Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Friends and Fun at Delt Church Park

Delt Church Park in LaGrange, IN is such a great place to visit! Room to roam and things to climb makes this a wonderful pick for families of all ages. We certainly enjoyed it while spending some time with our church family enjoying the Sabbath Day of the first day of Unleavened Bread. It's such a blessing to fellowship together with those who also observe His days.

Benaiah sure enjoyed the swings. He looked like he was sleeping but really he was very relaxed sitting in the sun and swinging in the breeze. Many other little ones enjoyed the swings too. And Amalyah had fun pushing Naiah. She sure is cute! And of course, Benaiah is too!!!

Asleep or not? That was the question.
Just really relaxed!

Some of the ladies just watching the children busy at play. We had a beautiful day to fellowship and enjoy one of the first spring like days. Couldn't have been any nicer for us!

This playground has some very unique things. It really is a fun place to hang out for awhile.

Peek a boo! She did need help getting down, which is why I didn't get a smile, but I couldn't resist the picture before helping her get back to the ground. Love how her hair is blowing in the breeze. Truly thankful for all of the children that are part of our's and our children's lives.

Who is that masked man? From the other side of the playground, I looked through one of the openings to one of the slides and who did I see? This is zoomed in, but what a great picture reflecting the fellowship that he has with his brothers in the Lord. We are so blessed!

Alegra and Hope. These little seats gave the saying "sit and spin" a whole new meaning. Too bad I didn't get a picture of Vicki trying her hand at these.

Oh that sun was so bright but very lovely. Everybody enjoyd passing Benaiah around as usual. I don't think that boy is loved at all. :)

This contraption was very interesting and I did try it, both with the young lady in the above picture holding Benaiah and once with Jonathon. I much preferred it with Sarah, as Jonathon actually sent me flying off of it. Guess I needed a little more weight. Alegra wouldn't take our picture doing it because she said we were being too rough. If your feet on the step hit the tires, your feet bounce off of the step. A little scary, but really scary when you actually fly off more than an inch and your feet totally miss the step on your way back down. Okay, maybe I'm glad she didn't take our picture. I probably wouldn't have looked my best. :)
Time to gather them all up for a group picture!

After all the hard playing that the children did, it was time for a nap I guess. I think the adults were thinking that more than the children were. I think they were mocking us here. :)

We didn't quite get everybody in the picture, but the majority. I should have placed them a little better as you can't even see Alegra but that's okay. I was just glad to get such a nice picture with them all. And there is no picture taking without.......

a crazy picture. Oh the fun that we had. Even the adults got in on the fun of the playground. What a great place to spend some time as a family or with friends. We will certainly be visiting this park again!

A Great Day for a Scavenger Hunt

We honored my dad for his birthday by sending him on a scavenger hunt in Shipshewana. It was a cold day for such an activity, but we all had fun and the children had "getting to know you questions" for him, so they learned a little about grandpa. We started out by meeting them at the Davis Mercantile, singing "Little Red Caboose". That was an easy clue for him, and we all set out to the only red caboose in town.

Of course the children had to help him find the clues.

Most of the clues had something to do with dad's life, whether past or present. Some of them were easy, but then others made him think. And some we had to give extra clues to for him to figure out. With each clue we included a coupon for a free drink at Pilot truck stops. Since my dad is a truck driver, I thought this would be a great gift for him to enjoy on more than just this special day. I think he was quite pleased with those coupons, especially since he started working for a new company and there is a Pilot truck stop right across the road. That worked out nicely, I'd say.
This clue was at Kid's Creations. I believe the clue said something along the lines of "As you have gotten older, you get more of these". He thought for sure it was something physically related, but they have been blessed with a lot more fun, crafty papers from lots of little ones.

The last clue took us to get pizza. Yummy, as we were all quite hungry after our walk around town. We had pizza, ice cream and we all played dominoes. A great family time!

Happy Birthday, Dad! Thanks for guiding our family in the right direction and teaching me so many great lessons just from your example. Love you!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Davis Mercantile Homeschool Week

Well, we haven't done so well with field trips this year. I don't know, maybe it's because I have another little body to keep track of that is causing me to not be as excited about going out with all four of them. :) We do however get very excited when the Davis Mercantile in Shipshewana has their Homeschool Week. This year a small handfull of us from church went along with Grandpa Daniel and Grandma Deborah. We were glad that Grandpa Daniel could join us since he doesn't get to spend very much time with the children. It was a fun day!

