Having someone to love is FAMILY. Having somewhere to go is HOME. Having both is a BLESSING.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Thank you, Jesus, for Christmas!

I say, "Thank you, Jesus, for Christmas, 'Cause if you'd never been born, You'd never have died; You were born a little lamb-- the precious Lamb of God, And the Lamb for my sin's sacrifice."

'Twas the custom to come to the altar, A spotless lamb was there slain that atonement could be made-- To free one from the bondage of his sin's chains, And make amends so God would not forget man's name.

Then that first Christmas the great Lamb of Glory was there born to begin God's most wondrous of plans; 'Twas the greatest of great love stories, Forever freeing the hold of sin on worthless man.

Years have come and years have gone and there's still Christmas, And the meaning within my heart shall forever be the same; Fallen man was in need of a Savior, and that is why that in love my Jesus came.

"I pray, Lord, for those who don't know you, And the tidings of Your birth may I fail not to them bring; May some lost soul accept you this Christmas, And once they give themselves to you they too will sing....."

I say, "Thank you, Jesus, for Christmas, 'Cause if you'd never been born, You'd never have died; You were born a little lamb-- the precious Lamb of God, And the Lamb for my sin's sacrifice. You were the Lamb for my sin's sacrifice."

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Banquetting Basement

A banquet in the basement? And why not? Surely we can do something to transform the ho-hum basement and make it passable for a nice Christmas dinner for our church family. The challenge is always when someone says that it can't be done. I say that there has got to be a way! Well, our church family does sooooooo much for us throughout the year, that we wanted to do something special for them at Christmas. As the pastor's family, we do it all and this is our gift to each of them! This truly is a family affair. We decorate to the extreme, fancy up the tables, cook a meal to die for and then serve. When the dinner is over, we then make everyone go home and we do the cleaning and washing of the many pots and pans and silverware. I hope you enjoy the pictorial run of start to finish. Yes, we are positively exhausted when we are finished and we can hardly walk on our feet anymore, but it is definitely a good kind of tired! Below is pictured two separate hostess gifts that I received this year. Thank you, Dr. Kellogg, for the box of specialty chocolates and nuts. They are sooo good! And thank you, Linda, for your thoughtfulness in the gift of the rose. It's beautiful! The next couple of pictures are the before pictures of the basement in the parsonage.

Mark is growling me for interrupting his "wall building" to "SMILE" for the camera. All in good humor of course. BTW, we use unprinted newspaper, intentionally crinkled to create walls and rooms out of the one big room. And of course, you don't want to serve a nice dinner and see the nasty pots and pans stacked in the kitchen. We close off the kitchen and the church ladies are NOT allowed in there on that night!! Some try, but we chase them out!
Little Miss is in on the action!
The next several pictures are the construction of our gingerbread house. We used lots of cardboard.
YUK! I hope the "boss" remembers to do something about that ceiling tile!

Daryl and Rob helped me make enough gingerbread men cookies so that one could be set at every place setting. We made over 80 cookies. It was a lot of work! I couldn't have done it without my guys!

This was our theme this year.
The next photos are of the finished gingerbread house many, many hours later.
Look's like the "boss" remembered to fix that ceiling tile! Much better!!

This was the inside of the gingerbread house. This would be the opposite wall from the "house" wall. It's a little blurry, but you can see that it was like walking into a room in any home. It was warm and cozy. The overhead lights were out and the only lights were two pole lamps, one in the house and one out, and the candlelight and little white lights used in the decorations on the tables.
A table ready for the dinner to begin.
This is the place setting. The menu was printed on the placemats. The dinner meal included turkey, ham, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravies, sweet potato casserole, corn, green beans, potato rolls w/honey butter followed by pumpkin pie for dessert. No one left hungry!
Becca Faust with Nevaeh
Fillin' those plates!
Patiently waiting.

This is my sweetheart, Ashlynn. In the next picture that follows, she is showing you what to do with the pole. You were wondering, right?
These pics are "in" the house while people are eating and some are out getting their food.

Steve and Leslie Blackwelder

This is Frostin' Austin. He's really COOL!

Brie and Ethan. Best buds!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Check It Out!

Look at what just arrived in the mail! This is a follow up of our parade excursion the weekend just before Thanksgiving. You'll see that we won $100 as well. How exciting is that?!

Congratulations one more time, church family!
It's amazing what we can accomplish when we all work together!

Don't Spill The Beans!

