Thursday, January 31, 2008


We have received so many great and thought-provoking comments about the current sex series at our church. It has also been an eye-opener for us in our own marriage. If you're interested in hearing our current series at our church, "Behind Closed Doors-The impact of sex in our marriage and culture", you can now listen to it on our church website without logging in.

1. Go to
2. Click on "GROW" in the menu
3. Select "Sermons"
4. Click on the sermon you want to hear (you might have to right-click on it)

Here's a breakdown of the series:

Jan 27: "For Men Only" - What wives want their husbands to know about sex
Feb 3: "For Women Only" - What husbands want their wives to know about sex
Feb 10: "Home Invasion" - Protecting your home from a sex driven culture
Feb 17: "What Does God Say About...?" Sex questions that people have for God.

If you have questions that you would like us to research and answer, go to our website, click on "PRCC Events", select "Current Sermon Series". Fill out the form at the bottom with your question. Your question will go directly to Don's email BUT your identity will be anonymous. We will not know who sent the email to protect your privacy. On Feb. 17, we will be answering these questions for you. I will post some on the blog if we cannot answer all of them during the sermon time.

Monday, January 28, 2008


Ever since we began doing research for the sex series at our church, Don has been making an effort to do more "courting".....and I have to say it's working because my desire for him has increased. ha! So today on our day off, he suggested going to the zoo...something he knows that I love to do. It was an absolutely gorgeous day for it too. We had a ton of rain yesterday that actually flooded the washes and a few people had to be fished out of the raging waters. Today the sun was shining bright, the sky was incredibly clear with big white puffy clouds floating across the sky. All the animals were out and about too so we got some close up views. Nate had a fairly good time. He was kind of grumpy and tired....usually the case the day after church. It's so over-stimulating for him and he skips a morning nap so it takes him a day to recover. I got a few good photos though that are above.

I also got a good payment today for a major freelance job and we are so excited to attack our debt with it. That has been our major goal for this year. We will be able to pay off our second credit card with this, get caught up with our other cards and get Don a decent pair of glasses. So now we have 2 cards down, 4 more to go, plus our truck and student loans. We are determined to get there and are using Dave Ramsey's debt snowball technique to do it. We also slashed our spending and put ourselves on a stricter budget to manage it. When we looked back on how much we were spending on restaurants and coffee shops, we were shocked. It didn't seem like that much at the time...a little bit here and there...but it's the little expenses combined that add up to a lot and really get you in trouble. We've had to make efforts to pull the reins when we felt that temptation coming on. It feels good though to not give in.

Hope you all have a great week! Check out the new post below this one too.


We started our new series last Sunday, "Behind Closed Doors - The Impact of Sex in our Families and Culture". It went better than I thought. First off, the worship center was PACKED. In fact, one person had to leave because there were no more parking spaces! Last Sunday was "For Men Only - what women want their husbands to know about sex". We did a partial Q&A type interview where Don asked me questions. I do not like public speaking and will only do it if I'm prepared way in advance, but for whatever reason, I actually felt at ease considering the subject matter. After we got home, I thought about the stuff we talked about and suddenly I thought, "I can't believe I had the guts to say what I said". ha! I think the Holy Spirit was definitely speaking through me that morning. We wanted to do the questions sitting at a coffee shop type table and several people said it helped them feel more relaxed about the message. A friend of ours who works at Starbucks, brought us our favorite drinks after we sat down. Everyone knows we're Starbucks junkies so it was pretty funny. I told everyone we ordered iced drinks because of the hot and heavy subject. ha!

It's a strange feeling to be speaking so candidly on this subject and look out at the people, just hanging on every word. I wish we could've touched a lot more bases but given the time constraints, we had to stick with a general overview. Our conservation was based on a statement from the book "For Men Only" by Shanti Feldhahn, which said, (and I paraphrase because I don't have the book in front of me)...Sex for women has to do with the physical differences, the need for closeness outside the bedroom and the need for anticipation time. What it all boils down to is that most women (not all) do not have that spontaneous desire for sex and their desire for sex increases when their husbands continue to court them daily, show that they love them without having sex and give them time to anticipate sex so they can begin re-charging those batteries! Of course there's so much more depending on different situations in a couple's life, but this was just the basic premise. We're thinking of posting more comments and information on our church website that we didn't have time to touch on during the service.

