That is probably the best word to describe you, Jayda.  The same- strong-willed, I can do it, attitude that brings us stress, is the same attitude that will take you places.  You do life big.  You do not hold back.  You have never been afraid to be different, to be unique.  You have your own likes, your own hobbies and that is what you build on and I know that will be what will lead you to do big things. God is never wrong and He will use that attitude and personality for His will.  (And I can’t wait to see what those things will be, because I know, they will be great.)


I am not going to say it has been easy, but I will say, it has been worth it.  I always get a reminder that even when it is tough, we are OK, we will be OK.

This year you tried some new things.

Like sewing…


Ballroom dancing…


We did our 2nd 5K together… words cannot begin to describe how much joy I experienced in sharing this time with you.  Thank you.


And you even stepped way out of your “Jayda Zone” and gave basketball a shot…


And even more surprisingly… you LOVED it.

We were so proud of you for simply giving it a try.

You received 1st place (2nd in district) on your science project about bugs.  You chose the topic and you were set on making it happen.  We were not convincing you on anything else… so we bought you your bugs and you showed us that you could do it.


You continued your modeling.  And, I must say, you are amazing at it.


You sang and danced at your school Talent Show… and once again, no hesitation, no stage fright… you simply did it.


 Keep that attitude in you, don’t ever let anyone take it away.  You do your Jayda thing with your Jayda confidence… always!

You completed your 6th dance recital…


Dance is YOUR thing, you never miss an opportunity to dance and you are constantly watching Dancing with the Stars.

You were an awesome 3rd grader too…



You have taught me how to live beautifully, dream passionately and how to love completely.


You are my daily reminder that being unique, is so much better than being perfect.


You let me know that YOU are there for me too.  When I left my cane behind and could not walk too far without it… you offered to be my cane and grabbed my hand.  I need those reminders that show that you do have SOME sweetness in you 😉 and you always manage to show me at the right time.   It makes the struggles seem insignificant.


You amaze me, Jayda.  (Frustrate me too, ;-))

Keep jumping in and just living life… BIG.


Thank you for being YOU.

Love you, the always proud,


Dear Jayda,

How can I describe what being your mommy is like?  How can I express the love I have for you and the “wow” that I still feel when I think of how God trusted me with you?  Although at times I can picture Him sitting back and cracking up at watching my nonperfect, and never will be, ways of raising you.  I can also hear Him saying (with love of course), “you asked Me for her, here she is, have fun!”  Hahaha!


What can I say- you are a CHALLENGE!  You test my limits to no end.  You make me worry like no other.  You frustrate me to the max & then some.  But, then there is the love.  I love you to no end.  I love you like no other.  I love you to the max & then some.

You are my happy, Jayda. 

Through this journey of ours I can only hope and pray that I am fulfilling the job God trusted me to do when He sent you to me.  I know I often fail Him, but that is the goodness of His mercy, He is still there as I get back up and look His way.  I hope I am showing you His mercy, I hope I am sharing about His love with you enough for you to “get it”.  He loves us baby.  He loves us more than I love you- and that’s a whole lot!


This year you took Jayda Confidence to a whole new level.  And I sat back, with a huge smile on my face and pride in my heart, and just watched you.

We took you on vacation to New York City and wow, it was like you were home!  It was so YOU.  The city life suits you well.  You loved every.single.minute of that trip and that was enough for me to love it too.  As we were leaving, with tears in your eyes, you said, “Goodbye New York, I feel like this is the place where dreams come true.”  Ah, you are good at the drama.  And yes, you do have big dreams and for some reason, I do see you making part of them come true in a place like NYC.  You are just that confident.


 I watched you in 2nd grade start to face some typical growing up a girl, drama issues.  I saw that it was a challenge for you, I saw how the arguments hurt you, I saw how the broken friendships affected you,  don’t ever for a minute think that I didn’t see it all baby,  but I needed to do my best to remain sitting back.  Then I heard the “we are friends again mom, we apologized.”

And, don’t think I didn’t see the drama where you weren’t so innocent either ;-).  Drama where I quickly needed to remind you about the moments when you felt hurt when it was done to you… I saw that too.

Your Jayda confidence brought out your unique fashion styles even more this past year.  I admit, I do cringe at some of the outfit choices you make… but with all that is in me… I let it go and let you be you (it is just so hard for me at times).  It is slowwwwly getting a tad easier… just a tad.  Hopefully by the time you are 30 I will just be blind enough to be 100% ok with it ;-).


