Sunday, December 29, 2013

Goodbye 2013

As the New Year approaches, I rejoice in all that we have learned and gained in 2013. Was it all pleasant? No, of course not;  but it was all for a higher purpose! I believe each member of the Rios Family has become a better human being because of the various experiences we have encountered along the way this past year.

Some of the good: My son Josh was promoted to a management position at Bern’s Steak House and with that promotion came a substantial raise! Shane celebrated his 16th birthday this year! He has scored well on all tests and has gained much work experience and job skills in the construction/carpentry field ~ thanks to various jobs with his Uncle Johnny. Oh, and he won the UGLY SWEATER contest at his youth group party! I'm so proud! LOL In June, Agustin completed his first year with Cantina Laredo and has established strong relationships with many of the regular customers and with many leaders of our community. He has enjoyed having only a 10 minute commute to and from work this past year!  I have overcome malignant cancer and many other health issues. I (We) praise God for HIS goodness to us all!

Have a safe and happy New Year’s Eve. We, the Rios family, plan to Par---tay!!!  Smile
What are some of your plans?

Here are a few photos of our December, 2013.
Shane’s 16th Birthday party!IMG_0962

Agustin and I enjoying a night at Sea World, Orlando.
Us Tree 

My parents at our house on Christmas Day.
Mom continues to recuperate from her knee replacement surgery.

Our family on Christmas Day.

Some yummies made by Shane and I.

To see a short slideshow I made with "Smilebox", just click the link below.

As we head into 2014, let me encourage you to consider this wise counsel from God’s Word, Proverbs 3:5&6 which says: “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways, acknowledge HIM, and HE shall direct thy paths.”

Monday, September 30, 2013

So I Wasn't As Committed As I Thought I Was!

Ummm, blushing here! I started this month off determined to capture a photo a day, correlated with the list of ideas furnished by Amy at TheIdeaRoom but instead, I got ... oh shall we say,

I think I will end the month with her prompt - "FALL IS..."
So here we go! To me FALL IS...decorating with rich, warm colors
and having friends over for meals!

I have been productive this month and feeling happy about my health and accomplishments. Just last week, I sequestered myself in our church building Monday - Friday, working 10 hour days. Our church homecoming was this Sunday and I wanted to spiffy up our church facilities best as possible. I started with the nursery on that first day and finished up the week by painting bookshelves in our supply room. I warned everyone to stay far away from me that week unless they wanted to be Bleached, Scrubbed with Murphy's Oil Soap, Painted, or Waxed!!! Around 8:30 or 9:00 each night, I'd walk over to my parents home to eat a late supper,
bathe, and sleep. 
Being able to work hard physically is a big deal for me! You see, about 6 months ago, I would NOT have been able to help my church in this capacity. My health was so poor and my pain was very intense. I am so thankful for God's guidance to great doctors, new treatments, and new medicines;  but I am most grateful for praying friends and answered prayers!
I so enjoyed my week working at church. I still have many things I want to accomplish there in the buildings, but this week I think I should concentrate on my own home! I only saw Shane, Agustin, and my Delilah once during the entire week!!!

Saturday, September 07, 2013

A Neighborly Surprise and "Catch Up" with the PHOTO A DAY challenge!

Okay, first the neighborly part:

If you ask me, I have one of the best neighbors ever! She is great about checking on me and keeping me up to date with things going on in the neighborhood. She even ventured out in one of our terrible storms this summer to drive me to a doctor’s appointment on the spur of the moment. (My other ride was late getting into town and I wasn’t allowed to drive due to recent surgery.)

She teaches 5th grade and has recently started this year's school term. I saw a cute little something in Cracker Barrel yesterday and she came to mind.

What about you? Have you done something nice for your neighbors recently?


I truly try to write nicely but my damaged wrists and fingers won't permit! :(

Now the "catch up" part! I am determined to post a photo a day on my blog! I have been keeping up with this challenge on my other social media but have forgotten to post the photos here;  so if you really think you can't live another day without seeing my "photo a day" (sarcasm, yes), then feel free to find me on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram so that you can view these amazing photos and make your world right again! ;)

 Day Six, Friday - a circle:
Actually, LOTS of CIRCLES!
(I'm having fun spray painting circular things for a fall craft project I'll be doing with my kiddos in Children's Church tomorrow!)

