Tuesday, August 28, 2007

100 Things About Me

1. I enjoyed reading other people's "100 Things About Me", so I decided to write my own.
2. I love to travel.
3. I have been to over 20 other countries outside the U.S.
4. My favorite place to live was Kenya where I was born. I lived there for 11 years.
5. My favorite place to visit was Italy, especially Venice.
6. I love traveling with Wes, even though I am jealous that he can fall asleep on a plane or anywhere else in a matter of minutes.
7. I love reading, especially Christian romance novels.
8. I love reading children's books to the girls.
9. We go to the library about every 2 weeks and check out 25 books, mainly because I got tired of reading the same books over and over again.
10. My favorite hobby is scrapbooking, and I can't wait until our scrapbooking day at church this Saturday.
11. I enjoy cooking. I don't cook anything too fancy or anything.
12. I like it when Avery and Abby "help" me cook.
13. Wes' cordless drill is my favorite tool. I even put together a 4 drawer filing cabinet with it all by myself.
14. I was a teacher for 3 1/2 years before I had Avery.
15. I miss the relationships with students and teachers, but I do not miss the stress.
16. I like having people in our home.
17. I am a neat freak, just ask my college roommates and Wes. I think I inherited this trait from my mom.
18. Sometimes I feel like I have to have things clean and organized before I start a project or a hobby just to have my mind cleared.
19. I love swimming, especially in the ocean. It is even more fun now that the girls are older.
20. I can't wait to swim in Hawaii on our vacation with Wes' family in the near future.
21. I like to watch movies/TV shows with Wes. He is a great date! He even watches girlie movies with me.
22. I try to work out at my friend's gym 3 times a week. I mostly do step aerobics and a weight lifting class. I have tried to convince Wes to go to a step class with me. Ha!
23. I feel incredibly blessed to get to stay home with my cutie pies. I wouldn't trade these years for anything!
24. I loved attending ACU and miss it.
24. Abilene was a great town to grow up in. I lived there from when I was 11 years old all the way through college.
25. I wouldn't mind living there again someday with Wes and/or I working at ACU.
26. We don't get to go visit Abilene or ACU very much since we have to be back for church on Sundays.
27. In high school I prayed that I would marry a youth minister or missionary. God answered my prayers.
28. I love being married to a youth minister and being involved with youth ministry.
29. My favorite job was when I was a youth intern in Abilene for a year.
30. I get together 3-4 times a year with my close high school/college friends that were in my youth group growing up . What a blessing their friendships are to me!
31. I loved my youth group experiences growing up.
32. I don't get to see Amy (Crittenden) McKissick as much anymore since she and her family are now missionaries in Paraguay. :( Thank goodness for email!
33. I enjoy dressing the girls in cute outfits, especially matching outfits. "Thank you" to my mother-in-law and grandmother-in-law who love to shop and help make this possible.
34. When I was little I loved dressing my dolls up too, so maybe I just haven't grown out of that.
35. I honestly don't know what I would do if we had a boy.
36. I have ridden on a sea-do one occasion and would be thrilled to do it again.
37. In high school and college I went water skiing numerous times and have not been since. I often wonder if would still be able to do it very well.
38. I love to eat grapefruit. I eat a whole one most days, and on some days I eat two.
39. My favorite fruit is pineapple, I just wish they weren't so darn expensive!
40. I like to eat bread or pizza dough. I really usually am a healthy eater - I promise!
41. Lately, I have been eating dough from those Rhodes rolls. They come frozen in a package. You are supposed to let them thaw and rise for a couple of hours before you stick them in the oven. They are delicious cooked too, but try the dough sometime and tell me what you think.
42. I am excited because I just got a call from a lady at church who agreed to watch our kids while some friends and I do our Bible study. Yay! I can't wait to start that up again.
43. We may study the book "Beautiful in God's Eyes" by Elizabeth George, about the Proverbs 31 woman. Let me know if you have another study you have done and would recommend to us.
44. I can sew, but I definitely do not enjoy it.
45. My mom helped me sew some dresses, shirts, and skirts in middle school and high school.
46. Now I just sew simple things like curtains, and I do some mending.