 Ahhh my baby… we are just getting started, the teen years are going to be so much fun, fun, fun (I will talk to you about sarcasm soon, although you are pretty good at it already).  I am sure God has His popcorn ready to go.  He’ll be watching us with this grin on His face and an occasional LOL.  I am also sure He will step in at the perfect moments and His grace, His grace will always be right there.

This year I watched you make big decisions and make changes where you felt you needed to- all on your own.  I know YOU didn’t realize the meaning of those decisions at the time, but they were big baby.

This year I also watched you go up on stage and sing in front of the entire school with big Jayda confidence and you did so well.  I love that about you.  You never hesitated for one moment and you just did it.  Keep that baby.  Don’t ever let anyone tame that confidence (if I have to deal with it, the world does too ;-)).

You were given that Jayda confidence for something big baby.  Bigger than we can imagine right now- but all for His glory.  Don’t ever lose sight of that.  Whether you become a pop star, rock star (apparently they are different by what you’ve told me), movie star, doctor- star, because no matter what you become- you are determined it will be in star fashion- and, oh I believe it, do it all for His glory.


I can’t help to think about your future, I pray that you make the right choices, I pray that when you don’t make the right choices (because it will happen baby girl, oh, it will happen) that your faith will be big enough to get you right back up and moving forward.  I pray that you choose people in your life that will help you get back up, a husband that will treat you like his queen (you made us do it- why not keep it going), I pray that you clearly see how daddy treats me and you expect no less from the man you share your life with.


Live the life of your dreams sweet girl, live it with that feisty Jayda confidence you are living with now… just always, always- live it for Him… And always remember…

Before you ever took a breath

 Long before the world began

 Of all the wonders He possessed

 There was one more precious

 Of all the earth and skies above

 You’re the one He madly loves…

You’re beautiful

 You’re beautiful

 You are treasured, you are sacred, you are His

 You’re beautiful…


Love always, the ever so proud,


Click for Previous Birthday Letter to Jayda!



Dear Jayda,


7 years ago, I became your mommy, and it has been the greatest adventure of my life.  You’ve taught me how to dream, you’ve taught me the power of believing… believing in Santa, believing in the tooth fairy, believing in love, believing in imagination, and most importantly believing in our Lord with strong faith.  Faith baby… you brought that back to me.

I love how you live life.  You live BIG and you show it.  In your mind anything is possible.  I realized this past year that you do not think outside the box… you decided to simply get rid of the box and do it how you think it should be done.  You dream of one day becoming a doctor and living at Disney World while you do hair at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique on your days off… and why not?  I love when you think out loud and yell, “Imagine if they chose me as a dancer for ‘Shake it Up’ and I moved to Los Angeles?”
 Imagine that baby, why not?  Keep dreaming BIG… your eyes sparkle when you share those dreams-don’t ever let anyone dull that sparkle.  I am counting on your promise of growing up and buying a big house where you will let me move in and have my own room with a terrace… because, in your mind, ALL houses should have a terrace. 

Dancing is STILL a huge part of your life.  It is your best way of communicating, it is part of your daily routine and you never miss a beat.  You believe in friendships, you believe in being nice and you are big on love and forgiveness… being forgiven for disobeying and forgiving someone for hurting your feelings.  You simply forgive and in your mind, that is just the thing to do.  Thank you for teaching me that. 


Although it frustrates me to no end at times, I do love how nonchalant you are about school.  You do great, but if someone did better… you are simply happy for them.  Not the top AR reader?  Oh well… “But I am still going to the celebration mommy!”  To you, that is what matters… celebrating.  You love celebrations.  There is rarely a party you miss.  If you got invited, you are determined to be there.  I love your outgoing personality.  You simply love life and you taught me that I should too.  Thank you. 



It is known to everyone that I am your biggest fan, but what I love is that you are one of MY biggest fans.  I love how proud you are of me.  I love how you think I can do anything and that I am amazing when I go to the gym… you give me that strength baby.  Thank you.  I hope I will always make you proud to have me as your mommy. 

Always remember our song…

When I see your face, there’s not a thing that I would change
Cause you’re amazing, just the way you are
And when you smile, the whole world stops and stares for a while
Because girl you’re amazing, just the way you are.


These past 7 years have been VERY interesting and parenting you has been the greatest, biggest, most awesome job ever.  You have been a challenge (fun challenge, but a challenge) my love and God sure does have a sense of humor.  He will use that personality for a GREAT purpose one day and I really cannot wait to see what he has planned for you. 

