Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A Quiet Blog...

...often means there's a full life of activity just waiting to be posted!

And such is the case here in our home. December was a fitting way to finish off 2010 -- filled with together-ness, music, reunions, packing, unpacking, traveling, and...well, instead of trying to explain it all in one post, I've decided to do a 'blogging marathon' to try and get caught up! So during the rest of this week, expect new blog posts to be popping up post-dated to times and events in the past weeks. This way you can follow our "month-in-review" without having to read one massively long blog post!

In the meantime, we wish you all a very blessed, merry, and joyous holiday season. Although we've been singing Christmas music for two months now, the awe and joy of God's precious Gift overwhelmed our hearts again last night as we celebrated our family Christmas.

But I'm getting ahead of myself! Stay tuned for a flood of blog posts soon...

"Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!"
2 Cor 9:15

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Christmas had a different twist for our family this year: We arrived home from Branson the evening of the 21st -- just in time to set up and prepare for our local concert on the 22nd. As soon as the Seward concert was over, we loaded into the bus and drove through the night to our grandparents' home in Iowa. It was a whirlwind of a trip, but very special to see our grandparents and cousins again.

Then, on Christmas Eve, December 24th, we headed back home. Due to extended family schedules, we decided to postpone our traditional family Christmas until the following week when we could all be together [Josiah & Bethany's families were with extended family]. Thus, Christmas Eve found us arriving at home without any time for the traditional Christmas preparations. No Christmas tree. No special baking. No chopped wood for the fireplace.

But in spite of the jumble of our family traditions -- or maybe because of the jumble -- we saw the beautiful story of Christmas in a sweet new light. It was good to step back from getting caught up in the 'doings' of Christmas, and rejoice in the awesome gift of our Savior.

After supper, we headed to a local nursing home and walked the halls, sharing the Christmas carols. To see the look of joy steal over these lonely faces reminded us of the True meaning of Christmas. Because of Christ's birth -- death, and resurrection -- we can now have real purpose in life. Forgiveness. Love. Joy. Peace. A relationship with our Creator and the opportunity to share His message with the world.

What an awesome reason to celebrate!

As a side note: If you're looking for an avenue to minister together as a family, please, please take the opportunity to share in your local nursing homes! You don't have to be a great musician. You don't need a polished presentation. A simple smile, song, prayer, and handshake will go a long ways in ministering God's love. And your children learn the joy of giving to those whom the world considers the 'least of these'!

Then, our Christmas morning unveiled a delightful surprise! Mom has always been an amazing example to us in creatively finding joy in simple pleasures and making the most out of 'less-than-ideal' situations. And my sisters learned from her well, planning a very memorable Christmas morning celebration -- a festive breakfast!

Decorated with Scripture verses

And for the best part of the surprise -- all the wrapped presents were boxes of cereal!

Morning smiles

With lively laughter, smiles, and chatter, we had a memorable Christmas breakfast. Is there anything better than rejoicing in the Author of love, life, and the tender bonds of family joy?!

A very merry and blessed Christmas
from our family to yours!!!

For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior,
who is Christ the Lord."
Luke 2:10-11

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Seward Concert

There's no place like home. And for us, this is especially true when we think of Seward county. We've lived in this area since 1981 and many dear friends in the community have literally watched our family grow up. They cheered us 10 years ago when we made our first {slightly painful} attempts to pluck out simple tunes together. They've given us opportunities to serve and invest in our community. We love small-town America and the sweet friends God has placed in our lives!

So we were grateful for the opportunity to bring our Branson production to the Seward Highschool Auditorium. The concert was such a very special evening for our family! It was also great to see so many of our church family again. Such a joyous Christmas reunion!

I'd post more pictures -- but happily, a good friend from church has already put together a lively, descriptive post with many good pictures. So I will simply link to her post: Check it out here!

"For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor,
Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."
Isaiah 9:6

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Dan & Bethany

Happy 1st Anniversary Dan and Bethany!

"Now to Him who is able to do
exceedingly abundantly
above all that we ask or think,
according to the power that works in us,
to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations,
forever and ever."
Eph 3:20-21

Monday, December 13, 2010

He Knows our Needs

Each day in Branson is one of adventure, personal challenge, stretching situations, long hours, smiles and laughter. For a sample glimpse of a typical day you can visit here. Due to the large amount of shows in town, there is allot involved with getting the word out about our theater/performance. Thus, we typically make around 30 visits every single day to hotels and restaurants; caroling and inviting people to the Music City Centre.

In addition to this daily routine, some of we older kids got jobs in the afternoons/evenings for local businesses, we had many visits from dear friends, and we greatly enjoyed being involved in the local church ministries.

Although we didn't completely foresee all the activity that would fill our days, the Lord knows our needs even before we ask Him. And we were again humbly reminded of this. While we typically live in the bus during our Branson stay, this year the Lord graciously provided a peaceful, beautiful condo tucked back in the Ozark hills. Complete with a full kitchen, laundry facilities, and spacious living area, it was a refreshing retreat for our family -- in addition to providing us a place to practice lots of hospitality.

