In case you haven't noticed, my website and social media took on a whole new name! Well, it's not mine anymore, it's ours! David and I were noticing that our followers were desiring more of a couples presence. We were receiving emails that were encouraging this idea and well it just made sense to us. Without thinking too much about it the name Cactus and Curry came to me, we had a new logo designed and now we are launching what we are sure will be an encouragement and help to mixed and blended families.
Let me give you a little background about who we are and why we believe that we are being called to help in what would be considered complicated or complex families...
As you know, we are husband and wife. But we're also travelers, explorers, motivators and best friends. We love God and family over everything. And love to goof around and laugh hard. We're far from perfect but are living proof that true love does exist and that love IS thicker than blood!
Everyone said that it would never work. That's there were too many obstacles, too many differences. But they were so wrong! We've accomplished what everyone said was impossible. In our lives, some refer to as crazy, we've built an indestructible, loving, close-knit family that is a wild blend of culture, personality and fervor.
We are two people from very different worlds, literally! David (Curry) is of Indian descent and grew up in Malaysia. He is the son of a missionary family and relocated frequently throughout his childhood. Life was challenging due to the more than strict upbringing and constant changes that occurred over the years. He is no stranger to the feeling of rejection and not belonging. He settled in Germany, his mother's homeland, at the age of 17 and finished up his education in the German school system. He continued on shortly after he graduated, to fulfill his dream of becoming an Airline Pilot. On his own means, which was little to nothing, he began his adventure of testing and training and was sent over to Phoenix, Arizona where soon thereafter, met the girl of his dreams, Robin. This is where his healing began.
I, Robin (Cactus) come from the desert of Goodyear, Arizona. My childhood was more stable in the sense that I grew up in one town, in one house. However, life for me also had it's challenges. I was adopted as a baby to middle-aged parents. Even though adoption is a great thing, it can cause rejection and abandonment issues in children that often have long lasting affects. This was the case for me as I developed self-esteem problems that led into a course of bad decisions which also included bad relationships. I experienced and overcame addiction issues and divorce. And began a career in finance. It wasn't until I came face-to-face with the love of my life that I began to experience healing.
Together, we moved to Germany in 2002, home to neither, along with 2 from 3 of my daughters. It's a been a rough road to say the least, but through those hardships we created a indestructible bond of compassion, patience, gratitude, hope and most of all love, with our now five children that we share together...along with one granddaughter! God is the center of our marriage and our family. And in our house, there is no such things as step, half or adopted children. We are one family bound together by pure love!
Having said all that, I must also add that over the past six years, we have received numerous prophetic words from different people that we would one day be involved in ministering to families! Funny thing is, looking back, the people that gave us these words did not even really know us! Here's what I gathered from my journal:
In July 2010, Anthony gave a word that our family would be used to change the lives of others.
February 2011, a Co-Pastor named Michael said that we would be used to help families using the experiences of the trials we had been through.
August 2011, God TV, cameraman Devin said that this family will be used to do great things.
March 2012, Pastor from Florida, Joe said we will build a ministry based on family.
September 2013, Several Pastors at a conference said that our family would be used greatly.
So, there you have it! The purpose and reason behind our new name! We will continue to blog, coach and minister as Cactus and Curry. We want more than anything, for people to realize and KNOW that there is such a thing as true love, love is thicker than blood and that love conquers ALL! And with God, ALL things are possible!
With Love and Blessings!
If you're not already following us, feel free to do so!
And join in on our wild adventures of culture, personality and fervor!
P.S. There's some great things happening in our lives that you won't want to miss!
Just the other day, our daughter was expecting guests. It was in actuality, her 14th birthday party. It wasn't as though we hadn't planned it or knew that our house would soon be filled with 14 year old girls. But the weeks beforehand, we had so much going on with different life events and such that we hadn't cleaned up our front garden and caught up on household chores. We wanted to make our daughter happy by offering a somewhat presentable home that she would not be embarrassed of, as her group of teen bees entered into what we were certain would be a night of giggles, junk food and extreme Snapchatting!
