Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Homeschool Family Camp

In our modern, fast-paced culture there is a precious commodity that is necessary for families to thrive: TIME. Time to laugh, play, and work together. Time to study the Scriptures together. Time to tie heartstrings with life-long memories.

Homeschool Family Camp is about helping make time count for your family.

We're very excited about our fourth annual Homeschool Family Camp in Lansing, IA [September 12-16] . If you're looking for a family retreat that includes lots of family fun, uplifting fellowship, great meals, and spiritual encouragement, we'd love to have you join us this year!

Please note: Registration is filling up very quickly! If you're interested in joining us, we'd encourage you register soon! You can download the forms here.


Each evening, in addition to various families sharing special music, Dad will be sharing on Biblical principles and family issues.

"As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving." Col. 2:6-7

Monday, July 26, 2010

In a Rut

Singing at county fairs is always a treat -- and adventure! Last night we set up at the large grandstand in Oskaloosa, Iowa, We were just following the horse show and school bus races. Yes, I did say 'school bus' races. I really should have captured a picture of the brightly painted buses sitting on the large racetrack!

But last night we ended up with a bit more 'adventure' than we'd planned. With all the rain lately, our bus literally sank into the soft grass.

Pulling a bus is a bit more complicated than your typical vehicle. But thankfully, we were at a county fair -- where help is available for most towing issues:

Problem solved!

"Oh, give thanks to the LORD! Call upon His name; Make known His deeds among the peoples!"
Psalm 105:1

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Taste of Summer


Along with the heat of summer comes the fresh, delicious taste of garden produce. Thankfully, due to the diligence of Mom and our younger ones who spend many, many hours in the gardens, we've been enjoying lots of fresh veggies this month! For the first time ever, we've been fairly successful with our mulching -- making it much easier to maintain the garden while we're on the road.

And once again, our annual 'sweet corn days' are here -- and just in time! With our plans to leave on a two week tour this weekend, we've been watching the corn and praying it'd ripen before we had to leave, or we'd loose our entire crop. Well, with all the heat we had last week, the corn has ripened perfectly -- so this week we've spent many hours harvesting and freezing.


Walkin' through the corn patch.


True Nebraska 'corn-huskers'!



Charissa's job this year was to help with the 'water-bath' after blanching the corn.


Oh! Doesn't that just make you hungry!? Mmmm!


Nathanael was our faithful 'cob-disposal-man', dragging load after load of corncobs to our compost area.


And finally -- happy feeling -- when we're all finished, we can simply hose everything down and stack our 100+ quarts of corn in the freezer! It was such a blessing having an abundance of corn this year [with thanks to a generous friend] as we put up several additional gallons for Andrew & Kori's upcoming wedding meal!


"And let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us,
And establish the
work of our hands for us;
Yes, establish the
work of our hands."
Psalm 90:17

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Recording Take 2

With all our instrument tracks completed, yesterday found us headed back to the studio to finish the vocal work on our latest CD project. We're excited with both the message and quality of this recording!

For those of you who have never experienced the 'studio process', it goes something like this:

1) The sound engineer gets you all set up with earphones and a massive microphone placed directly in front of your face.

2) He leaves you in this room completely closed off by huge, thick glass, while he runs the soundboard. The rest of your family is either cheering you on from the other side of the glass -- or they're trying to get school/computer work done, so are nowhere to be found!

3) You do a 'take' of the song recorded all the way through, listen to it -- and usually grimace with how terrible it sounds!

4) You repeat #3 until your part no longer sounds like a bad dream, but actually is sounding like music!

Repeat the above steps for each song, hours on end....and 'Ta-da'! Project complete! Now all you have to do is mix the instrument and vocal tracks, master it, take family pictures, decide the song order, secure copyright for the music, design the CD cover, contact your duplicator, ...and you're done!!

All jesting aside, we're so grateful for WareHouse Studios! While it IS allot of work, we do have lots of fun in the process!


"Please tell me it didn't really sound THAT bad!"
*smile*


Tuning up


Thanks for all your prayers for this project! Our goal is to have it completed by the first of September! May the Lord be glorified through this music!

"Come and see the works of God; He is awesome in His doing toward the sons of men."
Psalm 66:5

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

God's Math

30 hours + 820 miles + 4 services + no air conditioning = BLESSING!

