Thursday, December 31, 2009

top 10 of 2009

I think this is the post I look forward to the most each year. Ben and I sit and look back at all of the posts from the previous year and try to pick our favorites qnd most memorable. It is so hard to believe how quickly the year seems to go by, but then as I sit here reminiscing I think that happened this year, really?! that was so long ago. I hope you enjoy and wish you the best new year and new decade!

10. Every Wednesday the girls and I met friends for playdates at various locations around town.
9. girls are finally potty-trained

8. serving opportunities - This year saw us serving meals under the bridge to the homeless, visits to the nursing home, creating media projects for the church, every other week serving as media director for 3 services, organizing and serving lunch for Georgetown High School teachers, children's ministry, & missions team planning.
7. The girls learned lots - Landry writes her name, Mommy, Bella, Daddy, Gigi, Mimi and other words. Bella can sing You're a Grand Ole Flag and Deep in the Heart of Texas every time she sees a flag.

6. Both girls got their first haircut.
5. Richards Family cut up all credit cards and paid off all but 2 loans
4. Ben and I traveled to San Fransisco and New Orleans.

3. Mommy traveled with the missions team to Romania.

2. We had our first family trip to the beach
1. Ben graduated from Animation Mentor.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


This Christmas was so wonderful; different and wonderful. I told Ben last year after returning from Africa that Christmas would never be the same and I am sort of glad for it. There were many changes for us, some obvious and others that many will not know of.

No, you were not forgotten off the C-mas card list, we decided to not send them this year. It is such a blessing to have the technology of blogs and facebook that we have felt connected to everyone this year and was so thankful for the cards we received.

We spent the week at Ben's parents while they were skiing and enjoyed catsitting and sleeping in my favorite bed on the planet. Every day we went to visit family or friends and enjoyed our mini-vacation.

Christmas morning was spent at Mimi and Paw-Paw's. Bryan, Susan and Lindsay were not able to be with us. We started off with breakfast tacos, cinammon rolls and o.j. Then, we sang Happy Birthday to Jesus and Paw-Paw read the nativity story from the Bible.

We kept our tradition of opening gifts one at a time, but the three girls kind of opened all together. It is so cute now they are all a little older and participate. The three girls and Uncle Ryan and Marissa were Santas and distibuted the gifts.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Monday, December 28, 2009

soup recipe

I am so blessed to have a husband who enjoys soups. My dad and brothers would not touch them growing up, come to think of it, I did not touch them growing up. Ben used to work at the Peach Tree in Fredericksburg, so I married a guy who has a taste for good food.

I stole this recipe from Erica who stole this recipe from Stormi. A pot is simmering right now on the stove, so gave me inspiration to blog.

Tortellini Soup
3 boxes of beef broth
1 lb of lean meat - we use ground turkey or Italian sausage (browned and drained)
1 small pkg of frozen tortellini (or fresh)
1 small pkg frozen green beans
1 diced zuchinni
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can tomato sauce
Season with salt, pepper, clove (or 2 or 3) of garlic, basil, oregano and Italian seasonings.

Simmer all ingredients on stove for 15 minutes - I wait to add the tortellini until the last 5 minutes, tends to get soggy.
Garnish with mozarella or parmesan cheese.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

warning - Princess and Frog

Mom, Lindsay and I just got back from taking the girls to see the Disney's Princess and the Frog. I highly recommend you watch it before you take your children. The movie is set in New Orleans and there is vodoo in the movie including "spirits" from the "other side" I would not have allowed the girls to watch it had it proofed it first. It had its cute moments, I was actually excited about seeing it, but I think it was too much for them and I regret taking them for the content.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Uncle Herbie

When you have an 80+ year old uncle who has a real beard and has been Santa from
New York to California, it is hard to stand in-line for a fake beard, pillow-stuffed belly Santa. This year he decided after 22 years to stay home and spend the season with family and be Santa at his antique shop. All that is missing is Uncle Bryan and Aunt Susan who are on baby Brady watch. Merry Christmas.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Mimi's birthday

We celebrated Mimi's birthday by decorating the tree, decorating the outside of her home with lights, lunch at Camp Verde and the night parade in Comfort. Decorating the lights also means raking up the front yard. Uncle Bryan and uncle Ryan made a huge pile of leaves for the girls to explore. Emmie preferred the more dignifying bike ride while LE could not get enough. Bella eventually joined in, but was a little more apprehensive.

