Photos courtesy of Ryan Prouty

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Not complaining...

This was the temperature reading in the van on the way to school this morning. We are a full 15 degrees below normal temperatures here and it is shocking! Definitely feeling like fall! BUT, we didn't bring any heavy coats here and we haven't even thought of digging out winter clothes to see what fits and what may be needed. Well, we did that in a flurry this morning! Alayna was so excited to wear "Winter" clothes because they have been on a shelf in plain view and she has been told almost daily, "No, you will suffocate or suffer heat stroke if you wear that today! Lets pick out some summer clothes!" Riley had a field trip today and was allowed to wear jeans, so that helped. He must have grown a foot this summer, because nearly every long sleeve shirt I took out of the closet was way too small for him!
We managed to find something warm for each of them, and it warmed up nicely as the day went on (into the low 60's). We swore we would not complain about being cold here for at least 2 years, so as I said, I am not complaining, just documenting the weather patterns! We will be glad when it gets back to normal next week! Riley had a baseball game last night and we needed blankets to keep warm because none of us had enough sense to wear the right clothing! I suppose that is my fault as the mom! We hope everyone at home is staying warm and enjoying the fall colors. We wish we could box up a few degrees and send them your way...except we don't have any to spare today!!!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Pet Peeves

Okay Marcie, I will play. She started her own version of tag, asking for pet peeves. I think this could be fairly revealing, but here goes!

1) I hate to be late...and I hate to be early! But, I usually end up being early because its the lesser of the 2 evils in my mind. My mom and sister would probably disagree with that statement, but what they don't know it that it's always Paul's fault when we are late, and if I am late to my mom's or sister's house its only because I know they love me unconditionally!

2) I hate it when people over-use their horns. These are emergency equipment, people!! You are giving me a heart attack when you are honking at your friend, expressing your disgust at the person in front of you who is slow to go at a green light, or making a driving decision you don't agree with! Obviously, they are never honking at me!

3) That sound that people make when they are trying to cough something up and spit it out. Worked in a hospital for 15 years...enough said!

4) When a game, puzzle, or set of cards has a missing piece. I make everyone turn the house upside down until it's found. If it can't be found, the whole thing has to be thrown out!

5) Laundry. It is the most ungratifying of housework! It is never done! Just when I think it's done, I will be putting away the last load and find a stash of dirty clothes in one of the kid's rooms, under the bed, between the bed and the wall, in the closet, in the bathroom, in the drawers...I think you get the idea! I have to say I hate it less now that I love my laundry detergent!! I guess it's just the dirty laundry I hate!!

Okay, more about me than you ever wanted to know after the past few posts! I hope to hear pet peeves from Beryl, Krystal, and Vicki!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Not Me! Monday

I don't know how to spell the trumpet peals that would announce Not Me! Monday AGAIN!! So, we'll have to settle for that sentence! Yes, I am up late again on a Sunday night trying to rack my brain for all the harried, stressed, embarrassing, and not so flattering moments from the week! Join MckMama for some free therapy by being brutally honest and living to tell about it! Visit her blog for full details and to read a couple hundred other people's mortifying moments last week!

You would NOT have witnessed me doing a victory dance last week when I was #2 on Mr. Linky at MckMama's blog! Why would that excite me? I have a life outside of blog world after all! I was not totally excited about the 140 visitors on my blog before noon either. My husband didn't brainstorm how we can share Jesus's love with each visitor next week with me either! Or how we can even possibly help their marriages (we teach marriage conferences several times yearly), since our marriage is perfect after all! Email us at for more info! We were not blown away that we had over 400 visitors to our blog at the end of the day!

Just because we had over 400 visitors in one day, we did not feel special...why would the number of people reading about our lives make us feel special??? Like I said, I have a real life!

I am NOT completely excited that 36 people have RSVP'd to come to our dinner when we are home for the marriage conference! Still waiting on 77 of you to RSVP!

I did not pull out every piece of clothing from Riley and Holden's closet that was not folded or hung up correctly, then proceed to lecture them about making their beds look neat, THEN have to apologize about the bed lecture after I spent several minutes trying to make their beds myself(I do NOT hate bunk beds by the way, they are so easy to care for) and failing to make them look neat and able to spring a quarter into the air if anyone was to try to bounce one there. Okay, seriously, I don't do the quarter thingy, but I do like them to look neat!

I did not think my daughter's Sunday School class's performance at church was completely adorable! They did not sing a hilarious, short song about Jesus and the devil. Check it out here if you haven't seen it yet!
I did not base my wardrobe off of what my daughter was wearing , in spite of what my earlier post says. I do not try to match my clothes to hers, or my boys' or husband's. I also would never buy my boys matching shirts, because that is just dorky! I am very chic and cool! BUT, if I did, here is what they would wear to a Caribbean Night party:

I was not totally excited about the Island Salad that I made for the Caribbean Night party because I LOVE it and haven't had it in months! I was not appalled to discover the ingredients cost over $10 (it's SALAD people, not steak) though I did double the recipe. I was not more appalled to discover that the boy (who shall remain nameless) carried the leftovers into the house and left them out on the counter all night...

