Thankful Thursdays

“It may be a dog, a cat, a bird, a ferret, or a guinea pig, but the chances are high that when someone close to you dies, a pet will be there to pick up the slack. Pets devour the loneliness. They give us purpose, responsibility, a reason for getting up in the morning, and a reason to look to the future. They ground us, help us escape the grief, make us laugh, and take full advantage of our weakness by exploiting our furniture, our beds, and our refrigerator. We wouldn’t have it any other way. Pets are our seat belts on the emotional roller coaster of life–they can be trusted, they keep us safe, and they sure do smooth out the ride.” – N. Trout

Couldn’t have said it better myself. Today’s post is dedicated to our furry companions. A big thanks to those of you who contributed the wonderful photos and heartfelt words below. You rock!

I’ll start it off with NERVOUS NELLY. Ten years ago, Nervous Nelly found us and decided to adopt us. She has been a loyal and constant presence in our lives ever since. We are so grateful to have her. ❤️

And this of course is BENI HEINZ. He was a surprise, courtesy of Lauren. Lucky for us, he decided to keep us. 😉
Lauren:  Thankful for Beni because he reminds me to be compassionate and patient. His love is like no other and he truly brings me peace whenever I’m having a chaotic life moment.

Next we have COCOABELLE the chihuahua and HARLEY the boxer. They own Gabe.
Gabe: Thank you for being there. For helping us through the dark times we were going through. Thank you for always greeting us when we walked through the door or running out thinking you were going on an adventure with us.

This is LUCY. She adopted the Velasquez family.
Tuti:  We rescued this baby about 6 years ago and she has been the best friend we could ask for. Lucy has made us complete and give us so much love, we are lucky to have her. ❤️

HARLEY, MAGGIE and ELY totally rule over Nancy and Al.
I’m thankful for all the unconditional love and happiness I receive from my furry children Harley, Maggie and Ely.

CASTLE. This dude hangs out with the Garcia clan.
Cary:  The youngest member of the García clan. Thank you for all the love you provide to us each day. Seeing you when I get home from work brings a smile to my face regardless of how stressful the day has been.

ARIA, EMILY, EINSTEIN and MONTY. Elicia and Mildred are constantly entertained by these stars. 
Elicia and Mildred:  Not sure how we managed before our fur-babies, but thanks to them we live a happy and balanced life: 
Aria handles Play time; Emily keeps us Laughing; Einstein makes sure we get plenty of Rest; and Monty handles all levels of Security. Every day is a great day with our special cast of characters and we are grateful!

We now interrupt this dog lovefest to bring you ELLIE.
Kristin:  I’m thankful for her because she helped me through a tough time in my life. She is always so happy to see me and loves me whenever she can. She’s truly a one in a kind cat!

And we’re back to the pooches, but with a little twist. I give you ROSIE and GOTHAM.
Vicky:  I am thankful for my pets , Rosie and Gotham, because they always give me a sense of peace even during the hardest of days. I am so thankful for their unconditional love.

This is CHIEF, boss of the Quintero family.
We’re thankful for him for reminding us to always have fun, to take time to toss the ball around, and to find joy in the little things 🙂 oh and to have that extra cookie 🙂

Her name was LOLA, she was a showgirl…(sorry, that name brings to mind Manilow singing Copacabana. Chillin’ Lola is Elen’s owner.
Elen:  Thankful for her because she lights up my day no matter how difficult it has been 🥰

LOKI is a quarantine savior.
Samantha:  I’m so thankful this little guy got me through quarantine last year. He’s honestly the best thing that got me through the work day while working from home!

BONGO adopted Emoy and Ciara.
Emoy:  Our
 new addition to our home and a loving puppy. I am so thankful that he has brought comfort, companion and a playfulness to our home.

LUCKY is the Campana family that he found them!
Lauren C.:  My family adopted him after my brother found him on the street after he had run away from his previous owner. I named him Lucky because Lucky came into my life when I needed a friend when starting a new chapter of my life and he needed a family and a safe place to home. 

