Saturday, December 29, 2007

Fundraising Complete

I am pleased to share that Gloria and I have reached our fundraising goal for our mission trip to Guatemala. We are thankful for all our family and friends that were able to support us in this way. Please continue to pray for our team. The team will meet next month to plan.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Mission Trip to Guatemala

Gloria and I are hoping to participate in orphan ministry in Guatemala and we need your help. We feel led to join a team traveling to Guatemala City in February to share the love of Christ with children living in the San Gabriel Boys Home and the Manchen Girls Home. We will also be able to encourage and share fellowship with a church plant in Guatemala City.

Here is where you come in.

1. Prayer Support. We want to offer you the opportunity to support us and the orphans of Guatemala through prayer. Please pray that the young people in the homes we visit will be open to the gospel and that the team will be able to encourage and bring joy into the lives of these young people. Many teams have already visited these homes over the past several years, and many of these young people have become followers of Christ. Pray for these little ones as they grow in faith.

2. Financial Support. Please consider assisting us financially or through the donation of American Airlines Miles, perhaps in lieu of a Christmas gift. Your support in helping us reach out to needy children in Guatemala would mean as much to us as any gift could ever be. You can donate online using the donate button. If you would prefer to send a check, you may do so by making the check payable to Buckner International and mail it to our home.

Feel free to check out the pictures from our trip to Guatemala in 2004, and come back later for more details about our trip.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Going Deep

I normally do not write about really deep or personal things on our blog. It is more a means of keeping our friends and family updated on our not-so-exciting life. However, tonight I just felt the need to write about something deep.

Our church, Grace Point Church, is beginning an Advent series this Sunday, as are probably numerous other churches across the US. Our pastor, Brent, has asked Daniel and I to be in a video to be played on Sunday morning. The message and the video will be focused on "Hope." Not a worldly hope, but the hope that believers have because of the redeeming work of Christ Jesus.

Brent has asked me to share about two of the most difficult life experiences I have walked through. First, my father's illness and death and second, my mother's battle with breast cancer. While these two circumstances are similar, both involved cancer and both involved a parent, my life was affected differently by each. Not because my mom survived and my dad did not, not because of different relationships with each parent, but because of where I was and am in my relationship to Christ.

Brent sent a couple of questions for me to think about and to guide our conversation for the video we will be producing.
One of the questions he asks is:
How did you maintain your hope in Christ when you lost your father and cancer threatened your mother?

As I thought about the question, I came to the realization that hope looked very different to me in each circumstance.
I remember the phone call I received while a junior in college in which my mom shared with me that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer. I had accepted Christ just 5 months prior to that phone call. As I hung up the phone I remember this immense feeling of hopelessness. I cried. I was angry. I began to question how God could allow this to happen to my mom. I kept thinking... my mom is going to die. I knew Christ, but as a young believer I did not know hope. Perhaps I did know hope, but certainly not the hope I know today.

7 years later I would receive another phone call. This time the phone call was from my dad with the news that he had been diagnosed with cancer. I would soon learn that the prognosis was not good. The treatment would most likely not save his life, but prolong it for just a short time. I cried. But this time they were not tears of hopelessness, but a cry of hopefulness. I did not think ... my dad is going to die, but instead, God please heal him.

My dad was not given an earthly healing. He passed from this life a little after 7:00am on Wednesday, May 11, 2005. A few hours later a neighbor shared with me that she was certain my dad was in Heaven. She told me that just the week before she came to sit with my dad while my stepmom ran errands and she asked him if he knew Jesus as His personal Lord and Savior. She told me with a smile on her face, that he said YES! Oh, what blessed hope of knowing Christ and Christ crucified, but even better yet, the resurrected Christ.

How did I maintain my hope? Through God's grace.
I spent time in His word, I prayed, I cried. I surrounded myself with other believers and talked about the things that were going on. I leaned on the promises of God. That He would never leave me nor forsake me. That even as I walked through the valley of the shadow of death , I could fear no evil because He was with me. I clung to the promise that His Word does not return void. I envisioned the mansion prepared for my dad, if he truly believed.

