Life at Home

 Here are some pictures of the few days we've spent at home over the past two weeks.
Above...Allison working on repainting one of our bathrooms! 
 Liz is such a faithful helper with children and LOVES to read stories! Here she is reading to Rebecca & Javan, our neighbor boy who Allison babysits.
 Another part of daily life-the never ending, always needed, haircuts!
Josh & Rebecca
 Rebecca loves to drive with the boys when they go up the road to feed the heifers. 
Carson keeps our bus running...and he has been a lifesaver this summer using his skill on our rather tempermental bus AC.
 Mitch washing one of the trucks
 Mitch feeding a newborn calf
 It has been so dry all summer and the gardens and trees have needed almost daily watering.
Its a big job but it looks like the boys are having fun (above)
Denver must have mistaken Taylor for a tree.
 hard at work
 The faithful crew of Hudson, Taylor, Liz, & Denver
(Huds, I believe...was slightly distracted from the job at hand...!)
 Carson, hard at work...this time building a new feeder bunk for the bulls pen.
 Getting ready to head out again! 
The bus in front of the house, ready for packing...

A few of the beautiful flowers in our front garden


Bontrager Family Reunion Recap

On June 6th, all of our Bontrager extended family gathered at Heits Point Retreat Center in Missouri for our reunion. 
The following was the attendance roll, gathered together from six different states:
::one grandmother::
::her eight children::
::their eight spouses::
::the nineteen granddaughters::
::the nineteen granddsons::
::four grandchildren's spouses::
::three great-granddaughters::
::three great-grandsons::
::one grandson's girlfriend::
total: A LOT OF PEOPLE!!
It takes a lot to feed our clan. 
No worries though...food is what the Bontragers do best. 
(although we did cheat and buy pizza one night)
My grandma is a cook like none other and she's passed it on to her daughters.
 Somehow the sons missed missed the cooking gene but the daughter-in-laws all have it, so its okay. =) 
We have yummy reunions!
About four years ago we started the tradition of having a reunion every time one the Bontrager siblings turn fifty. This year it was Aunt Karen's birthday, so one day we all gathered to "interview" Karen (she answered questions such as what was the hardest experience in her life, when she came to know the Lord, etc.)
Then anyone who wanted to had an opportunity to share something about Karen that they appreciated, or wanted to thank/bless her for.
my father talking...obviously a funny memory since everyone is laughing. =)
Grandma sharing things she appreciates about Karen.
One night a bunch of us stayed up late and sat in the hallway talking.
Conversation started by adding up everyones weight and then averaging it out...
...and ended with sharing dreams the Lord had placed on our hearts.
Cousin Will preached an inspiring message on Sunday morning about dreaming big and abandoning all to follow Jesus.
It was an awesome time of hearing from God and being reminded that He CAN do the impossible!

 Our Sunday morning service included a childrens class for the children.
{honestly, I think the adults enjoyed it as much the kids!}

Dutch Blitz is a signature Bontrager favorite

Grandma with the thirty-eight grandchildren
Grandma with her three daughters & five sons
The "Original Eight"
{no comment needed}
the brothers...
...and the sisters
Pretty sure those bunny ears came from a brother...
A kissing photo =)
The Whole Gang
This reunion just again caused me to reflect on the blessing of a godly heritage. 
And also the blessing of children and how thankful I am that my grandpa & grandma believed that children were a blessing.
The other day, we had my grandma over to our home to celebrate her 78th birthday. As we were sitting around talking after dinner, she made a comment that I had never heard before.
She said "you know, my pregnancies were hard and after Karen (the third child) was born, the doctors told us we should quit and not have anymore."
My sister and I were talking about it later and she commented that the statement grandma made sent chills down her spine.
And mine too, because if they had listened to the doctors, I wouldn't be here, nor would any of my siblings, or my father.
Actually, if grandpa & grandma had decided to "quit" after child #3, there would only have been twenty-six in attendance at our reunion.
Twenty-four...instead of sixty-six!!
That is quite a difference.
Just think...of all those lives that wouldn't have been, if they would've made that choice to "quit".
Quite sobering..
I'll close this post with just a little thought from me today, blog readers.
 Something that is very important to me.
 that is this:
"Choosing LIFE is not just saying you're pro-life."
"Choosing LIFE is not just being anti-abortion."
"Choosing LIFE is not just believing that "a certain amount" of children are a blessing."
"Choosing LIFE is believing that every child that the Lord  gives...
I am thankful for the blessing of godly grandparents who believed children were a blessing.
And I'm thankful for the many many cousins and memories and life I enjoy today because they believed that.