Book Review: Take the Risk

In the winter months I tend to consume books like they were Costco ice cream bars rolled in almonds (which are not available anymore, MUCH to my dismay), eating quickly to avoid melting ice cream and chocolate falling in my lap. I have always had a passion for reading, learning, growing and I do believe you are the same person you were last year except for the people you meet and the books you read. Stagnation is my arch nemesis.

After watching The Gifted Hands: the story of Ben Carson, I was both challenged and convicted. Both personally and in my role as a parent. Seeing and learning how Ben Carson overcame all the obstacles, that today would be considered by many as no possible, was inspiring to say the least. Not only was it inspiring to me, but to Kayla, as well. The next night she showed us a speech that Ben Carson had given at the 2013 Presidential Prayer Breakfast and told us how amazed she was by it. These are the kinds of people who I want to learn from. Inspiring by the way they live their lives and walk the talk that is coming from their lips.

Off to the library I went. The first book I devoured was called Take the Risk. I mentioned it my friend, to which she exclaimed, “What in the world are YOU reading that kind of book for???!!!”

“What do you mean?”, I questioned.

“I mean, YOU have no problem taking risks. Why do you need to read about it? You live that.”

OK. She does have a point. But then I thought….and realized, “Yes, I do have an easier time taking (educated) risks compared to most people.” BUT…I still need to be inspired, to be encouraged and to be learning and growing in this area.

Back to the book review. I HIGHLY recommend reading this book. Carson uses many of his personal life experiences, dissecting them for all to see how risk played a part of shaping who he is today. He is a neuro brain surgeon, a scientist, a husband, a father and a son. He knows what he’s talking about and ever so calmly explains how to identify, choose and live with acceptable risk. As Tony Dungy says in his review of the book, “Reading this book will cause you to examine your approach to living and challenge you to use the gifts God has given you to help others.”

I will definitely be using Ben Carson’s wisdom as I make future choices, both personally and as a parent. In fact, his four questions he asks himself before taking a risk (that he expounds upon in his book) will now be an integral part of decision making for the Raichart Family.

I hope this review causes you to go to the computer and reserve this book online.


Do LARGE families scare you?

Have you ever thought…

“Wow! I’d love to have that family over for dinner…but…we just don’t have room for them ALL”

“Our house is just too small”

“I can’t fit that many people at my table”

“It would cost a fortune to feed that crew!”

DISCLAIMER: This is NOT a guilt trip at ALL. But more of a paradigm shifting opinion of mine.

Part of having a large family just means you don’t get invited over for dinner all that often. Period. The end. And I totally get it. We can seem seriously overwhelming to a quaint family of 3 or 4. I mean, honestly, just walking in the door and suddenly having FOURTEEN extra shoes overflowing your mat can seem wild, let alone feeding us all.

I’d like to dispell a few things about us large families though.

1. We’re not scary – I promise. In fact, you’ll have more fun and more entertained than ever.

2. We’re all about helping with food!  – We understand there are lots of us and we love to bring our share of the meal.

3. You don’t have to have enough seats for us – really. Actually…we’re good with picnic style. Have an old sheet? Throw it down on the floor and the kids have an instant picnic.

4. Small house? That’s ok. Kids are so creative and don’t even know it’s small. In fact, my good friend, who lives in 900 square feet with her family of 7, invited us (family of 7) and another family (family of 4) over to her house for dinner…and it was just fabulous! Yes, 18 people in 900 sq. ft. It works 🙂

5. Think it is expensive to feed a large family? Depends. But I just fed our family and another family of 7 (14 total) a meal consisting of homemade chicken noodle soup, homemade biscuits, and salad for under $20. And believe it or not, there were even leftovers…which is unbelievable with 3 teens and 3 almost teens! Trust me. Large families don’t expect to be served steak.

Bonus: Use PAPER plates, PAPER bowls and PLASTIC silverware. Makes dishes a cinch.

The next time you think to yourself, “We should invite that (large) family over for dinner”, do it! I dare you to see how easy it really is and how much fun you really have 🙂

Here is our family with our lifelong friends, the Tarabochias – squishing 10 kiddos at an 8 person table – but look at the love! That’s what it’s all about.



Show and Tell

You are remember this day, right? When you get to bring your most prized possession to school and show your classmates what you think is special? Ruby’s day was Friday and she could not wait to bring in her baby sister.

“Are you sure?”, I questioned, because Jo had already visited the classroom on Halloween and the kids all met her then. “Yep”, she replies.

So we head into school and Jo was oh-so-happy to be walking on the sidewalk in freedom. We sign in and put the volunteer lanyard around her neck (she loves necklaces) and head up to the class.

**all iPhone images…

IMG_0658There’s something about being the baby of the family and loving attention from everyone in the room. This girl turned on her charm, smiled at the teacher, went around giving everyone “five” and had the class in fits of giggles the whole time.

IMG_0661Ruby got to explain that we adopted her from Oregon and how excited she was to meet her that first day we brought her home from the hospital…and that gave another girl in the class a chance to talk about being in Foster Care and how they are kind of alike. Kind of.

IMG_0662I’m so proud that big sister is so proud of little sister. That of all her treasured possessions, Jo is the most treasured of all.


Forced Family Fun Day

So you know when your kids hit a certain age? That age of not thinking the same things are cool that we just did 1-2 years ago? Like walking with your family around the local wetlands on a gorgeous, sunny day? Yep. We’re there. Hence the title “FORCED FUN”.

But, when you have teens, tweens, elementary and babies all in one family, there is no win-win. There will always be SOMEONE that complains. No worries. This too will pass. And I hear that for the most part, they won’t remember all the whining they did, but they WILL remember the adventures we went on.

So, I take pictures to prove to them that they had FUN. Walking around wetlands, enjoying God’s creation. FUN. They’ll thank me later, I’m sure of it.

My unsolicited advice? Force em’ to have FUN (wink, wink).


And while we’re talking about forcing…this photo. Yup. Lots of forcing to get this one.


Checking out the river rat at the edge of the bank, while momentarily forgetting they didn’t want to go in the first place.


We even brought our friends to have fun WITH us…cuz we’re good parents like that.

2014-01-06_00032014-01-06_00072014-01-06_0001Let’s just say Jo won the prize for best attitude!