Monday, December 22, 2008

Back to One

Today was a roller coaster of a day - we started out with two foster daughters, and are now down to one. We had a 15 year old girl placed in our home about 3 weeks ago. She was a joy! Very quiet, responsible and well-behaved. She was in foster care for different reasons than most kids - sorry I have to be vague, but we need to respect their privacy as much as possible, which is why I post so few details. You see, this sweet girl has a 5 month old baby and CPS has been trying hard to get them placed in the same home since she came into care a month ago. So, while I'm sad that this sweet girl is no longer in our home, I KNOW God used us to plant some seeds and I'll see her again. Best of all, she's back with her baby now which is all she's wanted from day one. I have to give her CPS caseworker credit for working so hard to get this done before Christmas - most other government employees would avoid any extra work they can before a long break.

I agree with Jen that being a foster parent is hard - I have had so many physically, emotionally draining days I too question myself some days as to how long I can endure this, then God gives me a glimpse of how He is using us in their lives. We are all growing through this - and consider these trials PURE JOY. (James 1)

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Well, Jeff and I are back from our cruise where we celebrated our 20th Anniversary. We went on Carnival's Ecstasy and really enjoyed ourselves.

The main thing we kept hearing about was THE FOOD on cruises. Jeff & I enjoy high-quality food, and we were definitely NOT disappointed. You get to choose between eating at self-serve buffets to quality restaurants where you are seated and served your choice of appetizers and entrees' or room service if you preferred. Here's what I had for my entrees' each night:

  • Night 1 - Flounder (Jeff had Duck)

  • Night 2 - Lobster & Shrimp

  • Night 3 - Chateau Briand

  • Night 4 - Turkey

  • Night 5 - Salmon (Jeff had Lamb)

Keep in mind that this is just the entree' and you usually had about 5 to choose from. They were totally okay with choosing more than one appetizer, so in addition to this you had a delicious appetizer (or two) as well! The yummiest thing was the Chocolate Melting Cake and I plan on finding a recipe to try out soon! For breakfast we had DELICIOUS Eggs Benedict.

There was quite a bit of entertainment to choose from - shows, dancing, casino, music, tea time and seminars like ice sculpting and scrapbooking. Our first stop was in Cozumel which was lots of fun. The excursions were cancelled because of high winds and choppy waters, but we found a small beach and were able to relax and go snorkling. I wasn't as impressed with our second port stop in Progreso, so "next time" we will probably take the 4 day cruise with only the stop in Cozumel.

Our main goal on this cruise was to REST, and unfortunately, that goal was not met. Our room was an interior room, meaning it was located on the interior part of the ship vs. a room with a window. There were loud banging noises intermittently on one of the walls and the crew was unable to pinpoint where it was coming from. It didn't help that every time we called them it stopped, so they never got to hear it themselves. Needless to say, we didn't get a great night's sleep while away. They were very gracious and gave us an onboard credit for our purchases while on the cruise, so I was grateful for that. I also need to mention that photographs are a BIG source of revenue on these boats - they're always taking your picture and also provide various stations with a variety of backdrops and each night they post these pictures for you to review and purchase if you desire. The photo above was my disembarkment at Cozumel and I have more to come!

If you're thinking of a fun getaway with your honey, I would highly recommend a cruise. It took me a little while to get over the gaudy casino-like feel to the ship, but I enjoyed the quality time I was able to spend with Jeff. It was nice to stop everything and intentionally invest in our marriage. I feel so blessed to have a husband like Jeff!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

I'm ready! I'm ready! I'm ready!

Okay - I'm SO ready to go on Saturday! Jeff and I are celebrating our 20th anniversary and are going on a 5 day cruise to Mexico. This is a trip we planned since early this year, before fostering and before my broken ankle. I'm not looking forward to it so much for the entertainment aspect of it, but for the rest. I'm tired. Emotionally, I need a break and time to pray and meditate on how to best impact our foster daughter's life. I have a few books I'm bringing with me that may help with practical advice.

I'm glad Jeff and I will have this chance to spend time together without the distractions of work, school, kids and all the noise that goes along with that. This has been a hard semester on us - Jeff is finishing up his last semester at UH taking classes every M-Th evening in addition to teaching. That leaves me to be the one juggling the kids' needs and schedules - and that's in addition to working full time. We have prayed about and decided that at the first of the year, I will change my employment status with Apartment Life back to part time (after being full time for 2 years). I can't wait to be able to have more time to invest in my family's life and am looking forward to spending more time with friends that I feel like I've put on hold for the past 2 years. This change is an answer to prayer! Who knows - I may even find time to sew some drapes for our own home next year!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


I couldn't believe it when I was filling up at Sam's yesterday and noticed the price of gas - $1.84! I just read that oil is now under $60 a barrel, so hopefully that will stay level for a while so we can enjoy these prices for a little while longer. I remember only a few years ago people were freaking out because it was going over for $40 a barrel. I found this chart that shows how sharply the cost of oil had jumped in the past year:

This chart shows average gas prices since 1976

It will be interesting to see what happens next - any thoughts?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Can You Do This?

I didn't know too much about being a foster parent until about a year ago - that's when some friends of ours were going through the process and I was so burdened to be a part of this incredible ministry that we decided to begin the process to be approved Respite Foster Parents. Basically, if you are a foster parent and you need someone to watch your foster children for more than 72 hours, they need to go through the training and licensing process just like a foster parent. We wanted to be able to help out our foster parent friends in any way we can, then God orchestrated things where we were able to become foster parents ourselves, so here we are!

