Saturday, December 16, 2017

Florida in December


About two weeks ago we left home for a trip south. We usually don't go to Florida until February, but there was a Gospel Express ministry going into prisons in December.  So we took a little pre-Christmas tour.  Since there was work in the fields that still needed to be done at home, we left on our first trip without Matthias.  This meant that we had to practice every chance we had on the way down since he plays a major role in our music! 


Ready for our first service! We had the privilege of singing at 3 different prisons while we were  there. The first few concerts were stretching for those that had to step up into Matthias' part, but God gave grace!  We pray that He was glorified and used the music and message to work in the men's hearts.


Then we went down to Orlando which is one of our favorite places to visit, mostly because our brother Andrew and his wife Kori live there! It is so good to be with family!  We also had the privilege of singing at First Baptist Winter Garden, a delightfully friendly church.  We greatly enjoyed their fellowship before and after the service.  The church's stately 1800's brick building was a fabulous venue in which to worship.   We also were blessed to share at chapel for Foundation Academy the church's high school.  Several teachers told us that this was, for many of the students, their first introduction to bluegrass music!  It is a wonderful venue to share the Gospel and to lift hearts in praise to God.


When we drove home we stopped by Branson for a bit, because it has been a second home to us. It was extra special having Andrew, Kori and Matthias join us for those 2 days.


As we traveled home in the bus we started talking about life. Our goals, our concerns, and what really is important. We are so grateful for where God has put us and for the people He has placed in our lives. But we want to do more than just have fun together, we want to make a difference! And so as we finish up this year and look forward to 2018, we are praying that God will give us an outward focus. That He would do the work in our own lives, so that we could reach people in need. That we would serve with love and sincerity, that we would sing for His glory and share what He has done in our lives. We don't want this blog or the music we sing to be about us. We have our struggles just like the next family. But we serve a great God and that is worth sharing!


"Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." Hebrews 12 :1&2

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Thanksgiving



I know the blog has been quiet for a little while, but I am going to do my best to change that! Starting with our Thanksgiving. We spend a couple days up in Iowa at our grandparents house. Seriously, it is the best place to spend Thanksgiving! Our grandparents are some of the sweetest people you will ever meet and we absolutely love every moment we get to spend with them.


We were all busy in the kitchen and enjoying lunch so much that I didn't get any pictures of Thanksgiving day... But I got some of us helping around the farm the next day!


Grandpa and Grandma's garden produces some of the largest, most delicious veggies! Or maybe Grandma just knows how to cook them perfectly. But harvest is over now so we helped winterize the garden.



Enjoying the beautiful sunshine in November.


Helping Grandpa put a floor in his greenhouse.


This is a pretty common sight on Saturdays in the fall. The Husker football team didn't do very well this year. But we still wore red and cheered them on. Hopefully next year will be better! 

When we arrived home we sat around our dinner table and made our traditional list of what we are grateful for in the year 2017. The list was long and we were once again blown away by God's faithfulness and kindness in the good times and in the struggles. I think top on the list was the power of the gospel and the truth of God's Word. It is truly life-changing!

"Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
and into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, and bless His name."
Psalms 100:4

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Seasons


This is a busy time of year for our family. Since the crops are out and it is still warm enough to install  the underground irrigation systems the guys have been putting in huge weeks trying to get as much done as they can! 


Everyone comes home tired and sore, but that makes us look forward to the weekend that much more! 


"Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might."
Ecclesiastes 9:10

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Trip To Florida


For Alaythia's 18th birthday she asked if we three girls could take a trip to Florida to visit Andrew and Kori. It took awhile to finally figure out a time that would work, but finally we were able to book the tickets and fly south.


We packed the 10 days full of adventures!


Enjoying the beautiful weather - playing games while eating chocolate chip cookie dough 
 - listening to street musicians - boating


- exploring fun restaurants - swimming 
- cooking s'mores over the stove - just talking together


- relaxing at the beach - laughing
- singing karaoke - shopping...



I'm pretty sure that was one birthday present that will never be forgotten!
Thank you Andrew and Kori for the incredible time together. 
We love you!

"Blessed be the name of the Lord
From this time forth and forevermore!"
Psalms 113:2

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Winter is coming!


There is just something special about sitting in front of a cozy fireplace when it is cold outside. The snow is gently falling. Christmas lights are sparkling around you, and music is playing softly. That is when you just want to stop time for a bit. 


But before you can enjoy that view you have to gather all the firewood! Last Saturday a bunch of us went to a friend's house to cut and load up the wood from some dead trees he cut down. We actually had a great time doing it!



Can you tell who is having fun with the wood shavings?


We made a 'bucket brigade' from the pile of wood Dad was cutting to the trailer where Nathanael was stacking. Not all of the logs were thrown and caught successfully, but no one was hurt and there were a lot of laughs in the process.


Now we have a beautiful stack of wood ready to keep us comfy and cozy all winter.


"The Lord will give strength to His people;
The Lord will bless His people with peace."
Psalms 29:11

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Then & Now


Exactly 10 years after taking this picture of Hannah, Susanna and Alaythia we unintentionally got another one at the exact same place with almost the exact same pose, with the exact same photographer. Wow, time flies!!


I guess we will have to put it on the calendar and see if we can get another one 10 years from now.

Blessed be the name of the LORD
From this time forth and forevermore!
Psalms 113:2

Saturday, October 28, 2017

His First Solo!


Today is full of milestones for this young man. Not only is he turning 16 today, but he also soloed for the first time!! We have another up and coming pilot in the family. 
Congratulations Nathanael!

"So I said, "Oh, that I had wings like a dove!
I would fly away and be at rest."
Psalms 55:6

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

The Grandkids

I haven't done the best job of taking pictures of what we've been up to lately. So while I quickly pull out the camera and capture some moments this week I thought you would enjoy something that always brings a smile to my face -- the faces of my 9 nieces and nephews!

It has been fun to watch them interact when we are all together and see the different personalities already coming out. Some of them definitely have traits that take after their parents and some remind us so much of a sibling that it can be pretty amusing!
- Autumn - 

- Caden -            -Everett -


- Lee -

- Jenifer -

- Arianna -

- Kendrick -

-Joanna -           -Asher -

"How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God!
Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Your wings."
Psalms 36:7

Saturday, October 21, 2017

M&M











Love is definitely in the air!
This happy couple is busy planning a December wedding!! Last weekend they were able to get their engagement photos taken and from the looks of the sneak peak that we got, the pictures turned out beautiful! I know they appreciate prayer as they make decisions for the wedding and prepare to set up their home.


We are looking forward to sharing more photos and details of their love story later.

*Photos by Eric Vest Photography


"Let all those who seek You rejoice and be glad in You;
And let those who love Your salvation say continually,
"Let God be magnified!"
Psalms 70:4

Monday, October 16, 2017

These Days


The last few weeks have had a very similar schedule for us. We've spent most of the time at home which has been a fun change of pace from the previous month. Family devotions, school, building relationships, work, music, business meetings and working on personal projects have all had a part in making up our days.


// practicing music //


// working out // 
// canning applesauce and other food produce //



// Nathanael is working towards getting his pilots license so we will hopefully have another pilot in the family! //



// working in the fields //
// celebrating birthdays //


// making weekend trips up to MN to see a certain person //


// thoroughly enjoying this beautiful time of year and this beautiful season of life //


"See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise,
redeeming the time,
because the days are evil."
Ephesians 5:15-16