Monthly Archives: January 2012

My Mom :-)


And not but five days behind my Dad comes my amazing Mom – who also turns the big 6-0 this year with a daughter turning 3-0 just a few months behind her! 


What a blessing my Mother has been in my life.  I never realized my mom was so amazing until I started comparing – let me explain: in my little world, it just seemed obvious that a Mom would do what my Mom did.  Unfortunately for many others, that is just not so.  My mom is so supportive – even with the phone call from her 11th grade daughter letting her know she was never going to play basketball again, her response was, ‘Karolyn, that’s fine.  Just come home.’  I know many parents that would’ve redirected or told me to suck it up or talk about how ungrateful I was that I’d been given the entire summer to play and now I just wanted to throw it away.  But she didn’t.  I’m sure she knew I’d play again once the fatigue passed, but it was so reassuring knowing I didn’t have to perform to be loved.

My mom made my lunch through my junior year of high school (my senior year I didn’t eat at school, or I’m sure she would’ve made it then too) – she did my laundry up until I left for college – and she came to every event I ever participated in.  I’m talking I had to request for her to NOT attend some things.  I never realized that some Moms didn’t do this until I was in college and had several teammates and friends whose moms had NEVER shown up to sporting events.  My heart broke for them and swelled with the amount of appreciation I had for my mom being one of my #1 supporters and encouragers. 

At times, my mom would cook four different variations of a meal just to appease all of the eaters at our home (I was always doing some strange diet, my mom has salt restrictions, my sister was vegetarian for parts of middle school and high school and I’m pretty sure my dad just wanted to be fed).  Not that this caretaking of hers allowed us to be lazy, I don’t want you to think that.  We still had stuff to take care of around our house, but my mom’s heart is a servant’s heart.  She serves and serves.  She cleaned and she cooked and she cheered and she loved and she listened and she did some more and then woke up and did it all over again.  And, now, here I am raising a family of my own and I realize that magnitude of what she did.  And please note she always had a full-time job while I was growing up.  I’m trying to make it all work in our little family and it’s challenging.  It’s tough.  And I’m so thankful I have an example where I have seen it done.  And done well.

As I’ve grown up and seen my Mom for more of who she is rather than just a parent in my life, I’ve also grown a greater appreciation for her as a person.  She’s shown me it’s never to late to change, to learn, to grow, to get better.  She’s been intentional about chasing her dreams – about finishing her Master’s, moving to California, marrying Jim, etc.  She’s been intentional in improving – in having difficult conversations, in forgiving, in asking for forgiveness.  I’ve been impressed by her example.  And I love our relationship.

It was the coolest thing to get to live with my sister as an adult and have my mom within driving distance.  We had our Wednesday girls nights and plenty of get togethers in between.  It was the greatest thing to be newly married and have my mom a drive away to meet up for dinner a few times a month (also a huge part in how I even became a newlywed!).  It was the perfect situation to be new to this parenting gig and having a mom live a drive away and so willing to love and invest in Kalyb’s life.  I miss the drive.  I miss having my mom close.  But, I’m so thankful for the mom that I have.  For the example that I have.  For the life she is living.  And the love that she gives. 

Happy Birthday, my sweet Mother!  I can’t wait to celebrate with you this weekend!!!  I LOVE YOU!




1. What did you do in 2011 that you’d never done before?

Parented.  Whew – that will show you your need for Jesus!

2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I chose not to do resolutions last year and was quite satisfied and have chosen the same for this year.  I’d like to be intentional in all that I do and that about sums up my life motto for this season – so, it’s not really a resolution but a lifestyle I’m trying to incorporate.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

My cousin, Heather in early December to another little boy, Felix!  And, since I’m waiting so late to write this and it’s not just a 2011 update, my sister-in-law, Nichole had a little boy on January 4th, Anthony.  So many boys in this family!!

4. Did anyone close to you die?

My Grandpa passed away in March after a few weeks of illness.  So thankful that he didn’t suffer for long.  So thankful that I got to see him before he went.  So thankful for family that got to get together and celebrate his life twice.  And, most importantly, so thankful for the example he set.
5. What countries did you visit?

Good old US of A.  I believe we went to Mexico a few times for dental work for the Hubs, and that’s about it!  Although many Texans consider this place their own country, so we could go ahead and include Texas in that count!

6. What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011?

Stability in where we live which shouldn’t be a problem – we don’t see any moves in 2012.  Well, perhaps LATE 2012 but it’d be within our complex, so that’s not quite a daunting.

7. What dates from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

March 3rd – the day my amazing Grandpa passed away.  July 17th – the day we began our trek eastward.  November 19th – the day I left to go pick up Kalyb in Germany.

