November 30, 2010


There are lots of reasons why I absolutely adore my Mary Kay business. I realize some of you might be sick of hearing them.

Get over it.

Oh wait, did really I write that? Sorry.

Anyway, one of them is the "face time" (pun intended) that I get with women I never in a million years would get otherwise. Women who would never set foot in a church because they're too busy. Because they were mistreated. Because they don't think they need it. Because they just haven't. It's an opportunity to pour into women with the Love of Jesus for an hour or two as they play with makeup and sometimes pour their hearts out. And sometimes not. But no matter what, they sit at my table (or theirs) and get pampered and loved on. At least, that's the goal.

A second thing I love about this business is the women who I get to hang out with and who pour into ME with the Love of Jesus. Last night was our weekly training meeting and it was a little different than usual. The weather was cold and windy so fewer showed up. One consultant's mom was killed in a car accident on Friday, so the meeting practically started with tears and hugs and encouragement. After that, the meeting just got better. And by better, I mean closer, friendlier, more caring and more encouraging.

Kendahl (my good friend and business mentor) shared about someone SHE met by accidentally sending a text message to the wrong number. Here's how the text conversation went over the course of an hour (the summarized version).
"Hi Ashley, I'm Kendahl S. with Mary Kay. You and I have a mutual friend and she has given you with a gift certificate and facial. I look forward to pampering you and will call you tomorrow to set up a time."

"Actually, I'm in the hospital. I think you have the wrong number. I'm not Ashley."

"Oh cookies! Well would YOU like some pampering time? I'd love to extend the same gift to you as well. It takes an hour and I'd be honored to come bless you."

"Thank you so much, but actually, I was just in a car accident and so I'm not able to do that. Please pass it on to someone else."

"Wow! Well, it sounds like you REALLY need some pampering! I can come to you. No need to drive to me. I just want to shower you with love for an hour."

"Thank you, but I really can't, although I would love to. I was crushed in the accident from shoulder to pelvis and have many lacerations and stitches. I'm on complete bed rest and will be here for months. Please just pass it on and PLEASE, tell the ones you love how much they mean to you. You never know what life brings."

"Oh my goodness, well I don't even know your name but I would love to just bless you in this time of challenge. May I bring you some banana bread?"

"It's really ok. You don't have to do that."

"Too late. The Mary Kay way is already in effect. How about just a visit and some real food? Where are you located? What are you family's needs right now?"

"Actually I'm in Ohio. I'm 33 and I have two boys who were with me in the crash. My 8 year old was bruised but walked away. My 10 year old has stitches but aside from that is fine."

"Oh cookies again! Ohio is a long way for banana bread. ...I don't even know your name, but I'd like to send you a care package. Would you mind sharing your address with me? My mind is already swimming with what to send your way."

"My name is Barbie. My address is... But what I'd love most is for you to tell your family how much you love them. Tell them now. Don't delay. They are so important."

"I will do that. I'm 33 also and I have 3 kids - 3, 5 and 7. You are right. I do know that. Alright my friend, a package is coming your way. I'm so happy to know you!"

(Hours later.)

"Good night my new friend. Many Blessings from Ohio."
So our little group of Mary Kay consultants are going to put together the whopping-est package you've ever seen! Kendahl (a Cadillac director) will be mailing it, regardless of size or weight. We're collecting all sorts of things to bless Barbie and her two boys. It's going in the mail Friday morning so I have until Thursday night to get everything to her. Fresh banana bread, Mary Kay product to boost her self confidence, and all sorts of goodies will be on their way to Ohio very soon. If you would like to contribute, please let me know.

Some ideas :
  • toys for two boys, ages 8 and 10
  • gift certificates for take-out food from restaurants in Edison, Ohio 43320
  • a hand-written note of encouragement and prayer
  • gift certificate for a grocery store
  • anything you can think of!
Tonight I am home with MY two boys (ages 1 1/2 and 29). I'm safe and warm and all of us are healthy. I am privileged to bless others and be blessed daily. And I'm praying for a woman across the country who I've never met but who has stolen my heart... named Barbie.

November 29, 2010

First Steps!

¡Primeros Pasos!

November 26, 2010

Quite possibly...