47. I have never had a cavity before.
48. My parents made sure we took good care of our teeth. They even charged us a quarter when we would forget to brush them.
49. I am the youngest of three children.
50. I don't think I was spoiled or the "favorite" which are what the usual stereotypes are of the baby in the family.
51. I was pretty shy until 7th grade or so. My sister was very outgoing. My brother was a talker and the big comedian in our family. Between the two of them, it wasn't easy to get a word in edge wise.
52. I have been on Wilderness Trek 3 times. I would like to go again sometime.
53. I let what people say or think bother me too much.
54. Wes is good at helping me to be less sensitive in this area.
55. Breastfeeding was a lot harder than I thought it would be.
56. I loved the cuddling and nutritional aspect of nursing, but many other aspects were frustrating. All things considered, I would do it again.
57. I love to cuddle with Avery and Abby and have even been known, on occasion, to get them out of bed while they are sleeping to get some snuggle time with them.
58. I have to have my own "space" when I go to sleep.
59. I love getting all warm and cozy underneath all the covers in the winter.
60. I love getting to have fires in our fireplace when it is really cold out.
61. I love the bright, clean look of snow all over the ground.
62. I like to open our windows when it is raining outside.
63. Spring is my favorite season.
64. Seeing all the green grass, trees, and blooming flowers really lifts my spirits.
65. I like planting flowers and small bushes and watching them grow.
66. By the end of the summer I get tired of all the watering that has to take place for #65. Thankfully, we have had a lot of rain this summer.
67. I don't listen to much music.
68. I guess I just like the peace and quiet.
69. I hardly know any of the popular singers or groups.
70. When I do listen to music, I prefer Christian music.
71. When I am in the car alone for a long period of time I like to pray during that rare quiet and peaceful time.
73. When the girls are in the car, I usually get to listen to their DVD's that are playing.
74. When Wes drives us all, I like to read a book or magazine.
75. I absolutely love Chinese food.
76. I usually have steamed rice and sesame chicken. Yum-o!
77. Yes, I like to watch Rachael Ray (hence the "yum-o" comment).
78. My favorite fast food restaurant is Chick-fil-A.
79. This is followed closely by Taco Bueno, where I usually order their delicious bean burritos.
80. My favorite dessert is Oreo Goodie which has has Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla ice cream, Oreo cookies, whipped cream, hot fudge topping, and caramel topping.
81. I don't make this very much because it is too much of a temptation.
82. I have started working a little for my Dad. I edit his stories and articles that he writes.
83. Some of you might find that hard to believe since my own writing isn't the best. But, when I put my mind to it, all those rules come back to me.
84. I can speak some Swahili and Kipsigis from living in Kenya.
85. I dislike dusting. I like to use Pledge wipes when I do dust which makes it a little more bearable.
86. I dislike blow drying my hair. I get so hot! I would much rather take a shower at night just to avoid having to blow dry my hair.
87. Some people say I am a "tight wad", but I have actually saved our family a lot of money.
88. I like playing games with my family like Candy Land, Hungry Hippos, Matching Cards, or Don't Break the Ice.
89. When I was in high school, I took a a few classes at ACU.
90. During that time, my friend, who was also in high school, and I came in second at a spades tournament at ACU. We won dinner for 4 at a nice restaurant in downtown Abilene.
91. The winners cheated. Seriously, we tried to call them on it, but they were after all Seniors at ACU and we were still in high school. What can you do?
92. I graduated with a whopping 24 students from Abilene Christian High School.
93. My heroes are Jesus, and my mom and dad.
94. I miss my mom! It is hard to believe that it has been over a year since she passed away.
95. This was the summer that her and dad were going to move from Benin to this area to be close to us.
96. They had been missionaries in Benin for 9 years, so I was really looking forward to being with them more often.
97 My mom taught me countless things about God, raising a family, living for God, and life in general.
98. It makes me sad to think that she isn't here to pass on her wisdom to my girls.
99. I know she is having a ball right now in Heaven, but I am sad that I can't be with her right now.