This coming Sunday we talk about "For Women Only - what husbands want their wives to know about sex". We're going to do the Q&A style again. We're also going to try and get the sermons posted on the website for anyone to listen to. Right now, you have to be a member to hear them. If you don't go to our church and want a cd, email me separately with your address and I'll try to get you one (email:

Friday, January 25, 2008


We've launched a new direction at our church for 2008. It started off with great momentum with a new series called "Divin' In- Try God's stuff and see what happens". My husband, who is the Sr. Pastor at our church, along with dedicated volunteers and staff want to challenge ourselves and the church to take a risk...step out of our comfort zones, try God's teachings in our lives outside the church walls and see how our faith is strengthened, our prayers answered, make new friends and develop strong marriages and friendships. It's very exciting and we can totally sense God's presence in service. It's almost like a buzz that's spreading...people are saying, "Man, that was a great message and the entire service centered around the main subject". It's all part of sticking to "The Big Idea"....basically keeping the main thing the main thing. I know that's not news to anyone, but just like with anything in our lives, when we become re-focused, things seem clearer, fresh and new, and people are excited to jump on board.

We're starting the next series this week called "Behind Closed Doors - the impact of sex in our marriage, family and culture". It is not your typical sugar-coated, lovey-dovey series. Don and I are speaking together Sunday to discuss, rather bluntly, how sex can make a marriage stronger, or the mis-use of it can rip a marriage apart. I think many times, we turn a blind eye to the barrage of sexual ads, tv/movies and other stuff, partly because we've become de-sensitized. However, since we've had a child, I feel as though my eyes have been opened to the things I see being thrown at us and it really makes me sick. I even had a career in marketing and advertising and I know first-hand what is going through the minds of these big companies and the marketing department and how they do whatever it takes to sell their products, without the slightest thought of the negative impact on people and children. I know how words, phrases and photos in ads are carefully chosen to lure the consumer into buying things. Even the position of products on shelves or their placement in stores is carefully evaluated to turn a customer's head. And it boils down to

When we were preparing to discuss sex, we came across a couple who wrote several brilliant books, Jeff & Shaunti Feldhahn and are the authors of "For Men Only", "For Women Only", "For Teens Only", etc. Now, I thought there could not possibly be another book that could reveal things about men and women in a new way. But I was wrong. This couple did mounds of research and interviewed countless people to reveal their findings. They talk about how men and women perceive sex and relationships and the differences between them. When I read "For Men Only", I thought she hit the female perspective very well. Nothing new there. But when I found out how men were interpreting that, I was surprised to know what they were really thinking. Then I read "For Women Only" which gives insight to the guys point of view on relationships and just when I thought for sure I knew what my husband was thinking, I didn't really know it at all. I asked his opinion on it and he verified their findings. For instance, I didn't know that sex for most men is an emotional need for them...not merely physical. It's the same as women needing love and affection. When men are deprived of sex from their wives, they feel that their wife thinks them undesirable....that she doesn't love them emotionally. Even if it's a legitimate excuse, it's just like wives needing that hug or "I love you" from their hubby and not receiving it. Their information made me very aware of how we have neglected each other's needs in our relationship...even though we thought they were being met and why many marriages start breaking down.

I highly recommend those books along with "Every Man's Battle" and "Every Woman's Battle". As for teens, a lot of this stuff what young men are thinking when they see a girl in trendy (but tight or revealing) clothes to what young women are thinking when a guy pursues them emotionally (not for sex). I also found it interesting that guys and gals expectations during dating are suddenly different after you're married. I asked my husband, why is it that men stop "dating" their wives after they get married? Suddenly all the nice messages, phone calls, I love you's, hugs, kisses, basically making your wife feel special, etc. seem to diminish. He said that during the dating process, a lot of guys do all that stuff to get the girl. Once they marry, they figure they don't have to keep it up because she knows he loves her...after all he married her didn't he? And yet at the same time, the guy is thinking that now that we're married, he gets sex every night. No wonder so many couples are in conflict! We forget that the "dating", is an every day thing for wives and if that need is not getting met, they have a difficult time giving the husbands what they need. So neither of them are very fulfilled emotionally and the marriage becomes susceptible to breakdown.

