Monday, January 31, 2011

Rachel


Happy 29th Birthday Rachel!

Enthusiasm:
Expressing with my soul the joy of my spirit.

"You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore."
Psalm 16:11


Note: For birthdays this year, our family will conglomerate to chose one of the birthday person's strongest character trait. So stay tuned!...

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Parking Lot Pastimes

When we're on the road, our family spends allot of time in parking lots. That's probably stating the obvious since our home in the bus necessitates a large parking area. Be it Walmart, churches, truck stops, or shopping centers -- by the time we arrive at our 'parking lot destination' we're usually looking to get some fresh air and exercise. This week was no exception:

Family-football quarterback in training!

So much energy

Nothin' like getting fresh air and exercise

Catch!?

Parking lot -- volleyball

Susanna -- one of our star players

And one of our not-so-star players...
...but I have fun anyways! *smile*

Set!

So if you ever pass a parking lot and notice a ball sailing through the air...yep,...it might possibly be us!

"Praise Him, sun and moon; Praise Him, all you stars of light!
Praise Him, you heavens of heavens,
And you waters above the heavens!
Let them praise the name of the LORD, For He commanded and they were created."
Psalm 148:3-5

Friday, January 28, 2011

Let me never forget...


As I’m sitting here in the bus typing, we’re parked only yards away from a tall fence topped with mile upon mile of sharp razor-wire. Driving a steady path around the complex is a security vehicle and nearby a tower surveys the area from all sides. From the outside it seems a colorless, depressing place. But once again this week we’ve seen how the radical, powerful, tender love of Christ can transform even the gloomiest of circumstances.

This week we’ve shared in 5 different prisons in Alabama as part of the We Care Prison Crusade. Unfortunately, I don’t have pictures to share, due to prison regulations. But perhaps I can describe a few of our choicest moments from this week so you can catch a glimpse of God’s work behind bars.

I never want to forget...

...fighting back tears as a beautiful inmate performed sign language for Ray Boltzs’ song, “Thank You” for our family. Her graceful interpretation of the song was breathtaking. But only half as priceless as the tears in her eyes, knowing she meant every word in the song.

...sitting in the bus, praying for Dad, Matthias, and Stephen as they had the rare privilege of spending an hour with several inmates on death row.

...arriving at a Maximum security prison, where only those ages 18+ could enter. Then realizing that Ruth was probably too sick to join us for the service, leaving only Elizabeth, Matthias, Dad, Mom, and I. Also discovering that the evangelist for the evening had to cancel due to not having his ID. With so many changed plans, we were felling terribly inadequate. But then we saw the Lord’s mighty hand. Ruth was well enough to join us for our hour of singing after all. And God gave Dad a special measure of grace to preach the gospel. In spite of our weaknesses, many men responded to the gospel.

...watching ladies literal sob as we shared Daddy’s Song together. Wiping tears as Dad stopped to spend some time praying for their children.

...the joy and smiles on the inmates’ faces as we sang hymns together. Their enthusiastic clapping and cheers.

...playing for our final service and watching 12 men come forward to make first time salvation commitments. Rejoicing in the power of repentance and God’s grace.

But most of all I hope I never forget the matchless, relentless, tender, life-changing, light-giving POWER of the LOVE of God I experienced this week! Am I living in the light of His love?!


"...that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith;
that you, being rooted and grounded in love,
may be able to comprehend with all the saints
what is the width and length and depth and height—
to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge;
that you may be filled with all the fullness of God."
Eph. 3:17-19


Saturday, January 22, 2011

Heading Out

Its been a cozy, sweet couple weeks at home.

But now 'tis the time to do some bulk shopping

And start to pack and restock our bus kitchen.

Load up the instruments and once again head out on the road.

Tonight we arrived in Tennessee and were delighted to discover temps in the 40s -- treat we haven't experienced in weeks!

Time to set up the sound equipment.

