Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Let the festivities begin

Erich pops the champagne (thanks Kelley for the bottle- we are finally making good use of it!)
Here we are having fun with the Wimberly's after spending time at the Galleria (what a crazy place!!)

Erika, Erich's mama displaying her homemade cookies with some Swiss pride (7 different kinds!- she used to make 17 different kinds!!!) 

Little Renee playing with Osa (she loves Osa)

Friday, December 21, 2007

Seasonal Goodness and the Bad Blog Boo

On bad blog boo....
Blog's are deceptive little things... people tend to only post the great things that are happening in life... but amidst the joy and blessings are pains, doubts, and trials.... I will write more about those things later.
I guess when I am in the mood to post on this blog, it is usually the triumphs, the beauty, and the joys in life that I am inspired to write about. All this to say, this blog is a bit unbalanced according to the realities of my life and thoughts, but truly the triumphs outweigh the defeats and the beauty outdoes the ugly... So, beauty and victory will hopefully remain the theme of this blog.

Seasonal goodness....
1.Here are a pile of root veggies my sister and I diced for our root veggie and Mediterranean yogurt sauce dish as a part of the graduation lunch festivities.

2. Fresh flowers from Annie's garden

3. Our neighbor's big (Catfish) catch. (Notice my horror)

4. Leaf throw in our backyard the afternoon we said goodbye to our missionary friends who will return shortly to Nigeria

5. Amigas

6. Osa coming out of the lake after a good swim to a beautiful sunset. Sunsets at the lake are something that I will be enjoying more now that school is out.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Ta Da!

My sister Lisa and I at an old vintage diner the weekend of my graduation

Here we are... Masters of ED Psych people... getting ready for the graduation

I am done
da, da da da da, da... (That is the graduation song)
"Yes", this is a wonderful feeling (Everyone ask me how it feels to be done)
"What's next?" (the next question people ask from the world of academia)
"When are you going to have babies?" (the question most asked by my pre-school kid's mamas)

What do I want to do??
Have babies!!!
Today during our Carver parties (all the fun times 2!) I got to hold a baby boy in the morning and a baby girl in the afternoon. Carver parties are always interesting. Since many of my families have many babies and more on the way, there are usually a plethora of babies to be coddled and held. In the past, I have not taken much interest in the overabundance of the baby cuteness. This year has been different.... suddenly babies are becoming much cuter, cuddly, cozy, comforting, coo coo....
So... I guess baby fever is just hitting me. It is a low grade fever. I am still much more excited about buying my tight jeans and snake skinned shoes than the thought of maternity clothes. However, I did make a compromise with my last clothing purchase:slim jeans and a "bubble shirt". It is kind of convenient that the loose fitting long shirts are in style again. They are resourceful.

Erich and I look forward to our Christmas time with family and friends in Houston and San Antonio.
Feliz Navidad todos!!!!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

T-day and the big chill

Here is Erich preparing our new tradition of turkey fry

Here is part of the table decor

Thanksgiving is over. We had a wonderful celebration with family; a feasting of fried turkeys (thanks honey!), delicious stuffing, and all the other traditional yum yums...
It was Lisa's first break from her first semester in college and our first celebration with the recently added Sophie. Erich and I have been feasting on the leftovers since Thursday evening. Thus far I have created a cacophony of creations using turkey: turkey aoli sandwiches, chipotle covered turkey, pasta with bits of leftover veggies... next will be thai turkey. This is one of the perks of hosting a holiday in your home-Leftovers!
Now it's Sunday and we have returned from church (Erich preached) and we are full from our aoli and cheddar turkey sandwiches, contently reading the Sunday NY Times. We are like an old couple. My feet have been freezing for the past 2 hours. It's strange how we women will let our feet suffer for the sake of wearing cute shoes. I wore my silver ballet flats and although I put my down slippers on as soon as I got home and have my feet wrapped in a mohair blanket my feet are still chilled to the bone.
Thank God for this chilly weather, however cold my feet may be. This chill has compelled me to work extra hard on graduate work. I have completed 2 major assignments this weekend with only 1 more project before complete and total completion of my graduate career!!!!!! I can hardly wait!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, November 02, 2007

