Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Don't call the Helicopter!

Last week in small group we planned for an intimate time of worship. Johnny and I set up candles around our living room and closed all our window blinds in order to make it a little dimmer in the house. We wanted everything to run smoothly. In order for our time of solitude and silence to work we needed to come up with an idea for our kiddos. We normally have anywhere from 4 to 6 kids over during group and provide a sitter to play and keep them busy while we meet in the other room. Well on this night we decided to set up shop for them outside in the backyard since it gets dark later in the evening. We set up Ati's bounce house, a picnic table with colors and coloring books, toys, balls you name it so they wouldn't get bored. We made sure the kids went to the bathroom before we started and even told the sitter not to come in the house as we wanted the ambiance very quiet and reverent.

Everything was in place and in order. It was great! Until....

We had been about 12 mins. in complete silence. We had every adult spread out all over the house with a quiet space to have quiet time in prayer and in The Word before we joined for some music. I can only speak for myself but I was totally focused once I got settled and started praying and reading. I had picked a quiet space in my bedroom right next to the window that faces our backyard. Those blinds were also closed of course so I couldn't see what was going on in the back. I remember sometime during my reading I heard a flying helicopter off in the distance,that was no big deal. Flying helicopters are normal occurances of course. As time passes the helicopter chopper sounds get closer and closer and eventually sounds like it's literally gonna land right on top of our house. It's so loud at this point that no matter how hard I try to stay focused I can't help but feel like I'am at a war somewhere needing to find cover.At this point I get curious and look through my blinds. This is the scene.

In the open field right over our fence a Life Flight Helicopter was only a couple of feet from touching ground. All the toys are flying all over the place, the bounce house is too weak to stay afloat amidst the chopper's wings. Our children are running across the backyard looking for cover and protection.And so they run with all their might to their saving grace, their babysitter. All the kids are huddled around this 17 year old whose long hair is uncontrollable with the hurricane force winds.I remember seeing Atianna's face was filled with horror like her whole little world was just about to come tumbeling down.I don't think I had ever seen her run so fast and look so scared like she did then. At this point some of the adults go outside to check things out and make sure everything was okay. I'am sure the kids were filled with questions, including Ati.

Well, a week has passed by and I must say the experience left quite an impression on her 3yr. old little self. She learned the reason that the helicopter landed right over our fence was because someone had gotten really hurt and needed to get to the hospital very quickly. Now I must confess that Ati is prone to bumps,bruises,scratches because even though she is a very girly girl she enjoys being active and actually is pretty good at holding her own with the boys. She keeps up pretty well,and has the bruises and scars to prove it. So her little mishaps are a normal part of our days; they come and go without even a whimper. BUT, ever since the helicopter incident her little bumps,falls,even my inquiries about the origins of her mosquito bites,rashes, anything under the sun is followed by a worried look and a sincere plead to not call the helicopter to come get her. It was funny at first ya'll but now I'am wondering if she's gonna need some counseling.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

09' Summer Camp-Durango,CO.

A couple of months ago I started serving in the youth ministry of my church. I am so lucky and blessed to be able to do this alongside my great friend Genni. Together we serve as small group leaders for freshman and sophmore girls that are in high school. We will be with these girls all the way until their senior year. It has been an awesome experience to get to know these girls and be a part of their lives in order to encourage and support them spiritually,emotionally, and even physically through their high school years. For me it was a period of time where I had the most temptation and had multiple forks in the road in which I had to decide which one to take. I wish I had a mentor or someone older who had been there and done that to hold my hand through those years. Genni and I hope to be that kind of encouragement to these girls.

Last week we got the opportunity to join these great group of kids to summer camp in the wonderful state of Colorado. We all crammed into two vans and a Tahoe and trekked our way to Durango, CO. The road trip was full of belly laughs, long naps, and great stories were shared all around. During the trip I learned some great vocabulary that made me realize how old I really am. But hanging out with these girls and guys for a week I feel I am caught up on all the young lingo! For example, I learned that "epic" is the new word for "cool". The mountains were so epic. And if something is not cool, then it's an epic fail. Also, "beast" is the new word to describe someone who is good at something. For example, if your good at rock climbing your a beast or your beastin'. So if anyone in our group excelled at any one of our activities they were automatically entitled as beasts. Those are the only two words that come to mind, but I definetly feel prepared for the new school year. I'am gonna be the coolest teacher! That's how I roll yo!

The week was full of daily activities. On Day 1 we rock climbed and rappeled down cliffs. These were no man made rocks let me tell you! Day 2 we hiked up and down a mountain that felt like it lasted all day! It really was about an 8hr. hike. No joke. One of our girls even got altitude sickness while being up there. Before the hike we were told that even old people could do this particular hike which made us comfortable. We even saw old people during the hike! Then, when we finally finished the climb down they told us that it was the most challenging hike they had available. SAY WHAT?!?! They failed to tell us that part in the beginning. Who cares if old people can do the hike? We're from Houston and no where used to that kind of exertion on such low levels of oxygen. I love to hike, but this particular hike wiped me out. I will have to think twice next time I think about hiking again. I know what questions to ask for next time. The kind of people who hike it will not be one of them and I'am not even old. On the last day we white water rafted. Unfortunatly, I have no pictures of that adventure as they warned us that all of our possessions would get wet. :(

We had a great time! We saw God displayed in his great creation and he became so evident in the work he was doing in the hearts of the kids and even in ourselves. I was so humbled and blessed to be able to witness and be involved in one of our girls come to Christ! Her hunger for the Lord was so evident! I loved it! That was one of the many highlights of the trip. I personally experienced Christ that week just being in his presence up in those mountains. You can't but just be in awe of his wonderful masterpiece. And feel so blessed that the God of all creation, the one who created those beautiful mountains and took the time to put so much detail in the gorgeous flowers considers little me as his daughter. He loves us so much he sent his Son to die on the cross. He made this land for us! Those things don't even compare to the kind of love he has for us!

