Friday, July 31, 2015

New Favorite Song . . .

(Well, it's not a new song, as it was originally penned as a hymn in 1863
and was titled "The Advocate."   But it is new to us, and we love this version!)
It's been on my mind and in my heart all week.
If you haven't heard it yet, we thought you might enjoy it!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Thanking God for Benjamin!

Benjamin turned 5 this weekend,
and we've had so much fun celebrating this milestone,
and thanking God for him!
Saturday evening, we went over to Papa Bob and Meemom's house
to visit with Aunt Kelley and Louis who came down from Lynnwood.
The theme for his birthday festivities was "western/cowboy,"
so he enjoyed getting in his cowboy attire two days in a row!

Aunt Kelley and Louis brought this great gift bag with them! :-)
Benjamin was grateful for the great present inside too!

Then, Sunday, we had a very fun get-together with family and friends here at our house.

 A few of the party guests . . .
  We were so thankful the Johnson family could come to the party!!!

 Sweet Janet T. brought these amazing cowboy beans!
They were soooooooo good!
Janet also blessed him with this great tool box she made for him!
Then, she put some handy things in it that every boy needs, including his very own duct tape! :-)
And Rich included an assortment of special balls,
that are perfect for the aspiring baseball player in him!
 Thanks so much to all of Benjamin's family and friends, from near and far,
who blessed him with such special gifts!
Thanks, Michael, for the rope for this little cowboy!
It's perfect for him!
And made him very happy!
And he's already been having a lot of fun with it!
Cake time!
 Thanks everybody for sharing in our joy and making Benjamin's 5th birthday so special!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Vanya - A True Story

“So then, those who suffer according to God’s will
should commit themselves to their faithful Creator
and continue to do good."
1 Peter 4:19

We learned about Vanya last Sunday morning at family camp through a dramatization by Mr. Dean Kershner.  We had never seen his presentation, or heard of Ivan (Vanya) Moiseyev before.  I am so thankful to have had this opportunity, as the Lord has really touched my life, through Vanya’s story.
Vanya was a Godly young man and brave soldier in the Russian army that was persecuted and killed for his faith at the age of twenty, on July 16, 1972.  His story is documented in a book, entitled Vanya: A True Story.  We were blessed to receive a copy of this book at camp by our friend, Mr. Tilley, and can’t wait to read it. (*There is a description of the book taken from, at the bottom of this post.)
One of the things that has inspired me so much about Vanya’s story is that it appears that he did not go into the army as a schooled, skilled, trained, experienced, official “missionary.”  He went in the army as an ordinary young man that had a devout heart for God and love for people.  He had hidden God’s word in his heart, and was a man of prayer.  He was simply faithful to His God.  And God did extraordinary things in and through him.  Vanya’s testimony includes some very amazing miracles!  (Too much to write here . . . but you should read about them in the book!)  He walked with and trusted His Savior through some horrific things, and the Lord’s presence and strength sustained him through it all.  And only God knows how many lives have been touched and souls have been saved through his giving up of his life.
I’m so thankful that the Lord brought this testimony into our lives this week.  It has made such an impression on me, particularly as the Lord leads our family through some hard things.  (Which are so very small in comparison to the things Vanya went through!)  On Sunday, as we heard “Vanya” repeat the verse above several times as he endured through his sufferings; I wanted to find it and meditate on it. Early this week, as I was reading through 1 Peter, guess what?  There it was, in verse 4:19.  The Lord led me right to it, and I’m so grateful.  I love the way God is referred to as our “faithful Creator.”  He has created each one of us so specifically and specially, with a perfect plan for our lives.  He knows us best and loves us more than we can imagine.   He is always continuing His work in and through us.  Often times this molding and chiseling is painful.  But it is always for our good, and His glory, as He gently and lovingly holds us in His faithful hands.
*"Out of the dark shadows of Soviet atheism rose a fearless young man whose boldness for Christ would make him a testimony to millions of believers around the world. This is the true story of Ivan (Vanya) Moiseyev, a soldier in the Soviet Red Army who was ruthlessly persecuted and incarcerated for his faith. Through two years of trial and torture, he never denied his Savior, and he never hesitated to share the gospel with anyone who would listen. You'll be inspired to live for Christ in your own world as never before after you experience the gripping story of a believer named Vanya.”  Taken from Good
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Isaiah 41:10

Monday, July 20, 2015

Family Camp 2015!

(Pictures taken by the skilled paparazzi, Mommy Bowes.
Commentary by yours truly, Kyle) ;) 
One of the highlights of the last couple of years for the Bowes household has quickly become this awesome family camp in Bend, OR.   A little less than a thousand fellow homeschoolers converge from up and down the West Coast for an awesome weekend of fun and fellowship!
The landscape was amazing on our way down Friday! This is Mt. Hood.
Bend itself and the surrounding area totally reminds us of Flagstaff, AZ. :0) 

Just your daily dose of cuteness!
Brielle here is making a new friend.
 I still can't believe I get to call this little bundle of adorableness my sister. :0)

And here is Brielle with another little cutie named Ari, my dear brother in Christ's little sister!
 (more on my friend later)

Most of the family eating dinner Friday night with friends!

This is Lew Sterrett, one of the hosted speakers at the camp. He wove together Biblical truths with a sort of show and tell horse clinic! He is both a great speaker and an amazing horse trainer! The name of his ministry? Quite appropriately,The Sermon on the "Mount". :0)

This horse was incredibly well trained.

What a great backdrop for the talk! The sunset Friday night was amazing. :0)
This is Tango. Completely untrained. Completely skittish. And almost completely broken in to the point of being ridden by Mr. Sterrett by the end of his talk. It was amazing!

 Getting Tango comfortable with the rope . . .