the most beautiful things in life are free

It's hard to sum the experience of my days at school (these days) in a word.... So much happens! One minute we are rejoicing as an emerging butterfly slides from its cocoon to enter the world with its new form, the next we are releasing butterflies with their expanded wings outside, and then a few moments later I am wrestling with a kid who decides to flip out (for no apparent reason). This last experience leaving me exhausted and confused, I return to pausing in reflection towards the beauty of the day...ah, yes... back to the emerging butterfly...
This was so increadible to witness! My student teacher and I were sitting in our classroom with all the lights off in complete silence during our lunch break. She was eating her ramen noodles and I was busy flipping through paper work and United Way forms when we both turned toward our butterfly sanctuary and simultaneously sensed the emergence of the last butterfly (of the 10 or so that had already emerged). We stared at the process in awe and wonder at the intricacies of creation, the delicacy of life, and the constant fight for survival. The slimy, crinkled up form struggled to cling to its now empty cocoon to find the grasp it needed in order to be able to hang upside down and wait until its wings had dried and were fully open. The process happened in a matter of minutes and we were so greatful for the simple gift of this butterfy's life and our being able to witness the simple miracles that happen every day (that we are usually unaware of).
I find all of these butterfly happenings sweet therapy in my all-too-stressful days. I am so greatful for a Creator that cares and considers the lilies of the fields, the birds of the air, and the emergence of one little butterfly. What an amazing Provider we have; a supplier of more beauty, grace, and peace than we could ever conjure from our own strength. I am greatful for a Creator that is always orchestrating His Creation to worship Him and reminds us of His transformative power in the redemptive life. Thank God that He is the One who makes all things New and Beautiful (in His perfect time).

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Lychee martinis

Erich and I just returned from a fabulous business conference in Chicago. My new-found drink of the weekend was Lychee martinis... a not too sweet drink with an icy toothpick through 2 soft lychee balls. Think grapefruit mixed with pear...

We returned home with sad news of the death of Erich's grandma. Thankfully, It was not a shock to anyone, as she lived a full 97 years of life. We will have her funeral this Wed. I remembered her words to Erich and myself the last time we visited her, "love is the best thing. Just love one another." This is a great memory to carry of a woman I hardly knew.

My school just celebrated a literacy night in which I am featured on the school district's website. Check out
http://www.bryanisd.org to see the picture of me with 2 of my cuties.

Sunday, October 21, 2007


What a great beginning to one of my favorite seasons! Kellie came into town. We had not seen each other in 7 years!! We had so much fun at the Big State Festival listening to Willie Nelson and Lyle Lovett (amongst some other great bands). Yesterday I finished a 50 page project to complete a 3 hour course that has been hanging over me for the past 10 months. Erich preached today and he did a super job. I am about to make batches of homeade salsa and caldo de res...
And on top of all these wonderful things, Erich and I are going to Chicago together this weekend on a business trip.
The weather has been beautiful. Perhaps not the typical orange-leaved fall, but crisp and sunny with just enough cool to make you want to make soup. Nancy, my super running buddy and I are about to do our 8 mile run. We are preparing for a 1/2 marathon in Austin. I just love running, especially in the morning with the (still) starry night sky and the crisp fog from my breath with good music flowing in between my head. Lately its running to Misty Edwards.

A bummer... my camera is broken and I cannot take any creatively inspired pictures. I hope to get a new one for Christmas....

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Tidbits from the past few days

This Sunday morning I was searching the web to find out more about healthy poo.
From what I can gather, texturally the poo should resemble that of a ripe banana. color: think cardboard, form: S or C will doo
float or not: there is controversy, but it seems there is more talk on sinking poo's, how often: at least once a day.

