Saturday, December 25, 2010

Good News of Great Joy!

One of God's special gifts to me is my second husband's dear family. They fill my life in many ways but especially at holidays when my two sons and their families are not with us.

This year we were so happy to have my son Andy and his dear family--Amy, Ryan, Jacob and Allie join us. Kathi's friend, Joe was also with us for the first time. The food was yummy. The kids were delighted with their gifts. There were many good conversations and a family game as well. Later the families enjoyed The Voyage of the Dawn Treader movie. It was a happy day to remember. It was particularly nice to have an expanded cast for our drama of the true Christmas story.

There were observant and nurturing shepherds

A host of glorious angels . . .

Mary was magnifcent and Joseph was outstanding

Sweet, sweet baby Jesus
No crying [he] made.

Three sagacious magi

And all the other supporting roles.
What a wonderful story!

Joy, Joy, Joy!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Our Merry Christmas Puzzle

2010 was a traumatic and difficult year because of the death of Bob’s oldest son, Andrew McDonell on May 22, 2010. We grieve and miss him very much. Our family photo, taken in June without Andy M., is a sad reminder of our loss—that he is missing from our picture. Thanks for your prayers and support.

Although Andy is never far from our minds and hearts, we wanted to focus on family smiles with our Christmas greeting.

Our card was a take-off from the Life puzzle books. I rated it as Novice and you ought to be able to get thirteen of the changes in three minutes. Two of the changes are not really fair—because they are so small on the photos. You can enlarge by double clicking. The changes are in no particular order—except the first change, of course. Below the pictures is the answer key.

  1. Yay! Baby Allie (Alice Madelyn Rowell) was born on May 6. The grandchildren count is now at thirteen, four girls and nine boys.
  2. Morgan’s new favorite color is purple—purple clothes, purple notebooks, purple bedroom . . .
  3. Ryan rides a two wheeler bicycle, thus the biker gloves.
  4. Seamus is wearing a White Sox shirt. I just wanted to get that in somewhere.
  5. Jacob still loves any toy with wheels but especially big rigs and monster trucks.
  6. Beware there will soon be a new driver on the roads. Kent has car keys in his hand and will be licensed soon.
  7. Jackson wrote 95 in tally marks and in Roman numerals to indicate how many birthdays we celebrated with our sweet Grandma Rowell in October.
  8. Hale is holding up the Miracle Camp sign. We had a wonderful weekend with all of our family and my extended Gisel family.
  9. Steven, 15 years, is really tall—taller than Grandpa and his mom and he is still growing! Perhaps the picture is a bit exaggerated.
  10. Andy is wearing a Donald Trump toupee. I just couldn’t resist trying it on him when I saw them advertised online. Sorry Andy.
  11. It is really hard to see but Lilly has two coins in her hands. She is six years old and minus – temporarily – her two front teeth.
  12. Bob is holding a hammer. Bob is not actually doing the hammering on our new house—not until picture hanging time.
  13. Kevin and Patti now have five boys and Jessica. Widianto Moestopo from Indonesia and Diancheng Yu from China are boarding students at Wheaton Academy. Kevin is holding a frame representing their school pictures.
  14. Grif is wearing a t-shirt from the YMCA of the Rockies. The Petersan clan enjoyed a special family reunion—the first in twenty years lots of years—I am not sure how many. I am quite sure that Grif would not wear a t-shirt of kids singing the YMCA song but then I am pretty sure that Andy would never wear a Donald Trump toupee either.
  15. Notice the airplane? No, Bob is not yet retired. He travels somewhere nearly every week. We are thankful for ServiceMaster.

Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. 1 Corinthians 13:12

Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. Hebrews 11:1

Merry Christmas
Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

First There's the Village

Christmas is here and I am loving it! I looked out the window this morning and saw two beautfiful cardinals sitting in snow covered trees. Sister Donna and I attended a wonderful Starstruck Christmas event for women.

