Saturday, October 31, 2009

october 31










Friday, October 30, 2009


Skype Chat   [10/30/2009 9:00:05 AM]

ML-Sister McClure:  We welcome our newest Missionary Leader Assistant, Sister Debbie Carter.  Thank you for being willing to serve our group.

Sandra Kennedy : Congratulations Sister Carter!

Elder Earle (Missionary Trainer): Congratulations on your new assignment!

ML-Sister Janet Dawson: Welcome Sister Carter!

TL Joyce Hancock: Welcome Sister Carter!

Debbie Carter: Oh thank you!!!

TL Joyce Hancock: I'll give you inTouch and request an Oracle account for you.

Yesterday, I was called to be a Missionary Leader Assistant.  I am a senior  companion to Sister Sandi Adkins. She is from Roanoke, Virginia. I feel like I have been on a very steep learning curve with my missionary work. I am enjoying it. I know I have made some progress because I am finally feeling comfortable answering the phones, even on Sunday. (I used to only do email work on Sunday because it was so stressful for me worrying about whether I would be able to help the patrons.) I feel very blessed to be able to serve with a great group of missionaries and a wonderful group of patrons as well.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

ten years ago today


We bought the Birdhouse.


Although it was love at first sight for me, the purchase was actually the culminating event of a lot of research. When we first decided to buy a “second” home, we thought of all the things that would make it perfect for us. The list included being close to a Temple and an airport. I wanted it to be old and restorable. A series of internet searches kept bringing me to central Florida and I finally decided to pick out one of the homes and go have a look.  I engaged the listing  agent of an interesting  home and told her what we were looking for.

A few days later, Melanie, who was still home from summer break at BYU, and I  were off on our adventure that was seemingly fruitless by lunchtime. We had seen the agent’s listing and several others that were not old nor restorable. Then, she dropped us off at Goblin Market for lunch and left us with a Homes and Land magazine.

That was  where and when Melanie first saw our home. After lunch and some phone calls, we were on our way. Traveling  down the dirt track, that eventually became the driveway,  I caught sight of the house, and my heart leapt. One thought kept repeating itself over and over in my mind. “Just be half-way decent, half-way decent will do it.”

Doug had plenty to hear about that night when he called in from Buenos Aires, and since he was coming home early, meaning Friday night that week, instead of Saturday, we made plans for a Saturday viewing.

What followed were numerous reports from electricians, fuel tank and gas line examiners, termite inspectors and sewage and water personnel. With all those reports in order, we bought it and began our own projects:
















and staining.



The project list just goes on and on. But, I love the memories of projects past and the hope of projects future.


We have lived here longer than any other place our entire lives. DSC05910

We love our Birdhouse.

Happy Birdhouse Day!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

out of it

I started feeling unwell on Sunday night. A good old-fashioned head cold was on it’s way. Monday, I rested, or tried to. I did all of the things that I normally do when illness comes my way…which mostly amounts to sleeping and watching something funny on tv.  Since the illness was presenting as cold, I asked Doug to buy me a bunch of oranges and I ate one of those on a regular basis throughout the day. I usually get this kind of thing when my neighbor’s oranges are available, so I must be a little out of sync this year.

I opted to read a funny book instead of watch tv since I didn’t have a fever. (I have heard that you are not supposed to read when you have a fever. I wonder if that is true or if it is just an old wives tale.) Nevertheless, I didn’t have a fever and the book was funny. So the only trouble was laughing since ThaT hurt my head abominably. And the book was quite funny…all the way through.

Tuesday was worse. I decided that the best way to get past Tuesday was just to sleep, and in spite of sleeping half the day, I went to bed and slept all night as well.  Doug and Brianna have checked in with me on a regular basis. Doug realized how lousy I felt  when I opted not to take a ride with him to Orlando. He wanted to go to the bookstore. I seldom pass up an outing, especially one like  that which will no doubt include a lunch date.

Looking on the bright side, there is something good about reading and sleeping in my favorite spot on the couch all day. I have a beautiful view of the treetops in my backyard without even moving that is ever-changing with the breezes and sunlight and critters that call that place their home.

And now… it seems as if I am on the downhill side of it. So tonight, I am looking forward to more energy tomorrow and thankful that I had the luxury to be out of it the past few days.