And prepare for the evening ahead.

But whether home or on the road, the goal is the same: to let everything I do bring glory to the Lord. It may be small, unseen acts of kindness or tedious daily tasks, or it may be standing on stage proclaiming the matchless love of my Jesus. Wherever I find myself, let my heart earnestly say:

In all I do, Lord, make my life a song to You!


"Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, My lips shall praise You. Thus I will bless You while I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name"
Psalm 63:3-4

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

On Your Doorposts

If your home is anything like ours, you'll know that creative indoor activities are coming at a premium for little children these days. And our Mom has a wealth of activities and ideas when it comes to keeping little hands and minds fruitfully employed. Take for instance one of her recent ventures -- Scripture art

As the younger children have been working on memorizing Psalms 1, she devised a creative way to post these words on our refrigerator with a colorful mural:






The completed mural. Aren't they cute!?

And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart.
You shall teach them diligently to your children...
You shall write them on the doorposts
of your house and on your gates."

Deut. 6:6, 7 & 9

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

News and Notes

New! Now read our latest family ministry newsletter online HERE!

Also, in other news, we've had such good response to our recent CD sale that we're extending the deadline 48 hours till Friday night. If this would be a blessing to you -- or someone you know -- please place your order soon!

"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

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Let it Snow!

Huge grins. Pink cheeks and noses. Snow angels and forts. Giggles and flying snowballs. Is winter ever more delightful than when the children bundle up to play?!

Since we pack up to head for Alabama next week, the younger ones couldn't contain their excitement while enjoying one good, deep snow before heading south!

Have you been enjoying winter this week?!

"For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven...
So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth;
It shall not return to Me void,
But it shall accomplish what I please,
And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it."

Isaiah 55:10-11

Monday, January 10, 2011

Pattern Making


With the joy of wedding bells ringing once again in our family, the time has come to pull out the sewing machine and make our bridesmaid dresses! We're so thrilled that our sweet sister-to-be, Kori, has asked all 4 of us older girls to be bridesmaids in their wedding party. But in addition to helping sew our dresses, our friend Anna is also making dresses for the additional 4 bridesmaids. We have quite the sewing project on our hands!

One complication: no pattern. Thus, we're embarking on another adventure to design the perfect pattern for the wedding -- no small task! We have a dress and sketch we're working from, but its proving rather challenging!

Trying to design the bodice pleats

And it always helps to be able to actually fit it to the person!


Marking the pleats on our new "pattern"

Cutting out the pieces

More bodice fittings with sample fabric

And Charissa is keeping us company with her own little sewing projects!

We appreciate your prayers as we continue to perfect the pattern and sew the dresses. It seems like an overwhelming task, but we're learning lots and hope to make major progress today!

But I have trusted in Your mercy; My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation.
Psalm 13:5

Friday, January 07, 2011

All in a Day's Work

We've recently had requests for more 'home-life' posts. Now that we're actually in Nebraska for a few weeks, we're able to document some of our home activities. And yesterday we had a unique one! Dad has been preparing to sell his shop property -- which has been a mechanic/paint/storage area for years and years. Thus, it required declaring an official "Clean Up" day with all hands on deck! The weather was great, conversation lively, and we were amazed with how much was accomplished with several hours of intense teamwork!

And here are a few pictures:

Sweeping

Nathanael spent the entire afternoon carrying loads to the dumpster.


Hannah's project included the loft area -- a bit dark and foreboding. We were glad to see her emerge periodically with a huge grin!

Organizing piles of paint and oil.


Alaythia was another steady 'runner' to the dumpster.

Ummm...yeah, I helped, too. *smile*

Teamwork fun!

Carry...sort...dump...sweep
[And repeat process over and over!]

The official 'dumpster team'

Smiles as we realized the end was in sight!

Daddy and his helpers

Ummm....yeah, maybe the grimy work was starting to affect us!
*smile*

"Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might."
Ecc 9:10