Well that's my soapbox. I just found all this stuff interesting and am curious as to your comments. Also curious as to what types of things you do to educate or protect your kids from the barrage of sex stuff that is just thrown in their faces now-a-days. I saw a show about the effects of the internet chat rooms, My Space and Face Book the other day and how teens are being mis-led by false identities which is easy to do when you can't talk to someone face to face and the effects of that. We want to be able to teach Nate to be a leader...not a follower when it comes time for him to deal with life's battles.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


Well, tonight went much better. Nate woke up happy from his nap and played contently for the rest of the night. The visit with the social worker went really well. We tell her all the progress Nate has made but he gets very shy and clams up. Won't talk or "perform" for her and clings to us, so she can only take our word for it! However, he started getting more comfortable when the interview was wrapping up. When she got up to leave, we told him to say goodbye and he ran over and closed the door and looked back at her like "you're not going anywhere"! It was too funny. We started walking her out and as she went out the door, Nate came running after us, slipped on our tile floor and smacked his head with a very loud "thud". Naturally he started screaming...he really went down hard...and all I could think of was, "I hope she doesn't hold THAT against us". ha! Actually, she has a 3.5 yr old boy who is just as mobile so she's totally understanding. Fortunately, he's got a thick head so he stopped crying shortly after and just rubbed his bruised head. I carried him out to her car and he waved "goodbye" to her. Last interview is in 6 more months. That seems like a long time but then I remember he's already been with us nearly 6 months. Weird.

Here's the photos of Nate on the slides. He loves them and squeals loudly as he's going down. However, he didn't like the curvy slide very much. I think that was a little too steep and too fast for him. The playground is covered in wood chips and he likes to grab handfuls and put them on the slide. I told him he needed to clean it off, so he did, but then when he was climbing up the steps to the slide, he had to stop and clean off all the steps before going to the next one.

Well the little hot pot is getting tired. Almost bed time but he had a rough day so he's wearing down faster. He's lying on the floor with his panda bear trying to play with his abacus but just doesn't have much energy to keep going. Good night all. See you next time.


I was excited about the progress with Nate's new routine this last week. He has done very well. Every once in a while when he did not want to obey one of our instructions, he would throw himself to the ground crying but he would get over it pretty quickly. Especially since he knows that if he continues to disobey and refuse to listen it earns him a golden ticket to the Naughty Chair. that hot pot temper broke loose! He has been screaming at the top of his lungs and crying in his room (most of it in the Naughty Chair) for an hour now. Part of his routine is Room Time. He has been playing GREAT in his room this week, when I told him to play. However, today I could sense the rebellion and testiness coming on. He had been pushing the boundaries all day, constantly disobeying or grudingly obeying and letting me know he wasn't happy about complying. Then, after Don came home, he began getting more testy with me. When I told him to play in his room, the you know what hit the fan and he let us know he was NOT happy about that..screaming and trying to walk out of his room. Sooo...he earned a trip to the Naughty Chair for disobeying. Now usually he stays put in the chair until he stops crying, but this time, he decided he didn't want to stay in the chair, which of course, means we have to keep taking him back until he obeys our instruction. At one point, we caught him crying and playing with his toys when he was supposed to be sitting in it! Little stinker! He was bent on getting his way and refusing to do as we ask. That strong-willed personality was shining bright! One things for sure....I think he will be the type of person who will do whatever it takes to get the job done. Don't anybody tell him it can't be done! He'll find a way to make it work. ha! Of course all of this is happening right before the social worker pays us a visit tonight for our second post-adoption visit. Ugh!

Yesterday was a much better day. We went to the playground and he had a GREAT time on the slides. I'll try to post those happy photos later. ;-)

Thursday, January 17, 2008



I know I've slacked off on Silly Thursday photos....that's part of my creative downfall. I get bored easily and have a hard time sticking to one thing. I tried uploading that video to YouTube last night and after 2 hours, it still hadn't gone through. Then they started doing site maintenance and it cancelled the whole uploading. Argh! I'll try to upload again tonight. The above photo is a Christmas gift we received from Don's family. His mom owns a framing biz and his sister helps out. They framed Nate's outfit he wore in China, his tiger shoes and a banyan leaf with panda bears painted on it. The painted banyan leaves are found only in Chongqing and the city also has the zoo with the giant pandas. Everyone asks if the outfit came with him. No, he was actually dressed in a green girl's outfit with a giant flower on the shirt and lacy sleeves...probably because boys are rarities in China adoption and they may not have had any boy outfits. That was the only outfit he came with and we decided not to frame it. His referral photo showed him in a little red coat that I was hoping we'd get. However, he was 5 months older when we got him so I'm sure they didn't have it anymore since he would've outgrown it.

