Tuesday, February 28, 2012

I'd Give Up.....

"I'd give up chocolate, coffee, and whipped cream........but I'm no quitter!"
-unknown
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I'm not serious.
I just liked the quote.
{smile}

Monday, February 27, 2012

As the Sand.....

"How precious also are Thy thoughts unto me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with Thee.”
Psalm 119:17&18

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Out On The Town::Georgia

Our dear cousins Corina & Ashlyn invited a group of their friends to get together with us for a few hours today at Barnes & Noble. We had a lovely time getting to know each other and talking about the many things we are passionate about.
We shopped thrift on the way to B&N....and on the way home. 
Just can't get enough of it.....
I haven't had so much thrifty fun in a long time.
 The bargains were endless. 
(I just might do a post sometime about all the fun things I got for nearly nothing)
A grocery bag stuffed full for just $1? 
Seriously folks.
 It doesn't get much better than that.
Proverbs 31.....totally.
{smile}
My favorite store was the one that was offering complimentary dark dove chocolates to all clients. 
I will be returning, people....
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On a side note: we just love going out in public together. People ask if we're all sisters.
 We tell them,
 "Well, us two are....and those two are....and our moms are! So....yes!!"
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lots of laughter.lots of deals. lots of likemindedness.
=
lots of lovely times.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Thank-You....

I am so humbled and blessed by all of you dear people who were praying for my family and I the last several days. Your prayers were felt and God gave us the strength we required to do all that we needed to do....and I am just so grateful for the power of prayer. 
Please continue to pray for God's grace to be extended to the family of Arlis as they adjust to life without him.
Thank-you.....
~chels

Monday, February 13, 2012

Little Did I Know....

...that just seconds after I posted the "Blue Skies" post, I would receive news of the sudden tragic death of a very dear family friend.
The Blue Skies song has been playing in my head all weekend, ever since....
If you think of it, pray for me and my family as we head to Oklahoma, especially for strength to be able to get through the music we will be singing at the funeral. 
Most of all pray for Arlis' wife, Roberta, and his son & daughter, Brad & Amy, as they go through this difficult time. 
I am so thankful that even in the midst of all the pain we have the assurance that he is with Jesus!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Blue Skies

On days of gray
When doubt clouds my view
It’s so hard to see past my fears
My strength seems to fade
And it’s all I can do
To hold on, ’til the light reappears
Still, I believe though some rain’s bound to fall
That you’re here next to me
And you’re over it all
Lord, the sky’s still blue
For my hope is in you
You’re my joy
You’re the dream that’s still alive
Like the wind at my back
And the sun on my face
You are life
You’re grace
You are blue skies
You’re my blue skies
When nights are long
Seems the dark has no end
Still we walk on in light of the truth
For waiting beyond
Where the morning begins
Is the dawn, and your mercy anew
Oh, to believe we’re alive in your love
There is so much to see
If we keep looking up
Lord, the sky’s still blue
For my hope is in you
You’re my joy
You’re the dream that’s still alive
Like the wind at my back
And the sun on my face
You are life
You’re grace
You are blue skies
You’re my blue skies
                                              {"Blue Skies" by matt huesmann & grant cunningham}
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This song is one of my all-time favorites. I love how it speaks about the pain and the hard times in life...and yet the chorus always comes back to the fact that the "sky is still blue". For the ?? time, I am reminded that my circumstances do not have to control my joy. 
I have to CHOOSE joy.
For me....its been choosing joy even when I MISS my home
Choosing joy even when I'm exausted and just want to sleep..and its time to do another concert.
Choosing joy even when I'd give almost anything for just 10 minutes to listen to nothing but myself thinking. =)
Choosing joy even when it seems that I can't make yet another decision without falling apart.
Choosing joy. It is all about joy. All about seeing past the rain and the wind and seeing the BLUE in the sky.
Today I want to thank God for the blue.....the blue that is there because my hope is in HIM!


I often feel like my "thoughts" blog posts are me getting up on my little invisible box and preaching to myself. Saying what I think. Thinking out loud. 
After I've finished....I go back and read what I wrote and feel so convicted. 
And then all of you just happen to read this and get in on my self-examination and self-diagnosis of my problems and issues. =)

-chels

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Allison::Senior2011


Congratulations, sister! I'm so proud of all you and all your hard work in graduating early. 
Love you!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Cousin PhotoShoot

These are a few more of my cousins. The pictures are from last summer. I just haven't gotten around to posting them til now.
They're amazing ladies and I love them to death.
We rang in age from 14 to 21...you'd never guess, right?
The younger ones are mature beyond their years and us older ones are still 13-yr olds at heart.
well......
You girls bless me so much with your amazing friendship. your commitments to purity. your love for your families. your hearts for others. your unique and creative personalities.
and most of all.....the joy of Jesus that just shines on your faces.
I'm so blessed to have ya'll as cousins.
*cheers* to our host of memories!
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(thank-you, Thomas, for your patience in taking these pictures for us. It is no small feat to photograph eight girls, five of whom are photographers. =) You did a great job)

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Ministry with Cousins

Three of my Bontrager cousins were at the prison crusade this year. Will was our evangelist and Dorcas and Naomi were in the same region as we were the last two days so it was wonderful to spend some time with them. 
Will got to be just like part of the family (to those of you who have had the misfortune of traveling with our family...you know exactly what I mean) We are quite a rowdy, noisy, unconventional crew, and I'm afraid day #1 on the bus is always a little eye-opening and shocking to those coming in from the "outside". Seriously, folks, its not at all the glamorous ride ya'll think it is!
Will did a marvelous job blending in and in no time he was just another one of us. =) 
We had many long discussions about all sorts of things. Everything from prayer to healing to finding "the one" (or "the one" finding you) to missions to family to standards to the difference between teaching and preaching....was discussed, dissected, and determined.
Okay. Not quite.
But there is something very encouraging about talking about these life issues with other people who are going at it with the same guide as you---God's Word.
It is very uplifting and strengthening, and makes you want to know even more what you believe, and why you believe it. 
love you people!

The Matching Tradition

 so.it.was.lovely
once again. this was time #4 for "the matching tradition". it is so fun!
we went to the mall and after about 50 stores and ??? dressing rooms we finally found something we all half ways liked. 
(grin)
I personally tried on everything from an XS to an XL and everything in between, due to the differences in stores' clothing sizes.
I'm sure the clerks were laughing. I had to laugh myself. Our process of selection was, um, original.
Have you ever tried a shopping trip with all four of the personalities? 
Sanguine, choleric, melancholy, and phlegmatic?
It was quite humorous, the different way we each evaluated the situation.
Such as....
"I LOVE this shirt!! Its so my color!! You all love this, right girls?" exclaims the sanguine
"I just don't know if I should get a medium or a large. I want something I'll like. I want it to fit me. I like my shirts a certain fit," debates the melancholy
"I like this one. But you don't? Which one do you like? Well, yes, I like this one....but that one is really pretty! We can get that one. I like them both," reassures the phlegmatic.
"Girls! We're running out of time! Lets just all agree and get something," states the choleric.
This is not word-for-word accurate but...you get the idea.
(smile)
{ali...torie...myself...Tess}
Through all of that.....we actually ended up matching. =)
It was such a party.
 Love you ladies! I love your personalities and how we have so much fun when we're together!  Can't wait til next time!