Other creative inspirations....
I have written and "composed" 3 new children's songs in Spanish. I was inspired after observing some student's with special needs in another classroom go through some simple songs (in English) that connect vocabulary or simple actions corresponding with pictures of the specific vocabulary/actions. Because I have several non verbal students, I was excited at the notion of combining music and real object pictures to reinforce vocabulary and increase communication. We did a trial run this week with two of my students that have autism (thankfully, they both respond very well to music). Our trial run was such a success! This has given me bursts of inspiration and I wrote 4 more simple songs in English. I want to introduce the 3 songs that are in Spanish to my students very soon. One is about vehicles, one about animals, and one about food. Erich was my producer and put my songs on a cd.... vamos a ver!

Other exciting news: for the first time in an ARD (the formal meeting that is held for families of children with special needs) I was addressed as both the instructional teacher and the special educator. For this I was able to sign in two boxes on the official documents. Although the officiality and structure of the ARD meetings are enough to make one gag, my two signatures signified the district, my school, and the diagnostician officially recognizing me as the qualified sped and gen ed teacher.

With the most student's with special needs of any classroom in my entire school, I am a bit overwhelmed with paperwork, meeting IEP goals, and all the other things that come with working in the public schools.... Thankfully, my principal recognizes the need for another intsructional teacher. Since there are no (other than my student teacher who is moving to Del Rio) students graduating from texas a&m with both a degree in bilingual and special education, we will have to hire a bilingual teacher who I will team teach with in the spring. I look forward to this and pray for a young, loving, active teacher.

One more thing...
Erich and I are on a hunt for delicious coffee. Lisa supplied directly from Costa Rica the last 20 bags we have already consumed. Now, we only drink a cup a day.... but we want that one to be a delicious one. So... if anyone has any recommendations?

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Today is jueves (not hueves)

(this is a blurry car... this is used as a part of my picture communication system with my students with special needs... pretend its on a highway)

Blessed bliss in between bites of herbed basmati rice and organic beer to the tunes of waterdeep and words of rilke....
I dance in the kitchen (no one is here) and do some poses in front of the mirror (momentary self-portriats since I can't paint like Frida). I love the sunset shining on one piece of the sea green wall to the smell of cilantro-sage incense (or whatever combo it is...). Yesterday was postmodern curriculum, the day before that transitions from high school on and in between those days chasing children with autism who threaten to escape the school building. Such is life, now in the 5-9:30 days... a runner, a teacher, a student, a creative being, a singer, and mover, a reader, a thinker, a cleaner, a cooker, a 5 minute morning reflector, a coffee drinker, a friend, a lover, a businesswoman, and homemade salad dressing maker.... need I say more?
Life has been pretty great- it's not every season in life one is able to experience such a mosaic of facets in a day.... I really cherish the days (or at least realize the potency in the moments of pause that occur not too often). I don't feel mechanical in my daily coming and goings (thank God!) but rather a bit like a complicated intersection of multiple highways... each a faculty for fast moving vehicles and useful for acheiving a destination, yet overlapping at times, and a bit stressful at the transitions... There is thrill and adventure and new thoughts with each crossover, yet the ability to absorb conversations from the passerbyers is quite difficult....Thankfully, I am surrounded by pleasant people on my left and on my right, I have the hope and joy before me, and confirmation of destination behind me.

One more food for thought:
I have discovered the delight of feta. Feta makes everything better. Although Erich may argue cheddar, I say feta.

Sunday, September 02, 2007


He who bends to himself a joy
Does the winged life destroy
But he who kisses the joy as it flies
Lives in eternity's sunrise
-William Blake

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Winding up

Erich and I have enjoyed such a wonderful summer with travels to the west coast and middle america. One of our most favorite things to do is to visit friends, reconnect, and share inspiration and the stuff of life....
This year brings about transition as I finish my grad program and continue to teach while Erich pursues growth and expansion of our Reliv business. We really enjoy doing business together- helping others and opening the opportunity we've been given to others. Life is so short... what a treasure it is it have something (amongst many, many other things that we want to do together)that we can pursue together. We have a hope and a future that is bright. Thanks to all the friends that have made this summer so very special. We look forward to many more times together in the future as we work towards greater time freedom and growing finances to support more of the amazing life-giving/ social-justice providing works going on...
Check out some of the cute kids we've been blessed to encounter along the way:

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Happy Birthday ERICH!!!

happy birthday to you!
I love you my husband and friend!
I thank the Lord everytime I think of you...
and there are many moments in which I am thinking of you...
Thank you for your warm acceptance of all my quirks (and also your unacceptance of some of my demands)
Thank you for pursuing God and pursuing my heart
Thank you for your openness and honesty
Thank you for your insight and intuition
Thank you for your slow-to-speakedness
Thank you for your love and affection (I can't wait to have a red-headed baby with you!)
Thank you for all the experiences we have had already as lovers and friends and for the many more that are sure to come.
I know we have a hope to cling to that does not disappoint and a love to gravitate towards that never fails and a life source to drink from that never runs dry

Annie and Flan Goodness

This is my dear friend Annie. She is such a beautiful, wise, creative-cooking creation! Annie and I spent Friday morning in the kitchen together. She taught me how to make flan.
This is my very first flan... notice the glistening juiciness oozing from the perfectly baked custard. This dessert is my absolute favorite- a melt-in-your mouth divinity.
The only problem here... I have no one to enjoy this flan with! I am the only one eating off of it..... and as you can see I have already made quite a dent in the flan. Alas...

Youth Leadership Forum

Here is Brian, my personal escort the entire week! : )
Last week I devoted myself to an exhausting, eye-opening experience as I worked as the "head volunteer" for the youth leadership forum. YLF is a camp-leadership forum in which adolescents with disabilities learn to become self-advocates and gain a voice in the political arena. We spent the week at St. Edwards campus in Austin. We took a day-trip to the capitol where the students had the opportunity to engage in a mock hearing where representatives of various house and senate leaders responded with relevant direction/information for these students testimonies. This experience was one that I chose in an effort to fulfill the 135 hours (outside of my normal teaching environment) from one of my graduate coarses.
You can check out YLF@ http://txylf.tamu.edu/about.htm
A few highlights include: the many laughs, talent show night, the dance, group #4, blind baseball, visiting the capitol

Monday, July 16, 2007


Thanks to family and friends for a most splendid, much needed vacation. Thanks to Erich's parents for taking such wonderful care of our replacement-child, Osa. Thanks Kelley for not being one of the horror house-sitting stories from the New York Times. Thank you Lord for beautiful places and people that make them come alive. Here are a few highlights...
1. Family time in Puerto
2. Hollywood's Farmers market
3. Pinkberry (I wish I had one now!!!)
4. Mojitos and Oyster Rockefeller to Steve White's blues at Papagayo
5. Local Brewery in San Diego with Kym and Kirk
6. San Diego zoo with the orangatangs
7. Kayaking at La Jolla beach

Beached Whale

Whale Adventure!
Who: Perhaps a grey whale?
What: During our kite flying adventures, we accidentally stumbled upon a beached whale. Pieces of vertebrae and broken off bones were scattered around the area. A huge spinal chord with vertebrae, skin blubber, massive bones, and spilling out guts were all that remained. It was a both fascinating, yet somber find. We pondered the shark activity in the water with a dead whale floating around all during the day….
Where: on the shore of the Puerto Panasco beach off the Sea of Cortes
When: 4th of July, 2007- God Bless America!
Why: Grey whales migrate through the Sea of Cortes en route to… I don’t know (wish I did, but I don’t)

FYI the rotting whale did not stink when you were up close, upwind of the whale was a bit smelly however, and the vertebrae etc smelled like poo.
I found some teeth from the Whale that I will be taking home as a souvenir. To our knowledge no one cleaned up the beached whale and it must have been washed back into the ocean because we found no remains the following day other than one very large bone. Vaya con Dios ballena gris…

