Something So Big

Sunday, July 26, 2015


Every other year, the descendants of my Grandma & Grandpa Myers get together.  The rain stopped long enough for us to enjoy memories, laughs, and a group picture!  (Notice most of my mom's branch of the family is wearing their 25th campout t-shirts.  I think we made up the majority of the attendees this year!)Last week, we had a very special reunion when our friends living & working in China visited.  Hadn't seen them in two years.  Wynne and "My best friend Ava" picked up right where they left off!  Silly girls:)
The three girls who started it all--Paige, Annika, and Shae--are now older and >a little< calmer ;)

It was so nice to catch up with Astrid, Mark, and the girls.  They are truly adventurous people!

Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land. For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.--Genesis 28:15

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Campout 2015

Here's a camp survival kit 
to help you through the "rough"
If it gets hot, dark, or smelly,
Or when the flies are enough!
 Last weekend we made the 45 minute drive west to Bagley's Jellystone Park.  It was our 25th annual family campout, so we marked the occasion with t-shirts highlighting our favorite activities on the front and places we've gone over the past 25 years on the back!

The big news of the weekend belonged to Crystal.  The day before, her boyfriend Eric proposed to her!  Congratulations to the happy couple!!
 Here are some photos of the 40-some people who converged on the campground into 8 cabins.....
Mary Kay & Brian (with little Mason in the back)
 ........Games in the loft!
Bailey, Catherine, Memphis, Shae, Wynne
 Ken set up a table in his cabin for a late-night poker game.  Uncles are teaching younger boys how they play.  Pretty cramped quarters here!  I think Brian was sitting on the fridge.
Gabe, Brian, Payton, Ken (Nick in Brewers cap)

Jared, Cy, Nick
 On Saturday, we drove over to the Livingston Park for the biennial Myers Family Reunion.  It was rainy, but thank goodness Aunt Tammy brought Apples to Apples over for the kids!
 It was nice to hear familiar -- and new-- stories about my grandparents, aunts, and uncles on my mom's side.  Also great to see so many Myers from all over the country!
cousins Janet, Marshall, Peg, Jan, & Mom
 Deb was one of the organizers & did a great job.  So did my cousin Dan (as "MC") and brother Dan (financial advisor).  We voted to fix Grandma and Grandpa Myers' gravestone, as some of the names are misspelled on it!
 Back at camp, we gathered for bags...
Nick, Jared, Ron, Mark, Brad, & Pam
 bouncy pillows...
Garrison, Catherine, Bailey, Wynne, Shae
Noah, Payton, Gabe, & Cy (& Ally)
Kaycie, Sammie, & Marla
 ...and 25 trivia questions about 25 years of Engelke campouts!
Wynne, Sonja, Brad, Ken, Katie, Deb, & Danielle
 As hosts this year, Mark and I secured the location of the campout, sent out the information to family members, designed 25-year t-shirts, made welcome packs, and came up with 25 questions for the 25 years we've been doing this thing.  It was fun listening to people remember/argue/laugh about all of the memories!
 The family campout is a time for our very large family (my folks, brothers, sisters, their kids, and their grandkids) to get together in one space for a weekend of fighting over golf carts. Just kidding, Catherine and Shae!
 Some of the questions included  - Where have we repeated our campouts (visited more than once)?
 Where did we play a lot of 4-square games in the parking lot?
 Where is the most unusual place that the boys held a poker game?
Bailey & Paige are frustrated with the "older years" questions!!
 Where did we go to city-wide garage sales?
 "Who did it" at the western murder mystery party?
What competition did the Tashners organize at Smokey Hollow Campground?
Julie & Dan
  What did Uncle Brian dress up as for the Survivor games at Crystal Lake Campground?
Eric & Brian
 Where did Jared and Kyle build the most magnificent sand castles?
 What river did some of us go tubing down at Blakley Hobbit?
brother Brad
 Where did the kids sit for storytime in their PJs, complete with hot chocolate?
our 9 year old Little Bear
  Who announced they were going to be a big sister at a campout?
 What was the name of the drive-in movie we watched in Door County?
Claire & Kaycie
 When will this trivia game ever end??? (it's almost over, Rheann :)
 The next morning, on the way home, some of us stopped at Ma's Bakery in Bloomington for breakfast.
Nick, Paul, Payton, Garrison, Marla, Sam, Kaycie, Mike
 What a delicious bakery/sandwich stop!  Ma's Bakery is regionally known for its delicious food & catering.  The locals were so kind to us and even let us use the big table for our group -- along with the Sunday paper!
All in all, it was a fun campout.  Went by quickly because we got there 3 hours later than everyone else on Friday, Mark took the twins to a ballgame early Saturday morning, and we spent Saturday afternoon at the reunion...but still, a great way to spend a weekend with loved ones.  Loads of laundry, 2 nights on a hard mattress, and several bug bites later, we are still grateful for the fun of the annual campout!

