Wednesday, December 28, 2011


This Christmas was a wonderful time full of our new family traditions, fun with friends and enjoying simplicity.

From our family to yours, Happy Holidays!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Do I still Blog?

I am asking myself this question and I don't know what the answer is! Things continue to happen in our life, but as they are happening, it sucks time to actually document them. These days are very busy!

I am treading water with many joys along the way. Still finding that sweet spot of balance and infrequently achieving it.

Some main points for us. Emmanuel now has a full time job at American Greetings. Olivia is so close to 2 years old that the temper tantrums decided to just go ahead and say hello. I am still working at GOJO and learning every day that my job does not define me or my attitude.

We just had our first ever family photo shoot so I will share some of the pictures once I get the CD. We had alot of fun and are excited to make this a regular event now!

Stay tuned, I promise not to leave blogging completely behind.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Brain Cells

World War 111 is waging for my brain I am sure of it. No, I am not wearing a tin foil hat to protect my thoughts from aliens, not eating bottles of Ginko to rejuvinate my mind. Just takinga step back and realizing that mentally, emotionally and physically it makes sense that I am no longer the sharpest tack in the box.

Not to bemoan my current state, just to acknowledge. Diagnosis of Celiac, the stress at work, stress at home blah blah blah.

I used to come to work ready to tackle the day right into the ground and not leave until I had it in a choke hold. Now, I meander to my desk and sit there waiting for the clock to say 4:50. Yeah, I don't even stay until 5.

Part of this is due to the fact that I have spent the last 4 months thinking I was losing my job. Also being told every week "I am really not sure what to do with you,what did we hire you for?" That doesn't mentally stimulate anyone to do the tackling of the day!

I also am a mom now and I have to admit that a good portion of my brain cells are permanently now devoted to her. Thinking, planning and loving her even from a distance. I can't turn it off nor would I want to.

So this week needs an evaluation. I am no longer and fearful about losing my job, they seem to have remembered why they hired me and are letting me do the things I was destined to do. So now it is up to me to get my butt in gear and produce something worthwhile. Time to rev up all the bits of my knowledge and muster up what I used to have, initiation, ambition and drive.

Hello brain cells, I am coming for you.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Plans...what plans?

This is what God looked down on my week and said. "You think you have plans...but I have THE plan." His is always perfect....His is always on time.

Nothing I thought would happen this week happened. But the positive side is that at the end, my family was healthy and happy and we got some quality moments in. Moments that are captured below.

Even my flower felt a little sad that our plans were ruined.

Nothing like some good toddler kisses to cheer you up!

Love this man....he puts a smile on my face.

Great visit with Dad and Imma.

Celebrating 5 years together with a waterfall and some breakfast. Can't wait to see what the next 5 will bring.

Friday, July 1, 2011

5 Years

Let the party begin! We have a week vacation full of family, fun and travel. Pictures and details are promised.

So excited to be celebrating 5 years of wedded bliss.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Building Blocks

I can chalk it up to the fact that I have a toddler, but when I envision my upcoming 20 minute presentation to a group of ladies, I see building blocks.

Every time I start my presentation in my head there they are. My stories center around the blocks, I see the blocks tumbling down and building back up.

I start on the PPT presentation this week and am excited to see how it materializes. This is usually how I work. Some image forms in my mind and grows into an idea, then the idea turns into a speech, paper or presentation.

I am getting excited!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Getting the Best of Me

I am turning out to be a horrible sick person. Emmanuel came home to me crying my eyeballs out Tuesday night. I had cooked a beautiful dinner of fresh Salmon with tomato/cilantro pesto baked in. One of my favorite meals.

However- come to find out, the hard way, it was infused with gluten. Yep, you heard me right...they use gluten in the coloring and add coloring to make the salmon pink. SO FRUSTRATING.

Well, while I was doubled over like someone had kicked me in the gut, I indulged in a torrent of tears. I let all the frustration out with salt water. Kind of felt good to cry over it....