I say, Rob! What are you doing up there?
Well, it seems that Rob and Nevaeh had a mishap! While attempting to feed Nevaeh her green beans for supper, somehow, the jar of baby food ended up on the floor. On impact, beans went everywhere. And I do mean everywhere! Mama was standing a little too close and got plastered right down her leg. It looked way too much like something else!! It even managed to reach the ceiling. Rob is attempting to scrub-a-dub-dub his spilt beans!


This "COOL" little "CHILL-WOW-WOW" got all bundled up and went for a cruise on the blue torpedo.

Of course, she had to be duded up in camo to be like her owner. Daryl used a bungee strap across Espie's back to give her support and keep her from feeling like she was going to fly off the back. When you weigh only 3 pounds, you need all the help you can get! Wow! Don't you wish you had to be strapped onto a sled so you wouldn't BLOW off the back!

Yee ha! Caught in motion so the pic is a little blury but here they are havin' fun. This chihuahua is one COOL CANINE!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Huntin' Machine!

At our church, Daryl is known by his friends as the Lean Mean Huntin' Machine.
It looks like he came through again. D bagged this very nice 8 point buck Monday morning at 7:15 AM on the ridge right behind the church's property. He thinks that this deer looks like the very same one that he shot at during archery and missed.
A very nice big-bodied deer.
My three guys hung out in the woods in an "outhouse" camo blind. I could have told them that this was a very dangerous thing to do with Robert along. He's too silly without even trying. Anyway, they got so tickled about stupid stuff and ended up laughing their heads off. They probably scared any deer within 5 miles away. The only reason Daryl got his deer was because he shot it fairly early and the Robster hadn't cut loose yet!

To My Sisters

Dear Sis and Jen,
I wish that you and your families could have been with us this Thanksgiving. I really missed you. I thought that we could share our memories with you by posting all the pictures from the things that we did. I hope you enjoy them.
Jen, I hope you were able to find some relaxation and rest after working so hard from your very recent move. I hope we can be together at Christmas.
Sis, I know that you, David and Kyle have a lot of concerns with David's dad suffering from cancer and at this time of year, even. I pray that you'll be safe as you fly back and forth to support and care for Steve and Karen and that God will be real and close to all of you! I'll miss you at Christmas and New Years.
Both of you are deep in my heart and I love you very much.

A Picture Worth A Thousand Words

Pappy & Grammy with Daryl, Robert, & Nevaeh
This picture was taken Sunday morning. Gram and Pap stayed the longest for Thanksgiving vacation. They had to leave in the afternoon to go back to their home in Lewistown, PA. Nevaeh was NOT happy to wake up from her nap and find that Gram and Pap were gone.
Below is a picture taken of Pappy playing with Nevaeh while we were getting dinner ready.
I think they are in love. What do you think?

Wishful Thinking

Zack and Robbie got to break the wishbone!

Zack is sure that he is the winner because he broke his side first! Wishful thinking, wouldn't you say? We'll let you decide.

Wow! Do these two boys look related, or what?!

In Honor of the First Thanksgiving

Woo-hoo! Check out the cookie master -- or maybe I should say, the cookie monster!!
During Thanksgiving vacation, my nephew Zack and I made a "project", as he calls it. Comemmorating that first Thanksgiving, we made pilgrim hats. Zack said that it was really fun.
We'd like to share with you how we did this in case you'd like to do it too! It's quite simple. Oh -- and it's very fun. Ya' can't forget the fun! Lots'a fun!!
Aunt Laura and Zack

Above is a close up of the finished pilgrim's hat. We started by washing hands. Do NOT forget to do that!! You don't want to spread any germies! Then we took a shortbread fudge stripe cookie. You lay it on your work surface up-side down.
We used the small end of a melon baller to get the right amount of vanilla icing. Since we have a baby in the house, the baby spoon was what worked best to scrape the icing onto the hole of the cookie. (We used a cookie sheet with foil as our work surface.)
Unwrap a miniature peanut butter cup and turn it up-side down. Press into the center of the icing so that a small ring of icing squeezes out around the peanut butter cup.
Then we used Reese's pieces for the buckle. We separated the yellow ones to use and surprisingly, everyone was very accommodating in keeping the orange and black ones from going to waste. Actually, no surprise, right?!
The finished hats. Aren't they cute? We refrigerated the hats when they were finished to set the icing and firm up the chocolate. The chocolate gets soft from handling. Zack took these home so that he could take them to school to share with his friends. When I talked last to Zack's mommy on the phone, she said that Zack thinks they are so good that he'll just take one in for Mrs. White (his teacher) and eat the rest!
Now you can try!