Thanks to all the girls who came with us to camp this year! Thanks for opening up to us and allowing us to be a part of your lives. I've got so many pics to share! Most of them are from the hike because when your hiking and climbing for 8hrs. you have nothing else to do but talk to God and those around you and try to catch your breath and enjoy the scenery and take pictures in awe. The songs I chose to accompany the slide show I thought were very fitting. Enjoy! I'am off to continue to catch up on sleep and let my body heal from all the workout our trip involved. The combination of no sleep and long hours of daily exertion has got be on hibernation mode in my quiet bed!

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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

July 4th Camping Trip

This July 4th we went camping with a group of friends and family. We went to Jellystone's Yogi Bear Park in Waller which is not too far from Houston. We enjoyed our time there! The park is family friendly as they keep the days filled with activities for the kids to keep busy. Since it was July 4th they had extra special activities planned which included Kareoke and a Fourth of July parade in which the kids could participate in. We were undoubtedly met with some record high temperatures during our stay there but made sure to keep cool in the pool and splash water park. When not at the pool we had to hunker down somewhere where there was air conditioning and wait until the sun decided to set to come out and deem it safe and clear from heat stroke conditions .

Overall, we had a great time camping with our group of friends and family for this Fourth of July weekend. We have been discussing doing it again and making it an annual tradition. But will have to rethink about time of year and a non-holiday weekend as the park was noticeably in high demand for 4th of July. Until next time my camping buddies......on cooler conditions that is!! Enjoy our pics!!

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Monday, June 29, 2009

Better to Serve than to be Served

We are part of a small group at our church which meets once a week to do bible study together and overall just learn more about Christ and help each other become better followers of Him. Along with meeting with each other every week we try do a community service project every quarter. In the bible it says "just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." As Christians we are called to be the hands and feet of Christ. So for this reason we implemented our community service projects every quarter.

This quarter we visited the Boy's and Girl's Harbor in LaPorte. This is a quote from their website with a short piece of their mission statement.

"For children who are experiencing family hardship, neglect, abandonment or abuse, the Harbor provides a family environment in a home setting. Through its programs, the Harbor strives to help children learn to overcome self-destructive patterns, break cycles of abuse, develop social skills, learn responsibility, and work towards becoming healthy, happy and productive members of society."

In essence the Harbor is a combination of homes with host families that take in troubled children or who have gone through crisis. Our project leader organized for us to restripe one of thier parking lots. For more info on this great organization please visit their website: http://www.boysandgirlsharbor.org/

It was hot let me tell you! We joked about hiring some help at the local Home Depot but didn't think that's what Jesus had in mind.LOL! Overall, we had a great time and got it accomplished. It felt great! Every time we complete a project it gives us a great sense that can't be described. It just feels good to work together for something good and be able to bless others. It gives whole new meaning to "It's better to serve than to be served!" Take a look at the fruits of our labor! I'll try to post pics of our serving adventure for next quarter!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Cancun Mx. 2009

Johnny and I just got back from an awesome trip to Cancun. Atianna stayed behind with my parents and we set out on a romantic little getaway! We love to travel, but since Atianna was born we have had a little halt on our traveling adventures. Well we dusted off our passports and finally felt ready to leave the nest, even if it was for a short while. We definitely have re energized and refueled ourselves. We spent many a days relaxing with a good mixture of fun activities sprinkled in to keep busy during the day. We had both been to Cancun once before. Crazy thing is we were both there at the same time but never once saw each other while there. We were there for our senior trip celebrating our exit from High School and welcoming ourselves into the real world. We were both traveling with our own group of friends and needless to say never got a chance to explore Cancun during the day. I can't speak for him but during my senior trip my friends and I spent our nights partying like rock stars. Those nights ended in me having to carry my friends back to the hotel room and nursing them back to health the next day. This pattern carried on for the entire week. I remember going out in the mornings by myself to the beach since my girlfriends either spent the night in the bathroom or were still passed out somewhere in the lobby of the hotel. I would venture out my myself and just gaze at the beauty of the ocean and wondering what my life was going to look like after graduation. Those are my memories of Cancun. Eleven years ago!! Wow! So much has changed!

This time we wanted to explore Cancun for the city it is and learn about it's culture and appreciate it's beauty. We did that during the day and just hung up a 'Do Not Disturb' sign on our door once the sun went down. ;) We won't go into any more details on that. But what I will tell you are some of our daytime highlights! It sounds like we did so much but we spaced it out pretty well with our lay outs by the beach and pool.

We visited Xel-Ha. It's kinda like an amusement park but all natural. A river runs through it that meets with the ocean. You can snorkel the whole river and there are cliffs you can jump from throughout the journey. We also rode bikes through the jungle, which had a sidewalk built throughout. There were restaurants all over the park, in which the coolest thing was the entry fee was all inclusive! So free food and drinks all throughout the day! Loved that! Wonder how come our amusement parks haven't adopted that idea?

We also visited Tulum. Which is an archaeological site with Mayan ruins. The neatest thing about this site is that it's right on the ocean. We learned alot about Mayan history which I will be using in the classroom and got great pictures.

Oh, and the most exhilarating and scariest excursion we did was ZipLine! Hanging from a harness on a rope between trees is not my idea of relaxation but we had heard so many good things about it we decided to give it a try. Scary let me tell you. After zipping for about 5 lines you get used to it. We even zipped upside down! Yup! Our legs up in the air and our heads facing the ground miles up in the sky. I so wished we could have taken pictures so I could have proof but something about safety procedures and policy. For whatever reason we weren't allowed to take cameras so as to make our hands free in order to hold on to our harness and brake on the zipline. I almost sneaked my camera in, but figured my life was worth more.