I'm wondering how many of you out there are wondering if this is something you should pursue? What better way to find out than to start out by providing respite care for another foster family. In case you didn't know, the state does provide a daily stipend to foster parents to reimburse you for costs associated with caring for a foster child. Any (good) parent knows that it costs $$ to raise a child, so that should remove the financial burden from your decision. Room may be another factor, but as long as the child has a minimum of 40 square feet in their bedroom designated for them, that should not be a problem, either.

I think most people's resistance comes from the inconvenience this will cause them and their families. Sure, you will have to deal with many new responsibilities such as: enrolling a new child in school, maintaining communication with their teachers, helping with report cards, feeding, clothing, transporting to family visits, doctor and dentist visits, etc... and sometimes you are also challenged and have to deal with detentions, them missing the bus, ISS (in school suspensions) and jealous biological children. So, sure, this does put a strain on my "free" time, but it's also fulfilling when you are making a visible difference in the life of a young person. Most importantly, God is using us to make an ETERNAL difference in their lives as well.

The foster care system is filled with too many low-income, unemployed, uneducated, unmarried or non-believing foster parents, so these precious children are usually going from one poverty situation to another. It's time for more working middle-class couples to step up and help change these children's lives, whether it's by fostering, providing respite care or by becoming a child advocate. There are alot of Child Placement Agencies out there to choose from, or you can go directly through CPS. We use Arrow Child & Family Ministries and have been pleased. Please email me if you'd like more information or if you want to visit our neighborhood to see if this is for you.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Teenage Moments

As we approach the end of two full weeks of becoming foster parents, I can honestly say that the "honeymoon" is over. We've had a few trying days where our parenting skills were challenged. Sunday was especially difficult because they seem to have been challenged by all 4 children in our household! As I sought the Lord's guidance in how to respond to our foster daughter's attitude, it was clear to me that it should not be any different than how I would respond to my own children's words or actions.

The night ended better than I could have hoped - we talked, prayed together and she apologized. God is so good!

On a side note, we got another call today for a possible placement of 2 more children (2 of a sibling group of 4). We're only licensed to have 3 foster kids in our home, so it breaks my heart that they'd be separated, but I guess keeping 2 together is better than splitting up all 4.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Well, yesterday we officially became foster parents! We received into our care a beautiful, vibrant 13 year old girl; who after spending some time with our family asked if it was okay to call me "mommy" and Jeff "daddy" (as long as her real mom didn't hear her because that would hurt her feelings). She is looking forward to being reunited with her family, but we are unsure when that would be, so we promised to love and care for her as if she's our own until that happens. The kids are excited about their new sister.

We were warned by other parents about the "honeymoon period" most foster parents go through with new placements, but I'm sure things will fine. The Lord brought us where we are right now and will protect our family. The sad thing in all of this is that she's been in other foster homes where she said she didn't feel loved. How can you commit to do something like care for children and not show love?

So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three;
but the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13:13

Thursday, September 18, 2008


Thankfully, our neighborhood was spared - we didn't even lose power for very long and sustained very minor damage, but as we drove through other parts of town we quickly realized what a big difference living only 10 miles East made! These pictures were taken in our old neighborhood, where we lived only 2 months ago. They are still without power.
We are so grateful and continue to pray for those who were affected by Ike!

Thursday, September 11, 2008


Here we go again! As we prepare for and wait for Ike's arrival, it brings to mind those who choose not to prepare. I don't go overboard, but just prepare in case the stores will be closed for a few days or if we have additional guests who need a place to stay. Those who do nothing to prepare end up not only putting a needless burden on others, but miss out on the peace and security of being safe and keeping your family safe.

Thinking about this brought the "parable of the virgins" found in Matthew 25:1-12 to mind:

"Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not."

As I continued researching this parable, I found a summary that says it perfectly:

The thing to note here is that they all had the lamp (the Word), but it is only those (the wise) who had the oil that were allowed into the marriage. What is the oil ? The Bible says," Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows."(He 1:9). This "oil of gladness" is what seperates the virgins in the above parable. It is only in the utter abandonment to the love of God that one truly becomes "the Bride of Christ". And this in turn brings on the "oil of gladness". The above parable shows that even though some people have the Bible and read it, that they are missing it's most important value by not having that intimate, personal and total relationship with the Lord.

So what I'm trying to say is while being prepared for a storm is good and wise; are you prepared for death? Do you have the "oil of gladness" - a personal, real, relationship with Christ Jesus?

Stay safe.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


I was asked to share 6 random things by Christina and to tag 6 others. I doubt 6 people read this (I would know you do if you commented every once in a while), but here goes:

Here are the tagging rules:
Post the rules on your blog
Write 6 random things about yourself
Tag 6 people at the end of your post
If you're tagged, DO IT and pass on the tag

  1. I've never been much of a "reader", but I've been deliberate lately to try to change that. It takes me forever to finish a book, so I usually keep my latest book in my purse so I can read a little at a time (I'm currently reading The Shack). I also love books on tape. My favorite way to stay informed is to read online newspapers and listen to talk radio.
  2. I have some spelling and grammatical pet peeves. It annoys me when people use the word "anyways" and misuse "your" and "you're".
  3. I'm an introvert and get really nervous when any attention is put on me. I even took 4 years of drama in high school to help me come out of my shell. It didn't work. :)
  4. I used to be extremely obsessed with having things done a certain way, such as the way I would fold and hang my towels, but then I had kids and got over it. Life is too short to lose sleep because there are dirty dishes in the sink.
  5. I don't understand why so people love Obama SO MUCH. I don't pretend to know everything about him, but such a fundamental issue like allowing partial birth abortions is big enough for me to not want to vote for him. I take everything the candidates say with a grain of salt - they're applying for a job, after all, and will tell you what you want to hear. Judge them by their past actions and experience.
  6. I don't "forward" emails and I have "broken" more than one chain letter/email in my life, so I don't plan on tagging anyone. Sorry, Christina!

