Friday, August 31, 2007


It's almost vacation time for us...less than 2 weeks to go! T his will actually be our third trip this summer, the first was in Chicago for a week, then we spent a few days in Tennessee. But we're really excited about this trip because this trip is all about us. I love our families and I love to spend time with them, but I also cherish the times Wes & I just get away together. I can't remember if we heard it or read it somewhere, but when we were first married, we learned of advice to try and plan a vacation and/or getaway every year just as a couple. Not only does it help you refresh from "real life," but it also helps the couple to rejuvinate as a couple as you spend all that time together.

Wes and I try to do both...a vacation and a weekend getaway. Usually our weekend getaways are done in Chicago which I guess really isn't quite a getaway as we're usually busy trying to run from here to there and back here again. But there have been times that we've gone to a bed & breakfast, or made an impromptu trip to the Smoky Mountains, or the..ahem...Sybaris. There's just something about a romantic weekend getaway.

Usually, though, we forfeit those romantic weekend getaways in favor of a longer vacation. Our vacation spot has been Disney World for the last several years. We usually get funny looks when we announce we're going there again....but I guess it carries sentimental value as well. It was our honeymoon spot so returning back to where we honeymooned year after year is just awesome! It can also be a rather relaxing vacation for us since they take care of so many things:
-we don't even have to go to get our baggage after getting off the plane, Disney does it for us and they bring the luggage to our room free of charge
-free shuttle service from and to the airport
-free transportation all over the Resort which Wes loves because it means NO driving whatsoever for him when we're down there
We can go there and feel completely care free...just walk around as if we didn't have a care in the world. We know how to budget our trips well as we know the ins and outs of discount codes and frugal vacationing when already down there. I think that's part of the the vacation with special promotions and realizing how much we saved as opposed to just blindly booking rack rates. Ok, so I'm turning into Travel Agent Mary here....

But seriously, there's something about getting away with Wes that excites me. It's time alone with just me and my husband. No family, no friends, no getting up early for work and staying up late trying to get things done, no trying to rush home from work to change and head back out to another job...nothing like that. Our only real responsibilities that week will be making sure we get to our dining reservations on time. Everything else is left at home. For an entire week, I have Wes all to myself. I LOVE that. The saddest and hardest part for me is leaving my furbabies behind. Last year I called my parents every day to check up on them and I'll be doing the same this year.

A few days ago Wes sent me an email telling me how much he was looking forward to this trip and not just because of it being Disney World (which he said was good though), but that because he gets to spend every waking moment with me...that it's a whole week with me, 24 hours a day. I just felt a surge of warmth and love. Seven years of marriage and we still get giddy and excited to be alone together like this.

Vacation is a blessing. But my husband is even more of a blessing! Vacationing with my wonderful husband is just insanely awesome!!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Made in God's Image

Recently I was reading something that really opened my eyes. I was reading a blog that referred to a certain group of people as "spics" and very obviously meant it in a quite hateful manner. For those of you not familiar with racist terms, this is an extremely derogatory term for Hispanics. And for those of you who do not know...I am Hispanic. Now it's not unusual for me to hear such terms, and while I detest racism with a passion, I also do my best to not take it as a direct attack against me or my family. But this was different. This time, the words came from someone who used to be a close friend of mine. Momentarily, I felt physically ill and also felt as though someone had punched me in the stomach. This was someone who used to be my friend, who I used to hang out with, someone who I could call and chat with about anything. And here was this person being hateful against my culture, my heritage, where I come from...being hateful against me. And unfortunately, this was not something I was oblivious to with this person, as I can recall a conversation in which he absolutely refused to acknowledge that I was Hispanic. He told me that he would only see me as a white person. Being as naive as I can be, I truly thought that I could change him by being a light for Christ and so I developed a good friendship with him to try and be that example. But eventually I realized that only God can change a person. And after awhile, God showed me that the friendship was not healthy and I needed to "leave." And so I did. It's been a year since that friendship has ended, so I certainly did not think such a derogatory comment would make me feel the way it did. However, I did say momentarily. It was just a moment. I told myself, "consider the source" and stopped reading. I told Wes about what I read and he reminded me that this person hates himself and as a result, that hatred is spilled towards other people. And the thing is, Wes is not the only person to remind me of that. Another friend of mine, who also is former friends with this person, has reminded me of that as well.

I was hurt, but the moment was fleeting. I looked at pictures of my family and smiled. My parents, my siblings, my aunts and uncles, and my wonderful Hispanic family. Yes, I am part Irish and I love that background in me as well. After all, how many Irish-Bolivians do you meet? The closest I could find was the actor Henry Ian Cusick who is Scottish-Peruvian. We're "neighbors" on both accounts. It really is quite a random, but fun, combination. Bolivia is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. I remember so much of it from my 3 week trip with my grandfather and uncle. I am madly in love with that country. Of course it has its downfalls, but the landscape, the people, the food...that's where my family is from. I loved it when my grandfather, now passed away, would sit with me and Wes and tell us stories from when he was a little boy, which really fascinated Wes since the stories usually included llamas. :) So it baffles me how anyone can be so hateful against such "richness." I was hurt. But the moment was fleeting.

