Thursday, December 31, 2009

Bye Bye 2009!!!

Well, its New Year's Eve and we are suppose to be spending it with Ryan's family but due to a massive Swine flu outbreak in the house on Monday...its just us! Its been a bummer ending to an awesome Christmas. This week has just crept by and it really has stunk that my entire family has gotten the flu. So, to make the best of our worst situation...its a movie and big ball dropping live from NYC! :)

So, wishing all my friends and family a wonderful, blessed, healthy New Year!

God Bless You!
Happy 2010

Sunday, December 27, 2009

My Christmas Baby..Happy Birthday ADDIE

On December 25, 2001 at 11:00 (Christmas night) my water broke. My first baby and first baby girl was born December 26th at 4:30 A.M. weighing in at 6lbs 9oz.
I never dreamed how much my first baby would change my world!

Happy 8th Birthday, Addie Noel! You will always be the BEST Christmas present ever!
We love you tons Addie girl. :)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Merry Christmas from the Praters!!!!

Wishing all my friends, family, and blog followers a very, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! I pray that as we journey into 2010, may we all...

"Live a life worthy of the calling you have received." Ephesians 4:2

Merry Christmas from Kara and Ryan, Addie, Avery, and Annalise

Merry Christmas, May your New Year dreams come true!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Holiday Humor

This will make you smile and laugh. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A little Christmas fun....

with the girls decorating their very own Christmas trees! :)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Christmas Is....To Me....

..a baby born in a manger who became our "Rescuer"
..a tree
..Christmas Cards
..and some very yummy, fatty foods!

Hope everyone is enjoying this joyous holiday! Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Its December!!!!!

One of the traditions I started with my girls a couple of years ago is the chocolate Advent calendars! They love it! :) Its a fun, easy, and cheap tradition that just brightens those angel faces. :) I think I like giving them just as much as they like receiving them.
So here are some photos of surprising the girls with their Advent calendars!



Monday, November 30, 2009

Our "Road Trip" Thanksgiving

I love Thanksgiving! First of all my birthday is right before this holiday and its so much fun to be around family on my special day. Secondly, its our best holiday since Ryan is a pastor. Its the holiday that we can actually be out of town and for the weekend service Ryan can find a volunteer to teach for him. So, it makes for a nice long road trip. :)

This year we headed to the Panhandle for a week. We stopped on our way in Ft. Worth/Dallas area to break our 10 hour drive up. It was wonderful as I was able to be with my mom and dad and my sister and her family on my birthday. The next day was extra special as I had coffee with one of my dearest friends I've known since we were 16 and sophomores in high school. She is a hoot and still makes me laugh hard! I treasure her humor and joy and most of all her friendship. By Monday, we were trekking across the top of Texas toward the Panhandle. I love going there believe it or not. Its peaceful, no traffic, no rush, super nice people, and some really amazing sunsets that you can see forever, and very cold, cold nights.

Thanksgiving is a time for me to get away, spend time with my family, no schedules, yummy food, and most of all tell God how much I love Him and how thankful I am for his grace and unending, unfailing love he lavishes on me.
Thank you Lord for it all!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Happy Birthday to Me....

I Got a new Kitty! Meet Herschel our new Maine Coon kitty cat! :)
(in honor of our sweet Hobbes)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A New Adventure!!!

A couple of weeks ago, as a family, we were able to take a trip to the Panhandle of Texas via airplane. This was the first time the girls have been in a plane and actually remembered it. Addie and Avery were babies the last time they flew and Annalise had never stepped foot in a plane so it was quite an experience for each of the them.
The highlight....was ordering a coke from the airline stewardess. :) Great memories!
Enjoy some fun pics....oops, i didn't get one of Annalise and dad, they were sitting behind us! ;)

Monday, November 16, 2009

For One Reason or Another....

