Tuesday, December 7, 2010

A Baby Changes Everything

This is the week our sweet baby was due to be born. When we found out we were pregnant we were so excited that we would have a new addition to our family to celebrate this Christmas.

A friend of mine invited me to the come to the Living Christmas Tree at her church this weekend. When she gave me the ticket it read, "A Baby Changes Everything."

Tonight at church we had a women's banquet. The speaker had a lot of great things to say, but one in particular was how Mary Magdalene waited on Jesus. She talked about all the different times she waited and then applied it to us and reminded us to wait on Jesus. She mentioned that many of the women in the room were waiting on something whether it be a baby, a spouse, a family member or a friend... Jesus reminds us to sit at his feet and wait on him.

It has been these subtle reminders this week that make our baby waiting hard.

On top of that, since the miscarriage I have had issues with my cycle. After almost 9 months of issues and many different treatments from the doctor, he decided to do a hydrosonogram to see if I had any irregularities in my uterus. The results of the sonogram were inconclusive (although painful), so he has decided to do a hysteroscopy on Friday, December 17. I will have to go under anesthesia for this procedure so that he can use a small camera to look at the inside of my uterus. This will be done to find out the cause of all the abnormal bleeding, which could possibly be polyps or fibroids. He also mentioned that my uterus is out of balance and that he will scrap the endometrium to help shed some of the extra-thick lining on my uterus. I have 2 pre-op appointments on Wednesday next week and then I will have the procedure on Friday.
We left this appointment extremely hopeful. My doctor is hopeful that this may help with our fertility issues and we are excited for what the Lord has in store.

It is interesting to go back through this hopeful feeling again. As you can imagine, after 3 years of trying, the loss of our baby, and then 9 months of bleeding, we were feeling a little discouraged; however, at the same time we have also been getting very interested in adoption. We do not yet know what Lord's will for us in regards to children, but we are hopeful.

I am reminded at this special time of year, during this season of waiting on a baby, that the baby we are waiting on is actually our Lord, born as a baby, died, resurrected and living in Heaven. We anxiously await the return of our Lord and we find hope in Him alone during all the trials of life.

I hope that you too are also awaiting the celebration of the birth of our Saviour. During this busy time of year, we sometimes need to be reminded to just wait on Jesus.

Merry Christmas Y'all!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Wanting, Wishing, and Waiting

I'm sorry that it has been so long since I have written regularly. It has been a busy season for us most definitely. Between our jobs, working on graduate degrees, and serving in the college ministry at church, we haven't had much extra time for anything else. However, as the semester comes to a close I am feeling like I have accomplished a great deal and I am slowly but surely going to make it. The biggest relief has been that my professor suggested that I take an incomplete in my independent study class so that I don't stress myself out trying to get everything finished right now. This means that I have a little extra time to finish my 25 page literature review (where I review all the the research I can on "Ability Grouping") and then create my article (which is intended for actual publication!), and then finally create a presentation (which I will hopefully present at the Texas Association for the GIfted and Talented annual conference next fall).

In addition to all of this, DJ and I have continued to struggle to begin our family. It has definitely been a struggle each month over the past three years to find out we still are not pregnant. We have felt for a while that both of our hearts are bent towards adoption, but just haven't felt that it was the Lord's timing just yet. All that to say, the Lord is definitely working in our hearts in this area. We have slowly begun to research everything that this entails and pray that they Lord would lead us where He desires. At this point, we are thinking that we may begin the adoption process sometime in the next year or so. It is definitely a big decision, especially since it requires so much financially. The hard part is knowing that I have such great insurance that would completely cover my own pregnancy, but trusting the Lord as He leads us into a process that might cost $20,000. Our human nature wants to think of these huge costs and wonder how we could afford that, but we know God is in complete control. At this point, we are working on beginning to position ourselves financially to make all of this possible. It is very exciting and also a little overwhelming all at the same time.

I know that the Lord has an awesome purpose for everything He is doing and we continue to wait patiently and trust daily that He will lead us toward His will. Thank you for praying for our family as we tread these unchartered waters, whichever way the Lord may lead.

