Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Hit the Ground Running

Well I have started my job at the church and already have a whole lot to get done. I have been engaged and busy every second of the past two days. It has been fun. It is also fun when you see people in the halls or somewhere else and they look at me once, then quickly look at me again. Except the second time they have their mouth wide open. "I thought you left!" or "YOU'RE BACK!" usually follows out of the open mouth.

I am staying with the Steggerda family. They have been so incredibly hospitable. They truly have a gift for that. So far we have stayed up talking for a while every night and Monday night we watched an episode of MASH with our dinner. I forgot how hilarious that show is. I can't wait to see more of them. The have several of the seasons on DVD.

My wife is flying to Monterey, CA to visit our oldest, English. As you know, English is done with one phase of her training. My heart goes out to her because she didn't pass this part of the training. There was no second chances either. She spent 16-18 months working hard and studying for something she has to scrap now. I know she is bummed. She has to pick another job now and go through that training from the start. I am glad Ebby will be there to cheer her up, at least for a few days. My mom and uncle John are going too. Those two always guarantee a good time.

Have an awesome day!

Poor Bethmom

Our children call my mom, Bethmom. English started this when she was little. Walt called her Beth and I called her mom so English just put them together and Bethmom is what she has been called ever since. Walt is Waltwee...there is nothing "wee" about this man. He is about 6'4" (I am guessing.) A person that tall can't be "wee."

The reason I titled this Poor Bethmom is because I leave today for Monterey, myself. Ronnie is in Minnesota. That means that my mom is keeping all three kids for the weekend. Poor Bethmom.

Veronica has softball practice every afternoon. Hunter has Jazz Band practice at 7:15 on Thursday mornings. All three kids will have to be taken to school and then the boys will be picked up from our house in the afternoon. There is also church on Wednesday nights that they have asked to go to tonight. Poor Bethmom.

Thankfully there are some kids in my mom's neighborhood that the boys like to play with, and Veronica is staying with a friend Friday night and possibly Saturday night. Hunter likes to stay up and watch movies or sports with Walt. The boys packed a game station to have for the weekend. They also took skateboards and Hunter's ripstick with them. They should be able to stay busy and not drive mom and Walt crazy.

I am going to go and enjoy my time with English, my mother-in-law, Jan, and uncle-in-law, John. John and Jan are driving up from Southern California. It should be a great weekend.

Maybe Ronnie will post some while I am gone. I am sure that everyone would like to hear from him, too.

Have a great weekend!!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Minnesota Poem posted by Ebby

A friend left me this poem for me. I thought it was funny. Thanks Kristi!!

Minnesota Poem
It's winter time in Minnesota
And the gentle breezes blow.
Seventy miles an hour
At twenty five below.
Oh, how I love Minnesota
When the snow's up to your butt.
You take a breath of winter
And your nose gets frozen shut.
Yes the weather here is wonderful
So I guess I'll hang around.
I could never leave Minnesota
cause I'm frozen to the ground.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Eat your heart out.....

Picture this....

Ebby riding down the road with the sun roof back, windows down, hair blowing all February. Hate to rub it in, but that's how we are rolling here in SC.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Ronnie made it to MInnesota

When we first moved to Tennesse in 1993 that following winter there was a huge ice storm in the Tennessee/Kentucky area. There were people left without power for up to two weeks. Our house was with out power for a little over 4 hours. When you think of winter weather Kentucky isn't the state I would think of.

Well as you know from the last two posts Ronnie left for Minnesota on Wednesday. After waking up on Thursday morning to make the rest of the treck he was delayed due to another ice storm. It was pretty trecherous outside and they were telling people not to drive unless it was urgent. So Ronnie didn't get to leave Bowling Green until around 5:30 p.m.

From Bowling Green to Indianapolis usually takes us about 4 hours. It took Ronnie about 7 to 7 1/2 hours to get there due to the road conditions. He fianlly pulled over and got a hotel room for the night. He got up again on Friday morning and hit the road. He made it to Rochester just in time to grab some clothes, shove them into a duffle bag and jump on a charter bus headed for Duluth. Ronnie was doing worship for the singles ministry weekend retreat. He barely made it. I think that they even held the bus for him for about 30 minutes until he got there.

What a crazy trip. I am sure that he is worn out, but what a fun way to start his job. He will be playing music and maybe even doing a little skiing or snow boarding.

Have fun, Hunky, but please be careful. Although the insurance money is tempting I would much rather have you around.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Quote of the day...

