There are so many things I want to share about my personal walk with God, our family and mission field stuff, BUT we have a crisis!

Our dear car that we downsized to two years ago (to make the move to Mexico), driven kids to church, school, the doctor in and been used to run the Open Arms (ministry) errands in the US, has died.

It would be $2,500 just to get it back to Mexico and needless to say, we don’t have that. And, we don’t think it’s a wise investment with the cars mileage and other issues. That’s the bad and worse news!

The good news is, even if we have to hitchhike, we are going back to Mexico (currently we are home for the holidays)! The great mews is, if you donate a car it’s totally tax deductible!

Can you help us spread the word that a mission family needs a car? As you can imagine, our finances are limited to monthly expenses, but our faith is in God! He will provide what we need! Maybe you don’t have a car to give, but You can help by forwarding this, sharing this and telling everyone you know!!!

We remain confident that Gods call is in Mexico and look forward to another year of ministry in 2018!!


The ONLY first day of school

Can I get an amen!? No, I’m not being over dramatic (please refer to “Bye, Felicia” & “My 3rd first day of school” blog posts from last year). Seriously, read them to appreciate my happiness and deep relief!

It’s going to be a long one. Grab whatever it is you need to settle in.

Months and months ago at the Bible Study we have in town for missionary women we were all talking about the kids, school, how we were all stressed out about HOW we were going to do it all….my sweet friend, Rachael, decided we should get a missionary kids teacher. WHAT A GREAT (crazy, never going to happen) IDEA!

Fast forward a few months, one long, meeting where everyone was talking all at once, reference letters, requests for finger prints, 1 million side conversations and a very shell shocked, dear woman whose family was about to pack up and move to Mexico, later and BAM! We have a missionary teacher!!

She. Is. Amazing. She has homeschooled her three kids (two grown and a 16 year old) from the get go. Experience. Check. I’ve met two of the three kids and love, love, love them. Functional adult children. Check. Now, (the second week into school) I’ve seen this woman wrangle 8 kids from 4 years old to a Junior in high school, at one time, across multiple subjects and (at times) the same subjects like a pro. She is calm, patient, quiet…someone the very opposite of me. Check. It all equals perfection, really.

My kids love her and her family. They come home and WANT to do the homework she assigns them. What is this witchcraft?? They love her. I love her. Every missionary parent in this group loves her!

You guys, prayer works! The start of this school year has been so drastically BETTER than last that I’m counting it as a win! (Even with the looming days that promise bad attitudes and all the other normal stuff!) And every mom said, “Amen.”

Thank you so much for praying for us and for the boys!

I have a confession…

We have been in Mexico for one year, one month and 13 days. Today, my heart hurts. I finally let it hurt.

When we moved from the US to Mexico, we left a lot. Kids, parents, ministry…everything. For the last year, I've been (in my heart) preoccupied with leaving my older kids. You guys, that's hard. Yes, they are adults. But, I'm not there. I wasn't there when my son totaled his car. I wasn't there when the grand girls needed a sitter. I wasn't there when one our older kiddos just needed an ear (up until recently, I would have been the last person who would have been a ear). I missed it.

I chose to not be there. I chose to leave. And today, that's heart wrenching. Today, I see pictures of our first ministry family on Facebook going to the beach…and I'm sad. I'm sad I'm not there. I'm sad I missed it. I'm sad.

The choice was not easy. Maybe I made it look easy b/c that's who I am. A strong front, normally. But it wasn't easy. It isn't easy. I miss: my son, my daughters Life gave me, my grand girlies, my mom, my friends, the home we all lived in, our ministry in Visalia. I miss it. I miss them. All of them. All of it.

Finally, I let it hurt. It's not a convenient time: one of our only days off, no kids in the house, BBQ going & I have tears in my eyes. Thinking about what I left. Every face, experience, birthday, milestone…everything.

So, this is the ugly. Every picture of the beach cannot make this hurt less. Every good thing that happens here doesn't erase the loss. The mission field isn't all smiling faces and beautiful sunsets. Sometimes, today, it's memories, time that's been missed and tears.

It’s been a year…

June 10th, 2016 was our 16th wedding anniversary. It was also the day the packed up what we hadn’t gotten rid of, our two youngest children and headed to the mission field.

We left a lot behind. The only home we had lived in as a married couple, the one all of our kids were raised and being raised in, our parents, our three oldest kids, our two small granddaughters, almost every friend we had…the list of loss is long. We didn’t really feel it at the time.

In the moment it was pure adrenaline. The excitement of our dreams coming true combined with having friends and family with us, helping us move was fun! Two days after settling into our apartment, our family and friends left and then the mission teams came and we were so busy there wasn’t time to think about anything other than what was happening on a given day and who was in charge of making sure our kids were fed, alive and still on the property. Busy was an understatement.