For the Homeschool Week some of the stores participate by doing an I Spy themed treasure hunt. Tokens for the carousel are hidden throughout the building for the children (or adults in some cases) to find. And boy did we find them! Carousel rides for everybody! Yay!!! And they had to read clues and do different things with counting or figuring out answers to questions that pertained to the store. This year two of the stores had coloring contests which made my children really excited. We had just been talking about coloring contests and they all wanted to enter one, if we only knew of a place that was having them. That was answered and they all colored great pictures! We'll see if anybody from our group wins anything.

In the Scrapyard, we had to count how many different kinds Shipshewana paper that was. I was very surprised at the paper. I had no idea Shipshewana had their own paper designs. Here is a small example of what they had:

Diella's just says Shipshewana at the bottom and Alegra's is an actual picture of the carousel. Very neat!

After all of our clues were found, we headed upstairs to the coloring table where they created their masterpieces for the coloring contests. They were busy at work!

They had to color a Kooky Pen for the Kooky Pen Club and a quilt square for a gift certificate for the Mercantile.

Here Josiah is coloring and grandma is doing his word search. Those were very hard and they were tricky in not making them all the same. They all had the same words but the mixed up the letters. I guess they didn't want any cheating. Does grandma doing the word search count as cheating? :) We didn't turn any of them in because they were just too much for my aged children.
Benaiah Daniel sure is fond of his Grandpa Dan. As you can tell from his gaze. It is moments like this though that makes me wish that he could have met his grandpa Byron too. He would have loved and loved and loved this little guy.
After coloring and a carousel ride, we all walked to the park to meet up with the other half of our group who were coming to do it all in the afternoon. We had a nice lunch together and then headed back to the Mercantile for the movie and a nice little music lesson from Simple Sounds about instruments around the world. After that, it was pretzel time! Yay, our favorite part!

They gave the children a short history on pretzels and then gave them each their own chunk of dough and let them roll and twist. Here, Zeky and Alegra are really getting into it. Gotta roll those sleeves up even.

Pretzels finished and ready to be baked at the table. It was fun to see how everbody's pretzels were different, and yet they all ate them the same.

Aubrey and Elli worked at one together. Great job girls!
Time to head to the Murphy's. Grandma Linda and Aunt Mandy came and picked up the three older children for some fun at their house while Benaiah and I stayed at Dad and Mom's to give them massages. After mom's massage, here is how I found the two boys. What a tiring day apparently!

A fun day was had by all!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Reading along with the children

We have been reading through the Bible with the children. Most nights we only get one chapter in, but usually there is much thought and discussion about that one chapter after we read it. And because we are only reading one (sometimes) at a time, it is taking us awhile to get very far. That's okay though, because more and more things are sticking out to us. We started in Genesis and are just reading through. Last week, I noticed a portion that I had never contemplated before and have been contemplating it ever since.

When Moses went up on the mount, the others burnt their gold down and made into a golden calf. After this happened, the Scriptures talk about how they had their own feast. They obviously were not focused on God in doing these acts and celebrating. And they called it their feast. I have been thinking of how often we take something so wonderful (such as Moses being gone, spending time with the Lord) and we turn it into something that is not pleasing to Him. They created their own feast! We have done that too in our society. Push Yahweh out of the picture and let's have a feast time that might "look" like it is in celebration of Him but in all reality it is not at all. They brought in pagan worship of an idol when they should have been worshiping the One who brought them out of Egypt. I just don't get it!

So, then the Lord establishes His feast days, and we shrug our shoulders and think it is ridiculous to celebrate something that He established in the Old Testament. It is the Old Testament, you know, and we don't have to live by that old thing. Wow, there is alot in there that He said. I don't think His words changed from when He said them. Why do we so willingly and quickly accept the celebration of our own feast days and so quickly and willingly reject His? I don't get it! But the thing is, I used to do it too. Ashamed now and know that others around me think I am crazy, but I know that I am celebrating what He established for us to celebrate. Holy days that are truly worthy of celebration and completely pure in their roots and history. No mixing of paganism in what He calls us to acknowledge as a time of celebration.

To my family and friends who do not understand and think we are weird, well, study it for yourselves and don't lean on what society says is right to do. In most cases, if the majority goes with it, then it isn't what He would be pleased with. Changing such major things in our lives is difficult, but the blessings that we receive from it after doing it, are far better than going with the flow of traditional christianity and not looking different than the norm.