Day Seven, Saturday - a pathway:
The pathway alongside our house.

Below is Amy's list in case you want to join in on
September's Photo A Day challenge!

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Day One–Inspire

I’m playing along by posting a daily photograph describing the word or category prompt for that day at  #theidearoom on Instagram or at  If you would like to join in the fun, you can access the list and the guidelines by clicking on the link above to see what is next. It’s interesting to see what others have chosen to photograph for their daily entry.

2012 09 30_0104

For today's prompt, the word INSPIRE caused me to write about my Dad and Mom. My parents are an inspiration to me! Both of them are in their seventies and have many health issues; but nothing seems to stop them! My husband and I say they remind us of tenacious bulldogs, but in a good way!  Winking smile By God’s grace, mom and dad both carry on serving Christ daily and remain flexible to serve others in a magnificent way. There is no way I could keep up with their schedules! Whew!

My dad is Senior Pastor at our church in Tampa. He counsels families and hurting folks almost on a daily basis. Not only is my Mom a full time Pastor’s wife, she continues to work an outside, full time job and several part time jobs. (She doesn’t consider the part time jobs work-just a way to help out friends.)

I love you mom and dad and appreciate your love for the Lord and your example of doing for others. I know it is HE who gives you both the strength to do all that you do.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Look Who Is Coming!


My hubby’s mom and one of his brothers are coming for a week long visit! Their plane lands at 4 p.m. Monday evening!!! This year, they’re coming to help us celebrate his BIG 50!!! We, umm I mean, he (my hubby)  is hoping his mama feels well enough to make some of her tamales while here!!! They are the best I've ever eaten. Honestly!



Here are a few photos of my husband with his mom and brother Elias when they flew up for his birthday in 2009. We had just feasted on tamales, beans, and rice which were accompanied with some of my mother in law's home made salsas! YUM! I can't wait!



Misc. Family 031Misc. Family 033Misc. Family 032

Now on to some house keeping(literally, I still have two bathrooms to clean and a kitchen floor to scrub!) But I really need to get some housekeeping about my blog out of the way.


So ... two months ago, I bragged about how my blog would be seeing more action from me now that I'm experiencing better health these days. WELL.....OOPS! Sorry little blog! I suppose I've been feeling SO much better that I've been SO much busier than I had anticipated. It's great being able to get out of the house more for special events and socializing. Even running errands is a blessing to me! I'm so grateful for my praying friends who have interceded on my behalf!


Today was a wonderful day at church. My kiddos in Children's Church were in wonderful moods. After church, a bunch of us from church went to one of our favorite Chinese restaurants where we surprised a dear sister in Christ. Vera has lymphoma and is fighting her fourth round right now. She maintains her testimony for Christ and maintains a good attitude and a hope that God will use her through this illness to be a witness for HIM. She and her husband bless my heart beyond measure. They bought a huge van specifically to drive all or at least as many of their grandchildren as possible to church each week. Most are in my class. Even on days Vera is in horrific pain or very weak, she pushes on. Please remember she and her husband David in prayer. May they experience God's grace and power during these difficult days. Oh and our surprise party for her was a home run! We made her cry, so that's always good, right??  :)

Since I don’t think those bathrooms and that kitchen floor are going to scrub themselves,  I best sign out now. Y'all take care, ya' hear!

Monday, June 10, 2013

My New Mantra!



Yeah that’s right! Now that I’m experiencing better health and have more energy, my little ol’ blog is going to be seeing me around a lot more often! I hope to see you around my blog more too!


(Pssst---let’s see how long this lasts!)

Monday, April 08, 2013

Josh Turns 26

My last post was about my eldest son's birth. Here are the few photos we took Saturday when he was over for one of his favorite home cooked meals: Honey Spiraled sliced ham, mashed potatoes, peas, and rolls. It was wonderful having him "home" even if only for a few hours!

I'm coming in for a kiss! He asked: "You're not going to do anything weird are you?"
He makes me laugh!

Then he whisked me up! What a surprise!
(click to enlarge! believe me it's worth it to see our faces!)

I love my boys!