"When dad really, really wants to see a movie he makes sure that he is on time.
That is the only time that he is on time."

Cole Ray talking to his mom on the way to school this morning.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The bad...The good...and the beautiful!

Well as Ronnie wrote earlier today this was a hard day for the Ray family. Many tears were shed by all. The boys went into school with tears and I was crying at work. Veronica asked for prayer tonight at youth group and she was teary, too.

As sad as it may all be deep down I know that Ronnie is getting to do something that he was born to do and that is play music. Not many people I know have that little extra something like Ronnie does when it comes to music.
This is Ronnie leaving my work and hitting the road.
Ronnie and the kids as we were starting our day.
Ronnie saying good bye to me at my work.
Now it is time for the good. We may live in the south, but it has been crazy warm even for here. I can't believe that I was able to take the pictures below in February.
Now for the beautiful. Today my friends John and Sarah had a little baby boy. His name is Malachi Winston. Malachi is a special little guy. Earlier in Sarah's pregnancy they were told that he had something wrong with his heart (you medical people don't ask me what was wrong...I didn't understand it all) and would need surgery after birth. He was born this morning shortly after midnight. He was stable so they kept him at Methodist Hospital until early morning when they took him to the NICU over at St. Mary's. After some tests the doctors were happy to tell John and Sarah that there is nothing wrong with his heart. Did you get that...NOTHING WRONG WITH HIS HEART!!
He was going to be moved back to Methodist to be with his mom who had a c-section and then will be able to leave with his parents when his mom is discharged. The doctors will do another test on him before he leaves just to make sure all is well, but what wonderful news today.
The Carlson's had been going to specialist a Mayo and you trust that they knew what they were talking about. I turst that they were correct in their diagnosis. How do you explain the new diagnosis of nothing being wrong? Let me share with you that prayer works. The power of prayer is just that....powerful. This little guy has been prayed for by so many people. The is a blessing and I can't wait to meet him.
Here is Eric Edward...I mean Malachi Winston. Isn't he georgeous?!?!?!
Congratulations John and Sarah. Much love to you all!

Leaving is Hard...

As most of you know, I accepted a job at Christ Community Church in Rochester. I am so excited about the job. It is rare that you find a job that is so incredibly well suited to who you are as a person. I am a lover of the Lord, Jesus Christ--I get to serve at a church, full time. I am a musician--I will get paid to play music. I love to inspire and motivate people--I will get paid to speak and lead worship for the college-aged group. Can you imagine!? I am so grateful and thankful for the Lord giving me a job that I can thrive in. I go bananas when I am stuck doing a job that is mundane and menial. I was meant for bigger things.

With all that said, my sad soul is heavy as I write this. As soon as I am done writing this, I am getting in my car and leaving to go back to Minnesota...for good. My family will not be joining me until after the end of the school year, which makes me sad. It never occurred to me just how much I will miss them. As I was dropping the boys off at school we each shared a moment, some hugs, and some special words. As Veronica was leaving for school with Ebby we exchanged hugs and special words. And, yes there were tears all around.

I love my family so much! I know we will communicate over the phone or through e-mail, but it is just not the same. There will be a void in my life until we are together in the same house again. Having each of them in my life every day makes it rich and meaningful.

Monday, February 18, 2008

A Brief Glimpse in Veronica's Life.

Hello everyone. So this past Saturday was very hectic for me. Here's the story:

Friday night I accidentally fell alseep on the couch. Ususally it's not an accident but this time it was. My parent's youngest child Cole is an early bird. He doesn't wake up early to get any worms, he wakes up early to play video games. Saturday he came down stairs at 6...a.m. As I told you before, I was asleep on the couch when Cole comes running down stairs and turns on the TV. He tries to get me to go up stairs, but I was out of it so I just laid there and tried to fall back asleep. No such luck. Eventually I get up, walk up the stairs, and fall on my bed. That was at 6:30.

9:30 rolls around and my dearest mother comes in and wakes me up. She reminds me that I have to go clean the softball field. Joy. The head coach says that the softball field is ours so we should take care of it. Woo. Anyway, I had already decided I was going to volunteer for the bathrooms because I know alot of girls that don't like cleaning bathrooms and such. I'm soooo glad I chose the bathrooms. Yes, it was nasty. Yes, it was a lot of work. Yes, the electricity didn't work, but we got finished at least an hour before any of the other girls. We had fun. We got wet and laughed at the nastiness. The only bad part was there wasn't any hose and i was on water duty. I had to carry big buckets of water. It was alright though.

