Tuesday, December 16, 2014

2014 SVCC Christmas Talents Program

Our family has had the privilege of facilitating our church's Christmas program for about five years now.  We are always so blessed to see how the Lord brings it all together, for His glory!
This year was very special with many new families participating and "gifts" being given!
(The idea behind the "Talents" program is for our church family to have a chance to "give" of the talents/abilities that the Lord has given them to bless others and glorify Him!) 
Daddy kicks it off with a warm greeting and a few announcements!
We always love the opportunity to welcome new folks joining us for the evening!
 Next up, Kyle kicks of his annual Christmas Quiz in between "acts."
He always does a great job putting this together and presenting it.
The two sides of the church "compete" to see which side can answer the most questions correctly.
They love it, and it gives the participants time to set up what they need for their "act" on stage.
We were recently teasing Kyle that we think this is his "gift."
He laughed, and said something like, "Wow, I'm a gifted Christmas quiz giver."
(No, Kyle! We meant that you are very good at making presentations up in front of people,
 and making them feel at ease!  You're a "natural" . . .which means God has gifted you with this ability!)
 We loved having more children participating this year.
Some of their "gifts" included irresistible cuteness.  :-)
 We had the blessing of hearing a harp being beautifully played this year by a delightful new family.
 Some of our good friends, the Johnson's were amazing!
We really loved how many fathers participated with their kids this year!
 This is another of the Johnson's kids . . . .Abel.
He also sang with his Dad . . . "Amazing Grace. "  He did awesome as well!
(We've always thought these two look quite similar! :-)
 Valerie, Victoria, Caroline and Daddy played and led the audience in "O, Come All Ye Faithful."
(Calling the audience back from the intermission/food and fellowship time! ;-)
 One of everybody's favorites . .. Steve on the accordion!
 It is so fun to have such varied "Talents" being "given."
Linda C. blesses us with a short story that she wrote. 
This one was very meaningful, bringing tears to her eyes . . .
as well as everyone else's eyes!

(This is a video of Caroline playing "Holy, Holy, Holy" on her practice piano at home.
(Disclaimer:-(   We apologize, both the piano and the video quality doesn't make for the best sound!
It was much better on the grand piano at church, and in person, but at least you can get an idea of what it sounds like!)

 There were so many other very special "gifts" that were given that I didn't get pictures of!!
Many other musical acts; a young man gave an amazing oration he wrote titled "The Meaning of Christmas for Americans"; and a funny letter read from a then short-term missionary about her experience of a Christmas spent in Zambia.
The last song was particularly beautiful and meaningful.
It was called "Love Came Down" and played and sung by two amazing ladies!
 Thanks so much to Victoria, who did most all the administrative work, and
 communications with all the participants, to pull this event together and make it go so smoothly!  
 It was a wonderful day!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Christmastime in Leavenworth 2014!

One of our family's favorite Christmas traditions
is spending a weekend in Leavenworth, WA in December.
It is a beautiful little "Bavarian Village" surrounded by some very majestic looking peaks
just on the eastern side of the Cascade mountain range.   
Our traditional family photo by the "Welcome to Leavenworth" sign!
But first . . .  a few pictures of our journey from home to this quaint little town.
We stopped at White Pass for the boys to do some sledding!
This was the day before the ski slopes officially opened,
so they let them sled on the lower portion of one of the hills!


While the boys went sledding, us girls stayed dry and warm in the camper, and took pictures! :-) 
A girl and her dog.
 Oh, and we snacked a lot!
 "Doritos make me HAPPY!"
Anna keeps a watchful eye on Victoria's Doritos in her hand.
 Awwww . . .
 We rented a little KOA cabin for the overflow from our camper.
 Two sets of bunks . . . perfect for a certain foursome!

 We hit the town all bundled up around 5pm on Friday night.
There was a light rain,
so it wasn't quite cold enough for snow. 
But still quite chilly!  

 There's a little sledding hill right in the center of the town square.

A few of us listened to the lovely bell choir!
 Friday night . . . pizza night!

 Back at the cabin, some game playing commenced!
 And little ones got comfy-cozy in their Christmas sleepers,
for nestling down in the camper.
 On Saturday morning, we woke up to a couple inches of fresh snow,
with some freezing rain on top!!
So, the truck slid and fish-tailed a bit down the campground's non-snow-plowed hill.
Fortunately, most of the kids were not in the truck/camper at the time.
They walked down the hill later. 
Anna, the dog, got a "sleigh" ride in her crate!
  First on the agenda,
was to build a snowman with the fresh snow . . .

 made to look just like this guy . . .
 Then, make some snow angels!
 And visit our favorite little gingerbread bakery!
And have some fun in a very cool hat shop!

 And Valerie actually made a very nice purchase there!

 Then, last and best of all is the Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony!
(The next two photos were taken by towering Kyle!)

 Here's us in the midst of all those people!
 We love this part very much,
because in front of this huge crowd of thousands of people,
the MAYOR of Leavenworth proclaims from center stage . . .
we need to remember the true "Reason for the Season" . . .
that it is about the birth of Jesus Christ!!! 
Woo hoo!  You can imagine how refreshing this is!!!
The buttons Victoria (above) and Kyle (below) are wearing
were purchased from American Family Association. 

 Listening to . . . guess who?  . . .while waiting for Daddy to pick us up at the end of the day!
 A snowman Joe made all by himself just before we left Leavenworth.
 A beautiful picture snapped on our journey home today.
Thank you, Lord!
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