All Because He Saw a Sign.......

A sign (free-range eggs) PLUS a respectful son seeking to please his mother PLUS a mother who desires to buy quality food PLUS a 45 foot bus EQUALS a potential disaster.

This is how the following true story happened:  A family of 12 was joyfully motoring along a rather remote highway in a desolate part of the Saskatchewan countryside.  It so happened on this morning that since father was suffering from a severe backache his son was taking a turn at the wheel of the 45 foot bus.  This son does honor and respect his mother and seeks to make her happy.  So on this lovely morning, when he saw a certain sign posted along the road he saw an opportunity to please his mother (who, by the way, does like to find really good food for her family whenever possible.)  He asks mother if she would like eggs to which she replied "Yes".  He then turns around the entire bus and trailer  and heads back to the sign which is at the end of a rather long lane.  Mother feels a pit in her stomach as she sees a sharp curve in the very narrow lane.  There is no house in sight, yet.  By this time, it is too late to turn around so the son skillfully makes the turn and continues on to the house which is just around the corner.  But alas, the driveway ends in a VERY short, narrow turnaround (it was too wet to turn around on the lawn).  Mother goes to the house to purchase 10 dozen eggs though she wonders if she should get another 10 dozen to make this trip worth the time.  By the time she gets back to the bus, the gravity of the situation is sinking in.  They are at least 1 hour from any major town with no possibility of backing out and only the afore mentioned VERY narrow, short turnaround.  The mother, who feels so very responsible, asks her children to join her in praying and then singing as she remembers that God works in the midst of praise.  Her older sons and dear husband are having a rather lengthy discussion at to what their options are of getting this rig out of this bad situation.  It is decided that they will drive just past the beginning of the turnaround, unhook the trailer, and then back into the rather wet, soggy grass beside the driveway.  Does this solution sounds complicated?  It was!

This accomplished, the father then skillfully maneuvered the bus around the corner as the family prayed, sang, and watched in breathless anticipation.  Everyone rejoiced when the bus made the corner without getting stuck in the grass along the edge of the driveway.  
Now the muscular young men went to work taking the hitch off of the bus and putting it on the van of the kind family who sold eggs.
They then used the van to pull the trailer around the driveway at which point the bus backed up to the trailer, the hitch was taken off the van, it was put back on the bus, and finally the trailer hooked to the bus again.

Four young boys watched nearly every minute with great interest.  The mother remarked to one of the lads that she guesses he is glad that not all of their egg customers arrive in a bus to which he replied, "I wouldn't mind!"

After 1 1/2 hours, the happy family was finally back on solid ground.  The mother rejoiced in the Lord's provision and gave Him the honor and glory for miraculously bringing their bus in and back out of this soggy, dirt driveway.
{interesting fact: in talking with this family that we bought the eggs from...we discovered that their pastor grew up in our town, and his brother is the one who did the remodel job on our house 14 years ago. small world indeed!}

 "I will love thee, O Lord, my strength.  The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.  I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies." Psalm 18:1-3