I did not refuse to help knock down spider webs around the pool when I helped my friend Kate clean again. I am not superstitious! Not me! If you missed this story, check it out here.

I also did not discover that when I agree to help her out and not actually work for pay, I have a much better attitude, and I don't have to think to myself for one minute "I am not getting paid enough to do this!" Thanks Kate for letting me be a blessing to you! I do not agree that its better to give than receive!

I did not get so frustrated with Alayna when I decided she could ride her bike the 1.5 miles around our neighborhood while I took my run. She did not have trouble steering her bike. She did not run me off the sidewalk several times. She did not get knocked off her bike when she ran me off the sidewalk, placing her training wheel under my foot, causing me to fall into her and knock her off. I did not decide that the trip around the block was good enough because I certainly got my heart rate up trying to control my tongue and temper!

I did not agree to go on an interval run with my friend Kristin, knowing full well she wanted to go 5 miles and that I have NEVER run that far in my life, and haven't run more than 2 miles at a time in the past several months! We did not meet on a Saturday morning while my kids were still sleeping and run in the pouring rain. I did not immensely enjoy getting to know her better on our "run". I did not have to put "run" in quotation marks because we ran the entire 5 miles!! I was so pleasantly surprised at my amazing endurance, and stamina! I did not quit just after the half way mark. NO, NOT ME!! Thanks for putting up with me, Kristin!

Finally, we do not have a slight case of baseball fever around here! I did not allow my boys to stay up past 9pm on a school night because the Tampa Bay Rays were playing in the World Series. I did not justify this by remembering Riley's coach encouraged him to watch it so he could take note of their batting techniques. I do not think my son could take some cues from the guys up against the 90 mph pitches! I do not think its odd that we have NEVER as a family watched a baseball game until now. I was not sad that I found it impossible to stay awake until midnight when the game was over. I was not glad that I was able to find out the results of the game in 2.2 seconds since that is all everyone around here is talking about. Apparently, we are not the only ones around here who are not having a case of baseball fever!

So, there you have it, another week of soul baring confessions. I feel so free! I hope you'll join me! Besides, how will I know what to tease you about??

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Our own American Idol...

Today, Alayna was to sing in the church service, so I spent more time on her clothes and hair than I did my own! She looked adorable, and I found a matching outfit for a Kodak moment!
The 4 & 5 year olds sang 2 songs. The first with the praise band (behind them) and the second by themselves.
This is my favorite song! Enjoy the short video, you will want to turn off the blog's music for it! Alayna practiced it for us many times, so I knew what they were saying, though its tough to understand. Here are the words for those who haven't heard it 372 times yet:
If I had a little white box to put my Jesus in
I'd take Him out and (kisses fingers 3 times)
And share Him with my friends!
And if I had a little black box to put the devil in
I'd take him out and SMASH HIS FACE
And put him back again!

Friday, October 24, 2008

7 More Things!

Lisa tagged me again, and I will be a good sport and try to come up with 7 more things

1) I am loyal to only one fragrance of lotion from Bath and Body Works: White Ginger and Amber. They don't make it anymore, in fact, they stopped selling it a couple years ago, but my husband went and stocked up and even had some of my friends pick some up for me, so I am currently on my LAST bottles of lotion and shower gel. I almost cried a few days ago when I realized that this is probably the only fragrance my children recognize as mine since I have used it Alayna's ENTIRE life and the majority of the other kids (and I never wear perfume)! I have NO idea what I will do in a couple weeks when it is all gone...maybe I'll become a hermit...not so much! Which leads me to #2:

2) I am extremely social. I rarely pass up an opportunity to do something with someone, anyone!! I prefer to run with another person too and I wait for Gabe to come home from school to run with me (I run by myself if he has cross country practice or a meet). I think it has to do with being a twin. I never did anything by myself. If there were chores to do, we divided and conquered! I still save small projects around my house to do with my sister. When she came for a visit (July) we tackled my shelving (or to be more honest, I set out the stuff I had and she made it look fabulous), hanging pictures on the walls and arranging furniture! She has such a knack for that kind of stuff anyway! I keep thinking I need to fix Alayna's bedskirt, but I know I will just wait for her to come again! See how talented she is??

3) I feel extremely self conscious if I leave the house without makeup. I hate that that makes me seem vain...I hate that it feels vain too! In spite of this, I take my kids to school 3 days a week after rolling out of bed, dressing and brushing my teeth and sometimes my hair. I know if I get all cleaned up that early, there is no chance for exercising that day...who wants to repeat the hair/makeup routine??? I have so many other ways to spend my time! It seems pointless.

4) I love Thai food! But, when I actually went to Thailand (2000), I hated almost everything I ate. I was pregnant with Holden, and attribute it to that! I have a Thai cookbook (seen above with my other cookbooks on the shelf) and have tried many recipes and discovered why I probably love it so much...coconut milk! It is LOADED with fat! I try to pretend I don't know this!