Life has been interesting lately. Nate is cutting all the big teeth on the top of his mouth. He had been having several meltdowns this past week and seemed to be having more timeouts than usual over the last 2 months. I thought it was all due to the teething and his growing independence, but then we started looking at his routine. It was then that we realized our little boy was frustrated and confused because we had slacked off on a routine and specific instructions. The poor kid just didn't know what to expect from us! I had been bogged down with a lot of work over the last few months and with the holidays on top of it, I just let him roam the house and do whatever until his naps and mealtime..just so I could get some work done. He didn't know what his boundaries were so he'd get into everything and didn't understand why I was always getting on to him! Then, last week, we had been putting him to bed late, down for naps late and he was oversleeping. He also had 2 night terrors for the first time. Started crying in the middle of the night and wouldn't stop. I'd go in there and lay my hand on his chest to comfort him and he would cry and roll around, not waking up. Eventually he stopped and went back to sleep. He also wasn't obeying commands, like "Come here" or "Put that down", etc. That bothered me because if he was heading for a harmful situation, I knew he wouldn't listen to me and could get hurt. He was over-tired, over-stressed, over-stimulated and about that time, he let us know he had had enough!

So I started praying, and we started re-evaluating what we were doing, read a little from "ToddlerWise" (alias "Growing Kids God's Way) and remembered Super Nanny's schedule tips. On Monday, I started him back on a specific schedule...getting him up at the same time, arranging 30 min. increments of Structured play time (he plays with the toys I choose for him), Free Time (he plays with toys of his choice), Blanket Time (he plays with toys on a blanket and is not allowed outside the blanket boundaries), Room Time (plays with toys in his room) and Mom/Dad time. In between all that, I've been teaching him to look at me when I give him an instruction instead of ignoring me, teaching him to clean up his toys after each play time, praising him when he does the right things and basically letting him know exactly what to expect from us. The first day was hell. He fought my instructions constantly, screamed and cried for over 1/2 an hour when I told him to play in his room and refused to hold hands with us at mealtimes to pray. Needless to say, he sat in the "Naughty Chair" a few times until he calmed down. He was not being defiant..just didn't know what we wanted him to do yet. But we were persistent and the rest of the week has been HEAVEN!! Right now, he is happily playing on his quilt, no longer cries when I tell him to play in his room and eagerly holds our hands to pray. When I say, "Look at mom when I talk to you", he immediately responds and looks at me. He has not been in timeout for 3 days....amazing since it was becoming a daily ritual! As for me, I feel much more relaxed and more in control of our household and my time.

You'd think that since we watch Super Nanny we'd already know all of this. My mom says it's just a little common sense for the most part. Apparently I wasn't born with much of that so I need the extra guidance! Of course, after we started back on the schedule, everything made total sense to me. Duh!

Tonight I am doing something I have never done before...joining a work out class at our church. I have always resisted these because I prefer to be outside doing stuff (like hiking or other sports) but all I have lately are good intentions that don't get put into action. Since we have Thurs. night meetings at the church anyway, I decided to give this a shot. We've also been trying to eat healthier too. Hopefully, we'll have more energy to get through the day. As it is, a daily nap is almost a ritual for me. And I'm not talking about a 15 min. power nap. An hour is more like it. ha! Every time I take a long nap I usually don't sleep well at night too. Thus starts the cycle all over again and then I'm cranky because I don't get enough rest (hmmm...sounds like another little kid I know). Guess, Nate isn't the only one who needs boundaries and a routine!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


The boys were having fun building this gianormous tower and Nate loved knocking it down. Then they decided to build a fort/castle. I'll try to post a video of this soon. P.S. I think Don really likes his Colts jacket since it seems to be in every photo.

On the last blog entry, Sharon left a funny list of things to expect when you have a boy. Number 7 is my favorite. I can totally see that one coming.