I would really like to meet, sit, and have a conversation with some of these ladies! For many reasons, these ladies spark an interest with me and share a part of life that I connect or have an interest in. Some of them I know via blog and facebook and have enjoyed sharing life with. Others, well, they are high profile and I would love to pic their brain on their journey, strengths, and success, etc.
It would be so cool to know a little more of these ladies. I hope this dream will come true someday! :)

Katie Couric (New York City)
Steph Thomason (Oklahoma)
Lisa Deese (Nebraska)
Lori Wilhite (Las Vegas)
Brandi Wilson (Nashville)
a 911 victim's wife (where ever they are)
Laura Bush (Texas)

Monday, November 9, 2009

Its Beginning to Look a lot like......

Yea, I love this time of year. It just brightens your day as you go places and see, and smell, and hear the sights and sounds of Christmas. Its joyful, fun, exciting, soothing, and simply colorful everywhere you go. I love it!
I love the fact too it reminds me of the song from the David Crowder Band, "O How He Loves Us". O, how He loved us, that He sent his ONE and only Son, in a manger to be the rescue from ourselves and the rescue of the world. I am grateful for this joyful holiday that is upon us. Thank you God for your son,a baby in the manger.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Monday, November 2, 2009

My Heavy Heart....

Today my sweet, awesome Maine Coon cat Hobbes is gone. I am so sad and have such a heavy heart. I will blog soon on just how cool this 12 year old cat was! To sad to do so right now. Here are our last pictures today with him. I had my camera in my purse so I had to get one last picture with my favorite cat.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Happy 6th Birthday Avery!!!

Our sweet pea, 2nd princess, Avery is 6! Wow, I can't believe my sweet girl is in Kindergarten and growing super fast. She's such a blessing to our family with her sweet spirit, angel eyes, and loving heart.
For her birthday from us, Avery chose to have her ears pierced like big sister, Addie. She did AWESOME! No tears. I took some before, during, and after pictures.
So here is to our second daughter, Avery Rian, happy birthday sweet girl...
We Love You Tons!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

My Crazy Week

Wow!!! As I sit typing this blog, it's already Tuesday evening and tomorrow is hump day! This week has thrown me all off with traveling and the girls being out of school. This past weekend, I took a trip to Dallas area to see my family. It was wonderful and some much needed time with them. I hadn't seen my sister since our family trip this summer to Florida! Way tooo long so it was so nice to catch up and see my niece and nephew.
Anyway, we traveled home on Monday and that was weird because it really felt like Sunday. Today the girls and I hung around the house and I did like 5 loads of laundry and then some errands. So, tomorrow on Wednesday, I'll be cleaning the house and re-packing the bags as we are flying out to the Panhandle for the weekend. Avery decided she wanted her ears pierced for her 6th birthday so we will go the mall and celebrate this big event Wednesday evening. Then Thursday, the girls head to school for a couple of hours, we pick them up before lunch, and then we are off to the airport! Ryan is speaking for a youth function all weekend and the church said they would fly my entire family so we are all taking advantage of the offer. The bonus is that we are staying with Ryan's parents and get to make it a little family time with Ryan's side of the family. I am looking forward to the trip. The girls have never flown and the weather is suppose to be super chilly. I'll get bring a jacket! Yippee and trick or treating will be nice and cold. Yea, can't wait. But for now, I gotta go fold some more laundry. ;)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Other Joys that fill my Heart....

Buster Brown (9-1-07..died at 15 years of age)




The animal lover in me just can't get enough of these creatures that fill my house with 3 wild, crazy girls! I just love how God gave us animals to take care of and love. Here's to my other joys....

Monday, October 19, 2009

Monday's message

Psalm 28:7
"The Lord is my strength and my shield,
My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped.

My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks
to Him in Song.

