We are PRAISING THE LORD for the engagement of Carson, to his beautiful girlfriend (now fiancé)Carolina Bowers! Our hearts are filled with joy at the awesomeness of God in writing their love story + bringing their lives together.
We are also just as excited as can be to be gaining another daughter/sister. =)
Yesterday evening, while out in the woods, on the 6 month anniversary of their relationship, Carson asked Carolina to marry him. And...she said YES!!
Carson + Carolina will be sharing their story/journey (and lots more pictures) soon, here on the blog. Stay tuned for details, coming in the next two weeks!
"The Lord hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad."
It is hard to believe that we arrived home a week ago, this morning! This last week has been incredible. Farm life, spring time, and big work projects have had us doing a complete 180 in terms of lifestyle + schedule (compared to road life) but we've just been loving it!
We're getting ready to head out tomorrow morning for a weekend family reunion with the Bontrager side, but I wanted to recap this last week here, before we leave.
The first day we were home was work meetings, errands, unpacking, bus cleaning, and preparing for a big birthday bash for Josh, that evening.
Carson, above (who quit touring with us a year ago and lives on his own while we are gone) made a delicious morning brunch to welcome us back.
So much good food!
During unpacking moments like these, we remind ourselves, "At least it can't get any worse! It must only be uphill from here!!" =)
We worked hard to clear a path through the rubble eleven peoples belongings and were able to have approximately two rooms presentable in time for a big Mexican Fiesta (ahem. inside joke) party for Josh that night! Lots of friends, food, and laughter!
Love being back to our big table!
Fun gifts. =)
Friday found us continuing the activities of the day before. One of the things to do when we got home was sort through several weeks' worth of mail, and also finish putting up all of the Christmas pictures, on our wall.
Friday was a surprise 50th Birthday party out for Dad! Due to just having gotten home, it was very last minute and somewhat thrown together. But it was wonderful; it was a complete surprise and Dad was very blessed by the friends who gathered to celebrate with him.
More on the home front, as well as errands, coffee dates, and frozen yogurt + a little shopping for Liz and I!
My Grandma made this quilt for me while I was gone this winter! We had gone together, before I left, to pick out fabrics etc. It is so special to have this gift from her. I will treasure it always!
Dad's birthday party, Saturday evening...filled with more good food, piles of "practical" gifts (what he loves) and more laughter. Only our dad would say his favorite gift from the whole evening was the fingernail trimmer he got. (ha!)
He loved this canvas from mom!
School time continues! Hudson looks a little more thrilled than Rebecca does. =)
We had a horrible hail storm one night. It was so loud that it woke all of us up. (and some of us Bontragers are very deep sleepers)
Thankfully our vehicles escaped damage. Our house, not so much.
Music practice amidst the laundry. When you have so many people in the family who practice instruments, you sometimes have to take just whatever corner, wherever, is available.
Dinner out one evening at our friends' beautiful recently remodeled home. So loved the amazing food, conversations, and making music together.
Four wheeler rides again with Carson!
We have so many dear friends scattered all over the USA, Canada, Mexico, and beyond...but we still love coming back home and seeing all our dear IOWA people again! Above, Allison meeting up with a friend for coffee after work one day.
Ahh. All the yummy things we make when we are HOME!
Clearing out brush and tree limbs, back at our campsite.
And then we had the hotelproject this week! New carpet, repainting, and new bedspreads. Big project! Dad hired a trusty crew (aka our brothers and friends) and the pieces began to fly!
Huge mess---you wouldn't believe it! Also lots of surprises, when the paint arrived and turned out to be...lavender? Peach? Plum? Just definitely NOT tan. So back to the hardware store...back and forth several times...until finally things are looking a little more beige!
As for the carpet, we are so excited to bid farewell to these lovely green and burgundy shades of olden days.
Mother to the rescue, with coffee deliveries for all the hard workers.
We had the greatest crew.
Mitchell and Carson are hitting the fields again for a few spring jobs.
In between duties, Denver trains for a rodeo.
Just kidding! I'm not sure what the idea was for needing to ride this cow while getting her into the trailer but...somehow, it happened.