PIPO, a name any Cuban dog would love. I hear he makes cafecito for the Rodriguez family.
Ledys:  My loyal, forgiving, faithful companion, therapy dog, consoler, patient & kind, knows when I’m feeling down, sad or ill, best co-worker, but best of all he’s the best alarm clock I’ve ever had. I just say “Pipo tomorrow wake me up at 5:30” [or any time I choose] and I kid you not, he does!!!

This dog-free commercial is brought to you by SMOKEY NOELLE, MOOSE, ANGELBOY and MISS MILLIE.
Barbie:  Smokey Noelle, my senior love, made me see it was okay to open my heart again. Which, in turn, led me to Moose, AngelBoy and Miss Millie, found them as newborns under my car, mom was run over. Smokey passed soon after. I call them my furry heartbeats and I am grateful for their love, purrs and sassy ‘tudes.

CHARLOTTE, HERBIE and LAYLA. This trio has Elizabeth’s heart.
Elizabeth: I am thankful for Herbie, Charlotte and Layla because they make me feel loved and needed.  When they greet me at the door or cuddle on my lap, it fills me with warmth and tenderness and gives me a rush of endorphins. 

And that’s a wrap, folks!

Maybe the biggest reason to be thankful for our pets is that, no matter how imperfect we are or how many mistakes we make, THEY are thankful for us.

What are you thankful for today?

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.








“Such short little lives our pets have to spend with us, and they spend most of it waiting for us to come home each day. It is amazing how much love and laughter they bring into our lives and even how much closer we become with each other because of them.”
-J. Grogan









Thankful Thursdays

There is no way the Big Bang created that!

That was my immediate thought after looking at a diagram showing intricate parts of the knee. I was sitting in the examining room at my orthopaedic surgeon’s office and of course had plenty of time to study the poster while I waited for the doc to come in. Let me tell you, no matter how many scientific theories there are about the creation, there is no way our calculated anatomy is a byproduct of any of them.

It is true that science teaches us about the world and the universe and life, and that it can explain a lot of it, including my busted knee; and I am grateful for the discovery and lessons. But it has not been able to explain to me how all that stardust from the Big Bang created the blueprint and mapping for the highly complex function of the human eye. Or for what eventually became the Daisy (even Darwin described the origin of flowers as an “abominable mystery.”) And don’t get me started about that series of ever-dividing cells that design our bodies and all of our thoughts, capabilities and feelings. Flaws and all, only God could have created the perfect [purposeful] imperfection that we are.

What are you thankful for today?

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.

“For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything.”
-Hebrews 3:4

“Atheism is so senseless. When I look at the solar system, I see the earth at the right distance from the sun to receive the proper amounts of heat and light. This did not happen by chance.”
-Isaac Newton, Physics, Mathematics

“Finite man cannot begin to comprehend an omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent, and infinite God … I find it best to accept God through faith, as an intelligent will, perfect in goodness and wisdom, revealing Himself through His creation.”
-Werner Von Braun, Rocket Science

“If a little flower could speak, it seems to me that it would tell us quite simply all that God has done for it, without hiding any of its gifts. It would not, under the pretext of humility, say that it was not pretty, or that it had not a sweet scent, that the sun had withered its petals,or the storm bruised its stem, if it knew that such were not the case.”
-St. Thérèse de Lisieux, Story of a Soul

Thankful Thursdays

I’m not in the habit of giving advice unless asked, except of course when it comes to my kids. They are adult children, I know. I just can’t help myself, it’s in my DNA. Isn’t it in every mother’s DNA? I only do it to be helpful, not to be intrusive. But it’s not always well-taken. Danny usually nods, but Lauren, well, Lauren…let’s just say she’s not a fan of “unsolicited advice,” as she calls it. And I get it. Sometimes they just want us parents to show up and shut up and let their own experiences be their teacher.

