Monday, June 30, 2014

Alan & Rachel

Happy 2nd Anniversary Alan & Rachel!

He has shown you, O man, what is good;
And what does the LORD require of you
But to do justly,
To love mercy,
And to walk humbly with your God?
Micah 6:8

Saturday, June 28, 2014


Happy Birthday, Dan! 

Dan's ministry of choice: 

Alliance Defending Freedom is a servant ministry building an alliance to keep the door open for the spread of the Gospel by transforming the legal system and advocating for religious liberty, the sanctity of life, and marriage and family. 

And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
John 8:32

Friday, June 27, 2014

Gardening Days

What happens when you combine weeks of fieldwork, weekends of traveling and a rainy, wet spring?! You guessed it: A garden overrun by unwelcome weeds! This past week we've been able to devote a few days to playing catch-up in our garden. What a privilege to grow our own produce! And as any large family would probably be quick to mention: Many hands make light work! 

Susanna weeds corn with the 'help' of our dog, Duke. Wherever she happens to be, he is usually not far behind! 

At least you can see great progress after a weeding session like this one!

Alaythia helps bring in the broccoli crop. We ended up with a bountiful crop, which is a good thing because our family loves broccoli. (Well, I guess that goes for about any veggie, actually!)

Ready to be washed, blanched, and frozen. 

With the older guys managing the work crews, Nathanael has become the 'man of the house', taking care of all the mowing, tilling,  and fix-it jobs that need done. What a blessing to see him grow into such a thoughtful, hard-working man! 

And that is a glimpse into our garden. There's just something delightful about watching plants grow and produce, wouldn't you agree?! How rewarding it is to gather the veggies for our use and benefit. 

How much more should we be laboring for fruit that lasts eternally?! May we be faithful!

“I am the vine, you are the branches. 
He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; 
for without Me you can do nothing. 
By this My Father is glorified, 
that you bear much fruit; 
so you will be My disciples."
John 15:5&8

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Summer Concerts

With the arrival of warm humidity comes the opportunity for a true summertime concert -- outdoors! Or perhaps in a machine shed?! Last weekend we were excited to make a quick weekend trip into Iowa to share a couple concerts. It was a great time to reconnect with friends and meet some new folks. 

This little sweetheart took several of the pictures in this post! Thank you, Lorinda! 

Hmmmm... are these girls looking a bit mischievous, perhaps?!  

As the irrigation season is finished, we're excited to be delving back into music in preparation for a summer and fall filled with several trips. What a blessing to praise the Lord together...outdoors, in a barn, or wherever we happen to be! 

Praise the LORD!
For it is good to sing praises to our God;
For it is pleasant, and praise is beautiful.

Psalm 147:1

Monday, June 23, 2014


Happy 19th Birthday Hannah!!!

Hannah's chosen ministry: Living Waters

Living Waters vision is to inspire in every Christian a God-glorifying passion to fulfill the Great Commission. Our mission is to accomplish this through our award-winning television program, our Ambassadors' Alliance and Academy, Transformed and Deeper training conferences, CDs, DVDs, books, and unique gospel tracts. Our earnest prayer is that God would raise up laborers as never before. Our desire is for those laborers to embrace biblical evangelism, and our aim is to equip them with tools to make the task easy and effective. 
                                                                                                  Taken from Living Waters website

“You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, 
with all your soul, and with all your strength."
Deut 6:5

Wednesday, June 18, 2014


Happy Birthday Matthias!!!

Matthias' ministry of choice:

In 1997, Don and Kathy formed Don Shire Ministries, a mission organization offering short-term mission opportunities to anyone who is led of the Lord to serve. Since then they have taken thousands of young people on mission trips offering work projects, evangelism, teaching, children's programs, and prison ministries. Through the gifts of donors, Don Shire Ministries also supports hundreds of orphans and widows in India and Haiti. They have established orphanages and homes for widows and also place orphans into the homes of pastors in India. Don Shire is a gifted Christian trumpeter with  a passion for mission's mobilization worldwide. To date, Don has ministered in the following countries: Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Canada, Cayman Islands, Columbia, Costa Rica, Cuba Czech Republic, El Salvador, England, France, Germany, Ghana, Guatemala, Haiti, Holland, Honduras, India, Israel, Jamaica, Northern Ireland, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Puerto Rico, Republic of Ireland, Switzerland, Trinidad, Uganda and Venezuela.
                                                                                       - Taken from Don Shire Ministries website

"Most men will proclaim each his own goodness,
But who can find a faithful man?"
Proverbs 20:6

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

My Heart, Your Home Songbook

The past few months the little office in Alan & Rachel's Kansas home has been buzzing with activity. Stacks of papers printing, music playing, mouse clicking away. Little by little Rachel has made progress toward a much-requested goal. 

You've probably guessed her project: A songbook to accompany the CD project, 'My Heart, Your Home'! We've had requests for sheet music from Bible camps, VBS leaders, and families. Now we're excited to make these arrangements available to you!

The songbook is very similar to the Bright Lights songbook, for those of you who have enjoyed those arrangements. It includes intermediate piano accompaniment, lyrics, and guitar chords for all 20 songs. She has also included creative teaching tips from her years of experience in teaching music to children. 

We hope and trust this songbook will be a treasure for your family, church, or children's ministry.