As I straightened up the inside of the house and scurried to get the laundry taken care of, my husband David grabbed his garden gloves, rake and sack and headed to the front of the house. On his way, he caught our son Caleb that was nearby with friends and summoned him to come and join in so that the work would be finished in half the time. It isn't unusual for our kids to give us a helping hand when asked, in addition to their weekly assigned chores. But this particular request was not well-accepted by our son which was of no surprise because of the previous weeks that our entire family was busy and on the go, preventing him from hanging with his buds. Nevertheless, Caleb obeyed his dad but with tears in his eyes and obvious defiance in his face. David, in that moment, was only thinking about getting the work done fast and didn't realize the strife that his not so unusual appeal would create. It wasn't long until a quarrel broke between the two.
But instead of continuing in disagreement and allowing what seemed like a simple request to get completely out of hand, David caught a glimpse of Caleb's friends that waited patiently and respectfully on the street side for their friend to complete his task at hand and got a brilliant idea! He called the boys over and in his motivational voice filled with excitement asked the boys if they would like to earn a little money! He explained that Caleb's sister Simona was expecting guests and needed some help with pulling the weeds and raking before the guests arrived. And that because he was in a bind, time-wise, he could really use a few more hands. The boys quickly agreed to joining in to the not so glamorous activity, grabbed a pair of garden gloves, and dove in! Faster that expected, the job was done within minutes!
What could have ended up a big fight and a bad day was turned around in a way so that everyone involved benefited. David got the garden cleaned up in a hurry. What was a dirty and annoying job to Caleb became a fun team effort involving his friends. And not only did Caleb and his friends earn a bit a money, but his friends were also given the opportunity to help out their friend in need, something that is not a common practice here in Germany. Everyone was happy! The house and garden got cleaned up in no time and we were indulged with cupcakes, games, loud music and laughter throughout the evening!
I LOVE it when there is peace and harmony within the family. Parenting is not an easy job. Especially nowadays where life is so fast paced and both parents are forced to work. Not to mention the distractions with technology, cell phones and social media. Keeping a family in balance and close-knit has become a difficult task for many. Sharing ideas and daily experiences with one another as an encouragement and motivation is a small way to keep the momentum of having a strong family going!
Do you have any ideas or experiences that you would like to share about what keeps your family strong? I'd love to hear from you!
With Love and blessings!
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What a great last two weeks! If you follow us on Facebook or Instagram then you probably already figured it out that we had visitors at our German residence. After years of no visits from family, from either of our homelands, some of my family came from the states and were with us for a couple of weeks. After their special request of being able to see some of the sites, we wanted to make their trip worthwhile and packed the two weeks that they were here, full of different destinations in and around North Germany!
As we began our adventures, there were several places that we ourselves have never been to, and it dawned on us that we have been missing out on so many great places that are not so far from our home in Northern Germany! We have lived in the same city of Bremen, Germany for the last 14 years and have seen very little of Germany or even Europe for that matter!
Yes, we do travel a lot, I have to admit that. However, the places that we visit are usually our homelands of Malaysia, where David grew up and the Western part of the U.S. where I grew up. In fact, we even took up a partial residence in Arizona for a portion of the year. But there has been the occasional short trips that we have made to Spain, Holland, England and the different states of the U.S. But somehow we seemed to neglect that possibilities that are right in front of us, here in Germany and the rest of Europe!
I must confess, I do realize that I am the main cause as to why we haven't explored Europe. We've spent most of our vacation time throughout the years, traveling back to the states and to Malaysia primarily due to loneliness. It has been a rough road, living so far away from home in a country that hasn't always been so merciful on us. I have had my struggles, for many different reasons, it's true. And also for David, living in a country where he didn't grow up has also had it's challenges. However, being half German and a missionary kid gave him that edge necessary for a little more tolerance than I was able to conjure up. But after so many years of fighting to overcome the difficulties and frustration, I feel that we have come to the point in our lives, we have realized that our home is not a place, but instead, our home is our family and God! Our God, our kids, grand kids, cousins, aunts, uncles, and siblings that love us, accept us, are there for us through thick and thin, good and bad, rain or sunshine, that is home, that is happiness!
I know that Germany will not always be our “home” and possibly not even the states, as hard as that is to say.... But I do know that we have learned so much about what it means to have a FAMILY and a HOME despite and because all of the hardships that we have encountered and defeated. It's time that we start living and enjoying the opportunities right under our noses!
Here's a few great places we were able to see while our wonderful family were visiting!