In a nutshell we had an awesome time! We do come back with a message for you! Everyone we met down there who was a local asked us to come back and tell everyone that there is NO SWINEFLU IN CANCUN!! This so called epidemic has affected tourism greatly there and their local economy is in great jeopardy. While we were there the whole island was nearly empty. The hotels and resorts were practically close to empty and some were even closed down temporarily due to tourism being so low. Needless to say we were treated like royalty. We managed to get an upgrade to our room for a very nominal fee that went towards the hotel clerk and her family I'am sure as she only took cash after our negotiating tactics. We managed to also get free breakfast during our stay there. hmmm...it was so good. Overall, our trip was a steal and great bargain! They are trying to stimulate tourism in Cancun and are offering great deals to travel there. That's how we got to go. Our cost for 4.5 star resort including flight for a week was just about $750 for the two of us!!

Interesting thing is not once did we see people with face masks on. Actually the only ones wearing them were employees who were in direct contact with food. Like cooks and such. We don't even see that here in the U.S!

Enjoy our photo album! You can click on each picture to maximize for better viewing.

Click to play this Smilebox photobook: Cancun, MX. 2009
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Saturday, June 13, 2009

Summer Projects!

Summer is here! This is my first year since graduating from college that I actually have a whole summer to enjoy without having to work. Ahhh....it feels great! After the school year was over I promised myself that this summer would be a productive one. I didn't want it to just go by with nothing to show for it. So needless to say I made myself a list of things that I've always wanted to do but just didn't have the time for or just made excuses for. I've already crossed one project off my list and it feels great! This little endeavor of mine was one that had been getting on my nerves for a while and I knew it was gonna take alot out of me once I set my mind,body and soul to tackling it.
So this little project felt like a war between me and grime,mildew and mold. Yup, I said mold. Just the word itself makes me just feel sick. I'am embarrased to admit that my shower stall suffered from these pesky watchamacallits. It was so embarrassing that if you would have come over and it just so happen that my guest bathroom was broken and you needed to use the bathroom I would have escorted you to the backyard to handle your business. My master bath was locked with a deadbolt. I know I'am painting a very bad picture, but I KNOW my shower stall is not the only one with this impairment!! After doing research, yes I researched! I found out that this pesky problem is very common in households. I set out to once and for all solve this problem and get rid of it the correct way and do everything possible for it not to ever happen again. My knees can't handle that kind of labor anymore. I learned so much I figured I would share with the you all on my blog!
I remember the last time I had cleaned my shower stall I literally almost fainted or was near death from all the chemical fumes that I produced with my concoctions. I used bleach and whatever else I could find under my kitchen sink that said DANGER on it thinking that it would kill whatever took hold of my shower stall. In my effort to becoming more '"Green" I just had to find out a much better way to handle this situation without having to call the ambulance to come get me and my intoxicated family out of the house. If it was up to me I would have just demolished the whole thing and just take showers in my backyard with a good garden hose. Getting rid of it just seemed to be the perfect solution, but unfortunatly Johnny didn't agree. Whatever.
So, I learned that bleach is not the answer to mold and mildew growing in wet environments such as the shower stall. Apparantly, all that bleach does is change the color of the mold but does not actually kill it. After time it just comes back to it's regular color. I found out that vinegar is the solution. Who knew!! If you did, just spare me. Indulge me for a little bit here.
If the areas that are affected are in the caulking which is where mine was your best bet is to decaulk and then recaulk. This was a process that took several days. I got this nifty little tool from Lowe's that took the blasted caulk off very easily and had to wait a couple of days for it to completely air dry. After that I recaulked and let sit a couple more days to set and dry. I am happy to say that my shower is shiny, happy, and looks like new! Okay, so I'am glad I didn't tear it down.
The most important part of this whole lesson is the secret to avoiding that yucky stuff to ever grow back. My favorite part!! This is what we are doing in our house to keep a happy, shiny, and clean shower stall.
Lesson #1- Mildew and Mold grow in areas that are humid, wet and closed in. The number one trick is to let some air in!! Leave the door open after taking a shower! If I only knew back then what I know now! If you have a window that opens even better! Or just open the blinds to let some sun in to help in the drying process.
Lesson#2- Turn on the bathroom fan when taking a shower. This helps with air circulation.
Lesson#3- While in the shower, after you have washed your hair and body. Take a brush (mine is hanging in the shower stall) pour just a little bit of body wash on it and scrub the corners and sides of your stall and door. This only takes under a minute to do. I timed it, to convince Johnny to do while he is in there. It also helped that I threatened that he would be the one on his knees to clean the stall once I saw one ounce of mold in the stall. He quickly agreed and signed on the dotted line.
Lesson#4- This was not in my research but figured it wouldn't hurt. I bought one of those nifty sprayer machines by Scubber Bubbles that sprays the shower down with cleaning agent after taking a shower. It's supposed to help in the anti-mold dept. Who knows if it's true. But once I run out of that expensive solution that goes in the bottle, guess what I'am going to refill it with? Yup!! Vinegar! The natural Mold killer!! Praise God for vinegar! We spray down only after the last shower of the day.
Seems like a lot, but at the end of the day, I'll do anything at this point to not ever have to do what I did or put up with whatever decided to grow in my shower stall. It's supposed to be a sanctuary for relaxation for goodness sake! Not a breeding ground for spores! Just gives me the shivers just thinking about it. I couldn't go without taking pics of this little adventure. Enjoy!
I'll be posting about some more summer projects later! Until then, we are off to Cancun this week! Just me and my hubby! I will be inspecting the shower/tub at the resort and hope it meets my expectations cause we'll be spending some time enjoying it after our long days on the beach!
All the products I was armed with

I was prepared for battle!



Ati thought this was a some kind of dress up game.



While I cleaned the stall she wanted to help with the sink

Yes, there are more cleaning products than actual body and hair products. But at least I'am protected!




The finished product! Ahhhh, no more off limits!


Sunday, May 31, 2009

I'am a Princess!

