Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Follow-up on My Summer Aspirations

It's been more than a month since the post when I listed my summer aspirations. Figured it might be a good time to do some follow up on that and to see where I stand or how well I've personally been doing with the list. So here goes...

1. Consistently play more tennis despite the heat.
Haven't played much during the day since we're always at the office, but we do play in the evenings, just not as often as I'd like us to.

2. Lose 10 pounds as a result of that. (I'm unsure about this one, but what the heck, it's worth the try)
Unfortunately haven't seen much changes.

3. Help more people. (Don't know how, but I'm sure the need to help will come around)
I believe I've been doing pretty good at this one.

4. Have more random dates with my sweet hubby.

5. Try out more recipes from the gazillion new cookbooks that I have.
Another yes to this one.

6. Go to the beach.

7. Swim more.

8. Visit with friends around the metroplex area whom we don't regularly talk to or see.
Slowly but surely.

9. Staying tune to the World Cup.
Definitely a YES to this one!

10. Being what God wants me to be to the kids during our week-long mission trip to New Orleans. (This one is definitely not an option to back out on)
Came home last Friday from this trip and needless to say the Lord has used me (and the kids) in ways that I couldn't even imagine possible.

11. Catch up with "Lost" and watch all the previous episodes we've missed.
Haha..yeah right.

12. Move into a house.
Still working on this. First of all, need to find a house that we'd like to move into. No such luck yet.

13. Read a book or 2, particularly "The Chronicles of Narnia". (This is a huge deal, considering I'm not a reader)
Goodness, haven't even lifted up a book yet.

14. Try and figure out all these insurance stuff at work. (I'm struggling to keep up with all that Josue is doing plus my own responsibilities. Insurance is confusing anyway)
Yes, I can say that I'm definitely improving in this area. Everything is gradually making more sense!

15. Invite our fellow work colleagues and their significant others over for dinner.
Still not yet.

16. Work on my photo scrapbook.
Good grief, I need to find all my scrapbook supplies first, and oh, find the time as well.

17. Prepare for my parents' visit. (Already starting to do that, and am very excited!)
Still preparing, and counting down the days. In about 5 weeks!!

18. Get graduation presents for my brother (graduated 2 weeks ago) and my sis-in-law (will graduate in August).
Not yet, but we are seeing them this weekend in Abilene, so might be a good opportunity then.

19. Get a haircut, hopefully a new hairstyle this time. (Any recommendations or suggestions, girls?)
This I've already accomplished and I LOVE my totally new look. Have been receiving great compliments on it too, so I know it is definitely worth it!

20. Ride the DART bus.
Almost did, but not quite yet.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

More Pics From Last Week

Alison and Me

VBS down in the projects

My fave pic--this little boy just fell asleep in Bryson's arms

Getting into a game of "Steal the Bacon" (or something like that)

Tia (she was entertaining), Sara and Shirley

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Good to be Back

What an awesome week! It'll be impossible to blog about everything that has happened, so I'll just highlight certain things that we did. Everything that we got to do pushed the kids (and some of us adults) out of their comfort zones, and needless to say the outcome of all that turned out to be rather positive. For the duration that we were there, we stayed in a huge house with almost 60 people in it and partnered with an Episcopal church from Dallas. Among some of the things we experienced were worshipping in an ancient Episcopal church (both Sunday morning and Wednesday evening), gutted out homes on 3 occassions (one of which was heavily infested with all kinds of bugs and mold), picked up trash (some complete with maggots and such), worked at a VBS for kids down in the projects, handed out supplies at the lower 9th Ward, walked around neighborhoods talking to people and 'collecting' their stories and experiences of Hurricane Katrina etc.

We went there to bless and to encourage, but it turned out to be the other way round. Despite all the destruction and pain that still exist there, we encountered people who remained hopeful and joyful through their hardships, with smiles on their faces that were contagious. Most have never returned to New Orleans after the storm and much of the Lower 9th Ward is deserted, but those who came back are rebuilding and are confident that they will get back on their feet. Their faith is an amazing testimony to many! But there is still so much to be done, and it's sad to say that people in the rest of the country are gradually forgetting that there is still a huge need for help there.

I've been changed this week, and so have the kids. Words alone are not enough to explain because everything seemed unreal and unimaginable at first. But our eyes have been exposed to the reality and the pain. It's almost been a year since the storm came through, and New Orleans is still not okay. Certain parts of the city still look like warzones, and many people have nothing left. They still need help from the 'outside world'. They still need to know that there is hope.

*I'm posting pictures in 2 parts. Don't have many pictures from the times when we worked because I was too preoccupied and didn't have my camera on hand.*

Lower 9th Ward

The house was swept away and landed on this truck

Reflection time by the levee in Algiers' Point

Mt. Olivet Episcopal Church--where we worshipped

The girls HAD to go to Bourbon Street

Swamp Tour

Part of our Skillman team

After numerous days of working in the sun, look how tan they got!

Beignet at Cafe du Monde!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Home Alone

No, not me, but Josue will be, starting Saturday. :( Same time last year, I was on a mission trip with the youth group from Skillman in New Orleans. Well, it's that time again and I've been asked to go. I really wasn't planning on going this year, but the Lord kept tugging at me through various instances in the past couple of months. The kids really did it for me though. They wouldn't stop asking me to go. Wow, boldness on their part, I say. How in the world were they able to handle me last year and would want me back on their trip this year is beyond me but definitely the Lord's devine intervention. So yup, I'll be driving one of the three 18-passenger vans that we're going in this year, and together with the kids, conquering a whole new world, literally, eversince New Orleans got struck hard by Katrina last August.

I honestly have no clue what to expect. I don't have any expectations, frankly. I'm anxious to see how N.O. is like these days. I'm hearing that it's different now, and that there is still lots to be done to rebuild this city. Guess that's why we're going--to help rebuild. A small effort, but Lord willing, will be worth more than we can ever imagine. Keep all of us in prayers. I'm sure I'll have more to report upon return, and pictures to show. It's going to be an awesome week!

In the meantime, if you want to hang out or keep Josue company, please give him a ring. Poor thing wouldn't know what to do with himself for a whole week! Haha, just kidding. I'm sure he'll be fine. However, it will be sad to leave my hubby for this time though. :(

Saturday, June 10, 2006


Hooray, let the World Cup begin!! This what the Villarreal household will be following up with virtually everyday until July. We are truly excited that this has finally begun and I can watch more than just the Mavericks play (although their being in the final championship is a VERY good thing). I don't have any specific teams that I'm routing for, well, except for England (who won their first match this morning with David Beckham scoring their one and only goal!), and for Mexico because of Josue. :)

Other than football, we are well and alive, just busy with work, the usual blah blah blah. I know I haven't blogged for a long time, and it bothers me that I have not. But no worries, there will be more to come soon. In the meantime, cheers to a great World Cup!!