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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Thursday, March 23, 2017

This just happened . . .

There are so many emotions represented in this post that I will just let the pictures speak for themselves.

Juan doesn't know yet, so please don't tell him. But Laura is sooooooooo excited and happy that we are coming. I can't wait to see her again, and I am really looking forward to meeting and getting to know her mom. 

Friday, March 17, 2017

The need to recharge

As we near the end of spring break, I am reminded of how much we truly need to take time to recharge. Physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. There's a reason God asks us to set apart the Sabbath--we can accomplish more by honoring it than we can by ignoring it.

Last week was a full week for my family. Had I added one more thing to it, I likely would not have enjoyed any of it (or at least anything after the first day of activities). Tuesday kept us going non-stop from 6 am till 10:30 at night with work, school, and soccer activities. Our boys' high school teams played each other, plus it happened to be Senior Night for Juan's soccer team. So my day consisted of school all day, a meeting after school till 4:00, a 4:30 soccer game at Juan's school to watch David play (they tied, keeping their undefeated streak, claiming first place for all the Freshman teams in the district), a quick dinner at Chick Fil-A with David at 6:00, a fast return to Juan's school by 7:00 to walk out on the field with Juan while they recognized him as one of the Senior players, a 7:30 game against their biggest rival (David's school) which ended in a tie, leading into penalty kicks, giving Juan's team the final victory for the night (leaving both schools as co-district champs, tied for 1st place). By 10:30 that night, we finally got home and fell straight into bed.

After a night like that, I was very thankful I left my Wednesday evenings open this semester, giving me a chance to rest and recharge from the night before. Thursday night would hold another late evening, one I would have ended up resenting had I not taken a break between the two nights.

Thursday evening I met up with a friend at the Rockwall campus at church to attend Awaken, a very special evening with Priscilla Shirer. Her message challenged us to live fully awake to the things of God, fully accepting our lot in life at this time, aware that God placed us exactly where we are in life for a divine purpose. We have not been cheated--we've been chosen. Years from now, people will not remember our accomplishments, but they will remember how we responded to whatever ailment God allowed us to suffer.

Had I been exhausted by the time I arrived, I might not have been fully awake enough to let God speak to me through her message. I'm so glad my friend invited me and gave me the chance to be there.

Friday evening I readied my classroom for spring break, sent my kids off with a smile, and headed to watch David's last soccer game with his Freshman team. He left with his girlfriend and her mom to attend a youth event at church while I headed across town to watch Juan's last regular season game at yet another high school. Now all that's left are the playoffs. My teacher badge won't get me in for free to those games, plus they're all out of district, so looks like I won't be going to many more high school games. After the game, Juan went to a cook-out to celebrate their win, while I grabbed a very quick bit to eat and then headed to the church to pick up David. By 9:00, I got home and fell into bed shortly after.

Saturday held just as much activity, if not more, and I didn't give myself a break between three full days and nights. And I felt the effects by Sunday. Between a pancake breakfast with David to support Juan's team, lunch out with Juan at a new Colombian restaurant, grocery shopping, a flat tire, church, and a friend's 50th birthday celebration, I came home exhausted. I've worked hard to not get to that point this semester, and I was reminded quickly of why it's so important to PLAN times of rest in between activities.

So when the dogs disappeared on Sunday afternoon, I could only breathe out a long sigh. How dare they on my day of rest????? After searching for them for a few hours on Sunday, I went to bed early because I felt so depressed that they were gone. And I don't really even care for the dogs that much, but I hurt for them, not knowing if they were cold, hungry, sad, or even if they had stayed together. Thankfully we got a call the next day from a neighbor on the next street saying our dogs went in their garage the day before and refused to leave! Silly dogs. I'm just glad they stayed together, they're okay, and they're home--and we didn't have to pay any "get out of jail" fees to the shelter.

We filled our first few days of spring break with appointments we didn't have time for in the regular school season, spent a day at Six Flags, and now I'm determined to stay home and recharge for the last few days. When I take time to rest, I end up feeling better, have more energy, get more accomplished each day, stay focused, connect more closely with God, and I even see things from a more positive perspective. When I let myself get run-down, it's easy to let my stress level get the better of me. We're going to have a full plate from here till the end of school, with David's recreational soccer season starting next week, Juan getting everything in order for graduation, college prep stuff, and getting ready physically, financially, spiritually and emotionally for a summer full of traveling. I've definitely got to be fully awake these next few months! I've been asking God for some big things lately, and I don't want to miss seeing how He answers.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

#SSMT Verses 5 and 6

I am a little late on posting verse 5, so I decided to post it together with verse 6 today.

I absolutely love both of these verses. To think that the God of the universe is contantly thinking of me. Delighting in me. No wonder He wants me to take delight in Him. No wonder He wants to give me the desires of my heart. When we truly take delight in knowing Him more intimately each day, our hearts change and He plants new desires within us that are completely aligned with His will. 