Alan & Rachel

The Songbook Cover 

Kindly spread the word 

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Family Photos

This past weekend we were in Castalia, Iowa to celebrate Tractor Day with our grandparents. Having the whole family together is too sweet an opportunity to pass up a quick photo-op. After taking the pictures, we noticed that the farm just beyond these trees is where our grandparents lived after they were married 60 years ago. What a perfect place for family a photo shoot! 

Sharing at the Sunday morning service.

The whole clan

And most of our pictures turn into a goofy picture at some point, as this photo attests! 

In addition to our dear grandparents (center), we were thrilled to have Mom's sister and brother here, as well as four of her cousins!

Did I mention we typically end up with a host of goofy pictures?!

Alan & Rachel

[Joanna and Asher were very enamored with the park's swing-set, so unfortunately, we didn't get a picture of Josiah's family to share. Maybe next time?!!]

Dan & Bethany's family

Andrew & Kori


Dad, Mom, and the grandchildren:
Joanna, Asher, Arianna, and Caden

"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 78:6-7

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Tractor Day

You can tell you're from the rural mid-west when the big event in town is the annual Tractor Day festival. Antique tractors of every kind were lined up for the noon parade in Castalia, IA. But we weren't in town to celebrate tractors. (Although the history of the American farmer is a fascinating study of heritage and technology.)

At the beginning of the parade, we were all gathered around a spiffy convertible where our grandparents were preparing to ride as the grand marshals of the event. We all rode in a covered wagon behind their car. Grandpa and Grandma have lived in this small town community all their lives, so it was a special day to honor them. 

All our married children (and the grandchildren, too!) had come along for this trip, so we thoroughly enjoyed a full weekend together. The more our family grows and dynamics change, the more we treasure our time together. Laughter. Music. Spiritual conversations. Friendly competition. 

Family: What a beautiful gift!

And here are a few pictures from our weekend: 

Getting ready to ride in the parade

The Grand Marshal car leads the parade. 

Enjoying our cousin's sweet baby. 
(Yes, we all had Tractor Day T-shirts to celebrate the event!)

Caden James is starting to be very interactive and smiley. 
Don't let his initial, serious gaze fool you.

His open-mouth grin is contagious! 

We were able to give two concerts in the afternoon, incorporating our older siblings. Here, Rachel, Ruth, Josiah, Bethany, and Matthias share an old favorite: "Praise God"

And the younger crew share some of their new repertoire. 

Meanwhile, on the front row, we enjoyed passing around the nieces and nephews. 

Have we introduced the newest member of our family?! Our younger children have never experienced having pets, due the amount of time we've spent on the road. Dad surprised us this spring with a puppy named "Duke". He joined us for this the delight of the kids!


And a family reunion concert isn't complete without a little friendly competition on the banjos.

Do we look alike?! 
Yes, people still get us confused from time to time. 

What a special weekend! 

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

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Cruise | Nova Scotia | 2015

Are you looking for an unforgettable family getaway? 
Or perhaps an anniversary celebration?!

We're excited to announce that we will be once again sailing with the Sing and Sail group in 2015. This time to the gorgeous northeastern states. Enjoy seven days of breathtaking scenery, uplifting music and fellowship, great food, and relaxation. Make reservations soon for the best cabin selection!

Friday, June 06, 2014


Happy Birthday Mom!

Mom's ministry of choice: 

Loren Wissmann. Mom adds: "Of all the books I've read and sermons I've heard, no one has impacted my life more than Loren. He has taught me about the Bible, living for Christ, prayer, parenting, and a host of other topics. I'm so grateful!"

"Take firm hold of instruction, do not let go;
Keep her for she is your life."
Prov. 4:13

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

A Season's End

The past three months our lives had moved at a lively pace. Pushing one-hundred percent on the irrigation work. Planting and tending the gardens. Wrapping up school for the spring. Serving in children's ministry, both in Nebraska and Iowa. Investing time in local ministry. Several weekends of touring. Planning our fall tours. 

And since we're just winding up with all the irrigation work, Dad declared that it was time for a little family fun. Our family likes to work hard together -- and then play hard! With a cousin's wedding in the direction of a favorite almost-second-home, we took some time to celebrate the close of irrigation season.

Loaded in the bus

Almost there!

And yes, a family favorite spot is Silver Dollar City. It was such a treat to take in the Bluegrass and BBQ festival. Lots of great pickin' & grinnin'. Not to mention all the other attractions that has made SDC a popular family stop. 

We're here!

The whole crew

Standing in line for a ride

Sister smiles!

Charissa is a brave coaster-rider! She jumps in with the older ones on all the fast rides.

Ummm....yes, and more smiles!

And we finished up the weekend by dressing up for our cousin's wedding.

Annual seasons of life are refreshing, aren't they?! In early spring we're excited to get out in the fields to work, sweat, and see how much we can accomplish. But its also sweet to see that chapter close until fall. We'll now be switching gears to music once again. Working on new songs and arrangements -- and Lord-willing, a new recording and songbook. We're also excited about hitting the road for quite a few tours this summer and early fall. 

Are you ready for summer?

"And there you shall eat before the LORD your God, 
and you shall rejoice in all to which you have put your hand, 
you and your households, 
in which the LORD your God has blessed you."
Deut 12:7