When my mom picks me up we head over to Bethmom's house. Right after cleaning bathrooms, so you can bet I looked lovely. We headed over to Sheppard's, this store in Longs. Before I get to the trying on dresses, I'll describe my dishevelment, if that's a word. I had bleach and dirt on my sweatshirt, my chucks were orange from the clay, my jeans were filthy and my hair looked marvelous I'm sure. When we started looking for dresses it was crazy. There were so many dresses. I'm really picky so i felt bad for bethmom and mom because I kept telling them i didn't like any of the dresses they chose. We finally found that white one and I like it but I wasn't sure if it was THE one. So we put the dress on hold and drove to the mall to look some more. I found this really pretty white dress that was tight on the body and then flowed out at the knees. It was gorgeous. This girl saw me in it and wanted to try it on, so I let her. This girl looked great in it and was in love with the dress. I liked it but not as much as she did, so I let her have it. Bethmom thought I was crazy. Oh well. After that I didn't want to try on anymore dresses so we went back to Sheppard's and bought the dress. I was so exhausted I even turned down ICECREAM! I was delusional.

Well that was my Saturday. Fun, huh?

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Veronica and Prom

Below is a picture of Veronica in her prom dress. My mom, Veronica and I went shopping yesterday. Poor Veronica tried on so many dresses. She even tried on some that she didn't want to try on, but mom and I wanted to see her in (just to see what the dress looked like.)

This picture isn't very good and doesn't show the details of the dress. I took it with my phone.

I think that it is beautiful. The way I described it to someone this morning was that Veronica's dress is red carpet and the dresses that some of the other girls were trying on were stripper dresses. One girls had a dress on that was literally cut down to her belly button in the front. I don't mind a backless dress, but one that is so revealing in the front bothers me.

Veronica's dress was about 1 1/2 sizes to big and we are having it altered. I will post some more pictures when prom day arrives and she and her date are together.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

My Valentines

I am one bless woman. I have 5 Valentines that love me very much.

My first Valentine is spending the weekend in Las Vegas. Ronnie and his cousin, Scott, have talked about taking a vacation together for a couple of years now, and it finally worked out. The one thing that I could ring Scotts neck for is the time Ronnie left this morning. He had to be to the airport by 5:00 AM!!! They are going to a Ray Romano comedy show one night and I am not sure if they will be catching any other shows. They are staying at the Mirage. Ronnie's last day at both of his jobs here in South Carolina was yesterday. After returning from Las Vegas on Sunday he will head to Rochester, MN on Wedneday. Our family will be apart for about 4 months. Boo-hoo. It will be fine. The only really bad part is of course not seeing him every day, but he will also miss Veronica's games.

My second Valentine (I am going in age order) is English. She is busy studying for her exit exams. She has one exam a week for three weeks. She sounded a little stressed the last time I talked to her. By the way she talked it sounded as if her first exam went well. I can't wait to see her in 2 weeks. I fly out on February 27th to go to her graduation. Grandma Jan and Uncle John are also going to come up from southern Cali. for that same weekend. Should be a good time.

My third Valentine (remember this is in age order only) is Veronica. Miss Veronica is doing great with softball. She is practicing at second base for right now. I think that is a pretty good spot for someone never having played before. She is working hard. She was also invited to prom this year. Not too sure about this. Ronnie has met the boy and everything, but we have yet to tell her if she can go. Ronnie will let her know when he gets back on Sunday. Poor girl having to wait that long.

My forth Valentine is Hunter. He is doing really well. He is really excited about playing drums in the St. Patrick's parade in March. They won't be marching in the parade, but will be playing at the end of the street where everyone gathers for the day. They will play for 30-45 minutes and Hunter plays every song but one. I will video tape him playing and try to put it on here.

My fifth Valentine is Cole. Cole is just a mess. He makes us laugh most of the time, but boy can he be a stinker. Those baby blue eyes he has can't keep him from getting into trouble most of the time, but sometimes when he looks at me I can't help but think "Oh, what a cutie!" and then he gets away with what ever it was that he did. He is doing really good in school. Scored in the 95% on his national testing.

I am so blessed by so many people that surround me. I had a pretty rough week...worried a couple of people that I was losing it... but it made it better knowing that everyone loves me so very much.

I hope you have a wonderul Valentines Day.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Awesome Saturday!

For once, in a long while, we were all home together today. So after everyone got up we ate some breakfast/lunch, loaded up the kids and the neighbors' dog--whom we are dog sitting for the weekend--and went to our local park.
This is Abbey. She is a sweety.