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven - Ecclesiastes 3:1

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Publisher's Clearing House Costume


We had DJ's students over last night for a costume party. It was a blast although I think our costume would have gone over better with an older crowd. :) Too funny!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Teaching is truly a calling

Can I just say that I love my job?! I think that everyone should get up each morning and do what they love. It is an all- consuming, life-changing kind of job, but the countless extra hours are completely worth it to me as I work at making a difference in the future of tomorrow.

But can I just tell you how discouraged I get when I hear people talking negatively about their child's teacher?! I realize that there are some teachers that do not passionately pursue their jobs in the manner it requires; however, most people have NO CLUE the amount of time, effort, stress, love and care that goes into teaching.

Can I just be honest?

Parents are the hardest part of my job.

I love each of my children as if they were my own. I work extremely hard and often times parents can make it feel as if you are doing the most horrific job ever. 90% of the parents I have dealt with in my 8 years of teaching are fabulous, but the few who are critical and mean make my job a nightmare at times.

All this to say, please encourage your child's teachers. Remember when you are feeling critical of something that they are doing that you are only seeing a very small piece of what is going on. Always be willing to talk and listen BEFORE you take it to the principal. Nothing is more frustrating than finding out a parent is upset when they never spoke with me about it first. Always step back and remember what an underpaid, thankless job teaching is and try to notice the good things your child's teacher is doing... and tell them!

I am not saying this because of anything I have had to deal with recently. I just want to lovingly send out this reminder because I think it is easy to get critical and speak negatively, but we have no idea what might be going on in someone else's world. One example of this occurred a few years ago when I had to put my mom into hospice care. I arrived back to school after a very difficult weekend (and months of turmoil) only to find a very upset parent (who had never spoken with me previously about their concerns). This parent had no idea what was going on in my personal life, but became extremely critical for something that was completely out of my control.

That is just one small example... thankfully I have an amazing principal who was quick to back me up... but it definitely struck me in a very personal way during a time when I felt my lowest.

Love on your teachers... shine Christ to them even when they don't deserve it. We all make mistakes. (And by all means do NOT bad-mouth them publicly. This only makes you look bad.)

Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Colossians 3:12

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Being Content

I just read this post over at Simple Notebook and it was exactly what I needed to remind myself right now. She often has great ideas for simplifying -I think we try to make things a little too hard on our ourselves sometimes! I thought that I would share it with you, in case any of you need a little encouragement right about now (or just practical tips - she's great for that too!)

My life still feels full to the brim, but I am just bitting off small pieces at a time and trusting the Lord.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Biggest Loser!

At the beginning of August, DJ and I decided to compete against each other for our own version of "The Biggest Loser." The contest goes from August to Christmas and the person who loses the most gets to spend $500 however she chooses. I say she because I am pretty sure that I am going to win, but I hope that my confidence inspires my husband to persevere. :-) His busy schedule makes it hard for him to find time to exercise and often means that he grabs a meal on the go, especially over lunch or while he is on the road traveling with one of his teams. However, we are working hard to pack our lunches and just make healthier choices overall. I have been working out at the Y since March with my friend, Libby, and I have lost 11 lbs so far (5 lbs since the start of our contest)! Hopefully, we can make this a lifestyle change! I will keep you posted on our progress and you can help hold us accountable! :)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Perfectionism... Where did you come from?!

I sit listening to my husband make sweet sleep sounds (that's what we call it in my house... ). I am not sure where to start because it has been so long since I have blogged. This has been a season of challenges for me. Satan is telling me that I am failing in so many ways and he is hitting me with lies about how I need to work towards perfection. Why am I struggling with perfectionism?! I have never struggled with this in my life! I have always been more of an underachiever... (As a kid, I was content not studying and making the B. Sometimes I wonder what I could have done had I actually applied myself!)

I am feeling overwhelmed with life... like I have too many irons in the fire, but I am not sure what I can cut out. My first desire is to take care of my home and glorify the Lord as a wife. It is in these areas especially that I am really beating myself up, as if I can't quite reach perfection. The dog hair is driving me crazy, but I just can't find the time to vacuum daily, like I need to with a long haired dog in the summer...this seems so trivial, but it is just one of the little things driving me crazy!