...there is nothing better to start the day with than a good pajama snuggle in bed with Papa and your two best friends (read stuffed animals).


November 24, 2010

Grocery Shopping the Day Before Thanksgiving

Well, the day-before-a-huge-holiday-frenzy is winding down in the Chinchilla Porras household.  And actually, I'd say we came out ok! 

We shop for groceries two weeks at a time without fail, come hell or high water, and it's always on a Wednesday.  That's because Wednesdays are the days that our favorite farmers market has their produce discounted even more than usual.  So.... you guessed it was grocery shopping day!  At 4 p.m. (no, we apparently could not have chosen an earlier hour in the day) we braved our way into Walmart with a long list of groceries and by some miracle of the Almighty, we made it home only two and a half hours later without even getting mad!  We even had a last-minute change of recipe, a quick call to a friend to get her dinner-roll recipe, because well... they're the best!  ...and stopped to give a new mom a mini Ergo Baby Carrier 101 lesson right there in the produce aisle.  Her 4-week-old had only his precious nose and eyes exposed and was SO TINY!  (Can we say newborn envy!?) 

We were grabbing mushrooms, I think, when a sweet new mom, her mom, and her teensy little one came our way.  I had Danny on my front in the Ergo carrier.  We've discovered this is the quickest way we can whip through the store.  I hold the kiddo and the pre-printed grocery list with a pen, and Alejandro drives the cart with my purse/diaper-bag/is-there-a-difference? and all the groceries piled on top.  Then we go aisle by aisle and Alejandro practices his race-cart skills while tossing in items.  I practice my drill-sergeant skills and order which item to grab next.  It's a great system!  Add to that tickle sessions by the dairy section and cat-and-mouse chasing games with each other down the aisles with our giggly toddler and it becomes great fun!  Anyway, with the Ergo on my front, I was about twice the size I usually am so I thought the dear sweet new mama was trying to get by.  To my surprise, she actually wanted to ask me if I liked my Ergo.  I gushed that I did and showed off some of the features. 

Speaking of distractions (weren't we?), I have discovered recently that I am very much like the dog in Up.  You know, "Up," the kids' movie?  Well, if you don't, you should.  Go rent it.  Right now.  I'm serious.  Go. 

It's one of our favorites.  It's one of my favorites because of how the dog yells SQUIRREL!! mid-thought and immediately takes off running in a different direction.  It's sort of how my brain works.  I get going on one thought and my mouth can't catch up, so mid-sentence I start another thought and another sentence.  Which I may or may not finish. 

It doesn't make for very good public speaking.  Ahem.  Which is bad, because I do that a lot.  Public speaking I mean.  Well, and having squirrel! moments.  Oh, you get my point. 

Um, but what was I talking about? 

Oh yes! Our trip to the grocery store.  It was great fun!  Or at least it was a great adventure. 

So after we met the nice lady with the squishy cute newborn baby that really has made me want to get pregnant, we headed down the frozen food aisle to pick up two chicken lasagnas.  One is for us to eat.  The other is to give away.  Our pastor challenged us to take a hot meal to someone who is sick or recently had a baby, as way of going back to the structure of the early church.  We thought it was a pretty cool challenge, so we took him up on it.  Hence, the second chicken lasagna. 

On our way to the check-out line, Alejandro said (in squirrel! like fashion) "(Gasp!) We should take the lasagna to her!!" 

I knew, of course, who he was referring to, and that initiated our 15-minute search of Walmart to find the sweet new mom with her sweet newborn, who will surely be soon purchasing an Ergo.  It was, sadly, a failed mission.  I was really so excited too, because I have sort of a knack for making friends in the grocery store and taking them lasagna.  These types of friends really become the best kind.  Maybe someday I'll meet her in heaven and I can tell her what great friends on earth we were supposed to be.  Or maybe I'll just see her in two weeks in the produce section.  Here's crossing our fingers! 

My favorite moment of all, though, was when we had just braved the grocery store's hazard zone (read baking aisle).  As we rounded the corner to head into the next aisle, we passed a mom and her 5 year old (at least he appeared to be 5).  As she firmly planted a hand on his back pressing him forward into that chaotic baking aisle, he dug in his heels, looked up at his mom and said, "We have to go IN THERE?!?"  Followed by Alfred Hitchcock's screeching horror music.  Well, ok, that last part didn't happen really.  Except in my imagination. 

