Archive for November, 2011

New Family Pictures!


Random pose

Family…the most precious relationships on earth!

Our family has undergone significant changes in the last 10 years.

We don’t have “little kids” anymore. Half of us are teenagers. In about 5 months, half of us will be in our twenties. Benj is the only one left shorter than Mom. :) Deep talks into the wee hours of the morning are not unusual. When a subject is broached, opinions start flying! We can’t seem to find the balance in communication – either someone gets the memo 5 times in a row, or they miss it altogether and have no idea what’s going on. Dozens of inside family jokes keep us laughing. =D With 6 licensed drivers and 5 vehicles, somebody is always going somewhere. The idea of everyone riding in the same vehicle is nearly extinct. Common topics of conversation include job opportunities, the family schedule, places we would like to go, our country, and family changes that will most likely happen in the next 5-10 years. ;)

The change in family dynamics from the days of toddlers, high chairs, early bedtimes, and various levels of height for the family picture still surprises us sometimes. We’ll all sit down at the supper table, and Mom will exclaim, “Honey, look at all these BIG people sitting at our table!!”

Having eight young adults in the house makes for an exciting life! Life is more complicated, adventurous, dramatic, emotional, and meaningful as we grow to realize how precious these relationships are. What an amazing journey as we grow up together, witness the Lord drawing each one to Himself, and see them grab a hold of the reality of Christ, the Gospel, and Eternity for themselves!

This is a special season in our lives. The incredible opportunity lies before us TODAY to listen to each other, speak an encouraging word, ask in sincerity “how are you really doing?”, spend quality time together, and work on strengthening the weak places in our relationships. We have a long way to go in some areas. May we seize this small, priceless window of time to let God deepen our love and unity!

Every family – including yours – is jam-packed with opportunities for eternal impact as God works IN us and THROUGH us!

All that to say…we have updated our Meet the Family page! Thanks to Chad Paine for taking pictures for us while we were up at Northwoods! We’re saving our favorite to go with our annual Christmas update. :)

The Girls

Twins forever

Sisters are incredible blessings!

The Guys

The Fam

Now, go love the family God has given YOU!!

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Granny’s and Gratefulness


A couple weekends ago, we had a family get-together at Granny and Granddad’s for a cousin who was visiting from Florida. Family is such a special, God-given blessing!!

The Ridge
This has been the most beautiful Oklahoma fall that we can remember having in a long time!

Catching up on life...

Granddad’s dogs have always been a special part of the farm.

Chillin' out with a hot dog
You can’t really tell from this picture, but the metal chair Benj is sitting in just decided it was tired of holding people up and kind of gave way, bending back nearly to the ground! Benj decided it made a great, natural recliner. :)

Take your pick! 
Shooting skeet was a blast. Of course, Granddad showed us all up! He’s a pro.

Cousin-in-law and cousin :) – Les and Julie are so much fun!

All of us girls love to shoot. I’m the only one left who hasn’t hunted yet, but I hope to remedy that in the near future. ;) Deer season is in full swing right now around here – one doe down and hopefully more to come!

With Thanksgiving just a few days away, we find our hearts full of awe and gratefulness to the Lord for His work in our lives this year! He is so good!!

Ten things we are thankful for…
1. Open doors for many of us to travel and serve the Lord.

2. The gentle way that God prepares our hearts for unexpected turns in the path of life.

3. Our WHOLE family was able to make the trip to Michigan and host the Journey Reunion.

4. All the special people that came through our humble abode this year. :)

5. Growing relationships with our neighbors.

6. Deepening unity in our family.

7. Provision of the Lord for our family’s needs.

8. Protection in many, many ways…I have been on 8 trips this year, not to mention everyone else in the family!

9. Good health – Abbie has been well from mono for about one year now. Praise God!!

10. The privilege of being a part of the work God is doing in the hearts of people!

What are YOU praising God for today?

“From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same
the LORD’s name is to be praised.”
Psalm 113:3

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What Season Is It?


According to this picture, you would think it is spring…

Yes, our lilacs are BLOOMING.

At our house right now, you could be collecting colorful leaves off the ground with the rich perfume of lilacs floating through the air. Crazy! =D I guess the drought caused the lilacs to go into dormancy, and now the big rains woke them up and they think it is spring. =D

According to this picture, you would think it is summer…

ice cream
We made homemade oreo ice cream last week for a guest who we were trying to bribe to stay longer…it worked! :) It was a little strange to enjoy the treat on a chilly day instead of in the triple-digits, but delicious nonetheless!

According to THIS picture, you should know it’s fall!!

chai tea
Last winter, we became huge fans of chai tea. The other day, Mom brewed up this new recipe from Taste of Home which we heartily rated as a 5-star winner! We use sucanat in place of the sugar (sucanat is unrefined sugar that tastes more like brown sugar and gives a slight caramel flavor to the tea). Unfortunately, we haven’t tried it with whipped cream on top yet, but it would be delicious!

Chai Tea

2 cups water
2 individual tea bags
1 cinnamon stick
6 cardamom pods, crushed
1 whole clove
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
2-1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup sugar
Sweetened whipped cream, ground cinnamon and cinnamon sticks, optional

In a small saucepan, combine the first six ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 5 minutes.

Stir in milk. Return to a boil; boil for 1 minute, then strain. Stir in sugar until dissolved. Pour into mugs. Top each with whipped cream, cinnamon, and a cinnamon stick, if desired. Yield: 4 servings

“To every thing there is a season,
and a time to every purpose under the heaven:”
Ecclesiastes 3:1

May our Unchanging God be your stay in whatever
season of life you find yourself in today!

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