So, the question is, are you creating your own feast days or celebrating in the ones that others have created or are you celebrating in the feast days that He established for us? And some people think that they are the feasts of Israel. Not true, when God calls them the feasts of the Lord. Clearly they are the ones that He wanted all to celebrate in, not just Israel.

Coming up is the start to a lot of feast days for our family. We celebrate according to what He says to do in the Scriptures. If opens our eyes to new things every year, and we bless Him for giving us this time to reflect on things and certain areas in our lives. We welcome the extra Sabbath days to commune with Him and welcome the abstaining from leaven to remind us of the sin in our lives that we need to get rid of. It's like a spring cleaning of our bodies and souls. Feels good and hopefully, it pleases Him! That is our heart's desire in what we do. To not allow the enemy to creep in with any of his tricks and lies and to only be serving and doing what He will accept as holy. I just can't imagine that He sees too much out in this world that He would deem holy. Put aside all traditional thinking, study it, and give yourselves wholly to Him in being holy as He sees is holy.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Must we learn the hard way?

Last week was a rough week for the Bovees. Jonathon was very busy with work, but some unexpected happenings brought a little stress our way, and now we have been thinking and rethinking some things. It's funny how the Lord uses certain things to teach us lessons. Too bad He doesn't just write us a letter to let us know what He wants.

All of that to say that He opened our eyes to some things that were causing our hearts to not stay on track with what He wants of us. I'm afraid that our desire to get out of debt was far surpassing our desire of things that need to still be present in our lives. We were missing great fellowship with our brothers and sisters because of work. No good! We are finding that this is something that we really need. Though getting out of debt isn't a bad thing, when it is at the top of all you think about, that's when it becomes an idol. Anything really can become an idol. And it wasn't even that we were thinking of money as much as just getting out of debt.

Jonathon developed some back issues last week, that amazingly have gotten a lot better after being prayed for at church. Thank you Father! And some vehicle issues have caused us to fork some extra money out towards that. But even after all that, we still had money to pay all of our bills and still have extra to go towards the house. It is as if the Father was telling us, you can worry and think about it all you want, but ultimately, I have it in my hands. And none of that was accomplished until AFTER we realized where our hearts were with the whole thing. He is amazing how he heals and reveals when we submit to what He wants. Then it all gets cleared up, and we are back to resting in Him again. Why do we have to learn the hard way?!

So that is our debt free update for ya. Not debt free yet, but working towards it with our hearts focused on Him and where He wants us right now. Not pushing to get the job done ourselves and not neglecting other things in life just to get it accomplished. We marvel at His faithfulness to teach us gently. I guess I'm not the one with the sore back though. That might not be so gentle. But praise to Him for healing!

Encouragement for the day: Take time to really listen to what He wants for you. Take time to check your heart even in the things that are of Him. It is way too easy to allow something that can be used by Him to become an idol. He doesn't want anything to replace Him, so truly keep Him at the top of all you think about.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Latest Celebration-The Bollinger 1 Year Anniversary

We set out to outdo ourselves this time with planning an anniversary celebration and it turning into an actual wedding. The story of the bride and groom is so amazing, it would take me too long to recap it, so just know that these are two special people who got married a year ago, as soon as she got here from the Philippines, and because we never recognized their new marriage, we thought we better do something at their one year anniversary.

With them really wanting a ceremony, we thought maybe we could pull off planning a surprise wedding for them and them think that it is just a "celebration for their anniversary". Well, we successfully accomplished the surprise right up until two days before when we told them and had them try on the clothes we had gotten for them.

We had all the details worked out, buying everything that needed to be purchased to do a beautiful wedding that the couple could hold dear to their hearts. Everyone from church donated to the cause and overwhelmed us with their generosity. We had great ideas and all of them were done thanks to everyone pitching in as a community and making it happen.

The above picture is the sign that I made with their pictures on laptop computers as this is how they met and communicated with one another. The computers played a vital role in their relationship blossoming. Oh the things that technology can do these days. = )

The final day came of decorating and getting all the food ready. We did have everyone bring snacky foods, but I made the cakes and some other ladies helped out in making chocolate covered strawberries for the centerpieces. These cakes were so much fun and looked amazing with the white tuling around them. Celebratory cakes for a time of celebration!

