns concert in the evening. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Happy birthday, Grandpa.

I saw an invitation to write as a guest blogger on a new friend's blog about someone who left you a legacy. I immediately jumped at the chance to write about my grandfather, who would have been 92 years old today. I finished the story last night to send to her today, not even realizing that it happened to coincide with his birthday.

It is an honor to share this story with you today on such a special day. It will also be featured as a guest post on http://betheproof.org/ later in April.


A Lamplight Legacy

As I walked through the door of my grandparents’ house, waves of both joy and sadness hit me all at once. How long had it been since I last stepped foot into their home? Perhaps ten years already or possibly even more?  One glance at my aging grandfather’s frail body filled me with such regret over not making more of an effort to visit.


During my childhood, my aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents all lived in other states.  I was lucky if I saw my grandparents once a year. Then after I got married and had to split any time off between my family, my husband’s family, and numerous travels that led us to an international adoption, visits with my extended family became nearly non-existent.
            I was so thankful my mom suggested a quick visit for my grandfather’s 90th birthday on the way home from our first family vacation with our newly adopted teenage son. It meant so much to me to show off my grandparents’ home to both my boys, and I cherished the opportunity to introduce my adopted son to his new great-grandparents.
Less than nine months later, my grandfather took his last breath on earth and his first breath in heaven. As I sat through his funeral, I couldn’t have been more grateful or proud to be one of his granddaughters. While each speaker talked about his life, I finally began to grasp the reality of the legacy he left us.
My grandfather, Jack Greener, lived his life with purpose, following God’s directions rather than his own goals or pleasures. He lived every stage of his life in constant service for others. He fought in World War II and earned several medals. As an adult, he began his mornings in prayer, grounding his faith in the Word of God. He always found opportunities to share Christ’s love and invite others to go to church with his family.
When he lost his wife at a fairly young age, after raising his first three children, he followed God’s leading to marry another woman also passionate about her relationship with Christ. She was a recent widow herself with a young adult daughter and teenage boys who’d just lost their dad. My grandfather embraced them as his own children and guided them toward maturity in Christ as they entered adulthood.
Later in his life, after he retired from many years as an engineer, he served overseas as a missionary, both long-term and short-term, for as long as his health could tolerate the travels. When he could no longer travel, he still gave both generously and sacrificially toward missions and supported them often in prayer.
His examples inspired everyone around him, but the way he modeled a life of prayer had the deepest impact on me and affects me still today. I guess that’s what makes it a legacy, the fact that he passed it on.
I don’t recall many specific details, but I remember hearing he had a health scare once while I was a child. In order to regain his strength, he started walking four miles every day. During those walks, he spent a considerable amount of time praying for all of his family by name--for each of his children, step-children, grandchildren, and eventually his great-grandchildren.
What a comfort to go through life knowing you’re prayed for on a daily basis. When hardships came, I knew at least one person had prayed for me, likely before I’d even gotten out of bed. That’s not to say I didn’t have other family members who prayed for me often (and even on a daily basis), but my grandfather made no secret about his constant prayer for his family. Though I didn’t see him often in my life, his daily prayers molded me into the person I am today.


Before I left my grandparents’ house during that last visit, my grandfather didn’t hesitate to tell me, “You know that I pray for you every day, early every morning.” Ninety years old, suffering from a broken back that couldn’t be repaired, dealing with intense pain on a daily basis, yet he still started out his days praying for all of us.
I, too, am an early riser, and I believe his example inspired me to begin my mornings the same as he had always done. This poem that I wrote for my own family is evidence that my grandfather’s legacy lives on in me each and every morning. It is a legacy I pray will continue for many generations to come. 

The lamp light



          
Tucked in the corner by the fireplace
Sit a small lamp and a chair,
A few books and pens and notecards,
A worn and tattered book of prayers.
Before the sun comes up each morning,
I turn the lamp light on.
I sit to talk with God
About how my days have gone.
I fess up all my failures,
And add to my journal of praise.
We adjust my grumpy attitude
And address my selfish ways.
I read a portion of Scripture,
Ponder over a devotional page,
I reflect over how it affects me
So differently each year I age.
Once my heart is in tune with the Spirit,
I open that tattered book by the chair.
I anoint my family with Scripture,
And surrender them all in prayer.
Though I often fall short as a wife,
A mom, a daughter or a friend
Know I give you the gift
That matters most in the end.
Every morning when you wake up,
And you see the lamp light on,
It means you have been prayed for
Even before your day has begun.


By Rachelle D. Alspaugh

Sunday, March 13, 2016

One rainy spring break

So, we bring yet another spring break to a close. I am learning more about myself every year. First, I am learning that I truly don't know how to rest. Seems I've always got some kind of agenda or to-do list calling my name, reminding me to make the best use of my time. Meanwhile, I had two boys that saw the rain and felt it only meant one thing--time to relax, watch TV, and play on their phones.