I love you baby… always & forever. 



Go HERE for previous letters. 

One does not have to do anything to become a grandfather. It simply happens when your child has a child. It is up to you to decide how involved you will be in your grandchild’s life. There is an inherent biological relationship but the emotional bonding between grandfather and grandchild comes only with effort. It happens when the grandchild sees that you are open to forming a relationship. It happens when you get off your easy chair and make the effort to see what matters to your grandchild.

Having grandparents is a blessing.  They are like parents, but with no rules.  Everyone has the biological relationship with a grandpa and a grandma, but it takes SPECIAL grandparents to have an emotional relationship with their grand kids.  I have been SO blessed to have that emotional relationship and even more blessed that my daughter has the same with her grandparents.  It is a privilege that many do not get to have.

Grandparents make…

dance recitals that much more magical.

baseball games that much more exciting.

birthday parties that much more special.

weddings that much more memorable.

vacations that much more fun.

Their food taste better.  Their hugs feel more secure. Their laughs are more sincere.  Smiles are more genuine.

Life is just that much sweeter with grandparents.

We’ve been blessed with the honor of being able to celebrate our grandfather’s 90th Birthday this Sunday.  Words can’t describe the awesome feeling.

Every hug from him is strong and comforting and the question, “Estamos bien?” every.single.time I see him is so sincere.  I love him and I promise to treasure him always.

If you have the privilege of still having your grandparents- enjoy them.  They are God’s gift to all of us- so thank HIM for them.

Birthday Wishes…

Happy Birthday to the man who…

has never made me wash a load of laundry- everseriously.

takes Jayda to ballet 99.99% of the time and doesn’t act like he is doing me a favor.

dresses Jayda in the mornings.

got up with Jayda in the middle of the night- since birth and still does– very serious.

irons when needed.

cleans the house when needed.

is my biggest fan.

supports me in all my crazinessAll of it. 

thinks I can do whatever I set my mind to (except laundry- I don’t blame him).

goes shopping with me.

shops FOR me.

Spoiling isn’t always about money and how much you can spend or is spent on you… the list above is my spoiling.

We have our highs and MANY lows.  But we are going through them together.  He makes me crazy and I return the favor on many occasions… but that is how we roll.

He understands me.  He gets me.  He loves me.

Love you forever & for always.


Our Thorns

Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take {my thorn} away from me.  –2 Corinthians 12:8

And He didn’t.

It hurts.  A lot.  But, I think I understand why…

Why He allows







He does it so we can learn His grace.  So we can allow His strength to help us.  So we can learn to fully trust in Him, depend on Him.  Without the thorns, we would exclude Him completely. 

God delivers us through the thorns instead of from them.  {J. Rothschild}

Our thorns need to be used to show others how God works… to show how great God is. 

He is in control.  He controls Satan.  Satan can never act outside of the limits God has set.  Let God handle YOUR thorn… He may remove it, He may not… but either way… trust Him. 

And it’s ok to say that your thorn hurts sometimes.  It’s ok.  He knows.  He understands.  But, He also knows, you can handle it. 

Our thorns are there to remind us that God is NOT an option… He is ALWAYS a necessity… ALWAYS. 

Be blessed with your thorn. 




Just Do It!

I have made a lot of progress in this “just do it” journey of mine.  It started off as a journey of losing weight and getting healthy and it has progressed into a spiritual journey.  Let’s get my soul fit & healthy- that has been the tougher battle… but oh so life changing too!

I am learning (haven’t yet mastered it, but trying) to MAKE God a priority.  Like I said, work-in-progress!  I realized that I make the time to go to the gym at least 3x a week… scheduled appointment, no excuses… why not 2x a week for God?  Like the gym thing… it is a battle, but it is one of those things that you feel SO much better when you do it!

Thursday evenings I attend a book study that has been SO helpful.  I wish I could get every woman to attend!

We recently started a book titled, Walking by Faith {Lessons Learned in the Dark}, by Jennifer Rothschild.  One word to describe the lessons learned so far- amazing.  And we are just in week 1!

One thing that has stood out so far in this study is dependency and interdependency.  We need to swallow our pride on many occasions and realize that it is OK!

Being dependent on others is not something I have had a choice in.  God knew my stubbornness and knew He had to do something to MAKE me have to depend on others.

  • I depend on others…
  • To sometimes be my legs.
  • To help me parent Jayda.
  • To be my other hand (because with the cane, I only have one, LOL).
  • To workout effectively.
  • To be my rock and hold me steady (literally).