However, after my post from a couple of weeks ago wherein I included a list of rules to teach our sons, I was asked if I had a list for daughters. I do, actually, and was waiting for the next time I wanted to gift mine a bunch of “unsolicited advice” all at once. And what better time to do that than on the day she turns 29. 😁 Once again, in true parental fashion, Lauren, here’s a list for you:

  1. Make your bed every morning.
  2. Travel light through life. Leave out any jealousies, unforgiveness, selfishness or fears. Heavy baggage will drag you down.
  3. It’s okay to cry when you’re hurt. It’s also okay to smash (some) things; but, wash your face, clean your mess, and get up off the floor when you’re done. You don’t belong down there.
  4. If you’re going to curse, be clever. If you’re going to curse in public, know your audience.
  5. Seek out the people and places that resonate with your soul.
  6. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.
  7. You are woman, you do not need a man, but you can absolutely enjoy your life with a good one.
  8. Happiness is not a permanent state. Wholeness is. Don’t confuse the two.
  9. Don’t ever shake a person’s hand sitting down.
  10. Never walk through an alley alone.
  11. Be equal parts sugar and spice, and only as nice as you’re able to without compromising yourself.
  12. If you can’t smile with your eyes, don’t smile. Insincerity is nothing to aspire to.
  13. Never lie to yourself.
  14. Your body, your rules.
  15. If you have an opinion, you better know why.
  16. Practice your passions. 
  17. Always protect your siblings.
  18. Be confident and humble at the same time.
  19. A classic outfit is worth 1000 words.
  20. Ask for what you want. The worst thing they can say is no. 
  21. Wish on stars, then get to work to make it happen.
  22. Experience art, music, literature, food and far-off places.
  23. Take lots of pictures along the way.
  24. Say Please, Thank You, and Pardon Me, whenever the situation warrants it.
  25. Reserve“I’m sorry” for when you truly are.
  26. Question everything, except your own intuition.
  27. No matter where you are, you can always come home.
  28. Be happy and remember your roots, family is EVERYTHING.
  29. Be kind; treat others how you would like them to treat you.
  30. If ever in doubt, remember you are the DAUGHTER of the Most High (ours too!) and REFUSE to just be ordinary!

Lauren, Happy Birthday! 🎂 We are so proud of your accomplishments. May you continue to conquer life for many years. We are blessed to have you in our lives, and we are so very thankful for you. We love you to infinity and beyond. ❤️

What are you thankful for today?

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.

“Do not ask your children
to strive for extraordinary lives.
Such striving may seem admirable,
but it is the way of foolishness.
Help them instead to find the wonder
and the marvel of an ordinary life.
Show them the joy of tasting
tomatoes, apples and pears.
Show them how to cry
when pets and people die.
Show them the infinite pleasure
in the touch of a hand.
And make the ordinary come alive for them.
The extraordinary will take care of itself.”
-W. Martin

Thankful Thursdays

So much has happened in the last 14 months. Soooo much.

While in Texas this week, I spotted a billboard of a popular 24/7 burger joint that read

Hours of operation

Immediately I thought of how God is at work all the time. Some times for us, some times through us. So much has happened in the last 14 months, and so much is yet to happen. Knowing that God is at work on our behalf brings hope and peace to my heart, and helps me to go forward confidently. And for that, today and always I am thankful. How ‘bout you?

What are you thankful for today?

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.

“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.”
-Romans 8:28

“…for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”
-1 John 4:4


Thankful Thursdays

When we least expect it, we may be presented with a set of circumstances that makes it possible to do something. Do we act on it, or do we pass? That’s not always a clear-cut choice. But I think when opportunity comes knocking, we should at least open the door. And, if it’s dressed like a challenge, I say invite it to dinner, because it’s about to get interesting.

Today’s post is dedicated to our son, Daniel, as he heads out to Fort Worth to jump on his latest opportunity. We’re proud of you, kiddo. Although I must say you already have a lot of these rules down, in true parental fashion, here’s a reminder:

1. Never shake a man’s hand sitting down.
2. Don’t enter a pool by the stairs.
3. The man at the BBQ Grill is the closest thing to a king.
4. In a negotiation, never take the first offer.
5. Request the late check-out.
6. When entrusted with a secret, keep it.
7. Hold your heroes to a higher standard.
8. Return a borrowed car with a full tank of gas.
9. Play with passion or don’t play at all.
10. Always protect your siblings.
11. Don’t let a wishbone grow where a backbone should be.
12. If you need music on the beach, you’re missing the point.
13. Carry two handkerchiefs. The one in your back pocket is for you. The one in your breast pocket is for her.
14. You marry the girl, you marry her family.
15. Be like a duck. Remain calm on the surface and paddle like crazy underneath.
16. Experience the serenity of traveling alone.
17. Never turn down a breath mint.
18. A sport coat is worth 1000 words.
19. Try writing your own eulogy. Never stop revising.
20. Stand on principle.
21. Eat lunch with the new kid.
22. After writing an angry email, read it carefully. Then delete it.
23. Ask your mom to play. She won’t let you win.
24. Manners maketh the man.
25. Give credit. Take the blame.
26. Stand up to Bullies. Protect those bullied.
27. Write down your dreams.
28. Remember at times the rain must fall for us to appreciate the sun.
29. Be confident and humble at the same time.
30. Be the bridge builder.
31. Call your mother every day. [I added this one.]
32. If ever in doubt, remember you are the SON of the most high (ours too!) and REFUSE to just be ordinary!

Good luck, Danny! We love you to infinity and beyond! ❤️🚀

For the opportunities God sends our way, and the vision to pursue them, today and always I am thankful.

What are you thankful for today?

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.

“Not knowing when the dawn will come,
I open every door.”
-Emily Dickinson

“Let me tell ya. You gotta pay attention to signs. When life reaches out with a moment like this it’s a sin if you don’t reach back… I’m telling you.”
-Matthew Quick

“Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.”

Thankful Thursdays

No one is ever quite ready. I thought I was because we certainly planned for it. But I wasn’t. I thought I was choosing motherhood but, in reality, it was choosing me. And here I am, on the eve of another Mother’s Day, twenty-nine years since that first life-changing eye-opener. Since that day when this roller coaster enthusiast hopped on the ultimate ride of highs and lows, love and hate, laughter and tears, molasses and warp speed.

This beautiful chaos has tested me before each lesson, and continues to do so. But I wouldn’t trade my best day before motherhood for my worst day with my kids. “What do you want for Mother’s Day?” they ask. Nothing,” I always say. Because the best gift that I will ever have is being a mother. And for that, Lord, today and always, I am thankful.

I dedicate today’s post to Lauren and Danny. For the blessing they are. And to my hubby. For making it happen. 😉

Happy Mother’s Day to all you wonderful women who, biological or otherwise, nurture another soul.

What is motherhood to you? And what are you thankful for today?

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.

“Motherhood is a choice you make everyday, to put someone else’s happiness and well-being ahead of your own, to teach the hard lessons, to do the right thing even when you’re not sure what the right thing is…and to forgive yourself, over and over again, for doing everything wrong.”
-Donna Ball

“No one is ever quite ready; everyone is always caught off guard. Parenthood chooses you. And you open your eyes, look at what you’ve got, say “Oh, my gosh,” and recognize that of all the balls there ever were, this is the one you should not drop. It’s not a question of choice.”
-M. De los Santos

“When your mother asks, ‘Do you want a piece of advice?’ it is a mere formality. It doesn’t matter if you answer yes or no. You’re going to get it anyway.”
-E. Bombeck

Thankful Thursdays

If I had a dollar for every time I have faced uncertainty, I’d be rich and sitting in retirement on a beach in Fiji. Yes, that many times.

Uncertainty surrounds us whether we are tuned in to it or not. No matter how in control of our lives we think we are, much of what lies ahead in life remains uncertain. That’s just the way it is. And if you’re like me, the “what-ifs” can drive you nuts.

Of course, uncertainty would be a moot issue if we had a crystal ball. For instance, I would’ve chosen different hiking boots to go on that 15-mile hike in Canyonlands National Park. The lack of a crystal ball that day almost cost me dearly (even for a semi-veteran hiker like myself 😎). Thankfully, in time, I recovered. But yeah, a glimpse of the pain would’ve been nice. But no, the only crystal ball I’ve encountered is in the Haunted Mansion, and Madame Leota never foretold my bad choice of boots. Yet, that 15-mile hike in those boots turned out to be a memorable experience fueled by endurance, determination and absolute faith, which I will always appreciate.