-posted by Becky


Life at the Colony

We were so blessed to once again be able to spend a day with our dear friends at the Windy Bay Hutterite Colony, in Manotiba. We sang at their colony last time we were in Manitoba and were so excited to return again this year.
These people have been such a blessing to us-they roll out the red carpet for our family and include us in everything, making us feel so at home and such a part of their colony while we are there.
Above photo...they cleared out their colony laundromat for us and then several ladies basically did all of our laundry. So sweet...there was SO much laundry but they were so insistent to help.
We gave a concert there again and then the young people of the colony sang several songs for us. 
It was amazing..their harmony was so beautiful.
Their gardens are incredible! 
While giving our bus an inspection & fixing a few minor things, the colony mechanics discovered a large hole in our muffler. They kindly took hours out of their day to get everything fixed and get us safely running again. 
We were SO thankful that they discovered the hole there and that we didn't end up with a breakdown on the Alaskian highway!
Carson & Dad loved their well-equipped shop and enjoyed helping with the fixing process.
The day we arrived was sheep-shearing day!
The ladies graciously allowed Allison & I to help with preparing several meals. 
It was so fun to work in their big, commercial kitchen.
They make all the meals for the colony there, so everything is BIG and efficient!
Definitely the highlight for me (and most of us, I think!) was getting to help with chicken butchering the second day we were there. 
About every month and a half, the whole colony joins together and butchers 2,000 chickens, which they mostly sell. 
It was SUCH a cool system-I could've taken pictures all day! We've butchered cows and deer but we children had never done chickens before.
(our parents had though)
The whole process was definitely a great example of how much can be accomplished when people work together and everyone does their job. 
 I know some people aren't used to blood and things of the following sort so you are welcome to stop reading if that is you.
Just consider yourself warned. =)
(note: NO comments about how disgusting this is, or how unkind to "the poor chickens", or anything of that sort, will be posted. I'm quite certain that most of our blog readers eat chicken, and I assure you that every bite of chicken you eat was at this stage sometime before it entered your freezer =))
It started here, where several guys caught the chickens and hung them by their feet to the above racks on the conveyor.
The racks moved around slowly from this side...
....to just a few inches ahead, where they were bopped on the beak by the guy on the left. He used this little wand thing that electrocuted them. They obviously died instantly. Next they moved by the guy to the right, who cut a slit in their neck so that most of the blood could be drained by the time they got to the next "station". 
So now the chickens came on the conveyor, through the doorway into the room where all the rest of us were. 
The guy above pulled the chickens from the conveyor and threw them onto the above table...
...where they then were dumped into the scalding tank, to the left. 
the piles of feathers (that came off after being in the scalding tank)
From the scalding tank, the chickens were hung by their necks & feet from the above conveyor and were moved slowly around to the right.
each person had their various assigned job, either cutting or cleaning out some part of the chicken.   Along the whole line of the hutterite ladies, the extras were dropped into the trough below and emptied into the bucket at the end of the line. Then there was a person whose job was specifically to empty all the waste buckets.
Allison & mom & I cut off extra feathers that had been missed in the scalding part.
The whole process was so fast-the chickens were still hot when they got to our end of the conveyor.
Mitchell had a cool job-he got to run this suction hose thing that cleaned out any "extras" still left inside the chickens. =)
Following that, the chickens were hosed off several times...
...And then Taylor and his friend William did the one of the lasts steps-hooked the chickens legs up beside the necks.
Smiles! They had so much fun-they were chatting away the whole time and Taylor hooked those 4000 chicken legs like a pro. =)
Following Taylor's job...the chickens arrived at the last "station" where their heads were snipped of with a sharp scissors and they were placed in big bins of cold water to chill.
All done and cooling!
The colony had just gotten a new laser cutter and the guy that runs it designed and cut out this beautiful plaque as a gift to our family.
"And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men."
Colossians 3:23

-posted by Chelsy


Becky's Sister/Mother Reunion in May

DESTINATION:  A lovely, serenely beautiful home in Walnut Creek, OH.
REASON:  TO celebrate life with 5 of my sisters, 1 sister-in-law, and my dear mother.  (1 sister-in-law and 1 sister were not there.)

On May 16, I (Becky) and some relatives who needed a ride to OH got in my van about the time the sun was making its appearance.  We made a quick stop in Goshen, IN to pick up my sister-in-law and continued on our 12 hour drive.  This included gas stops, an hour traffic delay, etc.  We spent Thursday evening, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday morning enjoying life together by eating too much cheesecake, lovely salads, and lots of chocolate; laughing until we cried; talking for hours on end about anything & everything from relationships, memories, food, and other various topics; crotcheting & knitting; walking & hiking; visiting a coffee shop; eating out at a most unique & beautiful Bistro; shopping, shopping, & shopping; singing hymns; touring the amazing "P Graham Dunn" factory, getting VERY lost while driving around the hilly Holmes County crountryside in a 15 passenger van (yes, I was driving BUT I was only going where some dear family member was telling me to go, okay??); and enjoying 1-2 hour long meals around a small kitchen table while eating (DRUM ROLL, please) mostly salad, cheesecake, and chocolate.

Here is the story on the cheesecake.  We wanted this weekend to be relaxed without spending too much of our dear husbands hard earned money so we each brought food.  We didn't plan for desserts since it was only a minor detail; so long story short - 3 of us brought cheesecakes!  They were incredibly  scrumptious and since we ate mostly salads &  dark chocolate which are both loaded with many and various vitamins and are low calorie foods, they were not very detrimental to one's waist line.  Besides, this WAS a vacation and one should not think TOO much about food on a vacation, right?

It was definitely a weekend to remember.  We concluded our  weekend by watching a sermon and eating lunch together.  I'm so grateful for my family and their commitment to God and each other.