Monday, January 14, 2008


I've been Tagged by Beverly's blog. Unfortunately, I don't know how to tag someone else's blog so if you read this and you're a blogger, copy and paste it in your blog post and leave a comment so I can read your answers too!

1. What is your occupation? Self-employed artist
2. What color are your socks right now? No socks...hate wearing them
3. What are you listening to right now? The sounds outside my front door, which is open
4. What was the last thing you ate? A Salmon Teriyaki Bento Box from RA Sushi
5. Can you drive a stick shift? Yes
6. If you were a crayon, what color would you be? that a color?
7. Last person you spoke to on the phone? Hmmm...don't remember...I hate talking on the phone...would rather email
8. How old are you today? 39
9. Favorite drink? Iced Grande 2-pump soy cafe mocha
10. What is your favorite sport to watch? basketball and baseball
11. Have you ever dyed your hair? Yes-purple
12. Favorite reality TV show? CSI
13. What was the last movie you watched? American Gangster (in theater), Lean on Me (from NetFlix)
14. Favorite day of the year? August 5th - Gotcha Day
15. What do you do to vent anger? Yell and throw something...I know, real mature
16. What was your favorite toy as a child? I liked all my toys
17. What is your favorite, fall or spring? Spring
18. Hugs or kisses? Hugs (from others), both from my family
19. Cherries or blueberries? Blackberries
20. Do you want your friends to email you back? nah, everyone is busy
21. Favorite dessert? Deep dark chocolate cake or Peach cobbler
22. Who is least likely to respond? who knows. I was probably the least likely, but look at me
23. Living arrangement? Rental-manufactured home
24. When was the last time you cried? Don't remember
25. What is on the floor of your closet? Shoes and other stuff we threw in there to do a quick clean
26. Who is the friend you have had the longest that you are sending this to? Very few of my friends blog
27. What did you do last night? Watched Comanche Moon, watched Nate dance to Michael Jackson tunes
28. Favorite smells? coffee, bread baking, plumeria trees in Hawaii
29. What inspires you? When my husband is proud of me
30. What are you afraid of? Not being able to save for retirement or getting rid of our student loans.
31. Plain, cheese, or spicy burgers? cheese
32. Favorite breed of dog? Boston Terrier and Scottish Terrier
33. How many years at your current job? 3
34. Favorite day of the week? Monday (our day off)
35. How many states have you lived in? 5-Arizona, California, Florida, Texas, Oklahoma
36. Celebrity crush? Harrison Ford
37. Ever driven a motorcycle or heavy machinery? no
38. Who is your favorite NFL team? Colts-I usually go with whoever my husband is rooting for
39. Do you have a house phone that is not cordless? No
40. 10 inches of snow or 100 degree weather? 10 inches of snow for a winter getaway. 100 degree weather is cool in Arizona

Saturday, January 12, 2008


Before we had Nate, we were notorious for spontaneous road trips. Some days, we'd wake up, look at each other and say.."hey, wanna go to Phoenix?..or Pinetop?..or Mexico??!! One day, when we lived in SoCal, we decided to drive as far north as we possibly could and back in one day. We went from L.A. to San Luis Obispo (almost as far as Monterey) and stopped at few sight-seeing spots along the way. San Luis was beautiful along the coast.

Yesterday, we took a road trip up to Phoenix to run a few errands and stopped to visit our long-time friends, The Jones'. I've known Jason (the hubby) since I was 10 and Don and I went to college with him. We met his wife, Mary when they were dating and Don actually performed their wedding ceremony. We've also seen them through 3 kids during our friendship. They are just as spontaneous as we are and no matter how jam packed their schedules are, they still look forward to seeing us. So, during our short stay, they had their basement under renovation, the plumber installing a new toilet, their kids to pick up from school and a date night to arrange. On top of that, they still made time to challenge us to a few rounds of Guitar Hero and some war game that the guys played. They were the type of friends that we could call up on the fly and say "Hey do you feel like a movie?" and in 30 minutes, we were at the theater together. The photos above are in their backyard.

