Happy Birthday, Chelsy!

If you read this blog you are aware that Chelsy has been doing a birthday post for everyone in this family so as her mother, I am going to write a special post for Chelsy's 17th birthday. Yes, she is already 17! How fast the years go by............It seems like only yesterday that her father and I rejoiced to see that positive pregnancy test. And then we embarked on that glorious, challenging, exciting, fearful, and fun journey called parenting. Isn't it amazing how one tiny baby can change life so much? Chelsy entered the world 4 days late according to my Dr. but right on time in God's book. As a baby she easily adapted to life and seemed to put herself on a schedule. She still loves routine and schedule to this day!! She smiled a lot, talked even more, (are you surprised?) and loved anything active.

She showed musical abilities at a very young age, singing and playing make believe instruments with her siblings. She showed some firstborn qualities by organizing fun activities for the younger children. At 8 years of age she began taking piano lessons and practiced diligently. Over the years she has won 1st place in the state IMTA (piano competition) 3 times. We really appreciate her ability to quickly effortlessly learn new sings for our family band. Our family devotional times are also enhanced with her beautiful improvising of hymns.

I think it was 3 years ago that we gave Chelsy her 1st camera, a simple point and shoot digital camera. My, how times have changed! She saved her money from teaching piano lessons to buy a professional Canon SLR camera last fall. It is her talent that you see on this blog! Besides having a great camera, Chelsy has the ability to capture the heart of the picture.

Lest you think she spends her days playing piano and taking pictures, I will tell you that she is the laundry queen! She effortlessly washes and folds many loads of laundry, usually an average of 15-20 large loads per week.

One last tidbit about Chelsy is that she loves anything Italian and chocolate. So for her birthday meal we are having lasagne, salad, chocolate cake, and mint chocolat ice-cream.

More than anything, Chelsy's desire is to serve the Lord and to bring glory to His name.

Chelsy, we love having you in this family. Our lives are enriched with your musical talents, your gift of organization, your perceptive nature, your love for the Lord and His ways, and your energy.

"Favor is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised." Proverbs 31:30



We would like to ask that you pray for our family as we prepare for our first road trip with the bus. Plans are to leave tomorrow for the weekend in Des Moines and then come home for 4 days before we head for the south.
If God brings our family to your mind please pray specifically for some of us who have cold symptoms which is affecting the singing. Also, pray that we would be able to complete the projects that need to be completed before we leave.
Rejoice with us that God has provided for us to purchase a bus in which to travel in. I will try to post some pictures some time next week.



This month finds us busy with projects as we anticipate being gone for almost the entire month of February. High on the "to do list" was getting 2 new singing outfits. This included making sure that our 6 young men plus Marlin had matching ties for both outfits. With the Lord's blessing at resale shop, ties that came with dress shirts, plus 2 ties from a friend (thanks, Pam!!) we were able to get 2 sets of ties the entire bunch. That adds up to 14 ties.
Denver thought it would be fun to see how many ties he could wear at the same time.
In spite of all the activity of trip preparations, there are still Math and Language lessons to be done.

Every year after Christmas, we put on our fridge the many beautiful family pictures we receive from family and friends.

Chelsy assists her father in the ministry by typing the schedule, sending out letters and posters to contact people, and keeping our web site current.

"And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him." Colossians 3:17


Family Fun

Last evening we got together with some friends, the Yoder's and Chmelars, for an evening of food, fun, and music.
There was lots of good food! There was this really fun game called "Screamo" and yes, there was plenty of screaming in this game. I won't give you all the rules (are there any rules to this game?) but I will tell you that it is a great game for young and old, it tests your basic math skills, and it has plenty of action!

Oh, and you can eat and play at the same time!

After the game, the young people got out the fiddles, mandolins, a guitar, bass guitar, and banjo and played some great music.

Food + Games + Music + Good Friends = Fun.
Thanks Yoders and Chmelars for the great time! Happy Trails!


Happy 6th Birthday, Taylor!!

Today our "little blond boy" turned 6 years old!! Taylor is a bundle of energy, giggles, smiles, and more energy! :) He has been very excited about his birthday for quite some time now and his party last night was a big highlight for him.

Here are a few little-known facts about Taylor:

::His real name is Lincoln and "Taylor" is his middle name

::His favorite song is "A Mighty Fortress Is our God"

::His favorite color blue

::He wants to be a farmer, football player, and missionary when he grows up. (when asked how he would balance all that, he replied " Well, I would be a farmer and a missionary when I am big, and I would be a football player before I get married." :))

::He loves playing Dutch Blitz

::He prefers NOT getting his picture taken. :)

::He lost his first tooth when he was just 2 years old. (when his tooth "met" the stair railing)

::He wants to play banjo, dobro, harmonica, and violin when he "gets big" :)

We love you, Taylor!!
"What man is he that feareth the Lord? Him shall he teach in the way that he shall choose."
Psalm 25:12

(written by Chelsy)


Belated Happy New Year

Our friends, the Ockenfels family, came over for dinner on New Year's Eve. What a special way to bring in 2008.We never intended to actually stay up until midnight but we had so many issues to discuss, songs to sing, and games to play that midnight came and we were still awake!

Chess is a favorite game of our boys.

Allison Bontrager and Allison Ockenfels played violin.

Aaron and Alexander played "Dueling Banjos". It was some great pickin', boys!