Agustin was rushing off to work. This photo tickles me!
Doesn't he look like a little school boy trying hard to be good?  ;)

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Swept Off My Feet (again)

A very handsome man stopped by our house today
and “swept me off my feet” AGAIN!!!
Our first born, Josh, turned twenty six today. My mind cannot comprehend that! It seems like just yesterday, God sent us that tiny miracle at 2:22 a.m. April 6, 1987. I was “swept off my feet” the moment I laid eyes on his perfect, but tiny form. My dad often says that Josh reminded him of a little old man with sagging skin wrinkled up.
Below is the amazing story of how God performed a miracle on that April 6, 1987 morning. It’s a tad long, but if you feel so inclined, I’d love for you to read it.

Finally, packing up to go home!
Misc. Family 119
He came early, but ready to fight!!! I had flown in from Mexico the week before his birth, which may be what brought on the premature labor.(and the fact I was further along than believed)  It was the most painful moment of my life, waving goodbye to Agustin. He stood at the bottom of the escalator in Mexico City’s huge International airport. He had not be awarded his VISA yet, hence preventing him from being able to accompany me to the states. I looked back at him the entire ride up the tall escalator, never taking my eyes off of him. What if something happened and I never saw him again? My heart was in my throat!

I cried and sobbed quietly during the entire flight from Mexico City to Miami.  I caught looks of pity and concern from other passengers and the flight attendants. After a short layover in Miami, I was on a smaller plane headed to Tampa. I felt exhausted. I tried sipping a beverage during the 30 minute or so flight. I believe I ordered orange juice. I was so relieved and happy to walk off the airplane and see my friend Jan and my mom waiting for me in that concourse of Tampa International Airport. First came the smiles and hugs, then the expected “pregnant tummy inspection”. “Why are you even wearing a maternity dress? You have no belly. You don’t even look pregnant!”  I explained that Agustin had bought the dress for me a couple of weeks prior and I felt that since I didn’t appear pregnant,  the dress might garner me some help with the luggage, and it had! I didn’t have to carry my ginormous heavy bag off the luggage belt. A lady looked kindly at me and asked if I was pregnant. I said yes and she proceeded to find out which bag was mine, then lifted it off for me. Amazing isn’t it how one small moment of kindness lingers forever in our hearts and minds!  Well, Mom and Jan whisked me off to meet up with Mom’s friend Mona who was staying in her parents condo in Clearwater. Mom had flown down from West Virginia to help Mona pack up her parent’s things to move them to Missouri. We had several days together before I had to leave for West Virginia with my dad and brother in law, Clint. I remember eating at a Golden Corral and having to excuse myself to the restroom several times due to small amounts of leaking. Then the next night while out to eat at The Spaghetti Warehouse in Ybor City, I was so sick, I ordered only an ice water. I started having contractions while there but didn’t say a word to anyone as I just thought I wasn’t feeling well. I didn’t want to ruin their dinner.

That night I slept at Mona’s house. I lay there in her guest room wondering if this pain  would stop. I wondered if the slow leaking meant anything. Boy, was I dumb! My baby wasn’t due for several more weeks! I was scared! I cried! I prayed!

The next morning, we all went to Jan’s house for breakfast. Dad and Clint had made it into Tampa to make a delivery and were headed back up to W.V. right after we ate. The plan was that I’d ride back with them, get settled in my parent’s home in Logan, then find an OB/GYN to care for me and baby during my last weeks of the pregnancy. It did NOT happen that way!

