Friday, April 25, 2014


Happy 2nd Birthday Arianna!

Arianna's ministry of choice: 

Perhaps its because she loves to hear her aunts and uncle sing. Or perhaps its because she's always been enthralled with music. It might even be because she can now quote along with most of the songs and Bible verses (yes, she's listened to this CD innumerable times). But "My Heart, Your Home" is Arianna's favorite resource...and it is one of the first things to get packed in the car before road trips.  

"Serve the Lord with gladness, 
Come before His presence with singing."
Psalm 100:2

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Resurrection Sunday

As I was growing up, Easter morning was the empty canvas on which my mom poured all her artistic talents. For days and weeks in advance she would secretly plot her annual surprise -- and somehow we children never figured out where she hid all her preparations or when she accomplished them. In fact, it is still a mystery to me. 

All we knew was that early in the morning we would wake to hear her voice singing in the kitchen (a familiar sound). It didn’t take long for us to realize that it was, indeed, Easter, and the great surprise awaited us. We’d bound down the stairs and whiz into the kitchen, coming to a full stop with an amazed gasp!

For suddenly, overnight, our kitchen table was completely transformed. A mountain rose from the center, holding a wooden cross draped with a bright fabric. Easter lilies bloomed around the mountain, with other flowers tucked into various nooks. Large, colorful posters were hung around the wall proclaiming the names of God in Mom’s fancy calligraphy. Piles of jelly beans and Easter candy were scattered on the table along with a variety of other beautiful trinkets. We’d circle the table, looking at Mom’s masterpiece, in awe. 

As I grew older, we celebrated Easter in many different places. Different houses. At our grandparent’s home. But the tradition of Easter morning is unbroken, as Mom pulls off her early morning surprise regardless of the location. And now that I’m not home to experience it, I can guarantee that my sisters will be texting me a picture of this year’s masterpiece. 

I always marveled that my busy mom would take such care to make Easter memorable for us. I never doubted that Easter morning was one of the most important, blessed, joyous events of the entire year. He is Risen Indeed!  

-- Written by Rachel

And yes, Mom again surprised with her masterpiece again this year. 
What a special tradition!

Several of our girls were able to play in a local church orchestra for their annual Resurrection service. Orchestral music is quite different from fiddling, so they were grateful to have their friend, Karlie, help navigate the music!

And our house was bustling with activity as our good friends, the Stangl family, joined us for the weekend. Many you may recognize these smiling faces from our recent children's CD project, "My Heart, Your Home". Dressed in their Easter finery, they couldn't resist the fun of the trampoline.

"Many, O LORD my God, are Your wonderful works
Which You have done;
And Your thoughts toward us
Cannot be recounted to You in order;
If I would declare and speak of them,
They are more than can be numbered."
Psalm 40:5

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

NCHEA 2014

Once again this year several of our family members were able to help with our annual NCHEA (Nebraska Christian Home Educators Association) Kids Conference. Our attendance again swelled to over 300 children, so we had our hands full with a action-packed, meaningful weekend. What memories!

This year the theme was The Quest - Risking it All for the Sake of the King.
We had songs, memory verses, an 8 part drama, lessons, games, awards, and a whole lot of fun! :)

Large group assembly

The drama is a huge highlight every year. And this year was no different. Who doesn't like knights and maidens?! Set in the medieval time period our story followed a young man named Beric who was on a quest to become a knight. Along the way he has a sorts of adventures, mishaps, lessons to learn, dangers, and celebrations.

Alaythia, Nathanael and I (Hannah) were able to be in the drama.

Nathanael was one of the sword-fighters.

Alaythia and I were peddlers, townsfolk, and anything else that was needed.

Most of the cast and crew

Ruth, Elizabeth and I were team leaders

Elizabeth's team

My team

Susanna was a teacher as well

Alaythia was part of the special 'teachers-in-training' session for the 13-14 year olds. Packed with practical instruction and application, she learned allot about dynamic teaching and was able to put her new skills into action by sharing one of the character lessons. 

Nathanael and Charissa were on teams

New friends

Random smiles

Lots of fun!

To God be the glory!

"If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost? For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him the Son of Man will be ashamed 
when He comes in His own glory."
Luke 9:23-26

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Day 2: Nassau, Bahamas

As spring slowly arrives in the midwest, we're back to share a few more pictures from the cruise: 

Day two of our cruise adventure started with a visit to Nassau, Bahamas. The weather was lovely and we were excited to explore the area. After a quick family meeting, mapping our our plans and commitments for the day, we headed out.

Everything was so colorful and festive!

Smiles from Nassau

Always into hats, Matthias found his official souvenir.

Hannah joined in with the local entertainment!

And more hats to try

There were so many trinkets for bartering. 

And it was time to head back to the ship and set sail again. 

Tuesday evening was formal night. Time to dress up!

Stephen and Susanna

Charissa and Joanna

Dad had his first experience being a ventriloquist. Let's just say that I think he's planning to stick with music in the future! 

Family sharing

Hannah and Asher

We got the whole crew up there for a couple songs.

What a blessing to experience this all together! 

Give unto the LORD the glory due to His name;
Worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.

Psalm 29:2