These were our centerpieces. The strawberries and then hershey kisses wrapped in tuling. Was delightfully simple and worked perfectly. The table cloths were a super blessing! We had some cloth table cloths at the church but nothing that was really nice. One of the ladies from church volunteered to make table cloths and they were so beautiful! We will have them for many more wonderful celebrations.
Since I certainly couldn't pull off a grand event as this by myself, I had some amazing helpers.
The bouquet above was put together by another one of the ladies. I was able to go shopping in my mother-in-law's craft basement and get most of these flowers for free which was such a huge blessing, but the rest were bought to fill in the gaps. It turned out gorgeous and fit so wonderfully with everything else.

This was one of our last minute blessings. We had some people donate money to us last minute and the mention of a wedding ring for Lovelyn came up and we thought, "extra money=wedding ring for Lovelyn", so one of the ladies went shopping the day before the wedding and found this amazing ring for the bride. It was beautiful and you will later see the reaction from the bride when she got this put on her finger. = )
After all the details are worked through, put together, things decorated, thoughts and ideas covered, and a scurrying around wedding planner (that was me), we were able to finally start the wedding. We had ladies volunteer to fix Lovelynn's hair, the girl's hair, do fingernails, makeup, buy jewelry for her, make a veil for her and whatever else needed done. I couldn't have gotten all this accomplished without the help of all my amazing sisters at church and ultimately the Lord orchestrating everything to work so perfectly. Now let's have a wedding!!!!

Here Lovelynn is with Gary, the one they wanted to walk her down the isle. She looked absolutely stunning in this dress that was found for her. Her nerves were at an all time high, but beauty covered it all up. After we filled them in our wedding ceremony plans, Lovelynn had some things that she wanted in her wedding. I had their wedding all planned out but certainly wanted her to include what she wanted. She put together a slide show of pictures that played while people were coming in, with music that she chose and wanted to be a part of her special day. We kept most of the music that we had picked out for them all except the song that she came down the isle to. A girl has to have her own song for that for sure!
The wedding was late getting started but it was okay. We wanted to have her family from the Philippines join us via Skype, so we waited a little bit longer to get them connected. Thankfully, we were finally able to get her mom and brother on. But as Lovelynn came down the isle, the screen showed that we had lost connection and Lovelynn's face showed disappointment. Not to fear though, because our Skype guy got reconnected with them and they were back on for most of the ceremony. I was so glad that he got that working and Lovelynn could have her mother join her.
Here is a picture of Thad and his boys waiting for the little girls to come down the isle, the musicians singing a song called "Your Side of the World" and Lovelynn's mom and brother watching via skype on the screen.

There is no happier face than a groom's when his bride comes down the isle. And his sister in the background videoing for him with her face being just as surprised at Lovelynn's glow. The ladies did a fabulous job at helping Lovelynn's beauty really shine.

As a family, they lit the unity candle that didn't want to light and I almost panicked. You can't have a unity candle that doesn't want to light! But it finally stayed lit, and I was relieved!

This is the unveiling of the wedding ring for the bride. I think she was wondering if her beloved groom bought it for her. Nope, they have a church family that loves them so much to make this a completed affair with a wedding ring.

And here is the Bollinger family after the ceremony getting pictures taken. The pictures all turned out so nice.

Eating time! There was such an assortment of goodies brought in. It all looked amazing! I didn't get to try too much as I was busy running around, but I did sit for a moment and have some cake.

Jonathon wrote a lovely song for the couple. It was to the tune of the Beverly Hillbillies so you can imagine how wonderful it was, but it did bring many laughs from everyone and it really was a hit as you can tell from the applause he got in this picture.
We also reserved a night for them at a Bed and Breakfast in Middlebury. We had families take their children, and we quickly got them sent out the door. I am sure they would have liked to have stayed and fellowshipped with all of us, but their evening wasn't over. So, we rushed them to get changed and then everyone met them outside with glow sticks.

There are no pictures of them coming out with the glow sticks all around, but there were some of the guests waving their glowsticks. It was a great effect for leaving in the evening. Good thing we didn't go with the candle idea because it was windy and they would have never stayed lit.
Back inside we all went to start the clean up. Everyone pitched in and things were cleaned up and back in order for church the next day. It was a busy evening, but well worth it! I heard lots of people say it was the nicest wedding they had ever been to. That's because there were so many people helping, covering areas that needed covered and making sure that this couple got the royal treatment. It helps to have so many people planning an event. Thanks to all of you who helped, pitched in, and made it a dream come true for Lovelynn. It was a blessing to them and to those of us who planned it.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Yesterday at a glance.

