Friday, May 28, 2010

Bus Mechanic

We're so blessed to have Josiah, Abi, and Joanna living only a mile from our home. When we arrive home after a trip, they are always quick to visit -- and it's almost amusing to watch as we crowd around Joanna's baby seat and exclaim over and over how much she's grown in the past week(s)!

With them living so close, we often tease Josiah that if he ever starts missing the bus, he's welcome to come tinker anytime! Little did we know he'd actually take us up on the offer. This week he had a free afternoon, so he so kindly spent several hours working on a few 'tune-ups' while our other guys were working on a swimming pool project.

Aside from the blessing of his mechanical expertise, we get an added bonus from his labors -- his sweet wife and baby like to visit wherever "daddy" is working!

Thank you, Josiah! We love you all!

"Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord."
Romans 12:10-11

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Neighborhood Fun

Are you looking for a way to reach out to your neighbors?! Do you find it difficult to have an impact in your community?!

Summertime is the perfect time to start building relationships and sharing Christ! Our Michigan host family have been earnestly seeking for opportunities to meet the families in their neighborhood. And thus began the idea of hosting a 'neighborhood meet & greet' celebration. So in addition to hosting the 12 of us, they set the date for Saturday and headed out to spread the word around their neighborhood.

And what a special day! With rain threatening and finally letting loose an hour before our starting time, we wondered if anyone would come. But gradually the rain let up, people started to arrive, and soon their yard and garage was filled with lively activity and chatter.

Conversations

Games...

...and activities

And even a cute store where the game tokens could be redeemed for small prizes.

Of course, a picnic just isn't complete without FOOD...

...and lots of it!



Good times with friends

And fun with the "Great Oreo Challenge"

How many Oreos can YOU stack?!

It's harder than you'd think!

And finally, we finished off with a short concert and sharing.

What a memorable afternoon.
Thank you, Jasters, for letting us participate!

"Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven."
Matthew 5:16

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Lord is Good...

I have found a friend in Jesus,

He's everything to me.

He's the fairest of ten thousand to my soul.

The Lily of the valley,

In Him alone I see

All I need to cleanse and fully make me whole.


In sorrow He's my comfort, in trouble He's my stay,

He tells me every care on Him to roll.

He's the lily of the valley, the Bright and Morning Star

He's the fairest of ten thousand to my soul.

"The LORD is good to all, And His tender mercies are over all His works."
Psalm 145:9

Friday, May 21, 2010

The 'Least of These'


"B
etter to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, For that is the end of all men; And the living will take it to heart." Ecc 7:2

This verse came to mind this week as our family had a couple opportunities to share at nursing homes in the Flint, Michigan area. Especially Wednesday morning.

You see, we've sang at nursing homes many times. In fact, that's really how we got started sharing music together. The music and travels we're involved with today was never something we 'planned'. It was simply an overflow of sharing in our local area.

But Wednesday morning was unique. We visited a hospice-care center with around 22 patients. Many of them in their last days here on earth. We walked from room to room, sharing 4-part hymns acapella. It's amazing how a simple gesture, a familiar hymn, and a gentle handshake can make a difference.

On a couple occasions, the family of the patients would listen with tears streaming down their faces. In other rooms, the nurses were shocked to hear their patients singing along with us. The rich words of those timeless hymns truly reach the heart.

If your family is looking for an opportunity to share together, the local nursing home is a wonderful place to start. Grab a hymnal. Learn a couple simple parts -- or sing in unison! Talk to your children about the importance of smiling, shaking the resident's hands and looking them in the eye. And go for it! God will bless as you make time for what our society considers to be 'the least of these.'

Singing "Jesus Loves Me"

[Note: Because of the sensitive nature of our time at the hospice care center, we didn't bring our camera to capture those moments. These pictures are from our visit to a retirement village yesterday.]




"And the King will answer and say to them, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.'" Matt 25:40

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Michigan Days

Its springtime in Michigan and we're lovin' it! Our schedule here is very full this week -- in addition to several meal/fellowship engagements, we also have 12 concerts in 8 days. Its certainly keeping us on our toes!

This week we had the pleasure of visiting some friends in the area for lunch and activities. It was a delightful visit with plenty of space to run and play -- and great fellowship, too! And since we're working to correct our bad case of 'camera neglect', we have lots of pictures to share! [smile]


They so sweetly welcomed us with great fanfare!

And with a 'turn-about' made especially for the bus

And since it was too early to eat lunch, we started out for a nature walk.

Such a beautiful morning!