Just calculating the implications of the above equation would ordinarily make for an exhausting, overwhelming weekend. When we arrived home on Monday morning at 1:00am, we were just finishing our 30 hour 'marathon' of sorts.

But, while we were physically tired, we were spiritually refreshed, encouraged, and excited! What a wonderful time of fellowship we had in the Hutchinson, Kansas area. I wish we had more pictures of our delightful time -- meeting new friends, sharing the Lord's work in each others' lives, and 'stirring one another on to love and good works'!

Truly, how beautiful is the body of Christ!


"Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works."
Hebrews 10:23-24

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Start your Motors!

Last Saturday found us at a large outdoor Gospel Festival in Aberdeen, South Dakota. Featuring bluegrass legends like Ricky Skaggs and Doyle Lawson, this was a whole new experience for our family.

But aside from the honor and opportunity to meet and listen to many of these great musicians, we also had another fun surprise...

From the time we older kids became old enough to drive, Dad has talked about taking us go-cart racing. He and Mom have many special memories on a go-cart track during the early years in their relationship, so every-once-in-awhile he'd mention what a treat it would be if we could all make a spin around the track. But somehow, the opportunity had always escaped us, being on the 'fun-list' instead of the 'priority-list'.

But last Saturday was the day! A gentleman surprised us by loading us all up and taking us to a local park which featured a very nice track -- perfect for some special family memories.




On your marks....get set...

...And they're off!

Racing around the corners

Pedals to the metal

Waving to the spectators

Stiff competition on the track

Others just enjoyed watching the sights fly by

Sweet family times!

"Let the rivers clap their hands; Let the hills be joyful together before the LORD"
Psalm 98:8

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Coming to Branson!

We're excited to announce that "Let Freedom Sing!" has been invited to share two performances in Branson, Missouri. We look forward to this opportunity to travel with our church family and minister in this way! With thousands of tourists passing through Branson on any given week, we're praying for the Lord to work in a special way.

We appreciate you joining with us in prayer as we prepare for this opportunity. May the Lord be glorified and hearts be drawn to Him as they see His mighty hand at work in our nation's history!

If you're in the Branson area, we'd love to have you join us for this event!


Also, with thanks to some friends from church, we're excited to share with you the official "Let Freedom Sing!" video trailer:



For more information, please visit our official 'Let Freedom Sing!' website.



"For He established a testimony in Jacob, And appointed a law in Israel, Which He commanded our fathers, That they should make them known to their children; That the generation to come might know them, The children who would be born, That they may arise and declare them to their children, That they may set their hope in God, And not forget the works of God, But keep His commandments." Psalm 78:5-7

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Stephen

Happy 17th Birthday Stephen!

S incere

T rustworthy

E nergetic

P ersevering

H umorous

E asygoing

N oble

"But you, be strong and do not let your hands weak, for your work shall be rewarded!" 2 Chron 15:7

Monday, July 12, 2010

Dress Sewing


Several of you have asked about the dress patterns for our 'Let Freedom Sing!" costumes. Yes, we did sew them. But unfortunately for eager 'pattern seekers', we're notorious for not using patterns! We usually decide what we're going for, look to see if we have any patterns with similar features, and start playing with the fabric. For all you seamstresses out there, here are a few quick tips to 'custom-make' your clothes:
  • Have a good idea what 'look' you're going for. Find patterns [on hand or at thrift stores] with those features. Often we'll choose a skirt from one pattern, and sleeve from another, and a neckline from yet a third!
  • Know your measurements.
  • Make a 'mock bodice' before cutting in the real fabric. We have a wonderful supply of free, white fabric from used hotel sheets we use for this. Once we have all the quirks worked out with the hotel fabric, we cut the dress using this perfected 'pattern'.
  • Keep it simple. We didn't start by making a complete dress pattern from scratch. We simply modified the sleeves on a dress, blending two patterns. And our exploration went from there! And we're still learning!
  • Notice which features you like from others' home-sewn wardrobes. Full skirts? cap sleeves? top stitching details?
Please note: We still highly recommend sewing from patterns! Especially if you're a beginning seamstress. But for those of you who like to experiment with fabric, we hope you find these tips helpful!

We're still looking forward to sharing a 'skirt-making' series with you this summer. Thanks for your patience and stay tuned!


"She makes linen garments and sells them,
And supplies sashes for the merchants.
Strength and honor are her clothing;
She shall rejoice in time to come"
Prov 31:24-25

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Bethany

Happy 24th Birthday Bethany!

