Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Watermelon Basket!

Ruth really likes watermelon, so for her birthday supper Mom got a watermelon. 
However, we decided we couldn't just do the usual 'watermelon cut in a bowl.' 
So the consensus was a watermelon basket!

This being our first attempt at carving fruit, we looked at some pictures online, then turned it over to Matthias who is super creative and amazing at details. He measured, drew lines, remeasured, drew some more lines. Finally he was ready for the knife!

After cutting the rind we scraped the inside of the melon out and formed balls!

Getting closer to the finished product!

Then slicing a cantaloup we used cookie cutters to cut out fun shapes to stick in the basket that made for a pretty, tasty treat!

Finally cut and cleaned out, it's time to decorate!

The big flower is a watermelon rind and the two smaller ones are cantaloupe rinds. 
The orange middles are the cantaloupe fruit. We used some toothpicks to stick the flowers in place.

Just add some fruit inside and whalla! 
We put in watermelon, cantaloup, and grapes! It was so fresh, yummy...
and pretty, too!

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, 
goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
Galatians 5:22-23

Monday, August 27, 2012

Our First 58 Days

Have we already been married for 8 weeks?! The memories of our wedding day still make me giddy with happiness. Best. Day. Ever.....except for the 58 delightful days since then! Growing to know each other and experience the 'every-day-ness' of life together has been a beautiful journey. And with the summer farm activity in high gear, there has rarely been a dull moment! 

(Note: Please excuse the lack of photo quality. We're currently capturing these moments with our cell phones.)

 Helping with tractor maintenance. Alan's nephew has taken it upon himself to teach me the specifics of farm life from his vast experiences!

My handsome farmer after a successful cattle run. It was incredible to be out before the sunrise and watch the process of bringing in the cattle from their grazing pastures.


A big adventure for me has been setting up our kitchen and planning the meals. For the past 10 years my mom and sisters have actually done most of the cooking at home (yes-- confession time!), so I was apprehensive about my cooking abilities -- or lack thereof! 

But its been so fun! Thankfully, we both have very similar tastes in food and spices, so Alan is a delight to cook for. He's even very adventuresome when it comes to trying new recipes (my forte)! The biggest challenge has come the past two weeks during harvest as we've been putting in 14 hour days...finding time for meals was a great stretch for me.

We started our family tradition of homemade pizza on Saturday nights. Yum!

The gardens have been producing abundantly and Alan's mom has been so generous in sharing some of their produce. My sisters came for a visit and together we were able to can lots of pickles, tomatoes, and peaches!

The past two weeks, this has been the story of my days: driving the grain cart during harvest! Having never driven a large tractor before, this was a steep learning curve for me. But, with the world's best teacher cheering me on, I actually started to really enjoy the challenge.

And a perk of the job!? Lots of time to work on our wedding "Thank You" notes. Just as we finished harvest I wrote out the last of our 226 notes. Now to get them all stamped and mailed....!


Yes, you are seeing things correctly. I actually drove the combine on a couple occasions!

Another big project we tacked was putting up a new bin on the farm. It was well over 100 degrees the day we poured cement. Whew! So glad to have that job done!

Pouring the floor

And the completed project!

O Lord, You are the portion of my inheritance and my cup; 
You maintain my lot. The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; 
Yes, I have a good inheritance."  Psalm 16:5-6

Saturday, August 25, 2012


Rachel's computer that had the program on it to update the website crashed several months ago and we still have not got around to setting up the system on a different computer. So our fall schedule will be posted on here for the time being!


26      Salem Congregational Church         Salem, IA                      10 AM
                        - 106 East Oak St
26      Upper Iowa University                    Fayette, IA                         PM
                        - 605 Washington St
29      Old Threshers - Grandstand            Mount Pleasant, IA           7:30 PM
                        - 405 East Threshers Road
30      Old Threshers - Family Tent                                                        11 AM 6:30 PM
31      Old Threshers - Family Tent                                                        5:30 PM


1        Old Threshers - Family Tent                                                         12:30, 5:30 PM
2        Calvary Baptist Church                     Mount Pleasant, IA            6:30 PM
                         - 803 East Mapleleaf Drive
2        Old Threshers - Family Tent                                                          1:30 PM
3        Old Threshers - Family Tent                                                          11:00 AM
9       United Methodist Church                   Prophetstown, IL              9 AM
                         - 8782 East 2000 St
9 - 13  Family Camp                                     Lansing, IA
                          - 1588 Drake Road
14        Congregational Church                     Elkader, IA                        7 PM
                          - 200 Chestnut St Se
15        Maple Ridge Church                        Boscobel, WI                      5 & 7 PM
                          - 43955 Co Rd E
16        Maple Ridge Church                                                                    10:45 AM

We are leaving sometime this evening to head up to IA which means I have some packing to do!
As always we would appreciate your prayers. That God's name would be glorified and lifted up, that peoples lives would be changed and that we would have safe travels!

