Monday, January 31, 2011

The First of Many

Over the weekend, Addie and Avery (my 7 and 9 yr old), spent the night away from home at a friend's house. It was weird to have them BOTH gone. They stayed together (double sleepover) at their friends house so they were with each other. Addie has stayed away from home but Avery hasn't. Avery has only been left with my sister or my mom and dad so it was REALLY weird for her to be away from home. I think I found a lot of comfort in knowing she was with Addie. Addie is like a little momma so I knew big sister would be there for her.
So, I know this is my future! My girls sleeping away from home and sleepover parties at our own home are quickly approaching but it does seem weird. At times, I look at the girls and think they are still little and that I have to do EVERYTHING for them...AND then, I look at them again and realize, my sweet peas or growing up and becoming more and more independent. It is fun, it is nice, it is a new season, it does allow more freedom, new family adventures, etc etc.
I want to be a mom that doesn't hold "tight fists" to my girls and start letting my girls expand those wings a little bit. I want to be a mom who welcomes kids into my home for sleepover and fun times. It's here, it's upon me and as weird as it feels I embrace it with confidence and use it wisely.
Two things this new season has allowed for me personally, is to pray more and invite these non-churched friends of Addie and Avery to our church. As, I climbed into bed on Saturday night, I prayed for Addie and Avery, their protection and friendships. When I picked the girls up Sunday morning and had 5 girls loaded in the van, I smiled. I thought to myself...this is the first of many! This is what friendships are becoming for my girls~sleepovers, late nights, eating pizza and drinking dr pepper, funny stories to me in the van, and most importantly having my girls and their non-churched friends going to church!
It was very good and I hope the first of many, many more! :)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Snicker Pie

This post is dedicated to Stephanie Thomason! :)
(because she posted a recipe for peanut butter pie~yummy!)

Snicker Pie

8 oz cream cheese softened
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter

Beat those 3 ingredients together until creamy.

16 oz cool whip, thawed
5 regular size Snicker bars chopped up

Pour into 2 graham cracker crusts and chill.

Enjoy! :)

Monday, January 24, 2011

So why Katy, TX????

Our adventure in church planting has hit the ground and as we were only lacing up our shoes and doing prep, we have begun running this long marathon that is ahead!!!!

So why Katy, TX? Some of you have probably wondered well how and why did the Praters choose Katy, why in Houston, why not an area around League City, etc. Well, as we ventured out into this "church planting" world, one thing is certain, it brought us praying deeply for what God would really wanted to do with our family. Once we felt the calling to 100% further God's kingdom by church planting, the next big step was "where." With advice and mentoring from many, many people especially previous church planters, majority of them said you go by how you "feel" at the place. Do you see yourself there 20+ years, do you find the area a place you would raise your family, etc.
Well on a whim, Ryan and I went Katy and we were like whoah! This city reminded us a lot like Abilene (where we went to college and lived 5 yrs before League City). It was small town feel, rallied around high school sports, very school spirited, it actually has land around it- country land that is (a favorite of ours ;) ) it has great school system, great growth happening in the city, all city perks, shopping, hospitals, but most of all its now ranked as top US city in growth with schools and new homes~ a great place to launch a church plant, on the North side of Katy! South side as a ton of church plants and all the new "sexy" new things but North Katy, aka, the Old Katy as they call it is a little more traditional and lacks for a new, modern gospel-centered church. This area is in need of a church making an impact for all the new growth now happening on the North side.
We are very excited! We are excited to see how God will use this church plant and help reach North Katy, maybe all the way up toward Cy-Fair area. ;)

We wanted to take the mission of Clear Creek and help reach Houston and surrounding areas for the gospel and Katy fit us greatly! Not Pearland, Not Alvin, Not Bay City, Not anywhere South of the Beltway for that matter. There is nothing wrong with any of those cities, it just wasn't our fit.
So, a lot of work has been done, a lot of work is being done, and there is still so much to be done. Please be in prayer for our family as we take this step of faith.
This Friday, we have our first "interest" mission/vision meeting in Katy with people who live North side but travel south for church. As of now, 24 people have been invited and RSVP so this is very exciting. Pray for Friday, Pray for Ryan has he gives vision to what this church shall exist for. Thank you so very much.

*btw..I keep saying "church" because the name is still in forming process ;)
*we will have a family church planting blog but due to sickness this weekend, I didn't get it made...coming soon. :)

Saturday, January 22, 2011

I was a no show...

