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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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Saturday, May 27, 2017

Guess who's 40????

So, I'm a bit late in posting this, but I had a birthday just a few days after my last post. Not just any birthday. This one marked that dreaded 4-0!

We had a lot going on, though, along with some hard news to swallow on that particular day (which I will save for another blog entry), so I never found a quiet enough moment to sit down and share my pics, my thoughts, or anything. This month has included a whirlwind of events and a rollercoaster of emotion that isn't about to stop anytime soon.

I started out the day reminiscing over the fact that it was also our ten year annivesary in our home. We officially closed on our first home on my 30th birthday on May 11, 2007. Now here we are ten years later, living a life we never could have fathomed just ten short years ago. We've come a very long way as a family. We've grown--in size, in number, and in spiritual maturity. We've traveled to Mexico, to Colombia three times, to California, to Pennsylvania, to New York, to Indiana, Illinois, and Missouri. Our boys have been to Oklahoma, Colorado, and California with church teams, and David has gone on mission trips with the church every single year since the fourth grade--as close as Arlington and Austin, and as far as Colorado and Los Angeles, California. We've made a lot of gains financially, and we've been through significant loss that only increased our faith in God's provision and constant presence in the midst of hardship. I dove into ministry teaching Bible studies at my church and writing two books, along with writing monthly stories/articles/blog entries for other ministries. I moved from teaching fourth grade to teaching second grade for six years and have now worked with the youngest students in the school for the last four years. I've been stretched far beyond what I ever thought I could endure, but when I look back on my thirties, I can only think of one word to describe them. Blessed.

So, knowing that I soon get to travel both to Guatemala and Spain, I told Mike that was more than enough for my birthday and that I didn't want a gift. I just wanted him to save that money so I could get my hair professionally done again (straightened) closer to my travels so I didn't have to deal with the headache of my very difficult to manage hair. He honored my request, and yesterday I took advantage of a day off from school to visit his friend's wife's salon. She's a sweet, sweet lady from El Salvador with an incredible talent for what she does. She just traveled to Spain recently to get trained in some of the newest products on the market. I had a wonderful time with her yesterday, and Mike achieved his goal in making me feel beautiful as a new 40 year old. :)

 He told me to start my day off right by stopping at the Starbucks just a few doors down from the salon.
 After five solid hours, here I am at the salon, ready to show off the miracle she performed with my hair. :) The rest of the pics are later after I got home. I am so thankful to know that my hair will be this straight, soft, and easy to manage for the next several (up to six) months.

On the day of my actual birthday, David let me know days in advance that he was treating me to breakfast, so we got up super early, grabbed a bite to eat at McDonalds, and then stopped at Starbucks before I took him to school.

Juan is not working and is flat broke, so I asked him if I could have his artwork that he's worked on all year in his AP art class so I could add it to my collection of artwork from his brother. I will have to take pics of some of those pieces later. He did post this sweet message on Instagram on Mother's Day, though. :) He struggles to express emotion and sentiment, so I am quite thankful for this post.

One of my little girls from my morning class at school overheard that it was my birthday, so she brought me a necklace and earrings. Then when my afternoon class came, my aide told them it was my birthday, and they all sang to me when I came outside to pick them up. One of the parents then came back after school and brought me a cake. Little by little, more gifts trickled in with the kids throughout the rest of the week. 

Mike wasn't too thrilled when I walked in with a cake in my hands that night because he'd already gotten me a cake with strawberries on it (in following with my strawberry tradition every year), so we indulged in both cakes after dinner. :)

I am looking forward to see what this next decade will bring to our lives. For now, my signts are on Juan David's high school graduation this coming Friday afternoon and his celebration party here at the house two days later. 

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