So there you have it.  The story saga of how we gave an Ergo Carrier 101 lesson, launched and terminated a 15-minute search, played with our toddler, learned a new recipe, traversed the baking aisle and oh yeah! purchased two weeks worth of groceries, on the day before Thanksgiving.  In only two and a half hours. 

And since it's pretty unlikely I'll manage to blog tomorrow - as I'll be quite occupied eating way more food than any individual should in a single day - I'll just tell you all now:


November 21, 2010

Enough Whining

I just got my heart broken and I bawled my eyes out.  I just caught up on reading Katie's blog

Just. Go. Read. It.

Here I sit whining and grumpy because finances are tight while she and her children fight poverty tooth and nail.  Literally. 

I wept at my own selfishness.  Oh, poor me, with a sore back and tight muscles because I spent all day privileged to work in my heeled Steve Maddens, earning good money at a career that I love.  Meanwhile, women and their children die a slow agonized death of starvation because they refuse to go another day prostituting themselves. 

Did you know that if you earned only $2200 last year, you are richer than 85% of the entire world's population?  Check it out

I heard today that in the U.K., Christians don't ask for their burdens to be lifted, but rather, they ask for God to strengthen them to be able to lift their burdens. 

I'll go ahead and admit right now that I haven't been on Katie's blog in a while, because well, it's just plain hard to read.  It's hard to hear.  It's hard to know.  Lord, let me not turn my eyes from your beloved anymore. 

Learn to do good.
Seek justice.
Help the oppressed.
Defend the cause of orphans.
Fight for the rights of widows.

I asked for an attitude change yesterday.  I got it.  Now I don't know what to do about it.


16 Months

Dear Danilo,

Well, kiddo, you are 16 1/2 months!  I can't even believe how much fun it is to watch you do so many new things!

You have quite the awesome bed-head when you wake up.  Your hair is definitely not long enough for a haircut, but it's getting there.  Our after-breakfast ritual of cleaning your hand and face with a wash cloth now includes the taming of your hair as well. 

I'm fairly certain that this photo will some day end up in the collection of those we save to black-mail you when you're in high school.  It was just too good not to shoot.

You are saying all kinds of words, both English and Spanish - which makes me incredibly proud.  This "raising you bilingual" thing is actually working!

You say...  stay.  toby.  and gracias.  You sign please/por favor, but you haven't tried to say it yet.

You understand abajo (down) and point down.  You say perro (dog). 

Your way to telling me that something is on the floor is saying "uh oh" (read, "can you pick that up, mommy?")  You have said gracias

Your universal word for all kinds of things is ya. It's kind of your Papa's and my universal word for everything too.  It usually means already or I'm coming or all done.  It's sort of like mmm-hmmm in English.

You have said más (more).  And you immitated me when I said crapAhem.  Oops!  You call for your Papa all the time, only you immitate me, so you say "Aaaaale!"  You continue to say papa and mama (your first word).  You frequently tell the dog bad boy.  You say carro all. the. time. 

When you're not saying actual words, you just make noise while you wag tongue back and forth over your teeth and you figure it's just as good as talking.  I mean, you understand what you're saying.   

You are quite the cuddler!  That is an extra little gift from God because, well, I'm quite the cuddler too.  You have a mild attachment to the knit blanky that Grammy made you. 

Some days it's more pronounced than others.  Some days you seem not to care at all and others, you insist on having it over your knees for breakfast.  That's because I won't let you have it on top of your tray and in your food.  Often you cuddle gentle and softly and other times your idea of cuddling is shoving your forehead into my mouth and your fingers up my nose. It's a bit different, but I'll take it. You're a boy.  I get it.  

You got over your hesitation to leave us for child care at church after just a few weeks.  Now you LOVE it and you get excited whenever we go.  While you're at church child care, you eagerly play with the other kids and you asks for the cart ride around the building.  You are a delight to the child-care workers and they rave about how wonderful you are.  I, of course, just stand there gleaming. 

Any day now, you're going to let go and just walk. 

