Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Hannah's Haircut

It's here! The long-awaited day has arrived!

For the past months, Hannah has been looking forward to giving her long hair to Locks of Love -- an organization that provides children cancer patients with hairpieces. With a minimum length of 10 inches needed, we've been measuring, combing, measuring, trimming, -- and measuring yet again -- for the past several weeks, just waiting for it to grow long enough for the 'big day'.


After a final wash and combing, we measured out the needed inches, took a final look in the mirror and a deep breath......

...and started styling the new look!

Now her ponytail is en route to Florida where we hope it will bring a smile to a child's face. And Hannah is smiling, too, enjoying the new feel of cute layers. Reminded that -- as always -- "It is more blessed to give that to recieve." Acts 20:35

The new 'do'!
Love ya, Hannah!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Treasuring the Heritage

"...Telling to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, And His strength and His wonderful works that He has done... That they should make them known to their children; That the generation to come might know them... That they may set their hope in God, And not forget the works of God, But keep His commandments;"
Psalm 78:4-7


On those days when it's just a little chilly for exploring out-of-doors, it's time to break out the recipe box and make some of Grandma's famous spritzer cookies! Mm-m-m-m-m!! Can't you almost smell that chocolaty goodness?!

Obviously, this is a team-work project...

....with some water and 'real food' interspersed in the process!

Finally the rolling begins. The finished product is almost complete!
And no matter how hard we try to make Grandma's recipes at home, why is it they always turn out better at her house!?! (*wink* -- love ya, Grandma!!)

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Snow Day

As we packed the bus to head to our grandparents' home for Thanksgiving, what a surprise to be greeted with the first snow of the year! It's such a cozy day to spend 8 hours in the bus -- and watch the world get whiter and whiter. What a glorious sight!

"He does great things which we cannot comprehend.
For He says to the snow, 'Fall on the earth."
Job 37:5-6

Friday, November 16, 2007

Smiles from home...

The sun had long set in the west as we pulled into our hometown on Tuesday evening. And most of us were eagerly perched on the front sofas in the bus, arms loaded with clothes, luggage, and assorted other items -- ready to run up our porch steps and 'home'!

There's just no place like home.

As we've looked back over the past 6 weeks, we had to smile at the following 'stats' --
  • 5,938 safe miles
  • 40 Services (including 2 'Family Life' seminars)
  • 46 nights in the bus
  • 12 States & Ontario
  • Numerous laundromats
  • 2 family birthday celebrations
  • 20 gallons of Ruth's homemade yogurt (we like yogurt!!)
  • 18 blog posts
  • Met 2 baby girls named 'Alaythia'! [smile]
  • Hundreds of hours spent in fellowship, meeting new people, and deepening friendships.
  • At least 4 first-time commitments to Jesus Christ.

And those latter statistics are the reason we leave home. While the Lord opened many 'surprise' doors to see unique tourist sights on this trip, home is still too precious to leave for weeks at a time of mere 'sightseeing'. For us, each day as we gathered for family devotions or prayer before a service, we were reminded of our mission.

Again, we'd like to extend a big 'thank you' to each of you who have kept our family in prayer. We have made note of several specific answers to prayer --

  • We were able to pull together for family devotions much more consistently than on previous trips.
  • More one-on-one family times of fellowship.
  • Good health. Except for one evening in NY, everyone stayed healthy the whole trip!
  • New singing outfits
  • The Spirit of the Lord ministered through each service -- in spite of our weaknesses and imperfections.

So, while we treasure these few days of 'home-time', our hearts are filled with thankfulness for the goodness of the Lord, His mercies that are new each morning, and the personal and individual ways He wants to be involved in our lives.

What are you thankful for today!?

"Give thanks unto the LORD, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the people. Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him, talk ye of all his wondrous works." 1 Chron. 16:8-9

Monday, November 12, 2007

Finishing Strong

As our eastern travels are coming to a close, I guess it's time for a quick post. [smile] We have spent much of the past week digging into the rich history of both the founding of our nation and the Civil War battlefields. Thankful for our walking shoes, we've covered many miles and made lots of family memories. There's just nothing like being caught in rush hour traffic on the DC Metro!!