5) Wow, this is getting hard! Alayna is not here today to give me inspiration! Okay, three more: I love to listen to music and have some playing nearly constantly, sometimes the radio and the music on my blog is going at the same time. Listening in the van is my favorite because I can turn it up so loud that I can sing at the top of my lungs and not hear myself. I am certain the people driving next to me think I am nuts! One of my favorite groups is Skillet (also Riley's very favorite) and even Alayna can sing several of the many people let their 4 year old learn rock lyrics??? At least they are a Christian group! One of her favs is Something Deep Inside and she can belt it out!!

6) I hate clutter, but I'm finding it a necessary evil with the kids' school assignments, library books, and our recent sticker reward charts...its getting out of the refrigerator is another story all together. I love the clutter there because its the cards and letters we get in the mail!

7) I am so excited about coming "home" in less than 2 weeks! I pray we can see as many of our friends and family possible! We are so hungry for familiar places and faces! I keep checking the list of RSVPs for our dinner on Saturday night, so get your reply in!!

Okay, I'll not tag anyone this time, this was a really fun way to get to know friends even better!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Seven Things

Missy tagged me....

Here are the rules:

1) Link to your tagger and list these rules on your blog
2) Share 7 facts about yourself, some random, some weird
3) Tag 7 more people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs
4) Let them know they've been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog

Here goes, wow these last few posts have been quite a time of confession and transparency for me!

1) I NEVER wore flip flops until this summer (not even when I was a kid). Why? Because I think they look ugly on my feet and my husband says I have "duck toes" because of the gap between the big toe and the next one. Apparently I got over it because I now wear them so often that I have tan lines! See:

Okay, not really easy to see, but I don't have a great tan either...probably because its been too hot/humid to be outside for very long...which is a great excuse to sit inside on the computer!

2) I do not snack. It's not that I don't like food, I just have other things on my mind and don't think about it. My daughter snacks every 2 hours. It makes me crazy to drop what I am doing to get her a snack when I feel no need for one. It makes me crazier to try to find snacks she can reach, fix and eat all by herself!

3) I am in LOVE with my laundry detergent! When I catch a whiff of it, it makes me smile! When I hug my kids and smell their clothes, I think, wow, their mom loves them so much, see how good their clothes smell! I even think other people must surely think this way as well. They surely think I REALLY love my kids because they smell so clean and fresh. I call it the smell of love! I always wanted to buy this laundry detergent, but we shopped at Sams in Iowa and Paul always bought the 5 gallon bucket of laundry detergent. Now I am free to buy Gain! Crazy aren't I???

4) My daughter has never played with dolls and I don't think she ever will. As I type she is putting her "mimmy" to sleep, covering it with a blanket and propping it on a pillow. Her "mimmy" is a rolled up fleece Veggie Tales blanket...I am pretty sure there is no hope for her!

Alayna and Mimmy

Alayna fixing Mimmy's "hair"...see the ponytail holders on the blanket?

5) I have only had 1 date with my husband in the past 6 months (we went to a screening of Fireproof before it was released into theaters!). Our 15th Anniversary was practically ignored since we moved into the house we are renting on that day.

6) My favorite things to do as a family are playing games, board games, dice games, card games, but best yet, baseball or volleyball. We got to do both in one day last Saturday! Riley had a game and afterward, the Prachars took the field for our own game! We played volleyball later that night at some friends' house where we went for dinner. We had so much fun!

The bleachers we have spent a significant amount of time in lately! See the flip flops??
Paul on the pitchers mound and me playing first base! Alayna was a surprise photographer!
Here she was in the dugout and caught Paul still pitching and one of the boys on 3rd base. How 'bout that red dirt??!

She apparently couldn't resist taking a picture of herself!

7) I am certain that the election will predict how close we are to the end of the end times. This is strictly my OPINION based on reading I have done recently on end times prophecy. You may disagree all you want...on your blog! Anyway, I think if Obama is elected that will mean a shorter time to the "end" because he is not loyal to Isreal and there is no mention of a Western power in any end time prophecy, so we will likely abandon Isreal to her own problems with him at the helm (or get blown off the map) which would explain why no mention of the US in end time prophecy. McCain is loyal to Isreal and it would make me think things were still a ways off if he gets into office. NOW, that being said, I do not think I can predict when the end will come since the Bible makes it clear that no knows the hour or the day, but we were given prophecy so we can interpret the times...and I'm just sayin'....

So, there you have it, the good, the bad and the wierd about me! I tag Kristen, Lisa Miller, Anissa, Cindy, Kristi, Sara, and Melanie. As Missy said, add that to your to-do list dolls!!!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Not Me! Monday

Here we are once again, its Monday and you know what that means. Time for MckMama's blog carnival of denial! Yes, friends, a new week begins with a clean slate and purged consciences! YEAH! Won't you join me with your own post? Click over to MckMama's blog for the rules and to link to her post as well. You will be so glad you did. Nothing like free therapy! Here goes:

I did not stay up past 1 am several nights in a row when Paul was out of town. I do not need someone to tell me when to go to bed...I am an adult and I can tell time and I know when a sensible bed time is without someone to hold me accountable!