How did I maintain my hope? Again, I say through God's grace.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Growing Up Fast!

Wow! Kindergarten all ready!
So grown up!

I can't believe how quickly time passes. It seems like just yesterday that my nephew was born and of course not much longer ago my niece. They are just too cute!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

One Week Ago Today

One week ago today I had already walked 20 miles, used multiple port-a-potties, drank more Gatorade than I have in 10 years, attempted to sleep in a tent while wearing multiple layers of clothing and had set out on day 2 of my 60 mile adventure. When I look back all I can say is WOW!

Last Friday morning, Daniel dropped Melissa and I off at South Fork Ranch in Parker, Texas. The temperature was a slight 34 degrees. I had goose bumps on top of my goose bumps. We dropped off our luggage and joined almost 3000 others for Opening Ceremonies. Emotions were high! Excitement, tears, laughter, anxiety they were all there. The spokeswoman for this year's events was a phenomenal speaker and she truly facilitated in preparing us for the journey we were about to embark upon.

The crowd was as diverse as a box of Crayola Crayons. Men, women, young, old, survivors, fighters, repeat walkers, first timers. But each person in that field had the same purpose. 60 miles in 3 Days in hopes of finding a cure!

Watching the Survivor Circle walk in carrying their banners, I could not help but cry. Tears of joy for these women and the many others who have overcome this terrible disease. But tears of sorrow as well, for those who have not been so lucky. I walked because I could and I can. I walked because there were others who couldn't.

I knew as I took my first steps on Friday morning that it would not be easy. Physically, I knew my feet would hurt, I knew my muscles would ache. I knew I would be cold and hot and at times truly uncomfortable. However, I also knew it would only be temporary. Emotionally, I did not know what to expect and looking back all I can say is that I rode on a roller coaster of emotions that weekend. And I am so thankful I did.

Today as I go about my daily tasks I think back on last weekend when I had no concern except for putting one foot in front of the other and accomplishing my task at hand. I remember the faces of the women I walked with who were walking because life had given them a second chance. I remember!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

These Feet Were Made For Walking

Day One

Day Two

Day Three

Need I say more!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Blisters Don't Need Chemo!

Just a quick post to announce that I successfully completed the 3 Day! I was able to walk all 60 miles! This weekend was a life changing experience and not one I will quickly forget. To walk alongside approximately 26oo men and women, all with the same purpose and goal, was amazing.

I have stories and photos to post; however, right now I am just way too emotionally and physically spent.

Thank you to all of you who supported me financially! With your generous contributions I raised $2710.00 for Breast Cancer research. If you would like to make a donation, there are still four more weeks. You can make a donation here:

Thank you to all of you who sent Daniel cards, emails and small gifts to show your support. I cannot begin to express how encouraging it was to receive "mail" at each Cheering Station. You played a major role in helping me achieve my goal.

Check back soon for photos and stories!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Why I Walk

I walk in honor of my mom as we celebrate her 10 year cancer-free anniversary. I walk in honor of Daniel's Great Aunt Frances who had breast cancer over 40 years ago. I walk in honor of the women who battle this disease every day.
These are the names of the women that I walk in honor and in memory of.

I walk so that my children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews, will never have to walk the "breast cancer " road!

My sweet friend Lindsay sent me this small silver stone. It reads "Courage." The box reads, "Feel the fear and do it anyway!"
I am reminded of the courageous women throughout the world who battle breast cancer.

Daniel and I went out to dinner at Rock Fish before heading home for a good night's rest.

Tomorrow morning I will set out on a 60 mile adventure and I am so excited! Check back for more pictures and reflections next week.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

This Post Brought To You By the Letters B and U

B is for Baylor, Bear, and Bad. U is for University, Upset, and Unbelievable. Yesterday, Daniel and I hit the road and headed down to Waco for the Baylor - Colorado Game. Much to our disappointment Baylor forgot to show up for the game, but Daniel and I still had a fun trip.
Our first stop of the day was the Bear Pit to visit the bears! Only one bear was out, but we were able to get a few good photos.