There's so many more pics of our trips during the family's visit. But instead of inundating you, I tried to choose the best to give you a feel of what we were able to experience! In the end, the BEST part of our time together was just the simple fact that we were together and of course the beautiful moments that were shared!
With Love and Blessings,
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As so many of you may already know, we just celebrated the marriage of our oldest daughter, Ashley! It was an amazing day as we were bursting with joy as Ashley gave her vows of commitment, love and loyalty to her new husband! A day to remember and to celebrate the undeniable love and promise for a new life, before her family, friends and God!
This was a perfect day and I do not want to take away from that. However, I do feel compelled to share with you how my prodigal child returned. I know that so many of you have either lost a child, or are in the process of losing a child. And, I don't mean losing a child to death in a physical sense, but instead losing a child to the bondage of sex, drugs, alcohol, crime or harmful relationships. And you feel like you've lost or are hopeless. Perhaps you feel guilt for something that happened in their lives or that you pushed them away. I know these feelings because I also have been where you might be right now.
Many of us were wild, reckless and made terrible decisions. I will be the first one to admit that I was all of the above. However, when we become parents, we want things to be different for our children. We feel that because of the experiences that we have been through, especially the bad, that we can save our kids from making the same choices, the same mistakes. But for some odd reason, it seems like no matter what we say or do, they choose to turn away from all of the wisdom that we have to offer. After we pour out our hearts and give heaps of suggestions based on experience and wisdom, they turn right around and do the exact opposite of what we are telling them! And it hurts! It hurts to see them fall, it hurts to see them hurt and it hurts to see that they are following in their parents footsteps! It just hurts!
But I am here to tell you, THERE IS HOPE! There was a time when my daughter did exactly what she wanted, whether or not she deliberately did it in spite of me, and it sure did feel like it! I have to admit, I did feel as though I was to blame for her reckless choices. She was a child that experienced parents divorcing. But was also mistreated by her father when she was young. Then I drug her halfway across the world when I remarried, where she was forced into another culture and to learn a new language. But then also to build a relationship with her new step-father, which at times was also very difficult. Yes, at times I was guilt-ridden as I waited up all night for her to come home. And as I begged her to make better dating choices. But, in the middle of all of the worry and stress, I also was on my knees praying for her safety and a for God to send her a wake up call! And even though my prayers were passionate and tearful, I do admit, I felt hopeless!
If you are going through a similar situation with one of your children, I am here to assure you that your efforts are NOT in vain!
Here are 5 important actions you must take...
1. PRAY, PRAY, PRAY! And then PRAY more!
1 John 5:14 says, “This is the confidence we have in approaching God, that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.” And you must believe that the safety and salvation of your child is in God's interest.
2. TALK, TALK, TALK!
It's so important that we talk with our children. We need to have an open door policy. We need to give them the assurance that they can come to us anytime, any day and in every situation. That we are there 24/7 and will listen without judgment or anger. As hard as this is at times, and believe me, it's really hard for me, we need to give it our best. Trust is so very important.
3. DON'T PUSH so hard!
There were so many times, that I pushed really hard for my daughter to do things that I wanted her to do. Things that I felt were right and moral, such as not living with her boyfriend but instead to get married. Deep in my heart, I knew that she also felt the same way but there are different circumstances surrounding each person's situation and life. And no matter how hard we push, we can't change the things to be how we want it. They need to make their own choices and to be accountable for their choices.
4. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE! And then LOVE more and more and more!
LOVE never fails! No matter what our children have done, or are going through, or continue to make decisions we believe are wrong, we must never stop loving or give them the feeling that we've stopped loving them. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” 1 Cor. 13:4-8
5. NEVER EVER NEVER GIVE UP!
Even when you feel like giving up, throwing in the towel, DON'T! Your child needs you!
With prayer, communication, love and effort, there is hope! Our family is living proof! My wonderful beautiful Ashley turned things around, found the love of her life, had a fairy tale wedding where her not so step-father had the honor to marry her and is going to live happily ever after with her amazing family! My child overcame and conquered the past and so can yours!
If you are in a situation where you could use prayer, feel free to write me personal email or just reply to this one. I would love to join you in prayer! And anything that you share with me will be strictly confidential.
With Love and Blessings!