Friday, December 18, 2009

the smell of gingerbread

We had a blast decorating gingerbread for family night. The cookies were pretty good too. Bella preferred just sprinkles.

**Disclaimer - OCD alert - the pics are out of order, I am still figuring out my new computer and kept uploading duplicate pics, was trying to remain joyful, so did not go back and correct it.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

snow day?

It snowed in Central Texas but before we were able to get bundled up so we could go "build a snowman" the sun came out. The girls could have cared less, they saw the snow falling and even caught some on their tongue before it stopped.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

soon to be family heirlooms

Since the year we started dating Ben and I have exchanged ornaments. Each year, Ben anticipates the arrival of the Hallmark Star Wars ornament and I like to see how creative Ben gets. This year the girls have danced all over the house, so it was an easy choice. (Bella - heart, LE - I love to dance)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

oh Christmas tree

This year the girls did the majority of the Christmas decorating. Unfortunatrly, we have had some ornament casualties because of all of the exploring. My favorite part this year has been that every day the girls have asked if it is Christmas. Our reply always being "no." "Well is it Jesus' birthday yet?"

Monday, December 14, 2009

spirit of Christmas

My sister-in-law, Marissa gave me a devotional last year that I have actually read almost cover to cover this year. I have blogged about it before, and I probably could blog about it every other day b/c it touches me every time I read it. This one could not be passed up.

Every year I ask the Lord to reveal something new to me about the C-mas story. This C-mas season I've been shown what seems to be a simple, fundamental truth that is easy to miss during the busy season.
She goes on to say how her family was called to the Caribbean region in 2002, leaving (and selling) everything behind except clothing and some sentimental items. This included the majority of their Christmas decorations.
When our 1st C-mas on the field came, it was more difficult to be in the "C-mas spirit" b/c the familiar C-mas decorations were not displayed. On top of that, we had no special friends or family to share the season.
As I sought the Lord, I expected to hear something new about the circumstances surrounding the C-mas story. Instead, what I was shown was the actual heart of C-mas, which in turned changed my heart. It occurred to me that while all these things symbolize Christmas, all of these things are not Christmas. I learned Jesus is enough. Jesus is Christmas. When all the stuff - the lights, gifts, trees, food and even friends - was taken away, it came down to Jesus. He is the only reason to be celebrating, I learned that everything I need for Christmas, and for my life is found in Jesus.
-Sarah, Middle America & the Caribbean
Lord, please forgive me for forgetting it is all about you.

cold winter's treat

Sunday, December 13, 2009

ornament exchange

Every year since I was a child my mom gave us an ornament representing that year. When Ben and I started dating, we continued that tradition. This year the girls were big enough so we combined two traditions, cinnamon applesauce ornaments. We passed them out at Mimi's house on the night after Thanksgiving as we decorated her tree.

*One cup of mix made 10 gingerbread men.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Friday, December 11, 2009

urgent call to prayer

I received an e-mail this morning from Vio and Estera, my Romanian mission friends. They have been in the process of adopting Dany for months. They should have been in court this past week, but this morning some uknown case worker has stepped in and threatened Dany's father. The father has two boys, one Andrew whom he loves, but for some reason he despises and even has beaten Dany. He abandoned both boys, but now wants Andrew. He was working cooperatively with Vio and Estera on adopting Dany and allowing them to take Andrew for periods of time, so the boys could continue a relationship. This case worker has persuaded him to remove Dany and said if he does not do so he will loose both children. Please pray the Lord's power to work and this to be resolved immediately. Romanian system is very tricky, it is not a fair system. What is best for the child is not the way it always works. PLEASE PRAY! This is their only child, I saw them with this boy who less than a year ago at age 3 did not speak a word and he is thriving in their care.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

all better

Thank you my sweet, Dell Boy for making my computer all better. I even have Windows 7 now.

Love you, Honey!

But now, I gotta figure how to finish my C-mas challenge!

trip to the zoo

very sick boy

My computer is very sick, (and yes my computer is a boy, how do I know - b/c I do not understand my computer EVER!) It has been sick for a while, my posts were pretyped, sorry to deceive, but I have not had consistent access to my internet, e-mail or facebook for days. I have been able to check e-mail on the ipod, but the keypad is tiny so feel loved if you get a reply. I have to give up on the Christmas challenge and take a break from facebook and maybe enjoy this amazing holiday season.
I do have one final note before I go.
I have it heard it said if you will store the Lord's word in your heart, it will be there when needed. In our family we listen to Christian radio or children's praise CD almost exclusively. Most mornings begin with one of us turning on KLOVE so that we have worship music playing all day. I do not even turn it off when we leave (for the dogs or maybe in case we have break-in they might hear the word, I know I am weird.) Because of this I wake up every morning with a song in my head, and b/c of our choice in music it is usually the Word. I have been up since 2 this morning and I have had a song in my head, a song I have not heard in years, so I know it is from the Lord. I also know it is something I need to grab firmly onto, but I also feel lead to share the words on here for some reason. (I do not know the artist or the name of the song.)