After that when the shakes started I just sniffled under my blanket and thanked God. It could be worse. It could be better, I did remind Him, but it could also be worse.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Ohio DL

Sigh....double sigh....sigh, gasp, sigh again.

I had to relinquish my California drivers license today. It isn't that I hate Ohio, please don't' get me wrong. I just liked California better in some ways! It is like the damp,wet snow penetrated my bones this morning when they handed me my new pink OH DL.

I am officially...cold.

I missed 2 questions on my driving test. Something about bicycle rules and I choose a lower blood alcohol percentage than the legal limit. Moral of the story- I never drink and drive and what are bicycle rules doing on an automobile test anyway? Haha...

So at least now I am legal and my picture turned out pretty good!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Protein Bars and Shakes

So the good news is that I am beginning to be quite healthy!!! Less pain, less hours spent in the bathroom, more energy, more smiles. As it turns out though, when one is not constantly sick, one starts to actually gain weight. Haha...A nice and welcome problem to have I assure you. NOT that I had gotten to be skin and bones, but there were quite a few consecutive months where I did not have to watch what I was eating.

Well I think those days are past. I am determined to lose 8 pounds. So I found some wonderful GF protein powder and bars on Amazon, subscribed to a monthly delivery and hopefully am on my way!

In relation to this topic, we received news that Olivia is currently negative for Celiac disease. I cried when I got the call. Such an answer to prayer. We will have to repeat this test once every year or two or if she becomes symptomatic, but for now she is able to eat whatever her little heart desires.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Stress = Mac Truck

My Grandma Wise always prefaces certain statements with "If I get hit by a Mac truck tomorrow". I make the same statement at work sometimes if I am showing one of my employees a process or workflow that only I know. It is a horrible way of parting knowledge to someone. A graphic image of a messy and untimely death.

This phrase also comes into my conversation if I wake up feeling not particulary well. My college friend Nadia used to tell me that she felt bad for whoever married me because I always wake up looking horribly hungover. It is true= thankfully Emmanuel doesn't care that the "mac truck" hits his wife every night and he does not wake up to a wonderful sleeping beauty.

This week however I am using this imagery in a different sense. My stress level is so unbelievably high, I feel that Mac Truck on all levels. Emotionally, physically and mentally (spiritually has not been affected). Watching my darling little one suffer through her week is one of the top worst experiences. It has taken it's toll.

If you think of my little family, say a prayer that all versions of that darn Mac Truck will stay away. We need a little peace and quiet over here.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Family, School, Work and Play

If the above sounds like a priority list, it is not. It is the top level outline of my coming week.

Family = We are SO very excited to get a visit this week from Marie, Jean and Fabrice. Emmanuel's sister, brother in law and nephew. They have come all the way from Burkina Faso and are spending three weeks in the states. We get to host them the last leg of their visit before they fly out of Cleveland. I can't wait for Olivia to spend some time with the Agbovi side of the family.

School = Tomorrow starts Olivia's first full week of daycare or as Mommy prefers to call it, "school". My heart is kind of breaking thinking of the adjustment we are all going to have. I am praying that after a few days she settles in and comes to like it. I am praying she likes her teachers, we all know how picky she is when it comes to people outside her little network.

Work- This topic is multi faceted. Emmanuel starts his new job on Monday which we are very excited about !!! We are praying this turns into a full time position for him and the tables are turned in our family. I go back on Monday to still more uncertainty and stress but for now enjoying the fact that we will have two incomes. For how long who knows. :)

Play = Olivia and I enjoyed a wonderful weekend home alone. We have no pictures because Emmanuel took the camera with him to his nephews graudation in Kentucky. Olivia and I cleaned the entire house, went to the Cleveland Zoo Rainforest, visited the mall, had a playdate with the neighbor boy. Last night after she went to bed my good friend and mother of three boys came over. We made tiramisu and enjoyed an evening together. We try to play as hard as we work around here!!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Cards and Purell

If you currently buy Hallmark cards....stop, cease and desist!! The Agbovi family would like to strongly encourage you to purchase American Greetings, then Purell your hands, then buy more American Greetings. In doing so you will contribute to our employment.
That's right...both of our employment! Emmanuel has a contract at American Greetings and starts on May 16th. We are so excited for answered prayer in our life.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Happy Thoughts

I love the idea embedded in the Peter Pan story that in order to fly one either required fairy dust or happy thoughts. Since I have not come in contact with any glittery powder floating from the sky...I keep telling myself there is only one other option. Today I am choosing that option!!