8. What was your biggest achievement for the year?

Not too many achievements in 2011 – I was awarded ‘Support Teacher of the Year’ from King Chavez before I left which was really special.  And I think an achievement is becoming a better wife and (step) mother.  Also really thankful that I secured a job in Texas – one that I LOVE!  That’s an achievement, this day in age.

9. What was your biggest failure?

This gentle, encouraging, supportive wife thing is challenging for me – but so thankful that it draws me closer to Jesus and that I married a man so patient, forgiving, and loving with me.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Is homesickness an illness?  Sure missed my west coast family and friends a lot.  Still do.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

Hmm…we’re trying to turn away from buying too much (thanks, Jesus courtesy of promptings by Dave Ramsey) – but I really like the things that my mom helped me buy to make our bathroom complete.  That and a $10 TV antennae – who knew I would miss a functioning TV that much?
12. Where did most of your money go?

Debt, debt and more debt.  Discouraging at times – but so encouraging that we see the light at the end of the tunnel!

13. What did you get really excited about?

Getting out of debt!  Coaching volleyball and basketball – I’m constantly amazed at how intense 7th grade sports can get.  That and teaching Kalyb about Jesus – so amazing to watch his heart change!

14. What song will always remind you of 2011?

Nothing comes to mind…I prefer silence when I can get it.

15. Compared to this time last year, are you:
-Happier or sadder?

Sadder – away from family and friends, but slowly becoming happier

-Thinner or fatter?

Thinner for unbeknownst reasons.

-Richer or poorer?

Richer in love – and since we’re closer to being out of debt, richer in that sense too.

16. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Nothing comes to mind here either…I was blessed with a very fulfilling 2011.

17. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Probably facebook.

18. How did you spend Christmas?

Two weeks of celebrating with all families: we started with just the three of us, went to AZ for time with Mom & Jim, Becca, and Dad and then we spent actual Christmas in Amarillo with Nichole & family and Lynn & Rudy before having a late Christmas with Randy & Mari.  We are blessed beyond measure.

19. What was your favorite TV program?

We’re gluttons for Grey’s.  That’s about all we watch really.

20. What were your favorite books of the year?

Kisses from Katie by Katie Davis, the new Nicholas Sparks one, Feathers from my Nest by Beth Moore.

21. What was your favorite music this year?

I always enjoy David Crowder and Jeremy Camp.

22. What were your favorite films of the year?

Surprisingly – Warrior.  I’m not a huge movie fan and that’s about all I can remember right now.  But, really, it was that good.  Go see it.

23. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 29 (which for those of you mathmeticians out there, means I’ll be 30 in a few weeks) – my Mom and Jim took us up to LA for Broadway’s Beauty and the Beast, Josiah took me out to Sushi, and we had a fun party at our house to wrap things up that weekend.  So fun J

24. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Being with Jesus.

25. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2011?

Hmm…I wouldn’t say I have much of a concept of fashion.  Comfortable.  And sometimes cute when I have the time.

26. What kept you sane?

JESUS!  The prayers of the righteous.  A husband who laughs with me.

27. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2011.

It’s important to be secure in your convictions with Biblical support because there are many people even in the body who have differing opinions.  And although it can be challenging, we are called to help create unity whenver we can – using God’s Word as our Source.

Happy Birthday, Pops!


My dad is 60 today.  He’s completed 60 years on this planet!  And he is about to have a daughter who has completed 30.  If 60 doesn’t make you feel old, having a daughter who’s 30 just might.

Every year near my parents’ birthdays I think of how I need to write a blog to commemorate them.  And then I forget until about 3 days past…and at that point, it’s almost my Mom’s birthday and then I’m two blogs behind and then the motivation passes because being that pressure to perform can be overwhelming.  So I started early this time.  Plus, 60 is a pretty big deal.

I love my Dad.  My Pops.  Grandpa Tom – or Grandpa Thomas, as Kalyb is now calling him.  I’ve received many compliments on our relationship and many friends have wanted to trade dads for a day.  He is someone to be reckoned with.  To start off with, my Dad is hilarious.  Hil-ar-i-ous, I tell you.  When he’s in the right mood, that man can captivate an entire audience.  I remember once sitting out on our porch in Arizona and he amused a friend and I with a laser light for a solid 30 minutes.  He just has that ability.  On a picture I found of my dad from when he was about 9, my Gramma had written on the back of it, ‘Tommy.  He doesn’t say much, but when he does talk he sure has something to say!’.  At first, I didn’t agree with that.  I feel like my dad is very social and outgoing.  He can be.  But he is also an observer.  He can sit.  I love that about him.  He’s fine just to be.  I like to go, go, go so spending a weekend with him is like a vacation in and of itself because of his ability to make time to sit.  To sit and read the newspaper.  To sit and read a book.  To sit and watch a show.  To sit in the quiet.  He says on some weekends, he’ll sit at home and realize he hasn’t spoken all weekend so will just say, ‘hello’ aloud to hear himself.  Funny, that guy.

