Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 in Photos

Mrs. R:

The much beloved 23rd Psalm says, "Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life." This truth about God's care of His children has most certainly been true for Mr. R and me for more than 31 years, and 2014 was no exception. The year wasn't devoid of some very hard times (posts for another time...perhaps). During those trials, God has been with us. Isn't it glorious that one of Jesus' names is Emmanuel which means "God with us"? That promise of intimate help and love is mind boggling! 

On New Year's Eve, I can't help but look at our collection of photos from 2014 and stand in awe of the Lord's goodness. Each and every one of these photos is a clear, sharp reminder of God's faithfulness and lovingkindness to our family in 2014.

I'll finish with a sneak peak at our newest family member, Bella, just moments after we brought her home to some happy kiddos...

...and with a couple of shots which Sarah has sent us from Zambia where she absolutely loves working with the orphanage's 28 fatherless children.

God is faithful!

Monday, December 29, 2014

There's No Play Like Snow Play

Mrs. R:

Christmas follows so quickly on the heals of Thanksgiving that I haven't yet finished the posts I'd like to do to celebrate God's goodness to our family during the week of Thanksgiving.

So here are more of the photos from our family reunion.

Each morning during our week together, we carried out our family's daily practice of reading a Psalm and the chapter of Proverbs corresponding with the day of the month. When we finished, our youngest children and our oldest grandchildren, wanted to go outside to play on our swing set. The temperature was remarkably mild for our nearly polar region in the upper Midwest in late November. However, significant bundling was still required.

Thus our oldest daughter, Anna, set to work layering clothes on her second daughter, 14-month-old Evelyn.

After a bit of happy wrestling, the jacket was on and the zipper conquered.

Now it was time for the gloves. Yes, gloves. I can almost hear the gasps of our readers who are mothers. Getting a toddler into gloves is a task of equal challenge to balancing the national budget. Anna good-naturedly tried...

...and tried...

...and tried while Evelyn quietly and patiently endured her momma trying to get those chubby little fingers to cooperate.

But the attempt to get gloves on Evelyn was eventually given up. Now I can hear many of our readers signing an compassionate, "Done that, been there." Gloves and toddlers just don't go together!

Evelyn's daddy, Aaron, swooped his little one up for an outdoor adventure.

However, Evelyn was fading by this tine and ready for her morning nap.

However, her Auntie Eliana was full of pent-up energy. Thankfully, our 10-year-old had her sister, Hope, as well as Aaron and Anna's other daughter, Brielle, with who to explore the great outdoors.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

With Faith

Here's another glimpse of the multi-faceted jewel that our Thanksgiving week was. Here 14-year-old Faith helps her nephew, William, slip off to sleep once he was all-decked-out in his pajamas one evening. William's many aunts and uncles were each exceedingly glad when it was finally their turn to hold the seven-week-old little guy.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Thankful for Thanksgiving

Mrs. R:

As we begin to wrap up preparations for the celebration of Christ's birth on Christmas, Mr. R. and I continue to thank God for our family's WONDERFUL Thanksgiving. For a full week, we had all of our children and grandchildren in our home (with the exception of Sarah who is serving in an orphanage in Zambia). We experienced the most glorious fellowship. I took this photo on one of the evenings as some of that rich love and laughter was taking place in the kitchen.

Thursday, December 11, 2014


Mrs. R:

The test of salvation isn't whether I can live well...but rather, can I die. Can I give up my desires to my King...can I serve happily wherever He places me? My well being isn't the question. The question is: Am I willing to do Kingdom work even where I'd rather not? Am I willing to trust God for His enabling grace to serve in the hardest place in which He could put me? Am I willing to trust God that He is good? Am I willing to trust God that He is GOOD and does good? Am I willing to trust God when He says in the Bible that He loves me? Because, if I trust Him on these points, then I can joyfully concede that the hardest situation in which the Lord could place me is for my good. Ultimately, I will be blessed and He will be glorified.
Am I willing to trust God when He says repeatedly in His word that He will carry the load?

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Many Reasons to Give Thanks

Mrs. R:

Our Thanksgiving began with a time of family Bible reading this morning. We then sang a couple of hymns. With twenty of us in the house this Thanksgiving we nearly qualify as a choir.

As soon as worship time was over, an intense strategy game started at the kitchen table.

By eleven, the meal preps for the holiday feast were fully underway. Many hands helped peel the potatoes...

...but the special touch that turns them into world's best mashed potatoes is Kirsten's. When we adopted her from Russia four years ago this month, she brought with her this special skill that has blessed our family many times.

However, when Kirsten's cousin, Amanda, wandered into the kitchen, Kirsten paused in her stirring and asked if I would take a picture of the two of them.

Meanwhile, Grandpa's preparation of the stuffing was happily interrupted by a visit from Brielle and Eliana. 

As much as Brielle normally likes being kissed by her grandpa, this time the two-year-old was far more interested in what Grandpa was doing than in his show of affection. 

The dilemma was easily solved when we found a way to position Brielle as Grandpa's helper. She became the keeper of the key ingredient for our family's stuffing recipe: SAGE.

Soon it was time to open the bottle...

...and shake!!! We learned years ago that great stuffing takes a great deal of sage. This year we started passing down that learning to the next generation.

Brielle watched eagerly as Grandpa stirred in the sage she had added.

Then she added another round of the all-important seasoning as Amanda prepared chicken broth to add to the mixture to moisten it.

Next, Brielle was eager to help Grandpa stir the massive mound.

She watched intently as he got out the foil pan in which the stuffing would be baked.

Finally, she helped Grandpa transfer the stuffing into the baking pan.

They scraped and scraped to get every last bit.

Finally, the holiday masterpiece was ready for the oven.

Since she was already in position, Brielle then wanted to help Amanda by drying the dishes.

Our big girl was such a big help!

Just as I was ready to put my camera away, I saw Kirsten slide over to give her daddy a hug as he turned his attention from the stuffing to the preparations necessary before getting the turkeys out of the oven. I didn't capture the special moment in focus, but I couldn't resist posting the photo anyway.

Our family has countless reasons to give thanks to God! The Lord has been so good to us. He abounds in lovingkindness!