Thursday, December 29, 2016

Christmas Traditions

Early Christmas Sunday Morning! 
This was our 16th year taking tracts and cookies to local businesses 
and each time it just gets more fun!
One of our cold, windy stops on our first time doing this in Iowa!
So blessed to be able to share the gospel and sing on Christmas morning.
Lovely Christmas Brunch! 
(Still loving the little farmhouse God provided while we continue work on the house. These world famous tables traveled over 50,000 miles with us to AGENDA events in 2016. So happy we can gather family and friends for fellowship at "home" again!) 
One sure thing about any Bowers breakfast or brunch is lengthy and loaded conversations!
 They have been as long as six hours on record. :)
Coconut Mango Sorbet. Yes! For brunch. It was fabulous!
Not sure if this is passing the plate in a dignified mannerly way or a tug-o-war. Cinnamon toast, stretchy eggs, sausage, and more lovely items to be thankful for.
Dressed for success. :)
Certainly no brunch (or any meal for that matter) is complete unless something gave its life. Thankful to our sweet friend Allison who left a bundle of this at our door one day!
Daddy and Mother. :)
A few special gifts for our New Year New Things Celebration.
AGENDA Super Sale bundles heading out the door to the Post Office!
Lina & Cass playing for the Candlelight service at church.
Home Sweet Home for a few more weeks!  

Friday, December 16, 2016

The Live Animal Christmas Play

 The Live Animal Christmas Play has been a tradition at Marion Avenue Baptist for 42 years and let's just say...thesaurus moment! Stunningly beautiful. Heart piercing. 
Practically like being at the theater in London. 

Over 4,000 precious souls from all over the region heard the gospel in song and saw the Christmas story in a breathtaking, unforgettable way. We were beyond blessed to "clean up around the edges" and add a new VERY favorite tradition to our family.

Crockett LOVED the donkey, and Carver followed right behind very well. :)
 Caleb and Katie Garraway, who played Joseph and Mary, travel 10 months out of the year with their children in full time evangelism and music ministry.
 104 members of the cast and crew sang "Jesus Saves" at the end of the crucifixion scene. 
This is one of the most amazing productions around.

Favorite Moments From Behind The Scenes

Hot chocolate, cookies and smiles before each showing.
So sweet to visit with folks from all over!
Christian sorting a small section of the costume room.
Lina and Charlie worked backstage and had a fantastic time.
Crockett! SO adorable.
Backstage. Fullswing!
Charlie cleaning up the aisles because after all... this was a LIVE animal play!  :)
Seven showings in just three days. Amazing!! 
Constant costume/makeup changing through the play.
The makeup crew. 
Even the fellas wore makeup because of the lighting.
This was especially fun for a certain sister in the crew with six brothers! :)
What an incredible outreach to the community! 
Many folks we invited attended with their parents or their children years ago.
Still smiling! 
Perfecting the art of chess in between scenes. :)
Lina with the "Baby Jesus" we were got to share over the weekend. :)
Coffee run during a break with these ladies!
"Born Thy people to deliver, born a Child and yet a King, 
born to reign in us forever, now Thy gracious kingdom bring. 
By Thine own eternal Spirit, rule in all our hearts alone.
By Thine all sufficient merit, raise us to Thy glorious throne!"

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

How We Got to the Kalona Coffee House


When we last updated this blog of ours the hammers were flying, 
fresh drywall was perched in the dining room and finding the perfect paint colors topped the list of TO DO items.

We thought a nine month road tour certainly whittled away rough spots in each of us. And then... we met our house! We love our house. We know the Lord put us here in answer to SO many precious prayers of dear friends.

And just like worthwhile friendships require quality time, unconditional love and grace abundant when imperfections abound...so does our house. :)

Because the Lord loves us and continues to refine us in unexpected ways, 
He has allowed this to be the homeschooling project of the CENTURY in what feels like the coldest state in America during the busiest season of the year! 

But as only He can do, He has faithfully provided for our every need once again.

 Just about the time it got FREEZING and we had to winterize (and move out of!) the bus, a very kind man agreed to rent his sweet little farmhouse to us month by month until we finish. 