Smiles!
[And somehow it seems our 'little girls' are growing up more each day!]

We found lots of wild raspberries, and unique plants.
And even a baby garter snake!


Loading up for a ride in ol' Rusty!

'Co-pilot'

Truckin' down the road!

One of our favorite recreation activities




How good it is to have family in Christ wherever we go!

And we finished off the visit with a hymn sing. We've enjoyed the challenge of learning to read and sing from sheet music over the past several years. [Yes, almost all our family music has been arranged and played by 'ear']
How good it is to lift our voices together!


Thank you, Brysons, for the lovely lunch engagement!

"And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching."
Heb 10:24-25

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A Sad Habit

We have a sad habit. And regret it every time it surfaces.

The habit?!

Whenever we get to spend a few, precious days with Dan and Bethany, we have such a delightful time together that we each forget to capture the moments with our camera! Each of us are so busy soaking in the moments while our Nikons sit neatly in their cases. *sigh*

And now that the days are past, I dearly wish I had pictures to share with you!

Last weekend we spent sharing at the INCH Conference -- Michigan Homeschool Conference. Since Dan works for HSLDA, he and Bethany were able to represent his company during the weekend. We had three whole days together -- such bliss!

It was a very spiritually encouraging weekend, too. Dad shared a session entitled, "Equipping the Next Generation for Ministry" and it was exciting to hear the feedback and questions during that session. Families truly seeking to be a light in their communities!

But since we failed to capture pictures of the weekend, here are the happy moments that I'd certainly post if I could:

[Seeing my pretty brown-eyed sister and running into a bear-hug]

[The comical view of trying to fit our bus into a parking lane only intended for 'normal-sized' vehicles]

[Dan & Bethany running the HSLDA booth dressed to coordinate in their stunning, professional-wear]

[Wearing our new, colorful singing outfits]

[Huge grins on everyones faces as we spent an evening swimming with Dan & Bethany]

[Worshiping the Lord together with over 2,000 homeschoolers]

Okay, so the list could continue, but hopefully this gives you a little glimpse into our weekend!

And yes, we certainly WILL be working to correct our bad habit. Next time we'll hope to have pictures of our wonderful time together -- to treasure and to share!


"Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy,fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind."
Philippians 2:1-2

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Daddy

Happy Birthday Daddy!


L oyal

O bservant

R eliable

E ncouraging

N oble

"For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world--our faith."
1 John 5:4

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Forward Focused

As I type this, we're headed down the road...which is typical lately. Only a couple days ago we were enjoying the mountain country of Montana. And now we're only miles away from the Michigan boarder. Yes, it's been a full week!

On Tuesday we enjoyed a short 24 hour 'visit' to home. It was a flurry of activity to complete all our yard & garden work, baking, cooking, shopping, sewing new singing outfits, bus tune-ups....and of course, lots of 'baby-holding' as our darling niece came to visit!

But aside from the constant flurry of activity, we've been challenged and encouraged by some verses we read in family devotions recently:

Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do,
forgetting those things which are behind
and reaching forward to those things which are ahead,
I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."
Phil 3:12-13

As we talked through this verse we were struck with the thought of forgetting those things which are behind -- both the discouraging failures and the glorious successes.

Laying aside the discouragement of past failures in order to embrace the victory God has for us today. Not allowing our human weaknesses to stand in the way of all that God has for us! Keep the vision looking forward!!!

But also, setting aside the successes of the past. I once heard that "the greatest hinderance to future success is your past success". Its our nature to relax and grow content while we revel in the glories of yesterday. Don't loose the passion by giving into complacency! Forget those things that are behind! Keep the vision looking forward!!!

And THAT is our constant challenge and call!

"I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord,
beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called..."
Eph 4:1

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Surprise!

We woke up in Cody, Wyoming this morning to discover a winter-wonderland view!

"Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts,
And in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom.
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow."
Psalm 51:6-7

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Montana Adventures

The chilly winds are blowing here in Montana, but the friendship has been warm. After sharing in Gillette, Wyoming over the weekend, we're enjoying a few days with friends in the western, mountain country. As our host family have been laboring for the gospel as part of a church plant, we've had some rich conversations and fellowship.

And in spite of the 40 - 50 degree temps [and wind!], we bundled up to enjoy the beauty of 'Big Sky Country'!

:: Riding horses ::
:: Big smiles ::

:: Cowboy regala ::
:: Hiking ::

:: Searching for wild onions ::


:: Adventure ::

:: Smiles ::

How good and how pleasant it is to gather with the body of Christ.
To stir one another on to "love and good works"!