Gary Baxter was Daniel's next door neighbor while Daniel was at Baylor. Gary called Daniel and his friends the "Party Boys!"

Daniel and I during the Half Time show featuring the Golden Wave Band.

Monday, September 24, 2007

A New Lease on the Living Room

We recently ordered some new furniture, which arrived on Friday. We spent Saturday looking for stuff to go with our new couch and love seat. Our living room looks and feels very different. Feel free to stop by and check it out if you want.

Lions and Meerkats and Hyenas...Oh My!

Daniel and I went to see The Lion King this past Thursday night at the Music Hall at Fair Park. I had always heard rave reviews of this show and it definitely fulfilled my expectations. The costumes were phenomenal, the puppetry amazing, and the cast was extremely talented. I think the only thing that could have made it better was if we were in New York seeing it on Broadway.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Let's Go Swimming!

Saturday, Christi came to visit with her precious kiddos. I just love this family. I have known Christi and Ben and their children for 6 years. It is hard to believe how quickly time has gone by.

We spent Saturday afternoon hanging out by the pool chatting while the kids enjoyed the water. It was great getting to spend time with them. I took over 50 pictures of the kids swimming and playing in the pool. Here are just a few from our time together.

Just chillin'
Look out below!
Silly guy!
What a handsome little guy!
Swimming, swimming and more swimming

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Risotto with Fresh Mozzarella, Grape Tomatoes, and Basil

If you read my previous post you know I tried out a new recipe over the weekend. It was delicious! Here it is for those of you who enjoy a new recipe every now and then.

Risotto with Fresh Mozzarella, Grape Tomatoes, and Basil

4 1/2 C fat-free, less sodium chicken broth
1 T extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
2 C chopped leek (can substitute green onions)
1 1/2 C Arborio rice (risotto)
1/3 C dry white wine
1/4 C half and half
1 t salt
1/4 t freshly ground black pepper
1 C halved grape tomatoes
1/4 C chopped fresh basil
5 oz fresh mozzarella cheese, finely diced

Bring chicken broth to a simmer in a medium saucepan (do not boil)

Heat 1 T EVOO in large saucepan or skillet over medium-high heat. Add leek to pan; saute' three minutes or until tender. Add rice; cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in wine, cook 1 minute or until liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly. Stir in 1C broth; cook 5 minutes or until liquid is absorbed, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium. Add remaining broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly until each portion of broth is absorbed before adding next portion (about 25 minutes total). Stir in half and half, salt and pepper; cook two minutes. Remove from heat; stir in tomatoes, basil and cheese.

The recipe in the magazine also calls for a balsamic vinegar sauce, but I omitted this from our recipe the other night. If you choose to use it you will need 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar. Before preparing the chicken broth place the vinegar in a small saucepan; bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook until slightly syrupy and reduced to 1 tablespoon. Set aside.

Once you have stirred in the tomatoes, basil and cheese and put each portion into a bowl or plate, drizzle each serving with 1/2 teaspoon balsamic syrup and 1/2 teaspoon EVOO.

Bon Apetit!

China, Candelight and Crystal

Like most young married couples, Daniel and I had never used our china or crystal, until last night.

Yesterday after talking with my sweet friend Meredith and discussing the issue of wedding china never being used, I decided that we really did not have to have a holiday or special occasion in order to use our beautiful china and crystal. So, last night I prepared a new recipe from my Cooking Light magazine and Daniel and I had a quiet candlelit dinner using our china. It was a lot of fun and we hope to do it again soon!
Candlelit dinner for two

Risotto with Fresh Mozzarella, Grape Tomatoes, and Basil

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


Not much going on around the Cooley household except some germs.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Three Amazing Years

Yesterday was the third anniversary of our first date! We celebrated by having dinner at the restaurant where our first date took place, Humperdinks. Then we headed to the park for Symphony in the Circle. It was a great day!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

The Graduate

Watch out kindergarten, here I come! My precious niece has graduated from pre-school and will be headed to kindergarten in just a few weeks. I can hardly believe it! I just had to post this too cute picture of her in her cap and gown.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Four Things You May or May Not Know About Me

So I took my daily trip over to Amy's Blog, Cowtown Times and came across this little meme and since I have not had anything to overly exciting to post on our blog lately, I thought this would be fun.