I did not sleep on Paul's side of the bed while he was out of town. I was not aghast when I told him I missed him and was sleeping there to feel closer to him and his response was not something equally sweet and loving, instead was "So, what's new? You always sleep on my side--I get six inches of bed!" I am sure he was not exaggerating or anything. We have a queen size bed and he is 6'7" tall and weighs twice what I weigh (but he's not fat), but I am sure that I am the one hogging the bed!

I did not feel like I was getting ripped off when I was charged $10 for transferring my contacts from my old cell phone to my new one, and was told not to worry about the sales tax when I paid in cash. I called Paul and told him what happened and he had to talk sternly to me to get me to turn around and confront the woman at the Verizon store. I went in and asked for a receipt (which she gave me).

I did not consider getting caught in a downpour this week as good as a shower and skip it for the day...after taking a run. Ewwww, who would do that?? Not me!

I did not have to run Holden's lunch out to him in the driveway in my pajamas...consisting of my short t-shirt and underwear. I did not try to stretch the t-shirt over my underwear with one hand while holding the lunch with the other and scrunching down to help lengthen it. Everyone in the car did not notice I had no pants on, we do not live on a main road in our development and it wasn't time for people to be leaving for work...thank goodness!

Finally, last week, I did not bark orders like a drill sergeant at my children when I realized we had 45 minutes to organize a trunk full of frozen cookie dough from the school fundraiser, deliver it, reorganize the freezer for those deliveries not in our neighborhood, make and eat dinner (thankfully there were rice and beans leftovers), get ready for baseball practice, put away groceries and figure out how to save ripe bananas that fell out of the back of the van onto the ground and tore away from the top stem (they were for the cross country meet). We were not 15 minutes late...I do not hate being late! Nope, not me!

I can't wait to hear what your week did not entail!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

When the tom cat's away...chaos ensues!

This has been a crazy week! Paul was gone Sunday night through Friday night near Atlanta for a marriage seminar...without his wife! We just couldn't swing this training time for both of us to go, so Paul went without me. I get the benefit of him learning how to have a better marriage...pretty smart on my part, huh?? I usually think it is a little easier around here with one less person to worry about, but this week was different. There were several times I needed to be 2 people! You will probably hear more details in the Not Me! Monday post! Here are some of the good times!

Alayna's class went on a field trip on Wednesday to Fruitville Farms. It is a pumpkin farm/farmer's market/orchard. It was a beautiful day and just slightly cooler, in the mid 80's. So still not feeling like fall, but the pumpkins made it look like fall! Here are some photos of our day:Alayna was the most excited about riding on the bus!

Deer are for riding too, aren't they?

Alayna found some treasure!
Each child got to pick out a pumpkin to take home. This is her class.
See, it looks like fall now!

Henry gave us a tour of the farm. The kids got to pick an onion and smell fresh basil leaves. They dropped them on the ground and I picked them up to put in my rice and beans!!
The peacocks lost their magnificant tail feathers due to the heat. They'll grow back this winter.

We took a hay rack ride through the farm and orchard. Orange and grapefruit trees are heavy with fruit which will be ripe soon!

We headed back to the school (parents didn't ride the bus due to lack of space...we were relieved!), so I got to know some of the other preschool parents on the way as we carpooled together. That helps so much in feeling connected to this school and getting over not being at Heritage!! We got back to school around 1:30 and the preK kids just had rest time, so I took Alayna and we went to a nearby library together to wait for brothers to be out of school. We played with paper, scissors, embossing tools, and paper punches (fun!), and also found this fun table for playing with boats with magnets on the bottom of the table. Alayna loved it.

We then picked up brothers and went to a park where Gabe had cross country practice to get ready for his meet the next day at Shamrock park. This park is on the south side of Venice and we live in a small town on the north side of Venice, so not anything we have discovered yet. The kids had a great time exploring and playing while we waited.
The next day was Gabe's cross country meet. I wish I could tell you it was great, a fun time, he did his best and came in with a good time and such and such a place...but there was trouble!! The Venice kids went the day before to practice the course, and 3 of our kids (only 4 boys on the team) went the right way, two of them finished the race in 1st and 2nd. Gabe was not one of them. He went with the pack, the wrong way and ended up having to run 1 whole extra mile to bring his course to 3.3 miles!!! He has not trained to run that far, and has never run that far at one time. We had really just worked up to 2 miles last week. I had the worst feeling in my stomach when only the 3 Venice boys came around the bend when expected...but no Gabe...and no other runners (there were 39 total runners). I had some expectations, but not alot since I had never been at a meet before...but this was not what I expected. They were to make 2 laps through the course, so we should have seen them go by twice, but it took over 20 minutes for him to go by the first time and I missed it. He should have been done by then! The Venice boys told us that everyone took a wrong turn, so we knew what was going on, but it was so hard to not know where he was, how he was doing, did he quit?, was he able to keep going, not knowing how far he would have to go, or where to go. I was so disappointed for him! When he did come across the line in 30th place, he was almost in tears! I asked him what happened and he said he got confused. But after going about 1/2 mile, he realized where he had gone wrong, and even when no one else turned around, he did, and had to go back the way he had just ran to get back to the course. He said he kept running the entire time (his time was 30:17 for that 3.3 miles!), and didn't have to stop and walk. He never gave up, but what his tears were for was the 30th place he came in. He felt like he had ran hard and didn't see many people in front of him and couldn't figure out how he had come in so close to the end. I tried to reassure him that his competitors were up to 9th grade (he runs on the "varsity" team since they only have 4 boys on the whole cross country team), and they were faster than he was, but those older boys came in after him I found out later! Because they were leading the pack the wrong way, they got further before anyone could catch them and make them turn around, making them double back further as well. WHAT A MESS!! I hear this happens occasionally that a runner will make a wrong turn, but usually its not all but 3 kids! The third Venice kid got lost on the second lap and ended up not finishing because he couldn't get back to the course, so he just cut through to the finish line. Again, WHAT A MESS! I felt so sorry for the coach who mapped out the course and set it all up on the trails around the park. They got their act together for the girl's race and they ran the course properly and that was quite exciting! Here are the few photos I got because my emotion overtook me and I forgot the camera was over my shoulder. At one point I said out loud, "Oh no, where is my camera??!?" A boy nearby said politely, "I think its on your shoulder!" In my defense, I was a little distracted as well by a whiney little girl who thought the grass was pokey and my responsibilities as the team recorder.