I guess we ended up compromising somehow because we accomplished several things, while we also hung out watching a whole lot of TV and movies.

David went on a weekend mission trip with church to help serve the community surrounding one of our church campuses in Austin, Texas.  Juan stayed home from the trip so he didn't miss his soccer game against one of their biggest rivals. He got a chance to play for varsity, too. :)  Both the JV and the varsity won their games, and the varsity team celebrated having secured their spot as district champs, so far. I'm glad he didn't miss it, plus I enjoyed watching the game in the beautiful weather.

Later in the week, while it rained incessantly from Monday through Friday, we got caught up on dental appointments, took our sick kitties to the vet and got them back on schedule with their shots, let out some energy at a trampoline park, opened up Juan's first bank account with his first referee check, and cleaned up our back porch to get it ready for spring. Oh, and Mike built us a really nice covered bike rack to store our bikes outside. Juan started his last online course to get himself caught up to the class he plans to graduate with next year, and he finished 75% of the first semester of the course already.

Finally today the sun came back out, so we headed to Six Flags to hang out as a family. I finally tried a ride that goes backwards (the only kind of ride I don't ride), and I survived without puking my guts out afterward. I screamed so loud, the boys said my screams were the highlight of the day.


We had a good week, but I will admit that I missed a daily routine. I don't mind it when we have a trip planned or something, but I don't do well sitting at home doing nothing on a rainy day. I always feel like precious time is just slipping away. At least I got a chance to work on a few writing projects.

Now I'm looking forward to pushing my students from here to the end of the school year. It always flies by super fast at this time in the year. Not sure I'm ready for David's 8th grade year to come to an end, though. My little boy almost ready for high school? No, it just can't be.

         




Monday, March 7, 2016

Encouraged

So, I've got a few advanced readers out there pre-reading my book in order to have some reviews ready on launch day, which is only a month and a week away!

This one really encouraged me. :) I look forward to sharing more in the future. Thank you to the person who shared this one with me.

In Unexpected Tears, I cried tears of pain as you go through all that heart ache with your adoption process.  But in Painful Waiting, I cry tears of joy, as God is SO EVIDENT through out  the whole story!  Painful Waiting is a story of "being on your knees in constant prayer with God" as his blessed plans all unfold.

Painful Waiting is a wonderful sequel to Unexpected Tears: Trusting God Through a Painful Adoption Process, as God’s plan ALL comes together for the adoption of Juan David.   You can see all the trials and tribulations were “strategically placed” by God to ensure this blessed event.  The story truly exemplifies a faith journey and 
trust in God when the doors of international adoption all seemed closed.  God is good!!

(Someone recently posted this for our writer's group, so I thought I'd share. Honestly, I don't care about making a penny. But I do hope our story reaches many, many hearts. Your reviews (for this book and also Unexpected Tears) can help with that.







Reflecting

I'm sitting out on my front porch on this beautiful spring morning, watching the sunlight spread over the yard, listening to the birds chirp and sing. I am thankful.

Life has felt heavy lately. My prayer list grows longer every day with stuff that's hard to even take in. Two people very dear to me are walking through the scary waters of unemployment with their husbands. Having just experienced that for almost half of last year, I really get it when they express their struggles with anxiety.

Just a few weeks ago, we had a baby shower for a friend to prepare to welcome her little boy into this world. Just a few days after that little boy was born, God took his daddy to heaven. This week I attended his daddy's memorial service. It's not fair that we gathered together to remember his daddy's life and celebrate his faith in Jesus, when we were supposed to be celebrating this little boy's life and entrance into the world. My heart hurts deeply for his mother, my friend and coworker.

Yesterday the church held another memorial service for another father who went to heaven just as unexpectedly, leaving his wife stranded alone in another country where they were celebrating their anniversary.

A former coworker shared her recent news of cancer, while another has been in and out of the hospital with complications from what cancer has done to her own body.

A friend is navigating the waters of a new normal after God took her young son home to heaven within the last year, while another friend is finding a new normal after a tornado stole the home she'd built her life in. Another friend begs for prayer for her son as they admitted him to a hospital under suicide watch. Someone else just buried their teenage son after he died in his sleep.

Life is heavy, and hard. Every tragedy I hear of gives me one more reason to be thankful for the blessings in my life, blessings I too often take for granted. My home. My job. Consistent income. My husband. My family. My church. My relationship with Christ.

It all takes me back to my motto for the year. Live. Embrace life. Stop planning and start living each day to the fullest. You never know when it might be taken away.

Attending my friend's husband's memorial service was such a great reminder of what really matters in life--knowing and loving God, letting Christ take hold of your life and letting Him live through you.

He is all that matters.

Tragedies all around me tend to inflict great fear within me, fear of something similar happening in my own life. I am finally beginning to see that the only way to be prepared for any kind of tragedy is to have a solid, growing relationship with Christ. Without Him, we'd never survive. With Him, we'll find the grace to help us in our time of need.