I have a pattern for Christmas. First comes the gingerbread houses, the day after Thanksgiving, then the tree and decorating and then the Christmas cards. I am behind on recording so will just show you our village and the founders of it one by one. The snow this morning has me singing.

What a happy day! Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

It is Good

Today is Amy's birthday.

About two weeks ago was her wedding day.

The wedding of Eric and Amy was beautiful, romantic, simple, and worshipful. It was a family affair.

Amy's sister, Dawn, was the matron of honor. Niece Tanyale was Amy's personal assistant. Eric's brother, Mark, was the best man. Sorry Eric and Mark but I could not find a photo of the two of you.

Eric's sister, Kelly sang a sweet love song in her lovely clear voice.

A little later, we were blessed as Amy's brother, Brian and
sister-in-law, Sharice, sang a beautiful and moving duet.

Amy's Uncle Lowell officiated the wedding. He reminded Amy and Eric and all of their guests of the importance of keeping Christ first in marriage.

Eric’s beautiful daughters Loren and Mackenzie brought such joy.

There were delightful, excited, and helpful.

Here is the groom’s cake that they made for their daddy.

How appropriate it was to have the girls participate in the sand ceremony.

They are an integral part of the family and had a part in the engagement. Eric took his two daughters with him. Neither Loren or Mackenzie or Eric could hold their excitement for long so almost as soon as Amy got out of the house, going towards the car, Eric knelt down and asked, “Will you marry us?”

Amy responded, “Yes!” at which point the youngest daughter danced around shouting, “She said, ‘Yes!’ She will marry us!”

Amy set the tone for the wedding. She was inclusive, bringing all of her family and friends into their circle of happiness.

Amy’s family is glad for Eric. He has won their hearts.

Eric’s family expressed over and over their love for and appreciation of Amy and their happiness for Eric.

Many friends and family witnessed the creation of this union.

Here is what God says about the things that He creates; "It is good!"

Monday, November 29, 2010

A Grand Week

First of all, I was so thrilled and excited to see our newest baby grand! I had not seen her for almost five months. She is such a joy.

It was a full week with so many special events. A real highlight was Ryan’s soccer game but it was a rainy day and the pictures are poor.

The boys and I visited Ganyard Hill Farm. We had such a good time.

Feeding the goats . . .

Loving the bunny . . .

and of course the tractor wagon ride.

The boys were so excited to see bee hives on the wagon ride and insisted that I photograph them. Grandpa Mac was not present but not forgotten.

Jacob was not so sure about the tunnel slide for himself. But he was a good grand marshall

. . . sending Ryan and reminding me to take the photos.

Ryan milked the cow—just to see how it worked.

Both boys enjoyed feeding the cows.

It is much longer than it seems that I had two sons that loved the farm. This photo of Brad and Andy was taken in the fall of 1982, I think.

How their daddy, Grandpa Dale would have loved to see his two grandsons playing in the corn.

Ryan and Jacob liked sitting so high up on the tractor.

Just like their Uncle Brad and Daddy, more than 25 years ago.

Those are happy memories for me.

We said good bye to the farm and headed home.

Another day, Andy and Amy rested from their daily work and enjoyed a family day.

We went hiking in a nearby forest preserve.

We found beautiful leaves and watched a daddy long legs spider.

We picnicked.

Jacob may have been the first to discover these small but grand rapids.

The kids played.

Daddy rescued a toy excavator.

Then we discovered a log cabin.

I held my breath as everyone safely crossed over our grand canyon.

The next day, our big boy went back to kindergarten.

Jacob and Allie and I played at a park

on the swings

Allie showed me her tricks.

I was impressed.

After school, we raked a few leaves.

And Ryan and Jacob hit some grand slams.

We made time for one last treat.

I have a grand total of 213 pictures taken during this time. I want to remember it all.

Here is my last grand finale of a photo.

Grandkids—such an appropriate word.