This is 2 of the teams in the background with Gabe in the foreground. There were 3 more teams not pictured.

Their coach prayed with them before the boy's race.

Afterward, Gabe got to talk to his dad and tell him what happened and hear his well wishes and how proud we were of him for gutting it out!

This is a video of Gabriel at the start line. I intended to video more each time I saw him, but I missed him and then forgot where my camera was...oh well, next time!

Friday, October 17, 2008

5 Things I Hate to Admit

Okay, I was holding my breath as this one came around. Melanie started it and I knew it was just a matter of time before I would have to spill my guts!! Beryl "tagged" me, and I have read many of my other friend's posts as well, so at least I am in good company!! Here goes:

1) Like Molly, I am a clean freak. This is not so hard to admit, but the juicy stuff is coming...I promise. I think I make everyone around me crazy with this character flaw. My husband not included because he is just as steeped in it as I. I have helped out in GCC's nursery for years (since I have had a child in there for over 11 years!), and I am always picking up toys, almost constantly because I HATE having so many out that the kids trip over them or step on them and break them. I also do this at other people's homes where there are several kids playing. I may even reorganize all their toys for them (and I really ENJOY it). I make my children crazy keeping our house clean and trying not to freak out every time I find a sock between the bed and the wall. They will need many years of therapy to get over this, I am sure. I have harnessed this into my "project" which I now have a copyright for and hope to sell soon, and will sell you a copy if you want one! Email me for more details!
2) I agree with Natasha! I HATE to wait. Even 2 seconds is too long. I feel frustration well up inside me if I ask my kids to do something and they don't instantly reply "Yes Mom!!" with such enthusiasm and instant action so I know they are going to do whatever I have asked them to do. I see more therapy in their 'bout you? I drive too fast because I don't want to wait to be wherever I am going. Don't get me wrong, I don't purposely break the speed limit (right honey?), but if I am not concentrating on keeping it under the speed limit, I will be passing everyone and arriving first somewhere...isn't it a race?? Don't I get a prize for the fastest time??? Cut me some slack, my dad was a race car driver--seriously!!
3) I hope none of you have EVER noticed this, and I hate to admit it, but one side of my...oh, how do I phrase this... rear is bigger than the other. It has been like that for years. Before swim skirts, it was always hanging out of my swimsuit while the other side was neatly tucked away. There is actually an extra roll of FAT on it!!! My sister can attest to this!! 4) I often forget what a HOTTIE and great catch my husband is. I take him for granted. Let me extoll his greatness for a few seconds. He is the BEST dad! He always has been a hands on dad, taking care of our babies while I worked nights, doing the baths, bottles, diapers, etc by himself many a night. He is a neat freak...enough said. He thinks I am just as beautiful and sexy as when we first met (can you say "rose colored glasses"), and reminds me of that often. He's HOT and just getting better with age! See:
5) I could spend ALL day on the computer checking blogs, reading blogs of people I don't even know, shopping, and e-mailing. I feel extra loved when someone leaves a comment on my blog. Those "regular" commenters must surely love me the most!! You know who you are! I have to force myself to shut it down and get work done and I feel lost when I go all day without checking in (like for the last 2 days). Whenever there is a free moment, you know where you'll find me!