We're so grateful for the kindness of our friend, Wes Cooley, in giving us the opportunity to spend these two months in his condo. He has four cozy, beautiful condos for rent as a means of livelihood. If you're planning a visit to Branson in the future, we recommend you contact him in regards to lodging!
Wes Cooley

"Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life,
what you will eat or what you will drink;
nor about your body, what you will put on.
Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?
Look at the birds of the air,
for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns;
yet your heavenly Father feeds them.
Are you not of more value than they?"

Matthew 6:25-26

Thursday, December 09, 2010

The Reason We Sing:

Praise the LORD!

I will praise the LORD with my whole heart,
In the assembly of the upright and in the congregation.

The works of the LORD are great,
Studied by all who have pleasure in them.

His work is honorable and glorious,

And His righteousness endures forever.

He has made His wonderful works to be remembered;

The LORD is gracious and full of compassion.

He has given food to those who fear Him;
He will ever be mindful of His covenant.

He has declared to His people the power of His works,
In giving them the heritage of the nations.

The works of His hands are verity and justice;
All His precepts are sure.

They stand fast forever and ever,
And are done in truth and uprightness.

He has sent redemption to His people;
He has commanded His covenant forever:

Holy and awesome is His name.

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom;

A good understanding have all those who do His commandments.

His praise endures forever!

Quotations from Psalm 111
Photographs taken by Kori Knuth

Monday, December 06, 2010

A Very Branson Christmas

With the arrival of December weather, it's beginning to feel allot like Christmas here in Branson! We've exchanged the colorful short-sleeve attire for sweaters, scarves, and winter-wear. But with the changing of the seasons we've recently made an extra effort to spend time enjoying the brisk air and exercise. And with several friends visiting us from various far-away places, we had an added excuse to enjoy an afternoon at some of our favorite Branson locations!

Sister smiles!
[Since when did Susanna grow as tall as we older girls!!?]

One of our favorite places to visit is Silver Dollar City. In addition to amusement rides, music shows, and unique shopping, the park is filled with skilled craftsmen of almost any yesteryear trade imaginable!


Having fun watching the process.


He makes delicate ironwork look simple!


Charissa trying to be tall enough for a 'big-kid' ride

Yes! Kori was one of our special visitors. Her whole family came for a weekend and we had such a delightful time with them!

Mmmmmmm -- Apple dumplings!

Time with friends

How special it is to make memories together as a family!

"I will praise the LORD according to His righteousness,
And will sing praise to the name of the LORD Most High."
Psalm 7:17

Saturday, December 04, 2010

2011 Schedule

Hello to all our online friends! We just wanted to make note that we're currently working on our January/March 2011 Ministry Tour through the following states:

South Carolina
North Carolina

If you know of churches in this region who might be blessed by hosting a service/concert with our family, we'd be grateful if you'd contact us very soon! We travel simply by your invitation and on a love-offering basis. The kindness of your invitation enables us to partake in the prison ministry opportunities in both Alabama and South Carolina. We look forward to hearing from you and are excited about what the Lord has in store for 2011!

"Serve the LORD with gladness; Come before His presence with singing."
Psalm 100:2

Seward Concert

We'd like to welcome all you local friends to join us for a memorable night of music, family fun, and celebration as we rejoice in our Savior's birth! We're bringing our Branson production to Seward for one evening only --

Wednesday, December 22nd -- 7:00pm.

Seward Highschool Auditorium

An added highlight to the evening is the fact that our whole family will be together. Dan and Bethany fly in from Virginia and Josiah, Abi, and Joanna will be joining us, too!

Please note: This concert is a fundraiser for our hometown Chamber of Commerce and is a ticketed event. You can purchase your tickets at local Seward businesses or at the door. $7.50 adult :: $5.00 child :: $30 family rate

For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor,
Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:6

Monday, November 29, 2010

Daily Life

Hey! This is Hannah again, I think I have pictures of about every thing I said I would last time -- which if you remember was "throwing the football, swimming, singing, practicing, doing school, cleaning house, doing dishes, hanging out with friends, having fun, riding roller coasters, doing the show, singing at restaurants and anything else I could capture with the camera." Well I got pictures of most of the stuff we've done:

::Learning Phonics! ::

:: Getting ready to sing at Hotels and Restaurants ::

:: Practice Time! ::

:: Swimming with friends ::

:: Throwing the football ::

:: It's time to play in the leaves! ::


:: Now it's time to rake the leaves back into one big pile ::

:: Back to MATH!!! ::

:: Ready to go sing! ::

:: Dishes ::

:: Game time ::

:: Susanna and I ::

:: Down at the lake ::

:: Smile ::

Thank you all for your prayers! In addition to these pictures and activities, we continue to marvel at the Lord's goodness each day as we share in Branson. We continue to see daily answers to prayer. People drawn to the theater. Good health. Heartfelt conversations. And finding joy in serving the Lord together! We're so grateful!

"For we are His workmanship,
created in Christ Jesus for good works,
which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them."
Eph 2:10