This verse has been helping me over the past weeks as we our in this "transition" time in God's calling. Its funny how, even though its Ryan's career/job, it affects me greatly because we are one.
I have found much comfort in this verse. My heart does trust in Him not just my head and knowledge but my heart. He knows me and my future and because I TRUST that, I know I am helped wherever this new journey leads.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Red River Rivalry

Because he's a football lover,
Because OU is his favorite college football team,
Because its played in Texas (5 hours away),
Because he has always wanted to go,
Because it would be an awesome date,
Because it's located right in the middle of the State Fair with amazing junk food......

I would love to get Ryan tickets to the Red River Rivalry showdown at the Cotton Bowl next year! This is a promise that someday we shall be among the sea of orange and maroon yelling for OU!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

In Honor of My New Friend...

I am sharing a Pumpkin Dump Cake that I'll be making this weekend for small group. The recipe came from a new friend who shares a lot of similar loves in life!

In honor of my new friend, Stephanie, who loves Dr Pepper and has a heart for her large Labrador dog and also served along side her husband in student ministry for over 15 years, thank you for sharing this yummy Fall dessert!

Pumpkin Dump Cake

1 lg can of pumpkin pie mix (make sure its the mix)
1 box of yellow cake mix
1 stick of butter
pecans (optional)

In a 9 x 13 pan put the pumpkin on the bottom and sprinkle the yellow cake mix on top! Melt a stick of butter on top and add pecans if desired.
Cook at 350 for 45 minutes.

Serve with Ice Cream!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Looking Inside Forgotten God

My husband picked up Francis Chan's new book Forgotten God. It looks like another quick read and I can't wait to hunker down and begin the book!
I was looking through the book at some quotes, chapter titles and did a little reading here and there. I read the following and almost quit breathing! I was amazed. Here is what it said...

"How many times have you heard someone say, "I just wish I knew God's will for my life"? I know I've longed for this before. But now I see it as a misguided way of thinking and talking. There are very few people in the Scriptures who received their life plan from God in advance (or even their five-year plan, for that matter!) Consider Abraham, who was told to pack up his family and all his possessions and start walking. He didn't know where he was going. He didn't know if he would ever be back. He didn't know any of the details we consider vital (destination, how long the venture will take, what the costs/rewards would be, whether he'd receive a 401k, or health insurance.) God said to go and he went, and that's pretty much all he knew.
I think a lot of us need to forget about God's will for my life. God cares more about our response to His Spirit's leading today, in the moment, than about what we intend to do next year. In fact, the decisions we make next year will be profoundly affected by the degree to which we submit to the Spirit right now, in today's decisions."

WOW! I was totally blown away reading that small paragraph as I was looking inside Chan's new book! How true this is for our life right now as we feel God really stirring something and speaking to us. It was good for me to read this because I think for my personality, I need and have to have it all planned out and know exactly what's next. Francis Chan' goes on to say that dwelling on the future often excuses us from the faithful and sacrificial living today. He says that when we constantly talk or question our future, or stay even a safe zone , that we can let it take the place of letting the Spirit affect or immediate actions in radical ways.

I think this is exactly what has been going on with me and Ryan and this "stir".
I don't think it was coincidence for me to come across that today. Especially after Ryan and I had a wonderful conversation last night followed with prayer.
I am excited now to jump right in this book and learn more about the Holy Spirit.
Thank You Francis Chan!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

These are a few of my favorite Fall things....

A pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks
Pumpkin candles
fuzzy socks in the morning
pumpkins on the porch
long sleeve t-shirts
pumpkin pancakes/pumpkin bread
Color changes
Crisp, cool mornings (we get very few down in South Texas)
a new Season

Fall is so fun! I look forward to it every year and really never appreciated it until I moved to South Texas 7 years ago. We only get Fall for 2-3 days and then the weather always seems to spike back up to the upper 80s! So today, I celebrate me and my fuzzy socks this morning as the temps were in the low 50s! Yea!! :)

Friday, October 9, 2009

Have You Heard????

The news of Francis Chan's latest book is out. Yippee! I loved his book Crazy Love and can't wait to read his new one.
It's called The Forgotten God. Its all about the Holy Spirit.