We all survived summer, mostly. Little did we know God was about to shake us up to the very core. Shortly after summer the hard reality of leaving it all behind, living in a place that’s not our home, having new jobs and roles and a slew of other things (including the kids melting down because reality was hitting them too) and it was ugly. It came out in different ways for all of us. Crying, silence, withdrawal, rebellion, anger…almost in every way you can imagine it came pouring out of at least one of us – usually all of us in different ways all at the same time.

I’m sure our friends here, the ones I wasn’t crying to for hours a day (you know who you are!) saw it too. The struggle was clear: our family was breaking down from the inside out. Our marriage was a wreck, we were struggling in our new roles, the kids just wanted to go home and it was a mess.

But. But God. But God has a way. A way of working after all you guards are down, all your dreams are in a pile of tears and you feel lost. He just knows exactly what’s needed and it always seems that we take the hardest route to get to it. He stepped in when we sat down in defeat and saved. Saved our dreams, saved our marriage, saved our family.

A year later we have finally hit our stride. I am doing what I love, what I’m good at, being stretched to do the things that God wants me to do & loving Him more than I ever have. I can’t speak for the rest of my family but what I see is good. Jeremy is leading & loving us like never before, Jace is growing into his new life with new ideas and dreams and Ryan is stepping into the leadership qualities God has given him. It is good.

God is good. Life is good. Mexico is good. We have all made friendships that are growing stronger every day. We are closer as a family than we have ever been and most importantly, loving and learning more about God than we ever have! If you have prayed for us, thank you. If you haven’t, please start! There are still lots of things pending: I’m teaching a Women’s Bible Study at our church, we aren’t sure what the boys will do for school in the fall, Jeremy is feeling a tug in ministry and our general health & safety is always on our prayer list!

If you don’t receive our updates and would like to, let us know!

It was a heart breaking privilege.

Apparently around May it’s a Mother’s Day extravaganza in Mexico. There’s Mexican Mothers Day, which was the 10th of May, but it’s the 24th of May and it still isn’t over guys! Since the 10th, when I had the day of “real” Mother’s Day, I’ve had a Mother’s Day program at the kids school (on the 12th), American Mother’s Day (on the 14th), the local schools Mother’s Day celebration (on the 16th) and we still have the daycare Mother’s Day night at the end of the month. Seriously, Mother’s Day allllll month guys.

While I was blessed to have my kids (the ones from my body- the ones of my heart were with their own Mom) & my mom with me on Mother’s Day (the American one), it hasn’t been all flowers and cards. You see, I’ve never thought of it before but there are kids who don’t get that excited feeling when asked to make cards for their mom or learn a special song. Friends, for some, this day, this month, this time of year is painful.

We have two little girls at the daycare who felt the pain. Without being too personal or over sharing, they could not celebrate Mother’s Day with their moms. This is hard, especially when their school put on a huge “to-do” focused on one-on-one time with kids and moms. 

I’m a heartfelt attempt to minimize the pain, our daycare psychologist, Franny, and I stepped in. We smiled, went to the event, let the girls paint our portraits, serve us snack, do our fingernails and we did it with great love. But, in reality it was a heart breaking privilege.

For me, maybe it was different because I’m American and I stood out like a sore thumb. Or maybe because I didn’t understand the directions to the game and had to be told three times I was doing it wrong. It was obvious: I am not the mom. I was uncomfortable but incredibly determined to fill the gap the best I could! Ryan came with me (God always knows just what we need in the moment we need it!) and knocked it out of the park- he declared them siblings for the day and himself the big brother. It also didn’t hurt that he truly believes himself to be Mexican and was not uncomfortable even a smidge. I saw a love pour out of him that I haven’t seen before. A blessing in a hard day.

Whether their mom had passed away or she has made choices that lead her to be absent, the pain is the same. They are asked to make a card, learn a song or any number of other things and there isn’t a mom to give them to. That spot is empty. I’m the first to admit that I’m not the best choice to fill it, but despite my lack, God called me to step in. 

Through every game & activity I prayed that God’s love would shine through, that he would be enough for that sweet little girl, for every Mother’s Day and for always!

I’ve realized there is no true job description of what we are doing. Every day is different and you never know what you will be asked to do. Sometimes the job brings extreme joy and other times, after office hours you go home and cry. I wouldn’t have it any other way. 

From Fire to Gold {Job 23:10}

This is by far the most personal blog post I have written. I have had so much to say for so long but the thoughts were jumbled, the words were a mess and every time I started to type I became blank. Now that I’ve saturated the thoughts in the Word and processed the words first with the Lord, my fingers are free to type…so type I will. 

The last three months have been hard. And humbling. I’ve literally cried until tears wouldn’t come and wept until the sobs turned silent. Yes, things happened that cause the pain, but ultimately it was the God peeling off layers of me that I didn’t know existed. Parts of myself I had embraced so tightly that they melted into who I was and disappeared into “me”, making up who I had become. 

