This afternoon we hosted a "Country Tea Party" for our friends from church. It was a fun occasion for enjoying special tea foods (sausage quiche, tomato/basil and cucumber/dill sandwiches, fresh veggies and fruit, citrus scones, biscotti, and more) and for fellowshipping together with friends. The highlight was a time of answering questions such as "What are some skills you are learning to become a better homemaker someday?", "How can we encourage our daughters to love being keepers at home?", and "What is your favorite hymn and why is it special to you?". Hearing the mothers and daughters answer the questions from their personal experience was truly edifying. We are so blessed to have friends who are training their daughters to be keepers at home by their example and teaching.
Part of the fun of the tea was getting "dressed up". Here is Allison in her finery. (Mrs. Beachy, thanks for the hats, dresses, etc.)

This is Chelsy -ready for a party!

Here we are at a table long enough for 22 of us- sipping our tea, enjoying the delicacies, and fellowshipping.


Anniversary photos

The beautiful cake our pastor's wife made to celebrate. (thank-you, Mrs. Desaulniers!!)
Cutting the cake.

Feeding each other the cake because, as our pastor said, "the Bontrager children don't really remember the first time they did it"...:D

Obviously still in love............:D


Happy 18th Anniversary, Dad & Mom!

(yes, I'm "borrowing" my mothers blog today, so that you hear about this BIG event! :D shhh....lets try to get 18 comments to celebrate! :D)

Today, 18 years ago, our parents were married in a little Baptist church in Penn Yan, NY. Little did they dream that only 18 short years later.......they would be the happy parents of 3 and a 1/2 DOZEN children (figure that out!), live on a big farm, have a music ministry with their family, remodel their home twice, survive a mini flood, & go to prison together! (singing....not residing there.....:D)
I think if they would've known all that (esp. about all those naughty children they were gonna have :D) they would have been a bit overwhelmed, but thankfully God brings "everything in it's time & it's season." We children are SO thankful for the vow they made 18 years ago........the vow that has held them together through "thick n thin"....and the vow that will keep them together until the day they die. On of my most precious memories of my parents is the times they have talked with us about the importance of the wedding vow, & the commitment that marriage involves. Because of their love & faithfulness to each other, they are building a legacy of faithfulness for generations to come! We are so glad that God brought them together (all the way from IA to NY!) and that they made the decision to welcome all of the "blessings" (children) that God sent them. Because of that, we are now very blessed to be the happy children of the best parents in the world!! :D(yes, they are.....)
Happy Anniversary Daddy & Mommy! May God bless you with many more years together! We love you!!
~Chelsy, Mitchell, Allison, Carson, Joshua, Denver, Taylor, Elizabeth, & Hudson
(written by Chelsy)
"What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder." Matt. 19:6b
"Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it; except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain." Psalm 127:1


The Blessing of Good Food

I am so thankful for the rain and sunshine that God sends so we can enjoy the fruit of the land. There is no better food than what is grown on the land. And when you get to be part of the process the food tastes even better!
It all started at 6:30 this morning when Chelsy, Allison, and Carson went to our neighbor's truckpatch to pick green beans. These were long, slender, and beautiful green beans-just waiting to be picked, so the 3 energetic young people picked, picked, and picked some more. At 9:00 I helped them finish picking the produce which came to six 5-gallon buckets! We left one bucket for our neighbor to take to the market and came home with the rest. Then most of the family joined in with stemming the beans. Even my mother-in-law graciously came over to help for awhile. By mid-afternoon I started steaming and packaging the beans for the freezer. What a joy it will be to pull out a bag of green beans for a family meal next winter. We love to cook them with some garlic, minced onions, a few herbs, and butter. m-m-m-m

"Many hands make light work."

"And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yeilding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw tht it was good." Genesis 1:12


Happy 15th Birthday, Mitchell!!!

Mitchell & his friend Jordan enjoying an exciting game of "Risk"
Mitchell & Hudson enjoying a "wild" four-wheeler ride :)

Mitchell learning how to skin a deer

Our teenagers keep getting older!! :) And time keeps flying. Just yesterday Elizabeth and I were watching a video of Mitchell when he was little........and I was amazed again at the changes that happen so quickly! Overnight, it often seems, little boys grow into young men. Although I'm the oldest, Mitchell has often seemed to me like the big brother I never had. For my siblings and I, he's the one we go to with all our math and science questions (he still has me beat with algebra!). He's the kind-hearted, generous, and caring big brother who is always willing to listen about the little one's latest adventures, his brothers latest projects, and his sister's most recent "problems"....
He's never too busy to talk with someone who just needs to talk (with 2 teenage sisters it happens a lot) or to enjoy a good laugh about the most interesting things.....right Mitchell??) We as siblings have many special memories of camping trips, traveling in a van with 11 people, playing "I Doubt It", "Dutch Blitz", "Monopoly", & "Risk", having a "chocolate milk shake party", jamming together, howling with laughter while listening to Mitchell use his "Hudson" accent, and just being together.
Watching him grow into a young man of God has been so exciting.
We love you, Mitchell!!May God bless you in your 15th year!!
"Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in His law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper."
Psalm 1:1-3

(written by Chelsy)