Yea! Cambodia is just a little less than 90 days away and fundraising is finally taking off! Please check out my Cambodia blog and check out my new “My Creations” page and let me know if you would like any of the items. And please check back often!


It has hit me today that I am over half-way done with grad school. This means, in a short time (and a lot more work) I will be counseling people. Like, real live people with real live problems looking to me for real live help. The kind of pressure that is shoving on me should be more than I can stand, annoying on so many levels, and make me want to rethink this crazy field I am getting into. Instead, I am completely ecstatic! Not because I think I’m gonna make a great therapist (though lets face it, I probably will, heehee) but because I have been working towards this goal since I started college in 2003! It has taken me forever to get even to this point that I am at now, yet here I am, slowly making my way to professionalism! I’ve decided that this amount of comfort can only come from obedience to the plan God has given me. Obedience is something I have struggled with my entire life and I have only now begun to submit to and I have to tell you, I don’t know why I didn’t do it before. It feels amazing! My biggest step in obedience lately was the commitment to my Cambodia trip. There are still some things that are up in the air with it (aka, I still need my passport) but being able to say that I am going with complete confidence and less fear is the biggest step in obedience that I have ever done since becoming a Christian. There is a complete happiness that comes when we are obedient to God and I’m happy to say that I am finally enjoying it!

Now if only Bella Ruth could understand the meaning of obedience….

Having an amazing Dad, one that loves like Jesus, is an incredible blessing. While I did not grow up with this, I did grow up with a lot of love. What I am proud to say is that Bella Ruth is growing up with a Daddy that loves like Jesus. Kyle Ray is an incredible father and an equally incredible husband. To see his incredible dedication to Bella, always having the energy to love her and play with her, no matter what is going on with his own needs, is a kind of sacrifice that I wish every little girl could receive from their Daddy. Everyday I am blessed to see the incredible love that exists between them and how exciting to celebrate it. I urge a celebration of their incredible relationship on a more frequent basis of course. One day in an entire year could not even begin to put all the thankfulness I have for Kyle into words and actions. Today I say thank you and I love you to the most incredible Daddy for Bella Ruth in the world.

Alright Everyone!

Here it is finally! The blog I have been talking about that will update everyone on my upcoming trip to Cambodia! Here, you will get my thoughts on the trip and the process, information about the country and the reason why we are going, and a chance to help me get there! Check it out, check it often (blogs frequently as well as announcements), and tell me what you think! 🙂

Colette In Cambodia!

I started this week with many plans to get things done! The week is half over and I have not made much progress, yet it’s been a good week. Sunday I had my meeting with my Cambodia Mission group and I would say it went pretty well. I’m seriously getting excited for this trip! My aspirations for the week regarding this trip were to finish my passport application and get my blog going… I’ve printed out my passport application and today I’ve looked at the blog… Oh man! Got a long way to go but gotta be finished by this weekend since the trip is only a few months away! Gotta get that prayer, encouragement, and financial support going! 🙂
This week has not been completely unproductive, it just feels that way when you have so much to do! To top that off, the babe has a 101 fever tonight. So, to stop procrastinating, give you a fact about Cambodia, and hit the blog building and application filling!

Cambodia: A country with a population of 14,453,680 people, where 96.4% are Buddhist, and where sex tourism is a thriving business and haven for pedophiles from around the world.

Rescued through Love : mission for the oppressed children in Cambodia

So, I’m not really sure what did it, but something made me completely forget about blogging. I think it may have been facebook. And how sad is that because blogging is so much more fun and thought provoking! Anyways, an update on my life, I am half-way done with graduate school at this point. In August I will (hopefully) advance and that means I am eligible for comps exams and to start counseling (for free! wait…. why am I in school?). I should be done with school completely come February of next year and with my masters in hand I can start the long journey to meeting my 3,000 (yes, that reads three thousand) hours of internship (aka, poorly paid but still paid therapy!) and then probably about 2 years to my license. It’s all been such an amazing experience and I am floored at how much I am learning and proud that I just might be able to say that I am finally smarter than Kyle (mostly because when I ask him for his opinion on an assignment he has no idea what I am talking about. Maybe not generally smarter, but at least smarter at something!). I feel such a great fit at this school, I have met many amazing professors and colleagues and I truly think that God is doing something great with me in this field!