Outwardly, this was fine. I could have lived my whole life as I was, but God. BUT GOD. In all of His mercy wouldn’t leave it at that. Instead, He used a life changing, fiercely private pain to reveal, drastically change and restore almost everything. Literally. That pain I have let go into His loving hands…it’s not to share. It’s not the focus. The focus is so much bigger!

In the midst of great turmoil, I was listening to a podcast (of a pastor & friend) and he told a story of a man who was an unbeliever who asked a believer to show Him Gods mercy in the story of Job, the man in the Bible who basically lost everything (sons, daughters, livelihood) in one day. The believer answered, “God could have left him just as he was.” Uh, ya. That would have been a lot less painful, but it would not have been more beneficial. (Read it for yourself, interpret it however the Spirit moves your heart – this is how God moved in my heart.) 

He could have left me just as I was too. But He didn’t. He broke me. Every single part of me. Even the parts I deemed unbreakable. All of it in a heap of a mess. I looked at myself and I looked all around me and all I saw was devastation. So I ran. I ran (with the help of a great woman of God & hours and hours of wise counsel) right into my Father’s arms. I could have turned and ran toward myself and what I wanted and thought was “right”, but I didn’t. I chose Him, His ways and His plan. 

I let go of me, my plans, my (hard fought for) defense mechanisms and my fear of love. I chose to embrace Him & His plans (no matter how painful). Job 23:10…He knows. He knew. He knew what it would take to change everything. And as hard as it has been, it has been the best thing for me. Jeremy said it perfectly the other day in a conversation (with the above mentions woman of God and her husband the podcast pastor) when he said, “You know, I could look at 2016 and curse it but when I stop & think about it, I will probably look back on this year and say it was the best year we have had spiritually. It changed everything.” He’s right. It was hard, it was painful but it was beneficial and I am coming out as gold.

We have so many plans as a couple and a family for this year! Pray for us: strength for our marriage, guidance in ministry and the leading of the Holy Spirit in every area.

My 3rd “First Day” of School

You guys. I’m serious. In less than a month I’ve had 3 “first days of school”. THREE. Let me break it down: first day of homeschool, first day of Ryan in local Mexican school and now, the boys’ first day of bilingual school. THREE FIRST DAYS. 


As you can tell from the picture, homeschool was a bust. It’s just not a good fit here. For the kids, for me…it just wasn’t the best thing. Then Ryan went to the local Mexican school. This was basically just language emersion and he understood nothing – there was a kid who did all of his homework for him before he came home. And we still had to do reading instruction and math after school. It was draining and while he was picking up Spanish he was picking up some not so stellar things too. And that has led us to our 3rd first day of school in as many weeks.

After Ryan went to school, Jace became very secluded. He builds relationships through communication (Ryan through play) and he was spending a lot of time alone and at home because he is unable to express himself in Spanish. He came to me one day and shared how he felt and we started to pray. I asked a few of my friends here what options are available. (The most popular bilingual school is like $350/month per child…ain’t no body got money for that!) One of my friends suggested a bilingual school that her sisters kids go to. It’s 25 minutes one way, 8a to 2p and is taught in English and Spanish with a bilingual staff. After visiting and taking Jace we decided to go for it!

During the discussion of how we would make this work for Jace (how we would pay the $100/month and gas for back and forth)…some of Ryans insecurities surfaced. For his privacy I’m not going to share but I will say, I know without a doubt that we couldn’t send Jace to the bilingual school and leave Ryan in Mexican public school. Hence…our third “first day” of school.

The bilingual Mexican school is a great fit for our family. Almost everyone speaks English so it allows Jeremy to be fully involved. The boys are being taught to read and write in Spanish in addition to communicating. They have made friends! (This has been a huge issue for Jace. And a source of heartbreak, quite frankly, for me.) There are only 8 kids in Jace’s class and 10 in Ryan’s. So that’s GREAT!

The not so great (if I can just be real): the homework I don’t understand and they can’t explain, the fits that are thrown because they are not used to being in school all day and  coming home to do homework, the 40 minutes twice a day of driving and the mental stress of hoping we are doing the right thing. Are you thinking that you wish you could help in some way? YOU CAN!!!

📌 It’s $200/month plus gas for the boys. We have raised $80/month toward this. We still need help with the rest of the monthly fee: $120. Can you comitt to help  educate the boys monthly?

📌 Pray for us. During the day as the boys are in school, while we are making the drive to and from the school and around 5p when they are doing homework.

📌 Pray for me: as I wrote this I have two boys with homework who are crying and having total meltdowns and I want to cry too.

On a side note my new phrase of the week is, ” Animo!” It menas “cheer up!”. God help me.