I'd love to hear from some of you! Have a happy day!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Time to Step Up!

During our training today our case worker told us of a story of a nine year old girl who was in the foster care system, and while in care, her biological mom died in a fire (she was running a meth lab in her home). The case worker took the girl to the funeral, where there was a chapel FULL of relatives there who were mourning the loss of the girl's mom. Can you imagine having a large "family" like that but still no one is willing to take you in - talk about rejection. First by her mom who neglected her child which caused her removal in the first place, then by family not willing to step up. Some even had the nerve to ask the girl for her contact information so they could "keep in touch". (the girl ended up "aging out" of the system when she turned 18)

The segment we were studying was on Separation, Loss & Grief. One thing I've heard over and over is no matter what a child has been through, they almost NEVER speak about their parents in a negative way and will defend them no matter what. Regardless of the circumstances, removal from their home is a tramatic experience for most kids.

I'm struggling right now with judging people who would do this to a child, but that's another fight. Our fight right now is to help save some of these kids.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Life at Rio Bend

We'll we're almost fully unpacked and settled at our new home at Rio Bend. It's such a huge blessing to have room for everything and for everything to have a place. Hopefully I'll soon have time to actually get it there, but in the meantime, we are enjoying our new community. Most of all, we are enjoying our incredible neighbors. Since we're not licensed yet, we've tried to make ourselves available to provide some respite care to the families out here, even if it's just taking someone to the pool while their babies nap, or allowing them to go out on a date night.

The agency we've decided on is Arrow Child & Family Ministries . Things are moving along quite well, and today found out we can probably be licensed by the 30th of this month, and could get our first placement as early as the 31st. We also found out how desperate the need is for foster families willing to take "older" children. "Older" children were described as ages 10 and up. Usually when they're that old, their parents have already terminated their rights to the state, so these are children that no one is fighting for. Another huge need is for foster families willing to take in sibling groups. This are exactly the kinds of kids we've been praying for and know God is already preparing our hearts for them.

Thank you for your continued prayer for our family during this process. We covet your thoughts and prayers for the children that will be in our care.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Hardware Removal

I couldn't resist sharing the photo of Dr. Orth removing the screw from my ankle...It didn't hurt at all (but was very sore later in the day)! Dr. Orth is the best! If you ever need an Orthopaedic Surgeon, I would highly recommend him!

Oh yeah - I got a good laugh when Morgan was describing her "swelling" and cankles. Take a look at what my lovely leg now looks like.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Updates and Craziness

We got approval today to move in to Rio Bend but will have to start over the licensing process with another agency. It's a complicated mess but I'll spare the details for now. (If any of you know of a great child placement agency (CPA), please let me know! We may end up going directily through CPS but haven't decided yet.

I also saw my Ortho. this morning and tomorrow he will remove the screw that is visible on the open wound and hopefully we'll see some new growth in that area. If there is not enough change in a few weeks, then he will go in and remove all the hardware. He wants to leave it in there as long as possible to be sure the bones are totally healed. Typically hardware is not removed until years after the initial injury, if at all. He keeps telling me that he's never had a case like this in 22 years of practice, so I guess that makes me special! :)

Well, back to packing...we thought we were close to being done, but we have way more junk than we thought, so stay tuned for more updates!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Fostering/Moving Update

Well, we had our home study this past Friday. Part of it, anyway... Apparently, some questions need to wait until we complete some training next week. If our training goes as planned, we should be licensed by the first week of August.

Although we started the foster care licensing in April, the process has been slow for us. In part was because of my broken ankle in May, but we were back on track in June, about the same time our current landlord gave us our move out notice for the end of July because she didn't want to continue our month to month option. We were confident that our licensing would be complete by then and we'd be ready to move about that time anyway. Well, here we are, about 10 days to be out of our home and no license. Thank God for friends like ours, we have a couple of offers from friends who have plenty of room, so unless we get permission to move in to our new home early (before we are licensed), we will be staying with friends for a couple of weeks.

We had a big moving sale this past weekend and the moving pod will be delivered tomorrow, so whether we're ready or not, we're packing our stuff away! I enjoy the part of moving when you purge the things you no longer need/want and have to evaluate whether something is worth the trouble of packing. We definitely have too much stuff. I mean, we, as all of us.

I'm grateful that my ankle is healing well and I can get around with my walking cast, I was even able to serve in the church's nursery today for the first time since the injury - I was not able to easily get on/off the floor til now. I can't image getting through all this alone, but without my amazing family, friends, co-workers and most of all, an amazing God, HIS timing was perfect and I trust HIM to bring healing to my body and refreshment to my bones (Proverbs 3:5 & 8)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Wound Care

I thought I would finally post a photo because I get baffled looks when I try to explain details about my "wound" and why I need to see a wound care specialist. Here's a timeline of my injury:
  • May 7, 2008 I broke my left ankle trying to slide into home base while at a staff retreat
  • May 8 - had surgery to repair a tri-malleolar fracture (9 screws and a steel plate)
  • May 16 - I had my staples removed
  • May 23 - incision on outside of ankle not healing, had surgery to remove infected tissue and clear out incision
  • June 17 - incision not healing at base of outside ankle; referred to wound care specialist
  • July 9 - saw wound care specialist and started debriding treatment (took this long to get in after finding a doc who took Worker's Comp)