On our way home, we stopped for dinner at a long time tradition in our family, Los Compadres Mexican food. It's a little hole in the wall that my family has been going to since 1977 when I was 9 years old. We treated Nate to their "Baby Plate"...which was more than enough for an adult and he scarfed it all down. My brother lives in Ohio and every time he came back to Phoenix to visit, this was the only restaurant he'd eat at. In my opinion, Arizona has the most awesome Mexican to Mexico, that is.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008


Our family made it into the December issue of CHI's newsletter! (Children's Hope International). CHI is our adoption agency. Just copy and paste the link below in your browser and click on Nate's photo to read about our family.

Sunday, January 6, 2008


1. Our family in China...on our way to the airport to fly home.

2. Five months later....our "sharp dressed man" (as ZZ Top would put it).

Friday, January 4, 2008


Today was our 18th anniversary! 18 YEARS!!! We actually dated for 3-1/2 years before we got married so technically we've known each other for 21 years. I met Don at church, 2 weeks after my high school graduation. He met me, went home and announced to his parents that he'd found the girl he was going to marry. How wild is that?! I was just thrilled to be dating an older guy (he's 3 years older than me). ha! I never thought I'd have a boyfriend because I always looked very young for my age, and what guy in college wants to date a girl who looks like she's 14? I tried buying firecrackers in CA when I was 20 and the lady was refusing to sell them to me because she swore I was younger than 16 (the legal age to buy them). I was so offended at the time. When you're 20, you don't appreciate your younger looks like you do when you're 39!

We had a friend watch Nate for us tonight so we could go to nice restaurant. Nate actually does really good in restaurants but this one was not the typical kind you take a 15month kid to. It's amazing how you feel less stressful when you don't have your kid with you. We never really feel that stressed when he's with us but it's like you let your guard down because you know you don't have a child with you to protect or watch out for. We had a really nice dinner and then headed back to the house. Our friend and her 3yr old daughter had a lot of fun with Nate. At one point, she said they drug out all his instruments and had a little band going.

Nate also had his doc appt today. He's now in the 90th percentile for height AND weight....33" tall and 25.5lbs. No wonder his 18mo clothes are fitting him better. We knew he'd grown because he keeps trying to walk under our dining room table and always smacks his head on it. doh!

It was a nice night with my man and we hope to have another 18 more years to come.

Thursday, January 3, 2008


I have a new found respect for hair stylists who cut kids hair. We found Jackie through a friend and I was in awe as she swiftly trimmed Nate's hair...all while he was doing everything in his power to get out of that chair. I think he thought he was at the doc's office about to get a shot. ha! I tried telling him that wasn't until Friday but he wasn't listening. ;-) He finally calmed down toward the end of the cut, when he realized he was going to be ok after all.

I debated getting his haircut since I'd waited so long for it to grow out from the shaved head he'd received in the orphanage. But it was growing in choppy and getting a bit long so we decided to go for it. We raved about his hair to him when she'd finished and told him how handsome he looked. He finally cracked a smile after I already took the last picture!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008


2007 wrapped up with a bang. Don and I struggled to stay awake on the sofa..snoozing every so often and waking up with a startled look like "Did we miss it?!" So we watched the last few minutes of the Times Square ball being lowered and quietly welcomed 2008. Outside, fireworks were being set off somewhere in the distance. In our 20's, we would hang out at the Tempe Block Party in Phoenix with thousands of other people to celebrate. It was a blast and I miss doing that. Either I'm getting old or just plain lazy because chillin' on the sofa was pretty darn comfy. In a few days, Don and I will celebrate 18 years together. That's how old I was when we met! Hard to believe it's been THAT long. I can't imagine Nate in 18 years. It goes by too fast.

We have so much to be thankful for in 2007. Half of the year was spent wondering if we'd ever get a child...the second half was celebrating our reunion with our child. My art licensing finally started taking off, after 3 years in the business and it was exciting to see gift products with my art on them in Hallmark and other stores. We welcomed several new faces into our church and made many more friends as well as see several people accept Christ. We traveled across the world and got to experience a once in a lifetime trip, seeing incredible sights and meeting different people. Even sharing God's hope with a couple of them. We were blessed to see both our parents and their happiness in celebrating a new grandson. Our close friends finally got to celebrate parenthood with us after over a decade of waiting!

I am anxious to see what 2008 will hold...even more so, I'm excited to be able to officially celebrate Mother's Day as a new mom and look forward to a whole year with my new son!

HAPPY 2008!!!