Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Trip to Houston

This past weekend, we traveled to Houston for the wedding of a dear friend! While there, we were so blessed to be able to stay with some other dear friends, the Riddell family!

Mr. and Mrs. Riddell have 3 daughters: Tara and Kelly and Elizabeth. They are SO MUCH FUN!!! and such a godly family too!

We arrived in Houston on Friday, and headed over to the Fiesta Fellowship dinner that the engaged couple hosted for many of their guests. We had a wonderful time catching up with Tara and Kelly (above) and also the bride and her sweet family!

Part of the Fiesta Fellowship was a "family talent show" for everyone to do something special for the bride and groom. The songs, skits, stories, and poems had everyone roaring with laughter! Our family wrote a song, and sang in public for our first time together ever!! :) Yikes! :)

Here is the lovely couple Katelin and Nathan on their wedding day! A special thing about their ceremony was that both of them saved their very first kiss for the wedding alter! What a special gift they were able to give to each other. And what an inspiration this was to Christa and me also!

Our whole family really enjoyed being able to serve during the wedding in a variety of ways. Before the ceremony, we took gifts from guests to a designated room, manned the guest book, and welcomed guests. During the reception, we helped to restock the "munchie" table... :)


...and Christa's and my favorite part was serving toppings for the ice cream sundaes that the family had at the reception instead of cake! Learning to spoon liquid caramel into a cup without getting it all over the table cloth, the outside of the cup, and the hands of the guest was quite a task! :)
Ice cream serving buddies! :)

We consider these 3 older girls, Kelly Riddell, Katrina Rebsch (sister of the bride), and Tara Riddell, our mentors, and we are so thankful for their friendship! We also had such a fun time getting to know Elizabeth Riddell (age 10) better over the weekend! She is a sweet friend too! :)

Praise the Lord for friends who encourage us in our walk with Him!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Homeschool Family Conference

Wow, friends, it has been almost 2 months since we last posted!! Where does the time go? :)

We wanted to share some pictures with you of the Family Camp we were able to attend a couple weeks ago, and what the Lord taught us there! He was so good to even provide an RV for us to stay in while we were there! (a dear friend loaned it to us for our trip.) So we packed it full with all the necessities for camping and headed eastward to Big Sandy Texas.

The Family Camp was hosted by our homeschool association, and they lined up many wonderful speakers for us to hear while we were there. We were also able to connect with many dear friends who were a great encouragement to us. We came home feeling uplifted and inspired by all the wonderful fellowship and input to help us grow closer as a family now, as well as to help Christa and I prepare to have successful families one day that follow the Lord.

One of our favorite speakers was Rick Green...
...who spoke about America's constitution and our founding fathers, and the things we can do to help get our country back to her spiritual heritage. To learn more about Rick Green and the ministry he works with (Wallbuilders) go to www.wallbuilders.com


Here are a few pictures from our time in Big Sandy:

Managing meals in RV - sized kitchens was a bit of an adjustment! :)

Not having brothers, Christa and I have very little experience with guns, but we decided to be "adventurous" and spend a little time one afternoon down at the rifle range! :) The unanimous decision afterward was that though we had a blast, neither of us showed much promise in becoming a sharp shooter! :) A couple other friends joined us there: the Adams family, and a couple members of the Brown family.

These are some special little friends of ours: Timmy, Elaina, and Camri! We had so much fun playing together in the Brown's big tent! Christa and I have learned over the past few years to really love and value children, and to see a little bit more just how important they were to Jesus too! Luke 18:16: "Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the Kingdom of God." Our time spent with them gives us great preparation and vision for investing in the lives of our own children one day. We have so enjoyed making friends of all ages - whether they are age two, twenty - two, or eighty - two! :)

There's nothing like s'mores and campfires! The Finnicum, Baker, and Brown families joined us after a meeting one night to all spend some time together under the stars! :)


One of the highlights was all four of us singing in the family choir with about 70 other people, and of course, sweet Mr. Baker leading us! We put together 2 songs to sing for the approximately 1100 people there! We are so thankful for the Baker's friendship and all that they have taught us to make beautiful music for the Lord!


The day after Family Camp ended, our friends the Finnicum family came to spend an afternoon with us at our house on their way back home to Colorado. We had met them a couple years previously, but really felt like we connected with them in a special way this year. Spending time with them really challenged us to be a family that is dedicated to living a life that pleases Jesus in every way! We had a wonderful time eating dinner together, going out on our greenbelt and playing kickball and volleyball, and playing music for each other! And of course, the moms appreciated having some quiet time to just sit and talk! :)

They insisted that I play the cello for them - which they later learned was a mistake. :) Notice the grins on all their faces... :)


Such a fun, sweet family!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Family Choir Camp

This past week, we hosted a family choir camp at our church! We had some sweet friends of ours, Mr. and Mrs. Amon and Joy Baker, drive over from Arkansas to direct it for us. Mr. Baker is in his eighties, and Mrs. Baker is almost eighty, but both seem years younger!! Together, they have been directing choirs and teaching voice for over sixty years!