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


Blissful beauty here in Puerto Penasco…. Erich and I had the privilege of joining with part of the Cleveland clan (Uncle Tom, Aunt Chong Ling, Eric, and Sierra)- not to mention Timothy. We enjoyed our days together swimming in the ocean and pools, flying kites, exploring a beached whale, hunting for shells, eating delicious food, and relaxing!!! Sierra was a good sport as Erich taught her some billiards strategies and as I led us through a few rounds of Phase 10. We all had a wonderful time feasting on the Mexican food buffet at the resort. Thanks so much to Uncle Tom and Aunt Chong Ling!!!!! We look forward to being together next year on the East Coast for some family reunion fun. We cherish the time we had together here in Puerto. Thanks again for the wonderful, much needed vacation.
(Erich in the lounge)

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


Here is Kathryn, making us proud godparents as she downs her 19th bite of ooey, gooey goodness. Blue Baker http://www.bluebaker.com had their 2nd annual cookie eating contest. If it wasn't for mr.chubs sitting next to her, she would have taken home all the glory. Still, she ended up "cookie eating princess". This entitles her for one year of free cookies from Blue Baker. Perhaps dad was trying to save a few by having her win??
This weekend was also accompanied by wine tasting fun. Bryan held their first (annual) Texas Reds fest. Wineries from Texas were represented along with local vendors, steak lines, and live music. It was a great time!!!! I hope more friends join us next year. Check out the website http://www.texasredsfestival.com

Friday, June 15, 2007

Mowing in the rain, just mowing in the rain

It was a glorious feeling today. The wind was blowing, there were dark skies and it felt like the first of fall... although I know it is not!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Hair Removal

Kelley and I shared a serendepitous (I don't exactly know what this word means, but in onomonopeia language it fits perfectly)
hair removing weekend. We won't post pics of my hair removal experience....

Simple things in life

Today presented itself with a burst of joy as I was preparing to sit and enjoy my coconut curry chicken with organic basmati rice and homemade sangria. These little things in life should profound and astound us every now and then. What really makes this meal special is the fact that I am eating on my sweet Mama Kay's placemat (who knows the history behind them?), eating from her bowls and drinking from her glass (that were from Mexico, no doubt). The house is as quiet as could be and I am here alone, leaping through the hallway as I finish grad work, googling conferences on special education (that need to take place near San Francisco, CA!!), and feeling altogether blessed.
In case my descriptions don't present enough visual imagery- I took the liberty to snap a photo. : )

Thursday, June 07, 2007

A bit of reflection

Although I am not prone to delve into the inner workings of my mind and spirit through the outlet of a blog.... I have not wanted to post due to the superficial (yet fine it its lighthearted manner) nature of this blog. I am not trying to go deep with Livinlove blogspot, it is just that I am not in a very lighthearted season of life right now. I guess tomorrow I may be. This is the paradoxical nature of my emotions (right now). I had to take some corny conflict resolution style quiz in one of my classes yesterday. Would you believe that the conflict style I would most likely gravitate towards (especially in a stressful situation) is avoidance! This somewhat disturbs me, especially since accomodative and compromising were my next runner ups. Oh well, such is the paradoxical nature of me right now.
On a spiritual note, I have been seeking and finding that a wave tossed upon the sands is not the future of my existence... nor the state of my current one (though it sometimes feels as such). Thankfully I have a sure foundation and I am also rooted and grounded in love... so much so, that the winds that come and break up the hard soil around me are serving only to force my roots to grow deeper and stronger (in love). This is reassurance as I am in a windy season of life.

Onto lighthearted adventures.... Erich and I spent the weekend in Houston, crashing his parent's pad as they are gone in Europe. We had a fun-filled time with swimming, good food, and most importantly friends. Sunday we hit our first Dynamo game. This was a great experience, one I would like to have again!(FYI Dynamo is a soccer team)

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Tanto en Mayo

It is so very great to have finished this tiring semester's workload! I finally feel like I am on the slide down on the rollercoaster insetead of trudging my way up the hill....
Breaks with friends and family have made the completion of this semester that much sweeter. Erich and I went to Dallas to a friend's wedding and stayed with Dallas friends while in town. I went to Uvalde for Kelley's brother's wedding and then to San Antonio for a bit of family time. Lisa returned from Costa Rica. It was so great seeing everyone.
Here is Kelley being a bit Beyonce esque as she sports curls, champagne, and heels.