Another important reason for this post is because TODAY is week 10 since the initial surgery, which is the *magic number* when the doc said I could start bearing weight on my ankle. The first 6 weeks were the absolute worst! I got around primarily using a wheelchair and was still in alot of pain (the first 3 weeks were the worst for pain management). The next few weeks I started using crutches and the few days I've ditched the crutches and just use the walking cast. The doc is happy with the progress I've made with flexing my foot (It used to be frozen in a pointed position), it's just that darn wound that won't heal! I think the plan of action right now is to continue the debriding treatment for the next few weeks, and then schedule another surgery to remove the hardware since the bone should be healed by then. Here's a picture I took this morning before I changed my dressing - you can see a screw and part of the plate. The good news is, before I started the treatment is was covered by a scab and lots of dead tissue, and now there's obviously alot of new tissue growth and stimulation going on. I've also updated other photos of the process on my Flickr account for those of you who are curious. Hopefully none of you will ever have to experience this, but it certainly has been an experience. God used this to teach me patience and dependence on Him and not on myself.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

ankle update

I went to the wound care specialist today after many phone calls trying to find one who accepted worker's comp... He removed my scab (which measured 25mmx14mm) and whatever dead tissue he could. Praise God I didn't have any pain and it was a quick procedure! I need to clean, flush out and add a debriding ointment on the wound daily and see him again in 2 weeks, and hopefully we'll see some healthy new tissue growth! Pretty cool - you can actually see one of the screw heads right now - if the wound doesn't heal well, they may have to remove the screw. A total God thing is that this wound care specialist is from Pakistan and in his country he used to be an orthopaedic surgeon, so he's confident that this treatment will work, which means hopefully I will avoid any additional surgery or time-consuming hyperbaric treatment.

Other great news is I've been getting around a little bit without my crutches with my walking cast on; mainly around the house, but it feels so great slowly gain some mobility back! It's been 9 weeks now since the injury. My kids are happy because I can now help with the chores again... umm, maybe I shouldn't take any chances and take it easy until the doc fully clears me. ;)

Monday, July 7, 2008


Jeff's Mom and Sister were in town for the 4th of July and we all enjoyed lunch at Joe's Crab Shack after church. I love those crabcakes and stuffed shrimp!

On the 4th we all had lunch at our hopefully soon-to-be neighbors, where we'll be foster parents at Rio Bend. There's a few snags we've run into with the placement process, so it looks like we won't be moving until August. More on that another time; keep that in your prayers, please!

Friday, June 27, 2008

great blog and giveaway

One of my favorite blogs is 4 Reluctant Entertainers . I discovered it on a while back when Sandy Coughlin had written an article on hospitality, I believe. Sandy is having a giveaway that is not only worth telling you all about, but it also gave me the inspiration to post this to challenge and expose some of you "lurkers" as well. (hey - I'm guilty of that myself). She asks her readers to share what their biggest entertaining challenge is. I love the suggestions she offers, but ESPECIALLY this one: Invite at least one couple over who needs fellowship! You don’t know how, by inviting them, you can bless and encourage them! We all know someone at our church, office, Ladies' Bible Study group, school, etc. who is desperately seeking someone's attention - why not you?

Hospitality has always come easy to my family. Maybe because of my hispanic upbringing - ever see the movie Fools Rush In, or my Big Fat Greek Wedding? That's how big some of my family gatherings were growing up. Jeff and I love having people over for dinner and love to be invited to a friend's home, but it seems like people just don't do that very often anymore. The timing of this topic is perfect as well because our church, The Sanctuary Fellowship is kicking off an event called "The Dinner Table" to provide the opportunity for our church family to get better connected with each other.

I'm also having a little giveaway of my own - I bought these adorable little placecard holders at a country store near Lake Livingston. I have a variety of cards to switch out to accomodate your menu, but standard business cards fit as well. If you would like a chance to win them, please leave a comment by Monday, June 30th, 5 pm (CST). I'd also love to have some of you over for dinner and conversation, or maybe a Wii game night! Let me know if you're interested!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

ankle update

I saw the doctor this morning for what I hoped would be good news and I could begin physical therapy. It's been 7 weeks since my injury and initial surgery. Dr. Orth's preference is to not bear any weight for 10 weeks, so I've been trying to prepare for that timeline.

The doc is not happy with the progress of my incision healing. A week ago he said he wanted me to contact a wound care specialist to consider hyperbaric therapy to stimulate new cell growth. When I think of hyperbaric treatment, I think of scuba diving and large, room-sized chambers providing oxygen therapy. This technology has come a long way and is a common treatment used with treatment of wounds, especially in diabetics(which I am not) and amputees. Another possible treatment is a muscle flap transfer where they would remove part of my calf muscle and transfer it to the wound. I'm waiting to hear back from the doctor after he consults with the specialists. Basically, if you were to remove the large scab that still lingers on the outside of my ankle, you'd see the metal plate... I know, yuck! There's just not enough tissue there to work with...

In the meantime, I have orders to continue working on my foot, getting it to flex even more. The doc assures me it's in my best interest to work out it myself vs. going straight to PT, since they will not be as gentle. The good news is, that my pain is minimal and I'm grateful for that!

I have accepted the fact that my ankle may never be the same again, but I am hopeful that I will be able to walk without aid soon. I'm also determined to stop whining about it as well!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A Glimpse

I spent part of the morning and early afternoon yesterday with my good friend, Dede, who's a foster parent. Dede and her husband have one grown son living on his own and one 10 year old son who's currently away at camp, but this was by no means a week of rest for her. She currently has 3 foster kids, ages 2, 4 and 6 and is expecting another later this fall when the mom delivers the baby. When I got to her home, she also had 2 foster kids from across the street over to play, ages 3 and 8. Talk about a hectic house! I spent time with her at home, during play time, lunch, and then swimming at the community pool. I brought my own 9 year old and his friend as well, and everyone had fun!