I quit that nasty job at I had at that company that severely mistreats their employees (and clients for that matter). It was a humbling experience to realize that I was making great money but pretty much missed a whole year of my sweet Bella’s life, for nothing but anxiety ridden annoyance. While it was extremely difficult to leave the families and children that I had become so attached to, I am proud that I took that leap of faith (even if it was a little late) and trusted God. I had three weeks off to just love on Bella completely before I started a part time deal at the church where I was able to bring Bella with me. And in four weeks after I quit, I had four job offers. I wasn’t even looking for a job at that point and I can’t help but think that God had his hand in that too. I was able to go back to one of my old families and am now a homeschool teacher for him privately. What I love most about this is I don’t have the restaraints and expectations of an outside source. It’s just me and his mother working to make his life better. I have been able to try different behavior interventions that better suit my style (not based on harshness and making the kids feel stupid like it was before I quit). Instead, I am able to show acceptance and love and I can’t tell you how amazing it is to see how far this autistic child has come in a just a few short months! Even my previous company has said that they have noticed a significant difference in him (said to his mother and what is hilarious is they think it’s something they did. suckers!). I also have been fortunate enough to start babysitting a family with two girls close to Bella’s age and it is just fantastic.

All in all, I really do have to say that life is going pretty darn well! Bella is two and a half now and never ceases to amaze me with how incredibly smart and talented she is. It’s so fantastic to see! More about that later 🙂 It’s also been fantastic to have a husband again! It’s crazy the amount of things I had to sacrifice with that last job and being able to spend quality time with the people I love is the best reward to saying no to that sort of lifestyle.

Additionally, I may be going to Cambodia on my first ever missions trip in October! I am going to be starting a blog so that everyone can learn more about it and follow my thoughts and whatnot for the process so stay tuned for that announcement (happening this next week! construction details still underway).

Thanks for catching up with me everyone! You all rock my world and I look forward to being in better communication with you!

Love and Love!

Seriously, I have had so much more time on my hands yet I am not blogging? Yuck to me.

Well it is in the plans, FYI everyone 🙂 Until then, enjoy this picture.

Since I have finished with the first part of my college education, and I like to think that I have more spare time (which I’m not sure is an actual thing that exists), I feel like I should cook more. Reality is I don’t but when I do, I like to think it was a masterpiece. (Can it be a masterpiece if it’s someone else’s recipe? Like, a plagiarized masterpiece…)

So here is my new (hopefully at least) weekly blog: What’s for dinner? Cool picture header coming soon…

This specific night was to celebrate my mother-in-law’s birthday. Hope you enjoy as much as we did!

Main Dish: Four-Cheese and Pesto Italian Baked Spaghetti (Paula Deen)

1 pound uncooked spaghetti

1 pound ricotta cheese

Two 6 to 7 ounce containers prepared pesto

2 1/2 cups (3/4 pound) shredded mozzarella

1 cup (1/4 pound) grated parmesan cheese

1 cup (1/4 pound) crumbled goat cheese

Serves 6

1. Preheat the oven to 400F. Grease a flameproof 13 by 9 inch baking dish. Cook the spaghetti for 2 minutes less than the package directions specify. Drain the spaghetti well and transfer it to a bowl. Stir in the ricotta, pesto, 1 cup of the mozzarella, 1/2 cup of the parmesan, and the goat cheese. Toss the mixture well and transfer it to the baking dish.

2. Sprinkle the remaining 1 1/2 cups of mozzarella and 1/2 cup parmesan over the pasta. Bake until the cheese is melted, about 20 minutes. Turn the oven setting to broil and broil for 1 minute or until golden. Serve hot.

*After we tried this, we think there might be too much pesto as it seemed to overpower all the different cheese flavors. Next time we will try less pesto. Also, I recommend tossing the pesto and spaghetti first as doing it with the cheese was difficult and didn’t spread as well. We also added chicken that we cooked beforehand. But following the recipe was great too!

We served this with bread and sauteed squashes. Yummy!

Drink: Minty Southern Sweet Tea (Paula Deen)

Makes about 2 quarts

7 tea bags (black leaf, such as lipton)

1 small bunch of fresh mint, plus extra leaves, for garnish

1 cup sugar

1. In a large pot, bring 4 cups water to a boil. Add the tea bags and mint; stir. Let the tea steep for 1 hour. Remove the tea bags.

2. In a medium saucepan, bring 1 cup water and the sugar to a boil; simmer, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, then pour it into the tea. Add 4 cups cold water and stir to combine. Transfer the tea to a large pitcher. Serve the tea over ice, garnished with mint leaves.

*I do recommend straining the mint out of the tea, unless you like to eat mint while you drink tea.

Dessert: Lemon Bars with Fresh Blueberry Sauce (Barefoot Contessa)

To stray away from a traditional birthday cake, we made lemons bars (store bought) and dressed them up with this delicious sauce!

1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (3 oranges)

2/3 cup sugar

1 tablespoon of cornstarch

4 half-pints fresh blueberries

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

Makes 2 cups

Combine the orange juice, sugar, and cornstarch in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. When the mixture is translucent and thickened, stir in the blueberries and simmer for 4 to 5 minutes, just until a few berries have burst but most are still whole. Stir in the lemon zest and lemon juice and cool.