Today at church, the message reminded all of us that we are created in the image of God. This person, the one who feels so hateful against anyone not white, is created in the image of God. And he desperately needs salvation (which has always been a very hard topic of conversation with him since he really believes he is a Christian). And after yesterday's fleeting moment, today's sermon really nailed it in for me....I am created in the image of God. God knew what He was doing when He formed me in my mother's womb. It wasn't a random accident, some horrible mistake, that He chose a Bolivian woman to give birth to me. It wasn't some awful circumstance that He chose a Puerto Rican man to be the husband my mom needed and the father I needed. I am surrounded by Hispanic people in my family. We are one heck of a crazy bunch. And my Hispanic background has sometimes left me utterly confused when I am with Wes' family...who is most definitely not Hispanic. LOL My goodness, it's even completely foreign to me (no pun intended) to have a Thanksgiving meal that does not include some Bolivian food. The first time I had Thanksgiving dinner with Wes' family, I was confused. I looked at the table and thought to myself "well this is strange....." Where was the falso conejo? Where was the huminta? Where were the empanadas, the salteƱas? How wonderful to have such diversity in my own family that I could wonder such things!!! This is where God placed me!!! God made me in His image...He saw that it was good...and He said "I know the perfect place for you!" He never promised me that I wouldn't face racism. I have faced it, and I'm sure I'll face it again in the future. But what an awesome reminder this morning...I, my crazy Hispanic self, am made in God's image. No ignorant derogatory word can ever strip me of that magnificent privilege.

Hello, my name is Mary, I am Hispanic...and I am made in God's image.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Crying Out

Any time I think I'm doing ok or am feeling a peace about our struggles with infertility, it hits me like a ton of bricks. A friend of mine recently found out he and his wife were pregnant and I was ok. I was actually genuinely happy about the news. Usually it takes me a bit to be ok after I go through a quiet grieving period. So I thought to myself, "terrific! It feels so awesome to be really happy for them!" And then yesterday hit me.

A couple of friends of ours began the adoption process for Guatemala a month after we had to cancel ours. They submitted their dossier in December, and I figured that at the rate we were going to get some things (and the fact that our social worker had moved out of state), we probably would have had our dossier submitted around the same time. They received their referral in January for a little boy, only a few days after he was born. They were in and out of PGN rather quickly and received "pink" a few weeks ago. Last week, they received the call that they had to be at the embassy in Guatemala today. A couple of days ago, on myspace, a bulletin was posted that they were in Guatemala and had their son. There were pictures of them with him in their arms, looking so happy. Today his visa was approved, and they take him home on Thursday.

Yesterday I was working out in the living room when it just all fell on me...and I just started sobbing, yelling out that it was supposed to be us, it was supposed to be my son in my arms and how can it be fair that we're left broken hearted so many times? I grabbed my Bible and just randomly started opening up to anywhere it would land and angrily said "You SHOW me! Show me that You will get me through this!!" I was mad and hurt. I looked at where the pages had opened up to and started reading out loud as much as I could through my sobs. I was reading the Psalms. And not just any Psalms, but they were specific Psalms on hearts in despair, Psalms that were crying out in emotional anguish...Psalms that started out that desperate but all ended with reminders of God's protection and deliverance. They were Psalms reminding me that people before me, before my time, had gone through heartbreak and emotional turmoil and yet God never forgot about them, He never let them go. In my time of need, my time of desperation, God answered my cries and my ranting and He did show me that He would get me through this.

I am happy for my friends who successfully adopted from Guatemala. I just didn't really expect it to hit me like it did. I am forever grateful to a loving and gracious Father who cares enough about me to hold me when I fall, completely broken, and give me reminders that He didn't lead me into a valley just to leave me stranded. My favorite Bible verse actually comes from the Psalms.
"Weeping endures for a night, but joy comes in the morning" Psalm 30:5
I don't necessarily believe that it means that I will one morning wake up and discover I am pregnant or that we can have a successful adoption. I believe that God is reminding me that one day, I will find joy in ANY direction He will lead us, whether or not that direction includes children. I may be weeping now, but I look forward to the day the morning arrives.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

The Gift of Friendship

Since Wes and I have been married, we haven't really had many good & close friends. To be quite honest, we haven't had too many friends period. We had been good friends with the pastor and his wife at our home church until Wes had been accepted at Southern when they stopped talking to us. Come to find out, the pastor was afraid Wes would come back to try and take over the church (since the church was co-founded by his family) even though we had no plans to move back to Chicago. When we moved to Louisville, we thought we'd finally be able to develop some real friendships. After all, we had been told during orientation that these would be the friendships that would last a lifetime. Instead, we were met with incredible feelings of loneliness and some days I would sit at home and cry. I remember going to a cookout our stairwell (the apartment housing sections on campus were commonly referred to as stairwells) was having and two of the women were discussing wanting to see a particular movie. Since I, too, was interested in the movie, I thought it was a great opportunity to join in the conversation and get to know them some more. I also thought that maybe I could invite them out to a girls night out to see the movie. As soon as I joined the conversation, one of the women literally said to me "sorry, we're not interested in that movie." She looked at the other woman, and both walked away. I told Wes I was just going back to our apartment, where I cried my heart out.

