Monday, December 30, 2013

They're Home!

This post is somewhat over due... but due to the excitement and business of the Christmas season we are just now getting it up.

Thursday, December 18th, was a date that was marked on all of our calendars. After weeks of skyping, sending pictures back and forth, and hearing their stories of answered prayers, the long countdown was over. They said goodbye to their new but dear friends in Mongolia and flew to South Korea, where they had a 15 hour layover. Then we got a text from Ruth saying that Stephen was on his flight headed to Georgia but please pray because her plane was delayed indefinitely. We were concerned as she only had a 4 hour layover in Texas before flying home. After 2 hours of waiting a plane arrived! They quickly boarded and were soon in the air! Thanks to some wonderful phone apps, we were able to track their planes on the 13 hour flight to the U.S.

And there she is! She was able to make her flight from Texas to Nebraska with a few minutes to spare. We were so excited to watch her plane fly in and then spot her smiling face coming down the hall.

The next few minutes were filled with hugs, laughter, questions and stories.

:: Ruth & Charissa ::

:: Ruth & Nathanael ::

::Ruth & Dad ::

:: Ruth & Matthias ::

Ruth flew in at 2:30pm, and Stephen wasn't supposed to get in till 5:30pm. So we got Ruth's luggage, grabbed a snack, walked around the airport and talked and talked and talked!!!

Then it came to the final countdown!

"There's his plane!"


There he is!

And the hugs, stories, laughter and smiles began all over again!

It's so good to have everyone back!

Off to get more luggage.

Welcome Home!

It was so special to hear stories of the people they met, friends they made, and new culture they lived in. Stories of what God had done over there and is continuing to do.

Then off to HuHots to celebrate them coming home!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

In Concert!

We're excited to announce two upcoming Christmas concerts.
Mark your calendars!


December 27th, 
Community Presbyterian Church 
106 S Reynolds
Postville, IA


December 31st
Zion Lutheran Church 
Hiawatha, KS

If you're in the area, we'd love to see you!

"I will be glad and rejoice in You;
I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High."
Psalms 9:2

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas...

...from our family to yours!

"For unto us a child is born, to us a Son is given,
and the government will be on His shoulders.
And He will be called Wonderful Counselor,
Mighty God, Everlasting Father,
 Prince of Peace."
Isaiah 9:6

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Dan & Bethany

Happy 4th Anniversary!!!

"Two are better than one... 
And a threefold cord is not quickly broken."
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Husker Tour

I know this is interrupting the traditional Christmas-themed posts. Because really -- our house is a bustle of activity today: baking, wrapping gifts, and all those wonderful preparations that are probably happening in your home as well. Alan/Rachel and Dan/Bethany/Arianna are all arriving this Friday for a weekend of family togetherness and Christmas celebration. We're giddy with happy excitement!

But that's news for another post.

Back to interrupting the Christmas-theme. We've had these pictures as a blog draft for awhile, but I thought I'd randomly post them today. Since we do live in Nebraska, its logical to assume that we enjoy Husker football. Its true.

And sometimes its good to break up the routine of life and make some far-out [sometimes crazy] family memories. Taking time to tie heart-strings by adventuring on a family field trip together.

So that's what we did this past October. Since attending a Husker game is quite out of the picture, we signed up for a free tour of the stadium, only 25 miles from our home. And a lively, good time was had by all!

The hall of fame

Tunnel walk

Everyone lined up for a 50-yard dash. 
On your marks, get set...


Center field

Alaythia accomplished her goal this summer: the splits!

The happy four-some.

Have you set aside time recently to make special family memories?! 

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is
For brethren to dwell together in unity!

Psalm 133:1

Monday, December 16, 2013

Tis the Season...

...for Christmas music!

While we aren't doing quite as many December concerts as in previous years, it wouldn't seem like Christmas without the beautiful carols of the season:

O little down of Bethlehem,
How still we see thee lie! 

Above thy deep and dreamless sleep
The silent stars go by;

Yet in thy dark streets shineth,
The everlasting Light;

The hopes and fears of all the years 
Are met in thee tonight.

For Christ is born of Mary, 
And gathered all above,

While mortals sleep, the angels keep
Their watch of wond'ring love.

Oh morning stars together,
Proclaim the holy birth.

And praises sing to God the King,
And peace to men on earth.

How silently, how silently, 
The wondrous gift is giv'n!

So God imparts to human hearts, 
The blessings of His heav'n. 

No ear may hear His coming, 
But in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive Him still,
The dear Christ enters in. 

O holy Child of Bethlehem!
Decend to us, we pray;

Cast out our sin and enter in,
Be born in us today!

We hear the Christmas angels, 
The great glad tidings tell;
Oh come to us, abide with us, 
Our Lord Emmanuel!

Photos by Kori
Lyrics from "O Little Town of Bethlehem"

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Winter Happenings

Winter has arrived in all its beauty here in Nebraska. Dazzling snow, sunny skies, and cozy days indoors. Music practice. Delicious baking smells. Festive decorations. Caroling the neighbors. Anticipating the whole family being together [next week]! Pondering the awesome gift of Jesus' birth.

What a glorious season! What a season of JOY! Here are a few snapshots from this past week:

Christmas decor

Hanging lights

Garlands and ribbon

Making treats for neighbors and local businesses.

Almond bark covered pretzels.

Cinnamon Rolls

Ever-diligent with school

Susanna has been moving the mountain of CD orders.

Enjoying adventures in the snow with Joanna and Asher. 

Our lack of a sledding hill leads to creative alternatives. 

Winter smiles

Its appropriate that Christmas follows Thanksgiving. It causes us to reflect on the greatest Gift of all time: the glorious Gospel as Jesus came in the flesh -- and the many, daily, ways this reality touches our lives. Truly, "how GREAT our joy"! 

Then the angel said to them, 
“Do not be afraid, for behold, 
I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 
Luke 2:10