Johnny usually shares funny stories about his adventures with Ati during the week while I'am at work. I thought this one was worth sharing. Obviously, Ati is around all things relating to running a limo business since this is what Johnny does at home during the week. You can practically call her his executive assistant. She even knows the names of all the limos in the fleet. She calls each the hummer truck, Xcursion, and black limo. She also knows exactly where they are stored and where to get them washed. It's a regular part of their weekly routine. NEways, this week they had to prepare the cars by taking them to get washed. Johnny pratically has a membership at the car wash and claims that the staff there is teaching him to speak Spanish since I'am obviously not doing a great job at it.
Keep in mind that Ati rides in the way back of the limo in her little toddler car seat, while Johnny is up in the front driving her around like she's little Miss. Daisy. Johnny says he always gets looks from people when he gets her out from the back. If I didn't know any better, I would probably look too. It probably is funny to watch.
So on this particular day as he was taking her out of the limo. A guy who was also a car wash customer said, "Wow! Are you a movie star?" She responded very royally, "Nope, I'am a princess."






Thursday, May 28, 2009

Homework

We found Ati being extremely quiet the other day. We naturally thought she was up to no good so when we checked up on her this is how we found her! She informed us she was doing her homework! The girl is starting early, what can I say? The teacher in me says, "Way to go!!" The mommy in me says, " she's only 3, stay little forever, don't think about homework just yet!"


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Oh no he didn't.....

News Flash. My husband is wacky crazy! The things he says or does sometimes make me just wonder about him sometimes. Nonetheless, he is the one that keeps us laughing every day and can honestly say I never get bored with him around. Ati is a chip off the ole' block. She takes after him. hmmm....I wonder what they think about me?? I just heard of a recent answer Ati gave a family member about my whereabouts the other day. She supposedly answered by saying, "oh, she's at home, reading a book." Hunh? What's that all about? So he's the funny one, and I......the book worm? Whatever.



So for Mother's Day, my sweet husband gave me a Benjamin to go shopping for summer clothes. We have several travel plans this summer and he knew I needed to stack up on some summer attire. I hardly ever visit the mall anymore due to....... well temptation. Fortunatly, you know how I deal with temptation hence facebook getting the boot. Well, after going this past week, the good Lord knows full well why I do the things I must do to avoid temptation because...... I went over my Mother's Day budget. Seriously, you would have too if you would have found out what I did at the mall. It turns out......I am a size bigger. I don't even like that word. Is there another "nicer" word than......bigger? Well, I found out I was. I learned that during the fall and winter my body naturally graduated to the next size in bottoms. This rocked my world. After finding this out it was only reasonable to conclude that ALL my bottoms sitting in my closet just would not do anymore. You just can't cheat the fact that you don't wear that size anymore. It's that plain and simple folks.



Now if I could have just convince my wonderful husband to the fact that once you graduate to the next size everything else in the closet becomes obsolete. There's just no getting around it, I'am afraid. I had to do what I had to do.



In order to convice him further and justify my purchases I insisted to give him a fashion show with my new threads. As I'am walking across the living room floor feeling "bigger" (for lack of a better word) he has the audacity to say, "Well, you at least look up to date now." OH, NO HE DIDN'T! Not only am I bigger? But, now I have been dressing like an old lady?!" Oh, no he didn't just go there?! Yes, he did, let me tell you.



Frankly now, I feel totally fine and justifed about my over budget trip to the mall. The guilt is gone and well honestly I'am glad that at least I'am "up to date" and not just "bigger". I'am officially bigger, better, and even more beautiful according to my dear hubby!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Bu Bye Facebook

I'am back! I know it's been a while since I posted anything on here. I've missed my blog so much! A couple of months ago I gave in to peer pressure and signed up with Facebook. Unfortunatly, my blog has suffered the consequences along with my free time and e-mail inbox. I had the best of intentions not to get "addicted" if that's what you call it. Well, I should have known better and trusted myself more. Let me explain.

Time to me is a precious commodity. One that sometimes I feel I don't have enough of. Doesn't everyone? Well yes. But I have found myself having to make sacrifices to make the best of mine. After a long day of work I look foward to spending time with the family and try to make sure I squeeze some in for the Man upstairs with quiet time. But I realized that since joining facebook I was sacrificing or giving up the wrong things. Those that I care the most about. So I think now is the time for me to sacrifice the right thing. So yes my friends. Facebook has gotta go. It's outta here! But don't fret! My blog which is way more personal and less tempting of my time is here to stay!

I kinda knew it was time for me to say goodbye when Johnny taught Ati to sing "I'am waitiiiiing, for you to play with meeeee, and so I'am waitiiiiiiiing...." as in the theme song from Fireproof. Yes, I could easily just train myself to stop being on the computer at home but it's just much easier to just completely get rid of the temptation. As in out of sight, out of mind.

For all my dear FB friends and groups, it wasn't you. It was me. Trust me, this hurts me more that it does you. I'am a traditional gal. I'd rather go with the good ole' fashion phone call, e-mail, or face to face visit. I'd go for Facetime any day over facebook. ;) So give me a call! Drop me an e-mail or drop a card or letter in the mail! Now talk about going back in time!

Here's to a Cyber 'Friend' trying to go back to the good ole' days of hanging outside in the front yard making new friends, calling friends on the phone, dropping an occasional e-mail and still having time for the things that matter most.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

I Hear You, Loud and Clear!

Throughout my spiritual journey I have always admired those that always spoke of God as if he were a part of their everyday lives. Almost always their conversations included bits about how God told them this and that. Like if he were right next to them at all times and available to talk to at all times. Every decision they made was made with prayer and guidance from the Lord.



Maybe within the last year or so, this is something I have been striving for and working towards. I came to realize how easy it was for me to reach out to him in times of despair or times when my options were exhausted. Why was I only reaching out to him to scream for help! I finally came to a point in my relationship where I was going to be intentional about asking him for guidance or help in making decisions in my everyday life, whether they were decisions that just affected me or the family.