In addition, I am overwhelmed with the desire to be an amazing teacher (which is a daunting task at best). Grad school has been an awesome learning opportunity, but I often find myself feeling inadequate in the impossible task of teaching. I say impossible because to be the teacher I want to be requires countless extra hours of work, but my desire to put my home first directly conflicts these crazy hours.

In addition, I am so close to finishing my second masters, but sometimes wonder if it is worth it.

We also love our church and the service God has called us to there. College ministry is definitely very stretching for me, but I know that God has called us there for a purpose. I love serving in the preschool ministry as well, but sometimes wonder if I haven't stretched myself too thin.

All this to say that I am working on organizing my time so that I can be a better steward of the things of which the Lord has entrusted me. It seems that the theme of my life is always reliance on the Lord. For years, when people ask, "What is the Lord teaching you right now?"... my answer continues to be "to rely on Him." I HAVE to rely on Him COMPLETELY in order to make it through this life. I must trust in the Lord with all my heart, and lean not on my own understanding. I just wish that I would learn this lesson and apply it ALL the time so that I can be all that He desires.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Murder Mystery Dinner Party






I completely forgot to post these pictures! We hosted a Murder Mystery Dinner Party for the college students just before Threshold began. It was a blast! DJ completely got into his character (trash 'stash and all- which by the way was shaved the next day). Enjoy!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Highlights of our Trip to Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and NYC

Our favorite part of the trip was going to the Pennsylvania Amish country.
DJ had to eat here...


This was the B&B he surprised me with. It was originally owned by William Penn. Most recently it was a test farm for New Holland, whose headquarters are just down the road.
We would totally recommend it... it was beautiful and the food was amazing!



We were able to see most of the sites from National Treasure



Duck Tour through the streets of Philly and then on the Delaware River



Phillies Game


We left Philly and headed to NJ for my nephew's high school graduation.
These are my sister's kids, Lyndsie, Myles, and Skyler. (love them!)


My sister, Rhonda, and my nephew, Myles


This was a really neat restaurant at Liberty State Park, overlooking the Statue of Liberty



My niece, Lyndsie and I, at the Top of the Rock (Rockefeller Center)



My sister started calling DJ "Crocodile Dundee" because he was saying "Howdy" and talking to everyone on the streets of the city. This was taken in Little Italy at a great outdoor restaurant.


This was a hilarious moment...I wish I had video. DJ bought their CD and made some new friends... we have yet to listen to it...doubt we ever will.


We had a great time!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

You never know the impact you have...


Last week I received an email from my sweet friend Kim who I worked with at Laity Lodge Youth Camp asking if I was available to come out and help at camp for the week. I didn't think I could go because DJ and I were supposed to be in charge of recreation at VBS, but I mentioned it to him anyway and was thrilled when he told me to go and he would hold down the fort at VBS. Wow, what a great hubby!

I spent four years as a counselor in Cabin 1 (the youngest girls' cabin) and then on year on Central Staff in a leadership role. The girl who had this role was at Young Life camp for the week so they needed someone to fill in for her, so I got to spend a week in my favorite part of our great state, the hill country.

I headed to camp Monday morning. One of the first girls I "met" was one of my campers who was now on staff! I began to feel really old when I realized that tons on my campers were on staff. It was so much fun to hug the necks of these precious girls that I had lived in a cabin with and taken care of through their first summer away at camp. Not often do you have the opportunity to know the impact you made on someone, especially a child. On Wednesday night, as we walked to Round-up, I chatted with a few of my former campers and one of them asked me if I remembered when she asked Christ into her heart. Of course I remembered!!! She then told me how each time she gives her testimony she tells of how we were hiking to Girls' Camp-out and she asked Jesus into her with her counselor, Andrea. What a sweet, sweet moment for me to have had the opportunity to share Christ with a little girl, who is now a young woman serving the Lord this summer.

