Something So Big

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Over the river and through the town... Grandmother (Joan's) home we go!
Joan lives in a very nice assisted living center, and we enjoyed a very relaxing & fun Christmas afternoon at the rec area just down from her room.  
It was fun to see Grandma Jan, Grandma Joan, Linda, Joe, and most of their kids/significant others along with three of Mark's brothers/others.;)
Ally, Ryan, Kelly, Jay, Joe
 These people are always up for a new board game;) We played "Telestrations" and had a lot of fun! Linda and Jan brought delicious beef and ham for sandwiches, and we had plenty of snacks to keep us happy all afternoon:)
Linda, Nicole, her fiance Dean

Joey, Jamey & Harper, Ryan

Mark & Cy

Paige, Grandma Joan, Shae, Ally
 The girls were sporting their new sweatshirts & boots  -- sadly, clothes have overtaken toys as the favorite gift to get!
Young and old - Christmas is for everyone!
Jackie, Harper, Grandma Joan

On our way out of town that evening, we drove through Hillcrest Services' Reflections in the Park.  What a beautiful way to raise money for people who need it - and a great way to get in the holiday spirit!

And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.==1 John 5:11

Christmas Morning

Santa came!
 Two favorites for me this Christmas morning:
1:  No electronics.

 2.  The kids gave each other gifts.  They were so excited shopping for/making/wrapping/waiting to give their gifts to their siblings.  It was personally very gratifying to Mark and me to see our kids get excited about GIVING, not getting.  I'd like to take it a step further into giving time/etc. to helping others outside of our family circle.  (Heifer Project, mission work, etc.)  The one neat thing we did this Advent season was ring the bell for the Salvation Army.  You could find us right outside the JC Penney mall door a few Saturday mornings ago, singing Christmas carols and turning cartwheels (okay not all of us, but the smallest of us did that last part)!  Christmas is really about spreading JOY and LOVE :)!!

Another heart-melting picture;)
 Wynne stuffed a Santa hat with old socks and gave it to Rudy!  He loved it!  (He loved all things Pom-pom.  But we won't mention poor stuffed Santa!)
 More sibling gift giving / sharing the love.....

 HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JESUS!  Thanks for being the BEST gift of all!!

  For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting  Father, Prince of Peace.--Isaiah 9:6

The Music of the Season

Advent brings with it wonderful Christmas music, carols, concerts, and the Sunday School program!  This year I decided to write a show that would play off of the kids' / culture's "obsession" with Disney's "Frozen".  Please don't Disney that we changed the lyrics a little bit....I promise we didn't sell tickets to the show;)
Anyway, isn't our "winter wonderland" set pretty ? Diane had a great idea to have the kids make the pipe cleaner/bead snowflakes to add to the branches.
Our oldest girls - starring in their last Sunday School program - sniff! sniff! - "Olaf" (Alli D.,), "Anna" (Shae), and "Elsa" (Paige) along with fifth grader Makenna ("Kristoff") did a great job of conveying the story of how our hearts need to warm up to Jesus and share His love with others.  I was proud of how the twins had their parts memorized (no cue cards)!
The twins also had fun piecing together costumes from Thrift Shop/closet finds....and Paige added her own sparkly snowflake/tucked touches to Elsa's gown.
Shae, Paige, Mitchel, Alli, & Makenna
Meanwhile, we can't forget the adorable little Rock Trolls!  Can you find Wynne in that bunch?  "Jesus Rocks!"
Next up: the middle/high school Christmas concert.  Ally plays first chair trumpet in the high school band (far left).  They had a Frozen medley in there, along with traditional Christmas music.

We have 3 kids in the middle school band.  First row: Paige on the clarinet, second row: Shae on the French horn, and back row: Cy on percussion.  Cy didn't tell us that he had a solo again this year!  It was pretty good.  He likes to rock the traps;)  And did I tell you that my 4 older kids played their instruments after the Christmas program?  Thanks to their band teacher Mr. Cooley for putting together an arrangement - sounded great!

This is a musical family we are a part was a treat to visit at Tashner's this month and hear Catherine on the cello!

Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts.---Psalm 105:2

November to Remember

 One of the nice things about not teaching for a week and a half is having time to catch up on the blog!

So back in November, we had another birthday to celebrate in the family.  Actually, a couple - Mark's grandma reached the milestone of 90.  That's awesome!  And then there was me.  We won't say the number.

