Refreshing time

Got up extra early this morning in the refreshing, cool time before the sun comes up.  It has been so hot this weekend that it was a treat to feel some cool.  It is good to break out of your routine and I did that to spend some extra time in prayer this morning as part of our Concordia prayer vigil.  Breaking out of routine helps you notice things you didn’t notice before. Right now I am aware of some birds singing outside my window (are they always there?).  I was refreshed also by spending time reflecting on what God has done for Concordia over the last month.  Reflecting is good….necessary in our busy lives.  One month ago we hadn’t even been given over the keys to the preschool.  We didn’t know what it would be like to take more than 130 children through a day of learning and fun.

I was reflecting on the journey… should have been an impossible one for this little group of people facing such big obstacles (no, they were not challenges they were big, hairy obstacles).  This has been God’s doing — His initiative, His planting of a vision and a dream, His mission, His power…..and His making it happen. It has been amazing that He has allowed us to be a part of it.   I think about the many people who have prayed for this dream of making an impact for God and for good in this community….people all around the world have prayed.  Prayer is powerful because it connects us with the Person who has all the power…..the Lord of heaven and earth.  Time in prayer is good. It connects us, it reorients us, it reminds us of who is the giver of all good things and that giving is His character.,,,,and it refreshes and renews us.  It has refreshed me this morning in the cool air with the bird’s song keeping me company.

Make a card…

A scrapbooking gal, Jennifer McGuire, whose work is amazing is organizing a card drive…..please participate, have your child participate….it is a teachable moment. Thanks, Melissa

Cards for Kate

This weekend I have a lot planned. Matthew is out of town, so we’ll see if that makes things more or less easier.

One thing I am planning on doing is making a card for Kate McRae. You have probably heard about sweet 5-year-old Kate, who was recently diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer. Check out her Caring Bridge page and her dad, Aaron’s, blog.

Here is a video Aaron recently posted about a day in her life. The second half really got to me.

A small group of scrapbookers/card-makers have organized a card drive for her and I want to encourage you to participate. If you aren’t a card maker, buy a card. Maybe fold some construction paper and let your kids make a card and get involved. What a great way to talk to them about serving others.

Here are the details from Jennifer McGuire’s blog:

* Cards can be for any member of Kate’s family:

– Kate (age 5) – The sweet girl who is battling cancer.
– Little brother Will.
– Bigger sister Olivia.
– Mom and Dad, Aaron and Holly.

* Cards can be anything cheery, encouraging, supportive, etc. (This family is a family of God, so for all you Christians out there, feel free to share messages of Faith.) Anyone can send a card – even your children!

* Please write a message in the card and sign your name and where you are from. On the card envelope, please write the name of who the card is for (Kate, Will, Olivia, Aaron and/or Kate). Also, please don’t seal the envelope, as Kate’s parents might want to preview cards before the kids see them.

* With your cards, please include a piece of paper with your name, address, email address and number of cards. We will keep these for picking out prizes. (See below.)

* The cards should be sent to:

Jennifer McGuire
Card Drive for Kate
PO Box 428612
Cincinnati, Ohio 45242

* Please send the cards to arrive by October 1. This should give enough time for those overseas to play along. As we get enough to fill a box to send to Kate’s family, we will send them. This way they don’t get them all at once. And since they are having some struggles lately, the sooner we get some cards, the better.

* If you want to send more than just a card (such as a gift), please just send directly to the address given HERE.

* If you want to donate money to Kate’s family, please click HERE. If you want to help cover the costs of shipping, feel free to include some money in with your cards. Any money leftover will be donated to the family. (But there is NO need to include money.)

And… how about some prizes as a thank you for participating? For all the cards we get, we will pick random winners of some great prizes. Click HERE for up-to-date prize info. Stuff will be added soon and often. Please keep in mind that winners will be pick based on piece of paper you include with your cards with your name and info. So, be sure to include it!

Thank you everyone,

Jennifer, Kristina and Jana

Chili’s New Menu Rocks!

We had the privilege of being invited to sample the Chili’s new menu available in only three restaurants in the country right now. This is the Chili’s in the Otay Ranch Town Center in East Chula Vista.  I sampled about 25 of the items on the all new menu. Fresh, Flavorful, Beautiful Presentation, Melt in your Mouth Yumminess….and everything seems to be hand pulled, hand formed….you can tell they have put alot of thought and effort into this new menu.  Even the garnishes (like on the soups) include corn that was grill roasted in the morning!