I love reading in my spare time and I love Francis Chan. He challenges you, stretches you to have a transformational love for God and to live that out. Wow, Crazy Love was awesome so I can't wait to digest his wisdom on the Holy Spirit.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

My Computer Nights

There are so many things I should be doing about right now! However, I love this time of night when the kids are in bed (have been since 8) and I read my daily blogs, check facebook, and well just play around on the computer. At this point in my life, I could get rid of cable and only keep the internet because I would rather stay connected to by cyber-friends and read about the happenings in each of their lives.

I have found great encouragement with these blogs I follow, most of them being pastor wives. Its fun to see there leadership skills, encouraged by their thoughts or ideas, and their love for the Lord. So, Its about this time every night, that my eyes are drying out due to tiredness yet I feel so energized by my fellow cyber-friend bloggers. Thank you all, you know you much fun the connection and encouragement of motherhood, ministry, and life can be. Keep blogging!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

My Baby is 4!!!!

Wow, I can't believe my Annalise Grace is already 4 years old. It has been a blast and adventure having this sweet girl in our home! She loves life and people and her joy and smile are contagious.

Happy Birthday Annalise, We love you tons!!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Happy 35th Birthday, Ryan

My Love

My Constant Laughter

My Best Friend

Everyone calls you amazing, but I just call you Mine!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

My Dragonfly....Nanaw

You would think after 6 months of losing my dear nanaw that the pain would seem less and time would heal and it has. However, it doesn't take long when I see her picture to remember the fond memories and try to remember her sweet voice. It seems as the holidays near, I am thinking of her more often and how she's really gone and wont be around for the holidays. Its hard. But this I know, she's complete and with Jesus, and nothing could be sweeter to her. I know she would tell me so....
(Enjoy this poem)

The Dragonfly Story

Once, in a little pond, in the muddy water
under the lily pads, there lived a little water beetle
in a community of water beetles. They lived a simple
and comfortable life in the pond with few
disturbances and interruptions.

Once in a while, sadness would come to the community
when one of their fellow beetles would climb
the stem of a lily pad and would never be seen again.
They knew when this happened; their friend was dead,
gone forever.

Then, one day, one little water beetle felt
an irresistible urge to climb up that stem.
However, he was determined that he would not leave forever.
He would come back and tell his friends
what he had found at the top.
When he reached the top and climbed out of the water
onto the surface of the lily pad, he was so tired,
and the sun felt so warm, that he decided he must take a nap.

As he slept, his body changed and when he woke up,
he had turned into a beautiful blue-tailed dragonfly
with broad wings and a slender body designed for flying.

So, fly he did! And, as he soared he saw the beauty
of a whole new world and a far superior way of life
to what he had never known existed.
Then he remembered his beetle friends
and how they were thinking by now he was dead.
He wanted to go back to tell them,
and explain to them that he was now more alive
than he had ever been before.
His life had been fulfilled rather than ended.

But, his new body would not go down into the water.
He could not get back to tell his friends the good news.
Then he understood that their time would come,
when they, too, would know what he now knew.
So, he raised his wings and flew off
into his joyous new life!

~Author Unknown~

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Monday, September 14, 2009

I Love Fall

One of my favorite things in this life is the changing of seasons. I'm just sorry I live in an area that doesn't actually see all 4 seasons but grateful that the Fall time does bring about a change.

I love Fall because it brings new, warm smells.
I love Fall because the colors abound powerfully.
I love Fall because it ushers in the cooler weather.
I love Fall because its football season.
I love Fall because it means the holidays are upon us.
I love Fall because my birthday is always right with Thanksgiving and I am always with my family.
I love Fall because i love pumpkin bread or really anything with pumpkin in it.
I love Fall because its the first season you decorate your home.

I am thankful for how the seasons come and go and bring a new freshness we all need. I already got my Fall lotion and candles so now I'm really getting the itch to get those decorations out. So, holding on to one more week and then my home will be Fall converted. Yippee!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

So What Would You Do.....