Four Things You May or May Not Know About Me

4 jobs I have had:
1. Hostess at Ruby Tuesday's
2. Live-In Youth Care Worker at a Children's Home
3. School Bus Driver
4. High School Spanish Teacher and Soccer/Cross Country Coach

4 movies I would watch over and over:
1. Shrek
2. Anne of Green Gables
3. Shall We Dance
4. Sound of Music

4 places I have lived:
1. Hialeah, Florida
2. Tampa, Florida
3. Hawaii
4. Texas

4 TV shows that I watch:
1. Survivor
2. Amazing Race
3. Trading Spaces on TLC
4. What Not to Wear on TLC

4 places I have been:
1. Shanghai, China
2. Morocco
3. Lebanon
4. Romania

4 of my favorite restaurants:
1. Olive Garden
2. Lawry's
3. Red Lobster
4. Celebration

4 places I would rather be right now:
1. on a cruise anywhere
2. on the beach
3. Guatemala, specifically in HueHuetenango with my kiddos
4. anywhere on vacation with my husband

4 things I am looking forward to this year:
1. Christmas with my family at Disney World
2. The Breast Cancer 3-Day
3. Going to see Lion King the musical
4. My sweet friend Meredith's wedding

Well, maybe you have learned something you never knew about me and maybe you didn't, but at least now no one can complain about me not posting.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Oldies but Goodies

I was looking through iphoto today and came across these two pictures. They were taken at a wedding shower hosted by some of our wonderful friends in April of 2006. I just love these pictures! Especially, Daniel starring as the Strainer Soldier!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Cry Out To Jesus

I read a number of blogs each day. Many of them belong to people I do not know and who I may never know. Several of the people whose blogs I read are carrying heavy burdens. If you happen to read my blog, take a few minutes to jump the fence and to pray for these people.

Heather @
Nicole @
Paul @

I heard this song shortly after my dad passed away and it was such a healing balm to my soul. Perhaps you are carrying a burden that seems to heavy to bear. If so, Cry out to Jesus!

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Soul Food

This morning I met up with Ames and Mel at Mimi's Cafe for a delicious brunch and some much needed fellowship! Oh, what a sweet time we had. It has really been way too long since we have gotten together. Spending time with some long time girlfriends was good for my soul!

***Photos to come***

Monday, July 02, 2007

Good Food. Good Friends. Good Fun.

Happy, Happy Birthday Daniel! Yesterday was Daniel's birthday and so we had a great weekend celebrating his special day. Saturday night we headed to Gloria's Restaurant to enjoy some great food with some great friends. Following dinner we headed back to the Cooley Casa for some chocolate cake and vanilla ice cream...YUM! The celebration wasn't over there. Yesterday we had lunch at Pappa's Pizza with our friends Melissa and Lindsay and dinner at the Cooley's.

Pastor Brent and Dr. Beth
We love these two!

Melissa and Lindsay
We love them too!

Friday, June 29, 2007

South Padre

Gloria and I went to South Padre for four days. We had a great time while it rained, and rained, and rained at home. We spent a lot of time walking on the beach, and we got to go fishing too.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Roses, Wedding Cake, Videos Games and Hydration Packs

If you could guess what this post is about based on the title you deserve an award!

I am so in love with this man! He is my best friend and a wonderful husband!

