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Sunday, October 24, 2010

An extra long visit from Grammy and Grandpa

Get ready for pictures!! Grammy and Grandpa were here for 2 weeks and had a TON of fun with the kids.

Timothy was excited to show Grammy and Grandpa how he could read.

A fun game of Twister with Tim and Savannah.

Sarge came along for the trip as well. I am not sure who was more worn out when they left - Tim and Savannah or Sarge.

Can you say spoiled?

Grammy watched several of Sarah's dance practices.

Tim gets Dairy Queen and Savannah gets watermelon?

My grown up girl.

Playing at Verda James park.

With Grammy.....

...and Grandpa.

Sarah can never pass up an opportunity to prance around the house...or the yard.

Grandma's girl - Lindsay.

Our family after church minus Allie, who stayed went home after church with a friend.

My sweet lil' cowgirl.

Sarah joined in the dancing fun.

Grandpa helped out with math!

Grammy had a great time teaching the kids Bible songs -- with all the motions, too.

The girls had a special night out with dinner at Olive Garden and The Sound of Music play.

While Phil and I were driving all around Chicago, my friend Brenda was driving Children's Chorale kids all over Casper. Allie's small group of singers came and sang to Grammy and Grandpa and the kiddos.

Timothy and Savannah dressed and ready for church with their Bibles in hand.

More group pictures....with Grammy.

...and Grandpa.

Timothy and Savannah singing one last song before Grammy and Grandpa got on the road toward Ohio.
Thanks to my mom and dad for doing such a great job watching, shopping, teaching, feeding, and playing with the kids!

Not too old for chocolate cake!

When we arrived home we found that Grammy had baked a cake with the girls.

9+8+8+4+7 +1+1+1+1= 40!!

Happy Birthday, Daddy!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A Big Chicago Birthday for Phil

The timing couldn't have been more perfect for a big 40th birthday present for Phil!!

It all began with a phone call from Phil informing me about a writing conference he wanted to go to in Chicago on the 21st and 22nd of October. After we hung up, my thoughts started racing, wondering if the idea in my mind could actually work.

Phil's big 40th birthday was on October 24, just 2 days after his conference was to finish. Phil's favorite team is the Chicago Bears and wouldn't ya know that they DID have a home game on the 24th!!

My parents planned on staying a week in Casper while I was in Texas, and I wondered if there was any way that I could talk them into staying for an extra week so that I could accompany Phil on his trip and add an extra couple of days for birthday fun.

Well..... as the title of this blog post suggests - it all came together perfectly!

We bought these tickets on EBay, which happened to be cheaper than any of the posted prices on other sites.

As we pulled up to our hotel, Phil noticed (rather loudly, I might add) the name of the street. This will mean nothing to those of you that do not take an interest in football.

While Phil sat in class and learned a ton of useful information, I had a VERY long, nice lunch with my good friend Christy that lives in the area.

If you know Phil, he can never pass up an opportunity to check out upcoming concerts. He discovered that Lincoln Brewster was playing in Illinois on Friday night. He bought the tickets THEN told me the concert was in Springfield -- a 3 hour trip away (one way). It was a fun concert but we both decided the one I chose the following night was the better of the two.

During my internet browsing I came across A Night with the Chapmans. I had just finished reading Mary Beth Chapman's book Choosing to See, which chronicled much of her life story as well as the tragic accident involving their daughter Maria.

After a concert trip 3 hours away on Thursday, we traveled to Indiana, although just an hour away, on Friday night. Phil was surprised to see Geoff Moore take the stage and perform a few songs with Steven Curtis Chapman.
On Saturday morning we packed our bags, returned the rental car and moved to our downtown hotel, The Palmer House. Phil found a great deal on this historic hotel. However, we had no idea we would be staying at the same place with Chicago's opponents for the game on Sunday -- the Washington Redskins!!

After I checked in, I was walking down the hallway to meet Phil out front and discovered a row of spectators and very large, well dressed men walking in through the roped off entrance. It didn't take me long to figure out that it was the Redskins' football team. I quickly snapped this picture with my phone of Donovan McNabb talking with a young fan.

Phil and I actually saw McNabb a couple more times as we wandered around the hotel.

From the balcony above, I zoomed in on Mr. Young's offensive game plan. :)

The view out our window.

We got up early Sunday morning and walked to a downtown church service.

After the church service, we finished our trek to Soldier Field. The weather forecast was for clouds and possible rain, but it passed over and the weather the entire game was BEAUTIFUL!

We were up in the stands fairly high, with a spectacular view of the field and the lake.