Added to this, we were thrilled that after six weeks on the road our brother and a dear friend, Arnie, were able to join us for this final weekend. Here is a short glimpse of life through my sister's viewfinder --

"America, America, God shed His grace on thee..."

While the guys were more interested in the Air & Space museum, we girls visited the DC Botanical Gardens & Conservatory. The orchid room was full of brilliant blooms in all colors and sizes. Our God's incredible handiwork!

Charissa was most enthralled with the fountain.

Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

Arnie, our history expert, gave us battle by battle information as we drove through the tour. Here we stood by the General Longstreet memorial.

Walking through these battlefields so rich with heritage and heroism, we were reminded that as children of the King of kings we, too, have a cause worthy of sacrifice. One worth giving our lives for.

On Sunday we had a surprise guest at the morning service -- President Abraham Lincoln! Actually, this gentleman is an amazing impersonator and we enjoyed his delivery of authentic speeches.

In closing, we'd like to say a big 'Thank You' to each of you dear friends who have encouraged our hearts in so many ways during these past weeks. In some ways it seems hardly possible that we'll be starting the 20 hour trip back to Nebraska this afternoon!

And as many of you keep our family -- and the opportunities for ministry -- in your prayers, we rejoice to share that yesterday morning the angels were singing in heaven as three men and a 10 year old boy responded to the Gospel of Jesus Christ!!! Our hearts overflow with joy as we pray for these new believers.

It's been a full trip, many miles, new faces and friends, re-newed friendships -- and not without its moments of struggle. But as we turn the bus homeward today we again marvel at the grace of our mighty God....
"Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise. Be thankful unto Him and bless His name. For the Lord is good. His mercy is everlasting and His truth endures to all generations." Psalm 100:4-5

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Manhattan Entourage

Having never visited Manhattan, we didn't quite know what to expect yesterday as we started out for a tour of the city. Except we knew there would be traffic. And lots of people.

Thankful to have a knowledgeable friend along with us, we spent several hours experiencing the sights, sounds, and smells of the downtown area. Here are a few hightlights...

"In New York harbor stands a lady..." With much awe we stood watching the harbor waves toss; remembering both the history and heritage of America's past. How many families landed here holding the hope of freedom and a new life.

Somehow the statue wasn't as tall as we were expecting! [smile] Actually, we opted to skip the ferry ride -- and this was the second-best picture opportunity!

But speaking of height, we had the privilage of meeting this young man. A native of Sudan, he is 7'5" and plays on the highschool basketball team here. We enjoyed visiting with him and watching his gentle ways with children.

It was sobering to drive by Ground Zero. Especially after hearing many stories from the locals of how that day affected so many aspects of their lives.

And after walking block upon block of skyscrappers, it was a breath of fresh air (quite literally!) to spend time in Central Park. Surrounded with trees and quiet walkways, it was a blessed change of pace to explore the castle, ice rink, turtle pond, Shakesphere gardens, fountains, bridges, and so much more! We were amazed to find that even after over an hour of discovery, we still hadn't covered half the park.

Elizabeth and Susanna run under a bridge.

Time to take a break for some 'munchies'.

And then it was time to head back to the van.
It was a good day, but we all agreed:
There's no place like home!

"Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever You had formed the earth and the world, Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God."
Psalm 90:1-2

Saturday, November 03, 2007

New York City

This afternoon we had the excitement of driving through parts of New York City. (Excitement mostly due to needing a route with high clearance for a raised-roof bus!!) And as we saw hundreds upon hundreds of cars racing down the freeways, this song sang itself over and over in my head:

People need the Lord. People need the Lord.
At the end of broken dreams, He's the Open Door.
People need the Lord!
When will we realize that we must give our lives --
For people need the Lord.

How true. And we have the message of hope! Isn't it amazing to think that God knows each person in each car, where they are going, if they'll arrive in time....and most importantly, where they stand in their relationship with Him. Wow.

We'd appreciate your prayers for this weekend as we share a couple services here on Long Island. Specifically, we have two children with fevers and we're praying for their quick recovery without passing the 'germ bug' around to the rest of us!