Be exalted, O Lord, in Your own strength! We will sing and praise Your power.
Psalms 21:13

Friday, August 24, 2012

Lake Itasca

In case you were wondering where the pictures from the Lake Itasca Family Music Festival are,
 never fear, they are now here!
The seasons are again changing from summer to autumn.  We've enjoyed the season of summer, mostly at home, working in the gardens, doing home projects, a few weekends of ministry, starting a new school year.  By God's grace it has been a fruitful summer filled with new experiences and learning for all of us. The Lord provided sandblasting jobs for Loren and the boys this summer, many of which were out of town.  So it was with great joy and anticipation that we prepared and packed for the 10 days of ministry in Nebraska, Minnesota, and Iowa.  

Thursday evening started out with Alan and Rachel,  Andrew and Kori joining us to sing at the Seward County Fair! We're always grateful for the opportunities to sing in our home county.  It was a precious evening visiting with friends and neighbors before and afterwards.  Then we all packed up, hopped into the bus, an  enjoyed a 10 hour drive up to Lake Itasca, MN.

Any spare moments were claimed to practice music we hadn't sung with Rachel or Andrew for a while. 

We sang three times during the weekend, and enjoyed hearing, and getting to know, the other family groups there.  Since it was an outdoor event, we were all grateful that, for the most part, we had beautiful weather!   When it did rain they had a nice big building to hold everyone!

Daddy taught a workshop on family discipleship and music ministry.

During one concert Alan & Rachel shared the testimony of  God's precious leading in their relationship.

For two sessions on Saturday we (along with Anna and Esther Beasley) presented:
The Children's Musical Storybook Hour

We introduced a new song to the children by explaining to the kids that there's a difference between 'rain' and 'reign.'

Andrew and Esther did an introduction skit for the Bible memory verse.

The Drama! 
This year we told the story of Brother Andrew, who is a real man that smuggles Bibles into closed countries. The story starts when he is a VERY mischievous boy from Holland. He would play pranks on the friendly neighbors, Mr & Mrs Wetstra! One of which was when he put a pane of glass on top of their chimney which made for a smokey house the next time Mrs. Wetstra tried to bake cookies!

Playing a prank on the German soldiers that occupied Holland during World War II

Loving adventure, he joined the army as soon as he was old enough. 
He had some dangerous experiences, yet still was not satisfied with life.

He was wounded during battle and ended up in a hospital. While there his friend brought to Andrew the Bible that his mother had given him before he left, but which he had always left on the bottom 
of his bag. He began reading it, and through the Scriptures he saw his need for a Savior. 
 This is where the first session ended! 
 So what happened to Andrew next??????????

As soon as it was over some of us scurried over to help in the Snack Shack! It was super fun!!!
Taking the orders, making malts, shakes, and ice cream cones, with your sisters and friends is
 a wonderful experience!

Then back for the second hour! 

Bible memory verse, and....

 This session told how God provided for him to go behind the iron curtain, and some of his experiences throughout the years.  Brother Andrew has an incredible story! He has written several books. The one that Ruth wrote the drama from is called 'God's Smuggler.'  We SO enjoy reading it out loud as a family in the evenings.  It's filled with amazing testimonies of God's work to bless His children.

Saturday night concluded with several members from each of the families jamming together.

Sisters ...

and friends greeting you from the North country!

Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; 
'The Lord, is my strength and song; He also has become my salvation. 
Sing to the Lord, For He has done excellent things; This is known in all the earth.
Isaiah 12 : 3 & 5

Thursday, August 16, 2012


Happy Birthday Ruth!

Personal highlights from the last year

Working in the irrigation fields with family
Attending the births of a niece and nephew
Helping prepare for Rachel's wedding
Being able to spend 2 weeks in Virginia with Dan & Bethany
Seeing God's love and faithfulness in so many different events

Delight yourself also in the LORD, 
And He shall give you the desires of your heart. 
Psalms 37 : 4

Dad & Mom

Happy 32nd Anniversary Dad & Mom!

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. Amen. 
Ephesians 3 : 20 & 21

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

From the Honeymooners

Its a cool, rainy day here in Kansas - a rare diversion from the blistering heat of the past month. Alan and I have been putting in long, happy days working cattle, pouring cement, corn harvest, and settling into our sweet new home. But that is all news for another post.

And speaking of another post....many of you have been asking if we will be starting a blog of our own. Alan and I have talked about it and decided that for now I will be posting "Farm Journal" posts here on the family blog. So I hope you stick around and I'll do my best to share a bit of our adventures here on the farm!

But before we jump into farm life news, here are a few of our honeymoon pictures. Alan took me to Colorado where we enjoyed the breathtaking sights and possibilities for exploration. It was a memorable, blissful week...but then again, married bliss just keeps getting better and better with each passing day!

Enjoying the Riverwalk at Estes Park

The Royal Gorge

This bridge is quite breathtaking to cross -- suspended 955 feet above the river.

So happily married!

A side-view of the bridge.

We also stopped at the National Sand Dunes. Over 30 square miles of sand dunes, reaching 700 feet tall. It was an awesome challenge to climb a 'mountain' of sifting sand!

And finally, we ended up in southern Colorado where the landscape was simply lush.

We headed out on a 6 mile hike through the mountains.

We reached our destination -- the 300ft waterfall -- just moments before a huge rainstorm hit. We ran most of the 3 miles back and arrived at our car completely drenched! It was a perfect week.

"Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness
And for His wonderful works to the children of men!"
Psalm 107:8