B eautiful

E xuberant

T hrifty

H ospitable

A ffectionate

N oble

Y outhful

"Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place."
2 Cor 2:14

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Let Freedom Sing!

Some blog posts are hard to write -- and this is certainly one of them. How can I possibly capture the awe, reverence, jubilation, and thanksgiving that resulted from seeing God's hand move in such a mighty way?!

This past Sunday is hard to sum up in a few words. As we prepared for several ministry opportunities in our hometown of Seward, we were once again met with a forecast of rain. Only this time it did rain. We woke up on July 4th to the sound of raindrops -- and hours later the rain was still pouring as we attended church.

The forecast called for an 80% chance of rain for the entire day.

With faith and a prayer, our entire cast drove out from Omaha -- in rain the whole way, trusting that God could work through these circumstances. There was a peace that somehow, a door would open!

At 2:00pm the rain was reduced to a drizzle and our family shared a concert at an indoor location. This was a very special concert for us, as exactly 10 years ago was our first performance as a family -- at the same time and place, during the July 4th celebration. With Dan and Bethany here from VA, it was a grand reunion event!

As soon as the concert was over, we hurriedly checked the weather and prepared for the 4:00pm parade. It was cloudy, but the rain had stopped. We gathered at our assigned spot on the parade route to prepare.


Our goal in the parade was to invite people to the evening production, as well as getting important literature into their hands: gospel tracks and quotes from our founding fathers. It was exciting to have such a warm response throughout the entire parade route.

Smiling faces in the parade!

We were surprised to later discover that our float won "Best of Show"!

Then finally, 7:00 arrived -- the time for "Let Freedom Sing!"

And as we gathered the cast & crew for our time of prayer, our hearts were full to overflowing. Not only had the Lord stopped the rain, but He cleared the skies completely, giving us a perfect, cool, summer evening. Additionally, due to the rain, the evening fireworks and other events in town were canceled, leaving our production the only remaining event on the city schedule.

The bandshell area was packed with hundreds of people; standing room only. A life-long area resident told us he'd never seen so many people at a bandshell event. We marveled at God's mighty hand of mercy.

And with a sense of anticipation, we committed the production to the Lord.

Since Bethany was here for the weekend, she graciously agreed to take pictures. As you can tell, the sunshine came beaming through the trees, leaving the pictures rather spotty. But to us, this is a reminder of God's specific answer to our prayers!

At the risk of over-posting pictures from the production here are some of what she captured:


Grandfather, look! Lollipops!

Livin' in the Promised Land!

We are the minutemen, strong and free...

Lay down your arms! Disperse!

How do you manage in times like these?

Come quickly! They're wounded!

Elias? No!



What is this passion called Freedom?
And why must the price be so high?

My fight is now over, but your fight is just beginning.

"The only foundation for education and a republic is to be laid in religion. Without this there can be no virtue, and without virtue there can be no liberty, and liberty is the object of life and life of all republican governments.”
--Benjamin Rush, signer of the Declaration of Independance

“In my view, the Christian religion is the most important and one of the first things in which all children, under a free government ought to be instructed. No truth is more evident to my mind than that the Christian religion must be the basis of any government intended to secure the rights and privileges of a free people.”
--Noah Webster, author of the first American dictionary

Now unity and time is all we ask!


The longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth, that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid?
--Ben Franklin

"The freedom our country was founded on was not the right to do whatever we please but rather the opportunity to do what is right.

Without God and His Word we will certainly come to ruin. If we, as individuals, do not realize our need for God and the Bible in our everyday lives then how can our foundation be strong? This is what we have compromised."


In GOD we trust!

The place was packed and never before have we had such a heartfelt response. Several guests had unsaved relatives and friends in the crowd. There were many tears. Many good conversations. And we continue to pray for seeds that were sown.

A huge, sincere THANK YOU to you blog readers who have been upholding us in prayer. Only heaven will show the extent of your impact! We're deeply grateful!

"For what great nation is there that has God so near to it, as the LORD our God is to us, for whatever reason we may call upon Him?

And what great nation is there that has such statutes and righteous judgments as are in all this law which I set before you this day?

Only take heed to yourself, and diligently keep yourself, lest you forget the things your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. And teach them to your children and your grandchildren."

Deut. 4:7-9