Sunday was our first anniversary! It seems kind of weird to say that we have been married a year because it went by so fast. Being married to my best friend is the greatest. Daniel and I have so much fun together and have truly enjoyed being married. One year down and eternity to go!

It sure was a lot of fun celebrating our anniversary. We went to church that morning and then headed to lunch with the in-laws at Celebration. This is the same restaurant where we held our rehearsal dinner. What a fitting place to have lunch! After lunch we headed home to exchange gifts. Daniel had given me a dozen roses on Saturday and on Sunday he gave me a CamelBack Hydration Pack. Doesn't that sound romantic? It is actually something that I wanted and will use as I train for the 3Day. Daniel was the lucky recipient of a new video game, a coffee grinder, some Starbucks coffee and a Starbucks giftcard.

Later that evening we watched our wedding video and relived our wedding day. It was so sweet and made both of us a little emotional. Our wedding day was truly the best day of my life so far! It was my very own fairy tale wedding.

We then ate some of our wedding cake that had been in Daniel's parent's freezer. I told them we would pay them rent for housing the top of our wedding cake for a year. I am sure they were happy to get rid of that thing! By the way, who came up with that tradition?
Even after spending a year in the freezer our wedding cake still tasted pretty good!

One of the neatest gifts we received for our wedding was a blessing cup and a book of blessings. The book contains prayer-rituals for families and groups and has a prayer or blessing for various holidays and special events. Daniel and I have begun the tradition of using our blessing cup to honor and to celebrate significant events. For our anniversary we shared the blessing cup with one another.
I am looking forward to many more anniversary celebrations with the love of my life! Daniel, you are such a blessing and I love you so very much!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

60 Miles....Am I Crazy or What?

In October I will be participating in the Breast Cancer 3-Day. I will walk 60 miles over the course of 3 days. I will spend two nights sleeping in a pop-up tent, have the wonderful opportunity of using port-a-potties and a shower truck. Doesn't that sound like a ton of super-dee-duper fun? I know it will be! For a couple of years now I have wanted to be a part of this exciting event, but always found a reason not to participate. This year, I made no excuses and registered.

Why am I walking?

I am walking because my family has walked down the "breast cancer" road. Ten years ago my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. Until that time breast cancer was something that happened to other people. But in the blink of an eye it became a reality for my mom and for me. My mom underwent a single mastectomy and tram-flap reconstruction. Thankfully the surgery was successful and we just celebrated her 10 year anniversary of being cancer free on April 1st. For that reason I will walk. I am also walking for the number of women who I do not know who daily face the challenges of this disease called cancer. I am walking for my niece, my future children and grandchildren, so that they may never have to worry about breast cancer. I am walking for a cure.

Training has been hard and there are days when the last think I want to do when I come home is walk. But I walk anyway.

You can read more about the 3 Day at and if you would like to support me in this adventure you may make a donation at

Gotta keep walking!

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Horses, Screaming Frogs and More

Last weekend Daniel and I headed to Pilot Point to visit with his Aunt Bonnie and Bill. They have a great house on 22 acres. We had such a fun time. Daniel picked me up from work on Friday afternoon and we headed out. When we arrived in Pilot Point, Bonnie and Bill were in the kitchen cooking a fabulous dinner. We had Copper River Salmon, a yummy salad, squash, and some great bread. After dinner we headed outside to sit on the back porch with some herb tea to watch the sun set and to enjoy the beautiful scenery. It was so peaceful. The cows from across the way were lowing, the frogs were singing, the wind was blowing. Sheer beauty! As we went to bed that night there was a huge thunderstorm and we fell asleep with the deep thunder and flashes of lightening.

The next day we walked around the property. One of the funniest things that happened was sneaking up on the frogs at the pond and hearing them scream right before they jumped in the water. It was greatness! I had never heard a frog scream and didn't really believe that they did it until I heard it with my own ears. We played with the horses and just had a great time visiting with Bonnie and Bill. We drove into the town square to have lunch at a wonderful whole in the wall Mexican restaurant. After lunch we headed back to the property where we drove the tractor and played with the horses a little more. It was such a good weekend and Daniel and I had a fun time getting away from the city and spending time with family.