I know fostering will be challenging and sometimes tiring, but I also know it will be rewarding knowing that I am investing in the lives of children who have no one that puts their best interests first. I'm praying for those God will be putting in our care soon, because they are already out there - I pray that they are protected and kept safe in the hands of their current caregivers. It's overwhelming to think about how some kids live and are (not) cared for. I know we live in an evil world and it's to be expected when so many are lost, but it breaks my heart how so many children have to live.

I also struggle at times with how overwhelming it might be in the future and do I really know what we're getting into? It would definitely be more comfortable to keep things the way they are. I'm trusting the Lord to direct our paths in this new season of our lives.

"Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth." 1 John 3:18

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

our road to fostering

We're back on track on our process to become foster parents! We began the application process back in April but got off track when I broke my ankle, but things are moving along now. All that we're lacking on our part is our CPR/First Aid training (will do next week) and then a few days of training and a home study from the case manager.

We are so ready - we feel like we've been preparing for this for years- Jeff's Grandma lived with us for almost 9 years and I can now appreciate the lessons the Lord taught me through that season of our lives. We've learned the importance of hospitality, serving others and most importantly, of being obedient to this command:

Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world. James 1:27

Our home has usually been the house that the neighborhood kids hang out in and the parents trust them to be in - we even moved about a year ago and we have a previous neighbor (teenage boy) who rides his bike 2 miles just to hang out and play video games. Our children have learned patience, putting others before yourself, and the importance of being kind to others.

As we get closer to this reality, we are getting exited about what God has in store for our family. We know it won't be easy - but we're ready!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Something's Not Right...

All you have to do is look at the picture to see that something's not right with my leg just below the knee. I told the doctor about it a few weeks ago and he even x-rayed both legs to compare, but he said it looked fine in the x-ray. I think this may be the source of some continued pain & discomfort (although I'm not off of pain meds long enough to find out). I'll bring it up again at my visit today, but I thought I'd see if you all see what's obvious to me?

UPDATE 6/6: The results of the MRI showed a lot of bruising on the bones (I didn’t know bones can get bruised!), but no dislocation of the Fibula (the smaller outside bone on the lower leg). There may be some shifting of the Tibia, so I’m scheduled to take yet another CT Scan to clarify. Doc was concerned of the lack of ability to flex my foot so it’s not in a “pointed” position, so no physical therapy. I will be slowly working daily on getting my foot flat myself. I’m to wear my heavy, uncomfortable boot cast every day all day. If I’m unable to get my foot flat within the next 10 days, then the doc will have to do it and put a hard cast on it when my incision is healed.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

on the lighter side...

I'm feeling much better (i.e., I'm taking my meds regularly) and not feeling so sorry for myself today, so I thought I'd share some funny stories related to my injury...

Yesterday I had a CT Scan of my chest to be sure I didn't have any blood clots following my surgery. This was a concern since I was having some difficulty breathing the day before. As I was on the table laying with my arms above my head, ready to start the scan the nurse was giving me instructions on what I would be feeling at the IV (for a contrast scan) site. She said you're going to get a warm sensation over your entire body, then a metallic taste, then you're going to have the sensation like your uriniating in your pants. WHAT??? I had to stay still, of course, so when I was done the first thing I asked the nurse was "okay, so does that mean that I..... ???" She assured me that I didn't and everyone asks (and checks themselves), but it was the weirdest feeling. It made me think about Christina and her current task of potty training Emma.

Another cute story is Thursday last week, Andrew fell at recess and twisted his ankle. He was still able to ride his bike home, but because the boy has no tolerance to pain whatsoever, he was limping and complaining of pain. (Of course, this is not the funny part, keep reading...). Anyway, if you have been to the hospital or dr's office lately, you may be familiar with the "pain chart" so you can communicate the level of pain you're in.

I decided to ask Andrew to tell me on a scale of a 1-10 how much pain was he in, and he told me a 10. That meant we had to give him some extra TLC and let him lay in bed with an ice pack on his ankle. The next day I let him stay home with me to stay off his foot and so he could be my "helper". I told him I was unable to do much for him, and he said, "that's okay, my pain level is now down to a 7". Too cute! He's all better now, it only hurts when we remind him of it. Praise God for protecting my babies!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A Step Forward, then Back...

Some of you may know that the doc here had a concern that part of my surgery would have to be corrected, he wasn't happy with the x-ray and how part of my ankle was set. He sent me for a CT scan, which, turned out, couldn't be read due to an error on the hospital's part. What he DID find was that I was getting a nasty infection in the surgical site on the left part of my ankle. It was pretty nasty - I will spare the details, but I've got pics for those morbidly curious ones out there. I was admitted into the Sugar Land Surgical Hospital on Friday for surgery that day. The doc re-opened the wound and removed some infected tissue and put me on some powerful IV antibiotics over the weekend. I was discharged Monday, late morning and am now on some oral antibiotics for the next few weeks. Today I go back to the doc so he can change the dressing and check on the progress.

Needless to say, the progress I had made on managing my pain and getting around is back near square one. It's not as bad as week one, but it's definitely harder than week 2. The antibiotics are causing extreme nausea and lightheadedness so I'm very limited in my mobility.

The GREAT news is during surgery on Friday he used a Fluoroscan on the initial area of concern and he said it does NOT appear that he will have to correct that surgery. What a praise! I currently have one metal plate with a total of 9 screws holding together what's left of my left ankle. No doubt I'll have a pretty nasty scar when it's all healed, but I'm grateful for this good news.

