The new NBC TV Show, THIS is US is certainly a family drama that has gotten the world's attention in just a few months. I am a sucker for Hallmark movies, happy endings and seeing a family evolve from the 70's to the present is pretty cool. I am not sure if you have joined the millions and watched an episode but there is plenty of time to binge watch it before January 10th when it returns. Why? Well, don't judge me but I crave shows about family and its dynamics, and if I had teens in my home - I know there would be plenty of fodder for discussion at our night time devotion/prayer time. But enough about that show- this is about "US"! And it is kind of cool to see the 70's set and be reminded of my growing up!
|On plane, headed to Colorado!|
Family time -- that still happens, it is just some very treasured moments now, because they don't happen daily anymore but still often enough to make this "ma" and "mumzie" so thankful! Now, it looks like sitting around the living room after a rough week eating wings in our cramped little cottage , or in the family room of the cabin we enjoyed this past summer, or it could even been the banter back and forth in our family chat with our IPhones. When one of my kids suggests a pod cast to watch and the other one mentions, " I did!" -- this 50 year old mother of 2 is on cloud nine! Memories. I think this past month when HP would text, "got a final today - please pray" and I was able to watch the rest of them reply, "done" or "I prayed" -- again, my heart would just swell up with appreciation for Our God! He is the perfect restorer! We are a family -- prayerfully not to full of drama or ourselves, but full of the JOY of the Lord and every week Brendan and I relish the extra time together when it happens! This empty nest thing is not so bad and as your adult children grow, become parents, and seek us as company -- it is a new normal that we are enjoying! As the photos display, we have enjoyed many meals together, trips to Wisconsin and Colorado, and the planning is already starting for next summer!!
I actually asked him if he wanted to be a CPA and he replied, "well, that is not what I want to do the rest of my life!" He has actually considered law school, different areas of accounting, coming back to Okeechobee and helping with the Insurance office, but he'd really like to get into investment property where you flip businesses and go from there -- he has plenty of time to figure it out! He was blessed with such a photographic mind and loves numbers so this upcoming internship will indeed help him decide what he wants to do next. He will be working 60+ hours a week with different teams and auditing different clients. He has been warned or told ahead of time that this sort of internship will provide several job opportunities so we will see where this leads. We are very proud. Yes, I posted a photo of his "magna cum laude" status but mainly I was SO impressed that ALL 4 of his names were on the program! Hunter Edwin Lowell Pritchard! He played Division 1 soccer his first two years at FAU and was a scholar student athlete, but the past 18 months he has been "just" an honor student working a part-time job. So, he finished in 3.5 years -- but as I stated he is not done. Brendan reminds him daily to stay focused on what God is leading him to do and serve Him.
He enjoys his soccer buddies and the friends he has made through his Scholarship Accounting Program so we don't see him too often, but that is also because he has been working about 30 hours most weeks this past year and we entice him home for a home cooked meal and I do his laundry. He also loves the beach and loves to add himself to pick up soccer games there and in local parks. He also helps Team Boca still train the young soccer players. I would LOVE to actually witness this in person but neither Brendan nor I want to do that trek of driving during the school week ever again. I spent a good amount of time this evening cleaning and looking through some old scrapbooks at photos of him when he was 3, 5, and so forth -- playing in the pool or yard with Darby and Daron, gaming with Diego, and hanging with Ben Vuleta. And the soccer photos and the memories of Bren and he leaving town at 4:30 two maybe three nights a week to return by 10:30 where I would have a 'midnight' plate of food for both of them. Memories! All very sweet memories and I know he is an adult, but now, my baby is no longer a baby! I guess it is pretty sweet of God to give me another baby....
|At the Dog Beach one late afternoon - running the puppies!|
Did I mention babies? Taylor's dog Elsa (Boston Terrier) and Jake's dog Hank (Pit Bull) ended up as parents. It is a very humorous but expensive story, but 3 pups graced our family in January and it certainly was so sweet watching them grow. The pups did not go far, Taylor and Jake kept one, Mickey. One went to a friend from school so Nala is close for photo ops and one. Moose, went to Jake's brother and the family sees their brother LOTS!
|My daughter and my sisters!|
Taylor and Jake both teach. They are in the process of buying a home as they live in Ft. Pierce. Jake teaches at a K-8 school where he is an ESE inclusion teacher and Taylor is teaching 4th graders at Central Elementary School in Okeechobee where she graced the halls some 15 years before! Both continue to enjoy working out, watching movies, and hanging with their friends as well. They also teach/lead Children's Church every 3rd Sunday at their church home which they love. And, they are parents of more than just some crazy dogs!
Several months ago, we all were blessed to meet Ava Lynne. She has indeed changed things up a bit! In September, Brendan and I were able to meet and hold our little bonus grand baby! You can't hold her too much, she began to walk by the second weekend we got to hang with her! Ava celebrated her 1st birthday this past November. Taylor gets to be a bonus mom and Jake is a wonderful, wonderful daddy. With God's mercy and grace, we continue to pray that they will have her a little more than every other weekend but we know God is good! In the past 3 months we have fallen in love with her -- and stop and think about how blessed we are to have her in our lives and how empty it would be without her. Yes, there are challenges and difficulties when you share custody, but we believe God is bringing light to all involved, and beauty out of this new relationship among all parents and grandparents involved and I am so excited to watch our little Sweet Pea grow! Both Taylor and Jake have their eyes wide open to what God wants them to do and how to handle this new normal, but His mercies are new every morning and she is certainly a gift. When you think of Jake and Taylor, I would ask that you say a prayer as all parents with toddlers need prayer! It is funny, but she reminds me SO much of Taylor as a toddler! Funny or is this God's favor? ! She is very animated and knows how to get what she wants. Currently she is cutting teeth -- molars and wants to chew everything she can - including my finger last weekend!