Cody enjoying a mid-morning snack
Selano and "Lil' Bit."
The baby has actually not yet been named. He was six weeks old when we went out there and so cute. He was at the stage where he was exploring everything with his mouth.

Cody decided he needed to take a walk with me.

Cody is an extrovert if you can't tell. He always has to be a part of the action.

Home of the Screaming Frogs
Lil' Bit's Momma, Bandit

God's beautiful creation

Wild grapes

Bo-Bo and Bubbles, the fattest donkeys I have ever seen!

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Does this remind you of your childhood?

Just a note.....Daniel did not post this....I was too lazy to sign in and he emphatically stated that he was NOT the one to post this clip!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Free At Last!

Well, I knew this day would come eventually, but it is still hard to believe that it is already come and gone. Two Saturdays ago I graduated from Dallas Seminary with a Master's degree; however, I am still uncertain as to what exactly I have mastered. Nevertheless, I am happy to have completed my course of study (I think my wife is even happier than I am).

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Missing Guatemala and My Dad

One of the many beautiful places in Guatemala. This is on a mountain overlooking Antigua.

The summer of 2004 was such a significant time in my life. It was the beginning of one the most difficult times in my life as well as the beginning of one of the most special times in my life. My dad was battling terminal cancer while I was serving with Buckner Orphan Care International in Guatemala. While my dad fought the cancer that would eventually take his life, I spent my days loving on some very precious children who did not know what it meant to have a father or mother who loved them. I held little Jacob (Hacobo) who did not have a name until I gave him one. I played with Roxana as she ran around the orphanage with her beautiful smile and enthusiasm. And back home my dad fought. He fought hard! In fact, he fought hard right up until the very end. My dad went to be with the Lord on May 11, 2005. Some days it seems like it was just yesterday that he and I were talking about fishing and John Wayne and other days it seems as though he has been gone for so long. I remember traveling to see my dad soon after my return from Guatemala. He had lost all of his hair due to radiation and chemotherapy. He seemed so thin, so fragile. He had to use a walker in order to get around and needed help getting up and down from a chair. But despite all of that he still listened intently as I shared with him about my precious little ones in Guatemala. Sweet Checha, who called me his mom. Catherine the little girl with the cleft palate. I am so thankful I was able to share my summer with my dad through photos and stories. You see, I wasn't sure I would get to see my dad again when I left for Guatemala. But the Lord is good. He sustained my dad while I was away and He sustained me. This week marks the two year anniversary of my dad's passing and almost the three year mark of when I left for the beautiful country of Guatemala. I miss Guatemala. I miss my dad.

Checha taking a little nap.
This little boy brought so much joy to me and others!

Hacobo just after having his head shaved to help prevent lice.
He was approximately 6-8wks old when I met him. I would spend hours holding him and caring for him. I would have adopted him on the spot if I could have.

Roxana! Doesn't she have the cutest smile? It's contagious!

Unfortunately I do not have a picture of my dad available to post. I will have to scan one and then add it here!

Friday, May 04, 2007

Ekklesia Weekend

This weekend Daniel and I are teaching a class on Community at our church! We are both excited about this opportunity. Here is the cool art work our pastor and friend, Brent, created for the class. Please be praying for us and for those who will attend.

Led by Ethos partners Daniel and Gloria Cooley, this weekend will explore the essential role of community in the life of the Christian. We will unpack themes in Scripture concerning the nature and purpose of community as it relates to God, His people, and ultimately our own lives. In a world that prizes individualism, the Church desperately needs to proclaim community as a value to be nurtured not simply a spiritual commodity available for purchase.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

The Man I Fell In Love With

Since we no longer have a digital camera, I decided I would go back and post some older photos. This is one of my favorite is of the man I fell in love with! Watching him with Marina at the orphanage melted my heart! He is an awesome man of God and the best husband I could ever ask for!