My point is that, in general, in life the best we can do about uncertainty is follow our heart, gut, and then place our complete trust in God. If the choices we make go smoothly, great, if they don’t, it serves us best to believe God will see us through it, however the journey and whatever the outcome.

For every time God helps me to place my trust in Him, I am thankful.

Go ahead, finish the sentence: If I had a dollar for every _________________________________.

What are you thankful for today?

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.

“Never allow waiting to become a habit. Live your dreams and take risks. Life is happening now.”
-Paulo Coelho

“I wanted a perfect ending. Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next. “Delicious Ambiguity.”
-Gilda Radner

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
-Isaiah 41:10

“There is no 100%. The most we can plan for is 97%.”

Thankful Thursdays

If you could have a conversation with yourself from 20 years ago, what would you tell yourself? Me? That there’s only so many times one can get away with putting 38 on a birthday cake. [Wink, wink…inside joke to family and friends].

Seriously, though, I would tell myself not to sweat the small stuff. As a control freak and overly concerned person, sometimes I go on alert mode waaaayyy prematurely, not waiting to see if the small stuff even turns into big stuff. It’s quite the conundrum given that I’m also an extremely patient person — I think I want to worry but I’m willing to wait. The suspense is real. 😅

It’s weird that I don’t get rattled by the big stuff, it’s the trivial things that seem to consume my thoughts. Maybe because when the going gets really tough, I grab for my faith, and there’s no match for that. It’s sweating the feeble, micro-stuff I have to work on. It’s a waste of good brain cells and time. And time is valuable, my friends, as I’m sure you know. Just ask yourself from 20 years ago. Kids, word of advice: don’t sweat the small stuff, save your brain cells.

For every instance I am able to wipe my forehead and keep the small stuff in check, I am thankful.

If you could have a conversation with yourself from 20 years ago, what would you tell yourself? And what are you thankful for today?

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
-Matthew 6:34

“Indeed, the important question in terms of becoming more peaceful isn’t whether or not you’re going to have negative thoughts – you are – it’s what you choose to do with the ones that you have.”
-Richard Carlson

Thankful Thursdays

I’m pretty sure in nine plus years of consecutive Thankful Thursdays posts, I must have expressed gratitude for this, but here it is again – – I am so very grateful for working plumbing.

My first realization of the value of working plumbing, no, actually, of plumbing, period, was during day 2 of my first missionary trip when I was 18 years old. We arrived at the mountain village where our project that year was going to take place and were settling in, when nature called. I will never forget the moment when I entered the outhouse. Wow. Interesting to say the least and at first amusing. But that rude awakening became ten-fold when I had to use it again in the dark of night. It was at that moment that I swore I would never, ever, take a toilet for granted again.

Since then, many plumbing-related issues have arisen in my life and with every one of them has come a reminder of that eye-opening night. Be that as it may, the comforts afforded by the blessings I enjoy day after day have sometimes clouded my memory. But I think that’s why life nudges us at times, to keep us honest. Like in this instance, our plumbing going haywire yesterday. All in all, not a huge or life-threatening event, obviously, just an inconvenient interruption. Nevertheless, yes, a stark reminder of that night long ago and that little wooden outhouse that scared the _______ out of me (no pun intended). Life finds a way, I tell you.

So, for working plumbing, I am thankful, again. And for my hubby, who so diligently jumped on the ball to get it fixed. 🙂

What comforts are you thankful for today?

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.

“When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude.”
-G.K. Chesterton

Thankful Thursdays

Affirmations can be powerful, and none is more powerful to me than one which emboldens my faith. Believing I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (and what He can do through me), during the good, the bad and the ugly, does just that.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. And for that, today and always, I am thankful.

What are you thankful for day?

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.

“I can do all things
Through Christ, who gives me strength.
But sometimes I wonder what He
Can do through me.

No great success to show,
No glory on my own;
Yet in my weakness He is there
To let me know…

His strength is perfect
When our strength is gone;
He’ll carry us
When we can’t
Carry on.
Raised in His power,
The weak become strong.

His strength is perfect,
His strength is perfect.”

Captiva Island, Florida, August 12, 2016