11 Years!

So yesterday was our 11 year anniversary. and these are the beautiful roses that AL got for me. They are so pretty and they are smelling up our apartment nicely.
Here are a few more shots of the flowers.

In other Speer Family news. We started our school year this last Monday! So I guess that that makes us on day 3.
I am still waiting on a couple of books for Keeley but other than that we are starting to cruse along. They actually started the public school year the week before we started ours. They start really early here because the possibility of hurricanes and having to close the schools for them. Crazy how there are no snow days here but they have to be prepared for hurricane days. It is so different here.
This year Kaitlyn is in the 3rd grade and Keeley is in 1st. It is just crazy how time can go by so fast. The laws here are a bit different than Oregon. But thankfully they are not difficult or hard to deal with. The school boards here are actually very supportive of Homeschooling. I am told that it is because of over crowding and low test scores and standards. I am not doubting any of that from what I have so far seen of Polk County Florida. But I will save those stories for another time.


Tough Times call for Desperate Measures

It has been a rough month and a half since we've been here. Truly one of the most trying for our whole family.

Trying to figure out where we fit in? How we can survive? How to meet new people? All kinds of things have weighed us (and me) down.

So, just yesterday, Christy and I agreed that I would take a day to spend some alone time and try to figure things out.

Here's the main point I came up with: (if you care - if not you can stop reading 'til next time)

1. This was a big one for me -
Philippians 2:13 (in the Bible - and depending on the version you read) - I'm paraphrasing here:
It is God who is working in you... In other words God likes it and it pleases Him, when you 'DO' and 'ACT' according to His purpose.

What does that mean to me? God actually wants me to (He likes it) when I do the things He designed me to do.


From my studies, it is becoming clear to me that each and every person was created with a specific gift/skill/ability/talent/story that no other single person on this planet has. And with that gift, God wants you to do something with it. He has awesome plans for you.

Up until recently, I never realized that I had a gift. It's not something that I knew about when I was 5 years old, and have carried with me to this day. NO! Some people, I think, do actually know their gift from a very early age. But not me.
Who would have thought that I'd still be trying to figure this stuff out at my age? Not me - that's for sure! That's me at a young age, not thinking about these kinds of things.

This whole move to Florida has made me search, and think about, and figure out what it is that I am actually supposed to be doing here. And this verse hit me like a brick wall the other day... God wants me to figure out my gifting, so that I can use it to do AWESOME things.

Never-the-less, what that lead me to was this...

I'm going to pursue my web business as long, and as far, and as high, and as deep as I can. It suits me. It suits my temperament. It inspires me, and it keeps me awake at all hours, and yet I still wake up motivated and energized to keep doing it. It's fascinating and enjoyable all wrapped up into one amazing package. And it seems to work for me.

Here's the rub - it doesn't cover my income enough yet. So I'm still going to have to work another job, probably part time, to make ends meet.

But after my time away, I fully feel this is what was inspired inside my spirit.


Giving and blessings...

It's no secret that I have always aspired to have a successful small business. It seems I am in the painful process of building one just to survive now.


Several years ago, I started a small business with a guy named Gary, in Oregon. We sold sporting goods products online. In the process of buying, purchasing, and reselling the equipment for the business we often came across SCREAMING good deals on sport supplies.

Specifically, we bought some soccer shorts for about $.33 each pair, and then we also purchased some other soccer shorts for a little more - like $.60 per pair.

We were able to sell a bunch of those shorts with our business, but over time we had gathered up quite a HUGE supply of extras. And Gary had been storing them at his home for the last couple years - because we didn't really have the time to properly ebay them or anything like that.

Imagine my surprise when Christy and I were visiting Gary, for his wedding, and we met Gary's sister and brother in law. Val - the brother in law - is an amazingly nice guy, and through the process of talking with him I learned that they had recently taken a mission trip to St. Kitts. Val is actually from St. Kitts.

You can read more about the island here:

What was really cool... all those shorts we had left over... had made the journey to St. Kitts with Val. He took them down and gave them to the kids down there.

Just talking with him, it was clear that the soccer shorts were a HUGE hit with the kids. They loved 'em.

I would have never even known that the shorts Gary and I bought 8 years ago could have been used for such purpose and benefit, all these years later. What an awesome and tremendous honor for me to be a part of that, even though I really had nothing to do with it today.

Sometimes it's the little things that can make your day turn around.

Also, real quick... a couple years ago, Rob (my good friend) took a trip to Cambodia. Christy and I bought about $30 worth of kitchen supplies to help a mission family there start a cooking school. The report came back that all the supplies not only helped them start the school, but ALSO helped some of the students get great jobs. Another fantastic honor for me to be a part of.



Florida - It's like another country

Preparing for our move down here, Christy read a book called...
From Foreign to Familiar

One of our plans has been to do some short term missions, and this book talks about some of the things you might experience in another country.

One of the biggest things the book talked about was an idea of hot climate and cold climate cultures. Basically, they are both completely different. As Christy was reading that part of the book, I remember thinking... 'Yeah, this will be nice. We'll go down and experience this different kind of culture. It's more laid back. More relaxed. More social.'

I can definitely tell you, it's more laid back and more relaxed. In fact, I'm not sure anyone actually working here in this state can move at a speed resembling 'hurry'. The service here is absolutely terrible. I'm not sure I've seen so many uncaring, bored, completely un-engaged people in my life.

To be fair, I haven't been able to explore the more social side of life down here yet. We'll see how that goes as we get more settled in and meet more people.

