Saturday, August 27, 2016
Each God-centered love story is unique. Magnificent.
Ryan & Ruth are thrilled to share the beautiful way the Lord has woven their lives together. They have written their love story and it is now available via your email inbox. Simply fill your information in the following form to have their story and photos delivered directly to you!
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Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him,bless His name.
Posted at 6:00 AM
Tuesday, August 23, 2016
It's never too late to wish your parents Happy Anniversary, right?!
Your 35 years of seeking God, loving each other, supporting each other and forgiving each other, has set all of us a beautiful example of marriage.
We love you Dad and Mom!!!
"Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me... for without Me you can do nothing."
John 15:4 & 5
Posted at 3:32 PM
Friday, August 19, 2016
Welcome to our Friday Family Fun series!
I believe one of God's greatest gifts is the relationships of those He places closest to us: our family. That is one treasure that is always worth investing in! One of the ways we enjoy spending time together is exploring different games and projects to do together as a family in the evenings. Since some of them have turned out to be quite fun we thought we would start sharing a few of our recent ideas with ya'll!
*Please excuse the somewhat poor quality of these pictures.
I wasn't going to blog this, but it ended up being such fun
that I thought I'd pass along the idea.
Stephen's birthday was last week and since he requested Italian food for supper we decided to play a birthday game with a bit of Italian flavor. Literally. What you will need is a bowl of cooked spaghetti noodles and some dark paper. Cook the spaghetti as instructed on the box then drain and put some ice on the noodles to keep them from getting too sticky.
Give each player or team a piece of paper and set the timer for 3 minutes. The goal is to create a picture of whatever they want using the noodles. Some of the more artistic members of our family declared that 3 minutes was not enough time to sufficiently add enough detail to the picture so feel free to add a couple of extra minutes if you want.
Say "GO!" and let the creativity and noodles start to fly!
Just so you know, we don't make a habit of playing with our food... this was an exception to that rule for the sake of making memories together.
Can you tell that this is Ryan and Ruth's picture?!
This picture got the most laughs by far! It was affectionately dubbed "The Yodeling Cowboy".
You probably can tell which pictures were made by people on a team vs. single players.
I hope you enjoy doing this as much as we did!
"Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good;
Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!"
Tuesday, August 16, 2016
As many of you know, our family has a yearly tradition of traveling to the lovely northern Minnesota for the Lake Itasca Family Music Festival. This event is always such a highlight of our year! If you're looking for a family getaway that is enjoyable, educational, and spiritually edifying (did we mention affordable?!!), we highly recommend considering the 2017 festival. Be forewarned -- many families who visit once end up returning year after year!
This year it was a fun challenge to get everything unpacked & settled after the wedding, catch up with the industrial work and the garden, then pack and prepare to head north. But as we pulled into the grounds, it was completely worth it.
The weather was absolutely beautiful the entire weekend!
We enjoyed sharing on the main stage three times.
We were completely surprised to see these two blissfully happy people stop by for a couple hours on Friday evening. Ryan planned their honeymoon location to coincide with the festival so they could have the opportunity to meet many of our friends & share an evening with us before slipping away for the remainder of their getaway. What a treat!
A major highlight -- and undertaking -- each year is planning, preparing, and presenting the annual Storybook Theater. This consists of two, 1-hour sessions geared specifically for the children at the festival. We teach songs, memory verses, and Biblical themes to an enthusiastic group. This year we observed almost as many adults and teens in the crowd as children!
During the Storybook Theater, our feature presentation is always the...<drumroll>...
Each year we select a hero of the faith to research and present in theatrical form. Ruth writes the script and it is a team effort to bring the story to life on the stage. We owe a massive 'thanks' to our friends who spend time rehearsing lines, scrounging up costumes, and then add their dramatic talent to the production.
This year we featured the life of George Mueller. If you have not read about this man of faith, we'd encourage you to look him up! There are many books available that would make great read-alouds for your family. He lived a remarkable life of trust and prayer.
Our theme for the Storybook Theater 2016 was "Trusting God in Prayer". And without further ado, here is a glimpse of the drama:
Depicting George's early life.
The following are quotes from George Mueller. May you be challenged -- and encouraged to learn more about his life!
"I have joyfully dedicated my whole life to the object of exemplifying how much may be accomplished by prayer and faith."
"George Muller, nothing. The Lord Jesus, everything. In himself worse than nothing. By grace, in Christ, the son of the King."
"My Lord is not limited; He can again supply."
"You whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and said to you, 'You are My servant, I have chosen you and have not cast you away. Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.'"
Isaiah 41:9, 10
*Thank you to Hannah Schoenfelder
for allowing us to use her pictures!
Thursday, August 11, 2016
It's on to an update about Stephen!
Stephen is one of those hard-working, fun-loving, committed guys. He enjoys investing in the lives of his siblings and is not afraid to tackle a big project.
