Photos courtesy of Ryan Prouty

Monday, March 30, 2009

Cedar Rapids Police Officer Seriously Injured

Our hearts are extremely heavy here today. We got word of Officer Tim Davis's injury this afternoon and have been struggling through the emotions that come with this news. You can read the story and watch a news interview with Sgt. Christy Hamblin at this link:

From what we can gather, he has a head injury and has undergone surgery to remove a bone flap which will allow for brain swelling without causing more brain injury than was already present. Paul is beside himself wishing he were there to interview the one suspect in custody and get to the bottom of what happened. It is very hard for him to be so far away. It is a bit of a reality check for me as I realize all that could have taken place when Paul was on the streets. Officer Davis has a wife and 2 small children. Please join us in lifting all of them up in prayer.

Holden and Birdie go to a Rays game

Our friends Brent and Chrystal took Holden with Joshaua (seen here with Holden and one of the Rays' players) to a Spring Training game in Port Charlotte on Saturday. The kids were given baseballs and got several autographs. Someone tried to sign Birdie, but was stopped just in time and posed for a picture with him instead! Holden was tired from our softball game that went into extra innings Friday night plus his early Saturday morning baseball game, so he didn't have the best attitude in all of these pictures. By Sunday, he was excited about what he got to do with Birdie!

On the way home, Brent's fellow firemen were on scene, so he stopped and the boys and bear got to check out the fire truck too!
Birdie and Holden took the truck for a spin...just kidding!! Looks like someone's attitude improved a bit though!
Birdie is having lots of fun and collecting souvenirs. He was kind enough to let Holden have the baseball though (sorry Camden!)

Not Me! Monday

I decided to go ahead with the Monday ritual because I think MckMama and Stellan would want it this way! Please continue to pray for Stellan and his family. He continues to have SVT (supraventricular tachycardia...a long word to say his heart is beating too fast) and it is starting to cause his heart to fail. He has an excellent team of doctors taking care of him and THOUSANDS of people praying for him, but more is more and God wants us to care for others and pray for them too, so I am asking you to continue to remember this family in your prayers. You can check his progress at his MckMama's blog.

At our softball game Friday night, Alayna and her friend Mary Katelyn did not play in a pile of sand/dirt/clay the entire game. They certainly were not covered in orange sand/clay/dirt! They are very sweet, proper and clean girls, so they definitely did not look like this:
THANK GOODNESS that Alayna was not wearing a white t-shirt and white pants! Thank goodness I didn't decide it wasn't worth arguing over her changing out of her jean shorts into the white jeans just as we were leaving for the game! WOW, it would be SO hard to get those white clothes clean! At least she wasn't wearing her Venice Christian School shirt that she is required to wear for all field trips including the one coming up on Monday! I was not THRILLED that she had chosen black socks!

Paul did not dump this much sand out of her shoes after she took them off (and I certainly did not take a picture of my trash and recycling cans):
These girls are not USUALLY quite the girly girls who hold hands
and play dress up and dance to Bella Dancerella!So this was not shocking behavior!! At least my boys were not covered in the orange stuff too...

I did not (no matter what my previous post says) take a picture of Camden's bear to make it look like he was puking in the trash can. What would this teach my daughter?? We did not think we were hilarious and giggle about it quite a bit, either!

I did not send the bear to a Tampa Bay Rays game with Holden and his friend Josh and have to totally trust them to make sure the bear got home safe. I didn't worry a second that Holden would leave him somewhere. My fears were not completely unfounded and the bear (and Holden) did not come home safe and intact from the spring training game in Port Charlotte! They did not have a fabulous time and you should not check for a post about it coming soon!

And the admission I am not the most unhappy to not report: I did not injure myself playing in the softball game Friday night TWICE! First, I did not get smacked in the head by the ball after I tried to tag the runner at second base before I caught the ball...just a few milliseconds too soon with the lowering of the glove to make the tag and the ball did not glance off the glove and then my head! Fortunately, my pride was the only major injury. I was not distracted for the next couple innings by the feel of the blood and fluid rushing to my head and the throbbing. I did not wonder if it was visible to others. I did not mildly freak out 30 minutes later when I got brave enough to check it out with my fingers to see how swollen it was only to find warm fluid starting to crust over. Thankfully, it was not just serosanguinous fluid (that is not medicalese for fluid minus the blood cells) and not blood and I was not glad that I wasn't cut. A few innings later, I did not tear a calf muscle. I did not have to be carried off the field because I couldn't put any weight on my right leg. I did not later discover that I could bear weight on my toes, so I could limp/walk (praise the Lord!!) Paul did not look up my injury on line and we did not discover that I had all the text book symptoms of the calf tear...except one. This doesn't usually happen to middle aged people. I did not say, "I reject that!" when I read that. I do not have to take 4-6 weeks off from running. I am not realizing how much I take my good health for granted...I am not humbled. I would not appreciate your prayers for a speedy recovery!

Okay, I feel so much freer! What do you hate to admit??

A bear comes to visit!