My favorites?  The hamburgers (hand formed Chuck Steak beef) the one I tried had swiss cheese, mushrooms and bacon … wow a winning combination.  I loved the ribs.  The green chili soup was tasteeeee (with fresh avocados in it)  The loaded nachos super yummy and a big hit I understand. We had chicken which was very flavorful (smoked and hand pulled) but they say the beef ones are even better…hard to imagine.

Mike Brooks, the manager and his team are doing a great job.  We met young Ashley who was on her first day after training and 10 days in San Diego from Kentucky……so nice and cute.

Good thing I had to go across the border to the Cristo Para Todas Las Naciones office in Tijuana and work or I would have been tempted to take a little nap after that feast!  Thanks Nichole for this special treat!

Birthday Celebration

My mom turned 75 yesterday and we had a birthday dinner party for her.  The Fusse boys and some of the Fusse parents were here to help celebrate.  We missed Liz because she had her first classes yesterday in IRvine and was coming home today Friday so she couldn’t come for the party last night.  Without Liz’s help (who is the baker and pastry chef of the family) I wasn’t successful in making the cake (I had high hopes for a fondant cake a la Cake Boss) so I mad a mad dash to the local Hans and Harry’s Bakers here in Bonita (fabulous) for a small Belgium Chocolate Truffle cake and an Oregon Hazelnut Buttercreme Cake.  The menu? Ropa Vieja (shredded beef with a seasoned chili sauce), rice and beans, Horchata (rice water) and Agua de Jamaica (hibiscus flower cold tea) to drink.  It was a great time and we enjoyed God’s blessing of being together and enjoying this special occasion.

Love this list….

Love this….I bet there is something in this that you need to own today.

Make it a great day….despite what challenges the day might hold!


This email was written By Regina Brett, 90 years old, of The Plain Dealer, Cleveland, Ohio. “To celebrate growing older, I once wrote the 45 lessons life taught me. It is the most-requested column I’ve ever written. My odometer rolled over to 90 in August, so here is the column once more:”

1. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good. 2. When in doubt, just take the next small step. 3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone. 4. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and parents will. Stay in touch. 5. Pay off your credit cards every month. 6. You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree. 7. Cry with someone. It’s more healing than crying alone. 8. It’s OK to get angry with God. He can take it. 9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck. 10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile. 11. Make peace with your past so it won’t screw up the present. 12. It’s OK to let your children see you cry. 13. Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about. 14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn’t be in it. 15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don’t worry; God never blinks. 16. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind. 17. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful. 18. Whatever doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger. 19. It’s never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else. 20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don’t take no for an answer. 21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don’t save it for a special occasion. Today is special. 22. Over prepare, then go with the flow. 23. Be eccentric now. Don’t wait for old age to wear purple. 24. No one is in charge of your happiness but you. 25. Frame every so-called disaster with these words ”In five years, will this matter?”. 26. Always choose life. 27. Forgive everyone everything. 28. What other people think of you is none of your business. 29. Time heals almost everything. Give time, time. 30. However good or bad a situation is, it will change. 31. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does. 32. Believe in miracles. 33. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn’t do. 34. Don’t audit life. Show up and make the most of it now. 35. Growing old beats the alternative — dying young. 36. Your children get only one childhood. 37. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved. 38. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere. 39. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back. 40. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need. 41. The best is yet to come. 42. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up. 43. Yield. 44. Life isn’t tied with a bow, but it’s still a gift. 45. Friends are the family that we choose for ourselves.


Listened to the album… purchasing and downloading it now.  Amazingly unique vision. Love her creativity.

Don’t we live in a great country….

….where this is possible!

Ex-migrant worker about to blast into space

Parents instilled importance of education on Hernandez’s path to NASA

Image: Jose Hernandez, far right, with his brothers Gil, left, Chava and sister Leticia

AP Photo/Hernandez Family
Future NASA astronaut Jose Hernandez,f ar right, with his brothers Gil, left, Chava and sister Leticia, didn’t learn English until he was 12.

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CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – He toiled in California’s farm fields alongside his Mexican migrant worker parents and didn’t learn English until he was 12. Now Jose Hernandez, NASAastronaut, is about to rocket into orbit.