Lately people have been asking me how I do it with four little ones and homeschool. My answer is always, "you do what you have to do and that is just what you do". Ha! Not real clear, but how am I to explain to someone how I manage my day with 4 children and get all the other tasks of a mother and wife done at the same time. It's tricky and doesn't always go as planned MOST days, but we do what we have to and at the end of the day, if something didn't get done, well, I have to remind myself that it doesn't really matter as long as I am training my children properly and molding them and not my materialistic home. We wanted to share our day with you from yesterday.
Here is Josiah doing an I Spy puzzle. He did most of it all by himself. He is the "just put pieces together" type, so I showed him about doing the outside pieces first. I don't think he was impressed and will probably put it together his way next time anyway. Oh well. And he dressed himself this morning. Camo and Hawaai go hand in hand, don't they?

Here is Alegra soaking up some sunshine on my bed while doing her math. Pretty soon it will be warm enough to do school outside and then we will be done with school. Yay! Working towards being done by May 1st so they can enjoy the warmth and not have to think about school while the weather is nice.

Here is Benaiah taking some crawling lessons. This little guy sure isn't interested in crawling. He is starting to get more brave when leaning forward, usually toppling to his belly. I am just glad I haven't had to deal with him being mobile while the woodstove is in full swing of heating season. I'd be happy if he would just wait until warmer weather. Not sure how gardening season will go with him, but I'll do what I have to and that's just what will happen. :)

The girls went outside to play after school work was done. Doesn't this picture look funny? It was warm but not warm enough to melt away our big pile that Jonathon made for them when we had all the snow. They got creative and played with golf clubs and tennis balls, pushing them around their paths in the snow.

And Diella being crazy as usual. She is quiet upon first appearance, but inside, she is a girl with all sorts of silliness. So, when she saw I had the camera, all joking broke loose. What a great day for the children to be outside getting some fresh air.

This is how our day usually ends. The Papa carries in his satellite boxes and begins assembling them. Benaiah loves watching him. As this picture is evidence of that. Then the children help carry out empty boxes and they sit and watch a huge fire of boxes burning. We have had a couple quiet moments this winter just standing by the fire in the middle of coldness while the children are in the house getting ready for bed. Those quiet moments don't seem to happen often enough, but we sure enjoy the ones we get.

That little guy sure is happy. He doesn't think there is any better place than with his dad doing work. Well, he might like his mom too, but only until I'm not his main food source. I am so blessed that my husband makes sure that his children love him from day one. I would be a wearisome momma if they wouldn't go to him or be consoled by him. What a great dad he is!
Well, today is another beautiful day! Yesterday morning I woke up to hearing sandhill cranes outside. Jonathon said he saw them (about 5 of them) in the field when he left for work. Felt like spring with the sounds of birds first thing to start the day. Looking forward to more singing in the mornings soon.

Monday, March 1, 2010

A day at our house is always entertaining

Well, I just couldn't resist posting the funness that we experience when Benaiah takes a bath. Upper body pictures is all that I will take, but really, with this little guy, that's all that really needs to be seen. He LOVES baths!!!! And the floor gets a bath too. And we get wet feet, and sometimes wet if someone is sitting at the table. So, here is our picture collage of our cutie, Benaiah taking a bath.

See all that water everywhere? Yep, it's a mess and he doesn't have a care in the world.

Sometimes I try to get him to stop, but you know, with this kind of a face looking at me when he is sending water all across the kitchen, it is just really hard to make him stop.

Hope you enjoyed his bath time!

So, we still have snow here in Michigan. Yesterday Jonathon was able to give the children some excitement with the sled and tractor. What fun memories he is able to give our children. I can remember getting pulled by the tractor when I was a girl, down Adams Rd on an intertube. Such good memories!
Wood is hauled up to the house, the fire is nice and warm, and today the sun is shining brightly. What a great day! Jonathon will be home in a bit, library movies are due, and I am going to check on getting some Bettercream for some cakes I am making for the next Celebration coming up on March 12th. Have I mentioned how excited I am for this one? You can be sure there will be lots of pictures, if I have time to take some while I am running around being the planner that I am. = )
Well, I am being asked (over and over by a sweet little girl) if she can play webkinz, so I better go and give her her time. Then I am shipping them all outside to get some vitamin D for the day. Hooray for the sun!!!