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full into His wonderful face.
And the things of Earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of his glory and grace.

Hope to see you soon!
Jesus is the only reason for this season. God bless.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

grateful to friends

I have so many people to thank for helping to make my trip to Romania possible.
First of all to Ben - Honey, thank you for allowing me to go. I know the Lord has called me and to have a husband who supports me in this ministry is such a blessing. I could not do it without you.
Melanie, Mandy, and Christan - thank you so much friends for taking such good care, ahem - spoiling my girls. Thank you for taking them to the fun places & making the fun crafts. They really love you and enjoyed every minute of it.
Mom Richards and Mom Neal - thank you for coming week 2 and cooking, cleaning, spoiling and loving on my family. It meant the world to me, Ben and you know the girls to have you here.
Financial Sponsors - Mindy & K.C, Bryan & Susan, Tom & Verna, Greg & Colleen, Uncle Ronnie & Aunt Nancy, The Boyds, The Browns, The Calfys, Wes & Gwen, Dave & Melanie, Lisa & Brandt, the Loveless Family, The Moseleys, & The Wagners - you know without you hearing the call it would not have happened. You were His hands and feet as much as me.
Hosts - To everyone in Bucharest, especially Cristina and Iunela; and Vio, Estera & Danny. Thank you guys for an amazing time and showing us it is more than us. Sometimes, we Americans get so wrapped in our lives and our own worlds we forget how truly blessed we are. I am so honored to call you friend, and to know you are advancing the Kingdom every day. God bless you and you will be in my prayers.

Monday, December 07, 2009

day #12 long flight home

The "important" diplomat arriving the night before - Joe Biden. I had never been that close to Air Force 1 or 2, so I thought I was pretty special.
We left Bucharest early Friday morning, and headed for London. Merissa and I sat next to a young missionary with an amazing story and plan for his future. We had a 3 hour lay-over in London and then on to Houston. I was so glad to arrive on American soil. I missed Ben and the girls so much. Merissa's Dad picked us up from the airport and we made our 3 hour drive home. Ben, Mom and the girls met me at the church at 10:30 p.m.
I am once again so humbly honored the Lord chose me for this trip. I want to be your hands and feet, Lord.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

day 6 - hear them ring? Are u listening?

You know where they are. You have already seen them.
Before you get out of the comfort of your car, check your change drawer or your wallet. Give your kiddos your spare change and let them know they are making a difference. And don't support stores who do not "allow" ringers. Your change DOES make a difference.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

day 5 of C-mas challenge

HELLOOOOOOO, anyone out there?
My blog-o-meter says I have readers, but not sure who? Why aren't you commenting any more? Who are you? What are you thinking? Where are you from? Do you have a blog I should know about? I would love to hear from you.
Guess, I will steal Susan's button - will blog for comments.

Friday, December 04, 2009

day #11 on the road

On Thursday we traveled to Brasov. I wish these pictures did justice for how incredibly beautiful Romania is.
On our way we made several stops to take pics. After about the 7th stop, Matt says "I quit." The country was so picturesque, no words can describe it. We also stopped at Bran Castle aka Count Dracula's Castle. I felt right at home in the castle, as all of the doors were 5 feet tall and the king-sized was my sized. (my camera batteries died in the castle, so most pics on this post are courtesy of Chris).
Brasov was so beautiful. It was like stepping back in time. The city was a town square and a church one of the largest Gothic churches built (dated 1385). After some souvenir shopping, we headed back to Bucharest, where the team there had a traditional Romanian feast waiting for us, so sorry we were almost 2 hours late for it. As we arrived in town we had to pull over for almost 30 minutes on the side of the road. We did not see any wrecks, but lots of police cars on the side streets. Elvis said an important diplomat must have landed at the airport.
We said our goodbyes and then most everyone stayed in the Campus Crusades Offices on couches, others went to their host homes for one last night before our early morning flight.