Monday, September 30, 2013

40 Days for Life ~ The Book!

Our family is currently reading the book "40 Days for Life," written by David Bereit and Shawn Carney.  Each day we read one of the forty chapters, and they are such inspiring stories of the amazing things God has done around the 40 Days for Life campaigns.   The testimonies give us such hope and encouragement!  We highly recommend it!! 

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Timmy Turns 9!

Can't believe it,
but it's true!
Timmy is now nine!
 As part of his birthday festivities,
he was very blessed to have a special outing with his sis, Lydia!
She took him shopping for a very fun gift,
and then treated him to lunch!
Thank you Richie and Lydia! 

Breakfast of choice . . .
strawberry-cream cheese filled crepes!  Yum! 

 Then, some more fun with opening some gifts from all his other siblings!
Dinner of choice . . .
chicken and rice filled burritos!
We also so enjoyed having Richie and Lydia be able to join us for the evening! 
  Then,  carrot cake!

And before and in between all of this fun,
he also enjoyed very much the phone calls and cards
from all you loved ones from far away! : -)
Thank you!!!!!

We love you, Timmy!
You are such a blessing to us and bring us so much joy! 
We pray our Lord will continue His awesome work in your life,
growing you up to be a mighty man for Him!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Happy First Day of Autumn!

Some of us are VERY excited about it being the first day of fall today!
(Some more than others . . . Mommy especially!)
 So we thought we should celebrate, and have a luncheon party!  
Our party guests included . . .
Kelley and Cassidy 
(Robyn's sister and niece)
 and . . .
Richie and Lydia!
We sure enjoyed making some fall-like treats,
including pumpkin cookies and pumpkin pie!
And Lydia treated us to her delicious apple pie and blueberry-blackberry pie! 
 Kelley and Cassidy brought a yummy treat and craft all-in-one!
They made these cute little "acorns!"
Lydia also brightened up our buffet table with this lovely bouquet of flowers!
Thank you, Lydia!
They are beautiful!
 After our huge feast,
we had fun taking a few pictures!
The menfolk looking manly.

The cousins!  (Minus McKenna who is already at college.)
Just the girl cousins!

Senior Sisters!  : -)
Just before digging into the desserts,
we played "Catch Phrase" . . .
or was it charades? : -)

 Lydia also blessed Brielle with this new adorable dress she just made with her new sewing machine!

 Love it!
What a fun day!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

The Wonder of God's Great Love!

"I will exalt you, My God the King;
I will praise your name for ever and ever.
Every day I will praise you
and extol your name for ever and ever.
Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise;
his greatness no one can fathom.
One generation will commend your works to another;
they will tell of your mighty acts.
They will speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty
and I will meditate on your wonderful works.
They will tell of the power of your awesome works,
and I will proclaim your great deeds.
They will celebrate your abundant goodness
and joyfully sing of your righteousness."
Psalm 145:1-7
Our loving Father-to-the-fatherless did something really extra special recently for Brielle (and her Mommy!) and I would love to "tell of the power of His awesome works and proclaim His great deeds!" as we document this special little part of Brielle’s story for generations to come!
The story begins back in April as we were preparing for our 3 week trip back east.   I was looking for a sun bonnet for Brielle to pack, and as I was digging through a box of little girl items I had saved from the time when Lydia was a baby, I found a perfect little bonnet.   It has a very old-fashioned look to it, and though I don’t remember the origin of it, I couldn’t remember any of the other Bowes babies wearing it.  I thought at the time, it is as if this unknown bonnet appeared just for Brielle!   It is so perfect for her, and I thought we could claim it for her very own, and that it would make a wonderful keepsake for her.    (I really love saving a few little baby things for each child!) 
So during our 3 week trek across the country and back, she wore it often, and I have lots of adorable pictures of her wearing it.  I was always very vigilant to keep track of it.  It wasn’t easy, as we visited sooooooo many places; in and out of vehicles and strollers; hotels and campgrounds; and through 20+ states and 7,530 miles!    But I always kept an eye on it, knowing one day that it would be a very special part of her treasured keepsakes.  
When we returned home, and after doing all the wash and having everything put away, I went looking for the bonnet.  I searched high and low . . . in strollers, in the truck and camper, in her dresser . . .  everywhere I could possibly think to look.  And I did this over and over to no avail.   I became increasingly sad about the possibility that I had lost this special little bonnet, and I prayed, knowing the Lord knew where it was.  In the meantime, I even called a few places we had been last, where I thought we could have left it, but no one had it.   Since then, I always have kept my eye out for it, as I have cleaned out her clothes and dresser often.  But after many weeks and months having passed and several times of emptying her dresser and reorganizing things, I resigned myself to the fact that the bonnet was really gone forever.
Now fast forward to a few days ago.  I went to bed Tuesday night feeling particularly troubled about Brielle’s situation with still “belonging” to the State, and many things happening (or not happening) in the foster-to-adopt process that are quite unsettling.  That particular day I was very burdened, and thought that I just needed to fast and pray about it all on Wednesday.    So I started out the day, fasting and praying through breakfast, crying out to the Lord for Brielle.   About mid-morning, I went looking for some clothes to dress Brielle for the day.   Guess what I found at that very moment in her same dresser that I had cleaned out many times in the months after our return home from the trip?  Her little bonnet was lying in the bottom drawer, amongst some of her older set of clothes!!!   I couldn't believe my eyes!  
Many times, over the course of the months of looking for the bonnet, I had come to grips with the reality that the bonnet is really a fairly insignificant little piece of fabric and ribbons, and it is just an earthly thing that will be left behind in the end anyway!  But there was always something about that bonnet that just seemed so special, and just for Brielle.   I wanted it for her as a keepsake and remembrance of how very precious she was in her infancy and always will be to us. 
Now, it will always have an even greater significance!!  Our Heavenly Father who loves Brielle even more than we do, chose this particular day and moment to sweetly remind us that she ultimately belongs to Him, and He is orchestrating His good plans for her in His perfect time.   I just feel soooooo blessed with this special kindness from our loving Father.   And I'm so very grateful that He is answering our prayers, in His good way and timing, and He truly cares about every little detail in our lives!!! 
"I will tell of the kindnesses of the Lord,
the deeds for which he is to be praised,
according to all he has done for us -
Yes, the many good things he has done. . . "
Isaiah 63:7a