 Have I told you lately how lucky I am?
 So much to be thankful for.  Just need to slow down enough to remember that!
 A week later we hosted Thanksgiving at our house for Mark's side of the family.  Yes, back in November we actually had SNOW!  Cousin Jeff's daughter Lucy was able to come back and enjoy time with her second cousins.
 I can remember they were watching the Lions (on Thanksgiving day, of course!)...too bad I can't recall their opponents.  Google...oh how could I forget? Da Bears lost to the Lions.  Some of these people would rather forget the Bears season this year.
 Is Joey giving me the finger here?? Geez, some people can't take candids I guess...
 Looks like Cy decided to join Ally on the awesome double chair.
 She doesn't look too happy about it.;)
 Mark's kids, Doug's kids, Jeff's kids, Sara's kids.....
 A new Siegert baby at the table this year!  Harper Grace (with her mommy Jackie)

 And then on Saturday night - over to Mom's house for the Engelke Thanksgiving.  Mark, Ally, and Cy were at the Badger game that day ...and as you can see, everyone else was in Mom's living room watching it on TV!
 After the Badgers beat the Gophers, we joined in the garage for prayer and supper.

 Our compliments to the hostess!
 Little Joseph isn't so little anymore!  Almost 2!
 Engelke Cousins + Holidays = Monopoly.  It's a given.
Catherine, Paige, Bailey, & Shae
 Grandma and Grandpa's pool table gets lots of play at holiday time!
 It was nice to see so many relatives over the long weekend!  Happy Thanksgiving!
Memphis, Kaleb, & Emerson

Monday, December 29, 2014

KY Part 9: Creation Museum

On our last day of vacation, we said goodbye to Lilly's Cub Cabin.  
 Sheila was so sweet; she came to say good-bye, gave us travel snacks, and took our picture.  Thanks for your hospitality, Sheila and Ken!
A few hours later, we were in northeastern KY at the Creation Museum near St. Petersburg.  This is very near Cincinnati, Ohio.  The outdoor gardens were splendid!

The Creation Museum has been open since 2010 and proclaims God's glory as recounted in Genesis.
Admission is good for 2 days, but we only had about a half a day there.  Not enough, but we made the most out of it!
Lots of real dinosaur bones and casts...

...and the work of Answers in Genesis, a group of scientists from around the world who study the earth and see how it fits into God's Word!

So many people approach their thoughts about the world from man's perspective instead of starting with the Bible.
Everything makes sense when you start with God's Word first!
Take Lucy, for example. Long thought of as one of the "missing links" between apes, and humans, the museum had a fascinating display of how Lucy was an ape, not an early human.  Look at the holographic image of her hipbones, for example...this is just one of the many pieces of evidence proving her apism! (is that a word? it is now!)
See how evolutionary scientists take Lucy's skull and turn her into whatever humanlike creature they want to?  From man's point of view, the possibilities are endless!
Enough said.
How the Word of God came to be written down and shared with humankind...
A walk through the Creation Museum is like a walk through Genesis!
Peter and John looking into an empty tomb, wondering, "What happened to Jesus?"
Once he met with Christ, Paul's life was changed forever.  He gave his life to proclaiming the Good News of Christ crucified and resurrected! even in jail!
Here's where the mess begins...when we question God and His plans for us.  When we wonder if He really means what He says and wants for us.   When we doubt His sovereignty and love!
Martin Luther got in trouble with the "church powers that be" when he tried to preach Christ Alone as the way to eternal life. (Mark would say "nailing the feces"...inside joke between Catholics/Lutherans)
Martin Luther wanted to get God's Word into the hands of everyday people, not just something that was read and interpreted by priests.  The Gutenberg press put for the Holy Bible in 1454 or 1455, and it's been the #1 Bestseller in world ever since.
What does it look like when we forget, turn away from, or are never exposed to God's Word?  I was moved to tears when I looked into these "windows" to see everyday lives, everyday sin, broken homes, etc.Something we can all relate to.
Here is a family distracted, sitting in a church pew ironically.  Are we really Christians if we don't live His love "out loud" "in the open"?
Time to go back to the basics....back to Day 1.
Plenty of scientifically researched displays to back His word and His creation.  The 7 C's of History : Creation, Corruption, Catastrophe, Confusion, Christ, Cross, Consummation.

CORRUPTION (notice the serpent hanging in the tree)

Adam & Eve:  sin & shame

more sin: Cain kills Abel
 Preparing for a new world after the worldwide flood........the animatronic characters were very realistic, talking to us as we passed by!
 Noah was a righteous man who was given plans by God to make an ark for rescuing animals and his family from the flood!
 Doesn't Noah look real?  We got a first-hand look at how big the Ark was.
 You could press a button and ask Noah a question.  He came to life and answered it.  There were about 5 different questions he was prepared for!

 God made us all - one race of humans!

 Prophecies in the Bible that have come true...more to come, surely!
 Another animatronic dude, this one was a scientist explaining variations of bugs and reptiles.
 The dinosaur displays were popular.
 Outside the museum were the creation gardens, with plants from all over the world.
 Wynne met this zorse (zebra-horse) who was very friendly and eager to eat feed:)
 This became our Christmas card picture: the capstone to our family vacation!

And about 8 hours later, look what awaited us at home.  Thanks to Dan N. for taking care of our critters and putting up the lawn sign;)

 “You, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning, and the heavens are the work of your hands." --Hebrews 1:10