Rejoice With Us!!

Rejoice with us! We sent our damaged hard drive to "Werecoverdata" and they repaired it! I am posting a few of the pictures from the recovery which tell the story of why we paid dearly to have these pictures recovered. God is good. He was good when we thought all these pictures were lost and He is good today.

A Winter Day

Isn't snow beautiful? Winter is definitely my favorite season but that's because it is December. (I usually say that my favorite season is whatever season we are in!) We have been taking the week off from homeschool studies so we have had more time for playing.
Marlin had the honors of pulling a tobaggon with the tractor over the snowy roads and lanes, up and down road ditches, and wherever else he felt like going. The goal was to see how many riders he could displace! His partner in crime was Hudson. He loved riding on the buddy seat in the tractor when he wasn't on the tobaggon.

Here are the tobaggon riders (except for Rebecca-she only came out for the family picture!!).
Denver's new dalmation dog, Ryker, got his exercise by running behind or beside the tobaggon. Unfortunately, he did not cooperate for the picture!


A Birthday Party

December 5, 2007 was a time of celebration for our family. We were celebrating because for the first time ever, Grandma and Denver were together for their shared birthday. I can still remember how thrilled I was when Denver arrived almost a week before his due date, but exactly on his grandma's birthday. My mother has had this dream of being in IA for this special day and this year her dream came true! We also invited Denver's Grandma Bontrager for the party. The menu (chosen by my mother) was smoked ham, mashed potatoes, sourkraut, tossed salad, oatmeal cake, and homemade ice-cream.
Denver had the honor of blowing out the candles.

After a time of sharing encouraging words with the birthday guests, it was time to open the gifts!
One of Denver's gifts was a 1,000 piece puzzle from his siblings.


It was with great joy that Marlin and I along with 3 of the younger children greeted my parents at the airport this morning. Now we are hoping that their luggage will follow them quickly!

I know that a highlight for my mother has been holding Rebecca, while my father has been playing some challenging checker games with the children.
Grandpa (my father) and Taylor are playing checkers.
Rebecca took a nap in Grandma's arms.

Grandpa's hugs are the best!


Trusting God

This afternoon finds us in the middle of an early winter ice storm. It is the perfect day to bake cookies, play a game, drink hot chocolate, or blog; however, our joy is dampened knowing that my parents are stranded in Chicago. They left the airport in NY this morning, arrived in Chicago around noon, and then were told that their flight to Moline was cancelled because of the ice. They are resting at a motel room while we hope for the ice to melt quickly so they can catch a flight in the morning.
Are you wondering what all this has to do with trusting God? Trusting God in life's daily happenings is a lesson that God has been trying to teach me for years. When I heard the predictions for a storm, my prayer was that I would trust God for my parents arrival. The prayer was so much easier before I heard that their flight was cancelled! I feel like I am blindfolded while God is leading my hand. There are times when I would choose a different path than what I am walking on. Sometimes I stumble, but always I keep following.
"But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee." Psalm 5:11
"As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the Lord is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him." Psalm 18:30



True thanksgiving is being thankful for all the circumstances in life that God brings our way, whether they be good or bad. That doesn't mean that we rejoice in the evil around us, but rather, that we find joy in the lessons that God teaches us from our trials.

This past week our family has had opportunity to find joy when the hard drive on our computer broke. The biggest loss was 2 1/2 months worth of pictures, including all of Rebecca's baby photos and the results from Chelsy's first 4 professional photography ventures.

So with God's grace we are learning that thanksgiving is being thankful for what we have, not for what we have lost.

  1. We are thankful that we have our dear baby Rebecca, even though we lost her baby pictures.

  2. We are so grateful for many wonderful friends although we no longer have your e-mail addresses! (If you would send us an e-mail, that would help us to rebuild our address book.)

  3. We are thankful (most of the time!!) for our computer and its abilities in helping us to organize, communicate with friends, research through the internet, and store photographs.

  4. We rejoice for the opportunity to learn the devasting affects of procrastination and being too busy (we know we should have downloaded the photos a long time ago).

  5. We give thanks for the talents God has given Chelsy in the area of photography although we mourn the loss of over 1,000 photographs.

  6. And most of all, we are thankful for God's faithfulness and for the lessons He is teaching us through this trial. We are learning not to get too attached to the things of this world.

May all of you find joy today in what God has given to you. When you start to count your blessings, you will find that you are indeed blessed.


~Home Alone~

Liz loves putting puzzles together! Here she is with her latest favorite! :)

Yesterday afternoon we older 6 enjoyed a game of hockey in the shop. (while the little ones napped) Teams were Mitchell, Allison, Denver, and Taylor against Carson, Joshua, and myself. Unfortunately, the, ahem, "bad" team (them) won, and the "good" team (us) lost. :)

Lots of action and much concentration!