Here are some pictures of the girls that Wes' mom had taken while we were in Mexico.
They are a little blurry since they are pictures of pictures.

Oops! I caught the reflection in Abby's picture.

Monday, August 27, 2007


My good friend, Henriann, who also happens to be our minister's wife invited me and some other ladies on a trip to her father's condo on Padre Island. We flew down there together and spent 4 nights and 5 days RELAXING! It was so wonderful to talk, laugh, read, swim in the pool, swim in the ocean, eat out, watch girlie movies, and talk some more. We didn't have any children, husbands, or responsibilities to distract us.

Three of the ladies that went were Henriann's roommates from ACU. It was fun to listen to them reminisce about their college days. Their stories sounded a lot like my roommates and I in college.

I truly enjoyed getting to know everyone better, and I can honestly say I learned a lot from them. What a blessing it is to have strong Christian role models as friends in my life. Thanks for a marvelous time girls, and a special thanks to Henriann who invited us!

Henriann, Karlisa, Tina, Kristie, Liz and me.

A view of our condo from the beach.

A view of the beach from our balcony. The water was so clear and calm. We saw fish swimming around every time we got in. A couple of the girls saw sting rays. I am glad I wasn't out there then.

We all decided to get toe rings. They fitted them to our toes and everything (using Windex of all things). They are so much more comfortable than the clamp kind you find at most stores. We didn't tell any of our husbands and then told each other how long it took for them to notice. Wes noticed with in an hour of when we got home. Avery wanted to know why I had a ring on my toe! Henriann's husband, Todd, our minister who Wes loves working with, took 6 days to notice. Ha!

At a delicious sea food restaurant!

Monday, August 20, 2007

A Life Changing Experience



At the beginning of this month I went with our youth group and several adults to Casa de la Esperanza. Just to give you an idea where we were I have included a description from their website.

Casa de la Esperanza is a Christian orphanage with a beautiful story. It was founded in 1988. Its purpose was to care for orphaned, abandoned, and abused children as well as children whose parents can not care for them. The home is located in Anahuac, Chihuahua, Mexico. Casa is situated on eighty acres in the beautiful Sierra Madre Mountains.

Casa de la Esperanza literally translated means "house of hope" and that is exactly what it is for many children in Northern Mexico. Casa has developed into and become a safe haven for many of God's beautiful children. The first day a child arrives at Casa, they are generally hungry, tired, and scared. The scene is a sad and yet hopeful one. After those first few days, the child can be seen playing, smiling, and learning about many things. An undernourished and abused child without hope, in time becomes a healthy, active and loving part of our family. They become accustomed to daily routines such as meals and brushing their teeth. They encounter a caring staff including several American missionaries. The child finds a clean and safe environment where they begin to feel comfortable.

I have put off writing this blog mainly because words cannot express my life changing experience there. I have been on most of the high school mission trips that we have every summer, but none have touched me the way this trip did. Even now, tears come to my eyes as I think about the precious children at the orphanage and the experiences I had with them there.

Our group spent the mornings there working on projects around the orphanage compound such as painting, building a fence, doing some demolition work, and electrical work. I helped one of our elders, who is a dentist, provide dental care for each orphan. We screened each child (there are about 65 children there). We were able to pull 7 teeth, fill 14 cavities, and do about 4 thorough cleanings. When I say "we" Don Skelton, the dentist, did most of the work. Two other people and I assisted by handing him tools, taking notes on what we found, cleaning the tools, and we provided comfort for the scared children. We attempted to do all this while we faced a huge language barrier. Slowly my two years of high school Spanish came back to me. We knew some important words like "pain", "open your mouth", and "very good". It was priceless to see the children crowded around us watching what we were doing with each "patient" as well as comforting their friends.