We had a blast! Veronica and I played catch and I threw her some grounders and pop flies. She is really good for never having played. I can't wait for her to get some games under her belt. That is the fun part.

The boys skateboarded and played on the playground with other kids. Ebby layed a sheet out on the grass and dug into the new John Grishom book, The Appeal.

The weather...oh the weather. You know, low 70's and perfectly sunny, a slight breeze, not a cloud in the sky. We suffered through it though.

I am glad that we discovered early that some of the most meaningful times in our life have been simple, uncomplicated time spent enjoying each other's company. Today was a great day.

Now every one has spread to the winds for the afternoon. Ebby went to the movies with her mom, Veronica went to her friend's house. She lives right across the street from the park, and the boys are outside playing. All of this equals quiet time for Ron. It's beautiful.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Updates on Softball

Yesterday started the first day of practices. We didn't do a lot, just some fielding and batting. During the fielding i played second most of the time and I'm not going to lie, I did pretty well. I liked it a lot. So practices are now 5 days a week from 4:00 to 6:00. My arms are soar from batting and I'm starting to feel it in my legs. I hadn't been getting my leg taped for my shin splints, but today i finally sucked it up and got it taped. It felt Marvelous! I will say my leg got a little numb after a while, but all in all it felt a lot better. Well this story hasn't been all that funny, so here's a fun fact for everyone.

Did you know....Frogs don't drink water? Bum, Bum, Bum!!!!

78 in February

What a crazy time of year. We woke up this morning to 70 degree weather, and the past two days have been gorgeous and in the mid 70's. The last two mornings there has been dense fog with only a 1/4 mile visibility. Crazy weather. Ronnie actually got up Monday night and turned on the air conditioning.

The one thing that is even crazier is that Ronnie and all the kids are running around in shorts. IN FEBRUARY! Hunter and Cole spent the afternoon at the beach on Sunday. Below are some pictures of them playing. They are chasing around beach pigeons (sea gulls) and goofing around with our little neighbor.

Here is Hunter and Cole with our neighbor Nora. She calls them "her boys". She loves for them to come over and hang out. Hunter and Cole will read stories to her and they both help walk their dog. It is really cute.

This is really one of the great things about living here. Although I really miss winter, Ronnie and the kids love the warm weather. Wearing shorts, playing out side all the time, riding skate boards and bikes, going to the beach in shorts and really makes them all very happy. Therefore it makes me happy.

Well we hope you have a great night. We really hope that the storms that are raging through the south calm down a little bit before the reach here. We are ready for some serious storms tonight though.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Softball, languages, and trips

Wasn't Veronica's post funny. I am glad that she kept her mouth shut. I am waiting for the day when she comes home with a black eye because she was beaten up. She is slowly figuring out the under currents of NMB High School.

Ronnie is in Rochester this weekend. I am sure that he will post something when he comes back. This weekend playing worship is Ronnie and his good buddies Mike Forde, Dan Howe and Ed Ro. When these guys get together I feel sorry for the worship leaders. They get silly. Ronnie can tell you about the mad skills that these guys have as musicians. Like who Mike Forde knows and has played guitar for in his past life before becoming a Prostodontist.

I am so proud of my daughters. Veronica for going out there and giving it all she had to make the softball team. She really worked hard and kept the complaing about hurting to a minimum. She has never played before...other than the basics in Phy. Ed. class. I am looking forward to going to the games. I will have to get the pom-poms, hat, face paint, and other game gear to wear to the games. Ok, I won't go that far, but I will get my game voice out and yell for her a lot. :)

I am also proud of English. She graduates from the language school portion of her military career on February 28th. She has stuck through it and done really well. Her finals are coming up over the next couple of weeks. Her teachers have told her that she will pass her exams (speaking, interpreting, and writing). She will then move on to some additional training and then her home base. Remember I can't tell you what she is going to be doing or she will have to kill us all.

Both of the girls can do some great things when they put their minds to it. I am so proud of them both!!

As a treat for both English and I, my dad is flying me out to Monterey so I can attend her graduation. I leave on the February 27th and come back on March 3rd. It will be a quick trip, but I will get to see my first born and also see Monterey. I haven't ever been to that part of California and I am very excited. I am hoping that we will get to spend the day in San Francisco that Saturday. It will be nice to see what English's life has been like for the past year and a half.

Thank you Walter-wee-winski for this great present! Also, thank you to my mom for keeping the other three kids while I am gone.

Have a good weekend peeps!
Ebby Ray