Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Jenny + Hezzy

Sisters are forever best friends.  

Through thick and thin, from little to big, they are the ones that share the memories, the funny stories, the hard conversations, the inside jokes with you.  There is an invisible bond there, so strong and deep and tightly woven.  It started with our shared history, but continues today, I think, because of our life-giving friendship. 

We've had our share of pulling hair and fussing over clothes and telling Mom that Heather was the one that hid the watch and will Jen really have to graduate in the laundry room?! We haven't been perfect and things are certainly different than when we all lived at home together. But even with Kurt, there is something so sweet and special about our sibling relationship.  There is such love and admiration there, a constant joviality when we are together.

We share recipes and party ideas, can burst into song from any Rogers and Hammerstein musical, and are all bosom friends with Anne of Green Gables.  We can talk about make-up and theology in the same conversation.  Being known and understood on some of the deepest levels is truly a gift. Ahhh, I love them each so much.

This year, Jen would turn 36 and Heather would be 29!!  We planned a little party for Jen at the house and here she is, walking in to balloons and burgers and games, all to celebrate her!!


We love our Aunt Jenny!!

Just because it's your birthday doesn't mean you can get out of work, haha!!  Feeding Baby Adam!

I made Pumpkin Crumble Cake.. and my note on this recipe says, "Make this every first day of fall."  It was so, so good!!

And just like she did when we were growing up, Mom made Jen a Cherry Cheesecake Pie!!

We played a little game called 1981 where everyone had to answer questions about that year.  Lo and behold, Jenny WON!!!!

After Wadie grilled and we ate lunch, I insisted that Jen have all 36 candles put in her pie, ha!!  Look how pretty!!

Singing Happy Birthday!!

Can the balloon garland stay all year round?!  I just love how bright and colorful it was!!

Hahaha, we were CRYING from laughing so hard at Heather's joke!!  She asked the kids if anyone wanted a bite of the cream cheese pie off her spoon.. except that it was really MAYONNAISE!!!!!!!!  Ahhhh, Grant fell for it and ate a big bite.. and I don't think he ever realized it wasn't pie, either!!  We were all dying!!

Thanks, Mom, for always making us birthday cakes!! (And pies!!)

And then it was Pictionary time.. all words describing Jenny!!

The kids were screaming out answers with us!!

The girls ended up winning the game!!!!  Because, duh. Ha!!

Happy birthday to our beautiful Jenny!!

Two months later and it was Heather's birthday!! We brought dishes out to the property and enjoyed a picnic lunch all together!!

Mom made her perfect Carrot Cake..

..and we sang to our Hezzy!!

Happy last year of your 20s, Hezzy!! 
We ate and then sat in rocking chairs, discussing mom life and homeschooling and plans for the future. We listened to the kids play and visited until it got dark, when we slowly packed everything up and gave our last rounds of hugs and laughs. You know those "soul moments" that fill your heart up and leave you feeling inspired and satisfied with life?? That was Hezzy's birthday this year, full of sweet memories, encouraging conversation, and an afternoon of peaceful rest.

Happy birthdayyyy, Jenny and Hezzy!! 
I love you both, oh, so much!!

Friday, December 22, 2017

Happy Halloween 2017!!

After celebrating Reformation Day in Anacoco, we drove home and got ready for our neighborhood's annual trick or treat!!  It's the sweetest, most family-friendly Halloween party.. all the neighbors are out and about, all the kids are so cute and excited, and it's such a fun way to spend time with each other.  We had exactly one hour to find costumes and get the candy out (you know how we do. Halloween is just not a top priority around here, so thank God for Saints jerseys and candy from Grandma to pass out, hahaha!!)

My 30-second display:

I had a baseball player, two football players. and a Snow White with a football. 

Hahaa, I love this motley crew!

Our next door neighbors joined us to trick or treat!! We love this little family!!

Jack Jack loved Lissie's lollipops. 

99% of our neighbors participated, even those without young kids and those we don't see often.  I loved the chance to meet and greet and visit!!

Remember Mandy, Rhett's NICU nurse?!  We ran into her with her precious Raggedy Ann! Stella Grace's costume made. my. night. And I'm pretty sure she's scarred forever from all my squeals about it, haha!!

Sweet little friends with Halloween Minnie!!

My little wee-baller.

There is seriously no telling how much candy the kids ate..  It was out of control, haha!!  The candy doesn't stick around for long after Halloween, so I did let them indulge this one night.