I am really enjoying this focus specifically on the Psalms this year. Plus I love taking the time to relax and color them, It's a great calming, chilling activity.

Thanks, Mom, for getting it for me.

If you've got a few minutes, hop on over to the ABH blog to check out my most recent monthly devotional on the importance of Scripture memory. 

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Am I dreaming?

Guatemala bound! LA Bound! Spain bound!

Dearest friends and family,
I still can’t believe I’m even writing this letter, but I’m so excited to tell you about our family’s upcoming adventures (some very unexpected) and to ask for your prayers.  

Our former Student Ministries Pastor (Shane) recently pulled Juan David aside to tell him he really wanted him to be part of our church's first ever mission trip to Guatemala this July 8-15th. They will be installing home kits of electricity, a stove, and a water filtration system to enhance the lives of many in the San Raymundo community. They will also lead a daily Backyard Bible club and train other members of the church(Iglesia Vida Real) so they can continue ministering powerfully in the community. We felt grateful for the potential he saw in Juan David and his willingness to keep investing in our son’s life even after moving to a different campus within our church. Later Mike and I attended the informational meeting, and my heart began to stir within me. I wondered if perhaps God wanted me on this trip, too. Without  me even having to say a word, Shane asked me if I’d like to go. After praying about it for two weeks, I knew that this was something God wanted the two of us to do together.

We are both bilingual in English and Spanish, Juan David has contagious energy and spirit that can add to any team, and I’ve been trained and have led several backyard Bible clubs in the past. It wasn’t anywhere on our radar for our summer plans, but it just made sense. Juan David will be heading to college at Dallas Baptist University a month later, so I can’t think of a better way to connect and bond with my adoptive son than to go on mission together. Now that we’ve met the rest of the team, we feel very confident that God chose both of us to be part of it.

In addition to our trip to Guatemala, it looks like God might be fulfilling our dream to reunite Juan David with his beloved little sister. Two summers ago, we made a request for Colombia to reconnect him with her, but it took an entire year for us to finally hear back from them with any news. Shortly before Christmas this last year, they finally reconnected via e-mail and social media. Less than two months ago, they “saw” each other again via a Skype call and have been communicating through video calls almost every week since then. The door quickly opened to find a way to travel to Spain to finally reunite them after six long years, so we are hoping to travel directly from Guatemala to Spain while the rest of the team flies home on July 15th. We’ve already arranged the dates with her adoptive mother and hope to be able to purchase our tickets soon. This will be our graduation gift to Juan David. We are still in awe of seeing this dream become reality, watching God continue to take the broken pieces of our failed adoption and turn them into a beautiful masterpiece.

The same day we plan to fly to Spain, David will be joining a different mission team with the church to return to Los Angeles, CA to work with a new partnership that our church has formed in the area. He will be there from July 15-23rd. We tentatively hope to be in Spain from July 15-26th.

Would you please consider partnering with us in prayer over all of these trips? Please be in prayer first and foremost for the unity of both teams and the relationships we will build with each other and with the people we will be serving in both Guatemala and Los Angeles. Also pray for our safety, our health, and for God to use us to open doors for the Guatemalan church and the LA church to reach and touch more of their communities for Christ. Pray for this to be a bonding experience for Juan David and me that will continue to connect us in deeper ways. Pray for David to grow as a leader as one of the older students on his trip. Pray for Juan David and his sister to be blessed beyond measure when they see each other again, and to truly see how intimately God loves them and has worked so intricately in both of their lives. Also pray for God to make a way for their older brother Julian to join us in Spain so all three siblings can reunite at the same time.

If you feel God prompting you to participate in either of these missions financially, you can make a donation at https://www.lakepointe.org/missions/contribute/. You will need to create an account, then select the correct trip:

·         1300-22640 YTH Guatemala July 2017-Boswell     or
·         1355-22640 YTH Los Angeles-FW July 2017-Villasenor.

Verify our names as trip attendees, and then click how you would like to contribute. All donations are tax deductible. (If you’d prefer to send a check, please address it to Lake Pointe Church with our names and the above codes in the memo line and mail it to Lake Pointe Church, 701 E Interstate 30, Rockwall, TX 75087.) Please do not feel obligated in any way to give, and please do not give if it is not above and beyond what you are already giving toward your local church. 

More than anything, we covet your prayers as we travel so extensively and are not together as a family. We trust that God will provide the funds necessary through His abundant supply of riches in Christ. Any donations towards the two mission trips will help offset our own personal expenses to attempt to take Juan David to Spain.

Thank you in advance for your prayers!

“The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with JOY.” Psalm 126:3     

                                                                                             With thankful, joyful, and hopeful hearts,

Rachelle and Juan David Alspaugh

***We will also be selling a special APP for your phone called ShoppingBoss which will give you 6% cash back at over 200 of the best national retailers like Home Depot, Amazon, Kohl’s, Lowe’s, AMC, Old Navy, Petco, Nike, Chili’s, etc., etc. If you’re interested in purchasing the APP, let me know! We earn 50% of each app purchase to go towards our trip.