You see, I have these 3 girl friends who I went on a trip with the summer (Fandanga) and bonded greatly. There is something to be said about a 3 day trip, a river, girl food, girl talk, encouragement on being better wives/moms, and shopping!
Well, now the "Fandanga Four" as I call us, meet every month with our families at La Brisa Mexican food to catch up and touch base. The funny thing is that we all go to the same church which our husbands all serve on staff and live within 5 minutes of one another. However, life, work, wife, mom duties, etc etc...we basically never see one another except passing at church (in which we always almost still a hug) ;)

Well, last night was our 6 months since our Fandanga trip~the half a year marker~ a very nice dinner date in Houston. Remind you...this was planned over a month ago!!! Well, wouldn't you know...Addie comes home sick from school on Wednesday and Thursday I get her into the Dr in which they confirmed strep. Uggg...I was like, I can't not get sick and yep, Thursday night I had a massive headache and achy feel only to wake up Friday thinking, I have to get to the Dr. So, I made an appointment and they swabbed me for strep and flu both were negative but she went ahead and put me on a antibiotic since my throat was red and I had been exposed to strep. Cool...I had no fever, my aches were gone, no strep..I am a go for our group date night! Nope, at 2:30 yesterday, I spiked a high fever and had a white puss pockets forming on my throat. I was like how in the world do I not have strep, I can't even swallow or talk!!!
So, I was a no show for group night on Friday. I was so very sad. I was depressed. I had made a special treat for each of them. I was missing out on laughter. I was missing out on good food. I was missing out a night out in the city with my husband.
I was depressed.

Today, I have sat all day long on the couch trying to drink some fluids because I know it will help me but every time I swallow it feels like stickers are in my throat! I am so irritated as I have taken 3 rounds of my antibiotic and seems to barely be kicking in. *sigh*
On a brighter note...I've watched HGTV the entire day and have been inspired how much work and projects we can do to sell this home and decorate our new in Katy!!! lol :)

Monday, January 17, 2011

Can't Wait to Read...

One Thousand Gifts A Dare To Live Fully Right Where You Are
By Ann Voskamp

Awhile back, I mentioned Ann and her blog as a "must follow" and friends, I Mean It! She has an incredible gift of words and her wisdom and writing is so heart felt. Amazing!
I pre-ordered her book a couple of weeks ago and the big announcement came today that it should be in soon. Yea, I can't wait to get my hands on it. :) I am reading this book with 3 very dear friends who love the Lord deeply and their husbands and families. I truly am so excited to dig down into this book with J, K, and K.

So hop on over to to check out Mrs. Ann Voskamp if you haven't. For can watch her video from her blog about the book right here~ she is so captivating. Enjoy my friends, Happy Monday!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

God's Calling

Yep, its is official after a 2 year journey...God has called our family into church planting. Yep, Ryan will start a church in Katy, TX by summer! :) This Spring he will be making the transition out of jr high into church planting with 100% backing from Clear Creek. They will become our sending church.

After 13 years in Jr high ministry and 8 years at Clear Creek Community Church, God is calling our family to help Clear Creek's mission to reach Houston and surrounding area for the gospel through church planting. So, after 2 years of praying, seeking, being mentored, reading, searching, more praying, we knew this is where and how God would use our family.

So that is our news, it has been a very emotional week but I promise more is to come on our new journey! :) Also, I'll be putting together the family church planting blog so you can follow our journey before, current, and move to Katy.

So stay tuned....there is definitely more to come!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

And so it was...

Tonight...I held the 8 week old baby girl who's parents(Matrix Ministry volunteers) who sat next to me could enjoy the volunteer dinner and I enjoyed feeding little Harper girl her dinner!! :)

And then...

Ryan told the Matrix ministry our news...
He cried...
They cried...
I stared at the sweet baby girl's face not to completely lose it...
Ryan gave his heart...
and he cried...
Ryan gave vision for our church...
and they cried....
I cried...
We were blessed with words of "hey, we love you" to my husband...
I smiled...
They asked questions...
Ryan answered....
Thankful for the night....
They blessed us with a circled prayer and hands on us...
I cried.....
They cried...
Thankful for men and women on mission for God....

Friday, January 7, 2011

The "Arctic" Blast...