As it is now, you walk while holding one finger of each of my hands and you pull me along more than you hold on to me for balance.  You definitely don't need my balance all the time, but you don't know it yet and I'm not telling you yet. 

This picture was snapped in the split second of confusion after I had let go of your hand and you were more concerned about the fact that I was not holding on than the fact that you were actually falling.  Because you weren't.  Until a split second later. 

You push your walker (and anything else you can push) across the floor and run it into things. It's great fun for you.

You hi-five with your Papa and you and he say "ojitos" and blink both eyes at each other and then crack up.  It's pretty much the cutest thing I've ever seen.  I know.  I say that about every thing you do.  Still, that's my story and I'm stickin' to it. 

Kiddo, you're my pride and joy and the 2nd love of my life. 


Mommy (a.k.a.    )

P.S.  Oh yes!  And now, for the much awaited for - ok, well maybe only by the grandparents and the parents - video collage of all your new moves this month.  This video took me hours and hours to put together, because I had to create it about five times before I figured out why it wasn't working.  So I'm (ahem) REALLY hoping that EVERYONE watches all 9 minutes of toddler-moves that are probably only interesting to um, me.  In any case, here you go! 

November 19, 2010

Welcome Alessandra Mae

This precious little one joined her proud parents Jon and Charmian yesterday just after 12 noon and I couldn't be more excited for them!

Here's their story:


November 15, 2010

Not Good.

This is our kitchen sink. 

This is not good, people.

It means that we are washing our dishes here:

(The bathroom adjacent to our kitchen.)
Because my handyman/husband is working all day on other peoples' jobs until after dinner time, this is going to be my saving grace for our lunch and dinner tomorrow:

 Right after I wash it. 

In this sink.


Anyone want to invite Danny and I over tomorrow?

I'm kidding.


Ok, not really. 

November 12, 2010

Any chance we could switch roles for a day?

Oh wait. We're still a few decades away from that.



Creative Romanticism

My favorite dessert - toasted waffle with frozen yogurt (well this was sherbet) on top.

A love note.


Love it.


November 11, 2010

Amazon Boycott - Update

We won! 

Thank you for your support!!! The book has been removed from Amazon's website!  Click here to read the New York Times article detailing the how and when

I have been praying about this issue all day yesterday and through the night and I want to thank all you who have been praying also.  I think action is important, but action not backed by prayer is futile. 

If you have not the slightest idea of what I'm talking about, just read my post from yesterday to get all the skinny on why I was about to flood my friends and family's inboxes with a copy of yesterday's post.  I won't do that (you're welcome) since the issue is now moot.

I do want to say, though, that it'll be a long time before I consider purchasing anything from Amazon or their owned companies.  I'm glad they took the book off, but in my opinion, it never should have been on there in the first place and the fact that it was is reason enough to boycott their online stores for a good long time.  I don't want to support a company that only shows integrity when they are demanded to.  Which, ahem, really isn't integrity anyway. 

I am asking you all to join me in this.  Let's send a message loud and clear that companies that support this kind of material are not welcome on our market.  No Amazon for Christmas. 

Ok, I'll get off my soapbox now. 


November 10, 2010

Boycott Amazon

I'm not involved in the political scene hardly at all.  I barely know what's going on in the world, because we choose not to pay for tv in our home.  We live in a hole and we like it that way.  I search the internet for how to vote and when something disastrous or globally impacting is happening in the world, we find out through radio or word-of-mouth.  I'm pretty vocal about my stance on issues here on this blog - well, if I get around to taking the time to write about it.  But I am not one to forward emails. 

When this blog post hits my inbox, I'm going to forward it to everyone in my email contacts list.  Every single one. 

Today I read on my friend's blog, about an issue that cannot be ignored and that my friends and family are about to get really annoyed with me about because I will simply not shut up about this one. 

Sarah wrote: 

Did y'all know that you can self-publish on Kindle? I think that's pretty cool, and I might have considered that option for my book if it weren't for one very specific book they are carrying at the moment.

The Pedophile's Guide to Love and Pleasure

Unfortunately, this isn't a joke. At the moment, would rather be associated with rape than with censorship. With the holidays coming up, I think those coveted Christmas dollars could change their minds.