I am having happy thoughts of my darling little princess, my handsome husband, our snug little home and all of God's provision for my life.

What happy thoughts are you having today?

Monday, April 11, 2011

21 days of victory!

Have you recently conquered a huge fear in your life that you can barely take any credit for? I have!!! 21 days ago I was a crying, blubbering baby. Scared to conquer an area in my life that God was asking for, pressing for and then scolding for.

Through the help of my darling husband, his prayer partners,my mentor and I am sure some unknown warriors, I conquered my fear and God worked a mighty work in my heart.

I am somewhat embarrassed to admit the area, yet aren't all weaknesses embarrassing until God claims victory over them? For me it was my quiet time with God. I had alot of fears surrounding spiritual disciplines that stem from my past. But God is always bigger than our past. He is our ever present help in trouble!

21 days of consecutive quiet time and yesterday I started a 52 week Bible reading with Emmanuel. I am looking forward to what God is going to do in the future.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Remember to say Thank You

I remember as a little girl studying the story of the Ten Lepers in Sunday School. How Jesus sent 10 away to the priests to be healed, but only one returned to say thank you. It amazed me as a little girl and amazes me still that something as physically and culturally devastating as leprosy would not jog your mind to thank the person who healed you?

Although this parable (copied below in case you forget the story) was specifically dealing with us thanking God for the things He does in our life, I try to put this into practice as much as possible in my earthly relationships. Not to puff myself up, but I have a beautiful little story to tell.

We have a maintenance guy here at my work who manages our main kitchen/eating area. He does ALOT of stuff for us. Stocks all our free food, stocks our vending machines, keeps our free drink machine working, makes gallons of coffee for us and pops popcorn every Tuesday/Thursday. Not to mention he is our GOTO person if we need any beverages for seminars or meetings.

That is where my interaction with him comes in. I stop and chat with him from time to time. (Him being Gary who is in his early 60s). Over Christmas I brought him in some cookies and just thanked him for all that he does. Last week I needed some beverages for 30 people we were hosting for lunch. He helped me get it all packed up and ready for my meeting. I brought him more cookies.

Today he asked me if I had 5 minutes. He told me that I had been so kind to him that he wanted to repay me. I said "Gary, you don't have to thank me for thanking you. You do so much around here and I wanted you to know that I notice and appreciate it."

So he sat me down at one of the lunch tables. He brought out a box, an envelope and a spray bottle of cleaning solution.

"If you can guess the suggested retail price within .50 for this cleaning solution, you can have what's in the box" he said.

Well I did....but before I could open the box he asked if I would rather exchange the box for the envelope. I could only have one prize.

I stayed with the box.
Inside the box was a $25 gift certificate to Applebees. I nearly cried! $25 for a couple plates of thank you cookies hardly seemed a fair trade. Such a sweetheart.

Being nice and saying thank you really is the correct Christian way to live our lives. Thanks to my friend and co-worker Gary, my husband and I will be having a date night tonight!

Luke 17:11-19 (New International Version, ©2011)

Jesus Heals Ten Men With Leprosy
11 Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy[a] met him. They stood at a distance 13 and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”
14 When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.

15 One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. 16 He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.

17 Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18 Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”

Precious Time

This week while waiting for the VP of International Business to enter a meeting with me, I created a matrix. It was a hand drawn time matrix of how my week goes. How many hours do I sleep, work, play, etc....

I was actually kind of shocked at what I saw and it has prompted me to make some changes, with more changes to follow. I realized that at least 50 hours a week are spent commuting to and being at work. That part doesn't bother me, it is a needed function of my time for my family.