In the afternoons we got to spend time with the orphans. We played basketball, soccer, jump rope, and I taught them a hand game I learned in high school. It was so much fun just watching our teens interact with the children. I will never forget looking over and seeing some of our girls digging in the sand with some of the younger ones or looking around during church and seeing our guys with little boys asleep in their laps.

Every evening we had a devotional with the orphans, which is something they do every day. We sang both English and Spanish songs while holding the sweet little children in our lap. The older girls at the orphanage loved to play with our hair, so they often sat behind us and fixed our hair during the devo. (Girls are so good at multi-tasking!)

Listening to several stories about why certain orphans were brought there just broke my heart. God has truly blessed my family. He has given us more than we need, and I can't help but remember Luke 12:48 "From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked." It really hit me during our Sunday worship service there. A little 6 year old girl, Amanda, had crawled in my lap and soon fell fast asleep. As I held her I felt like God was really tugging on my heart. I turned to Wes during the service with tears in my eyes and whispered, "I want to adopt her". Then I couldn't stop the tears. For about 4 days following the trip I cried every day. I am not sure exactly why, to be honest. I just couldn't seem to get those children's faces and personal stories out of my mind. I don't know if God is calling us to adopt or what. Wes and I are definitely open to this, and have been in prayer about it. Coming back home to the girls helped me remember that I do still have my hands quite full raising a 4 and 2 year old, but I am definitely going to leave my heart open to adopting in the future, and if certain doors were to open now, I would even consider adopting now.

Here is a song that Wes and our intern, Matt Porter, wrote about Casa de la Esperanza. It is actually on one of Matt's CD's.

Alone and unwanted, she's never known love
A young girl arrives with less than enough
Not enough "sweet dreams" or tuck ins late at night
Not enough "I love yous" as they turn out the lights

She's taken from abuse, she's taken from the streets
Taken from a world that never met her needs
She walks thru the door with tears in her eyes
Could this be the place to rebuild her broken life?

(She's helpless... She's hopeless)
But in this House of Hope she's beautiful
And in this Place of Peace she's loved
She'll find One Hope, she'll find One God
She'll find painted nails and fairy tales and more than those "sweet dreams" could every bring.

And here stands a father with a working man's life.
He once was a Christian but he ran out of time.
Time for his children and time for his wife.
Time for "I love yous" while turning out the lights.
He's missing out on family he's missing so much more.
The fellowship the ministry the things he loved before.
He walks thru those doors for the first time in years.
Returns to his old pew, his eyes filled with tears

(He's helpless... He's hopeless)
But in this House of Hope He's whole again
And in this Place of Peace He's loved
He'll find One Hope, He'll find One God
He'll find a healing heart a brand new start and more than those late hours could every bring.
This whole world is fallen (Each of us is lost)
We deserved the crown of thorns (But Jesus paid the cost)
So if we all embrace him (And call upon his name)
We can know the hope he gives and in our hearts he'll reign!

And in his House of Hope we're beautiful
And in his Place of Peace we're loved
We'll find One Hope, we'll find One God
We'll find streets of gold, the young and old and more than this lost world could ever bring.

Like I wrote earlier, I can't put into words how this trip impacted me or how I am feeling, but I did want to share something.

Sweet Amanda who won our hearts!

Wes and Amarani posing for a silly picture during a carnival we held.

These beautiful girls got their teeth pulled.
You will notice Irene, who is beside me, is not too happy with us.
She forgave us later and was back to her happy self.

Dr. Don Skelton hard at work with the help of Karen.

The cute toddlers eating their dinner.

Show us your guns, boys!

Wes teasing some girls! He really remembered
his Spanish and could talk pretty well with the kids.
I was very impressed!

Our whole group in front of the bus we chartered from El Paso to Casa de la Esperanza.