Please continue praying for healing so I can continue getting back to "normal" - whatever that may be.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Independence and Humility

The past week has given me the opportunity for much reflection. I have always kinda prided myself on being independent and strong. I think I've always had a high tolerance to pain, but, my word - this is unbelievable. I'm also upset that I did something that could have been avoided and hate that it not only affects me but others around me. My family is being great. Jeff is being so sweet and doing everything for me possible and is watching out to be sure I don't push myself too much. Christina has been a huge blessing in letting people know and arranging meals - we had no idea what a help and blessing that would be! I've had some sweet friends bring a meal or stop in to make sure I'm not all alone all day while Jeff's working.

One perspective this has given me is that while MY life has halted to a stop and is now rotating around this injury, life for everyone else continues. This has really showed me how I should have or can be a better friend to others, or to call and visit those I say I will and not let time pass by so quickly. This really isn't just about me, but as a body of Believers, when we say we care about or love someone, what are we doing to exhibit that to that person? It could be something as small as an email or phone call to let someone know you're thinking about or praying for them. I have been far too guilty in getting busy and caught up in life to be there when others needed me.

I plan on using this time wisely with the Lord's direction. I hope you all see each day as an opportunity to call that friend or family member who needs you, whether you think so or not. Ask God to put these people on your heart and make yourself available to hear Him.

A friend recently included Proverbs 3:5-6 in a card. Although I was familiar with the passage:
5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.
6 In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.

I was not as familiar with verse 8 which reads: 8 It will be healing to your body And refreshment to your bones.

What a wonderful Word! I needed that and hope you find comfort in His promises today. Have a wonderful God Blessed Day!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Home Run!

These past few days have been interesting to say the least...I was away at a staff retreat at a private ranch about 3 hours north of Houston and had made arrangements so Jeff can get all his finals and experiments done but still be available for the kids since I would be out all week.

The retreat was amazing as usual - my Apartment Life family is incredible, it's hard to explain the amount of love you feel when we're together in fellowship and prayer. Our second day started out with a devotion time and some quiet time, then we were instructed to change into clothes that we wouldn't mind getting dirty (hmmm...wonder why?). It had been raining off and on, so we knew things could get messy. We were all separated into teams with 6 in each group. We were instructed to designate a team captain, so we assigned Mike, an AD from Atlanta as our leader. We were the "red" team and chose the name "Hell, Fire and Brimstone" or HFB for short. The game was "the Amazing Race", modeled after the tv show. I don't think I've ever watched the show, but we were given very specific instructions on how to complete the 12 challenges. The 12th challenge was wiffle ball, where 2 players played, instructed to hit a home run and slide into home. I pitched for Mike, then it was my turn... I hit a "home run" on my first try and started running around the bases. It was fun, everyone was cheering me on, then came the sliding into home base part... wasn't sure how to do it since I don't usually play baseball or are very athletic... as soon as my left foot hit the ground everyone heard a loud "snap" and we knew something was wrong. I tried lifting my leg, but my foot flopped over, so we knew I was in trouble. One group on a golf cart immediately headed to the house (1/2 a mile away) to call an ambulance and my team stayed behind to pray for me. It hurt, but it wasn't unbearable. As we were waiting, I told the team that I wanted to finish since we were so close. In order to finish, we all as a team needed to go back thru the front door of the house. So Mike picked me up and carried me to the golf cart, and carried me into the house and onto the couch until the ambulance arrived. Everyone was so concerned and tried to help as much a possible. Richard had some others lay hands on me and pray for healing - I had such a sense of peace during this time. The ambulance came and took me to the East Texas Medical Center in Athens, TX. The ER was pretty busy, but they gave me good care. Wes & Tammi stayed with me until I got settled into my own room, and they made sure I wasn't alone while in the hospital. I was given the option of being transported to Houston so I would be close to my family and have surgery here, but it didn't make sense since I could probaly get it taken care of quicker in Athens. Plus, my mom-in-law was planning to come to visit anyway that weekend, so we arranged it so she could pick me up and bring me home so Jeff would not have to come up to Athens.

The x-rays confirmed that this was a bad break that would require surgery. I had displaced Trimalleolar Fractures and would have surgery first thing the next morning (Thursday). The surgery went well, and was told that I could be discharged once PT assessed me and okay'd me to go. After some pretty painful dressing changes and practice steps, I was READY to come home. Praise God that I had NO PAIN on the drive home - Karen had me sitting in the back seat with my leg extended and propped up. My family was waiting for our arrival and have been so helpful and sweet.

I will know more when I find a doctor for follow up this week - I'm in a walking boot with an air cast and will require daily exercises to help the healing process. It's still awkward and we're working on the logistics of how I can comfortably get around with minimal help.

Oh yeah - the Red Team won! Now, my first reaction was, "yeah, right" and I thought they were just taking pity on me. But even though we were the 2nd to the last team to physically finish the game, we had the most points because we followed the instructions well. The prize for the winning team was a $25 gift card to each of the 6 players and a floating trophy for us to share. When the winning team was announced after the tallying of the points, each of my red team members handed their card back so I can have it. From what I understand, it was an emotional moment. Tina & Stan brought me the home plate with everyone's get well wishes on it. There's also a photo of me sliding into home from what I understand, so we can make a nice mounted display so I won't ever forget what happened, even though the steel plate and screws in my ankle will be enough to remember this forever.

