Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Sunday Dinner

When we are home we usually try to have a big family lunch on Sunday afternoons. It doesn't always work out, and some are bigger than others, but it is always special! 

This last one was even more special because not only were Andrew and Kori up from Florida, but Alan and Rachel drove up for the weekend with their kids!

Talk about a full house, lots of food, children's laughter, and good conversations.

Alaythia may have become a favorite aunt by giving out a few bites of ice cream.

One of the special things about getting together is hearing what God is doing in each individuals lives. There are always areas that we need to grow in, always lessons being learned and God is working on each of our hearts through different struggles or joys. Being able to share some of those things and encourage and challenge one another is such a beautiful gift!

There seems to be more and more little children at family gatherings these days. Since we don't get to see everyone very often it seems like the nieces and nephews grow faster than they should. I think everyone enjoys trying to get the biggest smiles and laughs out of them!

It was an absolutely gorgeous day outside, so after lunch there was a corn hole competition. This was the matching hats team against the matching shirts team.

Wyatt as the youngest member of the family got plenty of attention!

Now we can't wait until Christmas when we will all be together!!!

"I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given to you by Christ Jesus,"
1 Corinthians 1:4

Saturday, August 25, 2018

County Fair!

Anytime you can just take an evening off to do something as a family it is always special!!

Our county fair was a little while ago. We had one evening available so we headed in to just enjoy the sights.

Caught some of the team roping event!


I think one of the absolute favorite stops for all of us is the horse barn!

Part of the fun of walking around the fairgrounds with mom and dad is getting to hear stories from when they were in 4-H a long time ago!

So grateful for peaceful evenings and time as a family!

"Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ."
Romans 5:1

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Lake Itasca Part 3

One of our favorite parts of the Lake Itasca music festival happens at 3 & 7 pm on Saturday. Our family along with some of our dear friends lead a Children's Storybook Hour. We sing songs, memorize a Bible verse and then act out a drama written about someone in history that had an impact for Christ.

Leading songs is always a lot of fun!! There usually ends up being a lot of pictures with funny facial expressions because we tend to get really into what we are singing.

It is always so special to see the children (and adults) get involved with the actions and activities!

Stephen and Susanna led the memory verse this year. Our theme was Choices! We all have so many choices to make in our lives! What we think about, what we say, what we do, how we treat others, how we spend our time. Those choices have such an impact on our own lives, and they impact the lives of others!  So it is important to base those decisions on the truths of God's word!

This year we acted out the life of John Jay. Most people don't know anything about him, so it was amazing to be able to do all of the research on him and share the story of his life to so many people! Some have called him the "forgotten founding father,"  and it was a challenge to get all the information we needed to write a script!  What we did learn about his life showed an incredible man of character!

John Jay has played a vital role in the founding of our nation. He actually served in more different capacities than any other founding father! He had an impressive political career as a writer, a foreign ambassador, the first U.S. Supreme Court Justice, New York Governor and more! Making many impactful decisions throughout his public service. He also served faithfully in his church and was president of the American Bible Association which is still going on today.  It has given out millions of Bibles to people all over the world!

It is always amazing to see how God pulls all of the details together to make the drama happen. We don't have a lot of time to get together and practice for it, so we always try to cover everything in prayer and do the very best we can.

Who doesn't enjoy an opportunity to dress up in old fashion dresses?!

We are so grateful for the Stangl family, the Kopsa family and several others that help us with the drama every year!! They are always willing to memorize tons of lines as a main role or simply dress up and be an extra in the scene. It is such a blessing!

The cast and crew!

"Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy--meditate on these things."
Philippians 4:8

*Thanks to Emma  for letting us share her pictures!


Tuesday, August 21, 2018

A little of this...

...and a little of that!
We had a few fun random pictures from the last few weeks that I thought would give you a glimpse into our lives when we aren't busy with work, traveling, music or some other project.

Ginger keeps growing up! It has been interesting to see the differences between her, a golden retriever and our previous Australian Shepherds. She doesn't catch onto things as fast, but she loves playing fetch!

A beautiful Sunday afternoon is perfect for playing tennis.

We got a few good games in one week.

