Wednesday, July 30, 2008

He Giveth More Grace

He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater,
He sendeth more strength when the labors increase;
To added affliction He addeth His mercies,
To multiplied trials His multiplied peace.

When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
When our strength has failed ere the day is half done,
When we reach the end of our hoarded resources
Our Father's full giving has only begun.

His love has no limit, His grace has no measure,
His power has no boundary known unto men;
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus
He giveth and giveth and giveth again.

Annie Johnson Flint

Whew! What a Week!

There's always some new challenge to face - just when I think I'm "done" and can "coast" for a little while! The past week has brought a whole assortment of new "stuff" to deal with.

Although I have had my moments of wondering how and why right now, I found a paragraph in one of my favorite devotional books, Streams in the Desert, that quickly checked my doubts and worries... Why do I go to God in desperation, hoping that He can help me just enough to survive today?!

God's ability to perform is beyond our prayers - even our greatest prayers! I have recently been thinking of some of the requests I have made of Him innumerable times in my prayers. And what have I requested? I have asked for a cupful, while He owns the entire ocean! I have asked for one simple ray of light, while He holds the sun! My best asking falls immeasurably short of my Father's ability to give, which is far beyond what we could ever ask.
--John Henry Jowett

Thursday, July 17, 2008

A Visit from the Rowe Cousins, Part VII

The fateful moment of "goodbye" had arrived... But first we had to do our traditional hour of all kinds of group pictures. With several photographers between the two families, we had to take dozens and dozens of pictures...

Even the boys who usually quickly tire of photo sessions got in to it this time. Abe set up the ladder for a "view from above" picture of the girls in a circle.

Abe started snapping random pictures of the gathering below, which we later found to be quite amusing. I don't even know what we're all doing in this picture!

Finally... a group picture with everybody in it! The camera was on self-timer.
And so ended our happy weekend with the Rowes...
Come back again soon!

A Visit from the Rowe Cousins, Part VI

The grand adventure for Saturday was once again... the raft!

We're heading off to the creek this time. The pond had grown a bit small for the crew, and the guys decided that more adventure was in order.

The guys did some repairs, using more candy wrappers and sticks and plastic bags to plug leaks, and then pushed it into creek!

The raft was rather crowded but that didn't deter anyone from taking a ride down the "river"! (And, yes, quite a few fell off, but the creek isn't over anyone's head.)

Who knows what the girls are doing in the creek?!

...And then they came home and had more photo-op ideas.
Since everyone was wet, they hung themselves out to dry on the clothesline!

'Zaiah and Aaron are almost always sensible, mature, sober young men.
When they get together, though, we see a different side of them!
It's good it's only once a year! ; )

Liz and Heather - drying off together.
Everyone knew that goodbyes coming all too soon!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

A Visit from the Rowe Cousins, Part V

The sun came up in the cow pasture on Saturday morning and everyone found themselves happy in spite of their dewy hair and short night (the cows kind of interrupted a little after midnight!).


Sam (it's a little early...)

Back inside the house, Dad was telling Darrel about all of the crazy and horrible things he witnessed at the Capitol in the last few days of the legislative session! (Dad and I had come back from the Capitol very late Friday night and didn't see everyone till Saturday morning.)

I slept in unreasonably late (something like 10 am!). I had had about 2 hours of sleep per night all week at the Capitol, and was completely exhausted - physically, mentally, and emotionally. But seeing the Rowes smiling faces made me decide to try to forget about my troubling thoughts and pretend that the Capitol world didn't exist... for at least one day!

A Visit from the Rowe Cousins, Part IV

The cousins decided that Friday night was a great time to sleep outdoors... so between the extra friends and neighbors who decided to join the camping party in the pasture, there were about 30 people out in the moonlit night.

For those of you who are political novices, campaigns are a lot of hard, thankless, sweaty work. You never forget those August afternoon of door knocking and pounding in signs. But there's one secret perk... that you'll never know about till you work on a big campaign - you can get lots and lots of leftover 4'x8' plastic political signs when the election is over! At our house, campaign signs have been used for everything from water slides to calf shelters, shower linings and yard sale signs. The Rowes were surprised to find out how many things you can make from an old campaign sign... including the sleeping quarters for the night (above)!

S'mores and sleepy people around a campfire.

The boys' "hut" (made out of campaign signs, of course!)

Sam made his own private quarters out of a few signs.
He even had an air mattress! What luxury!

Lots of girls bedding down for the night. At the least the sign walls would keep the cows from walking across them or licking faces in the dark!

A Visit from the Rowe Cousins, Part III

Ahoy, matey!
The raft was launched most successfully into the deep, blue sea...
er, the scummy green pond!

After some smooth sailing, the more adventurous ones decided that it would be more fun to rock the raft... and rock it they did! A few people slid off occasionally, like Amy (below, being helped back on board), but the little kids were wearing life jackets. Oh, and we only rarely see big snapping turtles in this pond.

As the raft tilted wildly from side to side, suddenly without warning, it capsized and the whole crew of ten found themselves flailing wildly about, churning up the brown and green waters. The pond being about 8 feet deep in the middle, it's a good thing that the youngest kids were all wearing life jackets.

Everyone made it to shore with the now-upside-down raft, and several wailing children on board. Still sputtering, everyone was glad just to be alive! The rafting continued, but a little less wildly, and with mandatory life jackets for any non-swimmers!

The day ended with several additional families over for dinner and an evening of visiting.

A Visit from the Rowe Cousins, Part II

Friday morning was filled with activities... mostly building the infamous raft -- some odd tradition started back when we cousins were all toddlers and pre-teens!
(I was away at the Capitol, finishing my last day of lobbying, so I've only seen the pictures...)

First the barrels had to be inspected for leaks... and leaky holes were plugged with all manner of things, from a potato chip bag to caulk and a stick!

Needless to state, the four-wheeler was a bit over used during the visit. The girls prided themselves in being able to drive it with twelve of them on it! I'm surprised the boys didn't seem more worried about the life and safety of their precious piece of transportation!

And here the poor little four wheeler is pulling a trailer load of girls to the creek to launch the new raft...

Upon arriving at the creek, there was a raft to test out, but lots of other things, too.
Things like, uh, really thick, deep mud.
Above: Liz and Heather

Oh boy! Oh joy!
The little girls got excited when the "big" girls sanctioned wading in the mud!

A Visit from the Rowe Cousins, Part I

I promised you long ago that I would post pictures of our time with the Rowe cousins when they came to visit in May. It's been a long time since, but they are finally ready to post!

One disclaimer... the behavior noted in some of these pictures is extremely out of character for many of the young adults... except for when they get together once a year!

The Rowes arrived Thursday night shortly before bed... which included lots of floor space!

The next morning everyone wanted to try milking the cows.

Milk was a staple...

got milk?
Trying out the new mustaches!

Darrel and Nancy - or better known to the Rowe cousins as "Mom and Dad"!