Here, Carson is diligently working and Mitchell is, well......diligently being funny??!! :)

Liz & Hudson enjoyed stories read by Joshua


Yes, you heard correctly-we are home alone! No need to get worried, its going great and we're having a fabulous time. Some of the highlights were hockey, indoor s'mores, personal mini pizzas, movie night, hide n seek IN THE DARK, many story times, sewing projects (the boys would want me to clarify that sewing was a highlight for the girls!) and a rousing & quite noisy 45 minutes of Dutch Blitz (we didn't get any pics. of that because it is my ultimate favorite game and there was no way I was going to skip a round to get my camera!) All in all we had a simply wonderful time......but we are now on the countdown for the scheduled 6:30pm arrival of our favorite people.........Dad, Mom, & Rebecca!! :)
(~Chelsy reporting for the "Nine Alone"~)


"Praise ye the Lord, O give thanks unto the Lord; for He is good: for His mercy endureth forever. Who can utter the mighty acts of the Lord? who can show forth all His praise?"
Psalms 106:1-2
After the corn is harvested, we roll up the remaining corn stalks into bales to use for bedding for the cattle in the winter. Carson spent a good part of his 12th birthday taking these bales off the field with the skid loader. (Watch for a birthday post later on this evening or tomorrow.)
Bobcat and Wersley (the name was taken from the book "Endurance" a great read aloud book which we enjoyed very much) are the family pets...........especially loved and mothered by Joshua and Denver!!

Joshua has a special touch with Rebecca. Today she fell asleep within minutes of being in his arms.

Our little lady is growing up!

Allison, along with her assistants, Hudson and Elizabeth, baked some delicious cookies as a special treat to take to the field for the harvest crew.

Hudson thought that turning the mixer on and off was such fun!!

" M-m-m-m-m, do you think we should try some dough?"


A Merry Heart

"A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance..."
Proverbs 15:13
"A merry heart doeth good like a medicine..."
Proverbs 17:22
Marlin, Denver, and Taylor share a happy moment at the park.

Anybody want to "share" a doughnut?

This is REALLY funny!

Playing outdoors is so fun!

M-m-m-m, I love potato chips!

Aren't we having a good time??

Elizabeth is loving life!


Weekend in Illinois

This past weekend we headed to Lake Fork, IL to spend time with our friends, the Vincents, and to sing at an event on their farm.
Just before lunch we stopped to stretch our legs at a park. Hudson thoroughly enjoyed the pushes from Elizabeth on the swing.

Our friend, Nicole Chmelar, went along to take care of Rebecca while we sang. She was also a help in so many other ways and in addition gave us the gift of laughter!

Does this look like a hardworking young man?

The Vincent's planned an event for families in their front yard. There were hayrides, a potluck, a word from both Chris Hogan and Marlin, and a time of singing by our family. Our stage was their front porch. It was a blessed sight to see so many families with their babies and little children enjoying the outdoors and Christian fellowship together.

After attending Noble Family Fellowship with the Vincent family on Sunday morning, we drove on the Arthur, IL to share in the evening service at North Vine Mennonite Church.
Denver listened attentively as Marlin told him about Christians being persecuted all over the world. This conversation takes place in the song, "I Pledge Allegiance to the Lamb".
"We are God's little people, we got a light and we're gonna let it shine."



"They joy before thee according to the joy in harvest"Driving the combine is what Marlin loves to do more than anything else on the farm.
There is usually a "waiting list" for little ones who want to ride with daddy in the combine. Yesterday it was Taylor's turn.

Harvest is another reminder that everything we have is from God's hands.


"Let the words of my mouth...."

"Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer." Psalm 19:14
This is my prayer for myself and my family, that we would bring honor and glory to God in everything we say and do. A friend told me once that she tries to imagine that she is living in a glass house which would mean that anyone could observe her in everyday life. What a challenging thought!
"Anything worth doing is worth doing well." I can't remember where this quote comes from, but I repeat it often to my children whether they are working on Phonics, (as is Taylor in this picture) or doing a daily chore.

One of the most rewarding things about homeschooling has been teaching my children to read. This past year it was Denver who learned his alphabet sounds and then started putting the sounds together. He went from reading 3 letter words to reading the Bible in just months!

Chelsy loves capturing the "little things" in life in photography. Any guesses as to who these toes belong to?
Rebecca is already leaving the brand-new stage behind. She is spending more time awake and alert. She has even given us a few smiles!!
Joshua is our animal lover. We have 3 orphan kittens which he and Denver have adopted.
"The earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. Psalm 24:1