Thanksgiving Day Memories

Thanksgiving~a time to remember all the blessings God has given us and all those ways He has worked in our lives.
We took time after dinner for everyone to share one thing he/she was thankful for.
Thanksgiving Dinner with our whole family and a friend, Ruth Hoppe
Getting into a good game of Risk
Dad & Hudson sharing an afternoon snooze


New Cd!

We are excited to announce the completion and release of our latest recording project, Salt&Light!
Listen to the title track below, and then head on over to our online store to check into adding Salt&Light to your music library! =)

Here are the Bontragers.....

...wishing you and yours a blessed Thanksgiving Day!
"Praise ye the Lord. O give THANKS unto the Lord; for He is good: for His mercy endureth forever. Blessed be the Lord God of Israel from everlasting to everlasting: and let all the people say, Amen. Praise ye the Lord."
Psalm 106:1&48


A Few Photos from the Week...

 As most of you know, our family has been somewhat scattered over the country this last week. With Mom & Elizabeth in NY the beginning of the week....and Mitchell & Carson gone from Monday til yesterday....and Dad, Joshua, & Taylor leaving Wednesday and meeting Mom & Elizabeth in Nashville for the National Bible Bee Competitions...this house has been a quiet place this week. The above photo was a "typical" breakfast scene-small & quiet. 
In other words....NOT typical, compared to the normal. 
We had a wonderful time together with our "mini" family, but were thrilled to have Mitchell & Carson return home yesterday. We are preparing a celebration for tomorrow night when the rest of the family will arrive home from Nashville....and we will once more be the noisy, rowdy, and sizable Bontrager gang!
What a week! 
 Hudson helping me make biscuits for breakfast this morning.
Denver with his catch of the year, a big, bushy, beautiful red fox. He was smiling all day. Way to go, Denver!!


Congratulations, Joshua, on winning 4th place at the 2011 National Bible Bee Competition in Nashville, TN!!!!!
All of us remaining here at home are so proud of you, and wish we were there to give you our hugs and love! =)
Note: Joshua recited all of his verses in the final five rounds word perfectly. (each contestant recited one passage of up to sixteen verses, per round) After two of the seven contestants were knocked out for mistakes, the remaining five were judged by/according to their previous Sword Study written test scores)
To God be the glory, great things He has done!



These pictures are just a few from the Stoltzfus (mom's side) family reunion we attended in PA the second week of June this summer. 
Thanks to all the other granddaughter photographers for contributing your photos!
We've said it before, so we wouldn't have to say it again, but.....we love our cousins, aunts, uncles, & grandparents. They are our best friends, and the memories we make with them every time we're together are priceless.
To the fourteen cousins/uncles/aunts who weren't able to make it-ya'll were missed!

 The original Stotlzfus siblings sharing memories from their growing up years
Delicious meals planned by two of my dear aunts. They are such amazing cooks-we ate really well, as you can see by the caramel cheesecake pictured above. =)
kitchen cleanup crew

charming little Bryson getting a bath
You can only imagine the party with these eight little ladies! left to right: Courtney, Sarah, Elizabeth, Bekah, Breanna, Elise, Victoria, & Rebecca
As of eight years ago, the Stoltzfus grandsons outnumbered the grand-daughters....most of my uncles & aunts have more sons than daughters. So we were all so surpirsed and thrilled when the four youngest Stoltzfus daughters (mom and three of her sisters) got pregnant within 1/2 a year of each other and all had girls! They named them...Rebekah Elise, Elise Raquele, Elizabeth Caress, & Sarah Elizabeth. (see how they share names? sisters think alike =))

Love these women....what wild times we have when we're together! Talking til the wee hours, laughing our heads off at nothing in particular, and trashing the guy cousins' "dorm".... among other things. =)
Sunday morning service
Hudson & Marissa share a snuggle...

Everyone shared a blessing/prayer for grandpa & grandma

Brad & Jason catching up on sleep
treasure hunt for the younger ones
Aunt Barb holding with her precious little grand-daughter, Elianna Mercy.
Uncle John & cousin Lester grilling for supper
 The retreat where we stayed was in the middle of the woods and had lots of beautiful hiking 

Grandpa & grandma gave out pens to everyone. 
Some of the boys were a little desperate to try them out right away. =)
smiles from the food line
proud new daddy. =)

Grandpa & Grandma with seven of their nine children and their children's spouses
In order of age....
 The dearly loved ones who started it all....
 Grandpa & Grandma with the grandchildren
after ???? minutes of standing patiently, everyone was getting a little hyper.
Even so, when I gave them the go-ahead to do whatever they felt inclined to do, I wasn't quite expecting this!
I realize more and more, the older I get, what a blessing it is to have such a godly heritage. I'm so thankful for grandparents who had a vision for their children and for the future....for aunts and uncles who believe in God's Word and follow it....and for cousins who love Jesus and desire to live for Him. Truly, there's nothing more precious than that. 
And I love these people. =)

posted by chels


Allison recently sewed matching dresses for Rebecca & her doll.
Rebecca was thrilled, to say the least.


Fall::Life with the Bontragers

Leaves falling.....
Crop harvest is finally over, and we are all rejoicing to have that behind us, although it was a good season once again.

Hudson & Rebecca doing school
music practice

When you live on a farm....there is always something happening to keep life exciting. And...frustrating. =)
As you can see, there is something wrong with the above photo. Not the normal position for a tractor/wagon. There was hay on the wagon, prior to the crash....

A highlight for the younger ones this fall was getting a batch of seven cats from one of our cousins. Those cats have been loved nearly to death. =)

Mitchell & Carson have been working hard for our new family business, Bontrager Applicators. We miss them when they're gone all week and we're all excited to see them home again on the weekends.
Liz begged me to teach her how to iron, so I did. Fifteen seconds into her first try she burnt herself, but got right back to it again. This is one of her favorite jobs-ironing the boys' handkerchiefs.
We've been teaching our young men to be bachelors. Well, not really...but they're being prepared! Denver makes the most scrumptious pumpkin pancakes...
Fall tradition=homemade donuts
Birthday parties!
Learning to read....Allison & Rebecca do phonics together every morning. One morning Allison put phonics & cooking together and she and Rebecca made these adorable little cupcakes spelling the names of our cats.
lots of school...
Bible Bee practice (more to come on this!)
 It's trapping season!
trapping party with cousins...
 Carson's big buck
Denver went out hunting for the first time this year, and on his very first try....got a little buck, just his size. =) We were all thrilled for him.
"To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven..." Ecclesiastes 3:1