Sunday, January 29, 2012

a third pair of shoes

Becoming foster parents had always been part of our family plan.
But during the time that we trained and prayed about fostering, I never expected it to be like this...

I think God stirred my heart early on in life, and i didn't even realize it at the time. Growing up, my sister and I were always intrigued by the lives of orphans and needy children, and our frequent game of playing pretend usually involved the characters from the movie, Annie and the book series The Boxcar children. Hansel and Gretel was and still is my favorite fairy tale and many of the books that I loved to read over and over again involved stories of kids in need. (Prince and the Pauper, the Bakers Dozen, American Girl books (Samantha), Boxcar Children,  etc...)

As time passed on, God continued to expose me to the needs of kids all over the world, allowing me to take part of the spiritual enrichment and evangelism of kids in the slums of the Philippines to the orphanages and villages of Ukraine, to the at-risk children of the projects in Chicago, and now to the involvement of kids I work with in our small town of Iowa.

This time last year, God placed it on our hearts to open our home to kids who needed a safe place to live.
We're foster parents-part of America's "orphanage."
We get the privilege to love the unloved and tell them each how loved and special they are because of their Creator.
We get the privilege to feed and clothe the kids that may not have ever had that blessing.
However, as wonderful as it may sound, it's really really difficult.

You imagine before becoming foster parents that it's a beautiful way to serve others.
It's a way to touch the life of a child. 
and loving and caring for the child will be enough for them to succeed and pull through.

But all of a sudden, you become aware of a world that's full of hurt and pain.
The fears and nightmares of any child becomes reality once they are pulled away from their family and all they have ever known.
The doubts about themselves occur each moment they have alone.
The cries at night for the very people that wound up placing them in foster care.

And as foster parents, 
we find ourselves constantly on our knees before the Lord.
Asking for wisdom and guidance, because so many things are out of our control.
So often, we just don't know how to comfort and all we can do is hold the child as they sob in your arms.
So many questions that we are unable to answer.
So many fears and doubts that haunt these kids as they lay in bed at night, wondering, "Why???"

It's so watch these young kids deal with huge emotions and hurting more than their little hearts can handle. 
They are so burdened.
They feel so alone.
They think everything is all their fault.

We're praying, lil one. We're praying. 
Really truly emphasizing daily that you are not alone...

"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified for the LORD your God goes with you; He will never leave you not forsake you."
Deuteronomy 31:6

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

all the faces of Katie...

It's her 23rd birthday!!!
Here's a shout out to my seester!!!

here's to all her funny faces,
outrageous moments,
fun filled times,
and crazy laughter.
Here's to her creativity,
love for vintage,
and her love for the 1970's!!!! 

 Here's to her adventures in Chicago,
tree climbing predicaments,
and playground bumps and bruises!

Here's to our beautiful sister,
Here's to her gorgeous smile,
heart felt laugh,
love for others,
and big warm hugs.
Dear girl, 
we love you so much,
miss you tremendously,
and hope you're 23rd birthday is super fantastic and filled with all the goodies and yum yums that you love!
(Hope you got lots of hugs today!!! Wish we could give you some big ones!!!)

Monday, January 9, 2012

I wanna clarify...

that when I talk or whine or wish about my home in South Carolina, I'm not only talking about the boats that rest beside the waterfront...
 Or the bridges that connect the islands to the mainlands, 
(this one being one of my favorite ones)
 or the gorgeous contrast of many shades of green and blue,
 or the docks that occupied much of my time in high school, drinking coffee and talking while dangling my feet into the cool water. 
(or jumping off of them!)
 or the proudly flown South Carolina flag that is a beloved emblem to many South Carolinians...
 but it's these crazy, hilarious, loving bunch of people that I am family with.
They are the ones that make life seem just this. much. better.

I can't seem to get enough of them.
Spending a week with them once a year just doesn't cut it for me.
I just can't get enough of my mom's cooking or snuggling with her, my sisters' crazy laughs and dance parties, my daddy calling me, "baby," or "sweetheart," or hugging him around the waist.
Can't get enough playtime with Peyton, or coffee and donut runs with the sisters, family dinner times, or shopping with the family.
I love them.
Can you tell? 

There are plenty of bonuses of going home to South Carolina...
but these special people make the visit a hundred times worth it.

Sunday, January 8, 2012


one of my favorite things about going home is seeing my bubba.
boo boo.
pey pey.
Peyton Manning Elizabeth Gamboa.
That's this little guy.
I'm not even going to apologize about blogging a whole post on my boy.
He's my buddy. 
We're kinda inseparable when I'm home.
That's cuz I rescued him.
We have that special bond:).
He's the best one to snuggle with during a rainstorm.
Or while watching a movie.
Or while you're sitting and talking.
He's just the best at everything;).
This is one of my favorite most awkward, hilarious pics of the two of us buddies.
My big sis, Ilene, was resting on the floor after working out.
She was reading her kindle and listening to music.
I sat on her. 
(maybe it's the little annoying sister that's still in me. and now that i'm bigger she can't just pin me down like she used to.) 
Peyton decided that he should sit on her too.
We're buds.
We bother her together. 
(and in all actuality, she got a back rub from it too! from both me and Pey!)
 I love love love how snuggly he looks in this pic. I think I have like ten of the same pic from different angles that ilene took. 
He's best most lovable boy in the world.

anywhoo, that's my favorite little boy in the world.
and he believes he's a boy-he's spoiled like the baby of the family.
he's got wonderful manners though, and hardly ever barks unless he hears something outside and wants to "protect" the family.
He's our baby.
I adore him.
and boy do i miss him.
He's be so nice to come home from work to and snuggle with on the couch.

Gamboa kids.

The three gamboa girls woke up early to take off one morning for some Dunkin Donut time.
It's always a treat to go out together-we don't have that privilege a often as we'd like.

I love my sisters.

My sisters are my favorites.

 Oh! haha, can't forget this lil dude.
He's part of the Gamboa sibs.

 hee, hee, love him. 
I couldn't get enough of his snuggliness and his sweet face.
The lil guy adore him and couldn't get enough of Peyton either...
Too bad Pey didn't like him too much...maybe it's because he doesn't like having his tail pulled. 
Or being sat on.
Lol, had to explain to the little man why peyton was scared of him.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Life is a beach...

I always try to see the beach at least one time whenever we go home to SC.
There's nothing more beautiful to me than the ocean.
I could sit on a sandy beach and just stare at the water for hours if I could.
We didn't have hours to sit and stare, but we enjoyed the water, sand, and view together.
My husband and his family LOVE horses, so when we saw these two beautiful horses on the beach, everyone stopped and watched the beautiful scene in front of us.
Katie - we thought of you and wished you could see the horses on the beach.

I try to take lots and lots of pics of the ocean whenever I get home.
It's the view I long for the most.