Pigs, headed to market! There were several late night/early morning load outs for several of the guys.
Mechanic brothers, hard at working, getting greasy and doing what they love to do!
And thats a little recap of our first week at home for the spring!
Our latest album, "Time For Truth", has been released on iTunes + our website storeand is now available for purchase! You can purchase a physical copy OR the download album option, on our website. It is also available on iTunes!
There is a lot we could say about this album. As far as the actual recording, it was our favorite and best experience yet. We had a dream team to work with and the whole process was so so great. We highly recommend our entire crew of professionals who worked so hard to make this project a reality. Whether you are looking for photographer, graphic designer, engineer, producer, or duplicator, we highly recommend each of the following businesses!
The actual production of this cd...was a little rough! The good news was that we knew from the very beginning that the devil would be fighting this project, so we went into it fulling knowing that, and praying hard for a miracle!
We began the project in January. The shortest we have ever done a full family cd, from recording time to the time that we have the actual completed, ready-to-sell copy in our hands, has been five months. So we knew it would be nothing short of a miracle to have it the entire project done, start to finish, in two months. However, we really wanted to have the new album before we went into Mexico, and we felt that God wanted us to have it, too.
So we prayed. And God's people prayed with us. We saw miracle after miracle take place (it would take too long to share them all now!) and with every single one we just prayed harder, believing that Jesus was going to provide and work the impossible.
Sure enough. On Thursday, March 9th, (the day before we went into Mexico) the cds arrived in Fredricksburg, TX. We were so happy and praising the Lord! It was the greatest feeling to have the actual project in our hands!
A month later, and we now have the cd available online. The Lord has blessed us with an album that we love, 100%. Whenever I play it, I remember the sweat + tears (almost) that went into each song, and I am just so thankful for the faithfulness of Jesus and how He provided!
(panoramic view from the rooftop, where window washing had commenced =))
Friends, we are HOME! We arrived safely yesterday morning at 2am. (or something like that) Before very much time had elapsed at all, we had people up and about and running a mile a minute. It was amazing. =) So good to be back on the farm again! Carson cooked us a big country breakfast and we were once again all around the table as a family of twelve. It just doesn't get much better than that!
We have all transitioned right back into farm life + work/responsibilities here. Most of April + May will be spent in Iowa and we are looking forward to that!
It is hard to believe that today is the LAST day of our three-month long, Winter Tour 2017! It has been an incredible three months but not gonna lie...we are DYING for the sights of home! There's a lot of hour/minute counting happening on the bus, and anticipation is building for the happy sights at the end of our three hour drive home tonight, after our concert!
Here is the last update post from this tour. These pictures are from our last week in Oklahoma, Kansas, and Missouri, as well as a few from Texas that I missed posting earlier.
It was amazing to spend time again with these dear friends in Oklahoma! We have many happy memories from multiple years of fun laaaaate nights and mornings spent at their home! Chocolate chip pancakes at midnight, fun conversations about all sorts of exciting developments, and incredible southern hospitality, among other things, made our stay so special but way too short as always!
Never know who we will run into as we travel! So good to catch up with Iowa friends in Texas! =)
Two hours at Braums and talking a mile a minute with these girls, one night before a concert!
Homemade microwave brownies in the bus to celebrate...one week left! =)
Games + stories + good food + memories at "Aunt" Roberta's! We LOVE our times at her house.
So does office work! We set up everywhere and anywhere!
Violin practice for Rebs, in the front of the bus.
Mom and Allison helped wash windows at our relatives one morning. Hudson + the cousins got to be the "screen scrubbing" crew. Not sure which got more wet---the screens or them. =)
Good times around the table!
So fun to meet baby Benson, the latest cousin on the Bontrager side!
The farmer blood runs strong in the dads...and now the sons. =)
Such good times with our uncle, aunt, and their five children. We miss having them in Iowa, and enjoyed the opportunity to visit them for the first time at their new home in Kansas!
Denver, shining up the bus wheels.
Mitch, just hang in' out on top of the bus. (in all reality, up there to remove branches out of our path)!
At a church, all set up and ready to go andddd....they have wifi! Whereupon everyone connects. =)