To Get a Free Chick-fil-A Sandwich?????

Dress your entire family in your favorite team Logo to get a free sandwich on Labor Day! :) Yes, the entire family had our team logo shirts and cheerleading outfits on just to get that juicy, crispy chicken sandwich we all love.

We love Chick-A-Lay! (as the girls would say)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

And She's Off.....

I can't believe our spunky baby girl is growing up this fast!

(age 2)

So here is to Annalise Grace, as she starts her first day of Pre-K.
We love you tons short stack.

First Day of Pre-K

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

I'm Happy to Report......

That the fun-filled first day of school went really well! Momma didn't cry while leaving her second baby girl and wonderful smiles and non-stop chatting greeted the mini-van upon pick-up! :) Awwww, makes me relieved to know the first day fun was a success. At dinner, we now have 2 girls telling us stories of the rules and in and outs of school, how they are helpers, and well of course what NOT to do! Cute stories and endless laughter at the dinner table.

I'm so proud of my Avery girl! She LOVED Kindergarten. She told me, "mom, I love Kindergarten more than Pre-K." Yea, she is embracing her new world.

Happy School Year to my sweet girls! I love you deeply and may you shine big for Jesus this year and continue to grow in confidence in who you are!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

A Family that Serves Together...

Stays Together! :) I am so proud of my 3 girls. On 2 different occasions as a family, we have gotten out into our community and served and shared God's love to others. Through my spiritual growth and some personal reflection and growth, Ryan and I really have talked about getting out into the community, showing Christ's love, be helping hands and feet, and start with the outside in.

Our family lives in an area were it is predominately white, upper-class, by the waters of Galveston Bay where HUGE homes and boats sit. This area is known for NASA, engineers, EXXON Mobile, and many medical professionals; therefore, to look around around area it looks so nice and tidy, and well, everyone is doing really well. We wanted our family to look beyond ourselves and really see that people do need help, and there are families that need food and work, and that life, well, isn't so simple. That this is not the norm! I want my girls to learn compassion and serving, and giving. I want them to love others no matter the color or economic circumstance. I want them to love others because they are God's people, too. I want to model this for them so as they grow, they grow with caring hearts that look beyond themselves. I want them to believe in themselves and what they can contribute to society no matter their age.

So as my family moves from the outside in, may our hands and feet be ready and looking, and sharing, and loving, and spreading the love of Christ, the Gospel.

"From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked" Luke 12:48

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Enjoying the Life Around Me

So just about every room is NOT off limits when it comes to the toys! I step over them in the kitchen to finding some in the bottom of my bathtub. I often laugh as our 3rd daughter, Annalise, finds the weirdest, and I mean weirdest places to string out her toys. Hint...(remember the apple in the Christmas tree i found???)

Anyway, I captured these pictures as I am stepping over them walking out my bedroom. Like I said, trying to enjoy these moments as they will continue to pass so fast!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Who Knew.....

Who Knew that my blogging experience would bring me to a place to share some of my greatest joys, my life, my husband and best friend, and my 3 precious girls.

Who Knew that blogging would allow me to clear my head on days I feel like I am only talking to children and seriously is anyone listening?!

Who Knew that blogging would allow me share my heart and dreams.

Who Knew that blogging would allow me to meet other Christian women who struggle, laugh, share motherhood experiences, and share their journey with loving their Savior Jesus Christ.

Who Knew that blogging would allow me to be challenged and encouraged to be a better mommy, wife, and follower of Jesus.

Who Knew that blogging would eagerly spark a curiosity to meet some of my blogger friends I visit daily and love to hear about their life.

Who Knew that blogging would bring tears, laughter, and spiritual growth to my soul.

Who Knew that blogging would keep me grounded in accountability.

Who Knew that blogging can produce friendships from across your table to across the U.S.A.