So Northerners would truly laugh at us South Texans! I mean the talk of the town is that there will be an Arctic blast hit us by Sunday. ;) And by arctic blast, they are saying temps in low 40s during the day and then low 30s at night!!! LOL Yes, that truly is cold for us South Texans who have thin blood and I am sad to admit I am included in that category. My sister laughs at Ryan and I because we love the cold so much and God moved our path down to South TX 8 years ago that gets very little cold weather. hehe Now coming from Abilene, TX (central TX) its not that it was really cold, but we did have the big coats, snow, ice, and an actual winter! I miss the cold terribly because its not that I just love to freeze and rattle my bones but I love the whole layering winter look...scarves, jackets, fun vests and hats, boots, fuzzy socks, fireplaces,and warm pj's, etc. We get to wear those fun items ummmm like maybe 1 month!!! ;) Then the white snow is so beautiful and peaceful! There is just something about when snow falls from the sky...a very unique peace comes over you as you watch from the other side of the window.

Ryan and I hope that in 2 years or so, we can make a family trip to Colorado and take all the girls skiing. We want it to be a good experience and we think if we can get Annalise to 1st grade all girls would at least be able to withstand the demands and hardness of snow skiing and a true winter. I look forward to that trip someday, and a cabin nestled in the snow covered mountains! :)
Until then....I will enjoy this arctic blast that's is upon us this next week. I'll definitely be breaking out all my winter clothing and cooking up some yummy warm soups/stews and tasty grilled cheeses.
Brrrr.....stay warm!! :)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Some Goals

As a new year starts, I wanted some goals for myself and I knew if I wrote them down or at least blogged they would start to take root & I would become disciplined to begin asap! :)
So here goes, to a new year, to some goals...may I grow as a woman/wife/mom & follower of Jesus Christ my Lord!

*strengthen my prayer life

*Read the whole bible in a year (have a tool, to help me greatly!)

*read a least a book a month or every other month (ones that will strengthen my character, wisdom, and knowledge of Christ, as a mom, wife, etc)

*don't waste time on Facebook besides wishing people happy birthdays, sharing photos for family & friends

*post updates on my blog more regularly, especially the journey we are upon!

*have more patience with my girls

*let my house/laundry not hold me captive to the "it always has to be done" feel

*to not let the cleanliness of my house make me have worth as a mom

*be a better friend with my time

*host people into my home more often

*save $100 a month from my paycheck now until Dec. so I can surprise the girls a trip to Disney World next Christmas!

*find a job at least 4 days wk & flexible to my girls when my baby girl starts kindergarten next school year

*Love more

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Best of 2010 for the Praters

Here are a little "highlights" of year 2010 for my family!

1. Addie accepts Christ as her Lord & Savior!
2. Addie is baptized by Ryan
3. first family visit to Sea World
4. I begin working last January & this Fall which has been a blessing
5. I turned 35! :) & :/
6. We made many, many small travel trips as a family this summer/Fall
7. Celebrated 12 years of marriage!
8. My oldest girl turned 9, middle girl 7, and baby girl 5! (wow, can't believe it)
9. We saw Charlie Brown on Ice & Nutcracker over the holiday season
10. Big decision made after a 2 year process (being revealed next week)! ;)

A decade ended and new one begins! I actually remember the year 2000 when it all began! Ryan and I were in Houston (weird, huh?) with the youth group from Abilene at a huge youth rally for it turning Y2k! Who would of thought the next year & being 6 weeks pregnant we would come help with the flood of tropical storm Allison, and then God would call us to League City in 2002! Wow, I look back at how this decade begin and it doesn't seem that long ago. Crazy...
I look forward to what God will do and use in this new year and new decade! :)

Monday, January 3, 2011

2010 Wrap-Up in Pictures

Wow, I can't believe its been so long since my last posting. I was enjoying all the holiday festivities along with family in town and a trip to Dallas to see mine! Also, Addie's 9th birthday was thrown right in the middle of all that so needless to say, we were having some fun! :) I thought I would share some of our family fun and wrap-up of 2010 via pictures.
Tomorrow, I'll share all the Prater highlights of year 2010! Stay tuned! :)

The Nutcracker
(the girls with their cousin- Mackenzi)

(Ryan's sister's family- Mindy, James, & Mackenzi)

(Ryan with his mom & sister)

(Ryan with his dad)

(Addie's birthday night with her favorite girls at our house)

(Actual birthday "day" with cousin at Sprinkles Ice Cream)

(Christmas in Dallas at Grammy/Grandpa's house w/ my sister's kids)

It was a wonderful Christmas season! Hope you too were blessed with many family hugs, yummy food, and most of all the celebration of our Savior's birth! :)