1.29.2012

Happy 21st Birthday, Chelsy!

I'm positive that Chels is the most amazing big sister a girl could have in the world.  Ever since we were little, we've been really, really close.  We tell each other anything.  As I look back, I'm amazed at how unaware I was of how good she's been to me.  I was always her little sis, over three years younger, and yet she's always treated me like her equal- her peer.  I don't ever remember her saying, "You're too young to understand."  She didn't brush me off.  She wasn't embarrassed to have me around her friends.  When she was entering her teenage years and I was just a little ten year old, she stayed up late talking and giggling in bed with me!  I remember when she outgrew playing with dolls.  It wasn't this condescending thing.  She just kinda got to the stage where she didn't enjoy it any more.  But I don't think I'll ever forget one occasion.  She was already a teenager.  Too big for dolls.  But it was my birthday.  So she got down on our bedroom floor with me and played dolls.  It meant the world to me, a little girl trying to figure out who I was, in that stage where it was so important to be loved and accepted.  There was my big sister, playing dolls with me.  It impacted me forever.  


Chels, you've been the best big sis.  I enjoy our relationship so much.  The amazing girls' nights.  Crazy talks about the most random things.  Laughing over stuff that's not funny to anyone but us.  Thanks for being there for me.  Thanks for understanding my heart even when I didn't know how to express it.  Thanks for the countless times you've planned fun stuff, talked late, given me chocolate, paid my bill, stuck up for me, lent me clothes, encouraged me, put a smile on my face, told me the truth even when I didn't want to hear it, made our bed, hung up my clothes, taken me shopping, written me notes, made me laugh, and jumped out at me in the dark.
Love ya,
Allison

1.26.2012

January in Pictures

During the first four weeks of our trip, we have been extremely busy...which has resulted in no posting.
Unfortunately I've not had my camera with me much so I just have a few photos to share. There are MANY other moments that I wish I would've captured on camera, but didn't, so this will have to do for now. 
This week has been our busiest crusade week yet, in all of the seven years we've been doing crusades. I'm excited about sharing more on that tomorrow.
Stay tuned!
 Cleaning windows with friends, for friends.....
We got to watch the Republican presidential debate
Carson getting a much-needed haircut
We loved getting to know the Welch's and the people at Fredricksburg Christian Fellowship
Allison & Rebecca making lunch in an Oklahoma church kitchen!
School and bookwork....
Physical exercise
Rides with Daddy!
Meeting beautiful babies....
....and enjoying an unexpected visit with a Journey friend
While in Arkansas, we got to meet Rebekah Swicegood and hear her recite Matt. 1-8 complete with drama. It was SO inspiring.
Taylors birthday party on the bus! 
A highlight for all of us was the three days we spent in TX with our cousins.
Dutch Blitz!
Stories by cousin Alex
Continuing the "matching shirts" tradition.
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1.13.2012

Taylor

Happy 10th Birthday, Taylor!

1.04.2012

Christmas Weekend Recap

On Saturday, the uncles, aunts, & grandma were invited to a brunch at my uncles' home.

That left 37 grandchildren to have our own party at grandmas. Here are a few of us enjoying brunch at the long table.
We had a delightful time!
Liz reading to Rebecca & Brooke
Dominoes with Liz, Jamie, Kenzie, & Ally
The game of choice...Dutch Blitz!
The guys enjoying a very lively football game
We were together @ Pizza Hut Christmas Eve. 
The girls
Annika & Liz
Anticipating some yummy pizza!
Kierra, Leah, & Rebecca enjoy a story by Aunt Linda
Dutch Blitz with the guys
We had a very blessed church service together Christmas morning.
Above, Mitchell does a special presentation for the children.
Cousin Will preached a very convicting and challenging sermon about the love of God. He emphasized that the Christian life is not about what we can do to please God, but rather it is about all that God has DONE and GIVEN for us.
Eating yummy food!
Some of the girls
The adults side
Family/Food/Memories/Tradition/Noise/Laughter=A BONTRAGER CHRISTMAS
Victoria and Tiffany handing out gifts from Grandma 
Uncle Merle handing out gifts to the younger grandchildren
The weather was chilly but definitely warmer than most Christmases. Here some of the ladies enjoy a walk.
More tradition....shooting clay pigeons in the field out behind Grandmas house.
Football in the basement...the younger boys were thrilled to have Mitchell & Will "supervising" the game. =)
Hudson & Brooke enjoy stories by cousin Danelle. This sight brought back memories for me, as one of my favorite and oldest memories of times with Danelle is her reading stories to me when I was younger.
heart-to-heart conversation, tea, and blankets with Hannah, Rhoda, Allison, Dorcas, & Teresa on Grandma's porch swing
Another favorite Bontrager game....SPOONS. I know we all look very calm and concentrated...but thats because no one had grabbed a spoon yet!
The joke is that in the next year, grandma will be finding spoons in odd places all over the living room. =)
Rebecca & Brooke enjoy some special story time with Grandma
worship time with the cousins late Christmas night
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".....happy is that people, whose God is the LORD."
Psalm 144:15