Time after time I have just been in awe of how God has actually responded to my request for guidance or just a sign as to what I should do in a certain situation. Now, I'am not talking about what he thinks I should have for dinner or what outfit I should wear that day. These are decisions that carry a bit more weight. Some have been related to career changes, Johnny's business decisions, financial decisions, so on and so forth. I can honestly say that we heard God's answer EVERY time! It is so true that whatever you ask in his name, you shall receive! I can also say that every decision was the right one. We never regretted any one of them and knew that God wanted us to go in that particular direction.


Well, for the last couple of weeks I have been at a crossroads about something that was going to require God's input. This decision was going to affect me personally and my time with my family. I wanted to be sure that whatever I chose to do was going to be for his glory and with his guidance. Sometimes my time frame is not God's and I have learned to be patient with his response. Sometimes it took weeks, or even months. Well after weeks of prayer and anxiously awaiting for a sign or something to my prayer, It was finally answered tonight!! I think God lives on Hawaiian Time. No hurries, no worries!


I must point out that out of all the times that God has given me input into my decision making it has always been done in different ways. Whether it is a strong impression on my heart that lasts and is leading me to a certain direction, I know that it's my God who is speaking to my heart via the Holy Spirit. If the impression escapes me or it is too loud around me with busyness (still working on this one) for me to hear his whisper he makes himself heard through others that he sends to cross my path.


This was such a moment. My prayer for his guidance was answered tonight! It wasn't some glorious Ah Ha moment where the lights turned off and a beam of light shined on this person. It was just something that I heard someone say related to my dilemma that turned a light on in me. This person had no idea that I had been in prayer regarding the exact same thing they were talking about. I felt the tug in my heart from him that said "My daughter, this message is for you!" Wow!! I stand in awe of his mysterious ways! With confidence I can finally move foward and go in the direction that I feel he has led me to! I'am not doing it by myself but know that he is leading me and holding my hand. Doesn't it feel great to know that and feel confident that your decisions will be blessed and fruitful because you sought him and asked him to join you and live life with him by your side.


Can I get a witness!!!! Ooooooh Yeah!!!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Disciple Now 2009

Johnny and I got invited this past weekend to be a part of a youth event that takes place once a year in an inner city church. The pastor of this church was my youth minister growing up. Yes, I am an inner-city kid. The church where I grew up was a "safe place" for me to be outside of my home. For other kids it was their only safe place, and I remember my youth pastor had to play the role of "Dad" for the majority of us as most of us came from broken homes where a father figure was non existent or just not there. I remember my youth minister showing up at my high school often times where I would run into him in the hallways. I knew he was checking in on his kids, or one of them was in trouble in the office. James Darby, I'll always be grateful to you for allowing us to be your kids and taking us under your wing!


My church was what you would call a multi-cultural church. I often have heard it said that Sunday Mornings is usually one of the most racially segregated times of the week. Well, not at my church it wasn't. You could walk in on any Sunday morning and find people of all different colors, and ethnicity's worshipping together under the same roof. It is such that it has even been recognized among Christian leaders for it's congregational makeup. My pastor even wrote a book about the struggles that our church went through to realize this dream of seeing all people come together to worship under the same roof. It was Awesome! I'am sure this is where my love of gospel music was rooted! ;) I still remember the church's mission statement...."WBC is God's multi-ethnic bridge that draws all people to Jesus Christ, who transforms them from unbelievers to missionaries." Here is a CNN article that highlighted my home church in Houston.

NEways, my then youth minister is now a pastor of a new church. He is carrying the same torch that my home church pastor carried as well! They invited Johnny and I to be a part of their Disciple Now weekend, where teenagers from all walks of life come and spend the entire weekend together in Bible Study, Worship and plain good ole' fun. What's a youth event without that! I had the privilege of leading a group of 8th and 9th grade girls and Johnny had 9th + 10th grade boys. Each group stayed in a host home for the weekend and traveled to and from the church in a van. At church we had large group worship and sermons and then followed the theme up with smaller bible lessons at the host homes. Sprinkled in were fun activities like a city wide scavenger hunt and group service project.

I think we got more out of this weekend that the kids. I saw my young self in most of them. They totally opened themselves up this weekend and allowed the Lord to do a work in them. It was a totally awesome sight to see! We saw so much redemption, forgiveness and repentance. We were so privileged to even be involved in being a part of holding their hands to meet the Lord for the first time! It was so exhilarating to say the least!

The fire they had or caught for Christ this weekend was contagious. And it reminded me that no matter how old we get or are that fire should never grow dim. Now if only I can have their energy! I had lots of catching up on sleep when I got home!

Below is a picture of our whole group and then our smaller group. If your wondering about the club. Well let's just say my group of girls had a few tricks up their sleeve and locked Johnny's boys van's steering wheel during the timed scavenger hunt. Oh yah! Those girls rocked! We got a good head start on them boys! The whole weekend was full of pranks! We'll just keep it at that. I won't say who took the gold for best prank!










Wednesday, February 18, 2009

My Spicy Valentine

Johnny and I usually stay in for Valentines and stay out of the way from all the Valentine crowds at every restaurant. However this year, we had a gift card laying around to go to Capital Grill. (Thanks KD & DD!) I guess we've been saving it for the perfect time to get all dressed up and enjoy a night out on the town. So that's what we did! We made reservations and got all dressed up and enjoyed a nice meal at this fancy place. Ati was spending the night at my mom's so we had the rest of the night to enjoy! We couldn't go home after dinner cause we felt like we had to take advantage of Ati being at my mom's and go do something that we both enjoy so much but don't get the chance to do much anymore. Salsa Dancing! We hit up a local spot and danced the night away. Oh, we had a ball!

My footwork was a bit rusty but I got back in the Groove after listening to that spicy, latin, salsa music. Your body just can't resist! We had so much fun indeed that we decided to sign up for some Salsa Lessons together! I managed to find a place not too far from home and isn't going to break our budget. We can't wait! We're gonna start in March. I think this is gonna be a great way to spice up our date nights as well as meet new people do go dancing with in our area!