-posted by Becky


Random Review::First 2 Weeks on Tour

 While this new bus has been such a blessing...there have also been quite a few glitches. So far...we've had a
1) broken fridge
2) broken freezer
3) broken brand-new ice chest freezer
4) broken left front brake
5) hole in the muffler
6) broken door
7) broken toilet.
8) broken shower
Nope, this is not the glam bus life people imagine. 
a more accurate description would be "un-glamorous"
The toilet not only broke, but exploded in the process, both above and below.
I will leave details to your imagination but suffice to say it was NOT an ideal situation! 
So at a church in Minnesota, dad took everything apart/out, and got it fixed. With the fixing going on right in front of the church, I had to get a picture. =)
(note: everything is now fixed except for the shower, which started leaking yesterday. 
at least its only one fix to go! 
besides, it would feel weird if EVERYTHING was actually working at the same time!)
 SOOO thankful for a dad who knows how to fix random things like exploding toilets. =)
 Carson enjoying our friends' very fun swing.
It is always an adjustment to change from the freedom and space of the farm, to the close confines of the bus.
This tour that has been manifested more than usual and we've already had quite a large number of character-building moments! =(
In the midst of it all though-all the breakdowns, stress, etc etc...God has been so faithful and blessed us in so many ways, just in the two weeks we've been out. Whether its providing a mechanic shop nearby at just the right time, or bringing someone to speak encouragement and blessing into our lives, God has been so good and we are so blessed!

One of the biggest things we love about traveling is all the people we get to meet and learn from. 
Above: while in Ontario we stayed with some new friends who run a huge greenhouse business. We got to spend a morning helping them in their gardens & greenhouses.
The boys loading flowers, which were then taken to another location to be sold.
This is our 6th time being in Canada, and even so it still takes a little time to adjust. 
At the grocery store...everything is in grams and liters instead of pounds and ounces.
beautiful flowers..
Dad, Mom, & Taylor working in the gardens.
We meet the most adorable babies as we travel!
We found this sweet little cutie in Ontario. Believe me-we all wanted to take him along w/ us. =)
And this little lady is the newest family addition for some friends of ours here in Manitoba. 
To say that Elizabeth was extremely possessive of her is an understatement. =)
Liz enjoying her first taste of perogi's, a canadian speciality.
These were stuffed with a cottage cheese mixture and then fried. yum!
This past wkend we spent at the Thousand Oaks Gospel Camp here in Winkler, Manitoba. 
It was a busy time-singing twice a day plus Mitchell preached & led singing at the youth nights, plus spending time with all our friends that attended, and meeting many more.
One of the things we enjoy so much when traveling is occasional opportunities for hospitality on the bus! Above, obviously, our big group of us and friends didn't fit on the bus, so we ate outdoors.
"Be GLAD in the Lord, and rejoice, ye righteous: and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart."
Psalm 32:11

-posted by chelsy


Father's Day Celebration

Since we have the very best father in all of the world......we thought it fitting to celebrate in style.  We actually had two concerts to do on Father's Day, so we decided to celebrate early.  

We went to a campground some friends recommended.  It was a beautiful place with lots of trees and walking trails, a gorgeous river, and a rather "wild Canadian" feel about it.:)  We were thrilled with the opportunity to rest away from civilization for a few hours.  The previous days had been intense, and it was good to spend some time just us.

The food. 

Diggin' in!

So, the "Father's Day Party" part was a surprise for Dad.  After supper we pulled out the cones and ice-cream and told dad that we were celebrating him!

Not sure about the facial expression here....maybe a failed attempt at a smile?

Mother made sure to buy a carton of Dad's favorite ice-cream flavor- butter pecan.

The gifts.
Rebecca had been anticipating Father's Day for weeks; she brought along a special snail shell to give her daddy.:)  It was quite cute how excited she was to give it and how thrilled Dad was to receive it.:)

Dad has this "thing"- he likes to shake and feel his gifts, then guess what they may be. 

Peanut m&m's.....his favorite candy.

He was obviously quite excited about the pens.  

This shirt was a perfect gift for Dad.  The shirt just says it all.....this is how we feel about our father.  I'm so grateful to have a dad who is a real hero.  A man who loves his wife and children so much, my father is what you could truly call "a Family Man".  His time isn't all taken up by hobbies and friends.  His family is his hobby; we are his friends.(so I guess his time is taken up like that, after all.)   Dad has never been one to buy many things for himself.  And when he does buy or even receive something, he usually shares it.  My dad rarely complains about anything.  He's taught us to be optimistic and dream big.  Another thing I love about my father is how humble he is.  He doesn't think he's big stuff (though he definitely is!), and he's always open to new ideas, and even criticism.  I love how he doesn't mind when us kids ask questions or even disagree with him on things.  That's just how he is- approachable.   


We did get stuck on the way out of the park!  But, thanks to a pull from the park ranger's truck, my brothers' guiding from outside the bus, and my dad's expert driving and backing skills, we were able to get out of the soft ground, onto the gravel, and out of the park!  It just made for more memories, I guess.:)

-posted by Allison