Dad, Clint, and I loaded into that tiny Ford Ranger truck. We were all much smaller back then so it really wasn’t that crowded. About half way to W.V. I realized I needed help. Each time we would pass a H for Hospital sign on the interstate, I wondered if I should ask them to find that hospital. I held on for as long as I could. We finally arrived in Princeton, W.V. and dad wanted to stop at the Shoney’s to eat since it would be his last opportunity to do so for awhile since there wasn’t one near Logan. It was cold, snowy, and icy! I remember praying not to fall as I stepped out of the truck. Once again, I only ordered water. Dad and Clint were at the salad bar, happily piling their plates high. I went to the ladies room. I came out white as a ghost. I had started bleeding! I sat quietly in the booth, sipping on my water. Clint finally noticed that something was wrong with me. He asked if I was ok. I quietly told him about the back pain and the bleeding. He then, in only the way Clint can do, gently said that we could get a hotel for the night. I needed to put my feet up and rest. That is what the doctor had counseled Rita to do when she was spotting during her pregnancy. When I said no, I’d rather try to continue on the last couple of hours to get home. He then called the State Highway Patrol for weather conditions. This was in 1987, so no laptop, no smart phone, no internet! They said all roads were clear, it was safe to travel. After the men finished their meals, we set off again. An hour into the trip I was groaning. Dad then became very concerned. Clint told him what I had experienced back at Shoney’s. Dad then suggested we stop at my Aunt Catty’s house. She was a nurse and knew good doctors. She could get me in first thing in the morning with an OB/GYN. We showed up that night around 9:30, surprising her and Uncle Ted. She took me right in. I ate a bowl of corn flakes then took a warm bath. (All things I shouldn’t’ have done since I was in LABOR! – But I was too dumb to know it and it was way too early to even think that!)

Finally, we get to the hospital where my aunt worked. She was able to get me quick attention. It was so chaotic due to me having no doctor or connections at all there. They called in the OB/GYN, Dr. Sultan. They also called in the pediatrician, and the helicopter life flight from the larger hospital in Huntington. The consensus was that the night was not going to bring forth good news.  I was told to change. The technician then began an ultrasound on me. I was complaining of back pain. She could find no baby! She called in the obstetrician. After he and she spoke quietly, he had me rolled in to the delivery room. He explained that I would need to deliver naturally without drugs. He also explained to me that he wasn’t sure what he would be delivering, a live or dead baby and I should prepare myself. He then informed me that the helicopter was on standby in case the baby needed to be rushed to Huntington. I remember pushing and pushing and being put on oxygen at some point. I remember being told they had no heartbeat on the baby. I remember being so scared and feeling sad. My Aunt Catty was right there with me, holding my hand and feeding me ice chips. I did not know until years later that Dr. Sultan had told her out in the hall that he was afraid he would be delivering a blob. Another thing I wasn’t aware of at the time, my Aunt Virgie was out in the hallway calling her church prayer chain, asking prayer for me and the baby. She also called Clint and Dad who had driven on to Logan after leaving me in good hands earlier that evening. They were shocked when Aunt Virgie announced that she was at the hospital with me and we were about to have a baby but things looked grim. Poor Clint! He knew Agustin from our days together in Mexico. He said he paced the floor trying to form a speech to give Agustin on the phone once the baby was born. His Spanish wasn’t as proficient as it is today, so he wanted to have the right words if he were to tell Agustin we had lost the baby. We were all able to laugh later when he told us how he was dreading making that call to Agustin in Mexico when the phone rang again. It was Aunt Virgie again. She rejoiced: “We’ve got us a baby boy!” Clint said he was so relieved.  He then called my husband, and at first Agustin did not believe Clint. He thought it was just another prank from the master prankster! He was finally convinced that he had a son; a tiny son, but a living son! Then my mom was called in Florida. She and Mona too thought Clint was playing a mean joke, calling at 2:30 in the  morning! Finally, they were convinced I had given birth. Imagine, they had just seen me that morning in Tampa and they were still proclaiming that I didn’t even look pregnant!

There is so much more I could tell you. The prayers of concerned Christians who had never met me and the love of family was overwhelming.The main point is that God performed a miracle that night. He actually did have me in the right place at the right time, even though it didn't seem like it at first. The doctor who delivered Josh was wonderful. The pediatrician, Dr. Haas was amazing! I had no insurance or history with any of the doctors mentioned. The hospital had grants from the state and I never saw a bill. There were a few ups and downs during the next few weeks, but all in all, Joshua had very little difficulty compared to other babies born as early as he was.

He isn’t so tiny today! He is a miracle from God and so strong and strapping. He has a beautiful heart and is a loyal friend to others. He has an awesome work ethic and is amazingly blessed with athletic skills. He still has heart issues but hasn’t let that hold him back. If anything, it has caused him to work harder and try harder. It’s been a wonderful ride watching this miracle of ours grow and learn, try and fail, try and succeed, watching him become a man.