Celebrating Joseph's 7th and Victoria and Caroline's 17th Birthdays!

We had so much fun as a family, taking Joe, Victoria and Caroline to Cannon Beach, Oregon on Thursday to celebrate their birthdays!  Even Kyle was able to be with us!  And the day was absolutely beautiful!!!  We changed plans last minute from our original  plan of taking them for their usual overnight camping trip to Long Beach, WA on Friday and Saturday, to just the one day at Cannon Beach on Thursday.  With the weather changing over to cooler temps and rain in the forecast, we seized the opportunity to go on Thursday for just the one day while it was still warm and sunny.   And boy, are we glad we did!  It was just perfect conditions!   And Cannon Beach was a lot more fun and picturesque in many ways!  We still finished the day in Long Beach, WA, as Victoria and Caroline really wanted to ride their horses in the arena at the campground where we usually stay.  So, that is where we had dinner and enjoyed the beautiful sunset! 
 We sure enjoyed taking pictures right in front of Haystack Rock!

Valerie, Benjamin and Brielle watched them ride for a while,
and then after our picnic lunch,
we just had to get some pictures of Benjamin enjoying the horses, too!

 He sure loves the horses!

And he seems to be a "natural" at it!
Maybe it is because of all the "horsey" rides he gets in our living room!
 Back to the trailer on a trail made just for the horses!
At Ecola State Park,
while the boys did some tide-pooling,
Kyle enjoyed resting with a good book in hand.
And Valerie played with her puppy, Ellie.

Going tide-pooling is the activity that Joe requested to do to celebrate his birthday! 

 Benjamin got to meet a starfish,
and he wasn't sure he wanted anything to do with it at first!

Then, on to Long Beach for dinner and the beautiful sunset!

Oh, and a little more riding!

 What a wonderful day we had together,
celebrating all the blessings God has given!
 With the sunset behind us,
we pointed the van toward home,
and saw the full "harvest" moon rising!
It was spectacular! 
"Praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord from the heavens,
praise him in the heights above.
Praise him, all his angels,
praise him,
all his heavenly hosts.
Praise him, sun and moon,
praise him, all you shining stars.
Praise him, you highest heavens
and you waters above the skies.
Let them praise the name of the Lord,
for he commanded and they were created.
He set them in place for ever and ever;
he gave a decree that will never pass away.
Praise the Lord from the earth,
you great sea creatures and all ocean depths,
lightning and hail,
snow and clouds,
stormy winds that do his bidding,
you mountains and all hills,
fruit trees and all cedars,
wild animals and all cattle,
small creatures and flying birds
kinds of the earth and all nations,
you princes and all rulers on earth,
young men and maidens,
old men and children.
Let them praise the name of the Lord,
for his name alone is exalted;
his splendor is above the earth and the heavens."
Psalm 148:1-13

Thursday, September 19, 2013

"Memorable" Moments at the Fair (and While Kyle Stayed Home)

As our family is on the road again today celebrating three more birthdays, we began reminiscing about all the memorable moments we've had at the fair.  A few of them could probably go down on our "most embarrassing moments list!"   Thought we'd jot them down for fun and for safe-keeping!  