May the coming days bring divine appoinments and opportunities to share the HOPE found in Jesus -- whether for our family here in NYC, or for you wherever God has placed you to shine for Him.

"Then He said to them, "The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest." Luke 10:2


For those of you who have recently visited our family's bio page, you know a drastic update has been embarrassingly over-due. (As in several YEARS over due!) The past couple months we been working on re-writing them, but it hasn't been an easy task getting every one to participate. Finally, it came down to needing only one last bio. Andrew's.

Sure, he'd willingly sit down to write -- but ever the family humorist, he'd keep us all in stitches with his 'copy-cat' writing style. To our relief, these initial drafts were vetoed in quire of a writing style more 'traditional'. Finally he complied, but not before we had a few laughs over his first attempts. We thought you might enjoy a chuckle in your day....

:: :: :: :: :: :: ::

Hey! My name is Andrew. I am the fifth of thirteen children, but make no mistake, if you could only meet one of us I’d be the one you’d want to meet. I just thought I’d take a minute and write a little about myself. Some of my better qualities includes...I’m pretty good looking. (As you can obviously see.) I am also a very intelligent. Musically I like to think of myself as a prodigy. My family really appreciates all that I do, at least that’s what I keep telling myself. But my most amazing quality is my humility. I think I come by it naturally, because I’ve never really had to work at it... Amazed??? I know most people are...

:: :: :: :: :: :: ::

Hi. My name is Andrew. I live in a bus. I live with my family in our BIG bus. We drive. We drive everywhere. We sing. We sing music everywhere. I play banjo. I play banjo fast. I play banjo in the bus. I play banjo when we sing everywhere.

:: :: :: :: :: :: ::

I play banjo in a house. I play banjo with a mouse
I play banjo here and there. I play banjo everywhere.
I play banjo in a box. I play banjo with a fox.
I play banjo in a church. I play banjo on a perch.
I play banjo in a group. I play banjo eating soup.
I play banjo in a jail. I play banjo without fail.
I play banjo in a song. I play banjo......ALL DAY LONG!!!!

:: :: :: :: :: :: ::

And after these many variations, a final draft was completed and we happily sent them to our webmaster! To read Andrew's completed bio -- as well as updates on the rest of the crew -- check out our Family page!

Friday, November 02, 2007

Amish Country

As the miles pass under our bus tires here in Pennsylvania, I have finally managed to get our internet service cooperating with the idea of loading a new post!

It has been a busy -- but good -- week. Besides a full schedule of ministry in song, we've also greatly enjoyed watching the slower pace of Amish life in Ohio's Holmes County. While there is more to see and do than we could possibly accommodate, we did have some time to take in a few special stops...

We started with the P. Graham Dunn showcase, where woodcarving and laser work is truly a highly developed art! Seeing their creative ways to tie Scripture into home decor was inspiring -- and certainly worth the visit.

We also stopped for an hour at the Heini's Cheese Factory. With an informative tour, we learned a lot about how different cheeses are made. We were amazed to discover that all the 'Heini' milk arrives daily in milk cans from Amish farmers. These farmers have an average herd size of 8 cows -- usually milked by hand! We watched the process of separating the curds from the whey.

Then came the fun part....sampling over 50 kinds of cheese. And almost all of the varieties were very yummy. (I'll leave the rest up to your imagination!) Somehow the green 'moon cheese' didn't rank high on our 'favorites' list, though we especially enjoyed the yogurt, swiss, and hot pepper varieties.

Another highlight was watching the process of candle-carving. We were amazed at the speed and skill with which this friend turned an ordinary candle into a masterpiece of art.

Making certain each cut matched the first.

In less than 5 minutes the candle was close to completion.
Many thanks to our friends at "Lamp & Light"!

And aside from making time for a few local tourist stops, we've also been keeping up with the 'necessities' of life. This is a fairly familiar sighting in our travels -- as you may guess, we go through LOTS of drinking water!!! These shopping trips are also a great way to get some 'fresh air' and stretch a little after a long day's drive.

"Must I go back in the bus?!"

"Thou wilt show me the path of life,
In Thy presence is fullness of joy;
At Thy right hand are pleasures forevermore!"
Psalms 16:11