Friday, December 13, 2013

It's a Girl!

Well we found out yesterday that we are having a little girl! Last weekend we were iced in so Chloe and Allie decided to work on a gender reveal video to post on FB to announce it!

Oscar and Buster also are excited to have a new sister! 

We have had a girl name for a long time. Her Tio Javier has already given her a sweet nickname: "Mila". 

We both like the Spanish spelling and we always knew that we wanted to honor Misa's mom by having her middle name be María like hers.

It is really hard to believe that we have made it to the point that we know the gender, she has a name, & that we are 1/2 way through the pregnancy! God is good! 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013


Well it's been a while since I blogged and A LOT has happened! 

I am now 18.5 weeks! I am feeling the baby move. I feel pretty good mostly just really tired all the time. But my blood pressure has been really low so that maybe why. I have also had a lot of hip pain but my doctor said that is normal. We will find out in 10 days if it is a boy or girl. So far everyone yes it's a boy so we will see! 

We found out at the end of October that schlumberger is moving us again. Misa will finally after 5 years have a job that will be 8-5 Monday- Friday, have every weekend off, & his phone will not be ringing at all hours of the day and night on his days off. Although we are excited to have more time together, This was a surprise and a sad one because we have come to love our church, friends, and just living in a friendly community. Oscar & Buster seem to be taking it well!

Misa and I went to Houston over thanksgiving and brought a new construction house. It is a bit of a leap of faith because we have no idea when the electricity will be ran to the house so we could move before the end of the year or we could have to stay in Arkansas until the end of January. Here are some pics of our new house and of a house that is just like ours that is further along (minus the things I specifically chose).

Allie took the news of the move well. She is Misa's child and loves adventure and change! Chloe has had a harder time. Being 14 is hard enough but then moving twice in a year. "It is what it is" but I hate to see my baby hurting. I am daily praying for God to bring good friends to both of them and that Chloe especially will make good friends.  

I am about a week away from finishing my first semester. I have really enjoyed learning from the head of the department Lisa Ray. She has about 25 years in the field. I took theories of counseling with her and feel I learned a lot and took what I feel is important to mold what techniques would best help my future clients. I have decided that since I am due May 2nd and we are moving that I will take this semester and summer off and try to start back in the fall. Lisa recommended an amazing online program through the university of South Dakota and I am hoping to start in the fall- 6 hours at a time. 

It feels like our lives right now are about waiting. I am thankful for my Devo this morning & the reminder that God is doing what is best:
"We all have to go through these waiting periods. Even Jesus waited for thirty years in the carpenter's shop before setting out on his public ministry. 
Why do we wait? It teaches us to trust in God. We learn that his timing is perfect. One of the facts we have to learn is this: God's delay never destroys his purpose. 
A delay is not a denial. Children must learn the difference between "no" and "not yet," and so must we. Many times we think God is saying, "No," but he is saying, "Not yet."

Friday, October 11, 2013

Finally... We are expecting!

Well, it has been a long journey to this point and an even longer one these last 8 weeks. We were to,d that we needed insemenation and possibly invitro  if we wanted to have children. However on the first day of classes I found out... After 4 tests that I was pregnant. It has taken me a while to be excited and trying to be patient, not worry, and feel panic every time I had to go to the bathroom has been hard. For those who have gone through miscarriages totally understand this horrible club we belong too. It took me two ultrasounds an my doctor looking me in the eye and saying "You can be excited!" Before I started let myself daydream about being a mom again. I am thankful for good friends that have prayed alongside me especially my "cousin-in-law" Kat who just gave birth to her sweet Asher after their first shot at invitro. 
She totally gets it and I am beyond that full for this prayer she texted me the first week I found out I was pregnant and her last week of being pregnant with Asher:
God we praise you for every day and every moment of life that you give us and our babies. We ask for protection over this baby and over Jens womb and body. May she rest in knowing that you ARE with her. That you DO have a plan. We are so thankful for your kindness towards us and we stand in awe of your Love! We love you first and always! We know you are here and we ask you to remain. Send your Holy Spirit to live in this situation even now. Amen. We decided that we would announce it to the world via FB if we make it to 10 weeks so this last weekend our talented daughter Chloe and I shot this pic to announce it to the world. 

I will be honest. I was feeling old with constant remarks like "Well, pregnancy at your age..." My dear wonderful friend Kelly sent me this letter that touched my heart so much! It is now framed by my bed!