If you are on board with boycotting anything associated with until this book is removed from the Kindle store, please help me spread the word!

Click here for more information.
Both Sarah and I have seen the book's sales page with our own eyes, but chose not to include a direct link in our posts. Click here to learn what companies are owned by Amazon.  I am committed not to spend a single penny of my money with Amazon or any of their owned companies until this book is removed from the Kindle store.  This is not going to be easy, but I won't support a company that puts our children in danger.  And that's exactly what making this book available is doing.  Make no mistake about it. 

Would you consider joining me?   Tweet and post on Facebook.  Subscribe to my blog via email and forward this post to everyone you know.  If you subscribe after 10pm tonight and would like this post sent to your email so you can share it with your friends, let me know in the comments section and I'll send it to you directly. 

Please also join me in prayer that the message would get through to Amazon loud and clear and fast. 

Thank you in advance,

November 9, 2010

On my mind tonight...

Snow!  Tonight it snowed here for the first time this year!

Snow tires that must be bought.

Bible study.  We're learning a lot.

Our businesses.  Wow, we're learning A LOT.  Alejandro sent me this picture text the other night while we were both working.  I was doing facials.  He was pricing materials racing through the aisles of Home Depot. 

Alejandro's cousin and his new bride: 

The car seat that was handed down to us from a great friend whose kids no longer need it.  What a gift!  No more moving carseats back and forth between two cars.  Hooray!

My team.  They are so courageous!  They take big and little steps to move out of mediocrity and live their lives big.  Please pray God will weave courage into their character more with each day. 

The schedule.  I'm so thankful for the ability to shape it and change it.  Oh!  I almost forgot something on my schedule!  Phew, I'm glad I remembered. 

Danny.  I love how he cuddles and holds on while we move him from the car to the bed after bedtime. 

The grocery list.  Tomorrow is grocery day.  We shop for groceries two weeks at a time.  So that means I better go do it. 

November 7, 2010

November 5, 2010

stream of consciousness

tired.  i'm quite tired. 

there are many days and weeks that i feel energetic, positive, upbeat, and able to tackle the world.  tonight is not one of them.  usually anytime i'm on my period, it's not one of them.  tonight, i feel just plain worn out.  and frumpy.  i feel pretty frumpy.  of course, my hair pulled back in a pony tail, the sweats that probably need to be washed and the t-shirt splattered with orange juice that i'm wearing are not helping the matter.  oh and the pile of laundry in the bedroom that has been murmuring my name all day are also not helping.

the good thing is that i'm tired because both of our schedules are so full up with work that we hardly have time to do say hello before falling into bed next to each other.  it's not a schedule we're going to be able to keep up for long.  please pray that god teaches us how to keep all things within their boundaries.  we're learning slowly. 

we did connect long enough last night to be able to figure out our holiday plans!  i'm extremely excited about what we have in store!  we picked a few holiday events that we've enjoyed in the recent years and decided which ones we really want to make a tradition.  even though danny was with us for his first christmas last year, it seems like this year is his real first, because he's so much more able to enjoy it and understand it. 

i absolutely love this time of year.  i love decadent hot and chocolaty drinks that come with the season.  i love that we go hunt and cut down our own christmas tree every year in the mountainous forests of colorado.  (it's kind of hard to do that in california and costa rica.)  i am excited to put lights on our house.  scratch that.  i'm excited to enjoy having lights on our house this year.  i will most likely not be the one putting them up, thankyouverymuchalejandro.  i am looking forward to christmas music. 

yes, i know it's not even thanksgiving yet.  hush.

i'm looking forward to christmas pajamas and a tree that has to somehow be toddler proof and dog proof and which will smell like pine and drop needles on the floor for a month. oh and there's christmas eve service and so much more. 

ok, i'll stop, because i've surely lost all but my few true friends who are as nut-so over christmas as i am.  they're still reading and getting as excited as i am. 

anyway, it's going to be a fun season.  i'm also looking forward to not traveling much this season.  with family far away, we've traditionally been the ones who travel.  i'm looking forward to a break from that.

i did say i was going to move on to another subject, didn't it?  oops.