I just wanted you all to know that I love you guys and couldn't ask for a better team to be a part of! And I mean the entire Apartment Life family when I say that! This year we all celebrated the 5th year in a row for winning the "Best Christian Workplace" in the Parachurch/Missions category. Thank you for letting me part of your team!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Stepping Out of the Boat

With the prospect of Jeff maybe not going to medical school, we've been praying about "what to do next". Sure, we could be content with the way things are/have been, with my working full-time for a wonderful ministry while Jeff teaches and goes to school, but it seems like we can do so much more. We have some dear friends who have recently moved into a community to become foster parents and from the start this is something I KNEW I needed to be a part of - somehow. We were in the process of applying to be approved respite care workers for a few of the families out there when the conviction was overwhelming that we needed to become foster parents as well. I don't think I've ever had my heart broken as much as it has just thinking about these children without a family.

Please keep us in your prayers as we go through the process to see if this is a good fit for our family. There are a few details that God will work out if this is His will.

"I assure you, when you did it to one of the least of were doing it to me." Matt 25:40

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Drop that Diet Coke!

My husband recently shared this SHOCKING study on Aspartame (by VICTORIA INNESS-BROWN, M.A.) with me and I feel it's too important NOT to share! Aspartame is an artificial sweetner found in Equal, NutraSweet and used in many sugar-free or diet foods.
Please go to to see the full study and more photos.

I know alot of sugar free and diet foods/drinks are now being made with Splenda - this would be a preferred alternative over Aspartame or sugar, unless anyone knows of health concerns regarding its use.
Jeff is always researching the benefits of eating healthy, so I will try to share some more studies in future postings.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

About Me

Inspired by my sis-in-law's blog, here it goes...

What was I doing 10 years ago...
Preparing for Jeff's Grandma to move in with us from California - she was 85, had broken her ankle and could no longer care for herself. I was working part-time as a bookkeeper and had 2 kids. I now have 3 kids and Grandma moved into a nursing home a little over a year ago due to Alzheimer's. This year she turns 95!

On my to-do list today...
it's already been a busy day, but I hope to get one more reminder out to my teams, fold that laundry that's been moved from bed to chair in our room all week, and complete a roman shade. (that's in addition to the normal mommy tasks we all have each night)

Snacks I enjoy...
Chick-Fil-A Brownies and Tea

Things I would do if I was a billionaire...
pray about what to do with it - would definitely include LOTS of giving and mission support. and of course, get rid of our garage sale cars! :)

Three BAD habits...
1. saying what's on my mind too quickly
2. waiting until the last minute to finish something
3. not saying NO enough

Five places I've lived... (most recent on)
1. Sugar Land/Richmond/Missouri City/Houston
2. San Antonio
3. Maryland
4. Iceland
5. Florida

Five Jobs I've had...
1. Area Director for CARES by Apartment Life
2. Seamstress of Custom Draperies
3. Various Administrative Assistant/Executive positions for different industries
4. Bookkeeper
5. Data Processor/Computer Operator in the Navy (worked at NSA, where Jeff & I met!)

Monday, April 7, 2008


I don't know about you, but I have a couple of picky eaters. Most specifically on my mind is my sweet boy who used to love lasagna at one point, but somewhere along the way he now refers it to the food "that makes him throw up". Here are some things he said to get out of eating lasagna: "Isn't it against the law to force someone to do something that they don't want to do" or " It says in the bible you can't force someone to do stuff against their will" or "everyone's tastebuds are unique".

I do have to admit, that I have let my kids dictate their menus in the past by always keeping that emergency bowl of steamed rice (heaven forbid we run out of soy sauce), but we've learned by our mistakes and have been trying to make up for that. We now at least expect them to try whatever it is we are having for dinner, and if they don't like it, they will end up snacking on an apple or banana later. I do admire you young moms that started off right and not giving in - that's really the key, but I know it's not too late, as we are seeing progress.

Good Grief! It's not like I'm forcing him to eat seafood, which, thanks to Finding Nemo, they think "fish are friends, not food". Oh well, we do try to make up for it by ALWAYS having plenty of fruit to snack on, and things like chips, candy and soda are not a regular part of our diets and the kids know that when it is in the house, they can only have it with permission.

Moms - do you have any favorite dishes your kids can't enough of? I'm looking for some new items to try (baked chicken or pork chops are getting a little old).

Thursday, April 3, 2008

List Dwindling

Well, Jeff had a phone interview today with someone at the UT Medical School here in Houston and confirmed what we already knew - unless you have a very high MCAT score of 30+ (45 is perfect) AND a high GPA you really don't have a good chance of getting in. Jeff has worked very hard to maintain a 4.0 GPA, and although he scored better than average on the MCAT, it was not over 30. We're still waiting to hear back on a few schools, but each school pretty much follows the same guidelines, so we're coming to the realization that this might not happen like we thought.

I definitely have mixed feelings about it - the thought of moving somewhere new is exciting, but not knowing if we were going to stay or not has definitely affected some choices we've made and how connected we are to friends and church.

I'll keep ya'll posted if anything new comes up!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Crawfish Boil and Fellowship!

I went to my first ever Crawfish Boil yesterday and LOVED it! I have had crawfish etoufee before and when we lived in Maryland we had blue crabs, but I've heard so much about crawfish boils I was happy to be invited by some dear friends from church. It was so much fun and great fellowship! I highly recommend trying it if you have not yet!

Our Easter weekend included lots of fellowship with friends and family. Jeff and I discussed how we don't entertain as much as we used to but we really miss it and plan on doing more in the future.

If you haven't done so in a while, invite a friend over for lunch or dinner - either someone you'd like to get to know more or an old dear friend. You won't regret it!

Monday, March 3, 2008


Our church had a ladies retreat this past weekend and I really enjoyed the fellowship and getting to know some ladies a little bit more. A few of us "older women" were asked to briefly share some words of wisdom with the younger women as commanded in Titus 2: 3-5.
3 Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good,4 so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.