Monday, October 26, 2009


She was 6 weeks early. Dare I admit that I weighed 102 pounds before I delivered? I had been very sick early on in the pregnancy and had only just gained back that weight. I had hopes of bulking up the last six weeks, but then, I woke up in the middle of the night. I was hoping that the pain would just go away. It didn’t, not for twenty-six hours.  I went all natural, and in spite of her tininess, ultimately weighing in at 4 pounds and 13 ounces, she was mighty. Her lungs were fully developed, but they kept her in the intensive care  because of jaundice for five days. Melanie was my first nursing baby and I had to “make a deal” with the doctor that I would bring her in to be weighed every few days. Apart from that adventure, which lasted only a short time, I was  confined to the house for 6 weeks (near torturous for me) but, I did it.   On December 2, her actual due date, she made her debut and was blessed.

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  Happy Birthday


Saturday, October 24, 2009

spending the evening with elder bednar

Tonight Doug and I were invited  to a fireside that Elder Bednar gave to the young single adults of the seven stakes in the greater Orlando area.

GarrettwithElderandSisterBednara-1I didn’t take this picture, someone else did at the beginning of the year, but Elder and Sister Bednar haven’t changed much physically since then.

I have the feeling that they have both changed spiritually since then, because they both spoke of quite recent experiences that they have had following the promptings of the Holy Ghost.

Even as the intimate experiences were shared, it was asked that we not post them on the “blog-o-sphere” or other similar places. However, I feel sure that he wouldn’t  mind if I  share this particular piece of advice:

Go to the temple to get inspired questions to ponder.

That is an action item, that I have not taken on before, but plan to in the very near future. I am truly grateful for my membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I know that the Gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored to the earth. I know that Thomas S. Monson is a prophet of God. I know that David A Bednar is one of the special witnesses of Jesus Christ. Although differently, I too have taken upon me His Name.  I look forward to the morrow Sabbath to renew those covenants once again.

signing on for saturday

 DSC05906When I am doing my missionary work, I often see messages from one of the supervisors that say “Please help and go available”. Shortly thereafter, several missionaries will post messages. “This is Elder S0-and-So or this is Sister So-and-So signing on.”

This week our Bishop received a verbalDSC05907 message that said something like “please help”.  As the Supervisor of our ward he asked some of the members to “go available.”  Saturday morning at the chapel, we were divided into four teams to prepare our chapel. It was the first of many opportunities we will have to do this kind of service. It was unique in that we were doing some jobs that won’t have to be done again, for example, unpacking all the dishes and utensils in the kitchen.

When we finished  Bishop Saunders could have said, “This is Eustis Ward Support signing out. Anyone need anything else before we go? Have a joyful Sabbath.”

He didn’t, but he did say something similar…and we will.

Friday, October 23, 2009

beautiful bright

This morning as we arrived at the Temple.



Men in White


Robert Lake--formerly counselor to Richard Smith and later Stake President Pompano Beach, currently, counselor in Ft. Lauderdale Mission Presidency

William Current--formerly counselor to Richard Smith and later counselor to Robert Lake, currently, Stake President Pompano Beach Stake

Richard Smith--formerly Stake President Pompano Beach Stake, currently, Temple sealer Florida Orlando.

Douglas Carter--formerly counselor to Richard Smith and later Robert Lake, currently, Stake President Leesburg Stake


Then pure and supernal, our friendship eternal, with Jesus we’ll live, and his counsels obey until every nation will join in salvation and worship the Lord of the beautiful day. Hymns #52

What a beautiful experience.

millennial day

Dear Lilly Mary Stoker,

You were born the 16 June in 1889 and I was born 6 June in 1953, which means that we have missed each other in time. Still,  I am grateful for your family that has influenced mine in ways that I do not yet know, but surely will. I have been thinking about  you this past month. My oldest daughter,  Patricia, realized that your temple work had not been done, so my youngest daughter, Brianna went to the temple with our youth group to baptized and confirmed in your behalf. When Paul asked the Corinthians why people were baptized for the dead, I think he was actually testifying of our eternal nature and relationships.

A  couple of weeks later, Bishop Sampson’s wife, Sheila, did ordinance work in the temple for you. Today, Ramona Montgomery, continued the work in the temple in your behalf.