We have a real heart for those who have struggled or are struggling with sexual sin. Wes had his own battles with pornography addiction that had once rattled our own marriage and now we just feel so compelled to reach out to those who are going through that. It's never been an area of ministry we keep quiet about, we're very open about our testimony at how God has pulled us through. However, we're very aware that our desires to help those in such a "taboo" subject has made it difficult for us to develop friendships. No, this is not an assumption (and certainly not for lack of trying to develop friendships)...we've actually been told this by people who said they were uncomfortable being around us because of what we wanted to do. Unfortunately, a lot of this came from our former church. I could probably list a laundry load of things that just tore us down piece by piece, but even thinking about it brings me to tears remembering how lonely and desperate we were for real friendships. And I can't imagine that listing it all out for people to read would really be edifying to anyone.

I also felt so bad for Wes, who had tried repeatedly to get to know the men and to develop an accountability relationship with someone, only to be shot down time and time again. He craved that intimacy as much as I did. There did come a point where there was a final straw and we left the church. We went church hunting for several months after that when we returned to a small church we had visited over a year prior. And that is where we have been since. We needed a place to heal, and we found it.

Tonight we had a cookout at our pastor's house. I took a few moments to just watch people without really listening to any conversations...and I just thought to myself how much I'm going to miss everyone when we move....I'm just so afraid we'll move and find ourselves in the same situation. I still am relearning how to open myself up again even though I may sometimes seem that I'm very open. We still sometimes find it hard to extend a simple lunch invitation because of the fear of being told once again "we're not comfortable being with you." But tonight, I looked all around me and laughed with them, chatted with them, told stories with them, ate with them, swam with them...and just felt incredible love for all of them. And here I am, typing while crying, thinking to myself that God, in His infinite love for me & Wes, has been faithful and put people in our lives who are truly our friends. They have never looked at us funny, they have never said an unkind word to us, they have called to see how we are, they cried with us when we suffered through our adoption loss, they ask us to eat pizza with them.... They have done things and said things to us that perhaps may seem to them as an every day "of course you would say that to someone" type of thing with a friend, but for us, mean everything because of how much we have craved to hear it. I don't know that any of them realize how much they have meant to us. I don't know how many of them realize how sad it makes us to know that we'll be leaving them in a year.

I sit here just so amazed and grateful at how God has worked in our lives once again. When we were lonely and felt we couldn't bear the hurt any more, He led us to a place where we have found healing and love and acceptance. We're not just member numbers 484 & 485, we are Wes & Mary King. We are part of the church family, part of the body of Christ...a couple with friends.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Marital Blessings

Yesterday was a wonderful day spent with my husband. We didn't do anything extraordinary...we just spent the day together doing little things here and there, including eating pizza and ice cream. I felt so content, so happy. Today I've been sitting at home doing an overview on our upcoming Disney World trip when I get a notification of a new email. When I check it, I see that it's from Wes. It was a short paragraph, but one that brought tears to my eyes...such a sweet love note from him. I love getting those notes from him, it makes me feel so valued and cherished. It's amazing how I feel when I get reminders of love from Wes. And if this is how Wes loves me, imagine the love God must feel for me and everyone else. God has an entire Bible of a love letter to me...every single word in there shows His awesome power and His mighty works and ultimately the sacrificing of His Son so that I could have eternal life. That is immense love!!

I absolutely love how Wes shows his love and affection for me. It is a huge blessing to me. And it's an even bigger blessing to see that it is God who is at work in our marriage...and one of the ways He shows His love for me is through my husband.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

A New Beginning

I haven't done a "serious" blog in awhile...most of my blogs are done at my myspace page, where many times they are filled with ramblings and going-ons in my life. I will continue to blog there regularly, just not in the capacity I will be using this journal for. I used to use livejournal for things like this, but I wanted to start a brand new journal for something like this, and blogger will let you have multiple journals to an account, whereas livejournal will not.

So to explain this journal....
I really want to use it as sort of my "log" of my walk with Christ. My intention is to really study the Bible on a more personal level. This isn't a "read the Bible in a year" type thing...I want to take my time, devour every single word of what I'm reading. I will not be doing a set Bible study, I've never cared for those personal Bible study books as I want to learn from my own readings and research rather than only focusing on what an author wants me to focus on. Not that all personal Bible study books are wrong, I don't believe they are. But this is my conviction for what God wants me to do right now. My heart is currently focused on Acts right now, which is where I'm starting...chapter one. I'd like to do a chapter a week, just really dig in. For the "on my own" part, I'll be going through each chapter and just making simple observations of what I read (I won't always post them here, this is mainly just for me). Not interpretations or applications, just observations. For the research, interpretation, application parts, I've purchased a commentary on the book of Acts. So be looking to see me going through the book of Acts on here. But also expect to see me posting about my walk in general...from every day trials and victories, to observations and lessons.

This is me, "naked" for you to watch as I grow in the Lord.