Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Nathanael


Happy 13th Birthday Nathanael!

“Have I not commanded you? 
Be strong and of good courage; 
do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, 
for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”
Joshua 1:9

Monday, October 27, 2014

Making Him Known


I found these photos in our draft folder this morning. Bethany & Kori so kindly took them for us last month and it was a timely joy to scroll through them. It reminded me of our focus. 


You see, in all the varied Branson preparations, its easy to get wrapped up in just that: Branson preparations. 

After all, there are 62 individual outfits to sew/purchase/re-purpose. That's over 300 clothing items. And transporting them in an organized fashion is another hurdle we're dealing with. 

There are Branson rack cards, posters, and promotional materials to design and order. 

There's an immense amount of music to practice and polish. 

CDs & DVDs to inventory and order. 

Food, laundry, and general packing that must happen. 

A garden and home that needs winterized. 


And you get the drift. In a life of lists and deadlines, its refreshing to pause in the early morning hours and re-focus. To soak in God's Word and tune our hearts to His praise. Because our goal is not to be busy. Its to glorify Jesus Christ. To be faithful with the opportunities given us. And to offer our service as a love offering before His throne. 

These pictures help to capture that 'WHY'. It is to make His praise glorious. To sing out His goodness and righteousness. To proclaim the Good News of salvation through Jesus Christ to a lost and dying world. 

What purpose! What joy! 

We all have varied to-do lists. But our life doesn't consist of them. Rather, our over-arching purpose is the life-long adventure of loving Christ and making HIM known. 

So as we look over our to-do lists this week, let's keep the big picture in view:

"For You are great
and do wonderous things. 
You alone are God."
Psalm 86:10



How lovely is Your tabernacle, 
O Lord of hosts! 



My soul longs, yes even faints 
For the courts of the Lord;


My heart and my flesh cry out for the Living God.


Even the sparrow has found a home, 
And the swallow a nest for herself,
Where she may lay her young --


Even Your alters, O Lord of hosts,
My King and my God.


Blessed are those who dwell in Your house;
They will still be praising You.


Blessed is the man whose strength is in You,
Whose heart is set on pilgrimage.


As they pass through the Valley of Baca,
They make it a spring.
The rain also covers it with pools.


They go from strength to strength;
Each one appears before God in Zion.


O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer;
Give ear, O God of Jacob!


O God, behold our shield,
And look upon the face of Your anointed.


For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand.


I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God,
Than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.


For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
The Lord will give grace and glory.


No good thing will He withhold 
From those who walk uprightly.


O Lord of hosts, 
Blessed is the man who trusts in You!


I will praise You, O Lord my God, 
with all my heart.
And I will glorify Your name forevermore.


Scripture from Psalm 86 & 87


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Sewing & Shopping


The countdown to Branson continues: Only 8 short days until we load up and head to the Ozarks for two months. Each and every day is crucial. We covet your prayers. 

And little by little the Christmas ministry is starting to take shape. An important aspect of every Branson show is the costuming and clothing. With 4-5 outfit changes per person, that adds up to a grand total of  50+ individual, coordinated outfits. Whew!

As you may imagine, our shopping & sewing crew have been going full steam ahead for the past two weeks. We're starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel -- and with only 8 days left, that's a huge answer to prayer! Here's a quick glimpse of the process: 


Measuring and sizing.


Sewing.


Re-sizing


And cutting out the pieces.


Our sun room makes for a very cheery sewing factory with lots of natural lighting and fresh air. 

We're also thankful for a timely visit from our friend, Jennifer! She so kindly jumped in to help with the projects at hand -- what a blessing!! 


Delicate touches.


Busy fingers.


We've also made several trips to town for various pieces to the outfits.


Our wonderful sister, Kori, has been helping with shopping & style tips. 
She's so talented!


And every good shopping trip includes a stop at our favorite spot: Amigos! 

And the clock ticks on... 
... stay tuned! 


"Sing to the LORD, bless His name;
Proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day."
Psalm 96:2

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Alaythia



Happy 15th Birthday Alaythia!!!

Alaythia's chosen ministry: 


Tiny Hands is a Christian non-profit organization dedicated to empowering the church in the developing world to help the poor overcome poverty and become lights of the world.  We are committed to finding the greatest injustices in the world, and working towards relieving them however possible.  We are particularly called to orphans, street children, and the victims of the sex-trafficking industry.  We want to find those who are already doing the work, who are called and faithful, and help them do it in greater ways and with more efficiency.  We do it all in obedience to, and for the glory of Jesus Christ.


"I will praise You, O Lord my God, with all my heart,
And I will glorify Your name forevermore."
Psalms 86:12


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

60th Wedding Anniversary


The last weekend in September our whole family (and extended family) gathered in northeastern Iowa for a very precious, wonderful celebration: 

Our grandparent's 60th wedding anniversary. 

60 years of marriage: 
The ups & downs. 
The challenges of raising children. 
Making ends meet. 
Serving in the community & church. 

And through it all, they've left us a priceless legacy of their unwavering commitment to God and to each other. Their love and laughter continues to be a radiant joy in the lives of many. We are so blessed! 

To commemorate this special occasion, our whole extended family (Mom's sister, Gayle, and brother, Gary, & their respective families) hosted an open house for the community. It was such a blast to spend the day with our aunts, uncles, & cousins! There were many cameras clicking that day. These are some that Bethany captured for us: 


The children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren


Their seven adorable great-grands.


Mom, with her parents and siblings, Gayle & Gary.


Cousin Kinsey's sweet daughter Riley with her dad, Jason.


Decorations






Cupcakes




Rachel & Hannah


Ruth, Kori, & Elizabeth


Our cousin's son, Brayden. 


Aunt Jacque ordered a lovely cake in the blue of their wedding colors.


Cutting the cake


Isn't it adorable how they still make each other laugh?!


Smiles!


Arianna really, really enjoyed her cupcake. Mmmm!


The official, very capable, ice-cream servers.


Greeting friends & family.


It was a treat to see so many friends and family from the community.


Alan on the kitchen team


Nathanael waiting tables


Asher


Elizabeth and cousin Jenna.
(Interesting fact: They are birthday cousins -- born the exact same day)


Cousin Greta with Mom & Aunt Gayle.


Uncle Gary sharing memories and thoughts during the program.

An interesting and rather unique blessing of this 60th wedding anniversary is that the pastor that married Grandpa and Grandma attended their celebration along with his wife of 61 years!  He is the silver haired gentlemen silhouetted against Uncle Gary’s suit coat.


 Aunt Gayle made name tags for all of us family members so guests could know who was who! 


And our guys had to continue an on-going tradition of singing old love songs to Grandpa and Grandma -- much to the amused delight of the guests. 








It was so sweet to hear many stories during the short program. 
Their children rose up and called them 'blessed'.
It was a heartfelt, precious, tender time.


And we continually thank the Lord for these two wonderful people and the priceless legacy they continue to live. 

We love you BIGGER, Grandpa and Grandma!

Happy 60th Wedding Anniversary.


"We will not hide them from their children,
Telling to the generation to come the praises of the LORD,
And His strength and His wonderful works that He has done."
Psalm 78:4