What did bother me is the fact that during the week I only spend on average 8 hours with Princess O. If I do anything in the evening during the week it takes precious precious time away from her. If I meet a friend, stop at the grocery store, attend a meeting, it reduces those hours to such a minimal amount.

With that realization, yesterday I called in sick and spent ALL MY HOURS with my little darling. Not only did it pay off emotionally, but finally she called me Mama. :)

So if I seem to be all of a sudden stingy with my time, it is true. I am. Time is precious, my family is precious. Doesn't take a math formula, only a hand drawn scribbled matrix to realize.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Blowing Snow

This winter has found me on the road observing the snow and ice patterns frequently. When we first arrived in Ohio I had the luxury of being 1 mile away from my place of employment. Winter 2 found me 6 miles away. Winter 3 found me at home with a newborn. This winter I am 25 miles away from work so I have had alot more driving time.

You know, those people out driving on the highway with 6 inches of snow still piled on top of their car? I have noticed two things about these vehicles. Either, they create a mini blizzard for those driving behind and around them. Or- the sheet of ice accumulated on top of their car comes crashing down either onto the pavement or cars around them.

Either disposal method is quite inconvenient for the drivers around them! You really would like to roll your window down and shout something like "Get a garage!".

Last week when it was the falling sheet of ice off of a large van in front of me (which resulted in a startled jerk on the steering wheel from me.) I thought about how this translates to our life. Sometimes we are going through things that come crashing or blowing off of us. Lately I feel like when people ask me how I am doing, I pause to find something nice to say! My mind is filled with negative blowing, crashing issues, scenarios and experiences. Not to say that life is HORRIBLE right now, just a lot of struggles going on.

How much nicer would it be if those cars could park in a nice warm garage in the morning before hitting the road. Just a few minutes where the accumulation could quietly melt away. This is where I need to be. In a corner melting away my negativity. I apologize to my friends who have had a faceful of snow from me lately! Thank you for loving me anyway.

Let the melting begin.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Little tiny fingers

Little tiny fingers grasping my neck, not wanting me to leave for work this morning.
Trying to blow me kisses but knowing that means I am going bye bye.
Trying to be brave and wave through the glass.

Such a sweetheart I have.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Roller Coaster

I hate them. I hate everything about them. The seats, the feeling of falling, the motion sickness. There is nothing good that I experience from them.

And I was told this week that life is like a roller coaster. So, in light of that, I have to find the positive!

Ok positive things that happened the last few weeks (which I guess would resemble the quiet gentle climb to the top of the first roller coaster hill?)
** great marriage seminar at church
** a good week at work with a re-organization of my department looming in my favor
** watching my toddler run around the Home and Garden show, only pausing long enough to dance at the player piano

Now for the plunging, sinking, tumultuous fall after the gentle climb.
** Olivia getting the stomach flu
** The realization that marriage really is something you always have to work on
** More tests and continued illness for me
** Continuous job hunt for my Babe

So... if life is a roller coaster, I hope it is full of sparkly flashing lights. Maybe that would take my mind off of the "roller" and more on the "coast".

Friday, February 11, 2011

Celiac Disease

I promise not to make this blog all about, or even frequently about my illness. That would just make for some boring reading.

But I do want to thank all my friends and family for their support. I have gotten wonderful websites, book reviews, blogs, recipes and love as I set out on this lifetime journey. My husband brought me home two boxes of rice chex because right now that is the only thing he knows I can eat! Such a sweetie.

I have two and half weeks until all my baseline testing is done. I am praying not alot of permanent damage has been done because as I read more and more I realize I probably have had this for a while and left it undiagnosed. I know God will use it. I know it will be a wonderful journey to a much healthier me.

In the mean time, I had a muffin for breakfast and Jimmy Johns for lunch! (at the instruction of my Dr. )

Monday, February 7, 2011


Back in San Diego I participated in our Church mentoring program for women. I both had a mentor while I was there and also sat on the committee as a representative of women my age. It was a great experience.