If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you must know that we recently made a trip to Mallorca, Spain. It is our favorite European getaway that we've been to so far and there's good reason for that! Being an Arizonan girl and after having lived in Germany for almost 14 years, sunshine and dry heat is something my body constantly craves. As nice as Germany is, on a day-to-day basis the weather is typically wet and dreary for the greatest portion of the year, the people standoffish and the atmosphere considerably stuffy, especially in the Northern part of the country.
Mallorca however, marches to the beat of a different drum! And here's why...
1. Bombastic Beaches
Because Mallorca is an island that is located in the middle of the Balearic Sea, and measures at about 500 km around the coastline, the beaches are plentiful. There are over 200 different beaches lining the island and each one is magnificent! They range from busy, full and noisy to quiet, small and hidden. The waters are clear and turquoise in color and often shallow in certain areas which make it ideal for small kids to splash and play all day! And the east coast is lined with small sandy coves, making it a snorkeler's dream!
2. Wonderful Weather
Mallorca has wonderful weather! The climate is typically Mediterranean with warm average temperatures and seasonal rains. Mallorca´s physical geography is shaped by the sea, which is deep, calm and relatively warm, with surface temperatures that reach 26ºC (79ºF) in August and stay above 14ºC (57ºF) in winter. Mallorca is the only place in the world where the temperature at the sea bed never drops below 13ºC (55ºF). This is great for someone wanting to get out of the cold or rain. For just that reason, you will find many Brits and Germans who find refuge in Mallorca!
3. Hearty History
The ancient Mediterranean trading route, Mallorca has seen its share of conquerors, invaders and settlers over the centuries. The first settlers are dated to at least 3000 BC! On a small scale Greeks and Phoenicians set up trading posts, but it wasn’t until the Roman period that the island was settled in any great numbers.
In 123 BC the Romans conquered the island, and for almost 600 years Mallorca’s life and prosperity was linked with Rome. In 534 AD the islands became part of the Byzantine Empire. As the spread of Islam in the 7th century reached North Africa, the Moors conquered the Balearics islands.
For most Mallorcans, history didn't really begin until the Catalans retook the island from the Moors in the 13th century.
The history is definitely rich and it is apparent with many ancient structures that remains standing all over the island.
4. Cunning Castles
We were amazed to see so many castles and sanctuaries on an island so small in size. Mallorca is only a mere 3,640 km² in size. It's only about 100km from North to South and 70 km from East to West. But the island is full of ancient Castles, sanctuaries 1and ruins, some dating back to the 12th century and mostly of Roman origin. The structures are simply breathtaking and many sit high on mountain tops overlooking the old cities.
5. Fabulous Food and Wine
Mallorcan cuisine, based on pork, fish and vegetables with generous use of garlic and olive oil, steeped in tradition and rooted in local ingredients. Almost anywhere you go, you will find locally produced olive oil, goat cheese and red wine. We also had a sandwich that was made with Mallorcan bread! The food is wonderfully fresh and full of vivid flavors. Some of our favorite dishes were tapas, otherwise known as finger foods. And Paella which is a rice dish mixed with diced vegetables and either seafood, chicken, pork, chorizo or a combination of these meats. The delicious foods are easy to come by and hard to find something that isn't tasty!Wine making has been part of the culture of Mallorcan living for centuries (and yep, it was those ubiquitous Romans again who first brought vines to the island). There are vineyards all over the island and each area is known for it's distinct flavor or blends.
6. Pleasant People
Unlike many of the conservative and standoffish Northern Europeans, the Mallorcans are a very friendly and welcoming people. We never came across one person that didn't have a smile on their face. They were willing to give directions and were helpful in all situations. What also amazed us, was their unyielding patience to communicate with us, even if they could not speak English. I can honestly say, after having lived in Germany for so many years, this is unique when it comes to friendliness within Europe. The Mallorcans were kind, courteous, patient and genuinely interested in you as a person. Their warm personalities won us over instantly.