Who Knew that blogging is so much fun!

Who Knew that blogging can bring families close together with pictures and journeys.

Who Knew that blogging can be a shared life.

Who Knew...
Who Knew...

Who Knew that blogging for a little over a year, I enjoy every minute that I can sneak away and write, and share, and dream, and listen, and read other Christ followers.

Who Knew..

I know that blogging has been a true treasure to this gal's soul! :)

Monday, August 10, 2009

Conversations with a 5 and 3 yr old....

Today had to be one of the funniest conversations we've had in awhile with our 2 youngest girls. So here's how it all took place at the lunch table today....

Ryan and I are sitting at the table talking about his morning at work when suddenly we heard a scream that could break a window and 2 girls come flying out of the master bedroom.
Annalise begins the conversation by saying.. "Avery pinched me in the eye." We ask Avery, "did you pinch Annalise?" Avery, "no, i didn't pinch!" Annalise chimes in, "yes, Avery pinched me on the cheek." So, Ryan proceeds to ask Annalise, "wait a minute Annalise, you said Avery pinched you on the eye and now you are saying the cheek. So which is it, the eye or the cheek?" And Avery replies from across the room, "it was the cheek!"

Ryan and I busted out laughing as Avery had confessed she really did pinch! How can you be mad when she was honest and told on herself?!
It was hysterical!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

School Shopping is.....

Twice the Fun!!!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

I Know, I'm Late...

Yes, late being the much talked about, hyped about movie on marriage, Fireproof. Ryan and I finally sat down for a movie night and the movie of choice became Fireproof. I have to admit, it was really good and I was sorry for not seeing it sooner. In fact, I bawled like a baby. It was touching and very real. I enjoyed it greatly. So, if you haven't seen it, go rent it! Its a dollar at the Red Box or worth the $4 rental at Blockbuster.
Go, go now! Its that good. Its a must see on marriage, on communication, love, commitment, and a love we can only give one another because of The One who loved us first.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Happy Birthday Dad!

I had the privilege of having a dad that was present in my life growing up. Don't get me wrong, he worked hard but never was absent from me or my sister's life. There are definite memories I have of his love. One being, he drove a blue and white suburban until the wheels about fell off that thing probably so me and my sister could be in cheerleading, athletics, and attend church functions, or simple to keep up with 2 girls wardrobe! :) I still remember dad driving endless hours from Odessa, TX to Dallas, TX to watch those Permian High football games. Or even using that blue and white suburban to hall around cheerleader run through pole signs for the football games. Other fond memories being his presence at all my athletic events screaming or even dancing in the stands at my cheer pep rallies. Sweet times for sure and I am thankful for his presence then and even now as I've grown and his continued love to me and now my 3 girls.

So here is to my dad, as he celebrates another milestone birthday, the big 55!
Happy Birthday Dad! I hope its one of the best, blessed years yet.
I love you.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A Challenge....

Ok, so I love the summer for many reasons! No schedules or routines, reading books, vacations, visiting family and endless swimming. My favorite summer activity would have to be catching up on some books that I've had on my book shelf to read. Well, I already finished one that was amazing and very challenging. It is called Crazy Love by Francis Chan. Its incredible and a must read! I LOVED it. Over the past months, Ryan and I have been really seeking and searching exactly what God wants to do with each of our lives and our family. I came upon one of my frequent blog sites where a Francis Chan video was highlighted. Hop on over to virtue alert on my blog roll and watch it! It spoke volumes to me and allowed me to realize that this so called "comfortable" life is not for me but a life totally surrendered to do God's will.
Enjoy the challenge.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Fun, Friendships, and the Fourth of July

This year we celebrated the Fourth of July "old school" style with a trip to Dairy Queen, aka DQ, for some blizzards. The Bruning clan joined us as we chomped on some ice cream blizzards and then headed out to watch fireworks. It was always good fun and lots of laughter. I am thankful for them and their friendships.