Coming here to Ohio meant I lost my mentor. She was a wonderful woman and I really enjoyed getting to know her. We are still in touch but it is of course not the same with miles between us.

When we joined our new church in NE Ohio I registered for the mentoring program and eagerly anticipated meeting my new mentor! My friends were placed with various older women in the church as time went on. I hear their wonderful stories and tried to be patient while I waited for mine.

Several follow up e-mails and three years later, I got an e-mail today from my new mentor!!! I know God has perfect timing (not sure whey He took three years) so I am praying that this is the beginning of a wonderful relationship that will aid us both in our spiritual growth.

It could be worse

Wow- I haven't blogged in a while so hope my handful of readers haven't missed me too much.

Lots going on over here....last week was horrible for me. Lots of crying, emotions, praying and just general yuckiness.

Mostly because of two things.

A) You know how when you hold everything inside, you try to be strong, you try to smile when you don't feel like smiling and then it catches up with you. That was last week. I had an emotional explosion. Good thing that only happens like once a year...but I would be happy if it never happened again!
Moral of the story- maybe deal with issues, emotions, fears head on instead of letting them pile up.

B) I have a preliminary diagnosis of Celiac Disease. I have been super sick this last month and finally got checked out last week. I am relieved it isn't something worse, excited to start feeling better, yet a little scared to radically change my diet in the way it needs to be. Probably being sick aided in my emotional outburst this week also.

So, sorry to be a downer this morning. I am praying this week will be LOTS better than last week. :)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

It would be easier

It would be easier to look forward, and never reflect back.
It would be easier to stay in bed, and not face the day.
It would be easier to keep my mouth shut, and not let God use my words.
It would be easier to turn my mind off, and not let the Holy Spirit churn it.

It would be easier, but would it be best?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


My darling husband has been doing research to help support me on my new book adventure. He is just that kind of man.

One of the things he discovered is that "change" is the number one seller of books. I completely resonate with that. Recently I was searching new women's bible studies and that exact thought crossed my mind. If I don't think it will change me, it isn't worth me reading.

So how do I translate that into my new adventure?

A) I find a new title. (don't' worry I am not hung up on the may come to me after I get some chapters written.)

B) My story is really all about will be easy for me to write MANY chapters of how God kept me through change, taught me how to endure change, taught me how to give changes to Him.

Doesn't this stir against your woman heart? It does mine. With our base desire for security and our nature to nurture we often resist change. We want confirmation and control. We want to organize change right out of our lives, we grieve when change happens and we weren't prepared.

This concept has kept me awake or dreaming the last two nights. How I can wrap my story around this fear/need. We need to be changed yet we fear it above all else.

Mind stirring stuff.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

I missed an important date

A very important date slipped by in the hubbub of the Holidays. It was the third year anniversary of us moving to Ohio. December 22. Although it may not seem like much....Ohio is now the longest state I have ever consecutively lived in since I was like 10. Maybe younger considering that the ages of 8-10 I lived went back and forth from Illinois to Kentucky.

No wonder Ohio is starting to feel a little like home. Thank you Jesus for my home, my stability and my sense of belonging.

Today is so very welcome

January 1st holds so much for me!! I know you are probably tired of my gushing...but I must gush!

We are officially caught up on our bills after months of unemployment! How awesome is our God. I look back on my graphs for 2010 and already I have NO IDEA how we made it through this year. Such such such a God thing. We will never be the same after this year.

I have started on my new book! Aren't you excited?? I am so very excited. I have a dear friend holding me accountable to finish it this year, I have the title picked out, I have some e-mails out for research and publishing. I have e-mailed my church to see if there is a mentor who can help critique my writing for spiritual soundness. I am just thrilled to be headed down this path.

I would love to hear how you expect God to bless you this year. What are you asking Him for? What are you trusting Him for? This year is my year of Recovery and Joy! (joy translating into fun also. I need more fun in my life!)