Wow, that was hard to come up with things I hate to admit, but was willing to, or haven't already admitted to not doing them on Mondays! So, to keep this thing going, and see everyone else's little secrets, I will tag JoDee, Marcie, Stephanie, Jeanie, Shelley, Becky, and Kate. I didn't see any rules on how many to tag, so I will take advantage of that!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

October 15th

Today is National Day of Remembrance for pregnancy and infant loss. This includes all babies who have died because of miscarriage, stillbirth, SIDS, or any other infant death. This day is a special day for me as I can be reminded of not just the personal loss I have suffered (three precious babies waiting for me in Heaven), but most importantly of God's perfect faithfulness. My miscarriages were my private struggle with my husband because we hadn't told anyone we were pregnant before they happened. We were isolated together and God showed us that through all the pain and uncertainty, He was enough for us. Even when I was looking at my "track record" of 6 pregnancies and only 3 living children, He taught me that He could bring beauty from the cold ashes of my pain. Not only was I immensely blessed with my daughter (who I wouldn't have if either of the last 2 miscarriages hadn't taken place), but I was drawn close by the Father who is the perfect comforter and held tightly in His grasp, walking closely to Him...after I got over blaming Him and shutting Him out of my life in anger that is! Give me a break, I am human after all!!

A blog I read (Angie Smith, Bring the Rain in my blog roll) has been such an inspiration to me lately after she and her husband lost their 4th daughter due to congenital abnormalities which made her incompatible with life. She asked her readers to leave their stories in her comments, requesting the honor of praying for each person who has lost a child. I just checked to see how many women have left their stories and requests for prayer and there are over 1,500. My heart aches for each of these stories, yet in the few of them that I read, there was that same hope that I was given in drawing closer to God for comfort, and my heart is filled with joy too. Please pray for a new friend of mine who just miscarried today as she joins the ranks of those who have endured the loss of a sweet baby.

…and provide for those who grieve in Zion-
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair…

Isaiah 61:2-3

My four amazing blessings...I love you more than you will ever know!!!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Guests and a prayer request

We were so happy to welcome missionary candidates to our home over the weekend. Mark and Carol and their son Will are prospective field directors for Port au Prince, Haiti. They came to Venice to check out Agape and stayed with us. It was great to get to know them and show them around a bit. They got to see the new plane, check out the school, and meet lots of the folks at Agape. They also enjoyed the Community Expo with us. This is Will on Agape's flight simulator with Dad and Prachar boys looking on:
Carol took a shot at it too. It was quite fun! Finally Mark got his turn.
They went to the beach and dug the biggest hole of the summer (I know its technically fall, but when it starts feeling like it, I will start calling it such). This time there were no tiny shovels, they went prepared!
I know what you are thinking: "Boy, those Prachars are really roughing it there in Florida!" You couldn't be more right! God is good!
Riley shows how to avoid a sunburn at the least on your face!
Finally, I have a prayer request for a friend's family. This is a picture of a sorority sister of mine from William Jewell College. Actually its 2 of my sisters and a guy I don't think I ever knew. Anyway, on the left is Angie Vincent Elliott and on the right my friend Leigh Anne Dunbar. They were on a ski trip while I was studying Organic Chemistry during Winterim (2 week class between fall and spring semesters). I never knew Angie to drink beer, so I am pinning the beer can on the unknown boy in the photo by the way. Hard to focus here, I just don't know how to begin. Angie had been fighting Inflammatory Breast Cancer for several years and lost her fight on October 9th. I just found out today and would like to ask for prayer for her incredibly supportive husband, in-laws, and her family who all mourn her loss. She was so brave and never gave up until Jesus took her home to finally rest. She was an inspiration and fought hard for research and even did some Washington lobbying. Thanks for your prayers. The prayers of the righteous have great power as it is working (James 5:16)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Not me! Monday

Okay, here we go again! I hope you are enjoying this free therapy as much as I am. MckMama got this thing started and this is the 4th week of brutal honesty and confessions. Check out her blog for the rules and consider joining in! Keep her in your prayers as well, her 4th baby will arrive via c-section at the end of the month and his health is a question mark, although God has already worked a big-time miracle for Baby Stellan!

I am NOT posting early in spite of being put off by the 60+ people who did so last week, and I did not say that I was above such behavior...only to join them this week (if you can't beat them, join them, huh). I just returned from linking and am NOT totally disappointed to find myself in the 40's!!

I did not feed my family rice and beans for 4 meals this week.

I am not forcing them to eat it all month Monday-Thursday so they can learn to appreciate the fabulous choices we have here in the US, and all the delicious, healthy, widely varied meals their mom fixes them on a regular basis. Or so they could have a glimpse into the lives of the kids in Haiti.

I am also not really happy about the $$ I am saving by serving up this menu item. Nope, not me!

I did not refuse to allow my husband to have a bowl of cereal instead of rice and beans on Thursday night. I am not that much of a control freak, and I would never tell him what to do....after all he is a grown man!

I did not pull the starving kids in Haiti card when a child started to complain about the dinner menu this week. Not me!

I did not feel totally loved and cared for after my husband washed, dried, vacuumed, changed the oil and air filter in our van. I know he loves me even when he is not acting like my personal slave!

I did not get in a bike wreck this week and specifically say "I am not blogging that" because I have already blogged about 2 recent falls with injuries. What would everyone think if they knew I had injured myself AGAIN??As you can see in the top picture, Alayna's bike attaches to mine. She was getting brave and trying what she called "ballet moves" on her bike like the lower picture (we were moving when I took this picture by placing the camera behind my that's talent, is it not??). She was doing this and it would shift her weight occasionally and veer us around, and once when she did it Holden's bike was right next to us causing our tires to tangle and Alayna and I to go down. I kept her on the grass so she wasn't hurt and I got a bruised knee and skinned hand to show for it! I felt the need to explain that it WAS NOT my fault!