***If you noticed that Mike is not mentioned here, don’t worry. He’s definitely not complaining about having lots of uninterrupted time to work on his truck. J He’d considered joining David in LA, but they have already met their cap for the trip. 

Sunday, March 5, 2017

My head is spinning

My head is spinning with so many thoughts and emotions right now.

Six weeks ago today, I woke up feeling overwhelmed and anxious. I hate feeling that way, so I decided to start taking my thoughts captive and making them obedient to Christ. I literally made a list of every anxious thought and lifted my notebook up as I prayed over every single thing on my list.

The hardest thing about Juan's senior year is that you have so many decisions that need to be made far in advance, decisions I wasn't ready to be making so early in the year. I thought we'd have more time to get through this year, yet March just barely started, and he's already registered for freshman orientation in college! I am more than grateful for how God led him to DBU and how He's guided every single step, but still, making all these decisions so early in the school year has not been easy as neither of us really seemed ready.

On top of college decisions, scholarship applications, and regular senior year stuff (ordering a cap and gown, graduation announcements, etc.), we still both carried a huge dream in our hearts, wondering if it might actually come true. Would this summer be the year that God would reunite him with his sister?

That very morning, six weeks ago today, I cried out to God  in my prayer time. "Take us to Spain, God. Please take us to Spain."

Just a few short hours later, Juan woke up and checked his phone to find a message from his sister asking to talk via Skype. God took our faces and our voices to Spain that day via a video call. As we popped up on a video in her home in Spain, she popped up on a video here, filling our home with her sweet voice once again after eight years of silence. That voice has continued to fill our home almost once every week or so since while she and Juan David talk for over an hour each time.

The first Skype call gave Juan David the chance to meet his sister's mom. The second led to them telling him we could stay with them if we ever came to Spain. Today, he gave her mom specific dates that we're considering to make sure our hopeful plans don't overlap something they may already have planned. A few hours later, we talked to our leader for our Guatemala mission trip to see about getting only one-way tickets for the two of us so that we can travel directly to Spain from Guatemala after the mission trip. My head is spinning just thinking about it--everything is happening so quickly!!!!! I hate making quick decisions, especially big ones, but sometimes when God says go, you put your seatbelt on and go!

This morning during my prayer time, I read this quote on today's prayer (from the book The Prayer that Changes Everything by Stormie Omartian). One I've read so many times before, but it stood out to me very boldly today.

 "Thank you for giving me the courage to go forward and fulfill the destiny you have for me."

About the same time, I heard my phone vibrate. When I looked down, I saw his sister had posted a picture on social media. A picture I recently sent to her of the two of them together nine years ago, the one I used so often when I told people about our plans to adopt them. She wrote, "When we were young. I love him so much."

How can I not go forward to reunite them? It's not my story. It's their story. Their destiny.

Guess I better get started with my fundraising for our Guatemala trip so I still have the money to purchase tickets to Spain. My ultimate dream would be to purchase a ticket for Julian to join us. If that's really God's plan, I know He'll make a way.

Like I already said at least twice now, my head is spinning. In a good way.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Big things ahead

While my Plano friends and family are off celebrating their start to Spring break, I must admit I'm not even jealous I've got another week to wait because this particular week looks to hold a few big events for us. :)

Tomorrow David and Mike have a meeting at church to find out more about his upcoming summer mission trip back to Los Angeles, California. Meanwhile Juan and I have our first team meeting at another one of the campuses to start preparing for our mission trip to Guatemala.

Tuesday afternoon and evening our boys' schools play one another again, this time at Juan's high school. Mike and I get to play traitors, cheering for David's school for the freshman game and then later for Juan's school during the Varsity game in the evening. At the moment, David's school is in first place for Varsity, while Juan's school is in second place, only having lost to David's school this season. So there's a lot at stake. It's also Senior Night, so we all get to go out on the field with Juan right before his game starts as they recognize him as one of the seniors on the team.

Thursday night I get to attend Awaken (http://www.awakendfw.org/) to hear Priscilla Shirer speak at Lake Pointe Church in Rockwall. When the tickets went on sale at 10 a.m. on a Thursday a few weeks ago, all 4,000 tickets sold out within less than thirty minutes. I was at work, so I didn't even have a chance to get one. A week or so later, my friend texted me saying she got extras and wanted to know if I'd like to go. :) I'm really excited to see Priscilla Shirer in person and hear her speak, and I'm so grateful for a great friend who thought of me.

On Friday afternoon/evening, the high school regular soccer season comes to an end. David's freshman team will play their last game for the season, but he immediately starts up with his recreational team two weeks later. Juan's team will play Friday evening to find out what place they will take in the district, then take a two week break, and then go into the playoffs.

So, a week from now, I, too, will be celebrating our start to spring break, but with such a great week coming up, I can definitely wait.