And, tonight  my husband knelt across the alter from me in the sealing room as we were proxies for your parents, Frederick Nicholson Stoker and Marion Lindley. Gail Berge acted in behalf of you, so that you could be sealed together forever to them.

These ordinances administered in the temple, represent the ultimate in our worship. They are the most profound expressions of our theology.   President Hinckley said that every man or woman who goes to the temple in a spirit of sincerity and faith leaves the house of the Lord a better man or woman. I believe that is true. So  now, I am a better person because of you.

Today was beautiful and bright. However, I spent the day inside the temple, enjoying all that was beautiful and bright in there. A Spirit of Love  pervaded the Holy House of the Lord. I saw most of the  female members who also came to the temple to do work for their families and friends. I marveled at the service given by many others who were there solely to make our day more comfortable and efficient.

I have been going to the temple since I was a teenager. Going to the temple is always a good experience and each time is wonderful  it its own way. Today was special for me because of the extraordinary unity that  I felt as we all worked together completing our goal of more than 1000 endowments. In actual fact, there were more than 2700 ordinances completed in the temple today including 1115 endowments.

But each ordinance is done one by one. Now yours have been completed. I  look forward to meeting you one day. I know that even though we have missed each other in time, we will not miss each other in eternity. Meanwhile, I promise to continue to serve in the temple  and do my part to influence our family,  the Family of God, for good.


Debra Ann Chytraus Carter

Thursday, October 22, 2009

pre dawn


Doug and I got to meet up with our friends Bill and Susan, who are now President and Sister Current of the Pompano Beach Stake. I have been thinking about the first time that I met Bill. I believe it was at a youth fireside in our home, but his kids and wife hadn’t moved to Florida yet. (Maybe the details are a little fuzzy?)  Anyway, I remember standing in the hallway next to my kitchen meeting him and looking forward to meeting his family.

It is a blessing to have many memories with all of them.   Tonight we take joy in sharing our lives  and our hopes with each other.


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Monday, October 19, 2009

meeting my needs

DSC05899 This is my visiting teacher.  This month she met my needs by inviting me to a place I like to go. She listens and laughs with me. We have shared meaningful times together as well. Sometimes we meet  casually and sometimes it is more official. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that I know she cares about me.

Thanks, Melody!

Friday, October 16, 2009


We had our first geocaching experience today. It was hotter than we would have liked, but we have high hopes of developing our caching skills over the next few months as the weather cools.

Our first cache stop was at the Trout Lake Nature Center. DSC05880




Debbie spotted the cache.


There were actually four at the center. The trees and curving trails were making it a little more challenging for us following our GPS clues. DSC05882

We did see some very interesting fungi.  We avoided lots of standing water and defended ourselves from the mosquitoes, but when the thunder started, DSC05878we


decided to give up on the Armadillo Trail, besides, Gail already had her picture with an armadillo.


We set off for some urban geocaching.



Our first stop was at Lake Eustis, and we pulled up a cache point near Ferran Park. By this time, the lake breezes were quite welcome. We were even more excited with our second find, that was just a little bit tricky for newbies like us. 


Apparently, I had been transporting a hitchhiker since Trout Lake. He finally got annoyed and started stinging and biting me. I won the contest when I trapped and Killed the fellow  that we later decided was a        baby? hornet, between my knee and jeans. I have two words to say about that. YucK! and OUcH!

DSC05887It was almost time for us to finish our adventures so we headed for the Marina to try out the Wholly G’rails of Lake County.

It was fun  and we consider ourselves

respectable cachers

with our 75% average.  We have decided on our name, winter is here, so game on.   

Go espylds!!!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

waiting for florida to catch up with the calendar

We had our few teaser days of milder temperatures and then the heat and humidity returned. Well, not completely returned, because the temps have been in the low nineties, but still plenty hot…and humid. Gardening is  a before 10:00 am activity for me.


I planted some tomatoes and peas and beans. Those beans were up and out of the hot dirt in just days and after  a little more than a week, they have been thinned.


DSC05875Over the past few months, the squirrels have tried a few tactics to get to the food in the bird feeder. One strong and courageous guy finally made it. We found him actually In The Tube, head down gorging himself. Although we scared him away, the next day we  found to our dismay that the entire tube was empty. (The birds usually require a weekly refill.) So we greased the post with vaseline, which provided some entertainment for me while working in the kitchen, watching a slip-sliding wholly unsuccessful squirrel.