I did not take my kids to a Community Expo and let them run around and grab candy from the vendors (and eat it as well), and pretend I didn't know them. They did not totally think it was like Halloween with their bags and everything. I did not walk around behind them and sign up for information at a few booths to assuage my conscious. I also did not laugh as Holden grabbed some candy from the Obama campaign booth, but turned down the button someone offered!

I was not totally excited about my new (free) yard stick and 2 (also free) flyswatters! That would be a pathetic thing to be excited about, wouldn't it??

While taking a spin in Agape's flight simulator at the Community Expo, I did NOT knock off the laptop that was running the simulator as I was performing a barrel roll in the plane. I also did not "overstress the engine" (i.e. crash) while playing on the simulator. Nope, not me!

I have NOT enjoyed reading all of your posts for those of you who have joined me (Melanie, Kristen, Ben and Dollie), and I do not hope more of you will join the fun! What have you NOT been doing????

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

A Dream is beginning to be realized!

Some of you know that I have a secret project that I am working on getting published and marketed. Well, I am not about to reveal my project to the world, BUT, I did take an important step to realizing my dream. I completed my project last month and started utilizing it for myself and have had a few requests for copies from people who I have sworn to secrecy and let see it . I have even been asked to come speak to a group of church ladies about my project (in spite of the fact that they really have no details about it) at a church that I do not attend. Anyway, my step that I took tonight was to apply for a copyright! Here is the confirmation I received via email...don't you love the computer age??!

Thank you for submitting your registration claim using the Electronic Copyright Office (ECO) System. We received your application and fee for the work Spring Clean, Year Round on 10/08/2008. The following applies to registration claims only (not preregistrations): To complete your registration, you must upload the material you wish to register OR submit a hardcopy version via postal mail. For hardcopy submissions, be sure to print out and attach a shipping slip from eCO. The effective date of the eCO registration will be established only when we have received all three elements - namely, the electronic application, the fee and the material you wish to register in its entirety. When the registration has been completed, we will send your paper certificate by mail. You may check the status of this claim from your personal account home page using this number [**********].[THREAD ID: ********]
United States Copyright Office

Amazing! Now I just need a publisher to fall out of the sky...anyone...anyone????

More about the MOPS convention

I am returning from a girl's weekend in Dallas, Texas for the MOPS convention. I was so blessed to spend 3 days with 13 friends from Iowa (and 5,000 other MOPS moms), and attend the convention where God so clearly ministered to, guided and blessed me immensely!! This is the 5th MOPS convention I have attended and they are always a blessing, but never moreso than this one. I was given a gift of sweet fellowship that my thirsty soul drank DEEPLY of and I was refreshed. Refreshed is much more appropriate to use, because "rested" certainly wouldn't fit this weekend's description! Sleep was minimal. Too many other things to do! I could have slept all day Monday if I wanted. My trip was prayed over in my weekly prayer time with my mom that we have initiated recently as a way to keep our hearts in touch and unified in petition to God. One of my requests for the trip was that God would place someone nea me on the plane for me to share my faith with. I have NEVER prayed this prayer before (I also have never flown by myself either), so I was expectantly waiting. I boarded the plane in Sarasota and found my seat in the back. It was a row next to the service kitchen and only had 2 seats. Seated at the window seat was a gentleman near my age who was obviously flying for business. I did not want the appearance of flirting since we were alone in the row, so I plugged in my (borrowed) IPod and got out my bracelet making things and started tying knots. At some point near the end of the flight, as snacks were passed out we struck up a short conversation. I was able to relay that our family had recently moved to Florida as missionaries and we talked about fun, family things to do around Sarasota, then got off the plane and said goodbye. Okay, maybe the next flight, it’s longer anyway. I boarded the plane and found my seat (in the back again), I was the first in my row of three to arrive. As the plane filled up, no one joined me in my row!! There was a family of mother, father and infant son who were split up and I overheard her ask the gentleman directly in front of me (and on the aisle as well) if he would trade seats with her husband up about 10 rows so they could sit together across the aisle from each other. He agreed. But, didn’t switch immediately. As we headed toward the runway, I got her attention and asked if he had agreed to switch, offering her my entire row. She declined, stating that the gentleman had agreed to switch. But, after we had been in the air about 10 minutes, he showed no signs of ending the conversation he had struck up with another passenger in his row, so she traded me seats. I thought, okay, now maybe there will be someone to share my faith with. I find my new seat and there is an older lady sitting at the window. I say hello and sit down. It is immediately evident that she speaks no English!! Okay Lord, did I miss my cue??
We went to the Convention Center (the Gaylord) and got all of our nametags and "tickets" to our workshops, then spent the next few minutes organizing ourselves and figuring out who had chosen the same workshops and would keep us company and accountable! This is Amy and Deb getting organized:
I usually attend workshops focused toward parenting at the MOPS convention, but this year was different. God divinely planned my curricula this weekend. I found myself bombarded with teaching regarding my marriage and was led to a fabulous resource for our marriage conference next month. I am being led to completely redo my presentation that I give on rebellion (I hold an advanced degree in that area of study by the way). He placed the resources in my hands, and I even got them autographed by the author! I am excited to see how this turns out and what I learn from it because it always ends up being me that benefits the most from this ministry God has called me reluctantly to.
The music as usual was amazing. Go Fish performed first and did their new song just for dad’s called “Its hard to look cool in a mini-van”. I told Paul about the song, and he declared that he is pretty sure our minivan is his best accessory!! We really had fun during their performance and were even able to be right up front! Nic Gonzales (of Salvador) and Jaci Velasquez performed together and introduced their son. They bantered back and forth performing to only his guitar accompaniment and endearing themselves to everyone. Plumb also performed, bringing the entire house to tears with her many songs written for her kids and also introducing her 9 week old daughter Clementine. The final performance was from Avalon. They also introduced their children (they have 4 between the four of them and they are all under the age of 3 or 4 years (just guessing), but they sang a quartet and even harmonized!!!! They obviously have the right genes!
And, this time together was made extra special by our time of sharing and prayer Saturday night. The Holy Spirit moved so powerfully as I mentioned in another post. I just can't imagine not returning next year. We will just have to see if He provides for that, or if I am to just move on with my life! I better wrap this up, check out more photos in the sidebar!
By the way, the stomach virus stayed away all weekend and I thought we were in the clear...until Gabriel started vomiting Monday morning. I told you he ALWAYS gets this thing! So far the others are avoiding it! It truly is a miracle they were not sick while I was gone!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Not me! Monday