Tuesday, March 05, 2013


If you know anything about the game Minecraft, then you'll know what a CREEPER is. It's an object that follows you around in the game and if it gets too close to you - it blows up! I usually am not a "creeper" but on Father's Day, 2012, a remarkable thing happened! My mom, my niece Jayde, my son Shane, and I became CREEPERS!! Oh but be not dismayed:  we do not blow up at the end of this story! 

Let me start at the beginning. We had a very sick friend who needed some cheering up.  We decided to drive Jayde and her "road manager" (that's what we jokingly called Shane) over to a friend's home so my niece could play and sing for him.

About five minutes from mom's house, while stopped at a red light, I noticed a bumper sticker on the car in front of us.

"Mom, does that bumper sticker say Paraguay?" I  asked.

"Yeah I think it does!" she replied excitedly.

Then an even more excited voice asked from the back seat, "Does it have a 200 on it?"

I squinted my eyes to check. "Why yes, it does. Why?" I answered.

Then I remembered that Jayde had won a contest at school in Paraguay for creating a new seal to celebrate the nation's 200th anniversary. Of course, while I was remembering that, Jayde exclaimed, "That's my design!" We all began squealing!

Well, by ALL, I mean all of the FEMALES in the car.  I don't think Shane squealed, cuz he's cool like that.
(and he's a male)

We three females looked at each other, big eyed. "Mom, follow them." I suggested, er no, more like I commanded!

"Should I?" she queried. "Yes, go go go!" Jayde and I were giggling by now! Mom stepped on the gas and we were off on our first adventure as "CREEPERS"!!!

It turned out we followed them all the way to their driveway which happened to be about one block from our original destination!! How convenient!

There's more to tell you but I'm tired. To make sure that we didn't explode, please watch the video I posted below.

I was delighted to find these photos and videos on my dad's laptop! I made this little montage for my sister and her crew in Paraguay mostly, but you all can watch it too if you choose. ;) I know some of the singing goes a little long, so fast forward to the harmonica playing at the end.

(Dr. Martinez is a pediatric surgeon at St. Joseph's Hospital)

Oh and as for going to sing for our sick friend, yeah we did that as soon as we  finished at the Martinez home! ;) I may post that part of the story soon.

What a great Sunday afternoon it was!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Making Get Well Cards



We have two ladies in our church who are recuperating from falls and subsequent surgeries. So after our lesson on Sunday, I asked the children if they would like to make some Get Well cards for these ladies.  They jumped at the idea with smiles. So we scurried to get all of our supplies together and they got busy.

One of my goals for these children is to help them realize they are the hands and feet of Christ. I want them to learn from their own experiences the joys one receives from doing for others.

I hope you take the time to enlarge each photo and read the precious notes these kids wrote. I’m so blessed to have these children in my life and I’m positive these two ladies will receive a sweet blessing from these simple cards. What about you? What would your reaction be if you received a sweet, handmade card made by precious children?


I am so blessed to have these children in my life!So precious! I know this card will brighten Martha's day.2013 01 20_04242013 01 20_04252013 01 20_04262013 01 20_04272013 01 20_04282013 01 20_0429Matthew's card to Martha Palmer.Kodi's card, just precious!Madison's card impressed me!2013 01 20_04332013 01 20_0434Seth's cardCamron working on his cardMacayla and Bethany hard at work!Kodi always pays attention to details!Matthew adding stickers to the Get Well card he made.

Children's Church making Get Well cards for Mrs. Powell and Mrs. Palmer

Friday, January 11, 2013

Day 11 ~ T.V. SHOW

For January Photo A Day meme

Ah this one is easy! Right now my favorite T.V. show is

My son recently introduced this comedy series to me. I've fallen in love with all the cast and their zany characters! I can't believe I didn't know it has been on USA network for some 6 or 7 years now. Thanks to NETFLIX, I'm catching up on all the seasons I missed! Are any of you fans?

Oh and I have a MUST MENTION! Can you imagine my pure delight when I happened upon a new show on HGTV today? It's called __________________??? I'm not telling!! Click on this link to see why this show is right up my alley!! ;)

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Day 10 ~ TO DO...


What about you? Do you dare share a photo of your desk? Of course you may not be as "paperwork challenged" as I am!

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Day 9 ~ Favorite...

