Christmas Recital

Katey just performed in her first harp recital since beginning lessons last July.  Her instructor, Alla Yashneva, is from Russia and has proven to be a wonderful instructor for Katey.

After hearing that Lauren was also learning to play the piano, Alla invited her to accompany Katey in a rendition of “Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming”.

Bates Family Visit

Tori, Gil, Kelly, and Nathan Bates

The Bates family blessed us with a visit during their trip to Arizona. Gil and Kelly celebrated their 27th anniversary with a trip to see the Grand Canyon and were joined by two of their children, Nathan and Tori.

During their stay with us, we enjoyed a time of sweet fellowship, too much food, and many laughs.

Friday morning, we set out for a place called Tortilla Flat which is about an hour east of Phoenix. We had many photo opportunities along the way as the weather and scenery were perfect!

Canyon Lake

After lunch, Nathan and Tori decided that they were going to climb the mountain across the street. Katey and Gil joined them for the 25 minute hike to the very top!

Can you spot them at the top?

They made it!

On our way back home, we stopped to see the Goldfield Ghost Town which is located along the famous Apache Trail.

The chapel at Goldfield

Goldfield was finally abandoned in 1926 after the gold ran out. We ended up spending the rest of the afternoon and early evening there just browsing the shops, taking pictures, and enjoying ice cream in fresh waffle cones!

Bargain shopping

That evening after we got home, Nathan led us in a wonderful Bible study on the armor of God from Ephesians 6. I appreciated his heart for The Lord and willingness to share with us.

Saturday morning it was time to say goodbye but not before we celebrated Tori’s 19th birthday!

Happy Birthday Tori!

Tori humbly listened as Gil, Kelly, and Nathan each shared some of the Christ-like characteristics they see in her. We then gathered together to sing a few Christmas carols before it was time to go.

On the way to the airport, we stopped at Chick-fil-A for one last meal together.

Chick-fil-A

We so much enjoyed our time of fellowship and laughter together and are grateful for their friendship. Here are a few of the pictures we took along the way…

Lauren’s 12th Birthday

Birthday Girl

Today we all celebrated Lauren’s 12th birthday. The festivities began a few days prior when some of her closest friends joined us for a surprise party!  Katey had created a “photo booth” where the girls could wear fun hats, glasses, etc. and take pictures.

Happy birthday Lauren!  We love you.

BRIGHT Lights Christmas

Caroling at Wal-Mart

This year we were excited to have two other Arizona Bright Lights groups join us for our third-annual Bright Lights Christmas Party.  What a beautiful sight it was to have 34 godly young women joined together to bring honor to the Lord.

We began the evening with prayer, reading Scripture, and some get-to-know-you activities.  Then the girls enjoyed appetizers, cookies, hot chocolate, and lots of candy.   Shortly thereafter, we split into teams and drove to Walmart (with the help of seven mothers and my good husband).  At Walmart we sang Christmas carols at the front entrance of the store, praying that others would hear the gospel message through song.

We then went shopping for children at Sunshine Acres Children’s Home which is a Christian organization that cares for children who are separated from their parents.  The girls were responsible for selecting and purchasing gifts for seven children in need.  The girls also handed out candy canes that had Scripture verses about Jesus Christ attached to them and wished store patrons a “Merry Christmas”.

Once the shopping trip was done, we gathered back at the house and had a time of prayer for the children who would receive these gifts.  The prayers were so sincere and humble that many of us had tears in our eyes.  What a wonderful time of  fellowship we enjoyed!

Fall Break 2014

We just returned from a great trip to California! Our nephew Tyler joined us for three days of fun and activities which included Knotts Berry Farm, Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlour, and my personal favorite, The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.