Meet Birdie! He is visiting us from Holden's friend Camden Marner in Iowa! See Camden, Birdie is safe and sound and having a wonderful vacation here! Birdie has been all over the country and also to Canada and is making his last stop in sunny Florida before he heads home to Iowa with the rest of Camden's classmates' stuffed animals that have been traveling all over the country as a class project. We are having so much fun showing Birdie all the fun things there are to do here!Birdie arrived on Monday afternoon and joined us for an Alayna and Birdie day! We tried to make his first day so special! We decided to go for a long bike ride. We found a bungee cord in the garage to use as a seat belt for Birdie:We rode about 6 miles and Birdie didn't complain ONCE (I wish I could say the same for Alayna!) We stopped at the halfway point for a drink of water and to rest and cool off. Birdie was thirsty too:
Next, we rode to the park for a picnic lunch. Birdie had peanut butter and honey sandwich (his favorite I am told), an apple and some more water. He wasn't even upset that his sandwich got squished when the lunch bag (seen above) got wedged between the bar holding the bikes together and my tire! He was a good sport!
After lunch, he and Alayna played on the playground with some new friends:
He went down all the slides with Alayna:
And got brave and wanted to go down the curly slide all by himself! We were so proud of him! He is very brave for such a little bear, Camden!!

Then, we took Birdie to the twirly rides at the park and videoed the fun he had:

Unfortunately, it was just too much for the little guy and this is what happened next. He felt like heading home after this, so we strapped him back on and home we went! Poor little fella!

After a short nap, he felt like coming to the boys' baseball game. While they warmed up, I was making dividers for my business and Birdie wanted to help:

As you can see, he was a great help at keeping the tabs and trash from blowing away! What a good little helper he is! He also got to help the umpire make calls from his great vantage point during the game.

Holden also gave airplane rides when Birdie got tired of making important calls:
Birdie is making the rounds here on his vacation! He has also agreed to help out with the plane's next trip to the island, so be watching for how Birdie's first mission trip goes! Birdie says he misses you, Camden and he can't wait to see you on April 8th!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Another Prayer Request

Cast all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you.
I Peter 5:7

When all around me is chaos, the Lord is my Rock! So much is going on around me, people are sick, babies are having bad heart rhythms, and people are having major surgeries. Meanwhile, my personal life is crazy with baseball and business. I don't ever want to miss a lesson God is teaching me, and I am coming to realize today that He wants me to talk to him...A LOT! Everywhere I turn, I am telling someone that I will pray for them...don't worry, I am true to my word and I am praying for them! I have a book to keep track of all the things that require my petition before the Lord, often on my knees and face this week.

With her permission, I am asking you to join me in prayer for our family friend Barb Wilson as she prepares for her upcoming surgery for a cochlear implant. Barb has endured sensorineural deafness since she was a child. She is a prolific lip reader and excellent speaker, so I am sure most people have no idea that he has a hearing problem. She stated that the difficulty with hearing her husband, children and recently grandchildren has encouraged her to check into hearing aids which set her on a course that has led her to her upcoming surgery. I have been blessed to be able to follow her progress via her Caringbridge updates. She has endured hours of testing and is ready for her surgery tomorrow. This was her statement in her last update:

I do have the best physician I could have for this Cochlear Implant (CI) but better yet is the Great Physician I have. My faith in God is so important to me that I have been able to totally leave it all to Him knowing that whatever the outcome He is in control. Keep PRAYING for me though as I have many hard days ahead. Thanks again for all of your notes and e-mails, they are much appreciated.

Won't you join me in prayer for Barb, her husband Steve and her family that will help care for them in the near future? I know I have already said this, but I still can't get over the privilege we have been given to talk directly to God about our lives, our concerns, our friends, our EVERYTHING!! He wants to talk to us and loves it when we talk to Him. Its incomprehensible to me at times, yet I know I come away changed, renewed and refreshed! Thank you Jesus for your perfect sacrifice that allows me to come boldly to the Father's throne and cast my cares upon Him!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

More visitors!

It was a wildlife expedition when the Miller's showed up at our place for their Spring Break! Our kids loved showing off the "friends" they have met since we moved to a new climate. This butterfly wasn't a new friend, but he made it into the pool cage somehow and landed right on Holden. He was tortured for hours for his folly and we are unsure of his current whereabouts, but you can bet he learned his lesson about wandering into the Prachar abode again! Holden quickly showed Isaac all the fun places to catch lizards (we have called them geckos until we were corrected by Isaac, something about their toes makes them not geckos...he was the resident lizard/gecko expert and we had some learning to do!!) and they spent countless hours at that activity during the week!