I spent the next 2 days sick as a dog in my cabin, but it was well worth it for those few minutes that the Lord allowed me to see a glimpse of how He had used me for His Kingdom.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

We recently decided to switch our internet to Sudden Link. Today is the day and I was appointed to wait on the installation guy. We have had staff development this week so I stayed late yesterday so that I could rush home at 2 today to wait. Notice that wait is the key word. it is now 10 till 5 and I am still waiting on him to finish. So glad I rushed home! So while I wait I thought I'd share a funny moment when the installation guy encountered our sweet sweet puppy. He specifically asked if we had any dogs so I put Rollie in the laundry room and put the cover on the doggie door. Not 30 seconds later I hear barking in the backyard and rise to see our sweet golden retriever barking like crazy at a terrified man. Oops! I guess I didn't get the doggie door locked properly. Every book we read about goldens said that they are not good guard dogs because all they would do is lick 'em to death. However, lately Rollie has started to show some protective instincts. Is it because he's coming into adolescence? I dunno but I do know that it is pretty funny to see a man scared of our sweet Rollie dog.

By the way, in case you are wondering, he finally recovered from his surgery and seems to be doing well.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Very Blessed


I am still very close to my college girlfriends, and this weekend they made the trek to Abilene to celebrate my 30th birthday... I even feigned surprise to see one friend all the way from Chicago (although, I had already figured out she was coming. I would have been really disappointed if she didn't show up!) What a great weekend, and I have to tell you that I felt completely blessed to be so loved and have such great people in my life. We went to a great little burger joint (Lucy's) that my friend Kara reccomended out in Tuscola (home of Colt McCoy). I had the best mushroom and swiss burger and then some amazing homemade ice cream. After that some of us went for a pedicure while the rest stayed at the house and then that evening we had The Beehive, which is one of my favorite steakhouses in Abilene.
On Sunday morning, the girls got up and made a delicious breakfast before they prepared to leave, but before they left they asked if they could pray for DJ and I. Wow, what a blessing! DJ and I sat there as we were showered in prayer. In the end, I think most everyone teared up. What an amazing culimination to a very difficult month when I miscarried our first baby. However, in spite of the challenges, I am clinging to the fact that God has a plan for us and we are incredibly blessed in so many ways. I know that even as trials come, it is then I draw even more near to Him, which is exactly where I want to be.

Even as our one-year-old golden retriever has surgery to remove a tumor tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The hits just keep on coming

God has a funny way of making me ready to leave my 20's. I will turn 30 next week, and I have to say I am ready to leave this decade behind because the last few weeks have been super challenging, to say the least. I will spare you the dramatic details, but let's just say we have had some heartbreaking and devastating momments, and then last night I almost cost us at least $1000!
We were working in the garage last night and I left a lawn chair a smidge under the door when it got closed, but instead of going back up that dinky little chair knocked the garage door off its frame and BENT the frame! The door was completely off kilter and wouldn't even close. We really thought we were going to have to get a new garage door, but Russ and DJ worked on it for a while and I think it might be ok! Thankful for guys that know how to fix things and for a husband that didn't even get mad at me!:)

Even when life gets challenging, I am thankful for the promise that God will never leave me or forsake me (Hebrews 13:5). When all else feels lost, I can cling to this.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Lamentations 3:22-28
Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, "The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him." The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him

This has been my favorite verse for years, but in the past week it has been so applicable. We are not consumed, we are trusting the Lord fully regardless of the outcome, knowing His will is best. After more than 2 years of trying to have a baby, we found out on Good Friday that we were expecting! What a blessing! The following Monday we went to the doctor for a blood pregnancy test and Tuesday we found out that I was miscarrying. We were devastated, to say the least, but I can truly say that we have been truly encouraged to keep hope knowing that the Lord has an amazing plan.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Littleton School Shooting

If you heard about the shooting at the middle school in Littleton, Colorado, my cousin was the teacher who stopped it.
Here are some neat articles about it and about him:
San Antonio article
Denver article

My aunt just sent me an update on the situation. Here is what she said:

"There are four stories I am now aware of about this very sad incident through my daughter.