I need to.

No shame in it. 

Being independent is not all it is cracked up to be and, in my case, would cause a lot of isolation.  NOT good.

While I am depending on others for the help, I also need to trust that they WILL help…  interdependency… I am blessed with an amazing support system.  God knew I needed all these people that He placed in my life.

I can’t just depend on people, I need them to be willing on me being dependent on them!

It’s OK to depend on others!

It’s OK to be interdependent!


Like I said, I am still learning through  this journey, but it has changed me so much! Join me, JUST DO IT!


26.2… what exactly does that mean?  I know many wonder at first.  Allow me to break it down for you…

12 rounds of chemotherapy & 14 radiation treatments = 26the .2 is just an extra little kick to the cancer to make sure it is D.E.A.D…

So, 26.2 had a much bigger meaning for me than just miles… it represented hope.  Hope that soon we will hear the words… “ALL CLEAR”. 

 That day will come. 


26.2 Miles of Hope at the House of the Mouse… 26 cancer treatments. 

This was for you Jonathan… and ever single child battling this

terrible, horrible, no good, very bad thing called


The Box

It was just a box.  It was wrapped with Christmas paper, had a hole on top to fill it with candy, some wire to be able to hang it… a makeshift pinata… it wasn’t in the shape of a tree, or santa, or anything like that.

It was just a box. 

But that box… brought more smiles, more laughter, more excitement than anything else I had witnessed in a while. 

They loved it.  It didn’t come in a fancy box.  It didn’t need batteries.  It had no apps.  It didn’t cost a day’s pay.  It didn’t need an upgrade.  It didn’t have a remote.  It wasn’t touchscreen.

It was just a box. 

No fancy video games around & no big tree with lots of presents, but a lot of love.  Love for each other, love for the simple things… just love and the box. 

That box, even if it was for the evening, beat the cancer, the worry, the stress…

It was just a box.

But that boxwas happiness

 that boxtaught me a lesson

 that box…  humbled me

Last night I was reminded that big houses, lots of money, expensive gifts are not what make a person happy.  Those things don’t make a family.  Those things don’t get you friends. 

I celebrated Christmas Eve in simplicity.  Sitting in a carport, keeping warm with the heat of the pozole cooking near me, the spicy salsa  and the homemade hot chocolate made on the stove top…

I celebrated Christmas with people who are in the midst of a tough battle… but for that evening… cancer was not there. Cancer was not winning… laughter was.  Family was.  Love was…

The box… Was winning. 

It was literally- a box… with A LOT of candy!

(You can see the homemade pinata (the box) on the top left corner of this picture)

Enjoy the simple things my friends… it is in those things that we learn our greatest lessons and we receive the best blessings. 

Believing is Believing

Christmas has always been a special holiday for me.  I loved the lights.  I loved the shopping.  I loved the wrapping.  I loved the time off.  I loved the food.  I loved the family get togethers.  I loved the power of believing.  I loved the magic.

As a mom, that love has only gotten stronger.  To see it through the eyes of your child is so much more magical.  It makes you believe all over again (although, I don’t think I ever truly stopped). 

So, maybe a chubby man wearing a red suit, using a sleigh and reindeer as tranportation and delivering toys to children all over the world in one night, literally doesn’t happen.  In all honesty, I am the one that moves Ernie around and makes him do silly things and takes pictures of him.  Sorry to disappoint, but yes, that is me.  The little man really doesn’t fly on his own or leave every night to report to Santa.  And yes, it was me, who put in Jayda’s information and pictures to the PNP website so that she could watch a video of Santa telling her if she was on the naughty or nice list.  It was all me.  I confess. 

But, the magic behind it,  the power it has to put a smile on a child’s face, that is not me.  That is the power of believing.  The power of having an imagination.  The idea that maybe, just maybe, it is true.  It is the power of having hope in goodness.  The warmth that a child’s smile brings you.  The power of bringing someone happiness, even if it is for just a short period of time. 

It is a wonderful feeling.  A feeling that something magical exist.  It is the same feeling you have at Disney World- everything feels perfect and you have no worries or stress. 

So if all this makes my baby girl believe, smile, imagine, wonder, have faith, be kind, love and be excited…. it does exist…




(and you know what… Mickey is real too, seriously)

Bottom line… Christmas Magic can be real if you simply believe in it.

Well, I gotta go… Santa is about to feed the reindeer on his  LIVE Cam… totally real too!