My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.--Psalm 61:1-2

Expanding Family

Charlie (Charles Gregory), welcome to the Family of God!
Mae, Tim, Godfather Paul E., Charles, Pastor Connie, Christopher, Maryellen, Joseph, Addie, Elsie, Godmother Janet

 Happy Birthday, Annamae.  Four years old already!  What a pretty Dora cake, too !
 FOURTH OF JULY at our house....wonderful to see so many family members from both sides!
Grandma Joan, Aunt Linda, Aunt Sonja, Uncle Joe, and Grandma Jan

Julie, Brad, Marla, Mom/Grandma E.
 We interrupt this water fight to bring you a Godfather/Goddaughter picture. :)
Shae with Uncle Joey
 We had beautiful weather and a good hill in the backyard for the waterslide.
 And if you didn't want to play on the outdoor half-court, you could come into the garage and play on the miniature full-court!
Mike & Garrison 

Shae, Paige, Brooke, Wynne
 Dish soap makes the slide extra slippery!
Wynne & Trevin
 If you're at our house and it's decent out and you're a cousin, you are going to be playing a softball game.  No doubt about it!

Cy & Payton sneaking in one last bb game
 Look who's showing Mark the ropes at table tennis?  Mom/Grandma learned from the best...Grandpa Jim!
Happy 4th and Happy Baptism!

While the earth remains, Seedtime and harvest, And cold and heat, And summer and winter, And day and night Shall not cease. --Genesis 8:22

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Shelter from the Storm

Last month we had heavy winds and (although it hasn't officially been called) a tornado. Or maybe two or three.  Every little town and lots of country in a 45-mile path was damaged in some way, usually with fallen trees and an occasional part off of a roof. 

Except for a few places that were hit very hard.  Like Grandpa's place!
See those tractors?  There used to be a building over them.

 See the tin roof in the tree?
 Barns down, sheds blown brother's farm was hit a little like this, too (on a smaller scale).  Lots and lots of clean-up!

 Fun family clean-up time!  Thank goodness no one was hurt.  Buildings can be replaced!
This came on a Monday morning, and that night we were supposed to start our 11th annual Potosi Vacation Bible School.  We called it off for that night because there were threats of more storms coming.  None came, but we felt better safe than sorry!  Three very short nights later, we had our family worship time on a beautiful summer evening.
Unbelievable that we only have one child "young enough" to be in VBS now...."My God is so big and so strong and so mighty; there's nothing my God cannot do!"
This year's theme was very fitting for the stormy weather....STRONG TOWER.  God is our refuge and strength, no matter what storms we face!
Our 4 older kids helped with chaperoning, games, setting up, cleaning up, distributing snacks, and making castle-themed carnival stuff like this horse-scooter jousting challenge!

The highlight of the carnival this year were these 2 attractions.  Duh!!!
It was another great week of learning, playing, and worshipping God.  It's always fun to reunite with the families who participate  and some very special friends who help staff it, year after year.  Very gratifying to me to have my own kids helping with it now.  Truly a family project!
Now hopefully our children will remind their parents not to use the Lord's name in vain, exasperation, or disrespect! (I know I certainly need reminders from time to time!) God likes us to call on Him in love, worship, and prayer--not throw his name around in trite expressions or cursing.  We tried to present this important commandment in a fun and tangible way....God did the rest :)

The name of the Lord is a strong and mighty tower;
    the righteous run to it and are safe.--Proverbs 18:10