Not that long ago, our dear Bella was a mere thought in the distance. We didn’t see her coming up behind us two years ago and she has long since then passed us with a “I’m taking on the world!” perspective, casually looking back at us to make sure we are watching and occasionally ready for an encouraging hug. But before she became a truth in our lives, she first scared the heck out of this momma. I did not believe I was ready for a baby and was terrified that we would fail. Kyle and I however had a few things going for us: strong marriage willing to take on anything, faith in God, supportive family, loving friends, educations and good enough jobs. What I am wondering more and more about lately is what if we didn’t have those things? What would I do? What would we do? Would Bella be here? I think most importantly, what would other Christians have done?

I encountered a girl, probably high school age, in that predicament the other month (yea, took me that long to get to this, sorry) at Target in the family planning area. We were alone in the isle and you could tell that as soon as I entered the isle and did not quickly leave she was incredibly uncomfortable. She made sly glances to the pregnancy tests and looked at me one time before just grabbing the most expensive test off the shelf and walking away. Something in me made me blurt out “Excuse me.” And not just once but twice until she slowly turned around and said, with her head down but looking me in the eye, “Yeah?” In my mind I was thinking “What the heck are you doing Colette? Don’t make this any harder for her just shut up and move on!” But something else made me say “You really don’t have to buy that brand, the Target brand works just fine.” Thank God her response wasn’t “Ok crazy lady.” Instead she let go of the tension in her shoulders and slowly held her head up a little higher and said “Oh, do they really work?” “Yeah, it predicted her” I said pointing to Bella in the cart. I smiled at her and said “Just thought you might like to save a little bit of money is all. Good luck.” She thanked me, got the Target brand test and left.

Of course, my now college educated psychological mind was thinking, “Go after her! She needs your help and your phone number in case she needs someone to talk to!” and my creepiness radar was saying “No weirdo! She’ll be fine!” So, I let it go, not wanting to intrude but I really could not stop thinking about the situation. I gave a teenage girl pregnancy test advice which seems silly but what do others do? Give her the stink eye and judge her to death? Granted, she should not be having sex, but the fact is, she did and now might be carrying a life that GOD made. As the mother of that potential breath on Earth, should we Christians really be giving her the stink eye?

This is what has me upset. As a girl who gets pregnant you have the world judging you, but even more than the world, you have the church judging you. It seems to me that our judgement is not helping prevent abortions but is probably pushing more girls into getting them. I understand we do not support premarital sex, but kids are doing it! Are we really going to limit our minds and hearts in teaching about God to what they shouldn’t be doing or should we also show love and redemption in sin?

I am not suggesting is that we ignore the fact that premarital sex is wrong. If you aren’t able to take on a baby, don’t have sex. But what sort of love are we showing to people who fall if we just push them aside and shame them?

More importantly, we say that we value the human life and that the human life begins at conception therefore abortion is wrong. Yet, what do we do to girls who get pregnant?

Is shaming them instead of supporting them really showing an accurate reflection of what we believe the value of a human life to be, both of the mother and her unborn child?

Something to think about. Show our love and we show our God. Show our hate and we show nothing. I prefer to show God. I know that giving a girl pregnancy test advice is not a big deal. But maybe showing her acceptance and a caring heart in a time that shame was written all over her face is enough to make her feel loved in that shame and think twice about her solution to a positive result, if that is what happens. And you know what else? If it happens again I will give her my number. Not because I’m “educated” in talking to others, but just because I am a Christ follower who hopes to help shine His light in a dark world and maybe that light shone in her dark moment will result in something glorifying to God. I did not have shame when I took a test and found out I had Bella. I had no shame and I don’t feel I experienced it from others because I have a ring on my finger. So I was afraid but I loved her immediately. Can we help take away the shame of pregnancy, of carrying a child of God, so that mothers, no matter what their sin, can be free to immediately love their child and have the support of the church? Maybe then people will take our cry to end abortion seriously when we accurately reflect our value of human life.

when i think about the fact that i just finished college, i am confronted with both wonderful and sad memories of what the past few years have brought me, the best memories including new friends and meeting my hubby, and sad memories including losing family members and friends. what a chapter it has been for me and i look at the fact that it is over and i have a degree, a family, and close friends to show for it, and i can’t help but wonder what is next for me…

i am leaning towards going back to school. already? yeah, not much you can do (or more, not much money you can make) with psych and theology bachelor degrees… sort of requires a masters to really make a living, so it’s looking like that is going to be my next step. i am anxious to start and beyond nervous for the transitions and new risks it will all require, but i think it should be fun and interesting.

lots of thoughts going on in my mind right now, and i wish i could transfer them into a blog better, but work is wearing me out! hopefully i will get to blog more. until then, hope you like the picture above from my sophomore year at vanguard. fun times fully missed!