"The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen."


A little piece of heaven...

What a refreshing moment it was for my soul to meet up with an old friend. Sharon was in town, with her two kiddos, tagging along with Bill on a business trip to Houston. It had been 9 years since we last saw each other. 9 years! A whole lifetime happened within those nine years and yet when we were catching up it felt like it was just yesterday.

We met in college, were sorority sisters and then lived as roommates for a few years after school. She was there when I moved to Illinois after college, and then she was there when I moved back home as she moved down to Texas with me. We've both seen each other at our worst, our best and during my one and only heart break she was there. We went our separate ways right after I met Gabriel and she moved to Oregon to be with Bill. I got married, had children and so did she. We got back in touch a few years ago and she was there for me again when I was undergoing treatment for lymphoma. So you can imagine how good it was to hug my dear friend and see her beautiful children. She's just as beautiful as ever and is a wonderful mother of two. Surprising since she never wanted children in college and was very vocal about it. :) She's an amazing mom to beautiful Sophia and Jake. And the kids all loved each other's company and got along with one another as if they had know each other all their short lives. We really needed more than the half day we were allowed. How do you catch up on nine years in 5 hours???? But it was a wonderful visit and it just reconfirmed that no matter how long time passes, those close to your heart will always stay there.

Here are some pics of the kids (can you believe these are OURS?!) and one of the two of us that Olivia took. :)

Thank you Sharon for visiting us. I love you and miss you and can't wait to see you and the family again. I promise not to let 9 years pass this time! LOL!

Here's Jake...he is adorable!
Here's Valerie and Jake after meeting for the first time...she's shy...
Here's Olivia and Sophia, she's sharp and so funny for a 3yo!
Ok, so we wanted to get a picture of all the kids on the sofa....here's Seth and Jake while we wrangle everyone up....
Everyone getting into place...almost there...
Ok, all are in place....ummm, Nicholas over here.....
Ok, photo shoot over....LOL!
Still looking good after all these years, babies, chemo and more!

VBS was a hit this year!

The kids went to their first vacation bible school at our church. A good friend was able to pick up Olivia and Seth for the entire week. They topped it off with a special program that Sunday. Here are some pics from service.



My Own Independence Day Celebration...

This Independence Day was a very special one for me. Not only were we celebrating the freedom we have on a daily basis living in the USA, but I was also celebrating a more personal freedom. I am still cancer free!!! I had my regular lymphoma screening on June 24th. On the 26th I met with Dr. Fanale and got the news that I am still dancing with NED! (N0 Evidence of Disease) I am healthy and that much closer to my one year mark of being in remission come September 14th. Thank you, Lord. I go back on September 24th and if all is clear then, we'll start re-immunizing my body. I've got to start all over just like a newborn. After that, I hope to start scanning every 6 months vs every 3. It's so hard living your life in three month chunks, and then waiting in that sterile doctor's office to hear if you can continue on with life as 'normal', or if your life will once again be distrupted and you're facing a life or death situation.

So, this 4th of July was even more meaningful and boy did we celebrate! Since we had family all over town, we went house hopping. We started by walking in our neighborhood's annual parade. The kids rode their bikes and we walked. Nothing like a 2 mile walk at 9am! We then headed to my moms, had some yummy bbq and pasta salad, then went over to the Vargas' side. That was a blast, we didn't realize so many Vargas' were in Houston and I loved meeting new family. Then we headed back to dads and played a little bit of poker (won a whopping $2) and finished the night off with an apple martini and fireworks! Poor Valerie, she still despises fireworks. That's my baby. lol

Here are some photos of family and friends celebrating Independance Day...Hope yours was just as relaxing and fun.

Getting ready to start the neighborhood parade. Seth was riding with his boy scout troop and the rest of the kids rode their bikes, well except for Valerie who had the best seat in town!

Isn't she cute?

Finishing up the parade with juice and ice cream!

The Vargas Kids...

The Vargas Clan...

Aunt Diana and Valerie

Valerie and Great-Grandma Mary

Enjoying the fireworks....Happy 4th of July!!!

Well, almost everyone...