Seriously. Out of control.

We did have to separate chocolates from non-chocolates because I am picky about them not mixing.  But the kids didn't mind!!  It was like digging through a treasure chest, haha!!
From Reformation in Anacoco to trick or treating in Kolin, we had the longest, most wonderful Halloween 2017.  So thankful for amazing memories, precious family, great neighbors, and Reese's peanut butter cups.  Can't wait for next year!!

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

A Reformation Celebration!!

Move over, pumpkins, costumes, and candy. 

October 31, 2017, marked the 500th anniversary of the start of the Protestant Reformation!!  Jen, Heather and I spent our entire school day together, teaching our 11 children about Martin Luther, the monk who changed church history.

The day before our grand celebration, the kids gathered outside to paint the Wittenburg church doors where Martin Luther would nail his '95 Theses.' 

 We looked up pictures of the actual doors and the kids loved getting to recreate them!!

We left for Anacoco bright and early Halloween morning and arrived in time to help Heather finish up her (perfect) German pretzels!!

Some were salted, while others were swirled in cinnamon and sugar.  All were delicious, ha!!

Here is Grammie praying over us!! We all went outside for a picnic lunch and a history lesson.

Gumbo, potato salad, sweet tea.. let's celebrate the Reformation everyday. ;)

Heather read the historical account of Martin Luther while the kids ate..

..and Jen and I snacked on her homemade Apple Strudel!!


Once the kids understood the basis of what happened, we went inside to look at pictures and act it out..

Hahaa, love Hezzy's teacher face!!

Martin Luther was in a horrific thunderstorm and a bolt of lightning struck near him.  He prayed to survive the storm, promising to become a monk if he did.  Here's little Kate running around and saying, "I'll be a monk!  I'll be a monk!!"  Hahaa!!

Luther began studying the Scriptures for himself and found that the church was not preaching that man was saved by grace, through faith..

Instead, the church was twisting scripture and manipulating the people.  One exceptional offense was the selling of indulgences!!  As the kids learned, indulgences were documents the people could buy that would release either themselves or someone else from the punishment of their sins.

So on October 31, Martin Luther publicly objected to these indulgences by nailing his "95 Theses" to the church door, detailing the biblical reasons why these indulgences were wrong.  This would later be called the beginning of the Protestant Reformation.

Kate, Samuel, and Rhett were on the edge of their seats with interest.

Going outside, we had our own little Luther march right up to the church door..

..and proudly stand for the truth as the theses were nailed to the door, haha!!

Way to go, you little monk.

And then it was the kids's turn!!!  Pin the 95 Theses to the church doors, y'all!!

Sadie was a tiny bit sad because she was winning for the entire game.. until Callie went last and somehow edged her out, haha!!  Yaaaayyy for our little reformers!!

The Pope then told Luther to recant or be excommunicated from the church.  The letter he sent was called a Papal Bull and on December 10, 1520, Luther publicly burned it.

And the kids loved getting to do this, ha!!

Watching it burn as we said, "Through grace! By faith! Through grace! By faith!"
When asked to recant at the Diet of Worms assembly in 1521, Luther stated, "Unless I can be instructed and convinced with evidence from the Holy Scriptures or with open, clear, and distinct grounds of reasoning.. then I cannot and will not recant, because it is neither safe nor wise to act against conscience. Here I stand.  I can do no other. God help me. Amen."

So powerful.  So moving.  May we all confidently stand for the truth of the Scriptures. It's probably never going to be easy or popular or without cost.. but it is right and good and true.  And the benefit is entirely ours.

For a month before this celebration, we had all worked with our kids on learning the hymn Martin Luther wrote, "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God."  We joined hands and sang it together to end our celebration.

Ahhhh, what a wonderful day.  I'm so thankful for sisters and our babies and homeschooling!!  What unforgettable experiences it has afforded us!!  I do believe this is one tradition we'll come back together to celebrate every year.
It was such an honor to teach our kids, the next generation, about the reformers who've gone before us, using Scripture as their authority and teaching us to do the same.  May we be in the Word, strong in our stance, and brave in our delivery as we proclaim the truth of Christ to the world.

"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - it is not by works, so that no one may boast." Ephesians 2:8-9

About Me

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From childhood friends to high school sweethearts, and now newlyweds and brand-new parents, Wade and I can only thank Jesus for His incredible blessings. Our three children are the ULTIMATE gifts from God and we pray that our lives glorify Him. He is our everything.