7. Astonishing Affordability
When it comes to food, drinks, hotels, and the cost of living in general, Mallorca wins the prize! We were astonished to see the prices relatively cheap compared to Germany or the U.S. For a touristy place that is in such close vicinity to so many amazing beaches, the prices could not be beat! The grocery store food prices were lower than we have ever seen in Germany or the states. And hotels and vacation rentals were comparable. But then again, when I compare them to holiday rentals in Phoenix, the cost is probably half! And you cannot forget, you have the beach! We even went as far as to price apartments to buy, just out of curiosity, there was one right next to the one we were renting, and we were shocked! A two bedroom, two bath apartment, with pool, a one minute walk from the beach went for a mere $200,000! And that's fully furnished!
If you ever plan on visiting Europe or you live in Europe and you've never been to Mallorca, I would highly suggest heading over to the island! It's a great place to soak up the sun, snorkel or splash around on the beach, eat some tapas, enjoy the wine and have some great conversations with not only the Mallorcans... but also a wide variety of other nationalities from so many different countries that are all there enjoying and blending into the relaxed Mallorcan lifestyle, if even just for a weekend!
With Love and Blessings!
If you're anything like me, the thought of exercise makes you cringe. When I was in high school, PE (physical education) we were required to run around the track 4 times. Well, needless to say, I never made the four laps, running that is... I was always the last one and had to finish the last three laps walking! I hated sport and honestly thought I didn't need it. I was a skinny kid, from the time I was very young until well, before I hit 40! Even after having 5 kids, I always managed to get my weight back down to pre-pregnancy weight.
Well, things are different now! A lot people tell me that I'm still thin and not to worry about how I look. But you see, that's not the problem. It's not how I look that worries me. I'm really good with who I am and I feel good in my skin. What worries me goes a bit deeper than just outer appearance!
Here's what's got me concerned and keeps me motivated:
1. To feel better
Our health should be a concern to us. And it's starting to concern me... I've been noticing over the past several years, I'm not as young as I once was! My overall health is good, which I am very thankful for. However, I'm beginning to have aches and pains in various parts of my body. There's pain sometimes in my joints for no apparent reason. And every so often I get sore from sleeping crooked or walking too much. Not to mention being sluggish throughout the day. Routine exercise strengthens weakening muscles and joints, especially for those of us who are starting to age. In fact, Muscle changes often begin in the 20's for men and in the 40's for women. https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/004015.htm
2. More Endurance
Keeping up with the kids or grand kids is something that has me concerned. We should want to take part in our kids and grandkids lives. To be able to kick a soccer ball back and forth or to run to catch a baseball when it's been hit out of field is something of joy. Our kids love it when we are involved. And to be honest, I love running, jumping and dancing around with my three year old granddaughter. And it also aids in raising kind, compassionate kids, and it turns out that dancing with your kids can help you accomplish this goal, according to a new study published in Developmental Science. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/desc.12193/abstract
3. To Save Money
Yes, I said to save money! I love to go clothes shopping. I don't do it often but when I do, it is a great joy for me! BUT what I don't find happiness in, is being forced to buy new clothes because what I have in my closet no longer fits! It makes me crazy when I have a special occasion and I pull out a pair of dress pants that I haven't worn in awhile, only to find out that I cannot close the darn button! OR, it's finally warmed up enough to wear shorts. So you pull out your favorite pair from last summer, and low and behold, you can't pull them over your hips! For me, I consider buying clothes a treat, not a requirement! And wanting to spend money is a whole lot different than being forced to!
4. To Be a Good Example
We need to set good examples for the next generation. I care about what my kids learn from me. And one way we can do this is by staying active together. Let's face it, time is precious and it's hard enough to find time to make it to the gym everyday. But a workout with the kids doesn't have to mean running laps or lifting weights...Think of exercise as leading an active lifestyle, which you can do with your kids, and you'll be able to fit in more than you think." A few examples are: Go for pre or post dinner walks, dance together, or make a game out of chores. For more ideas to workout with the kids: ideashttp://www.parents.com/fun/sports/exercise/10-ways-to-exercise-as-a-family/
5. The Bible Says So
Our body is a temple. “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own” (1 Cor. 6:19) And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice – the kind he will find acceptable. (Romans 12:1-2)
Some could argue that the bible is referring to our spiritual body but I also believe that it God is also concerned about our physical body. Our bodies are of value to God. He cares not only about our souls, but also about our bodies. When God created man, He made him a physical being. If we do not care for our health, we are neglecting God's temple.
With Love and Blessings!
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