The word for today is FAVORITE. I chose to post about my two most favorite pieces of jewelry!! They have sentimental value far above earthly value! The first is my Wedding Ring which is an antique pearl ring from Spain. It once was worn by my husband's grandmother! I was amazed when Agustin presented it to me on the day he asked me to marry him! It didn't look quite like this back then though. It had golden prongs coming around the pearl, sort of like a birdcage, but the tips of the prongs were open, not connected to each other. The pearl was loose inside the prongs and moved around. After my first baby was born, I somehow caught one of the prongs on a piece of the baby's clothing and it broke off. I knew that if I broke one more of those fragile prongs, my pearl would roll right out of it's little cage! One day while I was at work my husband took the ring to the jeweler's to inquire about the best way to go to secure the pearl. He suggested that all prongs be removed, melted down and a base formed from them, then set the pearl permanently on that base. That's what we did. I have worn it daily since then. I do not wash dishes or shower with it on though. This rings means so much to me!

The second piece of my favorite jewelry is the little heart pendant you see in the photo. It means the world to me because it was the first gift my two sons joined together to buy for me! They gifted it to me on Mother's Day many years ago when Shane, my second born, was only 2 years old. This little piece of my jewelry also has a story to tell. You see, I was going to give my makeup drawer in my vanity counter a quick spruce up. I just stuck the end of the hose of my mean ol' KIRBY vacuum in the drawer thinking that was a quick way to remove hairs from the corners of the drawer. I had forgotten I had placed my MOM pendant necklace in there for SAFE KEEPING! Ha! I was reminded about it though as soon as I heard that horrific sound;  the sound of it getting tangled around some of the mechanics of my vacuum!! My honey dumped the bag and dug through, finding all pieces of the necklace. The chain was in several pieces and the little heart was bent and doubled up - which meant MY REAL HEART felt bent and doubled up as well. Agustin washed it off and placed all the pieces in a baggie. I finally took it into the jeweler's today and he straightened out the heart. I still need to purchase a fine gold chain for it. The chain was irreparable. 

Now as I conclude this little post I realize I am a tad hard on my jewelry!!
It's not too late to join in on the fun with us at The Idea Room for January Photo A Day!

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Catching Up ~ Days 6, 7, & 8

Whew! Since I've been immobile with an excruciating RA flare the past two weeks, I've gotten terribly behind with household chores and desk work. Playing catch up in those two areas alone has taken up most of my "good hours" during each day. That hasn't included much blogging or face booking time for me these past few days; but it does mean I'm doing much better and getting back to living my life!!! I'm afraid many don't realize that with this chronic illness (an auto-immune disease), I have a small window of time each day to be productive. I do appreciate all of my wonderful praying friends! I am reaping the benefits of each prayer you offered up on my behalf! I'm not totally out of pain and I still have substantial swelling in most joints, but I am functioning and getting a few hours of deep, healing, rejuvenating sleep each night.

I'm delighted to tell you that I'm also on day five of the Cabbage Soup Seven Day Diet and I'm feeling positive results! As of day three, I had lost two pounds! hip hip hooray!! I can't wait to weigh again on Sunday! See the diced fresh veggies in the picture below? That is the beginning of the base for my cabbage soup. I love seeing the pretty colors come together in the pot! After sauteing, seasoning, adding the cabbage and tomatoes further on in the process, I must say, it came out delicious!

Let's eat!

Well now that the "housekeeping" issues are out of the way here, (my explaining why I'm behind on the Photo A Day meme) I shall commence on "Catching Up" with some photos!

Day 6 ~ Work!

This is my son Josh painting his grandmother's kitchen.

Day 7 ~ Rest!

I can't find  a picture of me doing anything restful, but I did come across this sweet photo of my son Josh relaxing with baby Abbie, his cousin's little one.

 Day 8 ~ I AM...Me!

Top row: I am a wife, a mother of two handsome fellows, the sister of a red head!
(That's her surprising me on my fiftieth birthday! She had to fly all the way from Paraguay to pull it off!)

Middle row: I am the zany friend, a follower of Christ and I love His Word, a singer!
(I'm in the green, singing with friends around my organ!)

Bottom row: I am the Mother of a beautiful fur-child, a teacher of children, a foodie!
(I'm eating a steak & cheese sub at Portillo's of Chicago!)