We were much too busy cheering for Da Bears to take pictures. Unfortunately the Bears lost by 3, but the game was exciting and a great birthday present for Phil.

While football is a sport Phil and I both enjoy, it's pleasures are fleeting and temporary; that is why I love to see players from both teams come together for prayer at the end. Tim liked that #22 Mattt Forte was one of the players praying!

We relished every bit of the experience and stayed until the stands were almost emptied.

Happy 40th Birthday, honey.

Early Monday morning we packed up, took a train to the airport and arrived in Casper by lunchtime. It was a great trip and an experience neither of us will soon forget!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Lots of True Women in 2010

In 2008, I had the amazing opportunity to travel to Chicago with 5 other ladies for the first ever True Woman Conference.

When we received word that there would be three conferences held in 2010, I was excited to double the number that went the first time. Three of us that went in 2008 (Brenda, Deb and I) were able to go to Fort Worth and we were so excited to share the experience with 10 other ladies that had never been!!

On October 13th we piled into 3 vehicles and drove from Casper to Denver. The drive down was hilarious as we played "car switcheroo" and barely made the airport exit!!

After flying from Denver to Dallas/Ft. Worth airport, we met up with Melody who had flown in from Arizona. We had a limo waiting for us and we quickly loaded our luggage and continued our laughing all the way to the hotel.

Is that Erin or a movie star?

Lizz will thank me later for posting this picture. Just proof of our happy faces!

The group from left to right: Candice, Donna, Brenda, Jan, Melody, Lynda, Kim, Christie, Lizz, Jodi, Erin, Deb and Sharla. I was shocked to notice those tricksters in the back row up to their antics again!

Another group photo at the hotel was taken but this time we added a few more faces - Rachel and Ezra. We were so happy to spend some time with the Boaz family on Wednesday night and Thursday morning. Kevin was our previous associate pastor and had moved to Texas a little more than a year before. None of us had yet had the pleasure of seeing their newest addition, baby Ezra.

The conference began on Thursday afternoon and lasted through Saturday afternoon. Our brains and hearts were filled to over-flowing with all of the solid, Biblical, counter cultural messages on Biblical womanhood and various other topics.

We enjoyed the warm sunshine with our box lunches. Texans could save a lot of money by reducing the amount of their air conditioning!!

Our hotel was listed as a national historic landmark, and has welcomed many famous and important guests. None would prove to be more significant than President John F. Kennedy and the First Lady, Jacqueline. Using the hotel as a backdrop, the young President addressed the thousands who had gathered to catch a glimpse of America's most popular political figure. His final speech came minutes later in the hotel’s Crystal Ballroom where 2,000 attendees joined the President and First Lady for breakfast. In only a few short hours the Hilton Fort Worth hotel in Texas would go down in history as the place where President John F. Kennedy spent his last night.

One last group photo before heading back to the airport. So many of us were struggling by the end of the trip with "bad Texas hair"!!

This trip was so much more than a conference. It was not designed to simply teach and entertain, though it did both of these things. It was and is so much more than that. It's about a movement of Christian women who desire to honor God by living counter-cultural lives that reflect the beauty of Christ and His gospel to our world. It starts in individual hearts, then to the homes, then to the local church and into the community, ultimately impacting the world.

One of the statements from the Manifesto that sums up the mission of True Woman and is an aspiration for our ladies and our church is:
Mature Christian women have a responsibility to leave a legacy of faith, by discipling younger women in the Word and ways of God and modeling for the next generation lives of fruitful femininity.

True Woman has graciously posted almost all of the main and breakout sessions on its web page. There are many wonderful messages that are well worth listening to or downloading.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Fantastic Fall Photos

An impromptu trip to Casper mountain on October 2nd turned out to be a great photo opportunity for me. Anyone that has more than 1 child can probably agree that taking pictures of kids can be a strange mix of joy and frustration!

I told the kids to wear casual fall-type clothes. I couldn't believe how well they looked together.

Our first stop and just a few steps away was this perfect split fence for the first group photo. Some days I am still in awe of the fact that after years of trying for one child, we have 5!!

Allie snapped this one of Phil and I.

Allie Rebekah - 13 years

Sarah Elizabeth - 11 years

Lindsay Gabrielle - 9 years

....and these two cutie-pies: Savannah - 2 and Timothy 4 years old.

The girls were walking up ahead of me. I hollered at them to stop and turn around. How great was this!

Timothy keeping all his sisters in line.

Our second group photo.

And more individual ones of each of the kids:






Drum roll, please......

I LOVE LOVE LOVE the way this pictured captured each one of the kid's unique personalities!! Good job, kiddos!!

Don't be surprised if this photo resurfaces as a Christmas photo.