It was such a joy to have them in our home for the week that they were here! They are a lovely, vibrant couple that truly loves and serves Jesus, and it was so much fun to be able to get to know them better!

The choir camp was Wednesday and Thursday evening, and all day Friday and Saturday. We rehearsed six anthems to sing, and loved every one of them! Here is a picture of all of us squeezed into the choir loft! :) There were about 40 people participating - most of them from our church, but a couple homeschool families from other churches as well.

The fun thing about the week was that we had all ages participating: from six years old to seventy years old!! :) This is Christa with a new friend, Bethany, (17 yrs) and another little friend, Andrew, (6 yrs) in her lap! :)


Besides working on the six anthems to sing, we also had something called masterclasses incorporated into our rehearsal times. This was a brief personal lesson in front of the group to get Mr. Baker's advice and input. Though everyone was more than a little nervous to participate, there were quite a few who decided to take the plunge and put together a song to sing for everyone. :)

Christa playing the piano for our friends, Emily and Jenny, as they practice their duet to sing for a Masterclass.

The two sets of twins! :)

Hope and Grace Rohlin were my "second soprano buddies" during the rehearsal times!!

Mr. Baker...
And the joyful Mrs. Joy Baker!

Even Dad was a good sport and joined us for the week as a promising (but sometimes goofy!!) tenor! :)

On Sunday morning, we warmed up our voices in the Fellowship Hall, and then headed on in to the Sanctuary to present our program of six anthems as part of the worship service.

We closed out the week with a sad farewell to Mr. and Mrs. Baker. We had such an enjoyable time and felt like we benefited so much from the instruction we received!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Calming, Captivating, Commendable Colorado!!

Part 2 -
After having spent a week and a half in the Midwest, (pictures in the previous post below) we pointed our minivan westward to the beautiful mountains of Colorado!

In the lovely town of Fort Collins, we attended our biannual staff training conference for Campus Crusade for Christ, along with 4,000 of our "best friends!" :) The speakers were so inspiring as we heard reports of all that the Lord is doing all over the world as men and women seek to share the Gospel Message! We were able to meet up with old and new friends, and spend time with so many special people! Sadly, we were slackers and pretty much forgot our camera for the whole conference, so we don't have pictures of any of them but one of our dear friends, Libby Cox.
Yes, true gal friends always do each other's hair! :)

Libby is such a special friend, and we were so excited to be able to spend time almost every day with her! From shopping, to long chats, to taking walks, to picnics, to sitting in meetings together, we loved every minute of it! :)

And Mom (actually all of us!) always looks forward to reconnecting with Libby's mom (and dad!) whose sense of humor brings roars of laughter to us all!!

After the conference ended, we decided to spend a few extra days "tooling" around Colorado and spending time in the gorgeous countryside! We ended up passing through Colorado Springs, Denver, Boulder, and all the little "cutesy" towns in between! :)

One of the days, we decided to take a free 5 minute ski lift ride in Winter Park! Fun, fun, fun!!

Here we are in Boulder, walking through Pearl Street Mall! What a crazy, but fun place!

Our favorite times were when we could hike the mountains and explore in creeks and water falls!

Dad in hiking mode! :)

On our way home after a fantastic time in Colorado, we saw this beautiful rainbow! What a reminder of God's faithfulness to us!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

HOME!!!

We are back home!! After almost a month of traveling like gypsies, :) we have returned and have finally gotten a handle on bags and bags (and bags and bags) of "stuff" to unpack, mountains of laundry, hundreds of emails, stacks of dishes, etc! But it was all worth it!! The Lord gave us a terrific time, and so many unexpected blessings during the month! We'd like to share just a few of these with you now!


Our first stop was Illinois to stay with my dad's sister, Diane, and her new husband, Don! (on the very left in the picture above) While there, we got to spend an evening with my dad's other sister, Julie and her husband Randy (in the middle of the picture) and their children Meagan and Nick and Nick's fiance (not pictured). And of course we had to make a stop at Whitey's ice cream with everyone! On the Sunday that we spent in Illinois, we visited one of our sending churches, and saw many of our special ministry partners and friends! Though we don't have pictures of any of them, we were so blessed by our time with each one!!


Next stop was Union Pier Michigan (the very southern tip, and I do believe one of the most beautiful places on earth!!) We rented a little cottage right on the beach and stayed up there as a family for the first few days, then Aunt Diane and Uncle Don came up from Illinois to join us for the rest of the time! It was wonderful to be able to take a little break from our busy schedule and rest by the beach!

Activities included:

Badminton,


Rock hunting,

Walks along the beach,

Frisbee,

Bike riding along the darling little streets of Union Pier,

Reading aloud as a family,

Canoeing,

A campfire and s'mores,

And of course swimming!

There were huge waves on a couple of days!

Here I am trying to tame "Finley"- my out of control blow - up dolphin! Impossible! lol

One morning we took a bike ride to "The Whistle Stop:" a little breakfast place,

And another morning, we had special visitors walk by our site on the beach!! :)

Out to eat as a group after a long day in the sun!

Sweet Mom and Dad!

Beach twins! :)


Stay tuned for part 2 of our summer travels: to the Rocky Mountains and beyond!! :)