Friday, August 20, 2010

Catching up...summer time!

How do 6 months go by, and it feels like only 2 months?? I am amazed to realize that it has been a full 6 months since we have posted on our poor neglected blog! We are getting back in the swing of things after 4 1/2 weeks away from home this summer. As wonderful as it is to travel and see dear friends and family, visit new places, and meet new people, it always comes back to....there's no place like home! :)

We pulled out of our neighborhood in a very full van on July 12th and headed first to Iowa/Illinois, where my dad grew up, and has many friends and family there. Even though we were only able to spend a few days there, we so enjoyed our time and were blessed by each one we were able to see.

We stayed with our dear aunt and uncle: Diane (dad's youngest sister) and Don, whom we have become very close with over these past few years. They were so sweet to allow us to completely take over their place with all our bags and "stuff"!

While we were in town, our other sweet aunt and uncle (Julie - dad's sister - and Randy) who live in Iowa came and visited with us one evening. We had such a fun time with them - catching up, seeing pictures of their son's recent wedding, and playing games with them!

Also while we were in town, our fun cousin Autumn (Diane's daughter) came back from her home in MO to visit! We were so excited to get to see her, and spend time with her going to the Farmer's Market, riding on "The Channel Cat" (a ferry that takes people on the Mississippi River), discussing music (always! :)), and going to church together.

There were many dear ministry partners that we were able to see also, and here is a picture of one amazing couple - Don and Marj Dirk. In their late 70's/early 80's, they are still going strong with dozens of mission trips all over the world under their belts, and plans for more in the making! It was so encouraging to hear their stories about God's work in their life: from wondering what God's plan was for them in their retirement, to where they are now! One of the keys to their success that they shared with us was to mentally and emotionally put on the whole armor of God every day, as God tells us in Ephesians 6:13-18. What an inspiration to us!

From Illinois, we traveled to Indiana, where Christa and I attended a 3 week music course at an institute through our homeschool association. ( What an experience!! Here are a few highlights from our time:

There were 15 students that took the course with us, and we loved getting to know each one of them, and many of the other college students on campus there as well! This was a small class in comparison to other years, but great for us because it meant more one on one time with the many wonderful instructors!

Topics covered over the 3 weeks included: theory, music notation, conducting, orchestration, song writing, music history, piano pedagogy, music in children's ministry, etc.

There were many team projects over the week, and on one of our teams with 3 other sweet girls, we had to sing or play a song creatively or dramatically using solfege (like on "The Sound of Music" - do, re, mi, fa, so, etc) Too fun!

Another team we were assigned to was with these 2 guys - Jonathan and Donald. The four of us were supposed to plan a half hour children's choir rehearsal using LOTS of creativity, and then all the teams actually presented their assignments to the teacher and the other teams at the end of the second week. The four of us were laughing hysterically for much of the planning time, but managed to come up with some interesting, let's say original ideas... :)

...Like the relay race where the "students" had to draw out music notes with whippping cream and then use MnM's to designate how many beats that note had! We called our game "dessert notes" :)

Most evenings saw us releasing our pent up energy in volleyball games outside with the other college students, taking long walks, and playing ping pong in the dining room! Here we are with Jonathan, Hannah, Rene, Elizabeth, Donald, and Kelsey.

Jonathan, Elizabeth, Kate, Christa, and Marie

Our sweet friends the Spiars' from Indianapolis, came to visit us during the course. It was so fun getting to catch up with them and laugh with them as always! :)

We ended the course with a concert on the last night for the other students at the college as well as families of the students. This included the solfege song that our "Team A" (Marie, Hannah, and Elizabeth) put together...

As well as singing about 15 songs as a choir!

And we were so thrilled that our Aunt Di and Uncle Don came to hear our concert and stay with us the last 2 nights!! What a special thing for them to do, especially since our mom and dad had to be away at a Student Venture conference the last week of our course! Mom was able to stay for the first 2 weeks, and faithfully made meals for us, did our laundry, and was our moral support! :)

Suzanne and Rene - two super sweet college students that we got to know!

A "goofy" shot with some friends at the reception after the concert...Anna, Natalia, Rachel, and Becca :)

Christa and I both love music, and are so excited about developing our skills to use in future ministry however the Lord leads. It was wonderful to see how this music course furthered us down the road towards that end. We're thankful to the Lord for giving us the opportunity to participate in this course!

To be continued... :)

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Think Water Buffalo! :)

We have been known to throw some "wild" parties in our lifetime, but this past Thursday just might have surpassed them all. :) We organized a New Year's Eve party at our church. And the theme? Water Buffaloes.

Don't laugh. Just hang tight for a minute, and it will all make sense. :)

There is a ministry called Gospel for Asia (GFA) that has its headquarters right here in Carrollton, and several of those on staff with this ministry attend our church. Every year, GFA sends out a Christmas catalog that allows people to give specific gifts to poor families in Asia. (go to You can give anything from Bibles, to bicycles for missionaries, to chickens, to blankets...

And don't forget about the water buffaloes!

To the poverty stricken families in Asia, a water buffalo is like manna straight from heaven. They serve as tractors, "vehicles" for transportation, surrogate cows to give milk, and of course, an income generator when they reproduce every other year. They can live for 29 years, and even after they die, they are still useful by the meat they give. So you are getting some bang for your buck with that gift!

But, speaking of bucks, a water buffalo costs $460. So we thought we would throw a party to raise the money as a church family - water buffalo style!!

Our pastor and his wife, who are retired missionaries from Taiwan, had several statues of water buffaloes and water buffalo horns and were excited to bring those to help decorate!

We started out with splitting up everybody into four separate teams and having a competitive quiz involving fun facts about water buffaloes. Whoever answered a question right got a point for their team and a Starburst. :)

The next game, and by far the biggest hit and the most lively, was Pictionary! Each of the four teams had to draw items that involved life in Asia and make their teammates guess what they were drawing before the other teams got it. Needless to say, we had some pretty crazy drawings, and some pretty crazy people too... :)

Christa and our friend Nicole enjoying some social time together.

Some more intense sketching. :) Our pastor is great with children, and loves to gather the little ones around him whenever he gets a chance!

As you can see, the scores were pretty close!

Sweet Miss Hannah was my faithful team partner and helper for the evening. I greatly enjoyed getting to know her better! :)

Dad was the emcee for the night, and did an awesome job! We also showed two videos from GFA that shared testimonies of changed lives. You can go to their website (click here) to view one of the films we showed.
Our friend Mr. Dickson who is on staff with GFA shared a testimony that he heard about a widow who received a water buffalo recently and accepted Christ as her Savior as a result of it! That was so exciting to hear!

And we are thrilled to report that God raised up enough money to purchase not one, not two, but three water buffaloes, plus a goat and fourteen Bibles on top of that!! We praise God that He is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us! ~ Ephesians 3:20. May God use these gifts to change many lives for His kingdom.

Friday, January 1, 2010

White Christmas!

We have big news for all you that live outside of Dallas. Make sure you're sitting down!

We had a WHITE CHRISTMAS here for the first time in eighty years!!!!!!!!

It was enough to put the whole city into shock. It was the talk of the town. A whole 2.5 inches of powdery white flakes that actually stayed on the ground for 24 hours!!! Oh my!

Isn't it beautiful??

Our poor flowers were definitely not expecting such "frigid" temperatures...

And we even built a little snowman, complete with raisin buttons and a small cup for a hat! His name? Billy Bob! :)

Yes, there's still a "little kid" in all of us! :)