I think watching Dancing with the Stars last season got us motivated to finally get off the couch and take up our favorite pass time. Before Ati was born we used to sweat our nights away on the dance floor. I think not only is this gonna spice up our date nights but is considered exercise too! Knock two birds with one stone!

What sort of creative things do you do on your date nights? Please share! Any salsa dancers out there or ones that wanna learn? Forget Dancing with the Stars..... our show is called Dancing with your Spouse!! Let's RRRRRRRUMBA!

Speaking of which I need to clean the dust off my dancing shoes!


Friday, February 13, 2009

For my Mom!

My mom is from Guatemala. A country that is rich in culture and traces of its Mayan background apparant wherever you travel. I remember as a little girl when my grandmother was still alive that my family would travel there quiet often. My mom would visit at least once a year. Back then, we were not fortunate enough to afford plane tickets. So my most memorable part of our trips was loading our truck full of stuff and my sister and I making ourselves a little home on the cab of our extended pickup truck. Literally, I am talking about the little seats in a pickup truck right behind the driver and passenger seats. We would stuff that little area with pillows from the floor to the seats and pretend it was our little bed for the next couple of days. I would lay down on one side and my sister on the other, our bodies laying right next to each other. My feet right by her face and hers by mine. If we wanted to sit up we just got rid of the pillows and put them behind our backs and sat up. There was no more room than that. Now that's a road trip! Not a comfortable one, but we were 8 and 6 yrs. old give or take and didn't know any other form or way of travel. We traveled this way all along the Mexican coast down to Central America to our Mayan destination and our mother's birthplace! I'll never forget those days.


I must admit that my memories of those trips are also ones of awe of a world that I was not a part of or even aware of. At the tender age of 8 I grew to learn that not every one in the world had the same "luxuries" that I had. I didn't have much growing up but I soon realized that I did. At 8 yrs. old I learned that electricity, clean water, kitchen, dirt floor vs. carpet in my home were luxuries that my mother's little village was not accustomed to.


My grandmother passed away several years ago. I have not visited since I was a little girl. My mother really has no more family to go back to. But she still makes a point in traveling to her native country. For the last couple of years I have been giving my mom beef about her travels to Guatemala. I have been telling her she deserves a "real vacation". She's worked her butt off all her life and I wanted to see her enjoy it for once and go somewhere where she's never gone before and explore and just rest and enjoy the rest of the world. Instead of going to her little village to endure the heat, dirty water, and poverty that is everywhere you turn. I wanted her to see the other side of life for once. The good life.


I never really knew what my mom's reasons for traveling to Guatemala were. I really didn't care. All I knew was that she was spending money to go somewhere where she didn't have anymore family left to see when she could be spending it to go somewhere worthwhile and enjoying herself.


Well, my post is to pay homage to what my mom has been doing these last couple of years. She has a heart of Gold and a passion for her people in Guatemala. For the past two Christmases she has been organizing relief help for the people in her little town. It's not much considering that it's a one man show. Really, two since my dad has been helping her. Every Christmas my mom had been asking me for my family's old clothes, shoes, toys anything! I knew she wanted to do something with them and it was Guatemala related but never gave it much thought. Two years ago she traveled during Christmas to Guatemala and delivered wrapped toys to the sick children in the little hospital of her town. This past Christmas she had put together baskets of non-perishable items, dry goods for people who needed them most. Her plan was to be there this past Christmas to deliver them but she couldn't make it. So instead she sent her baskets down there and her friend had video taped the delivery of these baskets so my mom could see the fruits of her labor. My mom shared the video with me and I must say it brought me to tears. My mom was being the hands & feet of Jesus to the people in this village. And she wasn't even there to enjoy the fruit of her labor. I am so proud to call her my mom! I knew I got that trait from somewhere! :) LOL.


NEways, there was a short clip in the video that I thought was too great not to post. Please note this lady's home behind her. It's literally a tin shack located right by the river. They wash clothes in the river, wash dishes there and am sure bathe themselves there also. My heart aches to see the living conditions. Her children in the video know no other life. THIS IS THEIR LIFE.


I know it's in Spanish, but there's one quote that struck me that the recipient of my mom's basket says. In her gratitude she says, "Thank you,even though I don't know you, God does." Wow, how powerful those words are! We all are God's children and are to serve one another. This lady who lives in a whole other country in living circumstances and arrangements that we can't even imagine has the wisdom and knowledge that God is taking care for them. And will send his workers. This is the peace in her heart. I hope you take the time to view the short video clip. If you want more info. about how to participate or just want to donate ANYTHING you can e-mail or leave a comment. My mom would surely appreciate it from the bottom of her heart.


I love you Mom!! Keep doin what your doin! No more beef about your crazy trips from me!

P.S.-It took me FOREVER to figure out how to convert a home made DVD to a program the computer could read and cut. I learned how to cut a video and then posted it! All from a DVD. I never thought I could do it! But alot of time and downloaded programs later, I did it! Iam movin' on up on my technology capabilities! Oh yeah! I'am officially a video editor! My brain was fried in the process, so I think that deserves a nod on the skills section of my resume! ;) hehe

video

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Musings of a 4th Grader

As promised, I have been collecting funny bits from my adventures in the classroom. Not a day goes by that something happens or something is said by my dear students that I have to collect myself from laughing and remind myself that I am their teacher and supposed to be "emotionally controlled" in front of them. Well, I threw that out the door by my 3rd day on the job. Here's for your enjoyment....

#1- We had just had a school-wide spelling bee one morning. Shortly after the spelling bee we returned to our classroom and one of my boys feeling defeated commented "Can they do it in Spanish next time, I'am very sure I would win it." Another boy answered," No, you gotta go to Mexico for that."