1.  Another "identify theft" stroller incident . . . this time with Caroline and someone else's green grapes.  : -)   While us girls were waiting for Benjamin to ride a ride, Caroline dug beneath the coats on "our" stroller and found some yummy-looking grapes to eat!  She was a bit surprised that we brought green grapes, but that didn't slow her down as she thoroughly enjoyed them.  It wasn't until she finished the last one that she realized it wasn't our stroller . . . or grapes! : -)  This made us laugh, thinking back to Kyle's mistaken stroller incident . . . same scenario, only drinking some other mom's latte . . . and getting caught by her . . .while sporting a white frothy mustache!  :- )

2.  "Crazy girl" incident - Valerie was asked by one of the Konzelman Band brothers how old she was.  She replied "WE are 16."  WE are 16?  Makes perfect sense . . . to us!

3.  "What are the odds?" incident - On the one dayeverthat Kyle had to stay home all alone after his surgery, and with being "tethered" to his "out of body" plumbing system. :-), the dogs started barking, alerting him to the possibility that someone was approaching the house.  Since solicitors never come to our house (except for a few situations like this one!), his curiosity was piqued.  As he stealthily looked around, he could not see any one, so he went into the garage for a better look down our driveway.  Just as Kyle was walking into the garage, his former baseball buddies from the school's team were peering back at him from the pane-glassed passenger door of the garage.  They yelled his namethere was no escaping now!—and waved, excited to sell him some coupons for a football fund raiser!! He had no choice but to open the door and greet them with a . . . um . . . awkward . . . hello . . . er . . . and trying to explain . . . um . . . his  . . . uh . . ."situation."  

4.  "Not a good idea to 'steal' a police K-9's training sleeve" incident -  Last week, on the night before Victoria and Caroline would start showing their goats, they thought they would be useful by helping to straighten out the freshly laid wood shavings in the show ring.  As they worked diligently to move and rake the shavings around the ring, they noticed that a group of police officers were standing nearby, watching them intently and curiously.  Finally, one of the officers walked over and said, "I don't think I dropped any change in there."  Victoria kindly smiled back at him, thinking to herself Now that was a weird thing to say and not knowing really how to respond to him.  So they kept on about their business of being "helpful" with straightening the wood shavings just right for the upcoming goat show the next day.  But they kept wondering why the police officers were just hanging around there and watching them so carefully.  Soon thereafter, Victoria and Caroline noticed there was a "rug" or something in the center of the ring that needed to be picked up.  So as Victoria approached this "something",  another police officer said, "Please don't take that, we'll need if for the next police K-9 demonstration.  Oh, and don't worry too much about the wood shavings.  The dogs are just going to mess them all up again in about an hour."  : -) At that moment Victoria and Caroline finally realized what was going on with all the police officers standing around and slinked out of the ring feeling rather embarrassed. ;-(

5. "Small world" incident  - Daddy was by himself, holding Brielle and waiting for Timmy and Joe to finish a ride.  Watching the boys, he did not notice one of Brielle's socks fall off onto the ground behind him.  A kind man saw the sock and stopped to pick it up.  As the kind man straightened back up from picking up the sock, they starting realizing who each other was. . . good friends and neighbors from our little town so many miles away! : -)  What are the chances of bumping into each other like this at the Washington State Fair in Puyallup?!! 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Birthday Season Begins with Celebrating Timmy's 9th!

Our birthday season is upon us once again . . .
with 7 of us having birthdays within a 6 week time frame!
And oh, how we love to celebrate each and every one,
and thank God for all He has done!  : -)
First in the line-up is Timothy!
His birthday is actually at the end of September,
but he always enjoys going to the Puyallup Fair to celebrate!
So off we went early yesterday morning!
We are always excited about the teacher and student passes
we're able to pick up from our local school.
They allow our entire family to get in to the fair for
FREE . . . again!
One of the things Timmy loves to do is go on a day when you can have a "Dizzy Pass."
(This allows you to ride all the rides you would like,
as many times as you would like for one price.)
We purchased his, and one for Daddy, Joe and Benjamin, too,
so they could ride along with Timmy.
We got a good discount on these,
ordering them early and online.
While we waited for the bigger rides to open at noon,
the boys enjoyed riding the smaller rides together,
while the sisters and Mommy enjoyed watching them!

Where did Joe go? : -)

And Timmy and Joe always enjoy doing the tractor pull  . . . again and again!

It felt good to take a break now and then to enjoy all the food we packed in.
 While Timmy, Joe and Daddy went on to ride the bigger rides,
the rest of us enjoyed listening to the Konzelman Family.
Their band is made up of five home schooled brothers,
and occasionally their mom and dad join them. : -)
They are amazing!
It was a great day of
having fun together as a family and celebrating Timmy!
We left the fair just before it closed at 10pm,
and made it home right at midnight!
Thank you, Lord, for ALL your blessings!

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