His parents will be in Florida next week for space shuttle Discovery’s launch, as will his two older brothers and sister, who also worked the cucumber, sugar beet and tomato fields back in the 1960s and 1970s.

“A lot of kids loved summer vacation,” Hernandez said in a recent interview. “We dreaded it because we knew what that meant. That meant we were going to be working seven days a week in the fields.”

Hernandez, 47, vividly recalls being dusty, sweaty and tired in the back seat of the family’s car after a hard day of labor. Before starting the engine, his father would look back at his children and tell them, “Remember this feeling because if you guys don’t do well in school, this is your future.”

“That was pretty powerful,” Hernandez recalled.

Parents had third-grade education
All four took it to heart. Each graduated from high school, “a moral victory” for third-grade educated Salvador and Julia Hernandez, now 71 and 67 years old, respectively. Each went to college, “the icing on the cake,” according to their youngest child.

“And, of course, now being an astronaut, to them that’s just unbelievable,” said the soon-to-be spaceman. “I think they’re higher in orbit than we’re going to be in.”

Discovery is scheduled to blast off in the wee hours of Tuesday. Seven astronauts will be on board for the space station supply run, including two Mexican-Americans, as it turns out, and a Swede.

Those who deal with migrant farm workers also are soaring.

“When we see an example like Jose, we are so happy,” said Matthew Sheaff, a spokesman for the Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs in Washington. “It’s an example that anybody can break the cycle of poverty that they live in.”

“It’s a great model for these farm worker kids” just now heading home after picking crops this summer, Sheaff added.

Starts ‘Reaching for the Stars’
Children are, in fact, Hernandez’s focus.

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He’s formed a “Reaching for the Stars” foundation in Stockton, Calif., his hometown, to inspire local youngsters toexcel in math, science, engineering and technology.

Whenever he gives motivational talks, “I say, ‘Look, I can trade poor stories with the best of you here, and I’ll tell you that I’ll probably be coming out on the shorter end of the stick than you will.”

Each year, the Hernandez family would make the two-day car trip from La Piedad de Cavadas in the central Mexican state of Michoacan to California in March, working their way northward with the crops, until November. Then it was back to Mexico until the next March. The parents insisted their children always attend school.

Hernandez, who was born in French Camp, Calif., remembers asking his second-grade teacher for a couple months’ worth of homework when it came time for the family’s annual pilgrimage back to Mexico. The teacher urged his parents to set down roots; his father eventually started a trucking business in Stockton.

Astronaut ‘through osmosis’
Two things pointed Hernandez toward space.

During the Apollo moon landings, Hernandez would hold the rabbit ears steady on the family’s old black and white TV for good reception. He likes to kid “it’s through osmosis that I got to become an astronaut.”

Then, during his senior year, he learned of NASA’s first Hispanic astronaut, Franklin Chang-Diaz, who was born in Costa Rica.

“I said, ‘Hey, if he came from poor, humble beginnings and he became an astronaut, if he can do it, why can’t I do it?’ ” Hernandez said. He gravitated toward math and science because of his English limitations.

Hernandez ended up getting bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering and, in 1987, went to work for Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California. He became an expert in X-ray physics, helping to develop the first full-field digital mammography system. And during a stint at the Department of Energy, he helped with the disposal of Russian nuclear materials.

He moved to Houston in 2001 to work at Johnson Space Center as an engineer, working his way up to branch chief. He was selected as an astronaut in 2004, after 12 years of trying.

Hernandez now has five children of his own, ages 6 to 14. Wife Adela runs a Mexican restaurant just outside the Johnson gates, aptly called Tierra Luna Grill, Spanish for Earth Moon Grill.

Attracting a new audience
By coincidence, another Mexican-American will be aboard Discovery, third-generation Danny Olivas, who grew up in El Paso, Texas. It will be the first time two Hispanics fly together in space.

NASA’s first bilingual Twittering astronaut, Hernandez — Astro_Jose — plans to file tweets from space. During the 13-day flight, he will help three of his crewmates suit up for spacewalks and haul thousands of pounds of supplies over from the shuttle.

His space shuttle commander, Rick Sturckow, is as inspired as anybody by Hernandez’s story. He, too, grew up in California, on a turkey and cattle farm.

With his language skills and personal history, Sturckow said, Hernandez is “attracting a new audience to NASA that we might not normally reach otherwise.”

© 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.