#2-We went on a field trip yesterday where we visited the Houston Health Museum. One of the highlights was a 4D movie in which we were going to go through a tour of the body from the inside. The museum employee welcomed us in the theater and proceeded to tell us that we were in the 1st 4D theatre in Texas! The kids were wowed by that. The employee then explained the difference between 3D and 4D. We were going to experience special effects during the film like real smoke, wind and mist during the film! The kids were double wowed! They couldn't wait. The employee then asked if there were any questions and one little boy in the front row raised his hand and asked, "Do I need to hold on to my 3D glasses when the wind blows?"


#3-After my class completed a writing assignment I then had them circle over-rated words on their writing samples. For instance, Happy, Sad, Mad, Run, Like. I was trying to get them to use a Thesaurus to make a word bank of better words to use instead of the overrated ones they tend to use over and over. During this activity of looking for better words I can't tell you how many times I had to answer the question, "Does gay mean happy?" My response to each brave kid to ask was always followed by giggles from the onlookers. I knew that all of their writing compositions going foward were going to have this new word for happy. hmm. I may need to go back to the drawing board on this one.


#4-I always try to incorporate character building with my kids. I understand that manners are not always taught at home so I do my best in the classroom to pour into them and teach and implement the same values that I have at home. I made sure to let them know where I stood in the beginning of the year regarding what my expectations were in the classroom. One of those is bad language. I don't allow ugly words to be used in the class. Even, if they are not considered bad I told them that if I don't allow my daughter to speak that way, I will not allow them to do so either.for example, dumb,stupid,hate, etc. I will treat them as if they are my own children and will have the same high expectations for them as I do my own family. NEways, during read aloud time the other day we met a character in the story who was not a very good boy. He had a very colorful language. Although the book did not have these words written out they were implied with symbols like these @##%$$#. When I read aloud to the kids I just said beeeep, like they do on T.V. so that they would know that he was saying something that was not pretty. I took this as an opportunity to talk them about the peer pressures of friends who may speak this way. We discussed how this can by contagious. In the book they called it cussitis. We talked in class how that can happen and we need to be very careful not to fall for it. I then proceeded to tell them to defend themselves by telling those who speak like that that they need to be better educated so they can think of better words to use instead of stooping low enough to talk ugly. That they needed a better education to be able to expand their vocabulary. I love to think that I'am making little fighters out of my little 4th graders. One's that won't be afraid to stand up to the influences of peer pressure. I remember thinking, whoww, this feels good. I'am giving them something they won't forget. To not be afraid to stand up for themselves. Anyways, after my brave speech and expecting my applause. One of my little girls, who is very mild mannered and one of my best students raised her hand. I point at her expecting her to praise my great advice and maybe even give me an example of when she stood up to someone like I just described. She then says, " I don't think I can tell my mom that, cause I'll probably get grounded." Oooops. So much for great speeches. I remember thinking 'I should sit down now.'



Here are a few pics from our field trip to the Health Museum!





Friday, January 23, 2009

Girls Night Out!

This past week I attended a much needed Girl's Night Out! Some girlfriends and I attended an event hosted by KSBJ and Proverbs 31. The event had a great line up of guest speakers and we were so excited to have a fun night out on the town complete with a limo ride compliments of In Style Limo.

Going along with my blog theme and title. My intentions with this blog is to document our family adventures to share with family and friends but at the same time I plan to share a little of our spiritual journey. This includes sharing some "nuggets of truth" that I feel God has or will reveal to me or us through this journey. I hope you come along for the ride! So here is one of those nuggets!
The Girl's Night Out event was something I was looking forward to for a while. I quickly learned I wasn't the only one. All my peeps felt the same way! This may not be a surprise but don't we all long to be in community with others in some way or fashion? As humans we crave to have friends that we can lean on and share life with. I'am sure God feels the same about us. He longs to be in community with us and for us to make him a part of our everyday lives. For him to be our "Forever Friend". With this said, my question is this. When was the last time that you took the time to appreciate and love on your friends? Just like we have to spend time to love on our spouses, kids, and build great relationships with them. Shouldn't we do the same with friends? I mean we have special days set aside to appreciate those close to us. Like Father's Day, Mother's Day, Valentines, even Boss's Day & Secretary's Day. Is there a Friend's Day? So in leau of this I made it a point to appreciate and let my girlfriends know why they are wonderfully and beautifully made on our Girls Night Out date! Each one of us has wonderful qualities that make us who we are and obviously allows us to have chemistry and connection with those we love. When was the last time you let your friends know what those qualities are that make them great friends? When was the last time you took the time to appreciate them and just love on them?
This is a challenge! Tell your friends why they are so wonderfully and beautifully made! Let's not take each other for granted. Just like wives want to be appreciated by husbands and vice versa, let's do the same for our friends once in a while. Let them know why they are great friends! Wouldn't you want to know what makes you a great friend?
Psalm 139:14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
God tells us that we are fearfully and wonderfully made! Let's make a habit of telling each other that too! Here's to Girlfriends and Fun Times!
Some of my peeps! Thanks In Style Limo for letting us ride In Style!
Lysa Terkeurst from P31. I'am a huge fan!! Jonas Brothers step aside!




Q&A with P31 gals Lysa & Renee, Kate Gosselin, and Ayiesha Woods.
Kate Gosselin from the show "John & Kate plus 8"



Thanks for coming girls! It was huge blessing!


Monday, January 19, 2009

The Great Outdoors

This past weekend was a three day holiday weekend. It had dawned on me Friday after work that we were not going to make the same mistake twice by staying in town. So Friday night the decision was made. Last minute of course, cuz that's how we roll. We licked our index fingers and pointed towards the sky. The weather was in our favor. Camping it was!

Our destination was Jellystone Yogi Bear Park in Canyon Lake, TX. It's a qaint little town nestled in the hill country north of New Braunsfels. We rolled up in our spiffy RV feeling like the Griswalds. Or better yet like that family on the movie "RV" with Robin Williams. But that's how we always feel when traveling in the RV. Maybe cause we're not experienced outdoorsy types yet. But we're getting there. Wait. Maybe we really aren't outdoorsy if you really think about it. I mean some would say your not really camping if you have running water & electricity. But hey, we gotta start somewhere. We have to wean ourselves before completely letting go of our amenities. LOL.