In other garden adventures, I witnessed this dinosaur-like lizard catch and consume his lunch, which was quite  fascinating, I must say!



The cordylines, DSC05896








ground orchids,


and herbs continue to delight this Florida gardener.

Happy Garden Bloggers Bloom Day!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

found it

I hate looking for things. Generally I refuse to look for things that have gone missing. I figure that I will run into them sooner or later and most things that I am missing just aren’t that critical for my happiness.

However, many years ago, I was missing a check. It was a Christmas gift  from my parents. Doug and I  had committed to pay a certain amount to our ward budget (this was in the olden days when you did that kind of thing.)  I ended up having the baby that I was expecting six weeks early. I had to quit work,  and so, we didn’t have the money to pay our commitment. But then Christmas came and the gift and I cried and cried because I was so grateful because that  check was for the amount of money that we had committed pay,  and now we could. Of course, my parents didn’t know anything about the commitment and were worried that we were starving. Thankfully, we weren’t. Things were very tight though, and  I felt it was a huge blessing to be able to do what we had said we would do.

How Could I Lose That Check???

Generally, I don’t pray when I have lost things because I was  irresponsible. Nevertheless, I did pray. And I was blessed with help to find the check.

I have  a few things that I have been on my “lookout for” list for a while. My sunglasses that turned up in the trunk of Doug’s car yesterday and a cake plate that turned up in the cedar chest today. But then, we went to upload the printer software to Brianna’s computer and the CD has gone missing.


I would have liked one day with nothing on my missing list!

e7f76_geo-logo Which make me wonder why??????????

I like  geocaching, a form of entertainment where you go looking for things that people have purposely hidden?

Maybe it is because you get to go to the website and click a little box that says “Found It”.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

my name game

When I was born my parents named me Debra after a character in a movie that they saw while my mom was pregnant. Apparently a lot of people saw that movie and liked the name because it seems as if  I have never been anywhere without finding another Debra/Deborah/whatever in the group. When I was younger, annoying as it was, I had an unusual last name, Chytraus.  That, at least, helped me feel that my name was a little unique.

Then I married Mr. Carter and became Debra Carter. Now at the library, grocery store, video rental and other places there are multiple Debra Carters and I am the one who lives in Eustis, or whatever other defining terms are needed.

I have a friend who changed her name and believe me, I have thought about it. For a long time now, I have thought that IF I ever changed my name, I would change it to Maisie Carter.



This, of course, is Maisy Mouse. I think she looks a bit like me.



But lately I have been reading books by D E Stevenson and although there are a number of characters that I really like, my favorite is Hester Christie. So now I am wondering about becoming Hester Carter. Doug’s grandfather’s name was Lester Carter, so some people might not think it is too redundant. I would even be willing to keep Debra as a middle name as a nod to my parents.

My husband claims that he always does what I want…which is NOT true, although I have to admit that he often does. However, when it came to naming our girls, he chose. I lobbied for Camilla three times in a row and lost all three times. Never mind the fact that our girls have thanked their father numerous times over the years for their good fortune in not being named Camilla. He said he would name me Christina or Crystal, but since I have a half-sister named Christina that one is definitely out of the picture now and Crystal Carter sounds like, I don’t know, a country singer? Whatever, it doesn’t sound like me to me.

Which brings me back to Hester. Her name is not often used in the books, which are written in the early 1900’s. She is known as Mrs. Tim, short for Mrs. Tim Christie. The books are somewhat autobiographical, which I suppose means that D E Stevenson was actually known as Mrs. James short for Mrs. James Peploe. “D” does not stand for Debbie, it stands for Dorothy.  I would actually rather be Debra than Dorothy, so I guess it could be worse.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

the organist

With Wizard of Oz-like intensity, my husband sat down to “figure out” the newly installed organ at the Stake Center.


Within  just a few minutes we were experiencing impressive music, not to mention fabulous sound.

I believe the prerequisites    for the calling of the ward organist is about to change.

One only needs to know how to push buttons and when.


Then again, being an experienced expert button pusher myself, I guess that is not quite as easy as it sounds.