But I can tell you one thing...

If you are going somewhere to get something done, don't plan on it happening quickly. Cause it ain't gonna!


A little bit of an update on us... If you don't really care about our personal lives, you can STOP reading now.

We're not doing great. We're doing okay.

I don't have a job yet. I haven't tried too hard, mind you. I've been more focused on getting my websites up and cranking. I've actually accomplished a heck of a lot more in the last month than I ever did over the last couple years with these businesses. Which is nice! However, it's not enough to replace my income yet. If and when it does... I'll tell you. Cause that is going to be a KICK A## Day for me. Never-the-less - no job yet for me. And Christy's only working every other weekend right now. So we don't get out of the apartment too much. I think we're driving each other completely nuts. There's only so much of listening to me, with bad gas, one person can take, and I think she's about there? I don't know, you'll have to ask her yourself.

Our church hunt hasn't gone very well yet. In the past, when we've gone to a church that worked, it didn't necessarily feel perfect. But it felt okay. So far, we're not there yet. We're still looking. But until we get that basic need established, it keeps us kind of ungrounded in the community.

We haven't started school yet with the girls. So I think that has been a bit of a bummer for them too. Their days just kind of roll on and on. Of course we've been hitting the swimming pool almost every day. In fact, Kait and Kee are becoming amazing swimmers. Kait can probably swim half the pool length underwater. And Kee spends more time holding her breath underwater, than she does floating on top of it. But until I get them out in the ocean with mask, fins, and snorkels there's just a bunch of blue walls all around us. Of course, it's shark week this week, which makes me want to go snorkeling somewhere. But patience... patience!

HMMM, well I'm not sure what else to say. I guess I'll leave it at that.

Talk to you soon.
Love you, and miss you.



She turned 8!

I can hardly believe it but Kaitlyn turned 8 this past Monday the 6th of August!

The way we celebrate birthdays is we let the girls pick what or where they would like to eat and an activity for the family to do. So this year Kaitlyn picked to eat at IHOP. She loves that place and as how we only go there maybe once a year she has been looking forward to going for a very long time. We went there for breakfast as that is her favorite, and only, meal that she has eaten there. And for her activity she picked to go to the Children's Museum here in Lakeland. It is called Explorations V. It is a good place to go with lots of activities for the kids to do. The best part is it is all hands on! They have a news studio, grocery store, school, doctors office, fire truck, theater, bank and orange juice plant. I am sure that there are more things but that is what we spent the bulk of our time doing there. We invited our friends to come along with us and play. So the girls had Olivia, Sara and Ean to play with also. unfortunately I forgot my camera at home so I do not have any from the museum.
After that we came back home and had dinner and a little party. All of the Roberts came to celebrate with us!!

This year she wanted an ice cream cake from Dairy Queen. She also had the horse them for her party supplies!

Also here is a card that I made for our friends that got married in June. As we were traveling before the wedding. We had to wait to get the gift to them till we got here. I knew what I wanted to get them just had to wait till we were settled a little to get it and send it up to them. So this is the card that I made to send along with the gift.I made it on a transparency! And thankfully it turned out how I had pictured it in my head.

Well that is all I have to say for now. So untill next time...

Something I don't want to forget...

So here is a little story from our trip that I do not want to forget. There is no doubt that God had his hand on us and his angels around us every step and tier turn along the way. We never even had a moments worry about the truck working, tire popping, or any of us getting hurt the entire time that we were traveling. As a matter of fact He has not lifted his hand from us in the least even since arriving here. He continues to keep us safe and sound and will continue on.

But anyway here is a particular story that I do not want to forget to tell about how we got to see one of his angels...

We were in St. Louis, MO and we were planning to spend the day down by the Mississippi River and the Arch.
We followed the signs to the down town area, and to the arch. There were signs that took us to the public parking, for the area, and when we got there they were closed for construction. So we looked around a little bit, and found a parking place were there were lots of other cars parked. It was under a freeway over pass.

After taking a bit of time to look around it, we decided that we would park there. Now we took some time to look around because it really did not look like a "nice" part of town to be leaving our truck. But not really knowing anywhere else to go, we decided to park there. So we found a little spot and parked. We get out, and there is broken glass all over in the gravel.

I ask Al once more, are you sure you want to park here? And he says, well I guess. So we all get out and lock up the truck and go to the back to lock it up also. As we go to the back of the truck, there is this man dressed in a Park Ranger uniform standing there. So he starts to talk to us.

He says I would not park here. There is an attended parking lot a couple of blocks up and over from here, and it would be a much safer place to park your truck. As you can see here, there are a lot of break-ins, and I am sure that if you leave your truck here they will break the window and take what ever they can. He then give us directions to get to the parking lot.

We thank him and get back in the truck to go where he told us. We back out, and look around for the Ranger that talked to us, and he is nowhere to be seen even though it took us only a few seconds to get in the truck and get going. He is gone.

I ask Al where did that guy come from? Did you see him as we were driving around in here? And he said no, I never saw anyone. Then I say well where did he go? We all look around, and we do not see where he has gone. There was no one walking around, and there was never any other car driving around the lot while we were there. We look at each other and just say, well I think that we have just seen a Ranger Angel.

There really is no other explanation as to how that "man" got there, other than he was an angel sent to protect us. We were able to find that other parking lot, and leave the car there, knowing without a doubt that that we could leave it there and be able to come back with it intact!
Praise God for his safety and protection!

Here are a few more photos from our day in St. Louis. The first is a self portrait of sorts. Can you tell what it is?