We have admired our neighbor's lemon tree for long enough and having company gave us the nerve to ask if we could help with their overburdened tree just behind our back yard. We were given permission to pick and here is some of our crop.
We planned to make lemonade and the kids were pretty excited about our harvest:They proceeded to "help" make lemonade. Here is our recipe after many tries: 2 cups lemon juice, 1 cup sugar, fill the two liter pitcher the rest of the way up with cold water. The weather has turned downright AMAZING over the past couple weeks. It was like we had this winter (by Florida standards) that suddenly one day turned into summer! It has been sunny and low 80s with no humidity consistently and cools down nicely at night (you need your winter coat, i.e. sweatshirt if you are out in the morning or evening)! The pool is still VERY cold, but it didn't stop the kids. Troy went into vacation mode and read the paper by the pool on Saturday morning while Lora and I went for a run. Riley joined in reading the funnies.
We went to the beach on Saturday and were careful to watch the time so we didn't get sunburned too no avail. Seems the spray sunscreen didn't rub around at all, so the areas not directly sprayed got really red. Not one of us was spared. We had to spend the rest of the week looking like tourists! Sunday they attended church with us and we relaxed OUT of the sun.
We made it down to the pier just in time for a sunset one night:
And were rewarded with seeing a sting ray on the pier. They are apparently a nuisance to the fishermen, so he received this treatment:
The kids were fascinated by the fishermen and the big boys (Paul and Troy) had all kinds of questions for them. One ended up sending us home with a tiny taste of his catch.

Monday the Millers traveled just south of us to spend the day with Troy's Aunt Marcy and her husband. They had a great time snorkeling and finding all kinds of neat ocean life, while Paul worked and I did some blogging business and cleaning and relaxing! When they got back, we had decided we were going out for seafood to one of the restaurants along the bay. We arrived at our destination that was recommended to us by a local and had a long wait (can you imagine they didn't have immediate seating for a party of 10??), so we used our time making up games and watching the kids play in the shells/gravel. Here we were golfing with shells to see who could get their shell closest to the hole without going in:
Later that game turned into something more like quarters as we all tried to bounce our shells into the hole. We had to stop when the hole was completely filled. I noted that whoever tried to put the umbrella on that table was not going to be happy with us! BUT, it kept us all occupied for MOST of the 1 1/2 hour wait!
We were totally starved when we sat down (good scheme, we thought everything was fabulous that didn't eat us first!) The kids were given WikiStix to play with for a distraction and they had a great time creating things with them. Holden immediately used his to spell out what he could of the alphabet:
And Gabe made a stick man:
We finally got our food and inhaled it, right about bed time (it was a school night). We took our full tummies and kids home to bed! On Tuesday, we headed to Agape Flights for a guided tour:
Riley's class also was there for a field trip, so we got to see his class and say hello. They posed with the plane for a class picture.
Isaac is watching them from the offices looking down into the hangar and mail room:
After our tour, we headed off to Siesta Key. Troy brought his snorkel gear again, but the day was cloudy and it even sprinkled on us a couple times, so he had a harder time finding things than he did on Monday, but he still managed to bring in some sea urchin shells and sand dollars, spotted a sting ray and even swam through a school of fish! The kids LOVED the powdery white sand. They all agreed it was like flour (and is just as hard to get off your body) and very fun for shaping into sand castles or mermaid's "legs":
The Millers headed out to Tampa to the zoo on Wednesday and to spend the night to turn in their rental car and get to the airport in a timely manner. We were all sad to see them go! The best times we had were not those I have pictures of. I really didn't manage to get many pictures of their visit. The kids played so well together we didn't even know they were there sometimes! We will always treasure the time we had picking their business brains for suggestions and marketing ideas, and for development advice for Agape. Troy and Lora were a huge encouragement to us while they were here. Lora had to put up with running with me through the neighborhood, and I got plenty of good girlfriend chatting in! Thanks so much Millers! We are looking forward to making this a yearly event!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Really not me...

There will be no Not Me! Monday this week because MckMama (the creator of this crazy blog carnival) is at the hospital with baby Stellan and he is SICK. I am sure she is wishing this was not happening to her...a true Not me! Monday. He has gone into a bad heart rhythm sometime last night and the doctors are unable to get him to stay out of it. If you have ever followed her story, you remember she was told he would die in-utero because of this problem before birth and he was miraculously healed. He has been a healthy newborn until last night. Join me in prayer for baby Stellan.

Also, be in prayer for my friend Erin's twins born at 32 weeks gestation about a month ago. Sophia and Isaac have progressed since birth and Sophia has packed on the weight, but Isaac is struggling with a bowel problem and is now having problems keeping his blood sugar up. Pray for his complete healing and recovery as well. Also pray for his mom and dad Matthew and Erin and the twins' sisters Grace and Elizabeth as they try to get through this difficult time balancing the girls at home and the babies at the hospital as well as Matt's medical training. This is Erin holding Sophia and Matt with Isaac:And while I am at it, I would also ask you to join me in prayer for Julie and John Flesner. Julie was diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer about 10 months ago. She has good and bad days, and could use your prayers for peace and comfort. Here is a picture of her with my friend Jeanie's new baby Tanner:
What a privilege we have to storm the Father's throne on behalf of our brothers and sisters! Prayer changes things, it changes our hearts and renews our hope! Our hope is in YOU Lord!