 . . . while engaging the crowd all the while. Mr. Sterrett's compared his relationship to Tango with our relationship with God.
Good things happen when we hear, trust, and obey our heavenly Master. :0)

Halfway through the talk, Tango started trusting his master enough to walk side by side with him. Like I mentioned, by the end of the talk, Mr. Sterrett was riding him.

Ah ha, and this is bright and early Saturday morning! What got us intrepid homeschoolers up so early? Something epic, right? Running. Yes, you heard me: running.
You didn't think we were normal, right? ;0) 
Valerie and Caroline did such a good job training for this 5K! They did great!
Timmy and Joe raced and did great as well! I think all of their many hours on their bikes really helped them out!

And here is my dear brother and e-mail buddy Austin Tilley from Southern California! It was so great to seem him again! In the past few months, he has strengthened me in the Lord so much.
We make those hats look good, me thinks!
Okay, just kidding. But we wore them anyway. ;0)
The leader of us sombreroed comrades (AKA the race coordinator, Mr. Johnson) laying out the rules.

And they're off! Go Bowes go!

Look at this! Valerie is smiling because she left the whole pack in the dust by pure skill and agility alone! Either that or she sees the finish line up ahead.  :0D Love you, sis. You did great!

Caroline's waving off the compliments like "oh, it's no big deal that I smoked most everybody." ;0)
Haha, number 39 is like, "What???? Where did this smiling little dude come from, and how is he passing me up?" Okay, in all honesty number 39 fell in step with Timmy to encourage him down the finish line! :0)
And we didn't get a picture of Joe crossing the finish line . . . because he died two miles in. On lookers said that he was singing happily though right up until the end with a gap-toothed grin stretching from ear to ear like the little bespectacled engine that could. ;0)
No, I'm kidding. Long live the awesome, jovial little boy that forever will be "Joe's World". :0)
  ~ ~ ~ ~
Volleyball!! So, so fun!

Family Camp features an epic zip line! I got to volunteer a couple hours on Saturday and Sunday strapping kids in for the ride of their lives. Here a friend is showing me the ropes. 

Joe's World in orbit
Wait, what's this? Water? I mean, hopefully that's just water . . . 

Ah ha, a culprit caught on camera to the lower left corner! Just look at that mischievous little grin. Obviously, the above picture was premeditated sabotage. In light of this further evidence, I am grateful to confirm that no pants were wetted on this wild ride. ;0) 

Timmy and Benjamin riding double!

And here is the epic slip and slide! Looks fun, huh? And also completely safe as well!

Yes, see, completely safe!

There's Timmy! Smart move going last, bro.

Here the teams are being counted off for more volleyball!

Either I just stuffed a spike or I am seriously overestimating my jumping abilities . . .
 (I'd put my money on the latter, unfortunately)

Valerie digging one out!

Dad showing off the backwards spike!

Brielle captivating the scene once again.
And check out how long her hair is getting too!
I love how you can hear her coming from a mile away
with all five pounds of her beads clicking back and forth. ;0)

Hangin' out. Literally. ;0) These ladies are more of the Tilley clan from Southern California!

Yes, we were forced to wear those hats again in front of everybody. O.O
Like I said, good thing Austin and I make them look good!

The teams sorting themselves out for more volleyball.
Caroline and Valerie are super happy because they managed to get on Dad's team. ;0)

 *is running out of ideas for clever volleyball captions*

Great form, Victoria!

The gathering of the airplane enthusiasts and future science geniuses, Joe's World included. 

Joe keeping a close eye out for Dad this time down.

Ben all by himself and rocking that Superman look!

Timmy generating some bounces on the zip line

Yours Truly holding on for dear life and making some pretty nice bounces while I was at it.
I am also happy to confirm that no pants were wetted on this ride as well!

This was actually a rescue mission for that poor volleyball team below. They needed a giant.
Yeah, see. When I hopped in, we were down 18-6.
Thanks to my timely rescue, we staged an epic comeback and won lost 21-6.

Wow, I guess this shows you just how much volleyball we played.
My creative caption capabilities are spent. Any suggestions?

Brielle making more friends!

That is my trying-to-look-innocent-while-planning-something-diabolical smile!
A co-conspirator and great friend!
I think we were discussing the fine points of fleeing the scene of the crime in this one.

Turns out we didn't have to do much in the sneak-attack department.
Austin was my willing victim.


Some more awesome friends!

Like wow, homeschoolers actually socialize?

Charlie, the future stud of Pure Joy labs, got to tag along on the trip and really enjoyed the water!

A boy, a dog, and a boat. Classic picture!

Timmy mastering the floating banana! 

   So this is what Benjamin was talking about for an hour on our way back!
He really enjoyed making new friends . . .
  . . . as did all of us! Every year we are so encouraged to see families committed to serving the Lord and raising up their children to love and obey our Gracious Father. To think that I get to spend eternity like this with all these dear brothers and sisters is amazing!
My family was especially touched by another guest speaker who shared powerfully the story of Vanya, a faithful Christian martyr of the Soviet Union.
I would encourage all of you to learn more about his story!
So there you have it, a complete run down of a flat out awesome weekend! We are so thankful for the family that hosted this camp! It is a tremendous undertaking and a worthy ministry, and I know the Lord will bless them richly for it. :0)
Speaking of tremendous undertakings, this post was quite the piece of work for my mom to put together. She was so burned out making this post that she commissioned me to write the captions! And you know if she did that without even wanting to proof read this before it was posted that things are pretty desperate. (sorry that you have had to put up with me, guys) ;0) If you have enjoyed this post, would you take a couple of minutes to comment? It would really uplift Mommy and let her know that all her hard work of taking, editing, and posting these pictures has been a blessing to you!
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