Over the years Stephen has enjoyed spending his free time in the shop building things out of wood. Making everything from beds and stools to jewelry boxes & mantles, it has been amazing to watch him fine tune his skills and create useful and beautiful things.
Lately he has not had much time to work with wood. But we are enjoying this mantle which is his latest wood project.
On the business side of things, Stephen also plays a major role. Managing the sandblasting as well as the irrigation has been a big responsibility but he has risen to the challenge. On our last job I was hoping to get a picture of the pipe work that the guys do but since they put it all together before we got to the fields I decided that this would have to work instead.
Here is an aerial shot of one of the irrigation fields we installed. This field is a test plot and so it has a different setup than most of the fields we instal but it will give an idea of the trenching a pipe work involved.
Since we moved into this house 7 years ago our shed has accumulated a large variety of stuff that we never cleaned out. Until this year. We spent a couple afternoons taking everything out, sorting, cleaning, getting rid of a lot of stuff and reorganizing what was left back in the shed. I don't know how many times Stephen's name was flying around with the question "What about this?!"
Stephen also plays a large role into the music side of our family. The time he has spent learning the mandolin has been a huge blessing to us and we love it when he and Matthias get their instruments out and serenade us in the evenings.
A project that he has enjoyed working towards and now has complete is his pilots license! Since some of the work that comes in is several hours away it has been so nice to have an airplane and pilot to run parts or workers from one place to the next.
Always ready to do something active he and Alaythia have the tradition of doing handstands together at some of the major landmarks as we travel.
This last year Stephen has enjoyed helping teach Sunday School at our church. His passion for seeking Christ and living out the truths of God's Word has been an exciting walk for him and we look forward to see what God has in store for his future.
"Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light to my path,"
Posted at 4:00 PM
Wednesday, August 03, 2016
In addition to the wedding activity this weekend, Mom had an especially precious moment. With all of her experience and wisdom after 13 children and 6 grandchildren, grand-baby #7 was the very first time our mom saw an ultrasound. Bethany scheduled her 20 week ultrasound in Nebraska during their visit for the wedding and invited Mom to join them.
It was a treasured time as they watched those tiny hands, kicking feet, and unique facial features on the screen. What an awesome peek into God's incredible gift of new life. We're so excited to meet this new little person!
I will praise You,
for I am fearfully wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,
And my soul knows very well.
Posted at 7:31 PM
Monday, August 01, 2016
They are now Mr & Mrs!!
I don't quite know how to put into words the incredible blessings that we experienced on Saturday. We were once again reminded of the faithfulness and greatness of our God! I can't wait to share more pictures so you can experience a little bit of the day with us.
Praise God from Whom all blessings flow!
"Many, O Lord my God, are Your wonderful works which You have done;"
Posted at 6:21 PM
Friday, July 29, 2016
We got back from the camping trip Saturday night and right away started preparations for Seward's annual Fourth of July celebration. Due to various responsibilities and commitments, this year was not quite as typical as previous years. But it was still a wonderful day!
In the morning there is always the bubble gum blowing contest and apple pie eating contest. Susanna was not planning on entering but (thanks to a certain brother) she was selected to compete.
Nathanael got in on the pie eating part -- and as you can see, was eager to eat his piece.
He almost won his round!
Alan and Rachel were able to make it up this year and little Kendrick did not lack for attention!
I think he enjoyed his uncles!
We sang as we do every year at 2 pm then hurried over to main street to watch the parade.
Charissa is taking violin lessons when we are home and was absolutely delighted to walk through the parade with several of the other violin students!
Of course, the nieces and nephews were all excited about the candy!
After the parade we grabbed a bite for supper and then headed over to the large park where they host the annual fireworks display.
Every year they have a band play from 8-10pm, when it's dark enough for them to shoot off the fireworks. We were honored to be asked to do the music this year.
Setting up in such a big outdoor setting made it a bit different than our usual setup. But God answered prayers and everything ended up going smoothly.
Over the years we have made it a priority to pray before each concert. We do music as a family with the goal of pointing people to Christ and we have found that prayer is a foundation for doing that. Whether it is in family devotions, our personal quiet time or right before we go up to sing, prayer has a way of setting our focus and gives us a clear reminder that it is not about us but about Him!
It was a very relaxed setting with people sitting all over the park lawn. Playing Frisbee. Sharing picnics. Playing on the park equipment. Talking with friends.
After about two hours of music, the sun was down and it was officially time to watch the fireworks!
One of my favorite parts of the Fourth of July is sitting in the cool evening with family, hearing the powerful explosions and then seeing the beauty and uniqueness of each beautiful firework.
What a day to remember the founding of this nation.
"If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land."
2 Chronicles 7:14
Posted at 11:00 AM