I usually cringe at the thought of speaking in front of groups, but agreed to do so. Afterwards, I feel like I wasn't clear in the message I was trying to convey, so here it is in a nutshell:

  • Support your husband in his interests. Don't like football or video games? Sitting through a game with him won't kill you and it may increase the chances of him wanting to see that latest chick flick with you!
  • Spend time with your husband without the kids! Date nights are great, even if it's just having coffee.
  • Live within your means! Being in debt is a huge burden and will only add stress to your marriage. If you do not currently have children, you may one day desire to be a stay at home mom. Keep this in mind to prepare for the future.
  • Do you desire to stay home but need to help supplement your family's income? There are options out there - sewing really worked for me and kept me home. If you need some other ideas or if you sew and would like some tips or help getting started, I'd be more than happy to help.

I was telling some friends that I felt like that contestant from South Carolina - saying alot but not making any sense. See below to see that clip just in case you haven't yet. Too funny!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Going, Going, Gone! Gray

About a year ago I decided to make a huge change and stop dyeing my hair. I first started going gray when I was in my mid-twenties; it's a trait that my Mom, 4 brothers and I have received from my Grandpa. It's never been a huge deal until child #3 came and I just couldn't keep up with the new growth every 3 weeks. I've always been pretty low-maintenance and it was killing me to have to spend that much time and money on my hair, only to get an ordinary brown mousy color. I wasn't even sure anymore what my natural color was! The worst part about having so much gray is everyone notices & every glimpse in the mirror or photo showed I was due for another touch-up. (I once had an older pastor ask me how I got that cool silver streak right on my hairline!)

The growing out period was tough - having the multi-color, faded color and huge roots look was difficult. I sometimes used a tinted mousse if I had appointments, but that was a hassle since it rinsed out – not good if it’s raining or if you sweat! I remember once when I was picking up my niece from school she was sitting in the back seat and said “Aunt Chona, what colo is yo haiw?” I was SO grateful when it was finally grown out enough to cut all that old color out!

I’ve never had more compliments about my hair until now! I know going natural is not for everyone – I can tell those who don’t really care for it – they’ll say “oh – you cut your hair!” and avoid the gray issue. That's okay - I've always strived to be transparent and I feel my image authentically reflects who I am. This is who I am and how God has made me.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

(My Attempt to) Going Green!

Trash Day is usually when I realize how much we WASTE and lately I've been convicted to change some bad habits. I wouldn't say I'm going as far as siding with Al Gore on Global Warming, but I think if we all made a few simple changes we could make a big difference. I am not an expert in any way on the following topics, so if you have tips that could benefit us, please share your comments!

  1. Recylce! If you live in the City of Sugar Land, you should have a blue recycling bin provided by the city. If you do not have one, they will bring it to you if you ask! To get more details on what can be included in your recycling, go here:
  2. Composting - you do not need to be a master gardener to know how to compost. I admit, my husband is the one with the green thumb and he refers to me as the angel of death when I get near plants, but it's my job to be sure we don't waste all those fruit and veggie scraps that help keep the compost pile healthy! There's a lot of info out there - I found a great blog that walks you through the basics.
  3. Reuse! It's true - one man's junk is another's treasure! There are many cool places to sell, barter or give away your old stuff, so find a new home for it instead of throwing it away. My favorites are and It's also okay to donate questionable stuff to thrift stores - I'd rather do that than donate it to Second Mile because they get their fair share of junk there, so if you'd rather donate than sell, reserve your best for Second Mile or other area benevolence ministries. The reason I say this is because more than likely, poor people (or bargain shoppers) will go to a thrift store to purchase old board games or books, etc... while these kinds of items take up valuable storage space at the benevolence ministry that could be filled with desperately needed household, linens and baby items.
  4. Stop shopping so much! Come on - how many toys do your kids need anyway? Learn to be content with what you have. If you have the urge and financial resources to shop (not getting into debt to maintain your lifestyle - but that's a different subject), then do it to bless someone else!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Some Window Treatments I Have Made

Orderly Chaos

My sister in law (and my daughter Sarah) are my main inspirations for creating this blog; she really really wanted me to create one, or she threatened to do it herself. For those of you who know us, we do have a few things in common - like having the same sister & mother -in-law, but that's pretty much it.

I'm in a great season of my life right now - my kids are old enough and trained up so they are making good choices and are trustworthy. I love babies, but that season of life is - well, exhausting. I'm blessed to be married to someone who is not only a good husband but a great father, so he was always there to help during those sleepless nights (and still is when the kids get sick or have a nightmare).

Currently Jeff is working hard to try to get into medical school. It's something he's wanted to do for the almost 20 years we've been married. He's really convicted that this will give him skills to use to serve others in a practical way and help people in countries that are closed off to Christians. He is currently a full time student at UHV-Sugar Land, taking his classes at night and substitute teaching during the day. This year is our last attempt to get into med school - we're waiting to hear back from a few out of state schools and should know by this Spring, hopefully.

These past few years God has really taught me alot about contentment, patience and priorities. With Jeff in school full time I needed to go back to work full time, and any of you with kids knows what a challenge that can be, especially with one in Elementary, Middle and High School. I have the incredible blessing to work for an organization that allows me to work primarily from home, and most of my time out in the field can be scheduled when the kids are in school.

God is so good - he prepared us for this season of our lives by teaching us contentment and giving me patience. He blesses our family with all that we need and gives us incredible health. I will try to keep those of you who are interested updated on the med. school process and other topics that have helped me become the person I am.