And of course, it's harvest time for our garden! We put in a smaller one this year, but we have some salsa, spaghetti sauce and pickles canned and on our shelves.

What has been a highlight of your last few weeks?

"Praise the Lord! 
For it is good to sing praises to our God; For it is pleasant, and praise is beautiful."
Psalms 147:1

Thursday, August 16, 2018


Happy Birthday Ruth!!
Here is a taste into her last year...
Ryan and Ruth live in Lincoln, Nebraska, and we so love having them close. It is always fun to hear their latest adventure, whether it's learning something new or a weekend roadtrip!
Ruth has enjoyed being able to help people accomplish their health goals! She and Ryan have a heart for serving others and that shows itself in a variety of ways.
Lee turned one years old in June and is growing faster than we can keep up. It is fun to see his personality already coming out as he learns new skills and tries to figure things out. It is special to watch their own household. Going on family walks, balancing the busy work season for Ryan, spending time with extended family, and now preparing for baby #2!
Ruth, Kori and Bethany were able to snap a picture with all three of their baby bumps. What a special thing family is.
We love you Ryan, Ruth, Lee and baby!!
"Knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance;
for you serve the Lord Christ." Colossians 3:24

Monday, August 13, 2018

Lake Itasca Part 2

Our home away from home! It is always a fun challenge to get our bus cleaned, loaded and pulled out the driveway at the departure time that Dad sets. We ended up leaving later than planned for this trip, because something on the bus took longer than expected to get fixed.   However, we eventually made it!!  We arrived at the Lake Itasca Family Music Festival near Bemidji, MN.

Before going on stage it is nice to run through some of the songs to warm up and refresh our memory on some of the lyrics if we haven't sung for awhile.

We sang twice on the main stage during the festival. God held off the rain that was supposed to come, so we were able to enjoy the beautiful outdoors the entire weekend! It was special to have Matthias and Michelle join us for a few songs as well.

We are so grateful to be able to travel and share what God has done in our hearts and lives with others!

"All the earth shall worship You
And sing praises to You;
They shall sing praises to Your name."
Psalms 66:4

Friday, August 10, 2018

Lake Itasca Part 1

If you've followed our blog for awhile you will notice that there are several events that are annual highlights of our year. In August, we treasure the opportunities to attend the Lake Itasca Family Music Festival. It is alway such a special weekend!  We highly recommend it!   This year I tried to get more pictures than last year, which I will try to spread over a couple of different posts.

Over the course of the weekend they have a main stage with featured groups that come from all over the United States.  On Saturday they have several sessions and workshops on the smaller stages for you to enjoy.   Daddy shares on something relating to family each year.  This year he shared on fruitfulness as families.

Stephen helped teach the mandolin workshop, and Matthias helped with the dobro.

They also have the side stages available for anyone that would like to sign up and sing for a smaller amount of time. It is really fun to hear the variety in music and voices. Matthias and Michelle signed up for one of the slots and played some guitar and fiddle songs. This festival is special to them, because it is where they first met!

Of course, with a large group of young people there is almost always some sort of sport event. Or several sports simultaneously!   Volleyball is a pretty popular game throughout the festival,  and there are usually a number of games going on at once around the grounds.

It has become a tradition that we volunteer in the snack shack for one of the shifts on Saturday. Who doesn't enjoy making all sorts of ice cream treats?!

If you are looking for something fun to do as a family we really encourage coming to the festival!!

"Sing to the Lord, all the earth;
Proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day."
1 Chronicles 16:23

Thursday, August 02, 2018

Summer Fun

A week ago our men were home from work early on one of the days, so we decided to celebrate by taking the boat out on the lake and having a picnic. It was the first time we've been able to get the boat out this year! 

Dad, the expert driver, always enjoys the challenge of getting people to fall off of the tube.
It is always fun to see who can last the longest:  Dad, or the tubers. It also makes for a lot of fun pictures!

Two new riders ready for the challenge!

How high can you fly without letting go?!

Since not everyone fit in the boat at the same time, the rest of the family swam on the beach and played with Ginger.

The evening finished with a gorgeous sunset!! 
Thank you Lord for summer days!

"The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof, 
the world and all who dwell therein."  - Psalm 24:1