Here are some highlights from our trip:

1.Ati busted her upper lip riding her bike down a hill. She had just busted her lower lip at school earlier this week. So now she has two busted lips.

2.We learned about 'Winter Texans'. These are people who live up north but travel down south in the winter as to escape the harsh winter weather where they live. We encountered alot of 'Winter Texans' RV'ing it down south.

3.We walked across a dam for the first time! Canyon Lake is controlled by a dam as it feeds into the Guadalupe River or the River feeds into it?? Whatever, you get my point. It was neat to walk across something that had water on our left and a huge hill on the right. Johnny had to resist the urge to roll down the hill. I had to remind him we were on a dam not a hill. He would have gotten more than a busted lip.

4.Canyon Lake, TX is a happenin' place in the summer time. We chose this park b/c it catered to children. There were hay rides, outdoor movie nights, Yogi Bear visits, etc. We were also looking foward to making smores with our campfire and singing Kum ba Yah. But when we checked in, the nice park ranger informed us there was a Fire Ban in the area so no fires permitted, "maybe in the summer time," he suggested. "Also, the childrens activities would resume in the summer." WHAT? "What about the "Winter Texans" the "Snow Birds"?? Don't they deserve campfires and children's activities? Who cares if their retired and are way older than us, they may carry grandchildren with them." Then the bomb...... "WHAT!?! NO CABLE HOOKUPS?!?" At this point Johnny was ready to check out, get a refund and head back home. People, NFL Football games are not missed by my dear hubby. I managed to pull him off of X-Box, not completely but it will do. But NFL Football?? That would be like stripping him completely of his manhood. No if's and but's about that pastime. But he survived this weekend. With no cable, we were left with just each other. Just the three of us in the outdoors. Can you feel the love? Lot's of talking, playing and more talking. Now that's great family bonding! Check out our pics!

Click to play Canyon Lake,TX
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Saturday, January 10, 2009

Winterfest!

We took Ati to Pearland's Winterfest today. It was our first time going and must say it was a blast for all of us. We're always looking for fun things to do in our area that won't break the budget and this proved to be one of them! We just paid an entrance fee at the door and everything else was free to ride! I was shocked we didn't have to buy tickets to ride anything after that. Just walk up and get on! Ati was lovin' it. Her partner in crime Ellie joined us for the escapade and together rode the day away. Below are some pics.

Did I mention that we have a Mr.Mom in our household? That's right folks. I work and he stays home during the week and manages the family business while being Mr. Mom to Ati. Yes, it's not the norm but it works for us. And are blessed by it. I thank God we are able to have at least one parent be with her during the week. Anyways, funny story. I try to keep Johnny involved in childrens extra curricular activities during the week. So they both can get out of the house. Granted at these events it's usually just moms. This past week they went to storytime at the library. Obviously, full of moms. One of them approached him and asked, "Are you a Mr. Mom?" He wanted to say no, I am a Mr. Dad. But he hesitated and said yes. Then she said " Oh I've read about you guys! My son is one too! I'am so proud for what you do!" Like their a rare breed! Too funny. He is asked occasionally by strangers. Must be obvious I guess.
Anyways, Johnny has been practicing Ati's spelling of her name with her. We had to have a conversation about fun and educational balance during the week when I'am at work. Why do daddy's have to always be the fun one's and mom's the educational and hygiene queens? I guess I should be glad he at least knows how to fix her hair for school two days of the week. I decided to quiz her today and asked, "How do you spell your name?" Her response, " A.....T.....One." Okay, I guess it will do for now. The 'I' can look like a one. Johnny passed.




The girls shopping in the grocery store







Rides Galore!





Down the snow hill!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Nurse Visit #54

Oh, I just love fourth graders! I promised I would share funny stories regarding my adventurous days with them. One thing I've learned is that they can get very comfortable with their teacher as the year goes on and share a little too much info than I care to know. Case in point.



I pass out the social studies test to every student and the room finally quiets down enough for me to be able to actually sit down and catch my breath. That's the best part about test taking time. I'm sure it's the kids least favorite part of the day and one they don't look forward to.



So the room is completely quiet. I am on relaxation mode in front of the class and enjoying the moment. One of my boy's who is notorious for visits to the nurse decides he has an ailment.Oh, just perfect timing. The conversation went a little something like this:



Sick boy with painful look on his face, raises his hand and says: "Mrs. Garcia my stomach hurts." With more pain emanating from his face.



Teacher rolls eyes and exhales: "You'll survive."



Boy sitting next to him: "He's not lying. He just farted." With a stinky look on his face.



How do you keep a straight face? It doesn't get any better than this. But I'm sure it does. I'll share as they roll in.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

So much for firsts!

Saturdays is usually just Ati and I. It's dh's busiest day of the week with his line of work so the two of us are on our own. I try to do fun stuff with her, usually a trip to the library, ride our bikes in the hood,playdates with friends, or take her to good ole' Chick fil A and let her have at it in the playground. Tonight I wanted to do something different. Now we usually reserve Ati's "firsts" when both daddy and I can be there but he'll get over it. What's done is done. My excuse was that it was just the dollar theater so it doesn't count! wink,wink. NEways, tonight was Ati's first movie at a theater. Oh wait, I soon figured out that I was already beat! As soon as I told Ati we were going to the movies she quickly said she needed her glasses to go there. I replied, "glasses? What do you mean?" She then reminded me that when she went to the movies with her aunt (my sister) when she spent the night there she got some cool 3D glasses to watch the film. I guess Johnny wasn't the only one to get stumped tonight. But wait, this was not Imax, it was the dollar theater, so it shouldn't count, does it? I should ask Johnny what he thinks! hehehe. Anyway, here are some pics of our movie date along with the ice cream reward we both shared for her wonderful behavior in the dollar theater without the cool glasses.





Thursday, January 1, 2009