We will get to find out the gender about 10 days before Christmas! We are kicking around a few names. I have been a little sick but mostly I am just an emotional basket case and can never sleep enough. I feel beyond blessed and i am so excited to hold this little one and i pray God grants me the opportunity. Right now I am clinging to my recovery principle "one day at a time... One moment at a time" and thanking good for each day of life growing inside me.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Mt. Magazine Camping Adventure

This weekend we decided to go for an overnight camping trip to Mt. Magazine! The views were breathe taking! We picked the kids from school and stopped at sonic for happy hour and a snack!
Then we headed to the campground. 

We got camp sat up and roasted hotdogs and s'mores for dinner! The temp was perfect but the ground was hard so there was a lot of tossing and turning. 
In the morning we had a great breakfast of eggs, bacon, and pancakes! Then we packed up camp and headed up to the lodge. I was feeling a little yucky so Misa and the kids did a 1/2 mile hike up to the highest point and I took a nap in the car. 
We then started the drive home stopping in Paris, Ar at the Dari-Delight for yummy burgers and fresh made onion rings! 
It was a great getaway full of laughs and memories! 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Happy 14th Birthday Chloe!

I can't believe 14 years ago I held this precious girl in my arms! I had no idea how to take care of a baby! 

The last 14 years years have been a learning experience for us both! By the grace of God, Chloe has turned into an amazing young woman! She has an amazing heart! She has compassion for the unseen! Her gift with those of special needs is amazing to watch! She has a passion for the oppressed in the world. She loves film and sees a furture for herself in bringing about awareness of the hurts of this world. Watch this video she made:

She is a great friend! She truly is not afraid to be herself in this world. She has never been a follower! She rocks at math! She is respectful and tries to do what is right! So today Chloe Valee happy birthday! With God as your focus keep dreaming, growing, and keep your heart of compassion and justice! I love watching God guide you into a young lady that can change the world! 

Monday, August 26, 2013

New Schools...

Well, we all survived our new schools. 

When we moved to Conway we discovered that Allie would be in Middle School in 5th grade at Simon Middle school. This school has about 800 students for 5th, 6th, & 7th grade! She managed to have her schedule memorized by the 3rd day and made it on time to all 8 of her classes. We went to her open house on Thursday and met all her teachers. How sweet is this?? Allie showed me her "mean dean of students" at open house last night!  I said "oh! That is what Neil does!" Allie said "no mom that guy is in charge of discipline! Neil helps people!" Then the next day, she came home and told me this. "Mom I started making friends with the Dean today. I figured you were friends with Neil and you never got in trouble so I should be friends Mr. Smith!"

As always Allie has made friends quickly and she informed me Friday that she has joined the "Stomp Club!" HA!

Chloe attends the junior high in town which has 1500 kids in 8th & 9th grade! The size of the school has been a little overwhelming to her. The first day she got to ride with Alex from church but it wasn't a great day after that. Tuesday it started to turn around and her friends from church made sure they found her and ate lunch with her. I love that she can go to school with her church friends! By Friday, she said she likes school and likes it here! 

I began classes at UCA. When I went to my second class and he starts the class with 
"I don't do slides! I teach with Wtsd style. Write that s*** down! I like to use adult language so get used to it!" It is very strange to be in a classroom where no matter the subject the bible is not the foundation. I did find it interesting that me professor this morning said that people who have not explored and defined their spirituality are not as successful in recovery. I do love the information and the topics of class and I am already learning A LOT & because I know it is what I want to do with my life I am very excited and eager to learn! 

So, we all had some ups and downs but we survived our first week! Most importantly God has continued to reveal more and more blessings that have come from moving here! 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Best Summer Ever...

Well, today was the last day of summer vacation! I asked the girls if they liked their summer and the agreed (which is rare these days) that it was the best summer ever! 
A lot has happened in the last 3 months:
-We moved & got settled in our lovely home!
-We fell in love with pineapple whip!
-Chloe and Allie went to QMCC.

-Chloe went to impact @ Lipscomb!

-Chloe & Allie went on a little trip with Meme and Punkie to Memphis.
-Allie's legs grew!
-Oscar and Buster have enjoyed the wildlife here!
-Allie went to Magic Springs with her new friend Ava! 
-The girls had a great time at Sunday Supper, Sidewalk, helping out with Mondays for Moms, Girls night, & service week with their new forever family at UCC!