danny is doing all kinds of new things now!  i just can't keep up.  well, i can't keep you guys up.  i'm formulating in my mind a 16 month post, but there's a lot of video involved, which always multiplies the time it takes to post it, so hopefully i'll get it posted by the time he's 17 months old.  ha! 

i'm tempted to tell you all of the things...  but i'll resist the temptation and make you all wait.  i know.  i'm so mean. 

we are taking a bible study class at our church which will end this month.  that will free up a night of the week.  anyone have any ideas what we should do with it?  i'm stuck between filling it with serving, another bible study, designating it as a non-working, non-commitment night, or maybe just a night where we can go back to giving each other a night off.  remember when we used to do that?  no cooking, no working, no responsibilities?  it was nice.  then financial crisis hit and well, we haven't done that in too long.  we could also add a night of work.  or we could designate it a cleaning day - because our house could definitely use it.  maybe a movie night. what do you all think we should do with that night? 

speaking of movie nights, we have one waiting downstairs, so i'd better get goin'. 

sweet dreams, everyone!

Bed Head Anyone?

November 4, 2010

Play Date

Workin' hard.

Playin' hard.

Sleepin' hard.

Now that's how it's done.


November 1, 2010

And now, the hard part.

Today I apologized to Danilo for the first time.  I don't mean "Oops!  Sorry, Danny, I didn't mean to bonk your arm.  I'm sorry."  I mean, really admit wrong and ask for forgiveness kind of apologize. 

He's not oblivious anymore to what goes on around him.  He's no longer an infant, naive to the evils of the world (although I do think infants have a sensitivity to when something is wrong with their parents).  Now he imitates.  He senses feelings.  And to an certain extent he understands. 

Alejandro and I got into an argument last night (I know. Shocker. We argue just like every other couple.) so we all kind of woke up on the wrong side of the bed, Danny included.  Even though he was asleep during the whole thing, maybe he heard part of it or maybe he just knew something was wrong by our demeanor this morning.  In any case, he was cranky and fussy and throwing things (his M.O. these days when he's upset). 

God was speaking to me all night and over breakfast, after the third time Danny had thrown something, He graciously gave me the words to say to my upset 16-month-old. 

"Honey, Mama and Papa used ugly words and actions last night and we were very wrong.  Mama needs to say sorry to you right now.  I used hurtful actions and words and I need to ask you to forgive me.  And even though you and I feel pretty icky inside this morning, we both need to be very careful to use kind words and actions now." 

Tears came.

"Will you forgive me, honey?  I'm so so sorry."  Then I bowed my head, and even though I'd already done so in my mind, I showed my son how to pray a prayer of repentance. 

"God, I used unkind words and actions last night and I'm so sorry.  Please forgive me.  Show me how to be a good mommy.   Help Danny and me to use kind words and actions this morning even though we feel icky inside.  Help me to still know when Danny needs grace today and when he needs discipline.  Jesus, I'm so sorry." 

Simple words and child-like faith have a way of cutting to the heart of the matter sometimes.  I don't think I've felt that vulnerable before my God since the first time I came to the cross.  I may have been modeling faith and repentance for my son, but I was the one being schooled this morning. 

"Jesus, I'm so so sorry." 

Then I lifted my head, and with great effort, as he still looked at me, I took a deep breath and dried my tears.  I put on a smile, and let the issue be over.  I'd received forgiveness.  We'd started fresh.  I'd laid it all at the cross and I needed to show my son that when it's over, it's over. 

I smiled and said, "Thank you Jesus for your forgiveness!" 

And then we continued with breakfast. 

Those simple actions taught me a great lesson.  Sometimes we have already received forgiveness but we're still dragging the issue around in our back pocket.  I'm amazed at the grace of God and how Danny's and my morning instantly turned around.  He stopped throwing things and has been listening and obeying better today than ever. 

There is nothing more humbling than being shown all of my faults through my son's eyes.  What a gift to be able to see things as he understands them; so simply.  I know that, try as I might not to, I will mess up many more times, and how freeing it is to know that I don't have to be perfect in front of my son and that my willingness to be vulnerable and repentant will mold his little heart to seek Jesus honestly when he is wrong.  In my weakness, there is victory.  In Christ, I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.  Even parent my little one.

Thank you Jesus for your strength this morning.