Brendan and I are enjoying our 29th year of teaching. Brendan will retire after the next year. 30 is where he is going to stop. He still spends his afternoons marketing and working at the Insurance Office as that is one of his passions. We still have the Harley and we don't ride as often cause it is housed in storage, but we still get it out and enjoy a trip for breakfast or an drive to see the lights! He loves to read and college football is indeed the highlight of the week! He checks in with the kids each day as he loves to hear what is going on and he is usually the one planning the get togethers and trying to figure out how he can have more "Ava " time!
|The 'original' US!|
We both are pretty active in our church home and enjoy being used of God and try our best to serve as He calls and leads. We see HOW God continues to show favor and we consider our lives and our marriage a miracle so we do approach the opportunity to pray for a couple or help another believe that God does the impossible ---a task that He has prepared us for! A task He has anointed us to do! God wins! We do hope and pray that others see Jesus in us. We believe that no matter what the enemy may have one person thinking, we are going to stand and believe on God's promises and trust HIM to remain fighting for us. Exodus 14.14 says that. And if you have never read the book of Hosea, we believe that God will do whatever it takes to get the attention of His lost children. Both Bren and I realize that time is short but God is able!
God certainly is a God of second chances.
A highlight of my year was flying to St. Louis with 3 really cool " sista chicks " and meeting another set of 3 really cool " sister chicks!" My Wisconsin family joined my church family and they "met us in St. Louis". What a weekend! I have to say, to see 24K women and a few men all praising God and worshiping Him. Tremendous! Holy. Breath taking! God was speaking and ministering to EACH person in that America's Dome. It was a Joyce Meyer conference which ministered to me specifically. It felt like God orchestrated the weekend just for me. And I know each person there felt the same way if they allowed God in. God is so stinkin sweet! There were friendships fostered that weekend that will remain forever special. And God did a work in everyone's heart and head. God won! People changed. I changed. The weekend ended with an incredible anointing of peace -- that has not left me! It was a Jesus high that has not left me. Prayerfully, I am going back next September! So, if you are interested in meeting me in St. Louis - please contact me!!
Speaking of my family -- Jeanette and her hubby still live here in Okeechobee. My niece, Cali has a beautiful 3 year old and Jeanette and Craig were blessed with another new grand baby - a girl! Jordyn is a daddy! Daryl and Tiffany's oldest is well into nursing school and they still have 2 football players at home! Aaron and Laurie's oldest got married to a beautiful girl , Cora Rose, and he is still a Marine and they live in California. My brother Nathan and his wife added their 4th son this year! Chase is not the youngest nephew for now! Oh wait, I believe he turned one this past week! His oldest is now a 5th grader and pen pals with my class! Trevor and Marcie added a new dog to their family - well, maybe that was last year. What he did add was a lake home so now we have a COOL spot for the 4th of July! Chris and Kristi still have 4 but they are all growing so fast. All are very involved with sports and busy busy busy! Diandra ( aka, Dee) and Brad added a BRACE to their family. Their 3 kids continue to grow and excel in sports and music but she took a bad fall, while trying to run the dog on her bike, and tore the ACL, MCL, or the PCL, Patella Tendon, and flipped the mencius as well as chipped something. I may of gotten the details mixed up but she did a number!! Say a prayer for her if you will -- thanks! She is 2 months since surgery and will have a 2nd surgery to fix the ACL in 3-4 months. It gave me the chance to make a trip home in early November and I was able to enjoy the FALL colors and some fall weather as Florida still thinks it is summer!!
My folks are good and well. Dad added a new shed this year to their place. My Mom still graces Wally World and I know touches many with her beautiful smile and words of wisdom. Opps, I forgot the baby -- how could I? Britty and her husband had their 3rd little girl right before the year ended and she recently turned one as well. They live in Nebraska! I think I need to make a visit there in 2017! The youngest is Rileigh Jennifer . Wow -- that accounts for all 8 of my siblings.
|Merry Christmas from the Pritchards and the Padricks!|
Speaking about prayer -- it works. It is a daily thing and that relationship with God, we pray it is so close to your heart and so much of your world and life that you have no fear and cast out the enemy whenever needed and proclaim victory and then live and walk in that victory. God did not create you for mediocrity -- but breathed life in you to live abundantly! May you be emptied of self and be filled with His Holy Spirit and walk with the Comforter continually! In Jesus' powerful name -- amen!
From our cottage to your home -- we wish you a very Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year. May Jesus be the reason to celebrate and may He be so close to you there is NO FEAR!
If you have asked Brendan or myself to pray for you -- please know - we do.
If you need prayer, don't hesitate to ask!
Merry Christmas - with all my love, Michelle
|May this holiday not wear you out -- may it be filled with JOY!|