-Misa and I went camping in a tent in the Ozarks.
-The whole Bell crew went to Houston for the 3rd annual "Bell Birthday Bash"!
-Mami came from Honduras and we had the best adventure with her to Michigan and Oklahoma!
-Chloe wore a flower on her head for 10 days!
-Misa turned 29!
-Misa and I celebrated 5 years of marriage!
-We went on a family Off-Roading Adventure!
-Alyssa came and stayed for a week!
-Chloe started to learn how to drive!

-The Berges Babes came for a weekend.
We do really love it here and God truly answered our prayers and quieted our "worries"! Tomorrow we will not have any elementary kids anymore. 😂
Our minister/bible class teacher challenged us to write a blessing for the school year over our children! I loved doing this and even picked a verse that will be our "School Year" verse! 

God has truly made His presence and blessings known! How many kids do you know that have to move to another state and away from their home, friends, family, and church family would say 3.5 months later that they had the best summer of their lives! That is God my friends! 

Saturday, August 10, 2013

When I grow up I want to be...

Well, it is official I have my parking permit, my student ID, & my class schedule! 
Lord willing, on August 23rd, I will be working on my degree to become an addiction counselor. At 35 years old I finally know what I want to be when I grow up! HA!
Recovery has truly change ever fiber of my being! I feel like I have found my calling and another way to work step 12 in my life. (12 Having had a spiritual experience as the result of these steps, we try to carry this message to others and practice these principles in all our affairs. Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore them gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.Galatians 6:1) 
And Prinicple 8:
I also think that we will be able to finish this degree without taking on any more debt! I am only going to be taking 6 hours a semester so that I will be able to balance life and school. This is my schedule this semester. 

I am excited for the all the courses in the degree. 
If you are reading this and are a praying person please pray that God will led me to a part-time job so that I can contribute financially to my schooling! 
Now if I can just bring myself to remove my OC faculty/staff parking permit so I can put my UCA permit on. Oc will always be home and I do like being an eagle over a scary purple bear! 

Friday, August 2, 2013

Mami's Visit!

I honestly thought I would never see Misa's grandmother "Mami" come for a visit to the States but on July 14th she arrived. Communication with her has always been difficult for me but I noticed a huge difference this time because I didn't feel so insecure about myself and I would just try to speak whether it was right or not! 90% of the time we were able to get our point across and understood each other!

 Erlinda Salinas is 77 years old and stands just under 5 feet tall. She has lived in the Olancho region of Honduras most of her life. She quit school at 3rd grade. She single handedly supported and raised 3 children. She grew coffee in the mountains and during harvest she would walk 2.5 hours up the mountain one way. She went into labor with her oldest son Javier while picking coffee and walked down by herself to her house, had him without assistance, & then went back to picking coffee the next day with the little one strapped to her. When her daughter Flor Maria died of MS she took on the responsibility of her children Misa who was 7 years old and Claudia was 1. It was Flor's wish that they come to the States and live with Pete and Janine Brazle but Mami could not give up the only thing she had left of her beloved Flor. However, when Misa was 16 and Claudia was 10 she decided to let them go. She is an amazing woman who literally ends and begins her day on her knees in prayer. She is now raising her great-grandson who is 10. She cooks out over and open fire. I say all of this so that you can get a picture of the strength and life of this woman. 

We were concerned about her adjustment here but she did amazing! Before she came here the longest she had ever been in a car was 4 hours and in the 2 weeks she was here we spent 53 hours in the car. She LOVES flowers and we spent a lot of time looking, smelling, and talking about flowers. She loved to hear and see planes fly overhead and we all would stop and look when there was one! She had also only seen a train on television so seeing trains was very exciting! 

I feel like I really got to know her this trip. We are both early risers so we got to spend a lot of time alone in the mornings together. After her breakfast she always found work to do even if that included sweeping Pete and Janine's entire yard or chopping firewood with a machete. 

We laughed a lot and we cried when she went back! I am beyond thankful for this amazing, spite-fire, stubborn, godly woman! I am forever changed and have made a bigger effort to stop and appreciate the flowers. I have been thinking a lot about the story of Ruth and Naomi since her visit and I feel like I truly know what Ruth felt when she said "Your people will be my people and your God will be my God." We truly come from two different worlds but God brought us together and made us family and I am forever grateful!