On January 28th, my dad will have been sober for 24 years.  Although I didn’t know what it meant at the time, I still vividly remember my dad pouring alcohol down the sink when I was 5 years old.  He never looked back.  Not to say he didn’t want to or didn’t struggle, that I don’t know.  But what I do know is I am so thankful for a sober Dad in my life to raise me.  I see the effects of what could’ve been in other people’s lives with parents who weren’t sober and I am so grateful.  Because of this my dad was one of my top fans throughout my entire basketball career (my mom and Grandpa being tied for this position as well).  My dad was home for dinner with the family almost nightly as I grew up.  He traveled to visit me in college, to support me in my games and he sent me the biggest card in the world when I was chosen to be a co-captain on my basketball team.

My dad might not be one for overtly sharing words of affirmation with me all of the time – in fact, not much that I can even remember – yet I have truly never doubted how proud my dad is of me.  How much he loves and supports me.  He has spoken some incredible truths into my life, without even realizing it.  I can’t tell you how often I call my dad just to ask a question – how do I do this?  Do you know how I would do that?  Did you hear about so and so?  And he answers that phone.  Almost every time.  Without fail.  And, if he doesn’t, he’ll call back within 5 minutes.  He’s dependable.  He’s trustworthy.  He’s a man of character and integrity.

And, this last year he lost his own Father.  He’s barely had the time to mourn as he’s stepped up to the plate to take care of his Mom.  She lives a six hour drive away, but he is there once or twice a month just catching up on things.  He keeps track of her medicine, helps her find remotes, cancels subscriptions she’s inadvertently made, takes care of her home, listens to her, etc.  For the past ten years, he’s talked to his parents daily.  I can’t even imagine not being able to talk to my Dad, and now not only is he without his dad to talk to every day, he’s taking care of his mom every day.  He’s dependable.  He’s trustworthy.  He’s a man of character and integrity.  (Did I mention that?)

I’m blessed to have that kind of role model in my life.  A man that’s provided.  A man that’s worked hard.  A man that knows how to have fun and knows the value of rest.

I pray that he feels rested today.  That he has a peace that transcends all understanding.  That he is so consumed by the love of our God as he celebrates these 60 years.  I want so many things for my Dad.  Thank you, Dad, for all that you’ve done.  For the incredible amount of support, of love, of admiration, and of stability you’ve provided in my life!  I am one lucky daughter!  HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! I love you!

January Update


Sitting… at my desk observing my students attempt to ‘prove’ what they have learned over these past few months while preparing for our semester exams

Drinking…nothing.  And desperate for water.  Just give me water!

Wondering…how Kalyb’s day is going over at school.  Last week proved to be a challenging one and we’re just hoping for better choices.

Preparing…for life after basketball.  I bought a few scrapbooking items yesterday and am getting anxious to document the past two years of life. (has it been two years already?!)

Enjoying…listening to laughter – our home and my classrooms and the gym are full of it and it’s a beautiful thing.

Anticipating…our last few weeks of basketball games.  I get so into this coaching thing, it can almost be embarrassing as I gain my composure and realize I’ve just been jumping up and down while shouting uncontrollably.  Can’t say I don’t care.

Reading…”Untamed” – a great book on discipleship.  And “Feathers from my Nest” by Beth Moore, a lady I’d love to be when I grow up

Dreading…another morning like today – I woke up to a text from the other junior high coach that read ‘I’m running so late it’s not even funny’ before realizing that I was also running so late it wasn’t even funny.  Not a fun way to start a Monday.

Thinking…I really hope that at some season in my life I get to be a stay-at-home mommy or at least a part-time stay-at-home-mommy.  I know that’s years from now, if even at all, but I can dream.

Remembering…that I am loved.  Deeply.  By many people and by Jesus.  And that love covers a multitude of sin, thank God!

Deciding…what I want to do with my life.  Seriously. As I approach 30, I’m looking at a lot of things.

Copying…final exams

…and you??

Christmas Greed, Gratitude, and Grumblings…


The other evening, we watched Kalyb break down in tears.  However, it wasn’t the type of cry that evokes my maternal instincts to comfort and console.  I was embarrassed.  He should be embarrassed.  We’re raising him ‘better than this’, I promise!