Story number 1: The shooter did attend school there, but that was in the early 1990's. He did try to gain access into the main part of the school where the class rooms are. He had gone to the main office and introduced himself in a very polite manner and said he had attended school there. He then asked for permission to go to the bathroom and he was given a pass. When he tried to gain access into the main part of the school where the class rooms are, a janitor stopped him would could not allow him access. After the shootings, they found a backpack full of ammo behind an exit door that he could have accessed had he been in the main school. This man had driven over an hour from where he lived to get to this school. This obviously was a very well planned "murder spree."

Story number 2: One of the teachers at the middle school is having a very hard time with this incident. She is pregnant, but in 1999 she was a senior at Columbine High School where 12 student were shoot. Please say a prayer for Jamie.

Story number 3: Matt has improved and will probably be released this Monday. He will probably be out of school for a month recovering.

Story number 4: Rachael the girl who was shot in the arm is a very lucky person. It has now been determined that there were three shoots fired and two of those shoots were aimed at Rachael. Her coat bears the evidence that the third shoot graced it at her stomach level.

Prayers are needed for all the people who were touched by this incident."

Friday, February 19, 2010

Rachel Ray and my nephew!

My sister and her family were able to go to a filming of the Rachel Ray show last week and my nephew got asked to ask a guest a question. He was chosen because he is the same age as the guest. Here is the link to the video segment. It is very short.
I can't believe that he is about to graduate from high school. He has been accepted to Auburn, University of South Carolina, and University of Central Florida. We are still waiting to hear from a few other schools, including A&M. It would be nice to get him back in Texas because they are living in the New York area right now.

Monday, February 8, 2010

The Best Cheesecake Ever


My sweet husband LOVES cheesecake, and when I say LOVES I mean LOVES! But I never make it (or hardly ever) because I don't have a recipe as good as my friend Carolyn's secret recipe (maybe oneday I will make the "good" friend list and score the recipe). So tonight, I believe I will try this recipe for "The Best Cheesecake." I believe that it has all the ingredients that she says are crucial, but I know she uses some fancy pan that is NOT a springform (imagine that), so we shall see if it turns out. I'll let you know!
Cake:

6 eggs
1 1/2 C sugar
2 lbs. (four 8 ounce packages) cream cheese, preferably Kraft's Philadelphia brand
1/2 pint sour cream
1/2 pint heavy cream
juice of one lemon
1 Tablespoon vanilla
2 heaping Tablespoons flour

Crust:

1 1/2 C crushed vanilla wafers (you can also use crushed graham crackers, or digestive biscuits)
6 Tablespoons melted butter
1/2 C sugar

Preheat oven to to 425°.

Add eggs, sugar, cream cheese, sour cream, heavy cream, lemon juice, vanilla, and flour to mixer. Beat (on low to to low-medium speed) thoroughly, until completely smooth.

While cake mixture is beating, make the crust.

Mix crust ingredients together in small mixing bowl. Pour into 9" spring form pan, pressing into place with your fingers or the back of a spoon. Chill in refrigerator for 15 minutes.

When crust is cool, and cake is thoroughly mixed, pour batter into the pan over the back of a big spoon, so the batter does not disturb the crust. Let it rest for 5 or 10 minutes.

Bake in 425° oven for 15 minutes. Then turn oven down to 275° and bake for 1 hour. Turn off oven. Do not open the oven door for 2 hours! After the 2 hours are up, remove cake and refrigerate.
Source: http://www.squidoo.com/bestcheesecakerecipe


Ok... so I thought it was really good, but DJ says Carolyn's still takes the cake. Boo! I thought I was on to something! Anyone have any suggestions?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Update on DJ's Dad

We found out tonight that DJ's dad does NOT have to have chemotherapy! The pathology report came back and they were able to remove all the cancer. It had not traveled to his lymph-nodes, but they are encouraging him to have follow-up appointments in the near future to check for polyps, just to be sure. Overall, what a huge blessing! They are home tonight and all is well! Although, he did ask DJ's mom if they needed to start looking into nursing homes. She said of course not! This just broke my heart, because he feels like he is such a burden and does not quite understand how much easier life will be now with the colostomy bag. This will make clean-up SOOO mush easier. She tried to explain this to him, but he still feels like he is a burden.
Praying for him as he continues to battle MS. After this hospital trip, he has now almost completely lost use of his left arm, but overall we are so thankful for good news!
Thanks for praying!!!!