Good morning! If you were to say this to me, I would not want to wring your neck or grumble, "What's good about it??" No, not me, because I got lots of sleep on my weekend away with 13 girlfriends. As a matter of fact, we all did! I am sure no one else is grumpy this morning either!

Yes, friends, it time for Not Me! Monday again! MckMama's blog carnival of denial continues. Maybe I can get a lower number on the link list (just returned from linking from her blog and...not so much, I'm in the 70s) even though I didn't type up my not me's until Monday. I am not such a rule follower that it prevents me from typing the post early just to get a low number on the list. I wouldn't be that black and white or rigid, not me! I was not amazed to see that the first 60 or so on her link list had all cheated and posted their Not Me! Monday posts on Sunday! I do not think that I am way above that type of behavior!! Not to mention that I have not been gone for the last 4 days visiting with friends in Dallas at the MOPS convention and wouldn't have been caught dead with my nose in the computer when many of the blog owners in my blogroll were IN THE SAME ROOM AS I WAS!!! I was also not very excited/blessed/experiencing Heaven on Earth the entire time! We did not have the most incredible bonding experience Saturday night, coming together and being real about our struggles so that we can come alongside each other and be an encouragement. We also did not have the most incredible prayer time in which the Holy Spirit moved in such a mighty way that we were all practically sobbing with joy and agreement as He knit our hearts together and burdened us for other women with hurts. I was not touched by this to my CORE, since I experience this type of communion with the Holy Spirit and my close friends on a nearly daily basis!

Okay, I have to admit, I have some of my usual not me's to post as well:

I did not act like a groupie when I spotted the band Go Fish in the hall at convention. I did not ask them if our entire group could get a picture with them...but if I had, this is what it would have looked like: At their concert later that evening, I again did not act like a groupie and run up to the front to beat out the slower ladies so I could be in the front row (no one else in my group did either), but if we had, we would have been able to get great close ups of them in action for our kids like this:
I did not eat chips and mango salsa for breakfast (I did not justify my decision this way: mangoes=fruit, jalapeno peppers=veggies, cilantro=veggie, lime juice=fruit...sounds nutritious!) I also did not eat it directly from the bowl, double dipping as I went because that would be gross, I might as well have put my entire mouth in there!!
I did not drag my (puking sick) son to the beach to pick up shells for a craft project that I had procrastinated and had to be done that day regardless of the fact that he was at home sick with me all day. I was not completely relieved that he didn't puke in the van on the trip...just so I wouldn't have to explain my actions to my husband. Not me!

I did not miss the wedding of a coworker of my husband's at Agape (I was NOT the only one not there), and I also did not miss the long awaited and much anticipated arrival of Agape's new cargo plane. Thank goodness I didn't do that because I wouldn't have been the only one not there as well! Besides, how important is a new plane to a mission organization that flies mail and supplies and relief to missionaries in Haiti and the Dominican Republic?? I am certain you can find me in the photos Gabe took...somewhere:

The Agape crew get a closer look at their prize.
This is how the pilots will board the plane once it is loaded!
Does anyone else see the resemblance to Vanna White????

I also did not miss my son's baseball game on Saturday which was their first win this season. Thank goodness he did not score the winning run, or I might have been upset that I missed it.

Okay, now, I don't mean it, I don't want to hear what you have NOT been up to! So get to posting!