SO! Warm are we,with too many delicious things coming out of the oven, favorite friends just over the hill, and peace in our hearts that God is always at work behind the (somewhat random) scenes. 

From this angle things look pretty good! :)
From this angle things look...promising. :) Fixing the kitchen ceiling.
One of the supply corners. :)
Living room wall demolition. Stage one. 
Stage two. Thank you, Charlie!
Stage three. All GONE! 
Wahoooo for bright RED floors!
Crockett and Chapman working in the side yard. 
Love the influx of vehicles, people and projects!
Third dumpster FILLED!
If ever we cannot locate our dear Crosby our best bet is up a tree! :)
 Somethings just need to add up.

Now they do.
Crosby helping watch a little friend.
Decided a few extras would be fun, and 9 children under 10 makes for A LOT of interesting.
So happy we got to have these little people with us for a few days. 
Crockett gets 25 cents per mouse and recommends Kirkland Signature 
Peanut Butter so as not to eliminate rodents with more sophisticated palettes. :)
Our truck showed up from Idaho right before the ice and snow! Praise the Lord!
Daddy had lunch on the lawn with the semi-truck driver who delivered the truck.
 He was a very kind Christian man and they had a great visit. 
With the help of coffee and way too many quesadillas, our friend 
Dave and Charlie head up day and night excavation and rebuilding.
We are most thankful for their diligence and sense of humor!
Celebrating! Crockett turned 11 and got to try a locally made Whoopie Pie!
Looks like a committee of something. Ha!
Yummy apples at StringTown, our new favorite Amish store. 
Lina and Cass took a little road trip down to Texas 
with friends for the National Bible Bee. 
One of our favorites! Listening to so many Scripture passages was such an inspiration.
Moments powered by coffee are so much better!
Singing led by this sweet family.
Progress continues on the homefront.
Many hands make FUN work! :)
Little's favorite game is called "Life on the Farm". We do hope to try life on the farm in real life soon! :) 
Daddy and Lina on a date in Fairfield.
Newest escape route. Please do not try this at home. :) 
Will we miss dumpsters when this season is over? Hmmm.
Due to lack of power in rather key places we advanced to crockpots on the porch. 
We now have four and LOVE them like friends. :)
 Lots of happy dinners in the bus.
Never a dull moment! These three keep things hoppin'. Sometimes they even look angelic.
Another wall going down.
FYI: this is THE place to get good life skills! Consider yourself invited. :)
The future Bowers dining hall. :) 
Daddy and Carver out for dinner and supplies.
Happy Birthday Izzie with our sweet Gini! 
Can't believe our BABY is really six!
If you've never had the privilege of a Costco run with
Carolina trust me...you are missing out!
Crockett's only criteria is all mice or rats must be fresh. Skeletons do not count.
But these do! Wahooooo!
Late night demolition. Fueled by gluten free rice bread and leafy green smoothies.
Somewhere along the way an unidentified brother hacked into the water pipes.
Christian plugging the leak (more like hydrant) in the basement. :)
Energy ball party in the bus. Not that we need more energy. Really. :)
Trench digging for power lines!
Ended our wild and wooly November with several amazing family walks!
Walking and freezing continued.
Truly wonderful time of thanksgiving at this yummy restaurant
recounting ALL that God has done.
We are SO blessed beyond measure by His faithfulness to each of us,
and it was a privilege to gather the Bowers round and have sweet fellowship together.
In early December the Lord provided this cozy spot for us.
We are VERY happy to be here for hot 
chocolate, Challah bread, twinkle lights, and all things warm and winterish. Our neighbors are almost all Amish and we love to see them pass by with their horses and buggies.
Absolutely beautiful. Isn't the Lord so GOOD!!? 
 And this...is how we got to The Kalona Coffee House!
All set to blog away from here and do AGENDA business until house projects are done. 
"Thy bountiful care, what tongue can recite? It breathes in the air, it shines in the light."
"Thy mercies how tender, how firm to the end. Our Maker, Defender, Redeemer, and Friend."