2000 miles in 9 days



Wow! I've been doing some driving lately, mostly by myself, which isn't too much fun! Last weekend I headed to Houston for a good friend's bridal showers. Kirk and Korie met in med school in San Antonio while I was still teaching there. They were good friends and then dated for most of their 4 years there. Then they went to Vanderbilt for the residency where he is doing Emergency Medicine and she is an Anesthesiologist. We are so excited that they are finally getting married and can't wait until the big day in March!

While I was in Houston we found out that DJ's dad has colon cancer so we I got home from Houston Sunday night and we headed to Amarillo on Monday. The surgery went well and we are still waiting to see if he will need chemotherapy. We headed home Wednesday night to beat the blizzard that occurred a few hours after we left.

Then Friday my sister called me in my classroom and said that she was in San Antonio unexpectedly (from the New York area) and wanted to know if she could come see us for the weekend. Of course, I hit the road Friday after school and drove to SA to pick her up. We turned around and headed back to Abilene that night. On Saturday we enjoyed some HSU basketball and a fabulous dinner at the Beehive, where we saw almost everyone we know! On Sunday we had the opportunity to hear a great message a church and then take my sister to our favorite Abilene pizza place (Brick Oven) before we hit the road for our long drive back to SA. We arrived in San Antonio with my golden retriever in tow, ate dinner, and then Rollie and I headed back to Abilene to begin another week! What a busy week, I am ready to be on solid ground for a while!

(The top picture is my sister and her family, The second picture is our friends Kirk and Korie.)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Colon Cancer

This weekend we got the news that DJ's dad would need a blood transfusion because his red blood cells were very low. So they began to investigate the cause of the bleeding, telling us that they were looking for blood in either the stomach or the colon...if its the colon then it is cancer. DJ knew immediately that it was cancer. Over Christmas his family had come to visit us and he recalled how his dad "did not look good." Since his dad also suffers from MS I was still optimistic that maybe it was just the ulcer and not the colon. However, DJ's intuition was correct, his dad has colon cancer. The colonoscopy revealed that the probe could not even make it down due to a mass blocking the way. We currently sit in the surgery waiting room as they plan to remove the tumor. The doctors anticipate that he will be in ICU when he gets out of surgery and then there is the question of treatment. They have mentioned chemo, but his dad is already so weak from the MS that we are unsure how his body may handle this. We know that God has a perfect plan and will carry that out, so we sit here and wait for His plan to be revealed in perfect time. We appreciate everyone's prayers during this time. We will keep you posted.

Blessings,
Andrea

A few hours later...
The surgery went well. They are just waiting on the test results of the lymph-nodes to determine if he will need chemo. They removed 1/4 of his colon which means he will use a colostomy (which will make his general care much easier from now on).
Thanks for praying, I will keep yall posted!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Me: can we adopt a baby from Haiti?
DJ: I was wondering when you were gonna ask that, that's something we can pray about.
Me: :)

Sunday, January 3, 2010

A mysterious package on the doorstep

Yesterday a mysterious package arrived on the doorstep addressed to me from an address that I did not recognize. I ripped into the package and found a letter from the new homeowners of the house we sold this summer. The letter said that they were enjoying the house very much and that they had poured a lot of money into fixing up the lake house. They sent us pictures of the things they had completed so far. The house looks great and I am so glad that they are enjoying it! On the front porch, they lovingly hung a sign with the name of their new lakehouse: "The Money Pit." :) That made us laugh because it is SO true!

The letter also said that while cleaning out the storage shed, they had stumbled upon a box of letters that they thought I might like to have. I sat down at our dining room table and began to rummage through the old letters. The letters were mostly dated in the 1950's and early 60's and were written from my mother to my great-grandmother. It was so neat to read, in my mother's handwriting and childish voice, letters she had written regularly as a girl to her grandmother. She often spoke of skirts that her grandmother would send her in the mail and she would give her current skirt length. She told of learning to drive their parents' Model T Ford and some of the final letters spoke of her new baby (my sister) and her life as a young married girl. What a treat to look into the past and gain some insight into my mother's childhood.