Saturday, October 29, 2016

Vegetarian Gone Wild

      It all started with a need for employment at the age of 16.  Actually, I already got hired by Rollertowne, a place where teenagers and younger children went to skate. But then I realized that I kind of needed to be good at roller skating. They realized that I wasn't a skater after hiring me when I would ease my way around the rink holding on to the sides while trying to whistle at kids to stop doing things. So they stuck me behind the food counter. My hours they gave me became limited as well. After a couple of weeks, I realized I needed to realistically find something else. So I started applying elsewhere around town. 

      Later, I was called by a popular restaurant in town called In-N-Out. They recognized that I had a cheery personality and quickly called me out for a job interview. Comically, at the time, I was going through a trendy Vegetarian diet stage where I wasn't eating meat. My plan was to stay a vegetarian. That's what all my friends were doing so it just made sense to join the peer pressure bandwagon. I attended the interview and was hired for the job that day. With this news, I quickly quit my other job and started employment at this new place. 

      Once I began working there, I not only smelled the cooking smells all day, but I also smelled like a burger until I showered after I got home. One day, after much convincing from my fellow employees, I tried a cheeseburger during break time. It was the best thing ever! Every employee from In-N-Out will tell you that they taste so much better when you eat one on your break than actually picking one up as a paying customer. They are made the same, but they give you a different taste. I suppose it is because you smell them all day long so your senses play mind games on you. 

      Besides becoming a fan of their food, I also became a fan of a handsome guy. This fry guy won my heart over and we started dating. An In-N-Out romance began which progressed on to a strong marriage of 13 years so far with seven children too. It's fun to look back and see how God led me to my spouse and a new generation of children came from this experience. 

      I am thankful for those memories of those early days of fast food, failed roller skating rink jobs, and burger smelling hair. There was a lot of growth that came from it not only in family size, but in wisdom too. It led me to some great and wonderful places of where I am at today. 

      Every Friday, bloggers from all over link up together to share their posts based on a one-word prompt given for that week. They set their timers for five minutes and begin writing with freedom. It's raw, real, and refreshing for those who love words. This week's word was "eat."  If you are a writer, come join in at 

Wednesday, October 26, 2016


Romans 8:28  And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 

If you look at the leaves in the trees, each one has a story. They all have their own patterns, colors, and things they've witnessed. Some have suffered through disease while others have been picked on by birds. Some have been rained on, shaken by strong weather, and yet they've made it through. Others weren't so fortunate and broke down to the ground before summer ever started. Some enjoyed more sunlight than others. Some were better protected depending on their roots or where they grew up. Whether each one experienced a tragedy, adventure, or big part of history, they are noticeably different.  Yet, they all have a story to tell. 

Some are colorful...


or brown. 

Some have holes all over...

are noticeably messed up...

or are dark on the outside. 

Some parts are hidden...

while others show it all. 

Some seem completely amazing and you can't even tell that they may be ugly on the inside.

Some are toxic...


or maybe even dull.

Some have character...

are interesting...

or pleasant to look at all day long. 

Some are wrinkled.

Some are smooth.

Some are curved...


or round.

Some are fun.

Some are full of heaviness inside. 

Some are large...

and some are small. 

Some are quick to fall. 

Some hold on to the tree for longer. 

Some just exist

Some know their purpose

while others don't know where to start. 

No matter what, they all long to be accepted. 

Just like the leaves, we long to be accepted too. 

Thankfully, we've been accepted by the Tree of Life... the One who continues to stand strong no matter the changes in season. We all fall down. But as long as we look to the One who overcomes it all, we end up staying alive. It doesn't matter what we've done or where we've come from in our past. It doesn't matter what we look like or who's sins are bigger. 

And each of us, like the leaves, has a story. We were made with a purpose. One of my purposes in life was to be a mother of many. Your purpose may be something entirely different. Just like we accept the leaves for their beauty, we should accept the beauty that makes each of us unique in the eyes of God. Let our lives tell the story it was made for by our Creator. 

Friday, October 7, 2016

What a Little Perspective Will Do

       After little sleep from the night, the alarm went off at 4 a.m. My husband and I scurried to take showers and head out the door to CHOA for our son's cleft palate surgery. As we made our way through early morning traffic, we sat mostly in silence. My heart was pumping and I felt complete anxiety over knowing my son had a big operation in front of him. At only 11 months of age, this would be his second surgery. Jonathan has struggled through this first year of his life learning ways he can eat with a cleft affected lip and palate. The surgeon said his palate is wider than most cases he's operated on and will take more work at fixing it. Nonetheless, we had been waiting and anticipating this surgery as part of his long journey he will face being born with this birth defect.

     Not much talking was happening between my husband and I in the car. I felt far from cool, calm, and collected. Will it hurt badly when my son recovers? Will the anesthesia work all of the way? Will he be okay? All sorts of thoughts came across my mind.

     Just as expected, we arrived on time and checked into the surgical waiting area. As we sat there looking on to our smiling son, I glanced around the room at the many children in pajamas and comfortable clothing waiting with their caregivers for their name to be called. Many little ones were fussy and tired. Part of their fussiness was the rumble in their stomachs from not eating for so long to prepare for the anesthesia. A little boy near us kept waving to Jonathan. He smiled so sweetly and his parents smiled along with him.

     As we exchanged smiles, we began talking with the little boy's parents. They were waiting for their son to have a surgical procedure. He was born with cystic fibrosis with a life expectancy not to exceed past the age of 40. As the parents discussed this child's condition, my heart sunk. Sometimes, God brings into our life people who have trials much bigger than our own. It takes a little perspective to help us realize that what we have on our plate in front of us could be much harder to deal with than another issue.

     God was testing me that day as I sat there in that waiting room. There were children with spina bifida, cerebral palsy, and others with down syndrome. To put it bluntly, my son's bilateral cleft lip and palate sucks. It's a huge challenge we work with each day. But at least we know there are ways to repair it. At least he can walk, talk, and do other things with his life. He may live until his 90s or he may pass away for another reason tomorrow. However, there are parents out there living and knowing the clock is ticking fast for their children. They know their children may never grow to experience certain things in life because of their conditions.

     Perspective can do many things for us. It helps us to realize that we can make the most of each day when we realize each day's potential. It helps us to remember that our faith in God should be bigger than the fears that surround us. It helps us to open our eyes with empathy and take a walk for a moment in someone else's shoes. Let me challenge you today to live with a perspective that allows for growth in your faith and hope for the future.

     As I write this today, I want to bring awareness of World Smile Day. There are children and even adults that were born with a cleft defect. However, they don't have the funds to repair it. Organizations such as Smile Train and Mia Moo Fund help to provide the needed funds to assist in those needing repairs. While my son has been able to have the surgeries needed so far, my heart breaks for those who haven't had that chance. We've experienced very challenging feeding issues this past year. Thankfully, we have had the chance to improve those conditions for him. Please consider looking into one of these organizations and get involved in some way. Because as you know, every kid deserves a smile.

Every Friday, the Five Minute Friday writing group sets their timers for five minutes and starts writing with one chosen word. This week, I wrote a bit longer including two weeks worth as I started on this last week and never had a chance to finish. This is a great community to join. Anyone with a blog and a desire to write may join. Come check it out at