The heartbreak had already begun when he opened his 3rd present and received pajamas.  Something he needs, mind you, as his pajamas from years past slowly creep up his lengthening legs.  But compared to the automatic nerf-gun thingamajig and the lighted, flip able remote controlled piece of glory he had already received, pajamas fell a little short in his 5 year old mind.  Before opening his final present (of his sixth Christmas celebration in addition to receiving several articles from my friends), his Grandpa even prompted him, ‘this one is clothes too.’

He eagerly tore into the wrapping paper and struggled with the tape before unveiling….pants and a shirt.  Tears welled up, the arms crossed and forced sobs erupted from his body.  We all stared in disbelief for a moment before I fully realized what was going on and immediately directed him to a back bedroom. 

As I crouched in front of him trying to explain the ungrateful attitude he was presenting and the consequences that might follow, I was humbled.  How often do I pout about the gifts the Lord has given me because they aren’t exactly what I pictured?  How many adult temper tantrums (that mask themselves in harsh words, passive aggressive actions and silence) have I thrown when what I’ve received isn’t what I feel ‘I deserve’?

Although I never said the word ‘selfish’ in this particular conversation, Kalyb adamantly claimed, ‘but I’m NOT selfish!’.  We have had many conversations of this battle we fight between flesh and spirt, so embarking on this topic of selfishness was not unheard of.  Yes, Kalyb, we are selfish.  We innately want to protect ourselves- guard our hearts from pain and disappointment (like receiving pj’s), get what causes our own self joy (like remote controlled objects and guns), and indulge in the momentary satisfactions of our own desires (such as toys, toys, and more toys!).  I agree with you, son, that many choices you make involve you denying yourself and looking out for the good of others.  But right now, in this moment, you’re choosing to act selfish.

What’s crazy is that two weeks ago, we celebrated our first Dicken family Christmas time with just the three of us.  We prayed and talked about the meaning of Christmas and what Jesus’ life came to mean to us.  Kalyb excitedly opened his stocking and was thrilled – the $1 glow-in-the-dark snowman stick and the $1 2-pack of silly putty stole the prize.  He passionately encouraged us to open our gifts as he reveled in the awesomeness of his new gifts, not realizing some of the wrapped presents lingering under the tree were also for him.  And, not knowing that five other gift-opening opportunities would follow over the next two weeks (one with my mom, Jim & Becca, one with my dad & Becca, one with Josiah’s mom, stepdad, sister & family (including gifts from his mom’s extended family), one with Josiah’s dad, stepmom and family, and one with the gifts from his mom).

We watched a greediness follow.  As he opened more, he expected more.  Once remote controlled cars, bowling sets, and walkie-talkies appeared, hugs would follow and quotes like ‘just what I always wanted’ would graciously pour from his lips.  Upon opening books and clothes, a pout would follow.

How much am I like this?  Quick to sing praises as my circumstances fit my desires.  Quick to complain as His plans don’t always strike my fancy.  I didn’t want to move to TX.  I didn’t want to leave my friends and family.  I don’t like working 12-15 hour days, 5 days a week for going on 5 months.  And at times, I’ve complained (like right now).  I’ve wondered why it isn’t what I want and, I admit, I’ve broken down into tears over it.  I’ve cried.  I’ve crossed my arms.  I’ve pouted.  And I’ve been selfish.

As Kalyb re-entered the room where he had previously melted down, he apologized.  He thanked them for the gifts he needed although he might not have wanted them.  He mistakenly apologized for being ‘unselfish’ but meant ‘selfish’.  And, his grandpa was quick to say, ‘it’s okay’.  His Grandma and I were quick to correct him – no, it’s not okay.  It’s not okay or acceptable to act like that.  It’s forgivable, yes.  Understandable, maybe.  But okay?  No, it’s not.  In our selfishness, we become blinded to God’s provision, God’s blessing, God’s plan that far outdoes our own vision and agenda.  That is not okay.

 I’ve been blessed immensely these past five months living in a state that is dear to my heart but so far from friends and family that are even dearer.  But, we’ve been blessed.  My husband becomes more amazing each day – serving, loving, growing, leading, challenging and encouraging.  Kalyb humbles us and reminds us for our dependency on Jesus as we so desire to train him in the Lord’s ways – and it’s such an encouragement to be a part of that transformation.  We were able to see everyone in our immediate families over the past few weeks.  And we’ve climbed out of so much debt by being faithful with what we’ve been given.

Lord, help me see what you give me as something I need to experience in order to know you more.  Those challenges that seem so frustrating; help me praise You.  The times where my patience is running thin; let me be filled with You.  Those times I want to cry because I’m overwhelmed and burnt out (namely days like today); let me rejoice that your joy does, in fact, come in the morning! (And particularly tomorrow because I get to sleep in an extra hour and a half.)  Time and time again!